A Point Guard , A Point Guard , My Kingdom For A Point Guard

A Point Guard , A Point Guard , My Kingdom For A Point Guard

By tophatal …….

I’m trying to figure out the mindset of the Phoenix Suns and the very fact that team’s ownership group headed by Robert Sarver has me wondering whether or it is their intent trade Steve Nash or retain him at the NBA’s trade deadline on the 15th March , 2012 . It’s clear that the team simply isn’t going anywhere and that head coach Alvin Gentry and the players are going through the motions.

================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

The fact that a solid veteran such as Steve Nash is still playing at a high level on what is essentially a very weak team has to elicit some sort of response from the Suns’ fans in attendance for the franchise’s home games . Struggling to contend within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference and it’s hard to see how the team can even make a spirited attempt at a playoff berth within the conference .

Nash alongside another seasoned veteran in Grant Hill might just be about the only thing warrants anyone taking an interest in seeing the Phoenix Suns play at at all this season . At 14-20 with the season resuming after the NBA’s mid-season showcase in the All Star game .

Inasmuch as Gentry has the appearance of being a good X’s and O’s coach , one of the ongoing reasons for the Suns’ failure in not being competitive , is the mere fact that the team fails to play any type of defense resolutely . This has been the same premise that has been the mantra of this organization as Mike D’Antoni , Alvin Gentry’s predecessor never quite got the handle that defense was a prerequisite to any game played by a team under his coaching tenure . Care to take a look at how the New York Knicks are doing as a team in spite of their recent streak ? And the very fact that Jeremy Lin , though a starting sensation remains a turnover machine of unimaginable proportions .

With the trade deadline coming up on the 15th March , we could very well see some major movements as a number of players seeking greener pastures and teams seeking to dump salary as they place themselves in position for the NBA Draft . With points guards not necessarily being at a premium in free agency market , it could very well be that if the right offer comes along the Suns may well seek to trade Steve Nash. And play of Nash’s productivity and wily leadership skills could very well be what the Los Angeles Lakers seek as productivity at the position , from both Steve Blake and Derek Fisher over the course of this season , can be best described as being mediocre !

With a young core at the center of the Suns’ roster it would certainly make sense for the front office to think about the future now rather than seeking to simply meander aimlessly nowhere over the coming years. For the Phoenix Suns over the course of their history there have very few highs but a great many lows as their annual record bears this out . Suns’ President and Head of Basketball Operations Lon Babby in conjunction with Robert Sarver will be hard pressed in trying to justify retaining Nash if the team isn’t simply in with a chance of gaining a playoff berth and given the team’s most recent ….. performances that now appears to be highly unlikely .

Marcin Gortat , Steve Nash and Grant Hill clearly can’t do it all by themselves albeit that the core members of the team such as Jared Dudley , Shannon Brown , Markieff Morris , Michael Redd and Ronnie Price have ably assisted in whatever ways necessary . With Nash possibly leaving this organization , Grant Hill would be the last remaining remnant of the organization in terms of a lengthy tenure with the Phoenix Suns. Amare` Stoudemire’s departure purely from the standpoint I believe where money was the prevailing factor , joined the New York Knicks . And as we know as glamorous as the organization now appears to be , from a competitive standpoint the Knicks still remain a franchise through its insistence of simply playing pure offense will be a team that won’t be any closer to winning an NBA title than a leopard would be in changing its spots !

Speculation continues to surround whether or not Deron Williams will remain with the New Jersey Nets . The point guard can opt out of his contract this season and all signs now seem to pointing towards that being a possibility , given the team’s poor showing within the Atlantic Divison of the Eastern Conference . The Nets are an incredulous 2-8 in their last ten games and their coach Avery Johnson in spite of undoubted talents , just doesn’t seem to be able to corral his players together in order to get them playing with any type of cohesiveness . Injuries have plagued the team this season with Brook Lopez being sidelined for much of their schedule . It has been left to the likes of Williams , MarShon Brooks , Anthony Morrow , and Kris Humphries to provide the much needed offense for the Nets as well as whatever meaningful defense that can be attained . The fact of the matter is , on both sides of the ball , defensively and offensively , this Nets’ team is very suspect .

The New Jersey Nets as a concern are caught between a rock and hard place when one bears mind the moves made by the front office in acquiring Deron Williams , during which a large part of the team’s roster was used as the primary bargaining chip in obtaining the point guard . The fact that Williams’ tenure with the Nets could be so short-lived speaks to the fact that this team has performed poorly and the very fact there has been very little insight being showed by GM Billy King . With team owner , multi-billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov focusing his talents elsewhere , as he looks to succeed Drmitry Medvedev as Russia’s President . It is hard to see how Prokhorov cannot be concerned with the free-fall of the team and the very fact that it could very well be on the verge of losing its biggest asset from a commercial and competitive standpoint. Granted , the main purpose was actually to build a competitive team that complemented the talents of Deron Williams , with the franchise also looking to move into their soon to be completed multi-billion dollar venue , the Barclays Center /Atlantic Yards Development in Brooklyn , New York . The venue could very well become an ominous white elephant if as such , there isn’t a lure to attract fans to the venue to see one the league’s brightest stars and one of their most accomplished players at the point guard position .

With the fomenting troubles said to be brewing within the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office and the mere fact that Kobe Bryant isn’t at all happy with the lack of movement by way of bolstering the team’s roster . The player has been very vocal in his dissatisfaction with Mike Brown , Mitch Kupchak and the ownership of Jerry Buss but specifically Buss’ son , Jim Buss . Bryant’s expletive ladened rant which was seen and caugh by the local tv stations and then televised nationally by ESPN was venomous in its direction , tone and length . I’d dare say that the ears of all three Lakers’ executives are still ringing from Bryant’s blast across their bow ! Let’s just say that in the NBA it’s still a players’ league but primarily the superstars’ league and there’s not really the coaches , owners or league hierarchy can actually do about it !

Does anyone really believe or think that the likes of LeBron James , Bryant , Carmelo Anthony , Deron Williams and Amare` Stoudemire can’t speak their mind and still be punished by the NBA , given their high profile ? Never mind the fact that the players in question earn a king’s ransom both on and off the court . A mere $100,000 monetary fine for being critical of the league isn’t going to necessarily burn a hole in the pocket of a player who’s earning in excess of $18 million a year at all is it ? David Stern chooses his battles with scrutiny when it comes to casting his powers to punish with impunity , when it comes to many of the league’s high profiled stars . I’m not saying the NBA commissioner is a chicken but that clucking sound you might sometimes hear could be coming from one of the subordinates within his office as he (Stern) simply wants to be viewed as a nice guy by the fans and public alike !

The premise was this , I believe with regard to the thought process by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss when it came to hiring a successor to Phil Jackson but simply get a high profiled but young coach who could win over the players on the roster ! Perhaps it’s me but I felt that the organization had a ready made successor in Brian Shaw , as the former Lakers’ player and an assistant to Jackson , had a very close relationship with Kobe Bryant . And if the rumors are to be believed , then there was very little input sought from the player as to whom Jackson’s successor should be . Do you think that Kobe Bryant isn’t still miffed at that , given his recent tirade against the Lakers’ organization ? Now we come full circle , as to Bryant’s primary gripe with the general manager and coach . And that has been their lack of action in bolstering the playing personnel . Rumors have been rife that as of late the Lakers were prepared to shop Pau Gasol as trade bait with a view to luring Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic . That may or may not happen the case , given the uncertainty now swirling around the Magic franchise and specifically the lack of outright candor from team CEO Alec Martins or GM Otis Smith .

The premise was this , I believe with regard to the thought process by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss when it came to hiring a successor to Phil Jackson but simply get a high profiled but young coach who could win over the players on the roster ! Perhaps it’s me but I felt that the organization had a ready made successor in Brian Shaw , as the former Lakers’ player and an assistant to Jackson , had a very close relationship with Kobe Bryant . And if the rumors are to be believed , then there was very little input sought from the player as to whom Jackson’s successor should be . Do you think that Kobe Bryant isn’t still miffed at that , given his recent tirade against the Lakers’ organization ? Now we come full circle , as to Bryant’s primary gripe with the general manager and coach . And that has been their lack of action in bolstering the playing personnel . Rumors have been rife that as of late the Lakers were prepared to shop Pau Gasol as trade bait with a view to luring Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic . That may or may not happen the case , given the uncertainty now swirling around the Magic franchise and specficially the lack of outright candor from team CEO Alec Martins or GM Otis Smith . Now unless both of these executives are willing to play a high risk game of poker and stake their profession , then they had better prove to their All Star center , that it is their intent to retain his services and to go about building a championship caliber team , rather than the quite clearly inept product that is currently on display . Otherwise , Dwight Howard will be following in the footsteps of another former Magic player , in , Shaquille O’Neal , and simply leave the organization to ply his trade elsewhere .

For the Los Angeles Lakers to be viewed as a viable alternate and legitimate contender to the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder , San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks then clearly they are going to need far more productivity than they are currently getting from either Steve Blake or Derek Fisher at the point guard position . I wouldn’t mind but the Lakers’ bench isn’t necessarily something to be fearful of to begin with but you’d be hard pressed to convince a Lakers’ fan much less the coaching staff of that fact !

To my mind what the Los Angeles Lakers clearly need to do, is package a multi-player deal that will either get a point guard capable of producing the productivity that they seek , rather than continuing with the duo that they presently have within their midst ! Steve Nash at barely 50% is clearly better than Blake and Fisher combined . Deron Williams at his best is an upgrade far beyond anything that the Lakers’ fans have been use to in the last five years at the point guard position. But clearly the question for Mitch Kupchak , Jim Buss and Mike Brown , is do they have the intestinal fortitude to do what it takes to make this team better ? Or are they going to wait for their now clearly unhappy guard , Kobe Bryant to lay another volley of abuse across their bow and stern once again ? Simply put , it’s time for Kupchak and Brown to earn their damn money and stop with this facade that they know what they’re doing at present . If they did , then perhaps Bryant wouldn’t be abusing their ass like a pimp bitch slaps one of his whores for not earning enough to keep him in the lifestyle ………. he’s become accustomed to ! Do I really need to say anymore on the matter at this juncture ? .

================================================================================================

================================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the point raised within this piece do you believe that either Steve Nash or Deron Williams would be a viable option for the Lakers’ given their issues and lack of productivity from the point guard position ? Or do you feel that Kupchak and Brown will keep things as they are concerning the team ? And what thoughts if any do you have concerning the impending future of Dwight Howard with the Orlando Magic ? Should he remain with the organization or request a trade given what appears to be the reluctance of the front office to actually build a championship caliber team around him ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit ?

πŸ˜‰

Picture and slide show details below.
==================================================================================================

(1) Western Conference’s Steve Nash, right, of the Phoenix Suns, and Dirk Nowitzki, of the Dallas Mavericks, warm up for the NBA All-Star basketball game , Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….

(2) ORLANDO, FL – FEBRUARY 24: Markieff Morris (11) of the Phoenix Suns and Team Shaq dunks during the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge part of the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend at Amway Center on February 24, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …

(3) Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis , right, cannot save the ball from going out of bounds as he is guarded by Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill, left, in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, in Phoenix. The Warriors won 106-104 . AP Photo/Paul Connors … ….

(4) Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash (13) drives to the basket against Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis, left, in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, in Phoenix. The Warriors won 106-104 . AP Photo/Paul Connors ….

(5) Suns’ owner Robert Sarver seen here is seated next to Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers attends the NBA game between the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on January 28, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. …..

(6) ORLANDO, FL – FEBRUARY 26: Deron Williams (8) of the New Jersey Nets and the Eastern Conference dunks during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Jeff Haynes-Pool/Getty Images ….

(7) Nets’ coach Avery Johnson , left, is seen here alongside team owner Mikhail Prokhorov and GM Billy King during a brief interlude at the team’s training session . Prokhorov seeks the Presidency in his native Russia as an independent candidate hoping to beat Vladmir Putin and succeed incumbent Drmitry Medvedev . AP/Getty Images/ Sharon Messer … …

(8) Mike Brown (left) is seen here alongside the Los Angeles Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak at the team’s training facility the Toyota Ceneter in El Segundo , California ,. The two are said to be under a great deal of pressure to facilitate a trade that would bring in a high profiled player to complement the existing roster. LA Times / Brad Hurst ….

(9) Western Conference’s Kobe Bryant (24), of the Los Angeles Lakers, reacts after Dwyane Wade’s hard smack to his nose, during the second half of the NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012 in Orlando, Fla. A bloodied Bryant scored 27 points , moving past Michael Jordan as the career scoring leader in the game . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

(10) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference looks to pass as he is defended by Dwight Howard (12) of the Orlando Magic and the Eastern Conference during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images …

========================================================================================================

πŸ˜‰

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

http://facebook.com/tophatal

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

πŸ˜‰

=============================================================================================================

NBA news

NBA schedule Tuesday 28th February , 2012

NBA Standings by conference & by …. division

πŸ™‚

New Jersey Nets news

New Jersey Nets’ front office

Head coach Avery Johnson & coaching assistants

New Jersey Nets’ roster

New Jersey Nets’ team stats

———————————————————————————————————————————

Phoenix Suns’ news

Phoenix Suns’ front office

Head coach Alvin Gentry & coaching staff

Phoenix Suns’ roster

Phoenix Suns’ team stats

Stupid Is As Stupid Does …. Fu#k , It’s Baseball I’m Talking About …… !

Stupid Is As Stupid Does …. Fu#k , It’s Baseball I’m Talking About …… !

By tophatal ………….

It’s at times like this all of the purists out there have to step back and plainly take a look at the landscape of baseball and now specifically the tenure of Bud Selig and his custodianship of Major League Baseball . As the game’s highest ranking executive he has presided over the game for almost two decades , first as its interim commissioner only then to ascend to the position full-time in 1994. That being said, with the introduction of the wildcard system and the realignment of the divisions within the game , it has created a mild stir within baseball. But at the end of the day the questions have arisen as to the financial landscape and integrity of the sport altogether .

===============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===============================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

In what might have been the biggest scandal to hit the game since the Barry Bonds’ saga , his indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice , in lying to federal law enforcement officers concerning his use of prohibitive substances banned within the game . With his indictment and now awaiting sentence within the Federal Court system , you simply had to wonder what shoe would be the next to fall. Granted , last season we had the fallout from the retirement of Manny Ramirez five games into the season with the Tampa Bay Rays after it made public that he had failed a mandatory test thereby signalling an automatic 50 game suspension as required by MLB for a first offense. Rather than serve the suspension, the player announced his retirement and walked away from the game . Now come full circle , Ramirez has asked to be reinstated and somehow defying all logic Oakland Athletics’ GM Billy Beane has seen fit sign the player to a one year deal wherein he will be the DH for the team . So much for the inspirational “Moneyball” movie where the Michael Lewis’ book was adapted for the big screen and made to show the general manager as a savior of the game for the small market teams and the theory of “Sabermetrics”. Now someone please explain to me how the genius of Beane can be seen in a positive light after this move ?

Courtesy of The Washington Post in conjunction with the Associated Press

Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension overturned by baseball arbitrator Shyam Das

NEW YORK β€” NL MVP Ryan Braun said all along that his 50-game suspension for a positive drug test would be overturned. He was right.

Arbitrator Shyam Das threw out Braun’s ban on Thursday, making the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder the first Major League Baseball player to successfully challenge a drug-related penalty in a grievance.

β€œIt is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation,” Braun said. β€œWe were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.”

Braun tested positive in October for elevated testosterone, which was revealed by ESPN in December. He reports Friday to spring training with the threat of suspension lifted.

β€œSince joining our organization in 2005, Ryan Braun has been a model citizen and a person of character and integrity. Knowing Ryan as I do, I always believed he would succeed in his appeal,” Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said. β€œIt is unfortunate that the confidentiality of the program was compromised, and we thank our fans and everyone who supported Ryan and did not rush to judgment.”

Braun’s sample was collected on Oct. 1, a Saturday and the day the Brewers opened the NL playoffs. The collector did not send the sample to the laboratory until Monday , thinking it would be more secure at home than at a Federal Express office during the weekend .

========================================================================================================

Click on link to read this article in full .

=======================================================================================================

Bud Selig made the asinine assertion to two Congressional Committees , House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and US House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection that MLB had the most stringent drug testing policy in all of professional sports . That was laughable given the fact that Selig has been in complete denial as to the prolific use of PED’s by a number of players within through much of the past two decades ! Never mind the fact that those within the print media who covered the sport seemed to side with the commissioner. But as I’ve always maintained , journalistic integrity has never been high on any journalist within the world of sports . Simply look at the so-called celebrated writers who are said to be at the forefront in covering the game ? Have they really brought anything that you would deem to insightful ? And in terms of the on air tv personalities why no affront from them concerning the era that has essentially sullied the image of baseball ? Buster Olney , Peter Gammons , Tim Kurkjian and Joe Buck are and simply have been the voice squawk boxes for a lost generation that simply are too dumb to realize what is actually going on within their midst as it relates to the game ! When anyone amongst that quartet ever spoken as to their disgust concerning what has happened during this era ? They’d simply rather kiss the asses of their paymasters within the game of baseball and beyond that , who the hell knows as they’re probably waiting to suck on the left testicle of the commissioner !

The saga of Ryan Braun …. last season’s NL MVP is a tale of their sheer utter stupidity on the part of the player and his complete lack of intelligence and to my mind it is also a damning indictment on the game of baseball ! The league hierarchy knowing that the player had undergone testing was fully aware of the results and the fact that Braun had tested positive for a stimulant . The tests showed that the player had four times what it is considered the normal levels for testosterone in his body and it could only have been provided by a synthetic hormonal drug. When these details were then made public , it has to be said that the seismic waves sent across the game only heightened the fact that baseball and the game as we know it still remains sullied and lacking in complete integrity . My question for Ryan Braun is, if you choose to put something into your body would you not first seek the advice of a medical professional as to whether or not supplements in question are legal with regard to the mandated standards of the league ? Clearly the player may not have sought out the advice of a doctor but then again whatever gave us the impression that today’s modern-day athlete has the intelligence to begin with ?

In what was an unprecedented verdict the arbitrator sided with Ryan Braun in case for the dismissal of the league mandated suspension . The player lodged his appeal that was presided over by Shyam Das through the usual process of going through the players’ union ( MLBPA) headed by Executive Director Michael Weiner . In handing down his decision Shyam Das stated that the league’s case and the protocols used in the handling of the player’s specimens for testing had been compromised . mishandled and the proper protocols had not been followed by facility used by the league (MLB). A spokesman for the league hierarchy has stated that they were dissatisfied with the decision rendered by Das , though an appeal now seems completely out of the question . If ever baseball has even more egg on its face from an image standpoint , then this whole episode would be it ! And the asinine morons who continue to stand behind this game as if it had some semblance of decency and integrity must now be wondering where the leadership , if any , is now coming from ! Clearly Selig and the league are completely out of their depth and what might be even more asinine, is that whomever is said to be providing the legal counsel to the league hierarchy has been providing Bud Selig and his executive a very poor service indeed ! If MLB actually believed that with the evidentiary procedure followed that a verdict in their favor would be rendered , then clearly the executives who preside over the game are not as insightful on the procedures as it relates to binding arbitration . Moreover , the league hierarchy if anything, should take umbrage at the fact that the laboratory used in the testing clearly made serious mistakes that made their presentation to the tribunal and arbitrator a complete none-factor . Now what ?

In light of the decision rendered Ryan Braun believes that he has been vindicated and that his actions were above reproach. The player is either naive or a complete idiot to think that this completely exonerated him and closes the chapter on this episode . The court of public opinion is still out , and no matter what the player now says , it creates an image problem for Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers . For manager Ron Roenicke and owner Mark Attanasio this is hardly the way that the organization wants to go into Spring Training especially in light of the team losing their All Star first baseman Prince Fielder to free agency , with the player signing a 9 year $214.5 million deal with the Detroit Tigers .

The NL Central would appear to be up for grabs this season but it would appear though the division favored may well have favored the Brewers I believe that with the loss also of Albert Pujols from the St Louis Cardinals this could a very competitive season within the division. With Ryan Brauns’s productivity and that of Prince Fielder’s own stats it has to be said that last season it is easy to understand why the team was a success . Albeit that the team’s foray in the postseason was something of short-lived one . This year a lot will be riding on the shoulders of Ryan Braun and that of his teammates , in the hope that they can be seen as a serious contender within the NL .

Once the regular season begins the for the Milwaukee Brewers we know that Ryan Braun will face a barrage of abuse from the fans but undoubtedly once at home in the confines of Miller Park in Milwaukee , Wisconsin where I am sure that the player will have a legion of fans coming out in his support . From my own perspective , I am not so sure that Braun is solely to blame for his mess , as I firmly believe that baseball still has a long way to go to clear itself of its now tarnished image ! Clearly with the league hierarchy is simply unwilling to admit to the fact they have not only messed up in the presentation of this case but also their stance initially as it relates the issue of PED’s within the game was that it simply wasn’t high on their agenda . And also when one bears in mind that Selig’s stance is outmoded , shows him to be someone of little intelligence and credibility. Someone please explain to me how it is that the commissioner is compensated to the tune of $20-$25 million a year all at the behest of the team owners and in response his performance as the commissioner has done such a piss poor job in his position , that it now has me wondering how it is that the owners continue to feel that he’s said to be serving their best interests ! They’re making money ? You tell me ? Bob Nutting may well be making money but it has been by from anything achieved by the Pittsburgh Pirates over the last four or five years that’s for sure ! And the same can be said for Lew Wolff and the Oakland A’s . And the ever piss poor excuses of we’ve no stadium that is to our liking , or the fact that revenues are not in line with others around the league where we have parity . All of these are the statements I’ve come to hear from patrons of this site but not one has come up anything near a viable option . Instead the bitching and whining continues as Selig is compensated immeasurably , so much so that is his $25 million a year salary is comparable to the highest paid players in the game on an annual basis .

As to what now lies ahead for Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers remains to be seen but from my own perception as to this whole saga he remains a pariah and he will no doubt become the butt of the jokes for the vast majority of the fans ! Given the premise behind the Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens’ sagas I am no longer surprised anything that arises in terms players using prohibitive substances because I now feel it now comes with the territory ! And it’s not about to change anytime soon and that is a god-damn fact ! Doubt my word then simply look at the fact that a plague like Manny Ramirez will return to the game having signed a one year deal with the Oakland A’s . And you wonder why the A’s have achieved little of consequence in recent years . And to think Billy Beane was being lauded for his accomplishments with the A’s by way of the movie “Moneyball” . This is one move that could come back to bite that organization in the proverbial ass in more ways than one given their meager financial resources concerning players’ salaries .

==============================================================================

==============================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

Given the timeline and the events that are said to have taken place concerning Ryan Braun , in your honest opinion upon whom do you believe the blame ought to be placed upon ? Should it be MLB and specifically its hierarchy or the player himself in what appears to be his lax judgment ?

Picture and slide show details below .

====================================================================================================

(1) Ron Roenicke of the Milwaukee Brewers poses for a portrait during a photo day at Maryvale Baseball Park on February 26, 2012 in Maryvale, Arizona. Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images ….

(2) MARYVALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 26: Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers poses for a portrait during a photo day at Maryvale Baseball Park on February 26, 2012 in Maryvale, Arizona. Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images …….

(3) Ryan Braun , left , of the Milwaukee Brewers is seen here with senior managing partner & co-owner of the team , Mark Attanasio at the Brewers’ headquarters Miller Park , Milwaukee , Wisconsin . @ all rights reserved Brewers.com ……

(4) Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, center, addresses members of the media concerning outfielder Ryan Braun prior to baseball spring training on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Paul Connors ……

(5) National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern (L) greets Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig before testifying with the heads of the NFL and the NHL to the US House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection about the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports on Capitol Hill February 27, 2008 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee also heard testimony from officials from the US Olympic Committee, National Thoroughbred Racing and the US Anti-Doping Agency. Getty Images North America / Chip Smodovilla …..

===================================================================================================

πŸ˜‰

πŸ˜‰

=====================================================================

MLB news

MLB transactions

Milwaukee Brewers news

Milwaukee Brewers’ front office

Milwaukee Brewers coaching staff

Milwaukee Brewers’ active roster

Milwaukee Brewers 2011 stats’ overview

Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training schedule

Milwaukee Brewers regular season schedule

Milwaukee Brewers’ payroll

Milwaukee Brewers’ year by year results

Milwaukee Brewers’ postseason history

πŸ˜‰

It’s Not The Economy Stupid But It’s Not What’s Said To Be Causing The Mess With The NBA !

It’s Not The Economy Stupid But It’s Not What’s Said To Be Causing The Mess With The NBA !

I’ve never been overly enamored with the NBA All Star and NFL Pro Bowl …. games . In light of this weekend’s events and the absolute nonsense of what’s said to be taking place proves absolutely nothing at all will have been achieved . David Stern and the league hierarchy seem to be of the perception that this mid-season showcase simply brings the fans closer to the game and their heroes . When one bears in mind the idiocy of what took place in the off-season and I now understand the real reason why the league and in particular the union seeks to have the fans seem all the more intertwined with the game. The league mandated lockout did more harm than good in terms of the fans’ affinity for the NBA .

========================================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


=========================================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

With the alleged accord between both parties and wherein the teams’ owners now appear to be all the more happier, I can’t help but wonder what this now means for teams such as the New Orleans Hornets , Charlotte Bobcats and Sacramento Kings ! The trio of NBA franchises have been amongst the most poorly supported within league and are not that competitive within their respective conferences and divisions .

The Miami Heat seen as the prohibitive favorites within the Eastern Conference and they currently sit atop Southeast Division . And with LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh ….. playing at a heightened level there’s a belief that the triumvirate and team would like to make up for the loss in last season’s NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks . Perhaps that series’ defeat may well have been one of the biggest upsets in Finals’ history .

The Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra and his coaching assistants are under a great deal of scrutiny as too is the organization’s president Pat Riley who through his protegΓ© orchestrated and assembled the team in its present guise along with acquisition of Bosh and James back in 2010 built what they felt was a roster capable of winning multiple titles . No offense to LBJ but we’re still waiting for that first of the presumptive six or seven titles that he felt that they were capable of winning !

With the Heat now a profitable and going concern after four consecutive seasons of multi-million dollar losses that cumulatively exceeded $145 million collectively , there was a reason why Pat Riley knew that something had to be done lure the fans back to AA Arena in Miami , Florida . Team owner Micky Arison , the multi-billionaire CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines has been known to spend lavishly but when it came to the Miami Heat , he knew that something had to be done not just from a competitive standpoint but also from a personnel and financial standpoint . Now comes the hard part for the organization and that’s to live up to the lofty expectations of the Heat fans and in particular the NBA analysts now jumping aboard the Miami Heat bandwagon .

Now while the Miami Heat are said to be riding high for the Orlando Magic it has been anything but that . Inconsistency and the lack of cohesiveness from the players has simply set tongues wagging as to whether or not the organization is now ready to give up on the season and perhaps trade their All Star center Dwight Howard before at the trade deadline on the 15th March , 2012. Such has been the speculation with head coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith not publicly commenting on the matter but clearly something may well happen between now and the deadline concerning Howard’s future.

Now should Dwight Howard become a free agent he is likely to be most prized of those coming to the market . And amongst the teams that no doubt will be interested will be the Los Angeles Lakers , New Jersey Nets , Chicago Bulls and quite possibly the Dallas Mavericks . That being said Orlando Magic CEO Alec Martins may well feel that it would not be in the organization’s best interest to let the play go elsewhere , with history possibly repeating itself . Shaquille O’Neal , a one time player with the Magic having been drafted number one overall in 1992 NBA Draft by the franchise , by then general manager John Gabriel . During O’Neal’s playing …… career with the organization there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind the he was their most respected player and best offensive weapon during his tenure with the NBA franchise .

It’s extremely hard to imagine how the center can remain with the franchise when one bears in mind that successive general managers in John Weisbrod and Otis Smith have at best made some disastrous trades and draft picks that simply haven’t panned out for the organization. So much so , that it must not only team’s fans wondering what the hell is going within this basketball franchise but ultimately is said to be making the decisions . And when one considers some of the disastrous contracts taken on-board most recently by the Magic in terms of Gilbert Arenas and Quentin Richardson , one would have to question the motives and the productivity shown by the players in during that period . At the same time you would most certainly have to look at the on the job performance of Otis Smith because clearly he is now in way over his head ! During his tenure by way of success one could best describe the Magic’s record as amenable but in no way could you make the assertion that it has been stellar !

As a fan of the NBA from afar with no real affinity for either the Miami Heat or Orlando Magic I do believe that both franchises have served the state of Florida well . But herein lies the caveat of the idiocy that seems to have arisen and that is in many fans’ eyes the Miami Heat as in some way preordained and have in some way a god given right to be seen as champions . Take into account that this team in its present guise has yet to have won anything , and if anything last year’s team failed miserably when …. all was on the line and a great deal was at stake . Need I say anymore on the matter ?

If Dwight Howard were to leave the Orlando Magic for no matter what the alleged trade might be , it would have irreparable repercussions and ramifications for the franchise beyond what most could very well imagine . The player is and has always been the biggest draw for this organization ever since he was drafted by the Magic as the number one overall pick in 2004 . And during that time the player has become one of the most reliable and productive players and centers in the NBA . Is it possible that Howard will remain with his current team ? Well that’s dependent upon who you may well choose to believe at this juncture . The loyal Orlando Magic fans want the player to remain with the organization but it has become abundantly clear that this team in its present guise clearly isn’t good enough to challenge the likes of the Chicago Bulls or the Miami Heat . within the Eastern Conference much less the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder , Dallas Mavericks , San Antonio Spurs , Los Angeles Clippers , Los Angeles Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies for that matter !

It wasn’t that along ago where might not have questioned such a trade but given what has transpired with regard to the trade of Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Clippers . It has left Paul’s former team a shell of its self and nowhere near competitive as an NBA franchise . At the same this league owned organization sits adrift within its division with and no end in sight as to its mediocrity . What might be even more asinine has been the insinuation by David Stern is that the franchise is a viable concern with a great fan-base . Is he fu@#king kidding or what ? The team barely or rarely attracts anyone at its venue for their scheduled home games and the players at present are about as competitive as an NBA D League franchise taking on one of their illustrious counterparts . The commissioner only recently has attested to the fact that the Hornets’ franchise now in transition will be sold . But in reality what prospective owner would be at this point be willing to purchase one of the league’s worst teams and least supported franchise and one which is nowhere near as competitive as the commissioner is trying to insist . Never mind the fact that any prospective owner may well seek to relocate the New Orleans Hornets altogether . It’s not as if that has been a guarantee that David Stern is now said to have sought from any of the so-called potential bidders that he and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver are said to have met privately to discuss the potential sale of the NBA franchise.

Throughout the league lockout , Stern , the league hierarchy and franchise owners have pled poverty but at no time have they chosen to make their financial statements open for public scrutiny . Even when in arbitration ,the documents seen by the arbitrator were nothing more than pro-forma statements as to the league’s finances but in large part they gave no real indication as to the length and depth of financial morass that the NBA claims it had on its hands. With projected losses this season for the league, that is said to be in the range of $400 million to $475 million it is hard to see how any potential suitor for the New Orleans Hornets would be interested in buying that franchise , at what is sure to be an inflated price sought by the NBA.

Once the NBA’ s mid-season showcase has ended , it will be interesting to see what transpires between now and the trade deadline transpires as there are bound to be several trades that will take place . Most certainly there are a number of teams looking to position themselves in a position to seek a playoff berth . As to the impending future of Dwight Howard a great deal obviously will be dependent upon the player’s own wishes more than anything else . But it is my belief that unless the front office of the Orlando Magic can prove to their All Star center that it is their intent to win an NBA title by way of improving their roster then there is no way in hell that the player will choose to remain with the only franchise that he has known and played for during the course of his professional career.

============================================================================================


===============================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the NBA All Star Game what were your impressions overall ? Also which teams to your mind has been of the biggest surprise at the halfway point of the season and what do you hope to see over the remainder of the NBA schedule ? Do you believe that at the trade deadline Dwight Howard will remain a player with the Orlando Magic ? Plus as a potential suitor for the New Orleans Hornets would you be keen to be an owner of that particular NBA franchise ? Simply chime in with your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece .

πŸ˜‰

Picture and slide show details
====================================================================================================

(1) ORLANDO, FL – FEBRUARY 26: Dwight Howard (12) of the Orlando Magic and the Eastern Conference dunks against Blake Griffin (32) of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Western Conference during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Pool/Getty Images ….

(2) (2) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference drives for a shot attempt during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. The Western would go on to defeat East 152-149 in the NBA’s mid-season showcase event. Photo by Jeff Haynes-Pool/Getty Images ……

(3) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat and the Eastern Conference attempts a dunk during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ……

(4) Blake Griffin (32) of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Western Conference attempts a shot against Chris Bosh (1) of the Miami Heat and the Eastern Conference during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ……

(5) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference drives against Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat and the Eastern Conference during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …. …..

(6) Eastern Conference’s Dwight Howard (12), of the Orlando Magic, and Dwyane Wade (3), of the Miami Heat, talk at mid-court during the second half of the NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. The Western Conference won 152-149 . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …..

(7) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Western Conference holds up the MVP trophy after the West won 152-149 against Eastern Conference during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …..

===============================================================================

πŸ˜‰

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

http://facebook.com/tophatal

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

πŸ˜‰

==============================================================================================

NBA News

NBA transactions

NBA standings by division

NBA Schedule

NBA 2012 All Star Game result Western Conference defeats the Eastern Conference ….. 152-149

Miami Heat news

Orlando Magic news

It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking And A Story That Simply Just Won’t Die …..

It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking And A Story That Simply Just Won’t Die …..

By tophatal ………….

As the NFL Scouting Combine takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indianapolis , Indiana over the next three days . It seems the a giant shadow is being cast over the whole event as the top NFL analysts and print media journalists continue to speculate over the impending future of Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning . The player due a $28 million roster bonus on the 8th March , 2012 , pending the passing of team mandated physical . With many of the nation’s top collegiate talent at the combine to showcase their skills for the coaches , front office executives and team owners at large . It has to be said that the Manning story and its disposition , is something that the NFL could well do without at present . But at the same time this is simply something that keeps the heartbeat of the game alive and essentially now what it makes it a year round staple for the media and fans at large .

========================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=====================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

With the 2012 NFL Draft order set with the Indianapolis Colts taking the first overall pick , to be followed by the St Louis Rams , Minnesota Vikings , Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers . It has to be said, that this off-season is now growing into a truly suspenseful one . Albeit , that for the likes of Andrew Luck , Robert Griffin III , Trent Richardson and Monte Ball , merely being at the Combine will be an event in of-itself as the players as such who will be getting their first taste of what in essence will be for them is their very first taste of professional football at the NFL level.

From my own standpoint , the moment that Peyton Manning went down injured it essentially paved the way for the team’s season to simply fall apart . And anyone who witnessed the players’ performances over the course of their schedule will know that the Colts were inept right across the board . The saying is that …. ” one man does not make a team “. but herein lies a fact and that without Peyton Manning at the helm and steer this team then at best there are no more than average squad with a record that would be at a bare minimum would be marginally above .500 . Well in 2012 they finished with a lowly record of 2-14 . And for then coach Jim Caldwell , this was something that not even he or his coaching staff could have envisaged at the time , with the team performing so hopelessly over the course of their season. In relief of Manning , Caldwell called on the talents of veteran Kerry Collins , Dan Orlovsky and Curtis Painter . And I’d dare if it were humanly possible to obtain the DNA of Johnny Unitas and clone him overnight , then quite possibly we would have seen him on the field playing for the Colts. So dire was the for the organization that it has to be said that team owner Jim Irsay in spite of the internal personnel upheavals this off-season , it has to be said that the short sightedness of the owner and then front office executives Bill Polian and Chris Polian simply were oblivious as to what was unfolding before their very eyes .

Peyton Manning as such , has tried to avert the attention away from his ongoing health issues by simply giving the usual customary answers , in essence stating that he hopes to return to the NFL and resume his career. Well that should come as a surprise to no one given the player’s love for the game . But at the same time you can’t help but wonder whether or not this indeed the time for the player to simply call it quits and step away from the game that he has graced for 14 years . Since becoming the number one overall draft pick in the 1998 NFL Draft the Colts’ quarterback has simply racked up records and accolades not unlike any of his predecessors and his peers currently playing today . If there were a Mt Rushmore for quarterbacks that have graced the game and simply played at an exemplary level then I am sure that Manning’s face would be firmly placed upon that edifice alongside that of Joe Montana , Unitas , Steve Young , Otto Graham and John Elway would be amongst them, dependent upon the space available .

If Irsay and GM Ryan Grigson are not amenable to retaining their esteemed quarterback and Peyton Manning is allowed to become unrestricted free agent , then simply expect to see an all-out tug of war begin for the player’s services . Amongst the teams said to be interested in the quarterback are the Washington Redskins , New York Jets , Cleveland Browns and quite possibly the Miami Dolphins . Now given the fact that should that scenario arise whereby Manning would be joining the lengthy list of free agent quarterbacks on the market . Then one would have to wonder where this would players such as Jason Campbell , Matt Flynn and Brady Quinn .

I am sure that the list of players one way or another are bound to find themselves future homes in the league one way or another . Given the fact , that the play of the quarterbacks in the NFL this past season was of the highest caliber possible speaks volumes of as to what the fans were able to witness in 2011. Now one could question the fact that Peyton Manning’s best days are now behind him after such a long and illustrious career but given the drive , poise and professionalism shown by the player one would be foolish at this juncture to write him off ! Manning is liable come and to bite anyone in the ass that doubts his talents , including the fantasy geeks out there .

Now as a fan of the game , I know that the Indianapolis Colts will have to move on and look towards their immediate future ! The drafting of the Andrew Luck seems a “no brainer” , that’s unless that you are of the opinion that Robert Griffin III would be a better fit for this Colts’ roster . And for Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano and his newly installed coaching staff the contemplating of having either Griffin or Luck helming this team must now leave them salivating . At the same it would way too much to expect that either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III to have the sort of year attained by Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers in his rookie season . The player set NFL rookie records passing yards , rushing touchdowns and passing touchdowns surpassing Peyton Manning’s rookie records of the 1998 season .

Should Irsay and Ryan Grigson not be amenable renegotiating a new contract with Manning , the thought of now possibly witnessing the player in any other NFL uniform other than that of a Colts’ jersey is somewhat sacrilegious . But in today’s NFL there is no loyalty amongst the players and owners , as the game itself has simply become about money with the players seeking to be well compensated and the franchise owners looking to make a big fat profit !

Now we can all attest to the fact that Mark Sanchez , John Beck , Colt McCoy and Rex Grossman had somewhat disappointing seasons for their respective franchises . McCoy having suffered a concussion never fully recovered the incident with many questioning the veracity of the Browns’ coaching staff and their handling of the situation in allowing the player back into a regular season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers . Much of that has now led to the front office back-tracking on their original statements and the actions that were taken . If Colt McCoy’s tenure in the NFL as starting quarterback is to be short one , then it speaks to the insecurity that today’s quarterback has in the league from a safety standpoint .

And within the AFC North Colt McCoy had to pit his talents against Joe Flacco , Ben Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton . The Browns’ offense but without an able-bodied quarterback one could attest to the fact that this team was anemic at best . Should team President Mike Holmgren make the decision to perhaps draft Griffin or any other quarterback that best suits the makeup of the franchise then we may well see progression in this team over the course of this upcoming season.

Mike Shanahan as coach of the Washington Redskins has never been averse to making a splash as and when needed. That was most certainly the case when signed former defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth to a 7 year $100 million contract only to then , trade the player three years into that deal. And if you thought that decision was nonsensical then consider the deal at the time when the coach then sought to bring in noted veteran Donovan McNabb . Not only was the quarterback unproductive but it actually gave credence to the argument that the player was way past his prime in so many ways. His successors John Shelton and Rex Grossman simply were best moderate to say the very least as they went about performing in the NFC East.

The fact that Shanahan might be considering moving up in the draft to perhaps snag Robert Griffin or do the unheard of in perhaps trading for Peyton Manning might be the biggest coup-de-gras over the course of his coaching career. Fedex Field in Maryland , would be a buzz at the thought of seeing a future Hall of Famer within their midst rather than the rag-tag bunch of players who have played the position of quarterback since Mike Shanahan began his tenure with the Redskins.

Having made it to two consecutive AFC Championship games only to come up short each time there’s something to be said when a franchise such as the New York Jets simply fails to live up to expectations . Especially when in each of the last two seasons head coach Rex Ryan has made outrageous claims as to his team’s greatness . Anyone who witnessed the Jets’ meltdown in 2011 can attest to the fact that the roster was a mere shadow of itself through the greater part of their 2010 schedule .

In 2011 with the high expectations to see the team’s $14 million a year quarterback Mark Sanchez regressed to such an extent that it had many questioning whether or not the player was putting in the time and effort in applying himself to his task . So much that the level of criticism that reined down on the former USC Trojans’ starter had even myself questioning the fact that whilst in the school’s heralded program , was he coddled like his predecessors Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer by then head coach Pete Carroll .

During the off-season it was plain to see the discontent to be had within the Jets’ locker room . So much so that the finger-pointing now abreast has somehow had self-serving sports’ writers within the city of New York going on beyond the norm to try and downplay some of the criticism that was being at a number of players on the team. Back up quarterback Greg McElroy as well as noted veteran LaDainian Tomlinson questioning the maturity of some of the younger players as well as several senior players on the team. The franchise’s captain Santonio Holmes as to his lack if commitment when on the field and nowhere was this more self-evident than in the final stretch run of the Jets’ 2011 schedule.

Is there a case to be made wherein the Jets should make a play in acquiring Peyton Manning ________ at this point it would no doubt create the perception that the Jets’ coaching staff and front office are giving up on Mark Sanchez after only three years in the NFL . The being the same player who helmed this franchise to two consecutive conference championship games in 2009 and 2010 . I’d like to know what it would take for not only Rex Ryan get it into his thick skull that being loudest asshole in the room doesn’t make you brightest individual there . Rex Ryan like his twin sibling Rob Ryan , who himself is not averse self publicity and regaling the fans as to who he is and what his family has achieved in the league . My belief , you create your own legacy and not ride on the one created by your patriarch ! I doubt however , Rob Ryan is actually bright enough to realize that premise much less that his brother Rex actually facing a huge dilemma as to his own coaching prowess . There’s only so much that the fans are willing to accept before they actually start to question the veracity of a coach’s ability . And slowly but surely the fans are now beginning to question the Jets’ coach and his ability as coach their team.

If Rex Ryan is now willing to make that gamble and pitch his tent and welcome Peyton Manning within his midst , then what does that indicate to you concerning his long-term support of now his precariously entrenched and beleaguered young quarterback Mark Sanchez ? Granted , within the AFC East after a truly disappointing season his own lofty standards , wherein he had to compete against a prolific Tom Brady . It has to be said it may well take a player of Manning’s caliber if the New York Jets are looking to seen as an elite team within the NFL .

All the hype that surrounded Rex Ryan upon his hire but as of now all of the smack talk in the world can’t buy the coach all of the goodwill he now seeks. The clock is currently ticking and just like a time bomb that is liable to explode if not handled right , the same can be said for the Jets’ current situation as it is currently being played out in the public arena with the ongoing conjecture . One thing for sure , it is that if this blows up in the face of Rex Ryan all of bold brash , outrageous statements and the debate as to his accomplishments will be all for nothing as he is bound to be sent packing by the Jets’ ownership group headed by billionaire Woody Johnson . And while the owner may not have yet flipped out as to the failings of his team do you get the feeling his patience is now slowly coming to the boil ? Does anyone not feel that Rex Ryan’s neck is now on a chopping block given the failures of the last three years ?

Given what we know about the NFL and the very fact that intrinsically a business first whose basis is that of operating thirty-two franchises that just happen to involved in football. As a $7.5 billion a year industry that Roger Goodell , the league hierarchy , team owners and the union have a great deal going for them . The NFL as a brand and sport is by far the most popular of the four major professional franchises and the most profitable of them all . But herein lies the caveat to this all , we as fans may well question the loyalties of the parties involved but when the driving force just happens to be making money and we’re told that success is ultimately the secondary wish for these teams what are we really to make of the drama now surrounding Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts ?

===============================================================================

==============================================================================

NFL news

From afar how do you view the ongoing debacle that has now engulfed the Colts and who do you feel is ultimately to blame for the ongoing saga ? Also in your honest opinion what would be the best option for Peyton Manning at this stage of his career ? Retirement , to continue playing in the NFL given his health issues or to remain in the league in some capacity ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit .

πŸ˜‰

πŸ˜‰

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

πŸ˜‰

Picture and slide show details below .

================================================================================================

(1) Iowa offensive lineman Riley Reiff having ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine unwinds with some exercise in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(2) Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh watches players during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Ind., Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. AP Photo/Dave Martin …..

(3) Baylor offensive lineman Philip Blake goes through a running drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(4) NFL scouts watch players go through drills at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Ind., Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. AP Photo/Dave Martin

(5) Alabama running back Trent Richardson answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 24, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……

(6) Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 24, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……

(7) Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III laughs as he answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 24, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……

(8) Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy …

(9) Colts’ owner Jim Irsay is seen here with the team’s quarterback Peyton Manning. The relationship between Irsay and the player can be best described as being lukewarm at best . Now it remains to be seen whether or not the player remains within the organization or seeks to ply his trade elsewhere . AP Photo / Kevin Walsh …..

(10) Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez celebrate game victory in 2011 but given the inconsistency of the quarterback and that of the team during their 2011 sojourn speculation arises that the Jets’ front office may well seek to acquire Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning . AP Photo /Mark Lustig ……

(11) PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 01: Rex Grossman (8) of the Washington Redskins talks with head coach Mike Shanahan during the second half of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …

===============================================================================================

NFL news

Indianapolis Colts news

==================================================================================================

The Notorious B.I.G ………. “Warning”

Is It Ever Too Early To Talk Football …………… I Mean It’s Baseball Season And Spring Training Is Almost Here ?

Is It Ever Too Early To Talk Football …………… I Mean It’s Baseball Season And Spring Training Is Almost Here ? Never Mind The Fact The NBA Goes On Hiatus ….

By tophatal …………..

It’s been quite a while since the Chicago Bulls’ owner Jerry Reinsdorf has had a great deal to be and feel happy out . Not since the days of Jordan and Pippen were driving the franchise to success with 6 NBA titles in a nine year span . Bulls’ coach Tom Thibodeau in conjunction with general manager John Paxson seems to have successfully aseembled a team that seems on the cusp of bringing this ball-club back to some semblance of success.

=============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


============================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

The roster has reigning league MVP …. Derrick Rose playing with the poise to suggest that he is the face and future of the franchise. And ever since his ascent into the league having been drafted number one overall in the 2008 NBA Draft the point guard seems to be putting up ever impressive numbers each season that he has been in the NBA . Already amongst his peers Rose’s offensive prowess placed him in the top five scorers earlier on in the season prior to him being sidelined due to injury ________ mind his defensive capabilities which makes him an added threat both ends of the floor.

As this season has progressed we’re now seeing what a condensed schedule has created by way of the new of injuries suffered . Rose and Manu Ginobli have themselves fallen afoul of this and I expect that tally to grow over the remainder of the season ! So much of this could hav been avoided the players and specifically the union and league hierarchy not sought to have a long and protracted negotiation process in light of the NBA mandated lockout. With an accord reached the season began on Christmas Day 2011 .

At 26-8 the Bulls are 3/100 of a percentage point behind the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference but they hold a comfortable over the nearest rivals the Indiana Pacers in the Central Division .

Rose is being ably supported by teammates Luol Deng , Taj Gibson , Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer showing why they are amongst the best teams within the conference and division from an offensive standpoint.

The Chicago Bulls will host the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois on Wednesday having defeated the Atlanta Hawks easily this past Monday in rather lopsided game 90-79 . I’m sure at this juncture Thibodeau and his players would like nothing better than to mirror their results of last season in terms of their divisional standings but overall to go deeper into the playoffs this year. At this juncture , barring a colossal meltdown I cannot see this Bulls’ team failing to make the postseason !

Don’t look now but the Chicago Bears seems to be in the midst of so much internal turmoil that is far more than is being made public . With the departure of Jerry Angelo the front office now starts afresh , as they seek to right the ship after their seismic meltdown of their 2011 season . Head coach Lovie Smith and his coaching staff now have to deal with the impending free agency status of several players on the roster but most notably that of running back Matt Forte . The bone of contention is whether or not to franchise tag the player who happened to be their most important offensive weapon over the course of last season . Word of advice to the idiots inside the front office of Bears ………… pay Matt Forte or lose him to free agency ! I mean it’s not as if there’s anyone else on the roster who is as productive to begin with !

Given the issues of this team and the fact that they had a poor showing within the NFC and NFC North as a whole , it begs the question has Smith outlived his welcome within the city and amongst the fans ? Soldier Field in Chicago could very well become a barren venue should things continue to decline under the coach’s tenure.

With the upcoming NFL Draft it will be interesting to see what transpires concerning the choices made by the front office executives and coaching staff. Given the failures and successes over the years by the franchise in terms of the choices made , a lot will be riding upon the decisions of Lovie Smith and those front office executives . From my own perspective I firmly believe that if the Bears are not willing to extend Matt Forte’s existing contract and up the ante , then the best option would be to “franchise tag” the running back and pay him the average salary in terms of a one year contract , and then renegotiate a deal that is timely and rewarding in comparison Forte’s peers within the NFL . !

Another issue facing this organization may well be the continued belief that Jay Cutler can lead thi team with any degree of certainty to where they need to be . One failed season foray and after their infamous 2010 schedule is there really anyone who believes that Cutler does in deed have what it takes to lead the Bears to a Superbowl victory ? Injuries asides the makeup of this team seems to be one that’s lacking in heart and real leadership and that is in spite of seasoned veterans such as Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers . I can categorically say this , Jay Cutler is not a leader and the claims that he’s amongst the elite quarterbacks in the NFL would be akin to describing feats of Joe Montana as simply being nothing more than average ! Cutler at best is nothing more than an everyday quarterback whose best moments NFL can be counted and placed on the back of a first class stamp to say the very least !

Coming into this season the expectations for the Chicago Cubs appear to be high . The firing of former GM Jim Hendry along with then manager Mike Quade leads me to believe that team owner Tom Ricketts is intent on starting afresh having hired Theo Epstein to oversee the Baseball Operations along with Jed Hoyer as the team’s general manager .

After years of complete ineptitude and albeit that the loyal Cubs’ fans have returned in throngs each season to Wrigley Field only to see the team repeatedly fall short each time . With Dale Sveum brought in to succeed Mike Quade with a new coaching staff one can only hope that the new manager can create an atmosphere where this team in its present guise can now be a success .

The struggles of the Cubs last season were monumental and could be seen in the lack of productivity in the team’s pitching and offense . The woes of this team and the fact that under Hendry’s tenure they were weighed down by all too burdensome contracts from a number of players on the roster who simply were not worth the salary they were being paid . In truth , it has been this sort of stupidity seen from the front office executives and team owners around MLB who’ve simply been too damn stupid for their own good ! As to the apathy of the fans and baseball analysts who seem oblivious to the financial morass that the game seems to be in but all the while seem to be singing the praises of the teams around the league. They should consider this , what happens when the next team goes under or just happens to be on the brink of bankruptcy and financial ruin ? There were many who felt that the banks and the auto industry were simply too big to fail .

The New York Mets are a mess and let’s just say the ignorance and stupidity of Peter Wilhelm , Tommy LaSorda and Ned Colletti in acquiescing to the demands of then Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt , simply gives credence to the fact that the vast majority of owners in baseball simply are not that bright to begin with , as are the so-called MLB analysts who cover the sport on television and in the print media ! Stupid is as stupid does ! And nowhere has this been more apparent , than with the assholes who oversee the game of baseball , specifically Commissioner Bud Selig , whose business acumen can be best described as being a complete fuc##ing joke !

Waxing on lyrically about the bye-gone years of the game simply means nothing now when it is apparent the the game cannot sustain itself from a financial standpoint with some form equitable balance when it comes to the salary structure within baseball . I’d dare say that Hall of Famers such as Jackie Robinson , Ted Williams , Hank Aaron , Frank Robinson and Willie Mays were they playing today would be glad to be earning in excess of $15 million a year , when so many players at the top of the salary scale within the game today give a miserly return on that investment !

When I simply look down at the names on this current Chicago Cubs’ roster I’m not sure whether or not to laugh or cry ! Impressed ? Not damn likely , as I believe that this team is now further away from contending within the NL Central than at any other time in recent memory ! With the loss of Carlos Pena as a free agent and that player’s return to the Tampa Bay Rays , one could attest that there will be a drop-off in the offensive productivity of the team this season . So in essence , we should expect to see Starling Castro , Aramis Ramirez , Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto to show an uptick by way of run productivity .

In terms of the team’s pitching , well let’s just say if they cannot contend within the NL then their hopes of the Cubs could very well all for nothing . And leading the charge in that respect one would hope that Matt Garza will be able to be a productive player upon which the basis the rest of that pitching roster can follow and be relied upon to provide that lead .

For the moment Jerry Reinsdorf may well be riding high with the resurgence of the Chicago Bulls but I get the feeling that he wouldn’t mind seeing his other sporting concern the Chicago White Sox simply rise to the challenge and prove to be a worthy challenger to the Detroit Tigers within the AL Central . To put it plain and simply, since their triumph in the 2005 World Series , it has been something of a barren spell for the ball-club . And in terms their annual standings within the division , not since 2008 has team owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the rest of the front office had something to be entirely happy about . That being said their postseason foray was short-lived as they were taken apart by the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1 in the ALDS .

This season with a new manager in tow , succeeding the departed Ozzie Guillen . Former White Sox great Robin Ventura has now been entrusted to lead the coaching staff and this team . No doubt a great deal will be expected of the first year manager and I expect he will struggle in spite of experience of his assistants . But if can simply get through the first five or six weeks of the schedule without any major hiccups then it should augur well for Ventura .

As to this White Sox team , it’s hard to gauge their overall status as there has been so much inconsistency on their part over the last few years . It was felt that Ozzie Guillen allowed his players way too much latitude and the vast majority of the time simply took the blame upon himself when they were so inept . No real accountability and simply a complete lack of leadership from any the veterans on this roster has to be viewed as the primary reason why the Chicago White Sox were a miserable failure last season .

I doubt that there’s any need to tell you the main reason why the Detroit Tigers were the runaway winners of the AL Central and it was simply because of the pitching , the pitching of that roster led by AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander . The player led the AL in wins , ERA , K’s and IP’s on his way to a now incredible double trophy accolade in 2011 . The White Sox’s pitching staff simply couldn’t match that prolific output simply was of no match for the Tigers in 2011. And given the fact that the offense of team again was woefully anemic for much of the season it has me wondering how they will contend their peers within the AL as well as the league as a whole !

====================================================================================================

==================================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything , do you believe will take place as it regards the three professional sports’ franchises this upcoming season in terms of their respective schedules ? By all means to do take time to leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated ! Thank you !

πŸ˜‰

Picture and slide show for your perusal .

===================================================================================================

(1) CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 22: Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls chases down a loose ball against the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center on February 22, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bucks 110-91 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(2) Jimmy Butler (21) of the Chicago Bulls shoots against Luc Mbah a Moute (12) of the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center on February 22, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bucks 110-91 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ….

(3) CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 22: Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls gives instructions to his team during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center on February 22, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bucks 110-91. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

(4) In this Jan. 13, 2012 file photo, Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein speaks to reporters during the 27th annual Chicago Cubs baseball convention, in Chicago. Epstein was hired to fix the mess. He worked miracles in Boston and he’ll need a magic touch again with baseball’s “lovable losers” . AP photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(5) Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum watches during a spring training baseball workout, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz. AP Photo/Morry Gash …..

(6) Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster throws during a spring training baseball workout, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz. AP Photo/Morry Gash ……..

(7) Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy …….

(8) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears is hit by Donald Butler (56) of the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Chargers 31-20 . Getty Images North America /Johnathan Daniel ….

(9) Brian Urlacher (54) and Julius Peppers (90) of the Chicago Bears await player introductions before a game against the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Chargers 31-20.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North ….

(10) Injured starting quarterback Jay Cutler walks the sideline to speak to his replacement Caleb Hanie (12) of the Chicago Bears during their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on November 27, 2011 in Oakland, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ….

(11) Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams watches pitchers throw during a spring training baseball workout in Goodyear, Ariz., Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong ……

(12) Robin Ventura, the new manager of the Chicago White Sox, poses with general manager Kenny Williams during an introductory press conference at U.S. Cellular Field on October 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images / Johnathan Daniels ….

(13) Alexei Ramirez (10) of the Chicago White Sox high fives teammate Adam Dunn (32) after Ramirez hit a solo home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the spring training game at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium on March 7, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The charity game is to benefit the 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Fund. Green was a victim of the Tucson shooting on January 8th. ……

(14) Chicago White Sox starting pitcher John Danks , center, throws during a spring training baseball workout in Goodyear, Ariz., Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong …..

==============================================================================================

πŸ˜‰

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

http://facebook.com/tophatal-Alan

πŸ™‚

=============================================================================================

NBA news

Chicago Bulls news

πŸ˜‰

NFL news

Chicago Bears news

πŸ˜‰

MLB news

Chicago Cubs news

Chicago Cubs Spring Training schedule

Chicago Cubs regular season schedule

Chicago Cubs’ roster & none roster invitees

Chicago Cubs’ coaching staff

πŸ˜‰

Chicago White Sox news

Chicago White Sox Spring Training schedule

Chicago White Sox regular season schedule

Chicago White Sox roster & none roster invitees

Chicago White Sox coaching staff

==================================================================================================

Back to the days of my youth ………. Dub step style of reggae …. Home T, Cocoa T & …. Shabba Ranks ____ ” Pirates’ Anthem”

===================================================================================================

Shay  Laren/

Shay Laren gives it to you straight one way or another !

I’m A Billionaire , Look At My Smile , Look At My Money And Then Look At My Team ………… I’m Rich Bitch !

I’m A Billionaire , Look At My Smile , Look At My Money And Then Look At My Team ………… I’m Rich Bitch !

By tophatal …………..

One of the things that has now become abundantly clear to me as it relates to the world of high finance , specifically the world of sports and it is that the owners of the professional sports’ franchises may well know their way around the inner sanctum within the world of Wall St and the vagaries of worldwide market indices . But in the actual panacea of professional sports these owners simply treat their franchises as mere baubles to show off ostentatiously amongst their peers and to the public at large . Granted , for every latter-day Jerry Jones , David Glass , Donald Sterling , George Shinn and Daniel Snyder there’s a Robert Kraft , Dan Rooney , the Steinbrenner family , Peter Holt , Jerry Reinsdorf and Dr Jerry Buss . But in large part very few of them actually become a resounding success as the owner of a professional sports’ franchise .

===============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

==============================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

During the MLB off-season where the transactions were rife and amongst the major players were the Miami Marlins who made a vast outlay on players that team owner Jeffrey Loria hopes will lead the ball-club to another success with the organization seeking to win their third World Series over the course of their existence.

Within the world of MLB , NBA and NFL the thing that perhaps most dictates whether or not some semblance of success will be derived is dependent upon the executive structure set in place in terms of the general manager / head of operations to the managerial staff , on down. And from thereon in, it is simply about acquiring the prerequisite players for the personnel makeup that should ultimately lead to success.

As we all witnessed this off-season the two biggest free agents in the world of baseball on the market were Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols . The two players combined were signed to contracts that committed the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels to making an outlay in excess of $435 million for the two first basemen . For team owners Michael Ilitch and Arte Moreno this type of a commitment by an owner means they are intent on doing whatever it takes to succeed and ultimately win baseball’s biggest prize.

Pujols as a member of the St Louis Cardinals has had the privilege of being on two World Series winning teams . First in 2006 and then again last season when they prevailed over the Texas Rangers in one of the most memorable series in recent history . In what I believe to have been the poor handling of the situation by GM John Mozeliak as the general manager of the Cardinals , in my estimation Mozeliak and team owner Bill De Witt simply didn’t possess the resolve to retain the services of the first baseman. Given his value and productivity to the team last season . This decision to allow the player to leave may well have a lasting effect on the organization that they may well never fully recover from . And anyone who’s under the misapprehension that Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran will make up for the loss of Pujols by way their combined ……… productivity are solely mistaken because the three-time NL MVP brought a great deal more than productivity , he brought with him intangibles and leadership skills whereby he would lead by example and his teammates would follow.

Prince Fielder for his part is being asked to lead a team that has to be viewed as one of the prohibitive favorites within the AL alongside the Los Angeles Angels , Texas Rangers , Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees . Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowksi knows that this roster might just be the best one assembled team in the franchise’s recent history . With a pitching staff led by last season’s AL MVP and AL Cy Young winner in Justin Verlander . Ilitch , Dombrowski and Leyland must be of the opinion that with the apparent missteps of the Rangers , Yankees and Red Sox last season , now might be the time to step up into the fray . As to whether or not the Tigers can acquit themselves over the course of this season remains to be seen .

Within the world of baseball the New York Yankees are still the sport’s franchise against which all other teams are judged by. Granted , they have the biggest payroll within the game and also highest paid player in third baseman …. Alex Rodriguez . Over the course of his professional career Rodriguez will have earned in excess of $525 million but by way of tangible success for the three teams he has played for, the return has been somewhat minimal . OK , so many will point out that the three-time AL MVP and active home run leader and who also sits sixth on the all-time home runs list has been a productive player during his tenure within baseball.

Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman over the years has been lucky enough to have won four World Series titles during his tenure as the franchise’s chief executive in charge of player personnel decisions. But it should also be remembered that amongst the players signed during his reign , a great many have proven to be monumental busts . Perhaps none more so than Carl Pavano , Hideki Irabu , Randy Johnson . To my mind , Alex Rodriguez in spite of his prolific output as a player , he hasn’t proven that he’s the consummate leader , much less a player that can always be relied upon to lead by example .

On this present Yankees’ roster he (Rodriguez) will always be viewed as playing second fiddle to perhaps the franchise’s most beloved player over the last two decades , third baseman , Derek Jeter . And though Jeter may well be in the twilight of his distinguished career it has to be said he can still evoke and bring about those momentary flashes of brilliance. Brian Cashman in his negotiations with the player and his agent almost committed a major mea-culpa in his reluctance to sign Jeter to a contract extension , feeling that his productivity in the past two seasons was proving a hindrance and detriment to the organization .

This season a lot will be asked of this Yankees’ team along and with the none roster invitees looking to make the final roster , it has to be said that a great deal will on the line for the New York Yankees . With the front office having acquired Michael Pineda to bolster the pitching staff and the jettisoning of A J Burnett after his short and undistinguished tenure for which he was vastly overpaid . It has me wondering how much longer Cashman will plunder the coffers of the YES Network in order to make many of the outlandish personnel decisions that he’s come to have been known for in recent years .

The Yankees’ fans and the front office knew that the team’s pitching was their Achilles’ Heel last season and it is clear that bolstering the staff was needed if the New York Yankees are to contend with the likes of the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles within the AL East . With the Cashman also having acquired …. Raul Ibanez to replace the team’s DH …. Jorge Posada this is now a further sign that the ball-club is now in the last remnants of a team that at its core won four World Series between 1996 and 2002 . Posada , Jeter , Mariano Rivera and the now retired Andy Pettite were part of that now famed roster. And Rivera with his Hall of Fame resume` , his intent is that 2012 will be his last season in the game , has me wondering when will Derek Jeter decide to step down from a game that he has now graced for over 15 years ? What should we expect to see from the New York Yankees this season will be anyone’s guess but it sure will be interesting to see what will be offered up by the players over the course of the team’s season .

Overall I’ve never been enamored with the professional sports’ franchise owner at all ! I find their actions in large part to be self-absorbed , narcissistic but more so downright corrupt in many of the things that they’re encouraged to do by the respective hierarchies that oversee their various sports . And nowhere has this been more self-evident than within the NBA , MLB and NFL . And as asinine as it may seem much of this has the actual blessing of the US government by way of the antitrust exemption status granted to each of the four major professional sports . It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few months within the state of Minnesota in particular and whether or not the state’s governor Mark Dayton will cower like a coward having been railroaded by the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings’ ownership group led by Zygi Wilf will be coerced into voting in a stadium financing deal when the state itself presently has a $5.77 billion budget deficit and has now , taken to furloughing state employees , cutting budget expenditure to such levels where the state’s infrastructure not only being in disrepair but it has become a major source of debate between the Republican and Democratic legislators within both legislative chambers in Minnesota . Meanwhile , NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy remain in the background as marionettes assisting and cajoling the state legislators by way of paid lobbyists to make sure that the vote within the Senate and House legislature has a safe rite of passage .

At a proposed cost of some $1.55 billion in state financing the new venue for the NFL franchise will have an envisaged capacity of 76,000 attendees , with luxury sky-boxes , executives suites , with commercial and residential properties surrounding the stadium as well as two hotels , restaurants and two cinema multiplex entertainment centers , all in close proximity of the new stadium. I’m not so sure that this vote will be at all worth it , given the sad state of affairs and woefully inept season had by the Minnesota Vikings in 2011 ! . Zygi Wilf either must feel that he’s now unto something concerning the stadium issue or he is seeking to quite possibly relocate the Vikings outside the state of Minnesota. Given the alleged ardor for an NFL franchise back in the city of Los Angeles and the uncertainty that still surrounds the San Diego Chargers and their lease at Qualcomm Stadium I would dare say that the franchise’s owner Dean Spanos may well seek to move his franchise if the city commissioners are not willing to acquiesce to his demands .

Billionaire real estate developer Ed Roski is already laying the groundwork and plans to build a stadium in the city of Industry , California , which he envisages as being a suitable home for a future NFL franchise close to the city of Los Angeles . If that happens then look for there to be a knock down drag out fight as some opposition is bound to come from the ownership of the Oakland Raiders and incumbent owner Mark Davis , who like his father before him has long felt that the greater Los Angeles area and the city of Oakland their territorial boundaries in terms of their right to exist as an NFL team . Nothing says greed , more than a bunch of jealous narcissistic NFL franchise owners merely looking to safeguard their own interests rather than seeking give the fans real entertainment by way of a truly attractive product both on and off the field of play !

=================================================================================

================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What impressions do you have of today’s professional sports’ franchise owners ? And amongst the four major sports which owners do you believe best serves the interest of the fans ? Also with regard to the points raised on the subject matter concerning the baseball teams mentioned within this piece what do you hope to see from the teams in question and the MLB season as a whole ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit .

πŸ˜‰

Picture and slide show for your perusal .

=================================================================================================

( 1) Jerry Reinsdorf …. owner of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox of MLB . Courtesy of Getty Images & Business Week ………

(2) Dallas Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones, left, laughs as wide receiver Terrell Owens answers a question at the news conference announcing his signing of a new three-year, $27 million contract extension, Tuesday, June 3, 2008, in Irving, Texas. The extension brings the overall length and value of the contract to four years and $34 million. AP Photo/Mike Stone……

(3) Robert Kraft owner of the New England Patriots and whose company Kraft Foods Inc is one of the most prominent companies of its kind around the globe . Bloomberg News / Reuters / Paul Faversham …..

(4) Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen speaks to members of the media, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, in Miami. The Marlins finished last in the NL East in 2011 and haven’t reached the playoffs since 2003 . But this year they’re expected to contend for a postseason berth. With spring training a week away, Guillen spoke Monday about the Marlins’ offseason makeover, which included a name change and spending spree as the franchise moves into a new ballpark . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ……….

(5) Alex Rodriguez’ opens Energy Fitness gym as girlfriend Torrie Wilson proudly looks on. Bauer Griffin /Getty Images ….

(6) Baseball player Alex Rodriguez (L) of the New York Yankees and Torrie Wilson watch a game between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Arena on January 17, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann ….

(7) Brian Cashman, left, , general manager of the New York Yankees is seen here with team owner Hal Steinbrenner at Steinbrenner Field . , Tampa , Florida . The organization hopes to have a successful endeavor during their 2012 schedule . Their first regular season game will be against AL East rivals the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field , St Petersburg , Florida on the 6th April 2012 . AP Photo / Henry Snelling …..

(8) Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf(left) seated alongside former head coach Brad Childress with VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman and player Chad Greenway take questions from the Vikings’ season ticket holders . One of the main topics of discussion was the possible acquisition of retired quarterback Brett Favre. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/ Michael Washington ……….

(9) Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota who is under extreme pressure by the Vikings’ ownership to show his support for a bill that will bring about the financing for a new stadium for the NFL franchise . At present the state faces a massive budget deficit and is now having to furlough state employees . There are numerous supporters and opponents of the proposed legislation . Minneapolis Star Tribune /Phil Murphy …..

=============================================================================================

πŸ˜‰

πŸ™‚

πŸ˜‰

============================================================================================

MLB news

MLB team payrolls

Highest paid players in baseball

MLB team owners

MLB general managers

MLB schedule important dates

==================================================================================

Israeli actress Moran Atias .

===================================================================================================

Mac Miller ……….. ” Dondald Trump ”

And The Oscar For Best Drama , Best (Lead) Actor & Best Supporting Actor Goes To ……

And The Oscar For Best Drama, Best (Lead) Actor & Best Supporting Actor Goes To ……

By tophatal ……….

It’s beginning to get mightily disturbing in Lakers’ Nation with Kobe Bryant now voicing his disapproval about the lack of movement in terms of the personnel decisions now being made by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss , son of team owner Dr Jerry Buss . Far be it for me to suggest but the rush to judgment in the hiring of Mike Brown doesn’t appear to have been a decision that sat well with Bryant and a number of his teammates . Then add in the fact that former Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom was traded to the Dallas Mavericks . And the deal itself was handled so haphazardly it now begs the question who the hell just happens to be now making the decisions within the front office of the organization ? I mean it’s not as if Kupchak is said to have sought the player’s input as to who should succeed Phil Jackson , after the famed coach formally announced his retirement from the Lakers and professional basketball altogether . Jackson rides off into the sunset with his legacy firmly set and without a doubt the most successful coach in North American professional sports’ history .

===============================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

==============================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

Mike Brown for his part knew that the job would mark a turning point in his career after his successful tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers . A part of this whole drama as it plays itself might just be down to the fact that the Los Angeles Clippers instead of the Los Angeles Lakers , are now are the “biggest show “ in La-La Land by far. And for the first time in recent history it would appear to be the Clippers , themselves , who are actually the biggest draw at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California , the venue shared by both franchises as their home-court arena . Also playing a part in the discontent amongst Bryant and the Lakers’ players , was the mere fact that with David Stern pulling the plug on what was meant to be a multi-player blockbuster trade that would have brought Chris Paul to the Lakers from the New Orleans Hornets . It simply placed the franchise in a predicament from which they simply were unable to extricate themselves from .

Courtesy of the LA Times

Who ultimately will win between Kobe Bryant and Mitch Kupchak?

Kobe Bryant lashed out at Lakers management after Sunday’s loss to Phoenix, saying that the constant trade rumors involving Pau Gasol since before the season started are taking their toll on the team.

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss who will come out on top in this latest perceived battle between the Lakers star and General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion with a comment of your own.

Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times

It’s no contest, really. Did Mitch Kupchak listen when Kobe Bryant wanted out of Los Angeles a few summers back? Did Kupchak hear that Bryant wanted Jason Kidd and subsequently ship out Andrew Bynum? Did Kupchak call the Dallas Mavericks and request that they send back Lamar Odom upon learning that Bryant was upset with the deal?

Bryant whines and Kupchak wins in the battle between superstar player and his GM. And that’s the way it should be, unless the Lakers want to give Bryant a dual role of making the baskets and calling the shots. He’s having enough trouble with the former task as it is.

Ultimately, Kupchak will decide whether he can improve the Lakers by dealing Pau Gasol before the March 15 trade deadline and Bryant will be left telling us how he feels about the move but powerless to do anything about it.

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune

Forgive Mitch Kupchak if he yawns. Of course, yawning can cause one to close his or her eyes, and the Lakers’ general manager certainly isn’t going to blink during this latest installment of “Days of Our Kobe ” .

Look, Kobe and Kupchak are far more similar than different, wired to win at all costs. Kupchak may do so in a far more behind-the-scenes, and less expletive-filled, manner. But both bleed purple and gold and victories. So Kupchak, as usual, will win in this latest mini-personnel pull. Remember when Kobe demanded to be traded in the summer of 2007? That was how many NBA Finals appearances ago?

The Lakers no longer are among the NBA’s elite. But no matter what Kobe demands regarding resolution for Pau Gasol, expect Kupchak to make the best move to try to put the Lakers back in position to be elite again. That’s what Kupchak’s impressive track record has proven through the various chatter of Kobe, Shaq, even World Peace.

===============================================================================================

Click on link to read this article in full .

===============================================================================================

With Paul now linking up with Blake Griffin and providing an offensive one-two punch that seems to be working for Vinny Del-Negro and his players . While the Clippers’ star is on the rise the Lakers’ seems to be on the decline with the inconsistent play coming from a number of players on this team . Never mind the fact that the point guard play from Steve Blake and Derek Fisher has been anything but productive .

Now as productive as Bryant has been he simply cannot do it all by himself and that is giving due credit to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum when that particular duo sees fit to string together consecutive games where their productivity enhances the play of the team . So far it has been one of highs and lows for the center and power forward over the course of this season .

I can understand that the hierarchy within the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to move on in the aftermath of Phil Jackson’s retirement but to my mind Buss and Kupchak erred in having Mike Brown succeed Phil Jackson , as I felt that they had a ready-made replacement in Brian Shaw , who at the time was Jackson’s assistant on his coaching staff. Shaw , himself a former Lakers’ player had success with the franchise during his professional career before stepping down and becoming an assistant to his mentor.

Sunday , the Los Angeles Lakers were the guests of the Phoenix Suns in a game that has in many ways mirrored the inconsistency of the team this season. Suns’ coach Alvin Gentry had his players playing at a high level and with seasoned veterans such as Steve Nash and Grant Hill simply defying age as they made the younger players on the Lakers’ roster seem like novices . It’s crazy but not so long ago but I felt that the Suns were down and out and but a trade away from imploding altogether . Instead it would appear that Gentry has the players believing in themselves and the message that he is imploring them with may well be finally sinking in. And although of late their they’re on a losing streak a number of those games have hard-fought battles that could have gone either way .

In 2010 the claims were being made that the Lakers had the most well-balanced team in the league with its bench being the very best in the NBA . Well as we all know that was sheer bunkum , with that team simply being outplayed when it mattered most , during the postseason . This season it’s hard to see how a roster where the bench players are Luke Walton , Matt Barnes , Josh McRoberts , Troy Murphy , Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris . Not exactly the names that would tend to send shivers down an opponent’s spine , you’d think .

Monday night the Lakers play hosts to the Portland Trailblazers (17-15) in a game that will tell us a great deal about the directions that both teams are said to be heading in. The Northwest Division has the high-flying the Oklahoma City Thunder leading the division and conference and now are clearly bound to be the #1 seed for the Western Conference given the playoff picture at present.

Mike Brown needs to get his players focussed but more so, he needs to his players buying into a strategy that has them playing with a great deal of resolve . As for Mitch Kupchak , he now knows that something now has to be done in terms of bolstering the roster . A competent and productive point guard is needed if they are to have any chance of going deep into the NBA postseason . And while there are wild speculations that Boston Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge may well seek to shop Rajon Rondo given the fact that the Celtics’ …. season now appears to be spiraling out of control . Were such a trade to take place with the point guard joining the Lakers , perhaps in exchange for a starter and a bench player , then one would have to view Rondo’s addition as an added advantage . This is a dilemma that I for one don’t believe that the Celtics’ front office might have contemplated but senior managing partner Wyc Grousbeck now may well have to consider and do what’s best for the franchise . From my own standpoint , to trade Rondo would be a boon to the franchise , albeit that the front office may well feel that is in their best interests to do so. But with an aging core of Allen , Garnett and Pierce , I feel that Doc Rivers and Ainge should have set about rebuilding this roster with a view to the future at least two years ago !

As the 2012 All Star Weekend approaches there are bound to a number of transactions being worked out by the general managers , coaches and owners as they seek how best to bolster their standings with a view to gaining a playoff berth . The moves that are liable to be made may well give us a much clearer indication as to the ambitions of a number of teams around the league . We will most certainly see the contenders simply looking to separate themselves from the so-called “pretenders” within the NBA in terms of the overall play this season .

Coming into this season I felt that the Los Angeles Lakers would be challenging within the Eastern Conference but in reality I knew that this team had its frailties ! A new coach , brought in to succeed a legend creates a handicap right from the outset and the fact that the choice in terms of that coach’s successor wasn’t one that was welcomed by everyone with open arms would suggest that sooner or later a great deal of turmoil would erupt and come to the fore . That has clearly been the case with the extraordinary outburst from Kobe Bryant that was essentially an expletive filled volley aimed squarely at the Lakers’ management and coaching staff . If that wasn’t enough of performance given the player’s own exploits on the court this season . Then I for one don’t know what is ! Someone is going to be , and should be held accountable for the unyielding drama that is now taking place in LA and specifically within the inner sanctum of the Los Angeles Lakers ! Any ideas as to where the finger-pointing should begin and be directed towards ? Chime in with your thoughts . The Lakers’ cause also , hasn’t been helped by the Clippers’ success this season and the very fact that they’re now the talk of the town in ” Tinseltown” , where a court-side seat and night out at an NBA game usually meant watching the Los Angeles Lakers . Not so much now , but when you now have the Los Clippers holding away amongst the fans in the City of Angels , it begs the question who deserves the nod for the Best Drama , Best (Lead) Actor and Best Supporting Actor ? This is one particular weekend , wherein , the Oscars could well be upstaged by the drama now unfolding within the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise .

================================================================================================

==============================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

Where do you believe that the fault may well ultimately lay with regard to the drama now unfolding concerning the Los Angeles Lakers ? And do you believe that the team in its present guise is capable of winning another NBA title ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this and other topic you believe to be relevant as it regards the NBA . And as usual thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

;)……… πŸ™‚

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

πŸ˜‰

Picture and slide show details below .
===========================================================================================================

(1) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 17: Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers is presented with the Western Conference Player of the Week award from General Manager Mitch Kupchak before a game against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on February 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. NBAE Getty Images / Evan Gole ……

(2) Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum , right, is guarded by Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge during the second half on an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 103-92 . AP Photo/Bret Hartman ……..

(3) Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, right, works his way around Portland Trail Blazers forward Gerald Wallace during the second half on an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 103-92 . AP Photo/Bret Hartman …….

(4) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant , left, and Lakers forward Pau Gasol share a laugh after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers during an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Bret Hartman ……

(5) Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to play against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 103-92 . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 20: Wesley Matthews (2) of the Portland Trail Blazers has his shot blocked by Andrew Goudelock (0) of the Los Angeles Lakers forcing a jump ball during the second half at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 103-92. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(7) Raymond Felton (5) of the Portland Trail Blazers loses the ball as he falls in front of Steve Blake (5) and Troy Murphy (14) of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(8) Jim Buss, son of owner Jerry Buss is seen here with his father at a Lakers game last season . The son , along with his sister Jeanie Buss are senior executives within Los Angeles Lakers organization . It was at the recommendation of Jim Buss in consultation with GM Mitch Kupchak that Mike Brown was hired to succeed Phil Jackson , with final approval coming from Jerry Buss . AP Photo/ Chris Dickson …..

========================================================================================================

πŸ™‚

============================================================================================

NBA news

Los Angeles Lakers news

Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers’ roster

Los Angeles Lakers’ team payroll

Los Angeles Lakers’ free agents

Los Angeles Lakers’ stats

Los Angeles Lakers’ team splits

Los Angeles Lakers’ schedule

===========================================================================================

Don’t spill any of the goodies on my account baby !

A Championship Winning Season …….Perhaps Not !

A Championship Winning Season …….Perhaps Not !

By tophatal ………

I don’t know that one can necessarily define a championship winning team much less a season . But the NBA at present is clearly trying to position itself as that despite poor play of the teams as it now stands . Within the Eastern Conference the Chicago Bulls , Miami Heat and Philadelphia Sixers are looking to separate themselves from the rest of the conference as well as their combatants within the respective divisions .

==============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


==============================================================================

Slide show details for your perusal .

Now while every NBA story at present seems to be encapsulated around the exploits of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin I have to admit there have been far more compelling dramas within the league in spite of the media bias currently being shown. And though Lin’s exploits have been well chronicled , everything fell back down to earth when the team inexplicably lost to the New Orleans Hornets . As we know, the Hornets much like the Charlotte Bobcats and New Jersey Nets are giving a new meaning to the word ineptitude this season , albeit that the Bobcats had their first victory in 15 games having defeated the Toronto Raptors .

The Miami Heat everyone’s prohibitive favorite this season for the NBA title seemingly seem to be not only running away with their division but with the apparent injury now suffered by the Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose might just give Erik Spoelstra’s …. players the opening they’ve been looking for in terms of gaining that number one berth in the Eastern Conference , as well as securing that top spot for the playoff picture .

Now in spite of the offense we’ve seen from the teams and the players . From my own perspective the play overall this season has seen a marked decline but I do believe that much of this has to do with the poor coaching as well as the lack of conditioning of the NBA players . There should be no excuses being made for the lackluster performances we have seen from the teams this season at all ! And as to the idiocy of the premise that the Miami Heat are one of the best defensive teams in the league when you’re giving up 94.2 points a game that to me doesn’t indicate a team that is said to be a defensive stalwart not when compared to the teams within their conference and the NBA as a whole !

And as good as the Miami Heat have been of as of late I get the feeling that not until they have been really pressed , we may not get to see what this team is truly made of ! Leading the way as usual for the team are LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh who are being ably supported by the cast of role players on this roster .

After the All Star break it remains to be seen whether or not the Miami Heat will be able to weather the storm by playing themselves into contention for playoff and then going all the way deep into the postseason. There was a sense of complacency in the team’s appearance in the NBA Finals last season when they fell to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in a rather embarrassing fashion . A repeat performance of that nature but not only will would we be questioning the LeBron James’ legacy in the NBA so far but also the astuteness of Pat Riley as a front office executive .

As much as I look at the Boston Celtics and their trio of Ray Allen , Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce . The more I look at the team to gauge where they are at , it is the more I become more suspect as to the ability of the players and specifically the trio in question. As experienced as they are said to be it is becoming increasingly clear for Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge time is not necessarily on their side .

The only thing that makes the Celtics relevant at present has been the play of Rajon Rondo . All while , the league and fans simply tend to be talking about the point guard play of players such as Jeremy Lin , Deron Williams , Chris Paul , Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker , all of whom are very capable of playing the position competently. To my mind , no player at present is worth more to their team in terms of the point guard position than Rondo !

What may well assist the Boston Celtics as they pursue another NBA title may well be the experience of their famed triumvirate. Now while this could be viewed as an advantage , it also can become to the detriment of a team and given that fact , Rivers now has to rely on a core group of players coming off the bench and being productive . And this is where the Celtics now seem to be extremely suspect and of course places general manager Danny Ainge in a situation where he will no doubt seek to improve this roster at the trade deadline. If the Celtics’ front office is said to be using Rondo as trade bait in order to seek a favorable deal . I personally can’t see Wyc Grousbeck condoning this action even if the members of the front office believes this to be their best option. This team without Rajon Rondo would be barely above .500 in terms of their record within the NBA Eastern Conference .

In the Western Conference with the Oklahoma City Thunder riding high within their division as well as the conference an I have to admit that I am not at all surprised by the team’s …. play this season ! Scott Brooks’ players and their experience of last year in the postseason , while showing their complacency it became a learning tool for James Harden , Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook .

The hype over the Los Angeles Clippers while valid , beyond Blake Griffin and Chris Paul there isn’t a great deal to suggest that beyond the duo to convince me that they are good enough deep into the postseason . Let’s put it this way the dominoes would have to fall in such a way that their march towards an NBA title that would see them facing an opponent from the NBA’s D League . So before we all get amped up about the Clippers let’s all face a dose of reality ! I mean , we already have the idiocy of the fans believing that Jeremy Lin was the ” second coming “ of Pete Maravich . Has anyone actually seen Lin’s stats and the turnovers by the player over the course of these 7 games as a professional in the NBA ? The tally so far is a mind-boggling 35 and counting _______ and you can expect that total to get even higher over the remainder of the Knicks’ schedule with Jeremy Lin in the lineup .

As good as he (Lin) is , even the coaching ability of Mike DAntoni and his coaching staff isn’t all it’s cracked up to be ! If he can’t get his team to play a lick of frigging defense then what makes anyone truly believe that Lin will in fact improve as a player under his tenure ? The air is already leaking out of the Lin balloon as the player’s performance in the team’s 89-85 loss to the New Orleans Hornets . In that game Jeremy Lin accounted for 9 of the team’s 21 turnovers in the contest that saw the Knicks’ 7 game .. unbeaten streak come to an abrupt end . Still buying into the hype ?

Mike Brown is having a tough time proving himself a worthy successor to Phil Jackson . And inasmuch as a number of individuals within the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office may well have felt that Brown was the best option I get the feeling that Mitch Kupchak and Stephen Buss , son of owner Dr Jerry Buss may well have been a rush to judgment with regard to this hire . Forget the the “triangle offense “ and the apparent change in persona of this team is a far way off from the players where on this roster last season .

This Lakers’ team will simply go as far as Kobe Bryant can take them and that is even with the added play of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol . Beyond that there isn’t much that one can take away from this team in terms of its play. Metta World Peace is a step slower and is certainly is no longer the defensive presence he might well have been three much less four years ago .

If the Los Angeles Lakers are to succeed then clearly there has to be a greater contribution from the point guards on this roster , specifically Steve Blake and Derek Fisher . And while the team tried out former Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards’ point guard Gilbert Arenas . The veteran’s greatest strength was a scorer and not much beyond that . So the thought that Kupchak and Brown brought the player in for a tryout smacks of their idiocy and can be seen as nothing more than an act of desperation , they are said to be looking for someone who’s productive and gives them added option at the position then clearly they are using poor judgment ! There are far better options available for o the general manager and coach , if only they had began to use due diligence.

The Dallas Mavericks are clearly proving that old adage ” once you win that first NBA title then the hardest act is to make a successful defense of that championship ” . Rick Carlisle may well have his greatest triumph as a professional coach in the NBA in leading the franchise to their sole title . But clearly this season this team is a poor image of the one that simply ; took apart the Miami Heat in last season’s NBA Finals .

Poor play all-round from the likes of Dirk Nowitzki , Jason Kidd , Shawn Marion and several others on the roster is disturbing enough but you clearly knew that GM Donnie Nelson made a profound mistake in allowing ….. Tyson Chandler to leave as an unrestricted free agent to join the New York Knicks . Chandler more than anyone else on this team from last season provided the defensive presence needed . Offensively the Mavericks are still a force to be reckoned with but from a defensive standpoint they continue to struggle for all of the reasons we now associate with a Rick Carlisle coached team . Unless he has the right players in place then the mindset of the coach is simply to play offense and nothing but offensive and leave the defensive strategy as a measure of last resort .

On Sunday the Mavericks were the guests of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Gardens , New York City , in-front of a sell-out crowd and national television audience of millions and tens of millions back in his native China and Taiwan . Once again the hero of the moment became Jeremy Lin but at the same time the player while performing admirably , the turnovers beset his game with another 7 notched up during the game.

The Dallas Mavericks for their part had no answer for Lin and his teammates during the 104-97 loss . And while this defeat may not have dampened the Mavericks’ hopes of gaining ground on the San Antonio Spurs within the Southwest Division of the Western Conference . And so the Jeremy Lin story continues with unabated passion , so much so that the young Asian American has become the biggest draw in the NBA and most certainly the biggest attraction on or off-Broadway .

Accentuate the positive and simply ignore the negative . This may well be the season where that statement might well mean than it has ever before . With a truncated schedule of 66 games crammed into a time-span that even the purists and observers of the game might think somewhat ludicrous or possibly downright preposterous . Certainly in light of the league hierarchy mandated lockout that has led to a shortened season , we have seen the poor play and injuries to several prominent players this season . Now there are many who might state that the level of performances is simply due to the fact the players simply weren’t afforded the chance to practice because of the lockout . From my own perspective that is somewhat of an idiotic excuse to use when one considers that a number of the players simply went on the road playing charity games merely as a face-saving image exercise to promote the NBPA amongst the public . While that madness continued David Stern and the franchise owners pled their case to anyone willing to listen . Suffice to say, that the commissioner’s communications skills were not all they were cracked up to be ! All this from a one time practicing lawyer , …………… did I miss something here as to the astuteness and alleged business mind of the renowned NBA executive ?

The league hierarchy while reaching an accord with the executive committee of the NBPA did little to create the perception that from the very outset they were in a position of power , much less being right in their stance in seeking concessions from the union . At the same time NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher did themselves and their union no favors with their intransigence during the labor negotiations . Avarice simply was the mainstay behind the argument behind both sides though you would be hard pressed to believe the premise being pushed by both Stern and King at that moment in time . Suffice to say with an agreement of sorts now in place the league itself still remains in something of a financial mess and absolutely nothing has really been done by either side to simply rein in the costs of the NBA . All this from a $ 4.5 billion a year industry where the teams themselves choose not to abide to league mandate in terms of their soft “soft” salary cap ($57.5 million) .

==============================================================================

.

=============================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

As the NBA’s mid-season showcase event comes into focus with the All Star Game weekend being staged at the Amway Center in Orlando , Florida , home to the Orlando Magic . It will be interesting to see what transpires while the general managers , coaches and team owners get together to seek solutions for their teams’ issues by making the usual trades that tend to be effected at this time of the season . What impressions have you had during the first half of the NBA season and what if anything are you expecting to see during the second half of the league’s schedule ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .

πŸ™‚

Picture and slide show details below .

=================================================================================================

(1) Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, center, sits on a bench between teammates Jimmy Butler , left, and Ronnie Brewer , during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Jersey Nets on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, in Chicago. Rose missed his fifth straight game because of back pain. The Nets won 97-85 . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(2) Chicago Bulls guard Mike James , left, is fouled by New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, in Chicago. The Nets won 97-85. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …..

(3) MIAMI, FL – FEBRUARY 19: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat controls the ball during the game against the Orlando Magic on February 19, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images …. ……

p> (4) Dwight Howard (12) of the Orlando Magic posts up Joel Anthony (50) of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena on February 19, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….

(5) Fans hold a sign about New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin during the first half of the Los Angeles Lakers-Phoenix Suns NBA basketball game , Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Matt York ………

(6) New York Knicks’ J.R. Smith , right, celebrates with Jeremy Lin during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in New York, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012. The Knicks defeated the Mavericks 104-97 . AP Photo/Seth Wenig ……..

(7) Jeremy Lin (17) of the New York Knicks drives against Jason Kidd (2) of the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden on February 19, 2012 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ……..

(8) Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) drives on Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Knight (7) in the first half of an NBA basketball game , Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012, in Auburn Hills, Mich. AP Photo/Duane Burleson ….. ……

(9) (9) PHOENIX, AZ – FEBRUARY 19: (Middle L-R) Jason Kapono (28), Kobe Bryant (24) and Pau Gasol (16) of the Los Angeles Lakers stand attended for the National Anthem before the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Lakers 102-90 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(10) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball under pressure from Shannon Brown (26) of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Lakers 102-90 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …..

(11) Head coach Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Lakers 102-90 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….. …..

===================================================================================================

πŸ™‚

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

πŸ˜‰

============================================================================

NBA news

NBA results Sunday February 19th, 2012

NBA schedule Monday 20th, February , 2012

NBA Standings by division

NBA Standings by conference ………….. NBA Playoff picture

NBA team statistics : Defense

NBA team statistics : Offense

================================================================================ ============

You can either get your kicks on ” Route 66 ” or get your fix by checking out Lucy Pinder’s assets . Your choice .

Now this is a “double double ” worth watching !

============================================================================================

Cam’ron …. feat’g …. Juelz Santana ………. “Oh Boy”

Walk Away , Just Simply Walk Away !

Walk Away , Just Simply Walk Away !

By tophatal

I don’t know if there has ever been two more talented players to have played in the NFL but at the same time said to be more polarizing and despised ! In the case of All Pro wide receivers Randy Moss and Terrell Owens I don’t know that with this duo you could two more talented players but at the same have been able to alienate not only the team owners but also coaches around the league . At the same time in spite of their benevolent philanthropic efforts behind the scenes I do believe that the vast majority of NFL fans simply find Terrell Owens and Randy Moss self-absorbed , narcissistic and obnoxious .

===========================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===========================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

Moss during this past season was traded once during the regular season , first having been sent to the Minnesota Vikings by the New England Patriots , only to be let go by his former team where he started his career in 1998 to end up with the Tennessee Titans . Production for Moss this past season can be best described as being anemic , and when one considers the depth and breath of Randy Moss’ career you simply have to look at the 2011 season for the player as being one of wasted opportunities .

With Moss having now become disenchanted and dissatisfied with retirement , the player now seeks a return to the NFL , quite possibly looking to play for a contender or perhaps be a mentor for a young wide receiver within the NFL . Upon announcing his retirement Randy Moss stood in the upper echelons of the players to have played the position in terms of receiving yards , career receptions and career touchdowns . And not unlike his peer, Terrell Owens , both of these players have been prodigious and prolific talents .

I’m not so sure that Moss’ return would be really be of benefit to the NFL or his legacy , albeit that if he were to return I do believe that he would be welcomed back within the New England Patriots’ fraternity . Less we forget in 2008 both Moss and Tom Brady linked up for a prolific season and one of the best in the franchise’s history in terms of a wide receiver, quarterback duo. That being said as prolific as the Patriots’ offense appeared to be this past season it was abundantly clear that Bill Belichick’s …… players simply failed to show anything when it mattered most and that was during ……… Superbowl 46 (SBXLVI) . The team’s rushing offense was simply nowhere to be seen and it was simply also mirrored in their pass offense as well .

The issues manifested by the errors made by the Patriots’ wide receivers during the Superbowl simply suggested that Brady and his teammates while letting things slip away, they also handed the game to the New York Giants and their MVP winning ……. quarterback …… Eli Manning .

Though as such I still have my doubts about Randy Moss , I do believe that in the right environment he can be a productive player but much of that would be predicated upon his demeanor and willingness to defer to others as and when necessary. If Moss is prepared to do that as a player then there might a possibility for him to make a successful and possibly a welcomed return to the NFL . Now should the player not be amenable to undergoing any of scenarios then to my mind he should remain retired !

Terrell Owens as we know, just happens to be his biggest fan and in selling himself as a talent . However, having missed the 2011 season after a very successful and productive season with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010 . The fact that he was lost to the team to a season ending injury that year simply showed that when at his best and applying himself , he still remains a force to be reckoned with .

During the off-season Owens having undergone successful knee surgery and a full recuperative procedure , the player found that his services appeared to be no longer wanted . No takers whatsoever , and that was even with the player’s agent Drew Rosenhaus sending out highly polished glossary’s to all 32 teams in the NFL selling the finer points of his outspoken client .

However, with that setback Terrell Owens saw for himself a business opportunity by investing in a fledgling upstart the Indoor Football League professional football franchise ( Allen Wranglers of the IFL ) . Owens bought a 25% stake in a team with a view to also being a roster member and player . Honing his skills no doubt with a view to making a long-term return to the professional ranks of the NFL .

Owens like his Randy Moss can be very outspoken but his biggest fault might that beyond being opinionated is the very fact that he is far more open to being critical of teammates , coaches and anyone who he believes has a vendetta against him. Simply look at the episodes that have highlighted many of the biggest controversies of the course of his career . From his all too robust and critical outburst directed at then teammate Donovan McNabb , to his questioning the sexuality of another respected quarterback Jeff Garcia . And if that wasn’t enough let’s not forget the fact that the player lambasted the coaching abilities of then San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Steve Mariucci . Wherever Owens has been over the course of his professional career it has simply been littered with controversy and the very fact that in the end he has been viewed as a malcontent , pariah and damn plague. But at the same time when on the field there are momentary flashes of brilliance from this player that has set him apart from many of his peers in today’s game . The likes of Larry Fitzgerald , DeSean Jackson , Hakeem Nicks , Mario Manningham , Marques Colston and Devin Hester I am sure in many ways have learned their trade by watching the play Terrell Owens over the years ! And granted , not without his critics the one thing that you cannot deny with the player was that when his mind was on the game then he was simply at a level not often seen in many of today’s players at the position .

Now while I am an admirer of Terrell Owens on the field of play I must say that his off the field antics have always been to the detriment of an NFL franchise . The mere fact that were he to make a return to the league , I am not so sure it would be the best thing for a franchise to take a flier on the player, simply because there is a near certainty at this stage of his career he’s more inclined to implode and make that situation all the more combustible ! One merely has to look at the incidents that have marked the player’s career during his time within the professional ranks . It is not as if Owens or Moss have ever seen themselves as role models to begin with , as each simply marches to the beat of their very own drum . And absolutely nothing is liable to change with either player as it relates to their demeanor and rancor. Is there anyway at this juncture that either of these self-absorbed players could actually change their demeanor as it relates their conduct on and off the field of play ?

================================================================================

================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal.

Is the NFL liable to be a better place with either or both Terrell Owens and Randy Moss returning to the NFL ? Who can really say at this juncture other than the general managers and owners around the league but somehow I get the feeling we could very well be finding that for ourselves at some point in the future . Simply chime in with a comment on the subject matter and anything else that you feel might be pertinent .

πŸ˜‰

http://twitter.com/tophatal

http://facebook.com/tophatal

πŸ˜‰

Picture and slide show details below .
=============================================================================================

(1) Randy Moss (left) and Terrell Owens perhaps two of the most controversial figures in the NFL over the past two decades . The two players in spite of their undoubted talents have proven to be a boon to any NFL franchise where they’ve chosen to display their talents . Courtesy of Rod Harper ……..

(2) Moss is seen here with Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick after a game between the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings , in which the Patriots defeated the Vikings 28-18 . The wide receiver seeks a return to the NFL and would no doubt like to team up once again with the famed coach quarterback Tom Brady . Moss as a Patriot . in 2007 had the most successful year of his professional career teaming up with Brady for a record 23 touchdown receptions an NFL record . AP / Winslow Towson …..

(3) Drew Rosenhaus (foreground) is seen here with his client Terrell Owens . The NFL wide receiver is now plying his trade with the IFL’s Allen Wranglers , where he as a stake in the indoor professional franchise . Rosenhaus still seeks to have Owens back in the NFL with a franchise and sees a chance for the player to sign with a team during the off-season . AP Getty Images/ Paul Sancetta ……….

===========================================================================================

πŸ˜‰ ……… πŸ™‚

==============================================================================================

NFL news

NFL transactions

Highest paid wide receivers in the NFL

=========================================================================================

Jay-Z (Roc Boys) …….. “The Winner Is ”

It’s Only A Game But How We At Times Mourn The Loss of A Hero ………..

It’s Only A Game But How We At Times Mourn The Loss of A Hero ………..

By tophatal

The death of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter from brain cancer can’t have come to a shock for many but what might be all the more surprising might well be the fact that he’d been fighting this disease but for a short period of time and the suffering he had to endure. Chemotherapy and two surgeries simply weren’t enough to stave off this most debilitating of illnesses . Carter will be forever remembered as the hero of the New York Mets’ triumph in the 1986 ….. World Series .

================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===============================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

Fans of the game and will surely mourn the loss of this highly loved and regard player whose candor was one that drew the fans to the player. A defensive stalwart behind the plate but his timely hitting that was the thing that set him apart from many of his peers from that era . Alas , the passing of Gary Carter is a sign of the times with the indication that a number of the game’s heroes from a bygone era are slowly seeing their age and ill-health and in the grand scheme of things they are now set for their demise .

Another Hall of Fame player who is said to be undergoing serious health issues just happens to be none other than former San Diego Padres’ great Tony Gywnn . Currently the head coach of his college alma-mater San Diego State (Aztecs) . A multiple All Star on numerous occasions , what set Gywnn apart from the players of his era was his consistency as a prolific hitter. How good was Tony Gwynn ? Well let’s just say that , he perhaps was the most prolific hitter of his generation in terms of his consistency and leadership ability , he may well have been the closest thing that the game has seen since former Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams . And as we all know Williams is the only player in Major League Baseball history to have hit for .400 in a season . Gwynn has come closest to that feat on multiple occasions but was never able to actually break that mark . However, Tony Gwynn’s greatest accomplishment was to simply win the NL batting title eight times over the course of his storied career .

Today, for Gwynn his fight isn’t trying to second guess the pitcher some 60 feet away from but to avert the spread of cancer that has afflicted the right side of the player’s face. Surgical oncologists removed a malignant growth from the player’s right cheek which has now partially immobilized the player’s right side and cause a pronounced speech impediment while he undergoes physical therapy in the aftermath of his operation. Now many will speculate as to the cause of this affliction but it is common knowledge that the player was someone who was enamored with chewing tobacco whilst in the dugout and on the field of play. It is a common activity amongst many players to chew tobacco and it is still a widespread practice within the playing fraternity. And though tobacco advertizing is banned at all of the venues within the game the practice hasn’t been fully been prohibited by the league hierarchy amongst the players . As to how this all will be viewed amongst Tony Gwynn’s fans and specifically those tobacco chewing devotees. The AMA as well as several noted academic universities through their published findings have stated that the practice of chewing tobacco has been a contributing factor and a long-term threat and a cause of cancer , to throat and to the mouth . One might hazard a guess , for Tony Gwynn , that this might not have been a concern but at the same time , it might be only mere speculation to suggest that this may well have been why the reason the player was stricken with this horrific illness . Lymph nodes and the tumor itself were removed from the player’s right cheek and it is my utmost wish that he has a speedy recovery !

In the aftermath of the Boston Red Sox’s now infamous swoon into infamy in the last month of the 2011 season all of the finger-pointing and name calling began . I’m not saying that fallout was akin to Three Mile Island or the Bhopal Disaster in Bhopal , India ____ but this cataclysmic catastrophe was one of self-indulgence and that was of the organization’s own making . Theo Epstein the former general manager , who now holds the position of Head of Baseball Operations with the Chicago Cubs . Epstein’s departure from the ball-club along with the abrupt firing of Terry Francona led to a major upheaval within the front office and coaching staff . Ben Cherington was promoted from within to succeed Theo Epstein but the successor to Francona was something of a major surprise with the hiring of Bobby Valentine .

The real issues for the Boston Red Sox last season and my thoughts as to the primary reason , it is that there was very little leadership from the team in terms of the veterans on this roster and the very fact that many of these self absorbed individuals failed to live up to expectations. The pitching over the course of the final month of the season was woefully inept and it has to be said that John Lackey , Josh Beckett , Jon Lester , Johnathan Papelbon and Clay Bucholz simply never met the expectations sought by the fans and general public . Papelbon , no longer with the team is now plying his trade elsewhere .

If that wasn’t enough with regard to woes for the Red Sox then this once prolific offense simply was nowhere to be seen when it mattered most as Adrian Gonzalez , Dustin Pedroia , David Ortiz , Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youklis simply ” petered ” out in terms of offensive productivity last season . If the team is to have any chance of succeeding within the AL East and specifically within baseball in general then clearly the players on the roster will have to step up to the plate this upcoming season .

With Bobby Valentine’s prolonged absence away from managing a professional baseball franchise I get the feeling that the team’s struggles may well manifest themselves in so many ways far beyond what many of us could very well expect. If Valentine cannot get the Boston Red Sox to contend with the likes of the Tampa Bay Rays , Baltimore Orioles , New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays . Then his return to baseball could very well be a short-lived stint within the professional ranks but given the fact that Ben Cherington and team President Larry Lucchino may well have been under a great deal of pressure to make the hire , a high profiled and experienced successor to Terry Francona . I’m sure that senior managing partner John Henry and co-owner Tom Werner were happy with his hire but I can’t help but wonder whether not it was more of a rush to judgment in making Bobby Valentine the successor to the team’s most successful manager in the last two decades.

It’d be remiss to suggest to overlook the accomplishments of Joe Maddon as the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays . But since his tenure , he has simply turned around the fortunes of this organization and while doing so their small but loyal following of fans have been steadfast in their support of the manager and the team . In the past four years the manager has led the organization to the postseason multiple times with a World Series appearance that ended in a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies .

From my own perspective with the off-season moves made by the Tampa Bay Rays ___ the team in its present guise could very well be viewed as the prohibitive favorites within the AL East to win the division this season . Along with the none roster invitees Joe Maddon and his coaching staff could very well be on their way to a very special year that pitching rotation lives up to their full potential . James Shields , Jeremy Hellickson , David Price and the pitching staff this past season simply gave us an indication of what to expect this season .

This year if the Tampa Bay Rays are show any signs of potential then it will certainly be down to the likes of Evan Longoria , BJ Upton , Ben Zobrist , Sam Fuld , Luke Scott , and Carlos Pena will have to show that this offense has the potential to be amongst the very best that the league has to offer . At the same time the leadership of this entire roster will be finally entrusted into the hands of Longoria , himself . It is now or never to prove that he’s an elite player as a third baseman not only within the AL but in baseball altogether .

To my mind Longoria has yet to meet that potential , albeit that he’s well compensated by the Rays and is amongst the highest paid players on the team’s roster and at the position within baseball . Though that distinction is currently held by the New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez > who also happens to be the highest paid player in MLB (baseball).

Now it goes without saying that while the Rays have had their difficulties from a financial . standpoint struggling to compete with the likes of the top salaried teams within the game . Managing general partner Stuart Sternberg , his managing partners and GM Andrew Friedman will be hard pressed this season to keep up with their more renowned competitors within the AL East . With the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees having their own in-house broadcast outlets such as NESN and the YES Network , it has to be said the Rays must feel like that they’re like minnows swimming upstream against the flow of a river , failing to get where they need to be . But such have been the vagaries of this game that it is difficult to imagine that things will ever change for the better !

Clearly when Bud Selig , team owners , general managers and sports agents simply believe that the current climate of the baseball is said to be a healthy one. Clearly that is not the case but you’d be hard pressed to impress upon those who believe that economic template used by the league has been a resounding success . Especially in light of franchise owners such as Bob Nutting , Robert Castellini , David Glass , Jim Pohlad , and Jeffrey Loria who have simply made of a mockery of their roles as they have simply come ” cap in hand “ to feed at the trough of the taxpayers by way of the stupidity shown by Bud Selig and the league hierarchy !

Can someone remind Bud Selig , Mayor’s Michael Bloomberg and Tomas Regalado that simply fucking the taxpayer over repeatedly isn’t always the best way to conduct business ? But yet the all too ignorant assholes out there who complain about having to pay high taxes never seem to complain when resources meant to enrich their lives by way of their local community is simply being used to build monstrous facilities when you have first responders being furloughed , school class sizes being increased , and teachers being cut from the classrooms ____ but yet they simply whine and bitch about having to pay increased taxes , while not having the mendacity to fight what is clearly a misuse of the resources that would be of benefit to them from the outset . It has to be down to the apathy of idiots who state one thing but clearly have no insight as to what is actually happening within their very midst ! Apathy though, it simply rules the American way of life and anyone who believes to the contrary isn’t as intelligent as they make themselves out to be !

=============================================================================================

==================================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

How do you view the loss of Gary Carter from the world of baseball ? What if anything do you envisage may have caused and the current health issues as it relates to Hall of Famer and former player Tony Gwynn ? By by way of the competitiveness of the AL East and specifically as it concerns Bobby Valentine’s return to the game as manager of the Boston Red Sox what do you hope to see ? Are the aspirations of the Tampa Bay Rays simply too much to expect this season given the fact that the Red Sox , Yankees , Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays are liable to make improvements as to the persona of their respective games ? By all means simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

πŸ™‚

Picture and slide show details below .

==============================================================================================

(1) FILE – In this Oct. 25, 1986 file photo, Boston Red Sox’s Jim Rice is tagged out at the plate by New York Mets catcher Gary Carter during seventh inning action in Game 6 of baseball’s World Series at New York’s Shea Stadium. Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, that Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter has died. AP Photo/Peter Southwick ….

(2) In this Aug. 12, 1989, file photo, New York Mets’ Gary Carter drives a double to center field during a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in New York. Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, that Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter has died. He was 57. AP Photo/Ed Bailey …. ..

(3) FILE- In this July 9, 2006, file photo, Hall of Famer New York Mets catcher Gary Carter is greeted after hitting a three-run homer during the All Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, that Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter has died. (AP Photo/Tom Puskar, File) ….

(4) Retired San Diego Padres players (L-R) Steve Garvey , Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield , and Randy Jones walk onto the field as they are introduced during the jersey retirement ceremony of Trevor Hoffman by the San Diego Padres prior to the game against the Florida Marlins at Petco Park on August 21, 2011 in San Diego, California. . Getty Images North America / Kent Horner …..

(5) Tony Gwynn , seen here speaking to the convened press and dignitaries at Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . A fifteen time All Star the player was the NL batting champion an unprecedented eight times over the course of 20 year career in baseball . AP /Getty Images …..

(6) From left to right , Boston Red Sox President Larry Lucchino , GM Ben Cherington , newly installed manager , Bobby Valentine and senior managing partner and principal John W Henry. Chris Robinson / The Boston Globe ……

(7) Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon gestures during a season wrap-up news conference, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays lost to the Texas Rangers in baseball’s American League Division Series . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …..

(8) Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria is seen here in the dugout during a game played against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …..

(9) Pitcher David Price (14) of the Tampa Bay Rays wipes his brow in the dugout against the Texas Rangers during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Getty Images / J Meric …..
===============================================================================================

πŸ˜‰ …… πŸ™‚

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

πŸ˜‰

======================================================================================================

MLB news

Boston Red Sox news

San Diego Padres news

Tampa Bay Rays news

Remember The Alamo ……. Hopefully The Spurs Don’t …… !

Remember The Alamo ……. Hopefully The
Spurs Don’t …… !

By tophatal ………

Well the San Antonio Spurs are now riding a 9 game winning streak albeit, that the New York Knicks are front and center on the front and back pages of many of the nation’s newspapers solely because of the exploits of team’s new rising star Jeremy Lin . That being said to overlook Gregg Popovich’s players accomplishments this season would be rather idiotic at this juncture but a story is a story and within the NBA if it encapsulates the nation’s biggest ad market and one of the league’s most renowned franchises then it has to be place front and center within the sports’ fans psyche .

================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

The Spurs are a mere game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder (22-6) who themselves riding a two game win streak but Scott Brooks’ players are looking to separate themselves from the rest of the pack within the Western Conference . With their highly explosive duo of Kevin Durant , Russell Westbrook and the ever influential play of James Harden makes the team more than just a credible and prohibitive favorite to be the conference’s number one seed at the culmination of the regular season .

Harden and Durant led all scorers on the Thunder’s roster as they overcame the Utah Jazz 111-85 in what turned out to be a rather lopsided victory . Offense has been the bread and butter of the NBA during the regular season but one has to admit that this year as the defensive mindset of the teams in many cases have been woefully inept .

Of the teams said to be struggling on both fronts and most certainly on pace perhaps surpass the 9-73 record of the 1973-74 Philadelphia 76ers and their claim to infamy . One has but only to look at the Charlotte Bobcats 3-25 and their now 15 game losing streak as many wondering whether or not coach Paul Silas will indeed survive the rest of the Bobcats’ season . Team owner Michael Jordan and GM Rod Higgins have to be extremely unhappy with the play of the team and in particular the fact with this ongoing losing streak .

For Gregg Popovich as he now chases a fifth NBA title as a head coach to lead all active coaches in the NBA in terms of championships won , it will be interesting to see whether or not he and this team in its present guise will be able overcome last season’s abrupt departure in the first round of last season’s NBA Playoffs . That series loss brought the team back down to earth after their 60 win season and the #1 seed in the Western Conference last season. That series’ loss essentially summed up what I felt was apparent all along with the team last season and it came down to the youth and inexperience on the Spurs’ roster. This season with that blend of seasoned veterans led by Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli , Tony Parker and Richard Jefferson it is felt that quartet can lead the likes of Thiago Splitter , Kawhi Leonard , DeJuan Blair and Gary Neal . This team is playing with a refined presence that wasn’t often from the players last season .

Point guard Tony Parker this season has been having a very productive year on for the team leading in all of the offensive statistical categories that matter the most . And with Duncan having been reduced in terms of the minutes played as the coaching staff seeks to rest the fifteen year veteran in order to keep him fresh for the postseason . In doing so along with the return of Manu Ginobli after his recuperation from an injury . The team now seems to be set , as they now seek to play themselves into a rhythm while seeking to remain amidst the top teams within the conference strategically in terms of their defensive and offensive efficiency . Certainly this season the Spurs have shown that amongst the teams within the NBA they are capable holding their own against their Eastern Division counterparts.

Now inasmuch I know that the All Star Game is meant to be that all too celebratory event that brings the fans together to celebrate the game of basketball and for them to be close to their heroes . But I’m beginning to think that while the showcase is a laudable exercise the premise and voting behind it now has become all the more asinine , and way too self indulgent ! No more so, than the fact that the fans are simply choosing their favorite players rather than making their decisions along the lines of the productivity of the players throughout the season leading up to the event itself . Case in point , would be the overlooking of the Boston Celtics’ point guard Rajon Rondo who this season has been their most productive and efficient player over the course of their schedule thus far. This might seem as an almighty snub of a gigantic proportion but it is my honest opinion the voting for the main selection of starters for the conferences should simply be left to the players , coaches and general managers with the choices of the reserves being left to the fans ! Since when was the All Star Game in terms of the voting process meant to be a popularity contest ?

Granted , there are players who’ll be subject to a vote that simply aren’t worthy of the merit but what might be even more ridiculous has been the idea now being placed in print by USA Today columnist Christine Brennan for the inclusion of New York Knicks’ point guard Jeremy Lin , merely because of his exploits over the team’s last 6 games that have all led to wins for the Eastern Conference organization . The more , the recent events concerning the team have arisen , the more I have begun to think that the coaching staff have been clueless as to the abilities of their young point guard ! Most certainly in listening to the post-game comments made by Mike DAntoni and GM Glen Grunwald it is clear that neither of these two individuals knew what they had within their midst .

Perhaps it’s just me but I’m beginning to feel that the organization hasn’t progressed that far from the years when former front office executive Isiah Thomas was simply laying waste to the franchise with many of the asinine deals he constructed and the exorbitant salaries paid to players who simply didn’t pan out while wearing a Knicks’ uniform .

The team will now embark on a three game schedule away from home playing respectively the New Orleans Hornets , Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey Nets . All three on paper appear to be winnable for the franchise and it remains to be seen as to whether or not they can now maintain that 7 game winning streak .

The San Antonio Spurs by comparison with their nine game winning streak will look to keep that going as they try to position themselves in seeking to pass the Oklahoma City Thunder in having the best record in the Western Conference . Popovich and the players will now embark on a 4 game schedule away from home before returning to play the Chicago Bulls at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas , on the 29th March, 2012 . That quartet of games will see the team play the Los Angeles Clippers , Utah Jazz , Portland Trailblazers and the Denver Nuggets . Their sternest test may well be the game against the Clippers before then facing the Bulls .

And that match-up between the Bulls and Spurs could be seen as possibly a precursor of this season’s NBA Finals if things were to pan itself out . Point guards Tony Parker and Derrick Rose prior to his injury were two of the most productive players at the position within the NBA this season . Parker isn’t necessarily viewed as being one of the elite point guards within the league because simply put the San Antonio Spurs aren’t viewed as a stylish team but consider this , beyond that of the success of the Lakers over the last decade during the playoffs , the Spurs have been an omnipresent franchise during the NBA postseason . The team’s record simply speaks for itself in that one area alone and one of the primary reasons why is in fact the play of Tony Parker over that period of time .

Those who may have witnessed Tony Parker’s performances for the Spurs in their last appearance in the NBA Finals where we all remember he was primarily responsible for the dismantling of the LeBron James’ led Cleveland Cavaliers’ in the series’ Finals of 2007 where he went on to win the NBA Finals’ MVP . Parker and Ginobli this season will have to be the primary focal point for the Spurs if they are to have a successful regular season showing as well as their foray into the postseason . And at this juncture with that win streak now building into a rhythm of consistency , it has to be said that the playoff picture as it now stands looks a great deal more enticing !

The standings within the NBA at present gives us something of an indication as to where the teams are and those whom many of us might consider to be contenders , those whom we might consider to be pretenders .and those who for all sense we should consider to be plainly out of the picture altogether . At this juncture one has to look at teams such as the Charlotte Bobcats , New Jersey Nets , Washington Wizards , New Orleans Hornets , Sacramento Kings , Phoenix Suns and ask given their present situation , is there any hope at all for them as the season progresses ? Your thoughts on the matter ?

==================================================================================================

===================================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

With the All Star Game now but a week away what do you as a fan hope to see with regard to the NBA season between now and its finale ? And what to your mind what do you believe to be the biggest surprise of the season ? Simply chime in with your thoughts and anything else that you believe to be pertinent with regard to the subject matter .

Picture and slide show details below .

====================================================================================================

(1) NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 15: Jeremy Lin (17) of the New York Knicks sits on the bench during the game against the Sacramento Kings on February 15, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(2) (2) Jeremy Lin (17) of the New York Knicks shoots over John Salmons (5) of the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden on February 15, 2012 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

(3) NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 15 : Jeremy Lin (17) of the New York Knicks drives past Marcus Thornton (23) of the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden on February 15, 2012 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …

(4) Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, left, reacts after official Scott Twardoski , right, made a call against the Raptors while playing against the San Antonio Spurs during second-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette ….

(5) (5) San Antonio Spurs guard Cory Joseph , right, drives past Toronto Raptors forward Jamaal Magloire during first-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette ……

(6) San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker, right, scores past Toronto Raptors guard Jose Calderon, left, during first-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette …….

(7) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan sports a bandage under his left eye after taking an elbow from Detroit Pistons’ Ben Wallace in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, in Auburn Hills, Mich. Duncan stayed in the game and led the Spurs with 18 points and 13 rebounds in their 99-95 win . AP Photo/Duane Burleson …. ……

(8) Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots in front of Utah Jazz guard Earl Watson (11) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Oklahoma City won 111-85 . AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki ……

(9) Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots in front of Utah Jazz guard Earl Watson (11) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Oklahoma City won 111-85 . AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki ……

(10) Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden, right, takes control of a loose ball against Utah Jazz forward Josh Howard, left, during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson …….

=================================================================================================

πŸ˜‰

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

πŸ˜‰

==================================================================================

NBA news

New York Knicks’ news

Oklahoma City Thunder news

San Antonio Spurs’ news

NBA Standings by Division …… (win streaks)

NBA Standings by Conference ….. (win streaks)

NBA leading scorers

NBA leading scorers by conference (Eastern )

NBA leading scorers by conference (Western)

NBA team statistics – Offense

NBA team statistics – Defense

NBA Team statistics by conference : Eastern Conference

Team offense

Team defense

Western Conference

Team offense

Team defense

===================================================================================

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

===================================================================================

Stephen Marley ………… feat’g Capelton ……… ” Break Us Apart ”

πŸ˜‰ ……. πŸ™‚

Would you like ” your stick ” licked ? I’m sure she’d be happy to oblige !

Who’d Have Thought That ?

Who’d Have Thought That ?

By tophatal ……….

So the Jeremy Lin story continues unabated and last night proved a point that this story might just have quite a way to go before it all “peters” out . With the score tied at 87-87 (points) apiece apiece and the game winding down the Knicks’ point guard let go with a three-point attempt over the flailing hands of Toronto Raptors’ guard Jose` Calderon which resulted in a game breaking victory for the Knicks and bring their consecutive win streak to now six games . What might be even more unbelievable was that before Lin was installed unto the roster the team’s three biggest stars Carmelo Anthony , Amare` Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler who collectively this season will be paid in excess of $49.6 million while the Lin will earn a mere $766,500 for the 2011-12 season .

==================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

Give Jeremy Lin’s exploits through these series of games and the fact that the Knicks are now on their longest winning streak of the year , it begs the question why wasn’t he inserted into the starting lineup when the team’s two point guards , unproductive Baron Davis and Mike Bibby were either said to be ailing or simply not living up to expectations ? Instead , the New York Knicks’ head coach Mike D’Antoni experimented with having Carmelo Anthony play the position rather unsuccessfully and most definitely not instilling any confidence by way of his teammates . From my own standpoint, I have always felt that D’Antoni at best was no more than a marginally adequate NBA coach at best ! And given the predilection of his teams over the years merely to play offense it should come as no surprise as to the early struggles of the team this season .

The fact that the Knicks eked out a 3 point margin of victory over a woefully inept Raptors’ team coached by Dwayne Casey led by Jose Calderon and Andre Bargnani are a mere indication why this franchise are something of a lukewarm draw for the fans in attendance at the Rogers’ Center in Toronto , Ontario. The Raptors as an organization have never won a divisional title and have never gone deep into the NBA postseason .

No doubt while there is a loyal following for the Raptors consider this , this was the first sellout for the team since their opening day game of the 2011-12 season . Kind of makes you wonder if there’s still an appeal for the NBA north of the border ? With the relocation of the Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis , Tennessee to be renamed the Memphis Grizzlies it has to said the NBA hierarchy led by David Stern now has to be seriously thinking about whether or not this franchise is still a viable concern for the league. The organization currently under of the umbrella organization Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Inc under its President …. Larry Tannenbaum have steadfastly refused to discuss the relocation of this franchise and perhaps with good reason but at the same time with this team simply struggling to gain traction within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference .

Raptors’ GM Bryan Colangelo will have a hard time trying to lure even the most established of stars North of the border to play for the organization and that is spite of the environment within the locale. And given the lack of success by the franchise I simply don’t believe that there will be an uptick wherein their fortunes will change overnight !

.

Now don’t get me wrong but I’m not about to count out the Los Angeles Lakers as of yet but given the inconsistency of the team this season and the very fact that Mike Brown now looks to be out of his depth . Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak and Stephen Buss , son of the team’s owner Dr Jerry Buss may well have felt that Brown was the trendy choice ahead of then Lakers’ assistant coach Brian Shaw , a protege` of Phil Jackson . Mike Brown having succeeded the franchise’s 11 time NBA champion was a hard titanic act to follow .

Perhaps it is a bias thought to my premise but I certainly felt that Brian Shaw was more deserving as a successor to Phil Jackson but perhaps for the sake of change on the part of the Lakers’ hierarchy Mike Brown was seen as their choice . With a core built …… around ……. Kobe Bryant , Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum this team has struggled throughout much of their season not only within the Western Conference but also the Pacific Division .

Having taken care of the Atlanta Hawks in a hard-fought victory the Lakers still find themselves two games behind the division leading Los Angeles Clippers (17-9) as of the 14th February 2012 . The troubling situation for Brown has been the productivity of the team’s point guards this season as both Derek Fisher and Steve Blake have proven to be ineffective , leading to Mike Brown bringing in Gilbert Arenas for a tryout to see what the seasoned veteran can provide by way of productivity for the franchise. Given the player’s last stop on his somewhat varied career I seriously doubt that the meager returns that were obtained by the Orlando Magic for the salary received by Arenas has me wondering whether or not this is simply an act of desperation on the part of Mike Brown and Mitch Kupchak !

The play of the point guards within the NBA and specifically the Western Conference have been productive by enlarge . But clearly the Lakers have issues with the lack of productivity at the position . With the All Star Game merely a week away from this Sunday to be staged at the Amway Center in Orlando , Florida , home to the Magic. It could very well be that Mitch Kupchak will approach a number of his peers to gauge their interest in formulating a trade for an unrestricted free agent point guard . What the Lakers would be prepared to give up even as part of a salary dump or perhaps a player simply superfluous to their needs remains to be seen. They were many who felt that David Stern’s position in vetoing the trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers in a multi-player deal was somewhat intrusive by the commissioner . But what many failed to realize was such a trade would still be a detriment to the New Orleans Hornet as a franchise . And although , Stern granted his approval for Paul to join the Los Angeles Clippers it still has left that franchise (Hornets) in a rather precarious situation. With there being little support for Hornet by way of attendance and the continued struggles of the team from a competitive standpoint I have yet to hear a clear and succinct answer from anyone concerning how any trade would be to the betterment of this franchise ! Dell Demps the general manager hasn’t been able to provide an answer and it is clear that the commissioner for all of the pretense in his demeanor he also is without a clear answer .

The New Orleans Hornets still remains in league hands with the franchise’s ownership situation still unresolved since the sale of the Hornets by George Shinn after minority stakeholder Gary Chouest was unable to come up with a successful buyout of the organization . David Stern has only recently made it public that the league hierarchy is slowly whittling down the prospective suitors for the team . One of Stern’s biggest wish is for the franchise to remain in New Orleans but given the lack of support for this team and the low attendance levels for their home games I think it remote a chance that the Hornets will remain within the confines of New Orleans for the long-term ! This was the same stance taken originally by the commissioner before the back door and surreptitious dealings engineered by Stern and Clay Bennett that led to the relocation of the Seattle Supersonics from the city of Seattle to Oklahoma City to be renamed the Oklahoma City Thunder . Does anyone truly believe that the Hornets will remain within the Crescent City for the foreseeable future ?

If the Lakers are unable to find point guard via a trade then it is my belief that the team will simply look to use a player by committee approach to best fit the role , with there being some added responsibility being placed upon the already burdened shoulders of Kobe Bryant , as he seeks a sixth NBA title during his illustrious career . The player for his part hasn’t been overly vocal as to the woes of his team but it is now becoming abundantly clear that the multiple All Star clearly isn’t happy with the situation now befalling this franchise.

It would be presumptuous to consider to write off the Los Angeles Lakers as of now but with there being little more a little more than two months left in the regular season there is still a great deal to play for between now and the end of their NBA schedule . All that is needed is for the team to hit a rich vein of form , thereby retaining that momentum and that should prove to be enough to at least garner them a playoff berth , if not the division itself .

I’m not so sure as to what’s happening with the New Jersey Nets but with the fallout that’s now taking place within that particular organization . It is becoming abundantly clear that Deron Williams is not about to resign with that franchise . And granted , team owner Mikhail Prokhorov is now back in his native Russia seeking his country’s presidency but even he now has to be concerned with the plight of this team . A perceived trade that would have brought NBA center ……. Dwight Howard fell apart when the franchise’s own main piece of that puzzle in Brook Lopez went down injured . Since then , it has been mere conjecture and speculation as to what move will be made next by GM Billy King and the front office .

Avery Johnson, as coach of the New Jersey Nets is certainly in a battle merely to get this team to play with any type of resolve . Beyond Deron Williams and Marshon Brooks , Anthony Morrow and Jordan Farmar there has been little to suggest that this band of players can contest their division (Atlantic Division) much less the Eastern Conference by enlarge . The troubling situation for the Nets , specifically Prokhorov and the multi million investment made by the owner not merely in the organization but also the Brooklyn Barclays Center Atlantic Yards Development ……. ____ the future home for the franchise , with the draw being a vibrant commercial and resident real estate venue ……….. the thought ____ the envisioned “jewel in the crown” is meant to be this NBA franchise that now is struggling in terms of overall attendance . This has me wondering , if the team is uncompetitive then how will the front office seek to lure fans to their proposed new state of the art venue ? Granted, with the retail outlets , said to be at the centerpiece of the development , it is hard to see how the New Jersey Nets can still be seen as a selling point to a passing observer as a form entertainment when they continue to struggle to draw fans .

Now while the NBA season itself of late , has been about the heroics of Jeremy Lin and the win streak of the New York Knicks , the plot-lines and side stories in the background will no doubt soon come to the fore . It will be interesting to see what transpires and specifically how David Stern deals with many of the underlying issues . His lack of candor concerning the fate of the Sacramento Kings and their situation only gives further credence that should the situation not be to his satisfaction, he along with the franchise’s ownership will seek to uproot that team and relocate them elsewhere. The city’s mayor, Kevin Johnson , if anything should be clear of one thing , and it is that whatever assistance provided by the league hierarchy will be nowhere near enough sort by himself and his council members . Don’t believe me ? Then simply peruse the incidents that arose before the Sonics made their move out of Seattle , leaving the city somewhat dumbfounded and looking like complete idiots !

======================================================================================================

=================================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent with regard to the subject matter .

πŸ˜‰

Picture and slide show details below .

============================================================================================

(1) New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin (17) celebrates with teammates Tyson Chandler and Landry Fields (2) after his game-winning 3-pointer against the Toronto Raptors in an NBA basketball game in Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn ….

(2) Toronto Raptors coach Dwayne Casey shows off his NBA championship ring after being presented with it prior to an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks in Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn …..

(3) The shot seen and heard around the globe that has now made Jeremy Lin an NBA sensation over the past seven days . NY Daily News/ Jim Bishop ……….

(4) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 14: Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers drives against Vladimir Radmanovic (77) of the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on February 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 86-78 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(5) Head coach Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers shouts instructions in the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on February 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 86-78 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(6) Josh Smith (5) of the Atlanta Hawks shoots over Pau Gasol (16) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on February 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …..

(7) Memphis Grizzlies’ Marreese Speights , right, runs into New Jersey Nets’ Johan Petro , of France, during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012, in Newark, N.J. The Grizzlies defeated the Nets 105-100 . AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …. …..

(8) Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, left, loses the ball as he runs into New Jersey Nets center Shelden Williams during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012, in Newark, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……..

(9) New Jersey Nets head coach Avery Johnson talks with Deron Williams (8) in a timeout against the San Antonio Spurs during an NBA basketball game in Newark, N.J., Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012. The Spurs won 103-89 . AP Photo/Rich Schultz ……

(10) Nets’ coach Avery Johnson , left, is seen here alongside team owner Mikhail Prokhorov, center, and GM Billy King during a brief interlude at the team’s training session . Prokhorov seeks the Presidency in his native Russia as an independent candidate hoping to beat Vladimir Putin and succeed incumbent Alexander Medvedev . AP/Getty Images/ Sharon Messer ………

(11) An artist’s rendition of the Barclays Center Atlantic Yards Development that will be the future home of the New Jersey/New York Nets . The venue will house what will be the NBA’s newest facility as well as multiple upscale retail and commercial residences , as well as two luxury hotels , a theater multiplex and a number of commercial businesses . Prokhorov is a major stakeholder in this enterprise having bought that stake from Bruce Ratner the real estate mogul and a minority stake owner in the NBA franchise . @ Manning Inc . All rights reserved . …..

=======================================================================================

πŸ˜‰

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

πŸ˜‰ ………. πŸ™‚

==================================================================================

NBA news

NBA schedule & results

Los Angeles Lakers’ news

New Jersey Nets’ news

New York Knicks’ news

NBA attendance figures : Attendance averages 2011-12

2010-11

2009-10

==============================================================================================

Common ……… feat’g ………… Kanye West ……. “The Food “

============================================================================

Elisha Jade . A fine piece of a## if I may say so myself !

A lil’ bit more of Elisha Jade for your edification . I do hope you like this small pictorial ?

24 Carats And Then There’s A Baseball Diamond And A Game That’s Still Flawed In So Many Ways !

24 Carats And Then There’s A Baseball Diamond And A Game That’s Still Flawed In So Many Ways !

By tophatal ……..

So pitchers and some outfielders are now starting to report for Spring Training . And it’s pretty safe to say that as both the Citrus League and Grapefruit Leagues set about starting their respective schedules the fans within the states of Florida and Arizona as fans descend upon both states to see their favorite teams . As a resident here within the state of Florida I will try to do my utmost to see a number of preseason games and quite possibly gauge the teams to see where they stand at this point early in the season .

As a die-hard fan of the Atlanta Braves’ fan I’m hoping to see whether or not Fredi Gonzalez can lead a young robust but notably a spirited team to some much-needed success . Led by seasoned veterans Tim Hudson , Chipper Jones and Brian McCann this should be a roster that’s capable of breaking the dominance of the Philadelphia Phillies and their stranglehold on the NL East over the last two years .

============================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

============================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

My own feeling will be that the Phillies will have something of a down year , and I firmly believe that the loss of Ryan Howard and the offense of the team will indeed see a drop off from last season ! And even though manager Charlie Manuel will be able to count on the likes of Raul Ibanez , Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino will jointly have to see that the Phillies’ offense is a well oiled machine until the return of Ryan Howard recuperation from his injuries . That being said if the Philadelphia Phillies are to survive for any prolonged period without the first baseman then the pitching rotation of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee will have to be at their leveled best for the team’s season . Granted , during the Phillies’ pitching simply wasn’t where it need to be in order to overcome the wiles of the St Louis Cardinals .

From my own standpoint I view this season as a “ must win” for Charlie Manuel and GM Reuben Amaro Jr , as failure to do so , could see this multimillion dollar roster being imploded at the behest of managing partner and principal owner David Montgomery . At the same time both Amaro and Manuel could very well find themselves out of a job at year’s end which would obviously predicated upon the success of the team.

The reigning World Series champions the St Louis Cardinals are now without All Star first baseman Albert Pujols who has now found himself a new home having been acquired by the Los Angeles Angels and signed to a lucrative multi-year contract . From my own perspective I do not believe that Pujols’ agent Dan Lozano was asking for an extortionate deal on behalf of his client but herein lies the idiocy MLB and the fact that team owners and their front office executives don’t tend to be all that bright. Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak signed Matt Holliday to a 7yr $119 million deal somewhat bloated when you consider the lack of real productivity from Holliday over the past two seasons . So unless team owner Bill DeWitt overnight became something of a cheap skate , I can only presume he felt the team’s needs were elsewhere , rather than retaining one of the most productive first baseman in the NL and the game altogether . Someone explain that to me please as to the mindset behind the thinking of the St Louis Cardinals’ front office ?

I’m no great admirer of the NL West but I’ll give credit where it’s due because much like its NFL counterparts within the AFC West and NFL West the brand of being put up for public display can be best described as being dire . And it has been no different within the division that just happens to be the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks , Colorado Rockies , Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants .

The Giants had something of a down year year in 2011 , unable to make a successful defense of their 2010 World Series title . And the team’s failure to win either the division or at least be in remotely of a chance of gaining the wildcard berth last season . That being said Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy and his coaching assistants will be looking to redeem themselves this upcoming season .

As for the Los Angeles Dodgers given their present situation of seeing the organization still without an owner as the ball-club remains within bankruptcy proceedings while a new owner is sought via a sealed bidding process. ________ it will be interesting to see what transpires between now and the end of the whole episode . It would appear that Bud Selig’s ass might just be saved after-all, given his whole blundered handling of this rather asinine episode when one bears in mind all of the danger signs were there to see concerning the willful and malevolent dealings of Frank McCourt and the most senior executives of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization ! And to think that there some rather idiotic individuals who claim to be knowledgeable as to the inner workings of a baseball organization were proffering up some rather inane advice concerning what they deem to be pertinent to this matter . At one point would it occur to these assholes that simply transgressing the bye-laws of the game as laid out by the league hierarchy is actually OK ? But then again these very same morons would willingly come out and support the players who have actually used steroids , other PED’s and would suggest that it has actually benefited the game of baseball , while actually defrauding the fans and essentially hurting the integrity and image of the game ! Furthermore , it’s not as if the league hierarchy have seen fit to actually be proactive from the very beginning as to the actions of Frank McCourt , much less the whole steroid abuse era !

Arizona Diamondbacks’ manager Kirk Gibson and his team had an improbable season in 2011 having parlayed their play into a division title and an appearance in the postseason . And with the moves made by the front office led by GM Kevin Towers and senior managing general partner Ken Kendrick . It will certainly be interesting to see how the team in its current guise will look regroup itself and play themselves into contention over the course of the regular season. At the same time with their depth on the roster along with the cursory invitees Gibson and his coaching staff will indeed have enough time to assess the overall make-up as of the team at large . Will there be a place for perhaps some of the organization’s top prospects ? Well this is where the preseason schedule will tell us a great deal about those aspirants will be looking to play their way unto the team.

The Arizona Diamondbacks will open their regular season schedule with a three game series at home against the San Francisco Giants starting on the 5th April 2012 that will be played at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona . Justin Upton , Ryan Roberts and Chris Young will need to show the same sort of productivity on display last season if the Diamondbacks are to be successful this season. And much of that will be predicated upon the maturity and quite possibly the leadership expected to be exhibited by Upton . Meanwhile the team’s pitching rotation led by Ian Hughes , Daniel Hudson and Joe Saunders will also be asked to replicate the form shown in 2011 .

It now appears that time cannot not heal all wounds and the New York Yankees now seem to be finding that once again to their cost repeatedly over the years. As it appears that they are now looking to unload the burdensome and unproductive …… A J Burnett and his rather inflated contract . If the rumors are to believed then the front office of the organization are willing to pay at least 60% of the player’s remaining contract while he plays elsewhere . Kind of reminds me of the same role reverse model that in essence kept the Texas Rangers from being competitive during and immediately after Alex Rodriguez’s tenure there , leading him to being shipped off to the Bronx Bombers several years ago. For the final seven years of Rodriguez’s original 10 year $252 million contract that was negotiated on the player’s behalf by none other than that ” vulture “ known as Scott Boras !

The Texas Rangers somehow agreed to swallow the greater part of that inflated contract that had in part left them in a precarious financial situation. So much so , that then team owners Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette said to be acute businessmen then had to place all of their sporting interests ( Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars ) into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection . That same fate also befell the English Premiership (EPL) soccer team Liverpool FC that the duo purchased several years later. Now out of the receivers’ hands under UK bankruptcy laws the team is once again competitive , relevant and is now under the ownership of the Fenway Sports Group who just also happen to own the Boston Red Sox . Far be it for me to suggest but I find it ludicrous for anyone to suggest that the MLB team owners are even in the slightest bit astute in terms of their presumed business acumen ! Simply look at the likes of David Glass , Frank McCourt , Bob Nutting , Stuart Sternberg , Lewis Wolff , Robert H. Castellini and Tom Ricketts . These individuals may well have made their millions elsewhere but without the subterfuge and the complete idiocy under which baseball operates with the owners in subjugation in part to the league hierarchy led by Bud Selig , I seriously doubt that their respective organizations would be seeing the light of day as a viable going concern !

Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman is simply proving to my mind that while having a treasure at his disposal he is not that great a front office executive much less that a general manager to begin with . Without the millions afforded him by way of the YES Network there is no way in hell that he would be allowed to get away with such an exercise were this not the New York Yankees’ organization . Consider the trades and players that have come and gone during Cashman’s reign and the leading front office executive in charge of making the personnel decisions for the organization ? And in large part were you to go down that list reel off their names and I can assure that you more likely than not consider at least 55% of those players to have been major busts or ” marginal busts ” !

In large part I do hope that the preseason as well as the regular season will be something that offers the fans and public alike some enthralling . Given the events of the final month of the regular season and that of the final day itself . Who would have thought that crescendo would have been surpassed by the exploits of the teams participating in the postseason itself ?

====================================================================================================

===================================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything are you most looking forward as the MLB season approaches and do you believe that this season can surpass not only the events of last year but also the unlikely success attained by a number of teams that perhaps many of us didn’t view as being on the radar ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and once again thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details below .

============================================================================================

(1) Buster Posey (28) of the San Francisco Giants hits a two run home run in the fourth inning outfield their game against the Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park on April 24, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ….

(2) Pitcher Roy Halladay (34) (right) , and Cliff Lee (33) of the Philadelphia Phillies sit in the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 26, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….

(3) Michael Bourn (24) of the Atlanta Braves steals second base during a game against Chase Utley (26) of the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on September 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Scott Cunningham …..

(4) Martin Prado (14) and Dan Uggla (26) . of the Atlanta Braves sit in the dugout after the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on September 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Scott Cunningham …..

(5) Willie Bloomquist (18) of the Arizona Diamondbacks misplays a ball in the infield against the Milwaukee Brewers during Game Two of the National League Division Series at Miller Park on October 2, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. ……

(6) Manager Kirk Gibson of the Arizona Diamondbacks talks with former Major League Baseball’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre before Game Three of the National League Division Series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Chase Field on October 4, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. …..

(7) New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett throws in relief during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. AP Photo/Mike Carlson …….

(8) General manager Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees speaks to the media after the game against the Tampa Bay Rays was postponed due to rain on July 8, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Getty Images North America / Jim McIsaac …….

(9) General manager Dayton Moore (R) of the Kansas City Royals and owner David Glass watch batting practice before a game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 21, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Ed Zurga ……

(10) (L-R) Bob Castellini the CEO of the Cincinnati Reds and Pete Rose share a laugh during the ceremony celebrating the 25th anniversary of his breaking the career hit record of 4,192 on September 11, 2010 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rose was honored before the start of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds.

(11) Theo Epstein , the new President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, speaks during a press conference as Chairman Tom Ricketts listens at Wrigley Field on October 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images North America / Johnathan Daniel …….
======================================================================================================

πŸ™‚ ….. πŸ˜‰

=====

πŸ˜‰

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

πŸ™‚

==========================================================================

MLB news

MLB standings final day 2011

MLB wildcard standings final day 2011

MLB scoreboard final day 2011

MLB Spring Training Schedule (Opening Day) 29th February 2012

MLB Schedule (Regular Season Opening Day) 5th April , 2012

MLB Awards 2011

MLB postseason results 2011

=========================================================================================

Keeping the bare necessities covered Merilyn Sakova

Nice-n-easy does it as Ms Sakova’s assets get your attention . Those have got to be real haven’t they ? Or perhaps not …… your thoughts ?

It’s A Damn Business …… So Let The Caterwauling Begin ……….

It’s A Damn Business So Let The Caterwauling Begin ……….

By tophatal ………….

The NFL postseason ended with a second Superbowl triumph for the New York Giants and their emphatic 21-17 victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots . In the aftermath of those events we now come to the off-season mayhem that comes about as teams now look to off-load their free agents with a possible view to re-signing them or pursuing the college talent that will be available via the upcoming NFL Draft this April.

==================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

In light of this all it would appear that a number of front offices around the league are either coming to some hasty decisions . The Pittsburgh Steelers it would appear might make the decision to cut their famed wide receiver Hines Ward . The player himself a leader in a number of receiving categories for the franchise has made it clear that he would like to retire a Steeler rather than taking his talents elsewhere. I can’t say that I’d blame the player , given his tenure with the team where has found immeasurable success as well as being a Superbowl MVP winner with the Pittsburgh Steelers . Mike Tomlin as the head coach of the team knows that he can ill afford to lose a player of Ward’s caliber given his productivity this season for the franchise .

Having missed the postseason the Pittsburgh Steelers saw the Baltimore Ravens win the NFC North along with the upstart Cincinnati Bengals claiming a wildcard berth from within the division. The issues of the Steelers were well chronicled this season with the defense not being up to par and that is in spite of having a defensive guru as the team’s defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau .

Team quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for his part has voiced his dissatisfaction concerning the offensive strategies by the coaching staff . That being said a move of this magnitude by the Steelers could have lasting ramifications for the team. The franchise may well be looking to curtail costs but it’s not as if Ward was a major liability in terms of the salary he was being paid annually in comparison to other players at the position within the NFL . That being said the New England Patriots whose woes this season were clearly evident for everyone to see. The team’s offense while being explosive it was the defense throughout much of the season that was caused for concern and prove to be their Achilles’ Heel also in the postseason , specifically in their Superbowl match-up against the New York Giants .

Patriots’ GM Nick Caserio in consultation with Bill Belichick is said to be contemplating the decision to cut wide receiver Wes Welker who is said to be seeking an improved contract . The player over the last five seasons has been one of the team’s most productive players and also in the NFL as this has been borne out in terms Welker’s statistics over that time-frame .
The player this past season led all players in receptions . Now to my mind while Welker can be faulted for a number of missteps made during the Superbowl but if this is Belichick’s idea of sending a message to the rest of the players on the team then he should also have been sending an even much sterner message to Chad Ochocinco because his production post and regular season was about as anemic as one could imagine . Granted , having been acquired in a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals , the wide receiver has never lived up to the expectations one had hoped for . And given the fact that upon the acquisition Chad Ochocinco was signed to a three-year contract extension valued at $11,500,000 that offered a base salary of $1,000,000 for the 2011 season . Either this was a naive move on the part of Nick Caserio and Bill Belichick in cutting Wes Welker but I feel that the move itself was a foolish one !

There’s no doubt in my mind that Wes Welker will find himself a new franchise where he can offer his services but at the same time as an avid Patriots’ fan I am hoping that Belichick will be man enough to re-sign the player even if it is only to one year contract ! Chad Ochocinco sits on the sidelines “tweeting ” about his wish to be a solid and productive player but he seems to forgotten the fact that if he’s to be productive then he has to actually show up for these games , rather than continually making a complete ass of himself merely to “sell the brand “ known as Chad Ochocinco ! If Bill Belichick wasn’t clear in the fact that the wide receiver he felt he could tie his sail to then surely the choice made by the coach has left no doubt in the minds of many of the idiocy of his decision ! The former Bengals’ wide receiver has failed miserably to live up to expectation while the franchise’s most productive wide receiver has been let go ……… . I now guess the next question that has to be asked what the hell was Bill Belichick thinking ?

The off-season promises to be mayhem simply because of the enormity of the number of free agents about to hit the free agency market . Can you imagine that as many as 600 players will be restricted and unrestricted free agents that figure equates to 36% of the playing staff of the NFL now enter the market place where their agents will be looking to make their clients available to the highest bidder .

Over the five years it is my belief that the names of Brady , Peyton Manning , Aaron Rodgers , Roethlisberger , Drew Brees and now one can add Eli Manning’s name as the most “ recognizable faces ” within the NFL ! After Brees’ record breaking season and his MVP award I can only hope that the New Orleans Saints and in particular the front office executives are likely to retain the player rather than testing the free agency market amongst the designated quarterbacks that will be available this off-season . The fact that Saints’ owner Tom Benson might now be hedging his bet rather than negotiating with the player leads me to believe that the two sides are now far either far apart in the process or they are close to an agreement but would rather keep the findings private until a given time .

Given what Brees has meant to the team over the years can you consider them letting him go and the player now playing elsewhere ? And to my mind Chargers’ GM AJ Smith and team owner Dean Spanos might now just be rueing the day that they allowed the player to leave that organization . If nothing the repeated failure of the San Diego Chargers are simply now proving that the repeated failures to make a credible run in the postseason shows that they should be considered a complete failure ! Philip Rivers to my mind is a very good regular season …… quarterback but come the postseason I certainly don’t consider him to be a leader or for that matter that he has the complementary weapons around him to for even to take that organization to the next level ! And it is clear that the window of opportunity for the San Diego Chargers , the coaching staff of head coach Norv Turner and the players themselves that time is running out and their window is about to firmly closed ! It is inconceivable to my mind that Turner retained his position and will be returning to the organization next season . ! It’s not as if they posed a real serious threat to anyone within their division much less the rest of the NFL .

At what point will it occur to Jim Irsay that with every utterance out of his mouth concerning the franchise’s impending future he further alienates himself amongst the fans of the Indianapolis Colts , much less those fans who simply worship Peyton Manning ? We all know the now well chronicled stories emanating from the organization and the events that have taken place concerning the forced departures of the coaching staff and front office executives . And now Irsay and GM Keith Grigson have to make a decision that will impact the Colts’ franchise for the foreseeable future . Do they retain Peyton Manning beyond the 8th March , pay him the $28 million roster bonus due > and then quite possibly take either Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck as the consensus # 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft ? One should bear in mind also that the rookie salary contract while not all that foreboding will have to be one that is seemingly enticing enough for either Griffin or Luck to sign . Is that figure likely to be higher than the contract signed by the Carolina Panthers’ ……. Cam Newton last season as the then number one pick in the 2011 NFL Draft ? That obviously will be a topic of discussion that can and will be eagerly debated as and when that situation arises . Being financially prudent is one thing but in this case the premise might just have to take a back seat considering the Colts’ deficiencies at the quarterback position this past season .

Newly installed coach Chuck Pagano may well be envious of the fact that should Manning be retained he has the pleasure of coaching one of the best players to have played the position in NFL history . But much of that will be predicated on the decision to be made jointly by the team owner and front office staff . I am sure that Pagano will no doubt be consulted on the decision to be made but either way , with the end quite possibly in sight as it relates to Peyton Manning’s career. He may well have the desire to play , be it with the Colts or quite possibly with another NFL franchise but I do feel that given his injury issues the chance that any recurrence no matter how remote could have far more dangerous ramifications for the player than he or his medical advisers are prepared to let on . They may well have given the player a clean bill of health but with Irsay countering that the player hasn’t passed the club’s own in-house physical speaks highly as to the possible decision that will be made by the owner in what he believes will be the best for the future of his franchise .

If there’s one particular NFL franchise that is in the midst of what I believe to be needless turmoil then that would have to be the Chicago Bears ! From what was meant to be a season of promise essentially turned into a nightmare of their own making . Head coach Lovie Smith saw the team implode , suffer a number of injuries and the loss of quarterback Jay Cutler meant the mishaps were simply being written themselves .

Former GM Jerry Angelo wasn’t asked to return and the shakeup within the front office began to devastating effect within the organization. Now with the ever growing uncertainty concerning the team’s running back Matt Forte and whether or not they will extend the player’s contract and compensate him accordingly along the lines of the running backs within the league remains to be seen . Certainly, Forte deserves to be paid based solely on his productivity alone since his entrance into the NFL . One has to ask whether or not there is any common sense to be found from anyone within the front office of the Chicago Bears ? Simply losing a player of Forte’s caliber will have serious ramifications for the Bears and it is plain to see that the franchise needs Matt Forte if they’re to succeed at any level at all.

Forte has remained silent on the issue of his impending future and with the thought that he becomes an unrestricted free agent there’s to be a bevy of teams that will be interested in the player’s services and would be willing to pay him accordingly. The Chicago Bears if their intent is to show a sense of urgency as it relates to their future and specifically Matt Forte’s status then they should stop with the idiocy of simply playing the “waiting game ” !

================================================================================

By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in it original formatted size.

================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

With the impending status for so many players this off-season as it relates to their free agency what thoughts if any do you have on this all ? By all means do take the time to leave a comment as you see fit .

Picture and slide show details below .
==================================================================================
(1) New England Patriots Wes Welker drops a ball in the 4th quarter against the New York Giants during the NFL Super Bowl XLVI game February 5, 2012 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY /Getty Images …….

(2) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 05: Wes Welker (83), Rob Gronkowski (87) and Aaron Hernandez (81) of the New England Patriots wait in the end zone after losing to the New York Giants 21-17 during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images … ……..

(3) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick leaves the stadium after the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Giants won 21-17. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ….
(4) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 05: Quarterback Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots speaks to the media after losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 . Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ….

(5) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 05: Chad Ochocinco (85) of the New England Patriots waits on the field during warm ups before the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Elsa Amendola /Getty Images ….

(6) Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers (L), Charles Tillman of the Chicago Bears (C), and Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens (R), the three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, pose with the trophy following a news conference on February 3, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……..

(7) Head Coach Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers watches the action from the side-lines during a NFL game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 24, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions won 38-10 . Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images …….

(8) Phil Emery , the new Chicago Bears general manager, during his first news conference as general manager, Monday, Jan. 30, 2012, in Lake Forest, Ill. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast … …….

(9) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears runs past Antwan Barnes (98) of the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Chargers 31-20 . Getty Images North America/Johnathan Daniel ……

(10) Head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears gives instructions to players against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on December18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Seahawks defeated the Bears 38-14 . Getty Images North America / Johnathan Daniel …..
=========================================================================================================

πŸ˜‰

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

——————————————————————————————————————-

NFL news

NFL transactions

Chicago Bears’ news

New England Patriots’ news

New Orleans Saints news

Pittsburgh Pirates news

San Diego Chargers’ news

NFL free agents

Highest paid players in the NFL

Highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL

Highest paid running backs

Highest paid wide receivers

================================================================== =================

Biggie Smalls ……… ” Gimme The Loot ”

It’s All Lin-Sanity Baby ! Get A Dose Of It While It’s Happening Because It Could All Disappear Before You Even Know It !

It’s All Lin-Sanity Baby ! Get A Dose Of It While It’s Happening Because It Could All Disappear Before You Even Know It !

By tophatal ………….

Who’d have thought that basketball’s most lauded venue would now be in such a festive mood merely because an Asian American has set Madison Square in New York City , alight with a stellar display while leading the New York Knicks to an improbable win (92-85) over the Los Angeles Lakers . Point guard Jeremy Lin , the Ivy League educated Harvard graduate is now giving the Knicks’ fans something to actually smile about , most notably the franchise’s most famous supporter , famed director Spike Lee. Lin is off to a spectacular start in his debut with the New York Knicks and is currently averaging 29.8 ppg as the team’s point guard . The player’s displays might just have saved head coach Mike D’Antoni his job at this juncture but that will now be predicated upon the play of not just this Knicks’ team but also whether or not Jeremy Lin can still maintain that momentum and ingenuity shown .

==============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=============================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

With both Amare` Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony on the sidelines during the game , it has to be said many might have felt the Lakers would set about taking down a Knicks’ team that simply has been so inconsistent for much of the season . If the New York Knicks are said to be a team in something of a flummox then the best analogy to describe Mike Brown’s Lakers would be one that is now at a fork in the road , unsure of which direction to take . In the team’s most recent games it should come as no surprise that Kobe Bryant is leading the charge while those around him are under achieving .

The New York Knicks this season have been anything but impressive until Lin was pressed into playing the point with Baron Davis being sidelined due to an injury . And it certainly hasn’t helped that the from a defensive standpoint the team struggles to play with any degree of efficiency. And one would have thought with the addition of Tyson Chandler to this roster the thought would be with his presence there would add some tenacity to the defensive play of the team . Well , Mike D’Antoni was never known to be a defense minded coach and that was even while coaching the Phoenix Suns who were often known as an offense minded organization , more than anything else .

For Knicks’ owner James Dolan and general manager Glen Grunwald the sight of Jeremy Lin playing with so much authority and getting everyone involved in the game leads me to believe that the Knicks’ front office might well have lucked out in having Lin now play the point . Clearly , having Carmelo Anthony play the position wasn’t an insightful choice given the player’s lack productivity in playing the point . As to what this now portend as to the immediate future for the New York Knicks , well that remains to be seen .

The New York Knicks get to exhibit and showcase their recent form . Saturday night the team are the guests of Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves where they will looking to protect their four game winning streak while looking to play themselves into contention within Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . However , with a divisional record of 12-15 the Knicks know that if they’re to play themselves into contention for a playoff berth at least then between now and the end of the season they have a great deal to prove to their fans and the naysayers amongst the NBA analysts and public in general .

A win for Jeremy Lin and his teammates would augur well for the franchise but the team’s play will have to be accentuated to the point were they can ill afford needless losses if it is their intent to win their division much less garner a playoff berth. Another season as not being part of the NBA’s postseason showcase finale , given the fact that the franchise hasn’t sniffed a postseason berth in years and the possibility of failure this season could lead to Mike DAntoni being shown the door by the front office if the team should fail to deliver.

Now while all of the hyperbole surrounding Jeremy Lin for the moment is one of an inspiring one for the fans and specifically amongst the Asian American community who since the abrupt retirement of Yao Ming haven’t really had anyone of their ethnicity to which they can truly identify with. Granted, Yi Jianlin is somewhere around the NBA plying his trade but it’s not as if the player has set his mark in the NBA igniting a spark and furor in the way that Jeremy Lin has now impacted the league with his play.

Jeremy Lin’s star having risen for the moment but while he’s in the spotlight he will be placed under a great deal of scrutiny by the press and public alike . The idiocy of this all is that the Golden State Warriors passed up on the player , and in essence as we’ve seen with that particular franchise their fortunes of late can be best described as being pitiful ! There’s little if any leadership within the organization and the apathy amongst the coaching staff is so malignant that it has me wondering if there’s really a chance for the franchise to really prove it amongst itself amongst their peers within the Pacific Division . It’s all well and good to highlight the play of Monta Ellis and Steph Curry while enthralling , it has to be said the team’s poor play is borne out in their rather inept record 8-14 as of the 10th February , 2012 .

As eventful as the NBA season has been I truly believe that the play of the team hasn’t been as exhilarating as some believe it to be . Scoring may well be up in comparison to last season in part but to my mind the real issue has been the preponderance of the teams to show how anemic their defensive capabilities just happens to be . And it has been borne out within both conferences . That can be as such placed either squarely upon the shoulders of the coaches within the NBA and the poor quality of their talents overall .

If the fortunes of the New York Knicks are supposedly taking a turn for the better my thought is that the Miami Heat and the fact this team built around the talents of Chris Bosh , LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and its current cast of characters. Five long years since their last and sole triumph of winning the NBA title . The expectations were there last season for the Heat to prevail in their meeting with the Dallas Mavericks but alas it wasn’t to be . .

This year the Miami Heat are seen as the presumptive favorites but on face value alone theirs has been a season of highs and lows as they have sought to find some semblance of consistency that is said to befitting of a prohibitive favorite for the NBA title . However, as of now the Heat do not possess the best record in the league much less the Eastern Conference . The Chicago Bulls (22-6) have the privilege of leading their division ( Central Division) and the Eastern Conference while looking to lock up the number one seed before the culmination of the regular season .

Now while LeBron James is said to be having a tremendous season from an offensive standpoint it has to be said that if the team is to succeed then James and his cohorts , specifically Bosh and Wade will have to lead while the others will follow. Should the Miami Heat not come up short then jury might well be ready to pronounce Pat Riley’s experiment a complete bust with is young coaching protege` Erik Spoelstra will also bear a great deal of responsibility for the team’s failure .

Sunday the Miami Heat are the guests of Atlanta Hawks in a game that could play a determining factor as to the makeup of the Southeast Division within the Eastern Conference . Though a loss for the Miami Heat wouldn’t be viewed as particularly devastating it would cause something of a seismic ripple within the conference when one bears in mind the nature of their most recent defeat (102-89) against the Orlando Magic . That game spoke volumes as to one of the many reasons why the Miami Heat are a team that is so vastly overrated ! I was told by a patron as to how defensive minded the Heat are said to be. The players in that specific category are as inconsistent as anyone could possibly believe . This team plays defense only when forced into a position of doing so rather than making it a necessary part of the game and this is simply borne out