Balls , Balls , Balls Are Raining Everywhere And Not A God Damn Ounce of Common Sense Is Currently Being Shown ….

Balls , Balls , Balls Are Raining Everywhere And Not A God Damn Ounce of Common Sense Is Currently Being Shown ….

By tophatal ………. 05/30/2012 ….. 11:37 PM (EST)

So as the NBA postseason slowly winds down to its show case finale and we are now being entertained by the four teams now vying to be the 2011-12 NBA champions . The Eastern Conference Finals pits the Boston Celtics against the Miami Heat . While in the Western Conference we have by far the two best teams left vying for the conference supremacy as well as the changing of the guard. The San Antonio Spurs squares off against the young guns of the Oklahoma City Thunder . Now pardon me for suggesting that a number of patrons are simply in awe with style over substance but it has been clearly the case with some of the absurd favoritism and comments I’ve read concerning the playoff series as they have unfolded .

Somehow fans were in awe of the Miami Heat merely because there were being seen as the preseason favorites for the NBA title .

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The Miami Heats’ ” Big Three “ now their heightened duo of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are now seeking to quell the late career ambitions of Kevin Garnett , Ray Allen and Paul Pierce . While the Celtics’ mercurial point guard Rajon Rondo seeks to further add to his already established postseason legacy . The player for his part has been vocal in his recent comments about the Heat’s celebrated pairing , and the fact that “they needed to be essentially knocked on their ass “ . Wade and James have responded , simply stating that they’ll let their actions speak for itself on the court. That being said , the Miami Heat ___ Erik Spoelstra’s players have been as good to their word having taken a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven game series in the conference finals’ match-up. Game one proved to be a somewhat lackluster performance from both sides as the Heat simply went about derailing the hopes Doc Rivers’ ….. team .

GM Danny Ainge the general manager and team owner Wyc Grousbeck know that this may well be the last hoorah for their celebrated trio of future Future Hall of Famers . Truth be known , what ails the Celtics isn’t simply about the lackluster performances and their inconsistent play at times by the Boston Celtics ____ but simply that the team’s aging core are now on their last legs . Defensively the Celtics can make this series a low scoring endeavor but if Rondo isn’t at his leveled best , then he and his teammates stand “no real chance “ in this series ! The team’s best defensive player , Avery Bradley has been lost to the Celtics for the entire postseason having fractured his right clavicle . That in of-itself has played a part in what we are now witnessing from the Boston Celtics , albeit that Kevin Garnett has been doing his leveled best to lead this team by example . Paul Pierce for his part a Finals’ MVP has been a mere shadow of the player who led the Celtics over the Los Angeles Lakers to their most recent NBA Finals triumph.

Tonight the Boston Celtics will look to level the series at one game apiece as both teams line up at the American Airlines Arena (AA Arena) in Miami , Florida in what is sure to be a full house , in-front of a national television audience . Pat Riley , the Heat’s team President and a minority stake owner in the organization looks to add to the franchise’s legacy , as they seek their second title in six years . Riley , along with Micky Arison knows that the orchestration to acquire LeBron James and Chris Bosh was a major gamble in which they had sought an immediate return last season . Granted, the team made the postseason but they were upended in the 2010 NBA Finals by the upstart Dallas Mavericks , on their way to that franchise’s first title . Finals’ MVP ….. Dirk Nowitzki had an outstanding series along the way , leading the team scoring throughout the Maverick’s postseason sojourn in 2010. .

Now as good as the Miami Heat appear to be , I truly believe that unless LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined can give this team at least thirty points apiece , I do not believe that they can outplay and defeat the San Antonio Spurs ! . The Heat’s bench players are nowhere accomplished or polished enough to contribute the offensive productivity required , while negating the offensive prowess of the Spurs . And of the many comments that I have read concerning the Heat and their alleged proficiency , very little has been made of the fact that Gregg Popovich is by far the best coach left in the playoffs . The Spurs coach’s resume` simply speaks for itself while the benign or should I say the misinformed simply salivate over the Miami Heat , as if they are glaring at the center-fold of a Playboy pictorial of several voluptuous females , who just happen to be showing a great deal more than their genitalia . I don’t believe that I could put it anymore succinctly than that !

A great deal was made of the match-up between the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder . The starting duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook while having been exemplary during the playoffs right up until this series , neither have had a real effective answer for the Spurs and the strategies employed by Gregg Popovich . Unbeaten now , in nineteen straight games including the playoffs and I have read suggestions that the team is actually due for playoff loss . If a suggestion is being made that the Spurs can be beaten , then at least give comprehensive reasons why , rather than the inanity of a premise that they are simply due a loss ! That’s like saying the sky will remain blue during the daytime unless it starts to piss down with rain , and the dark clouds now begin to hover . I may well be mistaken but some of the so-called fans within this forum are simply too dumb for their own god-damn good !

Scott Brooks’ team now find itself in a 2-0 hole in their best-of-seven-series . And what many believed would be a highly competitive match-up and an entertaining playoff series . If anything this has been a clinical class in effectively negating the prowess of one team while simply highlighting the prowess of a more accomplished and experienced opponent . In essence , this is how best to now summarize the series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs . Tony Parker has shown why he is now the preeminent point guard in the game in spite of the idiocy of Chris Paul being named to the All NBA Team . Paul is an accomplished point guard , who’s said to make those around him better but in all honesty that clearly hasn’t been the case for the player during this postseason and the very fact his team the Los Angeles Clippers had their asses handed to them on a silver platter ., having been swept 4-0 in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs in a clinical and sensational fashion . Paul , Blake Griffin were nowhere to be seen along with the rest of the team , Vinny Del Negros’ and his coaching staff .

The contribution from the Spurs simply comes from the depth of its roster and the very fact that they are the most balanced team ….. left in the playoffs . Simply look at the Spurs’ scoring throughout the their postseason ….. run ? This team doesn’t have to be reliant on two primary scorers to attain a victory , which has clearly been the case for the Boston Celtics , Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder . Scott Brooks has to be reliant upon the contributions of Durant , Westbrook and the team’s Sixth Man of The Year James Harden for the majority of the ball-club’s scoring . And if the bench simply has nothing at all to offer then there’s no way that the Oklahoma City Thunder can even hope to even this series or avoid being swept . My thoughts and opinions only , concerning this premise !

Game three of and the resumption of the series will see the Oklahoma City Thunder hosting the San Antonio Spurs at the cavernous Chesapeake Energy Center , Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (OK) , in what is sure to be a hostile and vociferous home crowd . If they (Thunder) are to take advantage and come back in this series and claw back this 0-2 deficit then it will be incumbent upon the players of the home team to simply go out, carve a lead and simply hang unto it for it for the entire forty eight minutes . It has been clear that over the course of the two games played in this series due to the Thunder’s youthful exuberance but their inexperience , they simply haven’t been able to deal with the very best that the San Antonio Spurs has thrown at them . From my own personal standpoint , I do believe that this series could very well be over and done with , bar the shouting should Popovich’s players come away with a victory on Thursday night ! And even if Oklahoma City Thunder should come away victorious I simply don’t believe that the momentum will carry over into game four on Saturday night . The Spurs are far too professional a team and Gregg Popovich is too consummate a coach to let an advantage slip through their very grasp . And that is the primary reason why I believe that they will prevail in this series make their way to a fifth appearance in the NBA Finals . From there , the San Antonio Spurs can await whomever comes out of the Eastern Conference as their opponent in the NBA’s showcase event and finale .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The NBA postseason has began to live up to expectations but in all honesty things regular season offered the fans a great deal even with the truncated schedule of 66 games and the idiocy shown by NBA Commissioner David Stern stating that injuries haven’t significantly played a part in the performances of the teams and their players over the course of the regular season . Do you feel that the NBA regular and postseason have been of great satisfaction when you bear in mind what we all have observed at this point ? And what expectations if any , do you have for the remainder of the postseason ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) MIAMI, FL – MAY 30: Udonis Haslem (40) of the Miami Heat passes the ball against Paul Pierce (34) and Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 30, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …

(2) Dwyane Wade(3) and LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat react against the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 30, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

(3) Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics stands on the court with his head down against the Miami Heat in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 30, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …

(4) (Clockwise from bottom L) Paul Pierce (34) and Mickael Pietrus (28) of the Boston Celtics chase down a loose ball against Shane Battier (31) and Dwyane Wade (3) in the second half of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 30, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

(5) Rajon Rondo (9) of the Boston Celtics attempts a shot in the first quarter as he drives and draws contact against Shane Battier (31) of the Miami Heat in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 30, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Celtics would go on to lose this match-up 115-111 in an error strewn final three minutes of game two by from the Celtics’ players . Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images .. ***BESTPIX*** ….

(6) Ray Allen (20) of the Boston Celtics looks on in overtime as LeBron James (6) of the Mimi Heat gets set to attempt a free throw in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 30, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …

(7) Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo (9) grimaces during the post-game news conference following Game 2 in their NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoffs series against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Celtics 115-111 in overtime . Rondo led all scorers in scoring a sensational 44 points . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

(8) San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) , of France, shoots under pressure from Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) , from the Republic of Congo, and Kevin Durant (35) during the second half of Game 2 in their NBA basketball Western Conference finals playoff series, Tuesday, May 29, 2012, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 120-111 . AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

(9)Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks reacts on the bench against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of Game 2 in their NBA basketball Western Conference Finals playoff series, Tuesday, May 29, 2012, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Darren Abate …

(10) SAN ANTONIO, TX – MAY 29 : (R-L) Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs talks to Tim Duncan(21) and Tony Parker (9) on the bench in the third quarter while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 29, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images …

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Bea Flora/

Hot chic pic of the day Bea Flora .

Got milk ? Grab a hold of these then .

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Bea’s gift to the Orlando Magic …… suck on this . Not necessarily deserving but it’s plain to see that the players and coaching staff still need to be suckling on something because of their complete lack of maturity ! No truth however , that Dwight Howard simply loves ‘butt-holes but then again <b his penchant for playing one has manifested itself greatly over the past two months in more ways than one .

You’ve Got A Bat And Ball , Well Now There’s A Ball Club For Sale …….. And It Ought To Be Going Cheap … …

You’ve Got A Bat And Ball , Well Now There’s A Ball Club For Sale …….. And It Ought To Be Going Cheap … …

By tophatal 05/29/2012 ………. 11.37 PM (EST)

It might not be a pattern of behavior but there’s mild move now on amongst the owners within baseball either to sell their teams for an exorbitantly high price or simply to gauge the interest in any prospective buyers by seeking the assistance of a capital investment firm to guide them along the way . That was clearly the case with Drayton McClane when he sold the Houston Astros to Houston millionaire entrepreneur James “Jim ” R Crane . The Astros were sold for what was at the time the highest price ever paid for a baseball franchise . The sale price was an unheard of $775 million and Crane willingly spent that money , albeit that the buyer was given a hometown discount at the behest of the MLB hierarchy and with an added incentive of $65 million being thrown in as a precursor to their imminent move . With the Houston Astros due to move from the NL Central to the AL West in 2013 , I am not so sure that even in their present guise the Astros will be able to compete with the might of the Los Angeles Angels or the Texas Rangers , much less the other occupants within the division. So many people have overlooked that little tidbit , thinking that this move was actually arranged for the benefit of Jim Crane and his partners . And anyone who also believes that this maneuver was done out of the goodness of Bud Selig’s heart , then they had better rethink that premise altogether.

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With the New York Daily News recently reporting that the Steinbrenner family were in fact interested in selling the New York Yankees , only for the rumor to be then shot down by Hal Steinbrenner , who categorically stated that the franchise his father , George Steinbrenner III purchased for a mere $ 6 million from CBS Television in the early seventies was not for sale . The New York Yankees are valued at an estimated , and an approximate figure of between $2.6billion to $5.1 billion , dependent upon whose valuation you believe to be more accurate . With the Los Angeles Dodgers recently being sold for the over inflated price of $2.15 billion to a consortium led by former NBA great Magic Johnson , former MLB executive Stan Kasten , Hollywood film mogul Peter Guber and the three leading executives from the asset management firm Guggenheim Partners LLC , CEO Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly and Allan D. Schwartz . .

I don’t know that there’s a more troubled franchise within baseball than San Diego Padres (17-33) . The franchise whose senior and majority managing partner , is John Moores . The somewhat reclusive entrepreneur businessman had relinquished his day-to-day involvement in the franchise , in order to concentrate and build up the business side of the ball-club. The Padres had recently orchestrated a two decade $1.5 billion television deal but it now appears that Moores is at the end of his rope in dealing with his partners . There’s said to be a great deal of dissent between John Moores , several of the partners , as well as with the managerial staff and a number of prominent players on the Padres roster . That being said , it is now widely being reported that Moores is now willing to sell his majority stake , which will have to come by way of the league hierarchy’s approval . John Moores’ sale is liable to realize in excess of $355 million by conservative estimates . This would value the San Diego Padres in the region of $675 to $720 million. Not bad for one of baseball’s least supported teams and one which is considered to be in a small market .

PGA Tour golfer Phil Mickelson along with members of the late Walter O’Malley’s family are a part of a consortium that is now said to be interested in purchasing John Moores’ majority stake in the Padres. The four grandchildren of the late Walter O’Malley along with Terry Seidler and Mickelson , through their legal representatives are now negotiating terms of the prospective sale of the baseball franchise . Walter O’Malley was a one-time owner of the renowned Los Angeles Dodgers and one has to admit that were it not for the years of ineptitude during the tenures , first of the Fox Corporation and then the sheer egregious malfeasance of Frank McCourt , one wonders what might have been for the Dodgers . .McCourt essentially used the ball-club as his personal ATM , while a number of senior executives merely chose to look elsewhere while the owner and his now ex-wife Jamie McCourt plundered the coffers of the Los Angeles Dodgers. I was told that Tommy LaSorda , a goodwill ambassador for the Dodgers should be retained by the franchise . To my mind , the aging geriatric should simply tossed out like an old boot ! If La Sorda , along with GM Ned Colletti and former CFO Peter Wilhelm can simply choose to stand idly by , knowing that the actions of the then owner bordered on criminality and transgressed many of baseball’s operating rules . Then it shows the height of the culpability , malfeasance and the mere fact that the aforementioned individuals simply didn’t care. Were the Los Angeles Dodgers a publicly traded company then you can rest assured that the executives in question would have been subpoenaed by the Justice Department and more likely than not would have been facing charges of grand larceny with the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) conducting their own investigation also . Instead , baseball’s hierarchy along with a butt-hole of fans are of the belief that the Dodgers are back on an even keel along with Bud Selig’s dumb ass grin. There are still questions being asked , as to how much interference there was by the commissioner in his intervening in the whole sale process of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Bud Selig , the friggin’ oaf that he is , continues to be the pain in the ass that the game of baseball could well do without but there are those purists who believe that he has been the best commissioner the game of baseball has ever had . I beg to differ , but that’s simply my opinion ! By all means chime in with your thoughts what you believe have been the commissioner’s biggest contributions to the game and what you believe have been his biggest blunders .

Whether or not the San Diego Padres are sold is of no real concern to me as I believe this to be a baseball franchise that’s simply going nowhere . They’re firmly rooted at the bottom of the NL West , they are an uncompetitive team , the managerial staff just seem to be clueless as to what’s need ed to turn things around . Not unlike their the NFL counterpart the San Diego Chargers , and their travesty of a season under head coach Norv Turner and that buffoon of an ownership group led by Dean Spanos . And what might be even worse AJ Smith and the front office executives are seemingly intent on moving the franchise from the city and to the greater Los Angeles area . Qualcomm Stadium home to the NFL franchise is a decaying edifice , that it would appear that neither the Chargers desire to play in or for that matter the city is prepared to refurbish until there’s a long-term commitment from the Chargers to remain there. Could hell , be a better way of describing the San Diego Chargers with Norv Turner at the helm as the head coach of under-achieving team ?

The fate of the Padres might not seem all that clear but one thing is definitely noticeable is the very fact that the San Diego Padres are no better a team than they were in 2011 or 2010 for that matter now . I’m not saying that things are now currently bad for the San Diego Padres but they’re now on a four game losing streak , having lost three of their last ten games , they are 16.5 games out of first place , behind the division leading Los Angeles Dodgers (32-15) . Sunday , the team was on the wrong side of 2-0 loss to the New York Mets while at home at PETCO Park , San Diego , California . Monday was no better with the team once again succumbing but this time to the equally inept Chicago Cubs (16-32) in an offensive onslaught with the Cubs prevailing 11-7 .

Tuesday the two teams would meet again to end this current series , with the Padres at least looking for a win to ease their pain. Already 10.5 games out of the wildcard berth and we’re not even into the month of June , and it is becoming extremely difficult to see how the team can now resurrect their season .

Now with the Padres said to be netting $75 million a year (over the next two decades) from this lucrative television deal it seems somewhat ludicrous that the front office hasn’t sought to bolster this roster . The team’s payroll remains amongst the lowest the game but it may not signify what the franchise’s aspirations truly are . The organization now seems bereft creativity in building this team to be competitive much less the ambition to challenge for NLCS or World Series . Even with the San Diego Padres’ draft history it appears that the organization would be intent to lose players rather than retain them long-term . Whether or not there were any regrets after the departure of Adrian Gonzalez , one of the organizations most prolific and popular players in the Padres’ history. Gonzalez still remains a beloved character with the San Diego Padres but his future now lies with the Boston Red Sox and their long-term aspirations.

Bud Black and his coaching assistants might just have the most unenviable task in all of baseball . And that is to inspire a team that’s seemingly lacking in confidence and a great deal more . If there’s said to be another manager who is currently under greater pressure , I for one cannot think of one at this juncture ! Looking for an inspiration even from a veteran on this roster seems almost impossible given the gravity of the problems the Padres currently face . Jeff Suppan , Eric Stults , Mark Kotsay and Clayton Richard may well be the apparent leaders to whom the younger players would look to for guidance . However, when there’s said to be no authoritative leadership forthcoming coming from the managerial staff, then it simply doesn’t bode well for a baseball organization. The front office is in complete disarray and I simply do not have any faith whatsoever in GM Josh Byrnes and that is even with Hall of Fame .. great …… Dave Winfield there as a consultant with the Padres’ organization . And anyone of the belief that a failed individual such as Omar Minaya can provide the San Diego Padres with any added insight , considering his failings with New York Mets must be asking what the hell the Padres were thinking when they hired the former general manager .

A possible sticking point in any potential sale could very well rest upon whether or not Jeff Moorad would be willing to relinquish control in many of the day-to-day operations of the Padres. He also happens to be the second largest shareholder in the organization , albeit, that this ownership group is said to be very diluted beyond John Moores’ stake . Moorad , was amongst the original partners who bought into the franchise alongside John Moores with the hope of rejuvenating the fortunes of the San Diego Padres . The franchise last appearance in the postseason was in 2006 and the last time the Padres were the divisional winners within the NL West came in was that very same year but prior to that , it just happened to be 2005 . Sparse pickings since then , with the customary turnover in player personnel as well as the managerial staff .

While looking at the pitching of the Padres and their offense as well , it is easy to understand why this team is besieged with so many problems . There’s obviously no one on the team that is capable of leading this organization where they need to be taken . A change in ownership with the possibility that we could very well see an upheaval in the managerial staff . Whatever now awaits the San Diego Padres, it will be interesting to see how the fans may well respond to what may well now seem the inevitable sale of the baseball franchise . One can only surmise that they will view it as a positive rather than a sense of foreboding .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the salient points raised within this piece ? And do you believe it to be a healthy environment where there’s an exchange in ownership in a number of baseball teams in recent years ? Also do you believe that the recent prices paid are exorbitant , given the present economic climate or a true reflection of the baseballs’ worth within the professional sports’ environment ? Chime in on this and anything else you believe to be of value concerning the subject matter .

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Picture and slide show for your perusal .
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Houston Astros’ team owner James “Jim ” Crane is seen here formally being introduced to the convened press having purchased the franchise from Drayton McClane . The team will be moving from the NL Central to the AL West in 2013 to create a more balanced makeup within the two leagues of baseball . AP Photo / Adam Martin …

(2) (L-R) New York Yankee Manager Joe Girardi , Randy Levine , President of the New York Yankees, Lonn A. Trost , COO of the New York Yankees and Hal Steinbrenner , Managing General Partner / Co-Chairperson of the New York Yankees attend Jorge Posada’s press conference to announce his retirement from the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on January 24, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. It was widely being reported that they the Steinbrenner family were weighing the options as to whether or not it would be a viable option to sell the New York Yankees’ baseball franchise . The unsubstantiated report and rumors were quickly “shot down” by Hal Steinbrenner who categorically denied that the team was for sale . Getty Images North America /Mike Stobe ……..

(3) PGA Tour professional Phil Mickelson seen here on the Tour is said to be part of a syndicate seeking to purchase the controlling interest in the San Diego Padres . The player joins the four grandchildren of the late Walter O’Malley , former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers along with several prominent Californian businessmen seeking to buy the team. However , the consortium is not the only group said to be interested in the potential sale as former Padres’ great and Hall of Fame inductee Tony Gwynn is part of a separate group also seeking to make a bid for the organization . Majority stakeholder John Moores seeks to sell his controlling interest in the Padres expeditiously and final approval of the sale will have to come from the MLB hierarchy headed by Commissioner Bud Selig . AFP/Reuters/ Mark Thompson ….

(4) Padres’ executives Jeff Moorad ,left and John Moores (right) are seen here having just assumed control , in the purchase the San Diego Padres . Unsubstantiated reports have the relationship between the two partners at an all-time low . And while have both denied that to be the case there is the belief that Moores is either being forced out or he simply no longer feels he has a role within the organization , having seen his duties diminish over the years . AP Photo / Mark Roth ….

(5) CHICAGO, IL – MAY 30: Darwin Barney (15) of the Chicago Cubs hits a walk off two run homer in the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres on May 30, 2012 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Cubs defeated the San Diego Padres 8-6 . Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

(6) San Diego Padres relief pitcher Dale Thayer , left, walks off the field as the Chicago Cubs celebrate Darwin Barney’s game-winning, two-run home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in Chicago. The Cubs won 8-6 . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(7) New San Diego Padres general manager Josh Byrnes answers questions during a news conference as manager Bud Black , right, looks on Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 in San Diego. Lenny Ignelzi, Associated Press

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Nelly & ….. St Lunatics ………….. “Batter Up ”

I Got No Money In My Pocket Yo’ ….

I Got No Money In My Pocket Yo’ ….

By tophatal ………. 05/29/2012 03:45 AM (EST)

I must’ve missed something recently concerning the Chicago Bears and the team’s with their restricted fee agent running back Matt Forte . It would appear that the . front office of the organization seem to be more intent on alienating their productive running back rather than upping the ante and rewarding the player with a contract commensurate with his already prolific talent . Now in spite of the recent off-season acquisitions and the upheavals in the team’s roster it would appear that with the recent acquisition of Brandon Marshall and his re-acquaintance with former Broncos’ teammate Jay Cutler , this is said to be the highlight for the Chicago Bears this off-season.

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Now unless I am mistaken either the Bears are playing fast and loose or they are simply intent quite possibly losing the player free agency . Granted , what we do know is the very fact the football club can choose to “franchise tag” and then pay him the league average of salaries of the top five players at the position within the NFL . For Matt Forte seeing LeSean McCoy and Arian Foster have their salaries risen considerably with their respective teams. It has to be said the Bears’ running back does have a valid argument in seeking a raise. Under the pretext that Matt Forte has a troubling recurrence of a knee injury this is said to be the falsehood that they are now subscribing to , in not paying the franchise’s most productive player over the last four seasons. Since the player was drafted by this organization in 2008 Matt Forte has only missed four games in his entire professional NFL career. It begs the question prior to , and after former GM Jerry Di Angelo’s departure , what common sense if any was actually being shown by anyone within this organization ?

If this is the pretext that the Bears will be using to lure their fans into the false sense of security that they are intent on being viewed as a legitimate contender in what is an already competitive of NFC North . From my own personal standpoint , I have never been that high on the Chicago Bears and that comes from the very fact that Jay Cutler has yet to fulfill the so-called accomplishments he’s said to be capable. Analysts and fans alike tend to affix labels upon athletes ……….. in this case the NFL player , purely because we desire it to be so . Cutler is a top-five quarterback ……… Cutler is an elite quarterback ………. Cutler is a championship caliber quarterback . Which is it ? Because I have yet to see any one of the aforementioned traits in this player over the course of his NFL career to date ! And as great as a number of quarterbacks were said to be during 2011 , nowhere is Jay Cutler’s name mentioned in the upper echelons of the statistics that matter concerning the league’s leading passers. And though the Bears were an immense …. disappointment during 2011 any perceived improvements sought will have to be taken under advisement when one considers the very fact that the Detroit Lions , Green Bay Packers and some might say the Minnesota Vikings will have improved considerably due to the draft and their off-season acquisitions .

Lovie Smith is under a great deal of pressure to succeed and most definitely the coach’s position his immediate future and that of his staff is very much on the line. You would have to be naive to think otherwise and it is clear that Smith has to be concerned over the impromptu lack of productivity from his players over the past two seasons ( 2011 & 2010 ) . Way too much talk even from the Bears’ players , an aging Brian Urlacher and a less than emphatic Julius Peppers . Urlacher for all of his proselytising is now on the downside of an illustrious career but at the end of the day when all you have to show for that success is , you equating the fact your quarterback is a leader when at the time , the whole world saw him abandon his teammates in their time of need , then there’s not much else that is left to be said . The NFC championship game and the loss to the eventual Superbowl champions that season pretty much summed up the ineptitude shown by the Chicago Bears .

There’s no denying that 2011 saw the “coming out” party for the Detroit Lions and their successful season . Matt Stafford proved to be everything that finally Jim Schwartz thought would come to fruition . And that was certainly borne out by the player during the regular and postseason for the Lions . And while the offense of the Detroit Lions was said to be prolific , the team’s defense also played their role as well. Kyle Vanden Bosch , Ndamokung Suh and Nick Fairley are seen as the fulcrum to that defense . And as I alluded to earlier in this piece the Lions can only get considerably better , rather than worse . However , what might be even more troubling is the fact that Fairley in the past six weeks has twice ran afoul of the law. Once in his home state of Alabama where he was charged with a DUI and possession of a controlled substance (marijuana). And most recently this past weekend where the player in trying to evade law enforcement while speeding ……….. being clocked at 120 mph in a 55 mph zone after fleeing the scene of an accident . Also again in the player’s possession was marijuana and other opiates. I can’t help but wonder how Schwartz and the Lions’ front office will deal within this latest PR nightmare for the franchise.

Nick Fairley’s college career with Alabama was clouded in controversy and anyone who considers Nick Saban was never concerned with the player’s behavior has to be in complete denial . Saban to my mind has to be one the most insincere coaches in College Football ! The Alabama Crimson Tide’s coach has tried to suggest that his players while under his tenure ____ he has tried to curb their recklessness and make them more productive individuals . If anything Alabama’s program has been clouded in a great deal of controversy , mystery , the lengths and depths which the coach and his staff have gone to , simply to make sure that accusations concerning the players’ improprieties have disappeared. Fairley’s transgressions cannot be seen as a first-time_ chain of events , it has to be seen as a pattern of behavior .

God knows, there is enough of a fucking mess in the NFL at present without having to deal with an immature player seeking to evade the police merely because he doesn’t want to be caught having fled an accident and was found in possession of a controlled substance. But here we are once again and the league or should I say one of its more renowned franchises has another black eye and a PR nightmare within their midst . And given the stupidity that will be undoubtedly be shown by Tom Lewand and Lions’ ownership . It wouldn’t at all surprise me if the franchise now chooses to have the NFL deal with this matter while at the same time they wait for the matter to take its legal course. Now had Nick Fairley killed a bystander , I wonder whether or not the Detroit Lions would have chosen to take such a wide latitude in dealing with both of these incidents ? The Lions would be within their right to suspend the player without pay pending an investigation but we now work on a “premise of innocent until proven guilty” . Truth be known that is now and will continue to remain the biggest joke in jurisprudence . Fairley’s actions speaks volumes to his immaturity and the very fact that once again we have athletes continually being coddled by not only their NFL teams but also by the coaches and the owners alike .

Roger Goodell as the league’s highest ranking executive may well punish players with impunity when they transgress and violate the league’s rules as it regards players’ conduct said to be detrimental to the game. But let’s be real it is and always remain an exercise in futility by the NFL . Goodell’s , biggest and only concern is to try to uphold the image of an already tainted game that simply doesn’t know how to drag itself out of this already pitiful abyss of ineptitude . Personally , I find the NFL to be one big fucking environment of corruption , stupidity and a union (NFLPA) led by an executive committee that simply is one of greed and not much else . The owners , themselves are not so far behind , as they have repeatedly cajoled , threatened politicians at all levels of government . One can only look to the idiocy that recently took place within the state of Minnesota as the governor Mark Dayton (R-Mn) and the state legislature cowered a corner the corner like a bitch having been sodomized by the Minnesota Vikings’ ownership and the NFL hierarchy. How in fu_k’s name can a state said to be facing an acute economic crisis with a near $ 6 billion budget deficit ($6,000,000,000) and seek to finance in part , a $735 million new stadium for the NFL franchise while laying off state employees and cutting their budget expenditure on projects that would be far more beneficial to the state’s infrastructure than that of the building of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings . It wouldn’t have been so bad , had the governor not fudged and then reneged on his original view as to enacting this stature within his state legislature. In reality however , like the federal government where both legislative chambers …… ( House and Senate) are simply open to the “highest bidder” when a law needs to come into being especially those without any real benefit to the nation as a whole .

Fuck the dumb asses out there who continue to bitch and whine about their income taxes being too high but yet choose not to question when they’re being asked to subsidize the building of a sport’s venue for either a millionaire or billionaire owner . You simply deserve what you get , nothing more , nothing less ! And while this charade continues Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf and his partners are now laughing all the way to the bank and the smiles on their faces are not about to abate anytime soon ! And for the di_khead residents within the city of Sacramento ……… simply buy into the bullshit your mayor Kevin Johnson is now selling you ! You are all seem to be on board with this idiocy that in building a new venue for the Maloofs will be a savior for the Sacramento Kings . Grow the fuck up , and for the moron who claims than when the venue now known as the Power Balance Arena was the place to be seen , what he fails to state and indicate is the very fact that franchise simply wasn’t winning anything of note much less being competitive . This is the simple apathy that can now be found within the state of California when it comes to many of their sports’ franchises. Call me , when the Kings are of relevance within the NBA and not before !

While I’m looking forward to the upcoming NFL season , at the same with the ongoing controversies now said to be engulfing the NFL , does anyone truly believe that Goodell has the mindset to deal with many of the ongoing controversies that have come to the fore and mired the game ? I mean it is not as if the commissioner has handled any of these issues with the clearest sense of transparency while at the same creating the perception or the belief that he actually knows what the fu_k he is doing to begin with ! And for those who continue to drink from the porcelain pot that Roger Goodell continues to defecate and urinate in , well congrats to you for being the complete dumb asses you have actually been ! The NFL commissioner has yet to accomplish anything of note during his tenure so far and it is unlikely that he ever will .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? By all means simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details for your perusal .

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(1) Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall , right, catches a pass as defensive back Tim Jennings defends during NFL football practice, Wednesday, May 23 2012, in Lake Forest, Ill. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

(2) Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, left, talks with quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during NFL football practice, Wednesday, May 23 2012, in Lake Forest, Ill. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast ….

(3) Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, left, talks with head coach Lovie Smith during an NFL football organized team activity, Wednesday, May 23 2012, in Lake Forest, Ill. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast ….

(4) Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, left, talks with wide receiver Brandon Marshall during an NFL football organized team activity, Wednesday, May 23 2012, in Lake Forest, Ill. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

(5) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears tries to get around the tackle of Aaron Berry (32_ of the Detroit Lions during a second quarter run at Ford Field on October 10, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Getty Images/Gregory Shamus …

(6) Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley (98) and Corey Williams (99) break from NFL football practice in Allen Park, Mich., Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Fairley has been arrested in Alabama on charges of driving under the influence and attempting to elude police Sunday, May 27, 2012, his second arrest in his home state in two months. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(7) Minnesota state governor Mark Dayton (R-Mn) in the foreground , is seen here addressing the state assembly after the formal voting had taken place within both legislative chambers announcing that the Minnesota e would in part finance the majority of the costs for the new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings . The $935 million venture will be financed with a $565 billion bond issue and increase in certain state taxes. The remainder will be funded by team owner Zygi Wilf (background) and his partners . AFP Reuters /Mitchell Todd …

(8) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , foreground is seen here taking questions from the convened press concerning the Vikings’ stadium issue . In the background , is Minnesota state governor Mark Dayton . The governor initially was reluctant to back the original ” finance “bill” when it was first tabled for a vote . However , it is widely believed that with the cajoling , and coercion from the NFL hierarchy and the ” hundreds of thousands of dollars “ spent by Zygi Wilf , via lobbyists , this bill was passed with very little opposition within the state House and Senate , of within the chambers in question , in of the state of Minnesota . REUTERS /Clint Roberts …..

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Hot chic pic of the day , actress Eva Mendes . Ha , cha-cha , cha !

Someone’s duty to “hit” Eva’s “coochie ” don’t you think ?

Making Hay While The Sun Shines ………..

Making Hay While The Sun Shines ………..

By tophatal ……… 05/25/2012 …… 00.35 AM (EST)

The 4th April saw the Opening Day of the MLB (baseball ) season . Having gone through the month and as we now near the end of May it has to be said that there have been one or two surprises around the league . The Baltimore Orioles are still riding high atop of the AL East and the Cleveland Indians for the moment appear to be having the time of their lives within the AL Central .

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Slide show for your perusal .

To be fair it’s still early days yet and at this time last season I am quite sure we were also being surprised by not only the play of the teams but also where they stood within their respective divisions . Clearly the managers and their staffs would like nothing better to see their clubs simply maintain their momentum , specifically those who are said to be on a current winning streak . For those firmly rooted at the bottom of the divisions who with no real traction you can be sure that there players who would like nothing better than to see their clubs simply play themselves into contention . Now as crazy as this may of the six teams with the highest payrolls in the game four are currently are in an unaccustomed position , and that is the fact that they’re either currently in last place , or simply mid-table within their division .

Imagine , the onlookers who are now seeing both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees simply looking up within the AL East , while the Baltimore Orioles , Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays vie for the leadership within the division . And if you think that on the “senior circuit” (NL) there doesn’t appear to be problems then simply look at situation of the Philadelphia Phillies . I hardly think that this is what either Charlie Manuel , his coaching staff or GM Reuben Amaro had envisaged for the team ! Now while it would be remiss to suggest that injuries haven’t plagued a number of teams as the season got underway . It seems to have been so acute for the Phillies that it now has their fans wondering whether or not the returns of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will be imminent. That’s notwithstanding the issues that the team currently faces go beyond injuries as their problems seem to be the lack of productivity from their offense and pitching . With the exception of Cole Hamels ( 7-1,2.17 ERA) who leads the NL in wins . Much of the offense this season for the Phillies has been provided by Carlos Ruiz and Hunter Pence .

Not wanting the deflate the balloon any further for the Philadelphia Phillies but apart from their most recent win of the World Series in 2008 , it has to be said that the organization has simply underachieved in spite of the talent and that formidable ….. payroll . It kind of makes you wonder if finances alone are an actual guarantee of overwhelming success ? It works for some , while for others it can actually prove to be a monumental bust . Simply look at the New York Mets as proof of that and their lack of pertinent success over the past decade . And that “white elephant” known as Citi-Field , home to the New York Mets , built at the cost of $775 million is at times so sparsely filled for the team’s home games that it has become one of the most embarrassing topics of conversation in the baseball world . Forgive me for say this , but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg either had to have been duped by the Mets’ ownership group in financing this venue or he simply felt it was another way of screwing over the city’s residents , while adding to his already dubious legacy as the mayor. It’s not as if he has actually accomplished anything of note during his two terms as the city’s highest ranking executive to begin with ! And somehow the apathetic residents returned him back to office , to serve a third term in office . WTF !

Now while a great deal is being made about the great season that David Wright is now said to be having . Let’s get one thing clear Wright can’t take this team on his back and lead them to where they need to be . As capable as he is , he’s simply doesn’t possess the mindset wherein his teammates will eagerly follow. In other words simply look at him as a meek and version of a Derek Jeter ” wannabe ” . Wright may well be leading the NL in batting average but in no way can one say he’s having the sort of season or showing the sort of productivity we're now seeing from Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Now they are for real and the team is now proving that point .

Now one could start to question whether or not Arte Moreno and Jerry Dipoto can continue to accept the malaise of the Los Angeles Angels . Granted , of late it would appear that Albert Pujols has began to turn things around in terms of his productivity with the Angels have been winners of their last two games but are 5-5 overall in their last ten . Certainly with the the near $330 million commitment made to Albert Pujols and C J Wilson , one would have expected a great deal more from this Angles’ team . Languishing at the bottom of the AL West Mike Sciocsia players already find themselves 7 games behind the marauding Texas Rangers (27-18) who seem to be on course to repeat as divisional champions for a third consecutive season . This hasn’t been lost on Los Angeles Angels , who have seen the Rangers become the dominant force within the division and one of the preeminent teams within the game. And undoubtedly for Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels , they would like nothing better than making a successful run through the postseason . In 2010 and 2011 , the Texas Rangers fell short at the final obstacle placed in front of them . Ron Washington has to be entirely happy with the play of his team and with Josh Hamilton seemingly knocking the hide of the ball and pitching sensation Yu Darvish , one would have to ask is there a AL team capable of taking down the mighty Texas Rangers ?

Money can’t buy you happiness but it sure as hell has brought a tremendous smile to the faces of the fans of the Los Angels Dodgers and the new ownership group headed by Magic Johnson , Stan Kasten , Peter Guber and the senior executives of the venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners LLC . Mark Walter and Todd S Boehly bring along their financial acumen behind and expertise of their company with assets of over $125 billion . Whereas , Johnson and Kasten now become the face of the franchise , relics of the past remain within the front office with Ned Colletti and Tommy LaSorda still being part of the now infamous reign of Frank McCourt . To my mind given the egregious actions of the former owner I find it hard to believe that Magic Johnson and his partners still feel that both Colletti and LaSorda has something to offer to this organization . Each remained remarkably quiet while McCourt and his ex-wife Jamie McCourt plundered the coffers of the baseball club , and in doing so , it led to the franchise being taken into bankruptcy reorganization proceedings . At the time of the filing the Dodgers were laden with debts in excess of $1.6 billion and assets totaling $700 million . And though franchise was sold for an over-inflated price of $2.15 billion , there is the belief that the final sticker price was simply there to create this charade that the health and wealth of the game is on a sound financial footing . If you believe that to be true , then clearly relate to me where you see that just happens to be the case ?

We all knew that the Chicago Cubs would be a work in progress for the newly installed Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer , as they sought to turn around the fortunes of this once revered ball-club . Stymied by sheer ineptitude manager Dale Sveum and his staff have their work cut out for them over the course of this season . At 15-29 the Cubs now find themselves 10 games behind the division leading St Louis Cardinals (25-19) within the NL Central . Issues abound all over the Cubs’ roster from an anemic offense to pitching rotation that at its best is beyond belief in its sheer ineptitude . And though with the recent retirement of Kerry Wood the salutary applaud for a player who by most expectations simply failed to live up to expectations . Once a bright prospect , having been drafted by the Cubs in 1999 , one can allude to the fact that the highlight of Wood’s career was a 20K strikeout feat that propelled him into the spotlight . Since that revelation , the often player never fully regained the form or promise shown at the beginning of his professional foray in baseball (MLB).

It may well be at the end of this season Epstein and Hoyer in consultation with team owner Thomas “Tom ” Ricketts will seek to make some tough decision as it relates to makeup of the of the roster with many of the high priced …. free agents quite possibly being jettisoned by the organization. And for the engima that just happens to be Alfonso Soriano , it is clear that this is a player who has simply failed to live up to the expectations sought from this once highly productive outfielder. The fact that his career has been on the decline over the past four seasons should be enough an indicator that his contract was bloated and simply ridiculous ! And the very fact that Hoyer’s predecessor Jim Hendry initiated this exercise in stupidity , should tell you all you need to know as one of the endless reasons why the Chicago Cubs remains a laughing stock in all corners of the game .

The Washington Nationals may well be the flavor of the month in terms of the discerning fan jumping on that bandwagon . But simply peruse the team’s record and you can see overall it is not as impressive when you delve deeper . Perhaps it could well be that the four other teams within the NL East have been under-whelming in terms of their play. The Nationals are 5-5 in their last 10 games , 8-5 within the division . The awe and drama has been brought about by the presence of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg the organization’s top draft picks from 2009 and 2010 , respectively . Now the question one should be asking however , is well these two players still be with the Nationals two or even three years down the line when they both become free agents ? It’s all well and good to try and make the claim that this team is simply playing great baseball and they may well be the surprise ball-club of the season . But let’s get something clear the Nationals have yet to prove themselves as being a legitimate contender in anything but name . I mean this franchise has yet make a meaningful run in the postseason . Apathy amongst the fans never ceases to amaze ______________ these fans would lick a piece of s_#t if it would create the perception that all is well within the game. GM Mike Rizzo plays hardball but come time to renegotiate the contracts of both Strasburg and Harper when Scott Boras , the representative of both players is seated across the table from the general manager . I can assure of this , Rizzo will be the one shitting in his pants because he hasn’t mental approach to deal with a blood-sucking leech like Boras . Anyone who thinks otherwise has never seen this agent at work , bear in mind that of the 22 highest paid players in the game Scott Boras has either negotiated their contracts or still remains their agent in that capacity . Need I say anymore on the matter ?

As the season progresses it will be interesting to see how the teams fare of the schedule . June will bring along a number of games that should tell us a great deal about the direction they intend to be heading in . At this point last season there were a number of things that we were beginning to learn and <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/scoreboard/index.jsp#date=06/02/2011 so … much more . It could be something of a precursor as the latter part of the year post All Star Game . This year’s mid-season showcase will be staged at Kauffman Stadium , Kansas City , Missouri ,. With a great deal at stake for the winning league , it will be interesting to see the preparation , strategies and the makeup of the teams from each league. Undoubtedly , for the managers in question and the fans who vote in large part for the majority of the players that’ll make up the roster the event itself should prove to winner amongst the public and fans alike .

As an avid Atlanta Braves’ fan I have followed their season with a great deal of relish . Fredi Gonzalez seems to have team heading in the right direction , albeit that they’re looking up at the Nationals within the division . The Braves’ third baseman Chipper Jones enters his last season with the organization , seeking that elusive World Series ring . The unprecedented years of success with multiple divisional titles and postseason appearances were gratifying but that lone championship win seems somewhat redundant because so much had been expected.

The team has been built around a young core of players of built around Craig Kimbrell , Jayson Heyward , Michael Bourn , Johnny Venters and the veteran experience of Tim Hudson and Chipper Jones. I say let the chips fall where they may because this season more than any I firmly believe that the Braves can actually make it to the postseason ! The expanded format this season should make the final month of the season extremely interesting. Saturday and Sunday the Braves will host divisional rivals and the Washington Nationals and that if anything should tell us a great deal about the merits , temperament and their undoubted ambitions.

I would like to think that the starting pitchers can lead the team in the mode I believe that they are capable of ! I know that the Atlanta Braves no longer have that formidable pitching lineup that was in essence the admiration of baseball as John Smoltz , Greg Maddux , Tom Glavine and Steve Avery made that starting rotation one of the best ever to play the game .

Misery loves company , and nowhere is this more evident than in witnessing the dire circumstances of the Minnesota Twins . Certainly their record simply bears this out as they are amongst the worst teams …. playing in all of baseball. And certainly with the AL alone the Twins this season are a major cause for concern. Ron Gardenhire and his coaching staff have no answers as to the reasons why this team has been performing so poorly . Team owner Jim Pohlad has become the butt of so many jokes around the league and one could attest to that fact by simply observing the Twins play . Losing has become an “art form “ . It could well prove to be another year of complete ineptitude being borne out again this year as it was in 2011 .

Injuries could once again be used as a crux by the Twins but even that asides cannot hide the fact that this team is extremely bad . Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are seen as the faces of this franchise and and compensated to that effect . But one now has to consider the very fact that neither player has shown that they have the capacity to lead this team to any great height of success in spite of the reverence and esteem in which they are held by the fans at Target Field . Minneapolis , Minnesota . At season’s end the front office will have some serious decisions to make about the makeup of this roster and also whether or not Mauer and Morneau can co-exist as teammates and be productive . It hasn’t happened this season and you simply get the impression the longer this farce continues the more unlikely things will actually change . Gardenhire’s record impressive as it appears to be you simply cannot hide the fact that a great deal more was expected . As to the reasons why the team in recent years has failed ……. well it’s open to a great deal of conjecture and speculation but it is becoming abundantly clear that the Minnesota Twins are now at a crossroads in more ways than one. They can either continue down this road or choose to change course and head in a completely new direction. Whether or not this means the breaking up of this team and perhaps the dismissal of Ron Gardenhire , well it remains to be seen. Should the ball-club fail at least to garner a wildcard berth then to my mind the latter premise mentioned has to become a reality ! Your thoughts on the matter ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As the season has progressed what if anything has been the biggest surprise to amongst the teams and the players ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones breaks his bat as he hits a foul ball in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Baltimore, Friday, May 25, 2012. The Royals would go on to defeat the Orioles 8-2 . AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

(2) TORONTO, CANADA – MAY 28: Edwin Encarnacion (10) of the Toronto Blue Jays rounds second after a two-run home run against Tommy Hunter (29) of the Baltimore Orioles during MLB action at The Rogers Centre May 28, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images ….

(3) Wilson Betemit ((24) of the Baltimore Orioles strikes out against the Toronto Blue Jays during MLB action at The Rogers Centre May 28, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images …

(4) Gerald Laird (9) of the Detroit Tigers rounds the bases after hitting a home run as Will Middlebrooks (64) of the Boston Red Sox looks on in the fifth inning at Fenway Park May 28, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …..

(5) Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins (11) slides safely into second base behind New York Mets’ shortstop David Wright in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 28, 2012, at Citi-Field in New York. The Phillies won 8-4 . AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek …..

(6) Oakland Athletics Josh Reddick slides safely into third base on a triple as Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe loses control in the sixth inning of their baseball game won by the Twins 5-4 , Monday, May 28, 2012 in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Andy King …..

(7) Brian McCann (16) of the Atlanta Braves reacts after grounding into a double play in the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field on May 28, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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MLB Standings 05/282012

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Talib Kweli ………… ” Beautiful Struggle ”

Rule Of Law , Rule Of Thumb Or Simply The Rule According To Goodell ………. ?

Rule Of Law , Rule Of Thumb Or Simply The Rule According To Goodell ………. ?

By tophatal ……. 05/23/2012 08:50:40 PM (EST)

The NFL Draft for 2012 set off no major surprises for the most avid of fans who viewed the televised event from the Radio City Music Hall , New York City , New York . And as we all know the Indianapolis Colts set about a chapter in their history with the beginning of the Andrew Luck era. The player was taken #1 overall to be followed by Robert Griffin III by the Washington Redskins . Now with the league’s OTA’s (organized training activities) already up and running with rookies reporting for training camp , it will be interesting to see what is made of the players drafted and how they fare during these preliminary exercises.

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Now for myself this season to my mind will be a make-or-break for the New England Patriots . Look, as an avid a fan as I am of this franchise it has gotten to the point where I have simply become so annoyed with head coach Bill Belichick and his continued tinkering with the defense . And yes , I am aware that last season the Patriots’ defense was amongst the worst in the NFL , especially in the yards allowed in terms of the pass defense . Hell , it got to the point where the New England Patriots’ secondary would have been hard pressed to stop a group of geriatrics , were they the opposition. Belichick and his coaching staff led by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have judiciously chosen to address all of the team’s needs. Nick Caserio who succeeded Scott Pioli as the general manager , has simply followed the path of least resistance as he and the head coach seek to follow the franchise’s pattern of success . It has served the Patriots well with three Superbowl victories and five appearances during Belichick’s tenure. The team drafted well during the NFL Draft and it will be interesting see these young players acquit themselves over the course of the Patriots’ schedule .

One year older , and hopefully a great deal wiser , I certainly hope that Tom Brady and offensive weaponry at his disposal will up to the task , especially in light with what was achieved by the quarterback last season . Certainly , with the offensive proficiency of Danny Woodhead , Aaron Hernandez , Rob Gronkowski , Wes Welker , Chad Ochocinco and Brandon Lloyd , it has to be said that the Patriots should prove to be a formidable offense to face over the course of this season .

The NFL season in 2010 was an eventful one , with the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers raising the Lombardi Trophy after a tumultuous and exhilarating season for this renowned franchise . The year also happened to be an un-capped season , wherein the teams could simply choose as they pleased to spend as much money as they sought in acquiring free agents or to meet the salary needs of the players already on their rosters. In light of this all both the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins were punished with impunity by the NFL hierarchy , with Commissioner Roger Goodell rendering a verdict whereby the aforementioned teams would have to forfeit a combined $46 million for having surreptitiously contravened what is said to be an ” unwritten rule “ . In this case both the Cowboys and Redskins who are said to have front-loaded the contracts of the players signed during the season . Now unless I am mistaken , I was under the impression if there is no salary cap then why the hell is Goodell now throwing his weight around like a “whirling Dervish “ dictating how the teams should conduct their business affairs under such a premise ? Applicable should be the fact that the teams have contracts in place for the players on their rosters , nothing , more nothing less . What might be even more idiotic is the very fact that the commissioner and the hierarchy did not choose the issue until midway through the 2011 season to make their findings known , concerning the actions of both the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins . Have you ever heard anything so damn asinine ?

Both teams have sought to have Goodell’s decision overturned , with Jerry Jones , Dan Snyder and GM Bruce Allen now seeking another line of recourse with special arbitrator Stephen Burbank upholding the league’s original decision . Now comes the true test , will either team owner now seek to appeal that judgment within the legal system ? The NFLPA and its executive committee are now seeking their own challenge to the NFL’s ruling in the US District Court , in Minneapolis , Minnesota. The union’s challenge , states that the NFL in collusion with the team owners have sought to circumvent the principles of the salary cap , which in of-itself was moot , as there was no salary cap for the 2010 season. DeMaurice Smith , executive director of the union is no stranger to the environment of judicial expediency and jurisprudence , having been a former US Assistant District Attorney with the Justice Dept and then in private practice as a corporate litigator with renowned DC law firm Patton Boggs LLC . This is no longer the NFL of old where the power laid in the hands of the commissioner and the team owners as it is now in essence in the hands of the all-powerful NFLPA . The recent CBA (collective bargaining agreement) between the league hierarchy and union led to a ten-year-deal which was meant to bring about stability and labor peace between the two parties. Yet , there’s still a great deal of mistrust between the NFL and NFLPA , and along the way growing friction also amongst the team owners and the way the league hierarchy has dealt with a number of issues . Much of this has come to light with the latest owners’ meeting that recently took place and ended last week . That fraternity of franchise owners , much like a clandestine group have become so secretive and , manipulative to the extent , where they now have paid lobbyists working in the hallways of Capitol Hill , DC seemingly looking for any advantage that they can get in order to get congressional leaders to lessen their tax burdens , even in light of the very favorable statutes that allows the NFL to operate under the antitrust exemption statute already in place .

Courtesy of USA Today

NFLPA’s latest fight consistent with new reputation

By Jarrett Bell , USA Today

When the NFL had its unprecedented 18 years of labor peace with the players during the late 1990s and early millennium era, there was the perception it included, well, an unfair advantage.

The NFL Players Association was viewed as being too soft, too cushy in its relationship with the league. Nearly a half-dozen years ago, Bryant Gumbel went so far as to characterize late union chief Gene Upshaw as a “lap dog” for ex-commissioner Paul Tagliabue .

Gumbel was off-base. Under Upshaw, the NFLPA waged the legal war that finally won liberalized free agency, and salaries exploded as the sides kept extending collective bargaining agreements. And Upshaw won the last CBA he negotiated, to the point that owners opted out.

MORE: Union files complaint vs. NFL

Still, there was that perception. The NFLPA โ€” key partner in the USA’s most popular sport โ€” was nothing like the all-powerful baseball players union.

My, how perceptions have changed. The NFLPA has recast itself in the image of its leader, DeMaurice Smith , a former federal prosecutor. It is ready to scrap at the drop of a hat, no issue too large or small.

After de-certifying last year and suing over the lockout, the union has kept up the pace since striking a 10-year labor deal. Even when it looks silly or frivolous.

The union has stalled the testing for HGH that it agreed to (in principle ). Citing lack of evidence, it has vehemently fought on behalf of players accused as lead perpetrators in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal rather than leading the chorus that decries any system in which players are out to hurt their union brothers.

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At this juncture I am not so sure why the union is simply pressing ahead with this issue and the appeal ! Are they now seeking to work in conjunction with both Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder to right what they deem to be an egregious wrong ? Or is this now coming down to the union , once again seeking to flex their muscle concerning the NFL , while seeing whether or not the league will budge ? All of this ambiguous pomposity from both parties but yet one of the most pressing issues neither the league or union would willingly seek to address. First , and foremost there is the issue of player safety and how the league treats concussions and specifically CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy ) . With the recent deaths of Junior Seau and Ray Easterling , only now has the league actually realized the gravity of the issue . Needless to say , the murkier side of this whole idiocy has been the culpability of both the union and the league concerning the New Orleans Saints’ ” bounty scandal “ . That farce , and the mere fact that the league had been correlating , and collecting evidence would now suggest that the NFL quite possibly has bungled their investigation. Questions have arisen as to the veracity of the case that the league has presented but I do believe that this has been driven by the fact that the vast majority of the NFL franchise owners are said to be angry at the fact that the New Orleans Saints have been allowed to get away with , in their actions for the past three years . Joe Vitt , Sean Payton and GM Micky Loomis have admitted their guilt in the actions purported to have been put in place . But for the four players under suspension ( Anthony Hargrove , Scott Fujita , Johnathan Vilma and Will Smith ) have all denied any wrongdoing on their part . They have sought their appeal with their original verdicts being upheld but Vilma has now filed a defamation of character and libel lawsuit in the US Federal Court against the NFL commissioner and the league (NFL) , itself . Chances are , that lawsuit may well be a protracted legal matter where Roger Goodell will have to take the stand in his defense and that of the NFL . Care to ask how the commissioner will address the questions posed by Vilma’s attorneys at that trial , should it ever actually take place ? Chime in with a comment as you see fit .

Of the four major professional sports’ hierarchies and their respective commissioners , David Stern . Roger Goodell , Gary Bettman and Bud Selig have all over the course of the past season seen the blow-back against their decisions on a number of issues . But perhaps for Goodell , his actions if any have come under the most scrutiny . Certainly , the commissioner’s answers to the convened members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning the reason why the league has yet to adopt the steroid policy agreed to , as part of the NFL’s most recent collective bargaining agreement (CBA) , ratified by the league and union. To my mind , Roger Goodell has been one of the biggest pompous assholes in the recent history of the NFL ! The commissioner shows about as much intelligence as a mentally challenged individual who seeks to play hopscotch in the midst of a minefield ! He chooses not to address the most serious of the issues that the league faces with any veracity but instead he simply points to the growing revenues and not much else as part of his so-called legacy . This mother-f#cker has a pair of brass cojones on him , and not much else ! Anyone now coming to his support to my mind has to be some of the dumbest fucking idiots on the face of the planet . The sphincter licking morons of ESPN , namely Chris Mortensen , John Clayton , Adam Shefter need to get a damn clue rather than chasing after the stories , that in large part is simply of no interest to anyone ! Do you really want to know what Tim Tebow may well have had for breakfast , beyond his Wheaties ? Really , ESPN is that the best you can do ? Sh_t !

Is this what the NFL has come to ? I’ve repeatedly read and have heard patrons within this forum try to explain the difficulty that the commissioner has in his capacity as the NFL’s highest ranking executive . Apathy once again has set in amongst the fans , who simply haven’t got a fu_king clue concerning a number of issues that now currently afflict the NFL . Their only concerns seemingly is whether not their fantasy picks will pan out over the course of the NFL schedule and the point spread of a number of games . Enough said on the matter because really , what does anyone get by that by way of anything tangible from being a draft geek ? Getting your “jollies ” rocked are you ? ‘nough said ! Roger Goodell couldn’t find his ass from a hole in the ground , even if his very life depended on it , and that’s not necessarily saying a lot at this juncture , given his handling of a number of situations ! And even with the alleged expertise legal counsel being provided to him by Jeff Pash and Adolphus Birch III , the commissioner still bungles his way through the day , still coming across like many of the fu_king clueless members of the US House of Representatives and Senate , who just happen to be on both sides of the political aisle ! Would you have expected me to say anything but that ? I mean there are actually dumb assholes on both sides of the political divide as the Democrats much like their counterparts , the Republicans are simply no more intelligent than their rivals. It’s not as if either party has to clue how to deal with the most acute of the issues that this country now faces to begin with ! And as to the prospective Presidential candidates for the upcoming election . Well, let’s just say it’s a pick ’em between the self-absorbed duo of the Presidential incumbent Barack Obama and the equally odious Mitt Romney , former governor of Massachusetts , the self-proclaimed entrepreneur and business innovator. If only the last claim were indeed true . But I’ll let you all be the judge of that ! I mean , Romney speaks volumes of his life in the business field and the private sector but rarely has he addressed his successes during his tenure as the chief executive of the state of Massachusetts . Really , Mitt ? Really , it’s going to now come down to the fact that of expertise and your work at Bain Capital ? My , oh my ! And Obama’s handling of the debt crisis ? Well what’s another trillion dollars ( $1,000,000,000,000) to an already bloated national debt that will never ever be actually paid off ? And to think that there are now renowned economists applauding the Congress’ handling of this debt crisis , while being critical of the economic crisis in Europe , specifically those weighing down Greece , Italy , Spain and Portugal . Are you fu_king kidding me ? But you or I as a taxpayer will be hounded by the IRS if we’re said to be delinquent in paying our federal income tax. Go figure !

It is a sad indictment when you have a high-ranking executive of a professional sport’s hierarchy who simply cannot explain himself succinctly on any issue that affects his sport and the business of the NFL . Anyone now still on the Goodell bandwagon can you somehow explain the real positives that he has brought thus far to the table since he succeeded Paul Tagliabue ? Do so if you can ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The NFL may well now be a $ 10 billion-a-year-industry and their franchises’ ….. values have risen faster than the average rate of inflation in each of the last eight seasons . But beyond that , in reality would you honestly say that the league is now in a better place than it was a decade ago , or even five years ago , given the PR problems that the NFL now faces ? By all means simply leave a comment on any of the salient points raised within this piece , and anything else you believe to be pertinent with regard to the subject matter . And thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1)A banner stands outside a conference room as New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft returns to an NFL owners meeting Tuesday, May 22, 2012, in Atlanta. AP Photo/David Goldman ….

(2) Former New England Patriots football player Ted Johnson speaks to a conference on pediatric concussions at Children’s Hospital in Boston, Friday, May 18, 2012. Johnson says the death of former Patriots’ Junior Seau was the tip of the tipping point” that convinced him to speak out for concussion victims . AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …..

(3) New England Patriots rookie defensive backs Alfonzo Dennard (37) and Tavon Wilson (27) are directed to another location by special teams coach Scott O’Brien during NFL football rookie mini-camp at the team’s facility in Foxborough, Mass., Friday, May 11, 2012. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia ….

(4) Team owners Dan Snyder of the Washington Redskins and Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys . The executives have fought rigorously to appeal a ruling by Roger Goodell that saw their respective teams having to forfeit the return of $46 million having contravened an “unwritten rule” as it relates to the salary cap in 2010 . That year, however was an un-capped season and teams were free as such to pay their players salaries commensurate to whatever in principle was agreed with the players’ agents . Roger Goodell has insisted that the “spirit of the rule” was broken by the Cowboys and Redskins in the way that the contracts of the players were structured . Hence the financial penalties levied ___ $46 million to be shared amongst the other 30 teams within the NFL . AP Photo / Mark McKinnon …

(5) (5) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , foreground , is seen here with NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith during the NFL labor dispute prior beginning of the 2011 season. What appears to a 10 year peace accord between the league and union is now on the verge of being in tatters. Smith and the union hierarchy have lodged a civil suit in US District Court challenging the NFL and the owners with collusion in setting about with the charade of a salary cap in 2010 , when in essence the season itself was un-capped . At the heart of this however , in the league’s claims, is the fact that the union cannot challenge this action when their most recent CBA , the NFLPA gave up the right of recourse in challenging the NFL in matters relating to its business practice . Reuters / Philip McConnell ….. …..

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Hot chic pic of the day Brenda Lynn Acevedo .

More of Ms Acevedo . Nice , real nice !

It’s Back To The Drawing Board …………

It’s Back To The Drawing Board

By tophatal ……………. 05/21/2012

Not totally unexpected but the NBA …. postseason has seen the firing of its first coaching casualty , with the Orlando Magic having fired Stan Van Gundy this afternoon . GM Otis Smith was also asked to relinquish his duties with the beleaguered general manager and Magic hierarchy agreeing to mutually part ways . COO Alex Martins now has to conduct an exhaustive personnel search for an insighftul general manger and and an astute head coach . Both Van Gundy and Smith over the course of their tenure at best , have simply been completely oblivious as to what is needed to construct a championship caliber team . And it certainly hasn’t helped that Dwight Howard has become a petulant and tiresome ass , who’s biggest attribute is no longer his game but the mere fact that he plays the clown so adroitly ! Nothing says I’m an asshole than an athlete simply being self-absorbed and believing himself to be bigger than the team . The coaches who have held the position with the Magic don’t seem overly impressive when you peruse the list of abject failures in spite of the success of Chuck Daly , Doc Rivers and Brian Hill . I simply get the feeling that the off-season will be a long an arduous one for Alex Martins and his staff , as they seek replacements for Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith .

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Slide show for your perusal .

With the Orlando Magic being unceremoniously dumped in the first round of the playoffs by the Indiana Pacers was enough to suggest that that this Magic organization was completely out its depth . This Orlando Magic team was simply made up of ill-fitting pieces and a coach whose best attribute was to be animated and continue to whine like a stuck pig before it’s placed on a spit grill to be roasted . OK , so Ryan Anderson was said to be the most improved player in the NBA this past season . But really is that asking too much of Anderson , given the fact that before this past year season no one would have known whom he was said to be . And please forgive me when I state that J J Redick , Hedo Turkoglu , Jason Richardson and Jameer Nelson are about as scary an opponent in the NBA as Clay Aiken would prove to be in a room filled with naked , openly gay males . Over course of their season schedule the Orlando Magic were simply hideous . Let’s be succinct here , who the fu_k believed that this team was simply good enough to beat any of the Eastern Conference participants in this season’s playoffs ? Come on , ask yourself the question , were the Magic good enough to ” beat” the Pacers ? We all saw that the players simply gave up , rather than seeking to be competitive .

The relationship between Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy had already been seething , with there being growing animus between player and coach . Van Gundy approached the senior executives to question whether or not Howard had approached them to have him fired . Oh Stan, get over yourself , as you’re not that great a coach to begin with ! There’s a reason why your tenures with both the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic were not only clouded in controversy but the abrupt way that you’ve now left both organizations has to speak volumes as to your lack of ability as a head coach . There’s a great deal that has be done within this organization , the hiring of a successor to Van Gundy and the upcoming NBA Draft Also there has to be roster personnel decisions with regard to the potential free agents beyond the team’s All Star center Dwight Howard . The player , had the chance to leave the organization earlier this season at the trade deadline and it would appear that either Smith didn’t believe that the teams said to be interested in acquiring the player , simply were not prepared to meet the asking price of the Magic. The Los Angeles Lakers eschewed the idea of acquiring the player in exchange for either Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol , and the perceived interest from the New Jersey Nets simply went up in smoke the moment that Brook Lopez went down injured .

The potential list of candidates that Alex Martins might seek to interview for the position probably will be not be that great. There simply doesn’t appear to be a viable candidate I believe, that might deemed a suitable successor to Stan Van Gundy ! A retread of someone like Larry Brown , Mike Fratello or P J Carlesimo and the organization might as well call on Brian Hill or Matt Guokas . And if the aforementioned executive should seek to go the collegiate route for that successor , then Alec Martins might seek to hire Billy Donovan , Tom Izzo , or Tom Crean . But I seriously doubt that that Martins has the mendacity or the ambition to gauge the interests of the aforementioned collegiate coaches ! Over the years , I simply wonder what ambition if any there has been within the Orlando Magic organization ! Unfortunately , the misguided fans within the Central Florida area bought into the bullshit that Rich De Vos ever possessed the acumen to make the Magic a real success . He may well have co-founded turned the direct sales product company Amway made it a multi-billion dollar , multi-marketing level behemoth but beyond that he has simply sleep walked as the basketball franchise has simply slipped into deep obscurity . Two appearances in the NBA finals and each time the team fell at the final obstacle in the NBA’s postseason showcase finale . It’s hard to fathom where the Magic now go from here , as I believe that if they choose to rebuild around Dwight Howard there is the likelihood that they will struggle find the prerequisite pieces to complement the Howard’s skill-set. Try as they have , it has already been a complete failure from the moment Dwight Howard was drafted #1 overall in the 2004 NBA Draft . From thereon-in it has been one prat-fall after another with this organization with no semblance of common sense from anyone within the front office to the coaching staff on down . Pretty much damned , and be damned , as it relates to the Orlando Magic .

The ongoing fiasco that happens to be Bud Selig being viewed as the consummate senior executive within baseball’s hierarchy simply knows no boundaries . From his his mishandling of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ financial woes , to that of the New York Mets , the commissioner’s handling of each has left a lot to be desired. And who can forget his and the fu#king asinine rant of one of the commissioner’s subordinates , Rob Manfred questioning arbitration verdict of Shyam Das in overturning Ryan Braun’s 50 game suspension after an alleged banned substance was said to be found within this system ? As we all now know , the testing laboratory facility failed to follow the proper protocols as it related to the gathering and storing of the test specimens of a subject (player) . But somehow rather than rebuking the hired facility these two dumb fu_ks sought to question the arbitrator’s decision after he followed the “rule of law” . And so the saga continues and the lame ass supporters of Bud Selig are still jumping out of the woodwork like termites after an exterminator is within their midst.

Is there a day that day goes by when there’s not some controversy said to be fomenting within baseball ? Within the Tampa Bay area there’s a growing discontent between the Tampa Bay Rays’ ownership group led by managing partner Stuart Sternberg and city of St Petersburg , home to the Rays and their home venue at Tropicana Field , St Petersburg, Florida . Throw in the county government of Pinellas County and their bordered county government neighbor of Hillsborough County , as each seeks to lure or retain the baseball franchise . Sternberg seeks the financial assistance of the city of St Petersburg in the building of a new downtown venue. The city of Tampa and its mayor Bob Buckhorn seeks to lure the baseball club to his city with the financial inducement of a lesser tax burden . But as with any other governmental agency , it will be the residents who in the end will suffer , as the use much of needed resources will be directed elsewhere in order to assist a multi-millionaire sports’ franchise owner . This is the very same bullsh#t that is now transpiring within the city of Sacramento but with their apathetic fan-base trying to suggest that the use of city’s resources in building a new $391 million venue for a basketball franchise , the Sacramento Kings , whose fan-base has been steadily on the decline for the last eight years will be of benefit to the residents as a whole . If that wasn't bad enough the city's Mayor Kevin Johnson seems to be a bumbling ass . His city has an enormous budget deficit but he feels the best way forward to spend funds that they simply haven’t got while furloughing city employees , cutting none-discretionary spending and simply cutting their budget overall . The Sacramento Kings’ ownership group led by Joe and Gavin Maloof have been less than forthright in their dealings with Johnson and his city’s council members . You have the NBA Commissioner David Stern , remaining remarkably moot on the issue but you simply know that this conniving bastard will undoubtedly side with the ownership group of the franchise , if the Maloofs are unable to have their demands met ! I’ll say no more , as I simply don’t want to decry those fans in Sacramento anymore , their idiocy seems to know boundaries !

The Tampa Bay Rays in spite of their recent success have simply languished under the misapprehension that Bud Selig will come riding to the rescue to assist them in their pursuit of a new ballpark . That’s not going to happen anytime soon , as the commissioner has not only rebuffed and rebuked the Rays’ ownership but he has has had the temerity to suggest that the franchise will never play host to an MLB All Star Game until they have a state of the art new venue . Pray Bud , and where will the Tampa Bay Rays get the much needed financing , an approximate $ 575 million to build the proposed new venue come from ? Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman has tried to be very diplomatic concerning this most acute of issues , while not looking to run the wrath of the commissioner’s authority or that of the governmental agencies in question . Over the ensuing months it will be interesting to see how this all pans out .

Now while the two franchises , the > Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers have divergent seasons . It has to be said it is troubling to see the Angels simply flounder from one inept performance to another . If they maintain this type of mediocrity they’ll be hard pressed to finish their season with an above .500 record . The offense has had its problems and their high priced acquisition , Albert Pujols , I’ve no doubt wishes that he were still playing on the senior circuit of the NL ! I’m not saying he’s having issues acclimatizing with his new team but it’s like placing a lamb being led to the slaughter as he tries to acclimatize himself within the AL this season. And other than Jered Weaver’s ….. no hitter for the team this season there has been little to write home about for the Angels this season . Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto have to be wondering what to make of this team and the coaching staff led by Mike Sciocsia .

While the Angels appear to be fizzling the Los Angels Dodgers are simply on a tear within the NL West . This division could very well be sewn up before we hit the month of August . And at this juncture it’s pretty safe to say that the feats of Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp have pretty much made themselves the early season and prohibitive favorites for the NL MVP.

Confrontations good , bad or indifferent , are never a premise that the game of baseball should operate under. But there’s one now brewing between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s . Lew Wolff seeks to now relocate the franchise if there is no agreement to build a new ballpark for renowned franchise . With no agreement as to a new venue and the aging O Coliseum (Oakland Alameda County Coliseum) now teetering on the brink of being obsolete . The the A’s are seeking to move to Santa Clara County and to a proposed site on the outskirts of San Jose . But herein lies the issue, as the the Giants state that it encroaches upon their territorial boundary and would create a dilution in terms of the fans and their own drawing power within that territory . Just when you thought there was common sense to be found , up comes the fecal matter to simply emit an odor that’s so rancid that it makes you gag.

Courtesy of the San Francisco Examiner in conjunction with Reuters


Territorial rights for SF Giants, Oakland A’s still up in the air

By Reuters

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday there has been no resolution regarding the Oakland Aโ€™s and San Francisco Giantsโ€™ territorial rights to San Jose after both parties made presentations to Major League Baseballโ€™s executive council on Wednesday, MLB.com reported.

The Aโ€™s would like to build a new ballpark in San Jose and play there, but the Giants have not relinquished their rights to San Jose and Santa Clara County. Those rights have been part of the MLB constitution since 1990.

โ€œThis is part of the process weโ€™re going through, but I certainly canโ€™t give you a timetable,โ€ Selig told the media Thursday. โ€œAs Iโ€™ve said before, itโ€™s a complicated, complex issue. People think itโ€™s taking a long time, but if you look at all the issues, youโ€™d understand it better. … The idea is to get it right and if it takes a little longer, thatโ€™s fine.โ€

When asked whether the Aโ€™s would be allowed to consider relocating outside of the Bay Area, Selig said, โ€œYouโ€™d have to ask [Aโ€™s managing partner] Lew Wolff. Thatโ€™s really his decision to make.โ€

Approval from 75 percent of the other 29 owners is required for the Aโ€™s to move their franchise out of their territory, whether that be to San Jose or elsewhere.

โ€œ[The Aโ€™s] have to go through an approval process,โ€ Selig said.

Meanwhile, baseball owners approved a new division series format that could actually favor the underdog. Top division winners will play two games on the road before coming home for all necessary remaining games in the five-game series format. When wild-card teams were first added to Major League Baseball playoffs, the format was 2-3. Next season, the plan is to restore the 2-2-1 series format in the first round.

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Now the question that may well be asked by the fans , is how can this matter be best resolved to acceptance of the parties involved . Bud Selig has known of the issues that the Oakland A’s have had, as they seek a new venue for the ball-club but rarely has the commissioner spoken publicly on the matter. But somehow he has been front-and-center in aiding the ownership groups of the Miami Marlins , New York Mets and New York Yankees obtaining new baseball stadiums . And those venues have been built at the collective cost of $ 2.855 billion ($2,855,000,000) , all at taxpayers’ expense . New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Miami counterpart Tomas Regalado have each lauded the commissioner for the assistance and input provided . But somehow the A’s and Rays , now seen as mere paupers within the baseball world are now being left to fend for themselves . I can’t help but wonder if the team owners within the game have such a close fraternal order , then how is it that the likes of Jeffrey Loria , Hank & Hal Steinbrenner and the duo of Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon can seemingly look down on their peers as nondescript miscreants not worth assisting in such an endeavor ! I’ve heard all this bull_hit about there being parity within the game of baseball because there has been not a back-to-back winner of the World Series in over a decade . That means absolutely nothing , where it really counts , and that’s from a economic and financial standpoint . The big market teams within the financial resources at their disposal can simply cakewalk their way to a title , merely by picking up a high priced free agent that meets their prerequisite needs. Not so , for the small market teams around the league ( MLB) but you would be hard pressed to suggest that to many purists and those who claim to have some so-called knowledge of the game from a financial standpoint . I’ve yet to hear anyone explain it succinctly to me , why it is that the game of baseball has such a financial imbalance as it relates to the teams. The New York Yankees think nothing of dropping a $200 million plus payroll on their roster for each of the last five seasons , while the minnows of the game such as the Kansas City Royals , Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates are left to pick at the dog scraps left in a bowl .

Anyone who believes that Bud Selig cares about all of the baseball teams within the game is simply misguided and hasn’t got any god-damn common sense . The MLB commissioner puts profits above all else , much like his NFL counterpart Roger Goodell , who himself , is currently under siege for his apparent lack of inaction thereof , in dealing with the now ” lingering stench ” of the New Orleans Saints’ scandal with a modicum of real transparency . . There’s a reason why Goodell has no comprehension of jurisprudence (law) , and how to apply it with veracity and judiciously . And even with the in-house legal counsel being provided the NFL commissioner still comes up looking like a complete ass ! .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Are you at all surprised by the dismissal of Stan Van Gundy as the coach of the Orlando Magic ? And what of the now growing feeling that the Los Angeles Angels now have some major issues to deal with concerning their lackluster performances this season ? That asides what needs to be done concerning the concerns or the Giants and their issues with the possible move of the A’s ? Chime in on this and anything else you believe pertinent on the subject matter. Thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated ! .

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(1) DENVER, CO – APRIL 22 : Head coach Stan Van Gundy leads the Orlando Magic against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on April 22, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. It was reported on May 21, 2012 that the Orlando Magic fired Head Coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …

(2) ORLANDO, FL – DECEMBER 18 : Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith speaks to the media regarding the acquisition of Gilbert Arenas from the Washington Wizards, Jason Richardson , Hedo Turkoglu, and Earl Clark from the Phoenix Suns at Amway Arena on December 18, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. It was reported on May 21, 2012 that the Orlando Magic fired Head Coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images ….

(3) Dumber and dumber . MAITLAND, FL – SEPTEMBER 29: Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith pose for a portrait during NBA Media Day on September 29, 2008 at the RDV Sportsplex in Maitland, Florida. Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images …

(4) Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins , left, smiles as Dwight Howard answers questions during a news conference,Thursday, March 15, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. Howard signed papers Thursday agreeing to waive the early termination option in his contract, guaranteeing he will be with the Magic at the beginning of the 2012-13 season. That situation now seems a little more uncertain with the recent upheavals within the organization and the player’s own immediate future . AP Photo/John Raoux ….

(5) Rob Manfred (left) and Bud Selig are seen here being interviewed by the press prior to the MLB All Star Game in 2011 . Both senior executives were unhappy with the ruling rendered by Shyam Das during the arbitratorโ€™s presiding over the Ryan Braun mediation case . Das sided with the player after it was shown that the testing facility hired by the league failed to follow the proper protocols in its chain of custody in handling Braunโ€™s test samples . AP / Ian Shaw โ€ฆโ€ฆ.

(6) Oakland Athleticsโ€™ owner Lewis Wolff , right, talks with vice president and general manager Billy Beane during the Aโ€™s spring training baseball workout in Phoenix, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007. Beane, the architect behind Oaklandโ€™s four division titles since 2000, was rewarded with a seven-year contract extension Wednesday, June 13, 2007. The duo are said to be unhappy with the prolonged efforts of the MLB hierarchy in seeking the owners’ approval and a vote in setting about the chain-of-events that would see the organization move from their present site to a proposed new venue in San Jose (Santa Clara County) California . At the heart of this all , is a brewing territorial dispute between the A’s and San Francisco Giants . AP Photo/Eric Risberg โ€ฆ..

(7) Bochy , Sabean , Cain , Baer of the San Francisco Giants . From left to right San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy , GM Brian Sabean , pitcher , Matt Cain and the team’s managing general partner & CEO Laurence Bear . Baer has stated that the Giants have no wish to relinquish their territorial rights which came by way of an agreement that has been in existence since 1990. It is becoming abundantly clear that this matter may well end up being a protracted legal argument , unless the two sides and the MLB hierarchy can reach some sort of a compromise amenable to all of the parties concerned . AP Photo / Chris Chadwick ….. …..

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Calling It Like I See It ……………


Calling It Like I See It …………

By tophatal …… 5/20/2012 ….. 01.35 AM (EST)

It ain’t easy being cheesy but there you have it two NBA franchise that make their home , the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center , are pretty much done , cooked and have nothing to left offer their fans . Smoke that bitch ! The Los Angeles Lakers are now 3-1 down in their series against the Oklahoma City Thunder . Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant as the consummate professionals have pretty much man-handled the Lakers’ defense , not giving them anything by way of a chance to acquit themselves . For the sixth consecutive game during the playoffs both players have exceeded 25 points in a game . Call it what you will but the Lakers have no place being on the same court as the Oklahoma City Thunder ! And that’s in spite of Kobe Bryant , the fourteen time All Star being on this team and playing with so much heart and passion. Unfortunately , his teammates, simply possess none of the heart or passion so often seen from the renowned veteran . Put a ” gun to their head and smoke that bitch ” (Lakers) ! It’s time now to put the Lakers out of their misery once they’re eliminated and simply gut the playing staff . They are old complacent and simply not good enough to win an NBA title .

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The free agents on this Lakers roster , many of them are unlikely to be resigned , more likely than not those players are likely to be jettisoned , with the belief that Mitch Kupchak is likely to seek an opportunity elsewhere serving another franchise in a similar capacity as a general manager . It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings but stage left she’s now giving us brief rendition of an aria , as she awaits to make an entrance . The 103-100 victory by Oklahoma City Thunder has pretty much emphasized who has been the better team throughout this series . Kobe Bryant and the Lakers’ fans have pretty much been delusional for the greater part of the season , if they felt that their team was simply good enough to win the NBA title , much less this series .

And-One-Basketball just doesn’t work in the NBA and it would simply help if Vinny Del Negro actually had the players of the Los Angeles Clippers actually playing an ounce of defense , instead of simply relying on high-flying dunks as the sole premise behind their game . . Need I say anymore on the matter ? God damn , this team is bad ! Chris Paul looks like an aging geriatric assisted by the use of a “walker” instead being one of the best point guards left in the postseason . If the truth be known , as good as Paul has been , there are three other points who are simply better ! Come on down Russell Westbrook , Tony Parker and Rajon Rondo .

There’s no other answer than this , but where else other than New York City can you find some of the most obnoxious fans and athletes other than within the city of Los Angeles ? Blake Griffin has got to be frigging mad if he feels that the Clippers are a better team than the San Antonio Spurs when during the regular season and postseason , as he and his teammates have been made to look , as if they simply do not belong on a basketball court . Griffin needs to grow up , show that he’s a leader , rather than merely being a human highlight reel . Dunks or no dunks , if that’s all there is to your game , just shut the fu#k up !

The Los Angeles Clippers down 3-0 to the Spurs , much like their Staples Center co-habitants , the Los Angles Lakers are on the brink , looking to stave off elimination from the postseason. This mess is very much one of their own making simply because the way that this team has been constructed to be so one-dimensional from an offensive standpoint and doing nothing from a defensive standpoint . There is no way that the Clippers can erase this deficit and the demeanor of the players and coaching staff has simply reflected that fact !

Game three , and the Los Angeles Clippers had this game within their grasp , only to succumb to Gregg Popovich’s ….. players as they erased a 24 point deficit on their way to a 96-86 victory that puts Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs one win away in their fifth Western Conference Finals appearance during his tenure . The renowned coach has own four NBA titles all with the franchise and now seeks a fifth , to add to his tally and most certainly place in the upper echelons as one of the greatest coaches in the modern era of the NBA . There’s no doubt in my mind that Gregg Popovich is bound for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Indiana , . Indianapolis ! Care to add to that statement ?

At the start of this NBA season those riding on the coat-tails of the Miami Heat must have felt that they were in heaven . Well its dependent on how one now defines heaven ? Fans have anointed LeBron James ………King James and lo and behold the player has done nothing yet to prove that he’s deserving of that mantel. The player has ran all the way to hog heaven , garnering an estimated $140 million fortune and the apparent adoration of a number of NBA analysts and fans alike . OK , so he’s won three regular season MVP awards and scoring titles but the NBA and a player’s legacy is adjudged by the titles won and how one leads a team . Care to add to this ? LeBron has yet to win a title and one for The Gipper , God bless him , he is still waiting . Not one , not two , not three , not four but fu_k it gives us something to hang our hats unto LeBron ______ rather than coming off looking like an asshole !

For the life of me , I simply don’t know what the mindset was behind Pat Riley as he underwent the construction of this team in its present guise ! As if last season’s losing Finals’ roster wasn’t bad enough but now this ? Who would have thought that the Indiana Pacers would be giving the Miami Heat all they can handle and a great deal more ? Erik Spoesltra is now being out-coached by Frank Vogel and the Miami Heat’s two best players and their supporting cast have simply been horrendous in this series .

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With four games to play and what’s said to be a great deal of animosity between Dwyane Wade and his head coach during game three when there was an animated exchange between the two . One could allude to the fact that there’s a great deal of disarray and dismay within the Heat locker room and the organization as a whole . Much of this I believe has come down to the complacency of this franchise and the mere fact that they’re so self-absorbed into believing all that has been written about the team ! That stance is also supported with the prickly and thorny nature that Heart President Pat Riley now has for all forms of the media. Always amenable to the print and television journalists when they have something favorable to say about his team but he becomes verbose and downright infantile the moment justifiable criticism is leveled at the players and his coaching staff alike . Riley , is not one to take any form of criticism , justifiable or otherwise and has been known to hold a grudge against those he believe have done him wrong , and it certainly has been no different as it relates to the Miami Heat organization . It begs the question is no one to be held accountable within the Heat organization when things go awry ? Clearly , Riley doesn’t believe so and neither do the more high profiled players on this team, namely LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . When one considers that Micky Arison and Pat Riley went for broke by breaking the bank in order acquire Bosh and James , that maneuver has yet to really pay off dividends from a competitive standpoint . From an economic viewpoint and in terms of a business template the Heat are now one of the biggest draws in the NBA , though not the valuable franchise within the league . That distinction still belongs to the New York Knicks , with the Los Angeles Lakers not so far behind . It seems remarkable that the Golden State Warriors whose recent purchase by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber for a reputed $ 565 million has many wondering how inflated are the reputed values of the NBA franchises ?

Market size notwithstanding with ad revenues on the decline steadily on the decline and profit margins now under a great deal of pressure . One has to ask , are the NBA team owners and the league hierarchy necessarily on the same page ? In light of the recent collective bargaining agreement worked out between the NBA and the NBPA (union) , I would certainly like to think so but if the allegations are to believed , not all of the franchise owners were completely satisfied with this deal . There had to have been a reason why Mark Cuban , Michael Jordan and Mikhail Prokhorov were said to be indifferent to David Stern’s handling of these negotiations .

Game four for the Miami Heat will be a make-or-break situation and could very well determine their season . A loss , and we can pretty much assume that they will have certainly played themselves out of contention . The Bankers Life/ Conseco Fieldhouse Stadium will be packed to the rafters as the Indian Pacers’ fans look to cheer on their team . GM Larry Bird recently named Executive of the Year now adds another accolade to his already impressive resume`. In winning this particular award , Bird becomes the first former player in NBA history to have won each of the NBA’s most distinguished individual awards , namely Rookie Of The Year , MVP , Finals’ MVP and Coach of the Year . Already a Hall of Fame inductee , an NBA title would certainly further cement the former Celtic great’s already impressive legacy .

The Indiana Pacers’ ; Danny Granger may well have been unto something when he stated that the players on the Miami Heat were ” soft ” and have no stomach for a fight . God knows , this Heat team has been an embarrassment and all the conceitedness on display has simply indicated that when push come to shove this is a team , that simply has no guts to get down in the trenches , much less get into a ring for a real fight . Gutless , simply gutless and for those who simply affix greatness to LeBron James , calm down and smell the coffee . Greatness when bestowed upon , usually comes when that individual has achieved something of real merit and can be seen as tangible . James has yet to aspire to achieve anything tangible and the clock is still ticking . One more fall and we might as well use the word ” choke” and affix that to LeBron James ! Doubt my word ? Consider the player’s career thus far and his idiotic preseason rants as it pertained to his joining the Miami Heat ? Ask yourself , showmanship or simply the player making an ass of himself ? You can either back that shit up or you can’t ! James and his compatriots , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have yet to do either .

If the Heat should indeed win this game then the best-of-three games now becomes the reason upon which their season will now hinge. And that if anything should give us a clear indication as to the persona of this team . Anything short of a series’ victory and the NBA title itself , and this off-season there could very well a number of questions being asked of this organization and its personnel. And therein lies the dilemma now encompassing the Miami Heat and its players as they have been constantly throughout much of this season and the playoffs. Playing the “role” of a contender when in large they’ve been exhibiting the play of a “pretender ” . Now it all comes down to this , the final three games of this series and a do-or-die-situation . Now what awaits the Miami Heat ?

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The NBA postseason and the travails of the Clippers , Heat and Lakers , in your honest opinion have their woes been ones which you believe to self-induced ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .

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(1) LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 19: Kendrick Perkins (5) of the Oklahoma City Thunder puts in a shot in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 19, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook , right, puts up a shot as Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill defends during the second half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, Saturday, May 19, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Thunder won 103-100 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(3) ) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant , center, puts up a shot as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant , left, defends along with forward Serge Ibaka of Congo during the second half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, Saturday, May 19, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Thunder won 103-100 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(4) LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 20: The San Antonio Spurs celebrate in the fourth quarter while playing against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(5) LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 20 : Blake Griffin(32 ) f the Los Angeles Clippers reacts in the fourth quarter while taking on the San Antonio Spurs in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 20, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(6) Tiago Splitter (22) of the San Antonio Spurs goes up for a shot against Kenyon Martin (2) of the Los Angeles Clippers in the second half in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 20, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …

(7) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 20: Dwyane Wade (3) and LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat celebrate after defeating the Indiana Pacers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 20, 2012 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(8) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 20 : Dwyane Wade (3) and Udonis Haslem (40) of the Miami Heat rebound against David West (21) of the Indiana Pacers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 20, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Heat defeated the Pacers 101-93 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …. ……
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Put A Choke Hold On That Bitch !

Put A Choke Hold On That Bitch !

By tophatal …………. 05/18/2012 00:32 AM

Now it goes without saying a great has been expecting of the Miami Heat this season , with the team surrounding itself three superstars , namely Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade . This was the monster created by Heat front office executive …. Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison . . With the team having handily dealt with their first round opponents the New York Knicks with the skilled precision of a surgeon . It was felt that the Heat would find the postseason something of a cakewalk on their way to second NBA title in the last seven years. Not so fast as the Miami Heat are performing like a virgin about to get “her cherry popped” for the very first time in their series against the Indiana Pacers . Is that blood I see ? Whose blood ? Oh , it’s the Heat’s …… LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

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The Miami Heat’s second round opponents are the third seeded ….. Indiana Pacers who pulled off something of akin to a walkover in beating the shit out of the Orlando Magic in their first round match-up . The Magic were absolutely horrendous and even with the loss of Dwight Howard , there was simply no reason for the team to literally fold their tents and make a quick exit home ! It was a gutless performance from the team and coaching staff alike ! Put a choke on that bitch ! Stan Van Gundy has repeatedly said he’s not worried about losing his job . Who’s he kidding ? He’s a lying sack of fecal matter ! Put a choke hold on that bitch , as well as Van Gundy !

Well Thursday night as the Indiana Pacers played hosts to the Miami Heat at the packed Conseco Field-house in Indiana , Indianapolis . It has to be said this is perhaps the biggest night in the franchise’s history in almost a decade . The game itself , was not set in stone as the odds-makers in Vegas believed and in large part the vast majority who have jumped on the Miami Heat bandwagon thinking that this would be another wide margin of victory for the Heat. Well someone forgot hand the script to Frank Vogel and his players . . With the series now tied at 1-1 this match-up was set as the coming out party for the Miami Heat . Danny Granger , Roy Hibbert and David West would have none of it , as they put a ” choke hold ” on this bitch by simply outplaying the Miami Heat throughout the greater part of this game . And in doing so they came away with a heartwarming victory leaving the Heat’s postseason hopes now up in smoke . I do not envisage that this was the way LeBron James and his teammates would now envisage their postseason foray playing out for the public to witness . And while there are quite possibly still four games to play in this Eastern Conference semifinals series , the Heat can ill afford to now go down 3-1 in this series with game four due to be played on Sunday .

Down 2-1 and having lost Chris Bosh for this series and quite possibly for the rest of the NBA postseason . It has to be said that Erik Spoelstra now has to prove himself an able bodied coach . With the apparent talent that’s said to be at his disposal , the Heat players this postseason have if anything , greatly underachieved , leaving their fans perplexed and in large part , utterly dismayed . LeBron James may well have won the league’s regular season MVP. But he has yet to show that he has the the capacity to close out a game for the Miami Heat with any great authority . A prolific scorer during the regular and postseason , one seriously doubts that this is how James wants his legacy to be defined . That being said beyond LeBron James and Dwyane Wade , tonight , during this game , there was very ,little offense really provided by the Miami Heat , other than the contributions of Mario Chalmers .

The Miami Heat I’ve been told has a stifling defense , well, where was it during this game ? The Heat’s defense was nowhere near great , or as great as has been advertized , no matter what the likes of NBA analysts Hubie Brown , Tim Legler and Kenny Smith would have us believe . Well , if you choose to drink from the porcelain pot that the Heat players tend to piss in , then at times, the urine or quite possibly the fecal matter that emanates does tend to really stink up the joint ! . Put a choke hold on that bitch ! Oh sorry , I have already said that ! Why can’t the Miami Heat play like a championship caliber team , rather than continuing to tease and essentially become damn wannabe’s ? ” Put a choke hold on that bitch” . Something the Heat are clearly unable to do at present ! A loss in this series would prove to be a tremendous embarrassment for the Miami Heat organization and would be seen as of one the biggest upsets in NBA postseason history without a doubt . It would also prove to be a cautionary tale as to what not to do in building a team made of ill-fitting pieces that seemingly isn’t of one mind .

And-1 Basketball is all well and good during the regular season but it just doesn’t fly in the postseason . All of the “high praise ” for the combination of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers while on the face of it might seem valid . But at the end of the day this team is simply being outplayed and out-coached by a much better coordinated opponent . It would appear that the vast majority of NBA fans are simply of the opinion that style over substance is all that matters in the postseason . And that is exactly what you get with the Los Angeles Clippers , whose coach Vinny Del Negro is showing his inexperience as an NBA coach in the postseason arena , where legends are made . In reality , one earns that mantel/reputation rather than merely having it affixed prematurely . Note to LeBron James , ” before one” becomes ” a King ” ……… you actually need a kingdom , serfs to rule over and not a bunch of ass kissing idiots , fawning over your every move .

The Clippers are already down 1-0 in this series against the San Antonio Spurs , who alongside the Oklahoma City Thunder , are the two best teams in this NBA postseason . Any doubts about that and one simply has to look at the postseason results so far and the statistics that really matter . Game two in this best-of-seven series , once again proveed to be a lopsided victory , with the Spurs upending the Clippers with the clinical precision of a surgeon at work . And anyone of the belief that the Los Angeles Clippers is still in with a remote chance of evening this series had really better rethink that premise altogether . . Tony Parker and Rajon Rondo are proving to be the two best point guards not only within the NBA this season but also the postseason . Any doubts about their value to their respective teams is undeniable . and proof why they are held in such high esteem ?

If the Los Angeles Clippers are to make this series a competitive one , rather than it seemingly coming to an inevitable end . Then most certainly there has to be much better play coming from Chris Paul , Blake Griffin , Kenyon Martin and the rest of this team . It has yet to happen , and it would now appear unlikely to happen as this semi final match-up proceeds to its finality . Vinny Del Negro’s players have no apparent answer for Manu Ginobli , Parker , Tim Duncan , Danny Green , Kawhi Leonard , Stephen Jackson and the rest of this Spurs’ team . Those who have overlooked San Antonio Spurs unit in favor f the high flying Miami Heat , have simply chosen to do so , merely because of a ” flashy approach “ , rather than actual substance .

While I am not yet suggest that the series between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat already has a sense of finality to it . One has to admit , that no one could have foreseen situation where Frank Vogel’s team leads the series 2-1 , having only to win two of the next four games in order to make the conference finals. Let that sink for one moment , and then wonder what the thought process must be amongst the fans of the Miami Heat and within the front office of the organization ? For the Los Angeles Clippers there’s a sense that this team is simply one or two players away from being a legitimate contender for an NBA title . Good , but simply not good enough ! .

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Of the highlights this NBA postseason what if anything has been the biggest surprise to you ? And which team or team has proven to be the biggest disappointment overall ? The same question also applies to a player as well in your estimation in terms of their play , good , bad or indifferent ? Simply chime in with an answer as and when you see fit .

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(1) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 17: Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat walks up the court after missing a shot against the Indiana Pacers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 17, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers defeated the Heat 94-75 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(2) David West (21) of the Indiana Pacers shoots between Ronny Turiaf (21) and LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life /Conseco Fieldhouse on May 17, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers defeated the Heat 94-75 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ….

(3) LeBron James (6 )of the Miami Heat looks up at the scoreboard as the Heat take on the Indiana Pacers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 17, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers defeated the Heat 94-75. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ….

(4) Darren Collison (2) of the Indiana Pacers drives past Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 17, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers defeated the Heat 94-75 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(5) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 17: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat drives between George Hill (3) and Paul George (24) of the Indiana Pacers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 17, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ….

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(6) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 17: Larry Bird , President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers, is given the NBA Executive of the Year Award by Stu Jackson before the Pacers take on ther Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 17, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(7) SAN ANTONIO, TX – MAY 17 : (L-R) Tony Parker (9) , Daniel Green (4) and Tim Duncan (21) of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate during play against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 17, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images …..

(8) SAN ANTONIO, TX – MAY 17: Boris Diaw (33) of the San Antonio Spurs takes a shot against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 17, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

(9) Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro , center, with Chris Paul , left, argues a call after Blake Griffin (32) was called for a flagrant foul against San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker during the fourth quarter of Game 2 of an NBA basketball Western Conference semifinal playoff series, Thursday, May 17, 2012, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 105-88 . AP Photo/Eric Gay …..

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See it , the NBA season , for what it is, a watered down product ! Brand name “Blue Magic ” _____ a brand name just like the NBA . It’s (NBA) been chopped down and up ! . See this “clip ” from the movie ” American Gansgster ” .

A Million Dollar Arm And A Two Bit Organization

A Million Dollar Arm And A Two-Bit Organization

By tophatal 05/17/2012 …… 00:57:35 AM

So now we have the idiocy of a baseball franchise that’s riding on the crest of a wave but somehow management and the front office executives seem intent on protecting their starting ace . Far be it for me to suggest but if the Washington Nationals are so intent on chasing postseason glory by winning their first World Series title then most certainly they will have to ride Stephen Strasburg all the way to the ” promised land ” .

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GM Mike Rizzo in conjunction with manager Davey Johnson have pretty much stated that Strasburg won’t be overused this season . The young pitcher is the lynch-pin of this pitching rotation and one of the main draws of this ambitious team . The 2009 top pick in the MLB Draft along with his 2010 counterpart Bryce Harper are seen as the future of this baseball club , long and short-term. The options are said to have the ace go through his full season of approximately 25 starts or shut the player down , with him having to pitch no more than 175 innings for the entire Nationals’ regular season schedule . Now it is my belief if this team is said to be in the thick of things during the months of July and August , then the coaching staff will have to rethink this premise .

Strasburg leads an impressive pitching rotation that has been exemplary this season , with the team currently leading the NL East by a 1/2 game margin over the Atlanta Braves (23-14) . In truth while I am surprised at the play of the Nationals , it is still early days yet in this baseball season. Injuries will undoubtedly take its toll only not on the Washington Nationals but also to the other 29 teams within MLB .

If the Washington Nationals are to be taken as legitimate contenders and proving to their fans that they in this for the long haul then from a PR and image standpoint the front office will be in need of a completely new strategy . You can’t imply to your fans you’ll be shutting down “your ace” merely because you don’t want him to burn out . The last time I looked the game of baseball was one playing with heart and passion but it looks as if the Nationals simply have no wish to wish to compete . But then again Mike Rizzo , one minute , wants to come off looking all rough-and-tough in being vocal in protecting his young phenom , Bryce Harper and the next minute , he comes across as a kitten who simply wants to be caressed .

Each time a pitcher takes the mound then there’s always that risk of injury .and it will continue that way until there’s a change in the game and the likelihood of that happening seems remote. The Nationals hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Ballpark , in Washington, DC , on Wednesday . And taking the mound for the team would be Gio Gonzalez (4-1, 1.94 ERA) against Erik Bedard (2-4 ,2.57 ERA) . I would envisage that both pitchers will be looking to add to their tallies in terms of wins while at the same time looking to lower their respective ERA’s .

Teams may well feel that in practicing this maneuver. it in essence protects the arms of a young pitcher , . or that of a young slugging phenom as would be case also with Bryce Harper . However, this practice is now becoming more widespread , as a greater number of managers and general managers are using this exercise to protect what they deem to be a valuable asset . For the long-term this might appear to be a necessity for an organization but I would preface this by saying , how often is it that once the arbitration clock kicks in for these players, more often than not , unless their teams have the financial resources to meet the demands of these players , the likelihood is that they move on elsewhere as a free agent . Now it’d be remiss to suggest that the Washington Nationals won’t be able to retain Stephen Strasburg at the prerequisite time of his becoming a free agent . My stance has been , they have yet to convince me , that they have , and will show the determination to be ” considered winners “ ! You either want win or you don’t and while there are no real certainties in life , other than death and taxes . In the world of professional sports it is and will always be about being a winner . Who wants or tends to remember who finishes in second place ? Really , think about that for a moment ?

One of the long-term worries for the Washington Nationals may well be showing both of these young players the organization’s willingness to retain them. And the Nationals’ cause certainly won’t be helped with the fact that across the negotiating table from them will be one of the most despised agents in all of baseball . Scott Boras , represents both Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper as well as several prominent and high-profiled players within the game of baseball . Truth be known , some of those players are amongst the highest paid within the game. And of the 25 highest paid players within baseball , this uber-agent (Boras) represents 15 of them . And Boras during his tenure as one of the top agents within the game has cajoled , coerced and perhaps black-mailed many of the game’s most respected general managers and team owners . So much so , that it wouldn’t surprise me if any of them have simply pissed in their pants the moment that Scott Boras’ name is mentioned when it comes to negotiating of a player’s contract .

If I’m now Arte Moreno , I would probably be shaking my head in disbelief concerning the woes of my team. At the same time GM Jerry Dipoto having spent in excess of $320 million to acquire both Albert Pujols and C J Wilson , he now has to be wondering whether or not his job might be in jeopardy . At the same time if you’re a Los Angeles Angels’ fan and you see that your team is firmly rooted at the bottom of the AL West then you have to be questioning the whole mindset of the front office as well as the organization as a whole . Now while much of the talk has been about the lackluster productivity of Albert Pujols and the mere fact that he went without a home-run for over 125 at-bats , it now begs the question what’s wrong with this prolific slugger .

The issues it appears , are not only with Angels’ offense but also with the team’s pitching and the fact that they have been very out of character. OK , so we had Jered Weaver…… pitch a “no-hitter” perhaps the highlight of the Angels’ season so far but beyond that , there has been very little to write home about .

The Angels have been doing themselves no favors with their lack of consistency , as can be borne out in their record (17-12) and the fact that they currently sit 7 game behind the division leading Texas Rangers (24-12) who at present possess the second best record in baseball behind the surprising Baltimore Orioles (25-14) managed by Buck Showalter . Not one to exaggerate but it’s still early days yet , and given what we have all witnessed over the years with the Orioles , it is good for them to make hay while the sun shines. Because the moment a downpour begins , their asses will heading for the hills seeking high ground , simply looking to save themselves ! . I mean, it is not as if Peter Angelos’ ….. organization has been an omnipresent within the postseason as a perennial contender to begin with . Try to remember the last time if you can that this ball-club was part of baseball’s postseason showcase ? Answer as quickly as you can when you’re indeed ready ?

Now while Albert Pujols is said to be struggling offensively then it will be incumbent upon Howie Kendrick , Vernon Wells , Kendry Morales , Eric Aybar and Mike Trout to get the team over the hump and lead by example . If not , then the season will be a long and arduous one for the Los Angeles Angels that will be filled with a great deal of soul-searching .

For Mike Sciocsia and his staff there has to be a great deal of trepidation when one considers it has been several years since the organization last won a World Series . That triumph in essence lifted the Angels out of the shadows of their more celebrated rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers . And with their NL counterparts now having seen their profile raised once again with team’s exhilarating play , a change in ownership from the beleaguered Frank McCourt to the more high profiled consortium led by Magic Johnson , Stan Kasten , Peter Guber , Todd Boehly and Mark Walter of the venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners LLC . The thought is with a resurgent Dodgers led by Matt Kemp , Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw , things are once again looking up for this once renowned franchise .

Matt Kemp within the NL and Josh Hamilton within the AL have literally been shredding the pitching within (MLB) baseball this season . And we’re liable to see a great deal more offense and certainly more rarefied pitching feats . However , inasmuch as the excitement of the regular season comes more into focus it is undoubtedly the postseason that gives the fans their greatest joy. That notwithstanding , the mid-season showcase event of the All Star Game brings the fans closer to their favorite players and provides the league hierarchy with a grander stage to espouse the popularity of baseball on the global stage. The event itself will staged at Kauffman Stadium , home to the Kansas City Royals . The economic impact provided for Kansas City will be immense with an estimated $500 million to $ 1 billion in revenue for the municipality and the businesses therein.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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As I alluded to earlier , a team either has the desire to win or it simply does not ! There are no ifs and , or buts about it , either you want to win but ______ you don’t play the part of a wannabe , unless that’s the premise you want to create and portray for the fans ! Because that is exactly what Mike Rizzo and it appears the entire organization seems intent on selling masses , merely for the sake of giving the fans an appetizer of what might be , rather than what should be . In large part you can simply see what an organization is said to be about by the demeanor portrayed of the ownership group. What thoughts if any do you have concerning the apparent stance now being taken by the Washington Nationals ? And do you believe that it will be ultimately beneficial for Stephen Strasburg and the team at large ? By all means do leave a comment on the subject matter and anything else you believe to be pertinent .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 17 : Bryce Harper (34) of the Washington Nationals waits for his hat and glove between innings of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on May 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images …

(2) Pittsburgh Pirates’ Jose Tabata (31) looks to first after sliding beneath Washington Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa on a fielder’s choice hit by Neil Walker during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Thursday, May 17, 2012, in Washington. Tabata was out at second and Josh Harrison scored on the play as the Pirates defeated the Nationals 5-3 . AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari …

(3) Ryan Zimmerman (11) of the Washington Nationals celebrates with teammates after scoring in the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on May 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ….

(4) Ian Desmond (20) of the Washington Nationals reacts after striking out to end the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on May 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images …

(5) Stephen Strasburg (37) of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on May 10, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images …

(6) Stephen Strasburg (R), the overall first pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft , arrives for a press conference where he was introduced at Nationals Park August 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. Strasburg, a right-handed pitcher from San Diego State University , signed with the Nationals earlier this week with a record contract for an amateur player . Also pictured (L-R) are Nationals Team President Stan Kasten , Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and Strasburg’s agent Scott Boras . Getty Images North America /Win McNamee ….

(7) Albert Pujols (R) speaks with Angels owner Arturo Moreno at a public press conference introducing newly signed Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim players Pujols and C.J. Wilson at Angels Stadium on December 10, 2011 in Anaheim, California. …..

(8) Los Angeles Angels owner Arturo Moreno, left, talks with team president John Carpino , and general manager Jerry Dipoto, right , during spring training baseball practice Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, in Tempe, Ariz. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

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Hot chic pic of the day . Model Jesikah Maximus . One hot Latina whose “biscuits “ need to be buttered !

Nothing But Net …. Now It’s An Air-ball … Oops !

Nothing But Net …. Now It’s An Air-ball … Oops !

By tophatal 05/16/2012 …… 00.45 am (EST)

Well as the NBA postseason has progressed to the semi-final stages of the Eastern and Western Conference . A great deal of praise has been placed upon the achievements of Doug Collins and the Philadelphia 76ers this past season . The team as the eighth seed within the Eastern Conference sailed through their first round match-up by easily defeating the Chicago Bulls the # 1seeds in the conference . Injuries have plagued all of the participants this postseason in spite of the idiotic claims being made by NBA Commissioner David Stern . And it should come as no surprise that the commissioner in spite of his laissez-faire attitude had to be proactive , after the egregious and heinous act by the Los Angeles Lakers’ defensive player Metta World Peace . If you recall World Peace , in a calculated move elbowed James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder during a regular season game prior to the end of the regular season . With all of the anger now being raised after New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal and the very fact that there have been several widely reported incidents concerning player concussions suffered within the NFL , one would have thought that this would be seen as a precursor and warning shot across the bow of the NBA hierarchy .

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Slide show for your perusal .

In the Eastern Conference the first of the two second round series pits the Miami Heat against the Indiana Pacers led by Danny Granger and David West , with the team coached by Frank Vogel . The second of the semi-finals series sees the Boston Celtics taking on the aforementioned Philadelphia 76ers. That series last night took on a life of its very own with both teams playing some sloppy basketball , as the Sixers were able to eke out a one point win over the Celtics in evening this match-up at one game apiece (1-1).

The Miami Heat will look to cement their series lead over the Pacer having already taken a 1-0 margin over Frank Vogel’s players. Heat power forward Chris Bosh it appears will be lost to Heat for the remainder of this series , having strained his lower right abdominal muscle. This might now give the Pacers something of an advantage for their front-line offensive players . Erik Spoelstra will no doubt have to make the necessary adjustments in order to cover for the loss of the team’s ….. third leading scorer behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade . The Heat’s bench of utility players led by Ronny Turiaf and Shane Battier will most certainly have to make considerably even greater contributions to the team’s efforts as it is believed that Bosh will be lost to the franchise for the remainder of the NBA postseason .

The Los Angeles Clippers having got through an arduous and hard-fought series against the competitive Memphis Grizzlies will now have the privilege of facing the San Antonio Spurs . With an already ailing Blake Griffin and the team’s point guard Chris Paul , having to take on an additional load , head coach Vinny Del Negro now must make sure that his All Star guard is ably assisted by the rest of the team .

Gregg Popovich , having won the NBA Coach of The Year , now looks to add to his already impressive resume` by looking to win a fifth NBA title as a coach , all for this renowned franchise . The Spurs rolled through their first round series with consummate ease , and Tony Parker led all scorers on the team in their knocking off their first round opponents the Utah Jazz . This second round match-up could see the Clippers having to proves themselves defensively against the high-powered Spurs , with their seasoned veterans . To my mind given the balance shown by this San Antonio Spurs’ roster , it is my belief that this series won’t be one , where many believe the Clippers will have their own way . Flashy dunks and playground (hardtop) brand of basketball simply doesn’t equate with what’s needed to win an NBA title and it is abundantly clear that the Clippers are not yet a championship caliber team . In time I have no doubt that the Los Angeles Clippers will aspire to fit that role but this unfortunately will not be their year .

Vengeance is as sweet , as it is divine ! And who could deny the Oklahoma City Thunder beating the shit out of the Los Angeles Lakers ! Mike Brown has shown this organization to be classless , with no apparent formal public apology coming from any senior executive within the hierarchy in the aftermath of Metta World Peace’s actions , in his deliberate elbowing of James Hardin. Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak didn’t possess the balls" to suspend the player by issuing a rendering a decision internally , other than to leave it to his head coach to make some asinine and comments , which showed Mike Brown to be ; a complete butt-hole ! Were his orifice any bigger I am sure that there’d be someone who would be quite ready to ” spoon ” his sphincter and then insert a certain part of their anatomy , simply to pleasure themselves and the Lakers’ head coach . One wonders had this been a more high profiled NBA player who’d been on the receiving end Metta World Peace’s flagrant act whether or not this suspension would have been greater than a mere seven game suspension ? To my mind , David Stern , not like his NFL counterpart Roger Goodell are merely concerned about their own alleged resplendent images , rather than doing what is in the best interest of their respective sports . How the fu_k does Stern equate a 7 game suspension as being the justifiable punishment for such an egregious act ? Is this executive that much of an asshole ? Then again who is actually of the opinion that any of the four major senior hierarchy executives (Goodell, Stern , Gary Bettman & Bud Selig) actually had an ounce of frigging common sense to begin with ? Answers please if you must ?

The Lakers having been ran off the court at the Chesapeake Energy Center in their 119-90 loss to the Thunder , simply proved that defensively t they were of no match for their Western Conference rivals . Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 52 points in a clinical dismantling of the Lakers , who were made to look like novices throughout this entire game . The only sense of urgency from the Los Angeles Lakers came by way of the competitiveness shown by their multiple All Star , Kobe Bryant . As for the rest of his teammates , well as usual there were simply there to watch Bryant lead this roster of ingrates with his usual tenacity . I’d hate to think what the future holds for the Los Angeles Lakers may well look like once Kobe Bryant chooses to step away from the game on a permanent basis ! Because it is becoming so clear that they will be lacking in complete leadership once he chooses to abdicate that role .

With LeBron James having won this year’s MVP for the third time in three years , the player joins a select group of illustrious players to have won this prestigious regular season accolade on more than one occasion . The question still remains , can James actually lead the Miami Heat to a postseason triumph ? In light of 2010’s postseason finale and their rather disappointing series’ loss the Dallas Mavericks . Questions will asked , and will most certainly be answered . The Heat on paper because of their “Big Three “ are deemed the team to beat during these playoffs > and are favored for the NBA title . But games are not won on paper , they are won on a basketball court and that is where James’ legacy will be defined what he achieves in the immediacy of the here and now . LeBron James , who with teammates , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in a wave publicity upon joining the organization , were quick to declare that it was their intent to win multiple back-to-back titles. As we all have witnessed , the Heat in their guise of last season failed miserably , and this season the jury is still out on this team and in some cases with justifiable trepidation ! The Heat have been way too complacent and it is liable to come back and bite them in the proverbial ass once and for all .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Which of these postseason series if any has piqued your interest ? And which teams would you deem as being justifiable favorites for the NBA title ? By all means leave a comment on the points raised within this piece and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter . As always thanks for the continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) Evan Turner (12) of the Philadelphia 76ers heads for the net as Rajon Rondo (9) of the Boston Celtics defends in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 14, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics 82-81 . Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …

(2) OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – MAY 14: Metta World Peace (15) of the Los Angeles Lakers reaches in on Thabo Sefolosha (2) of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 14, 2012 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Oklahoma City defeated Los Angeles 119-90 . Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images ….

(3) MIAMI, FL – MAY 15 : Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat takes the last shot during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Arena on May 15, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images *** BESTPIX *** …..

(4) Indiana Pacers guard Paul George (24) drives past Miami Heat forwards Udonis Haslem , center, and LeBron James, right, during the second half of Game 2 in an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series, Tuesday, May 15, 2012, in Miami. George had 15 points for the Pacers and James 28 for the Heat as the Pacers defeated the Heat 78-75 . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …..

(5) SAN ANTONIO, TX – MAY 15 : Blake Griffin (32) of the Los Angeles Clippers shoots over Boris Diaw (33) of the San Antonio Spurs in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 15, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs defeated the Clippers 108-92 . Photo by Eric Gay-Pool/Getty Images

(6) San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker (9) , of France, drives past Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Evans (30) during the first quarter of Game 1 of a second-round NBA basketball Western Conference semifinal playoff series ,Tuesday, May 15, 2012, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ….
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I’m Not A Role Model Just An Athlete Looking For Respect …….

I’m Not A Role Model Just An Athlete Looking For Respect …….

By tophatal ….. 14 May, 2012 ….. 22:57:39

I am not a role model but I am a man . And so it all comes down to this perhaps two of the NFL’s most alienating figures in within the league in the last decade . Wide receiver Terrelle Owens still seeks a return to the NFL , while his former teammate Donovan McNabb , himself a Pro Bowl player seeks to make his present felt . McNabb last played in the NFL in 2010 as a member of of the Minnesota Vikings , whereas Owens missed their entire NFL 2011 season schedule due to tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee. Owens’ agent , the lugubrious Drew Rosenhaus , who’ll no doubt look to parlay his client’s biggest attributes as being one of the NFL’s best wide receivers to ever have played the game.

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Both Owens and McNabb are in the waning years of their respective careers and it begs the question will either of these players know exactly when to walk away from the game ? Both are self-confident </awith a belief in their ability and one cannot deny that at their best , these are two very capable players. In reality however , we have not seen the best out of either player in at least five years. Terrell Owens , however , may well have a greater need to make a quick return to the NFL , having somehow spent his way through the majority of his approximate $80 million in career earnings while owing the mothers of his five children in excess of $75 ,000 in child support payments . Rosenhaus , as the player’s agent states that it is not his client’s unwillingness to meet his financial obligations but until he gets all of his finances in order , he will be unable to meet those financial commitments at present . It’s highly unlikely that any family court judge would be amenable to such a premise . An unwillingness to pay and Terrell Owens could either find himself behind bars or having to forfeit property that would be taken by the courts and then sold to meet those financial obligations. Now it should also be noted , that these are not the only issues that the player has from a financial standpoint , as he’s said to owe the IRS in excess of $750,000 in back taxes , for which there has yet to be a settlement between the player and the federal government’s revenue agency .

And Owens in a recent television interview on the popular television program , the “Dr Phil Show , Terrell Owens tried to portray himself as a loving father , who loves his children but because of his career and business commitments , is unable to devote and spend more time with each of his children. Somehow over the last few years , Owens has parlayed his popularity with two short-lived reality shows on VH1 , namely the ” TO Show ” and ” TO-Ocho Show “ , for which he and Chad Ochocinco were well compensated . Not wanting to lambast Terrell Owens but who the hell is looking after his business affairs if it is not his agent or business manager ? What might be even more troubling for the player, is the very fact that the IRS is now said to be after the player for non-payment of taxes covering the financial year of 2010. Oh shit , that’s all he need , the taxman after his ass. As to Owens’ ambition to make a impact-full return to the NFL , it is obviously now dependent upon the largess of coaches and general managers within the league and their desire acquire an aging veteran wide receiver. And Terrell Owens can’t be too pleased in seeing Randy Moss come out of retirement to be signed by the San Francisco 49ers during the off-season . Moss joins a team that if anything was a surprise in the NFC , having made it to the NFC Championship game , with quarterback Alex Smith excelling in his role as regular season starting quarterback . Smith may well now look to build upon that year and cement himself as one of the better quarterbacks within the NFL .

It is highly unlikely that Terrell Owens will catch on with one of the teams deemed to be a legitimate contender within the NFL for the Superbowl . But that is obviously the course that Drew Rosenhaus has and will set for his client . It was common knowledge that he set about sending prospectuses to all 32 franchises within the NFL , only to be disappointed with their response. And this season , it will be no different as he will once again try to set the wheels in motion. Teams said to troubled with their receiving corp may well seek to assess the fitness of the player and whether or not he would be a good fit for a team. At this juncture I think it would pretty much safe to say that if there have been ” no takers” for Owens then there won’t be unless a team has receiver goes down injured during training camp or the preseason .

For Don McNabb , this very much comes down to pride after two seasons of pretty much being in the wilderness after several successful seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles . Five divisional championships and multiple championship appearances along with a Superbowl appearance pretty much cemented the player’s legacy with the franchise . In light of that however, with the emergence of Kevin Kolb and the team’s acquisition of Michael Vick and the veteran quarterback became superfluous to the Eagles’ needs. It has to be said that with McNabb being traded to the Redskins , he with was done no favors by the coaching staff led offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and head coach Mike Shanahan , and the idiocy of the schemes put into place for the player to lead this team . Pardon me for saying this but in my estimation the game has passed Mike Shanahan by and he’s simply living on the legacy of his success with the Denver Broncos and the two Superbowls , won there during his tenure ! Doubt my word, then simply look at the Redskins’ record 2010 and 2011 ? Never mind the team’s statistics during the two years ( 2010 & 2011 ) in question , and their divisional standings ( 2010 & 2011) .

Wherever the day now takes you and it would appear that for Donovan McNabb he has simply become a vessel sailing in the wide open spaces of the world’s oceans without a port to dock in . The quarterback believes his credentials good enough to make him a a viable candidate for the Hall of Famer , were he to retire . 37,254 passing yards , 234 TD’s and 117 INT’s may not on the face of it look all that impressive . But those statistics are certainly more impressive than a number of Hall of Fame inductees. The player may well find himself a team but I certainly don’t believe it will be as a starter on any of the top echelon franchises ! Will a backup role satisfy the veteran whereby he can wait in the wings , while tutoring a young quarterback ? Perhaps so , perhaps not . It’s crazy to think that two such polarizing figures now feel or think that they are both deserving of a roster spot with an NFL franchise .

Dean Spanos and A J Smith are under a great deal of pressure this upcoming season in more ways than , one for the NFL franchise that they oversee. The San Diego Chargers had to be a big disappointment for their fans in 2011 as well as the rest of the NFL fans who may have viewed this team as a viable contender for the Superbowl this past season. Somehow Norv Turner simply found a way of creating obstacles for themselves and simply falling over those obstacles like multiple pratfalls so often seen in the silent movies of the early twenties . You know the kind , often seen in the early the movies of Max Sennett and Hal Roach , those silent classics starred the Keystone Cops and Harold Lloyd .

The window of opportunity may well have closed , albeit not quite shut for this organization to prove itself. Philip Rivers arrived in San Diego , with all of the pomp and ceremony expected of a franchise quarterback . But instead those years have been filled with highs and lows . More highs than lows , if the truth be known and much of that failure can be squarely placed on the shoulders of Norv Turner. I don’t know that there has been a more overrated NFL coach in the last decade ! Turner , protege` of Jimmy Johnson but yet it looks as if the head coach has learned nothing at all from his mentor, Certainly not how to motivate his players , much less communicate with the individuals in question . God forbid , that someone can actually determine that there’s a leader on this team. Has Rivers showed that he’s a leader ? And clearly LaDainian Tomlinson while he was a player with this franchise was never entrusted with that role . If anything once the front office felt it necessary to off-load the player , then he was cast aside like a pair of old worn out shoes. And with Tomlinson’s departure the downward spiral for the San Diego Chargers continued unabated .

This NFL Draft , one would hope to be fortuitous for the Chargers and their aspirations for the upcoming season should it prove to be fruitful. Turner and the coaching staff , along with A J Smith saw fit to draft the players they felt would be of great benefit for the franchise . The Chargers should they fail this upcoming and I truly believe that Smith and Norv Turner will have to be removed from their current roles with this organization ! Failure has been the omnipresent issue for this franchise and its continuation with this coach general manager has to be looked upon as something that cannot be tolerated. It certainly would appear to be something that is awry with all of the NFL franchises within the state of California . Rarely have I heard the respective fans be critical of the prat-falls of the Chargers , Niners and in particular the recent years of futility by the Oakland Raiders . But it could either be that ….” apathy makes the heart grow fonder “ or it’s simply what one should come to expect of the fans in question ?.

The AFC West should prove to be very interesting this season with the Denver Broncos having acquired …… Peyton Manning while allowing last season’s hero Tim Tebow to depart elsewhere via trade . At the same time with team President & Head of Football Operations John Elway has gained wider control under the auspice of owner Pat Bowlen . Brian Xanders is now , no longer with the Broncos having left , in his role as the general manager. Whether or not , it was a difference in opinion between the former executive and Elway remains the subject of a great deal of speculation. And no formal statement has been forthcoming from the organization on the matter .

Manning was brought in to make the Broncos a resurgent force within the NFL once again . Now while there was a great deal of sentiment towards Tim Tebow and what he was able to achieve for the franchise during 2011 . The young quarterback led the team to their first divisional title in over five years and into the postseason where they would succumb to the New England Patriots in a rather lopsided 45-10 loss. And with the four teams within the division looking to make a greater showing than last season where in all honesty that 9-7 regular season record of the Denver Broncos wasn’t as impressive as it looked. Unfortunately , this what you tend to get from a division where what’s alleged to competitive football isn’t all that credible or competitive to begin with . Let’s hope that Merrill Hoge , Mark Schlereth , Chris Mortensen , Adam Shefter and Tim Hasselbeck can attest to that rather than “amping ” up the AFC West as if there’s some semblance of real football being played within the division , and that’s the idiocy of it all ! The buffoons there , at ESPN would rather serve up the usual diatribe rather than being informative and succinct with regard to their observations ! The four letter network ESPN ……… where banality has become the norm as as its sister network ABC and parent company , Disney Co. continue to ply the consumer with even larger amounts of fecal matter as they chase after even larger revenue streams of “untold billions of dollars “ , all in the sake of what they deem to be journalistic integrity . Shit tends rise when the toilet bowl hasn’t been flushed properly and that’s now clearly the case with this particular broadcast network .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As the off-season begins to take shape with the teams’ mini-camps now taking shape do you believe that either Donovan McNabb or Terrell Owens will be signed by team during this time-span ? Or is it more likely that only one of these seasoned veterans will signed during the preseason or perhaps at the start of the regular season ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .

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(1) Terrell Owens , seated left , is seen here on the “Dr Phil Show “ (Phil McGraw [center]) , confronted by three of the four women with whom he has fathered five children . The player owes the quartet in excess of $75,000 in child support , which he claims that he cannot pay due to financial difficulties . All three women claim Terrell is an absentee father who refuses to buy Christmas presents or birthday gifts because he believes it should be included in the child support. One mother complained Terrell has only seen their 7 year old daughter twelve times in her entire life. Another claimed Terrell wanted all the siblings to meet for the first time on his reality show so he could project a false image of himself as good father. Each said Terrell has gone for an entire year without seeing their child. Terrell claims all three women are gold diggers who only care about money and blamed his short comings on his upbringing. Nothing was settled by the end of the show. The NFL player having missed the entire 2011 season hopes to sign with a franchise in 2012 . Apart from his child support issues , Owens player also owes the IRS a large sum in back taxes with which he’s now trying to negotiate a settlement with the governmental agency . Courtesy of CBS & Viacom Inc/ Harpo Inc …

(2) NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus (foreground) is seen here with his client Terrell Owens conducting an interview with the convened press . The player and agent hope gauge the interest of the 32 franchises within the NFL in the hope Owens signing with a team . The veteran free agent did not player during the 2011 season due to an injury (torn ACL right knee ) in 2010 , from which he is now said to have fully recovered. AP Photo / Paul Howes …..

(3) Washington Redskinsโ€™ head coach Mike Shanahan is seen with the teamโ€™s newest signee former Eaglesโ€™ Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb in 2010. The player would have a troubled season with the franchise and would end up being traded to the Minnesota Vikings. Associated Press / Stu Metcalfe โ€ฆ

(4) Donovan McNabb #5 of the Minnesota Vikings looks to pass against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half on August 27, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome > in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hannah Foslien / Getty Images ……

(5) SAN DIEGO, CA – MAY 11 : Head coach Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers speaks to the media after a min-icamp workout on May 11, 2012 in San Diego, California. Photo by Kent C. Horner/Getty Images …..

(6) DENVER, CO – APRIL 26: Fans are welcomed in for the 6:00 AM opening of the Denver Broncos Team Store at Sports Authority Field at Mile High for the debut of the new 2012 Nike NFL team jersey on April 26, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The team store offered the jerseys, including quarterback Peyton Manningย’s first Broncos jersey, in an exclusive 24-hour period on April 26 before they are available anywhere else. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …..

(7) From left to right , Denver Broncos’ owner Pat Bowlen , newly acquired quarterback Peyton Manning and President of Operations John Elway . A new era begins for the franchise with the renowned veteran quarterback expected to lead the charge this season . AP Photo / Mark Hughes …..

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We Love The NFL , We Really Do , Don’t We ?

We Love The NFL , We Really Do , Don’t We ?

By tophatal …….

Well the NFL Draft since the seminal moment in the league’s off-season , it simply produced no major surprises for 2012 . Andrew Luck the Stanford Cardinals’ quarterback was selected ….. # 1 overall by the Indianapolis Colts to be immediately followed by Robert Griffin III , selected by the Washington Redskins . No real great surprise there at all , shall we say ?

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Slide show for your perusal .

Now while the draft geeks and NFL analysts still try to make sense of it all by assessing the choices made , it has to be said that for the teams in question and the coaches , theirs now becomes a season either of hope or complete dissatisfaction with their decisions . And what of the 225th pick and the final choice made ? I mean what in the end becomes of that guy with that somewhat dubious privilege ? Does anyone ever really remember that person in question ? Think about it for one moment ? If he actually goes on to even have a remote but respectable career then one could suggest that he’s had a decent run in the NFL . I mean who would’ve guessed that Tom Brady taken in the seventh round in the 2000 NFL Draft would end up having the career that he’s had , having won the highest honors that the NFL has to offer .

This season everyone is making a big deal about this year’s Draft but to my mind nothing is ever guaranteed ! Not in the NFL , and definitely not for any of the players taken this season . Well , after the end of the regular season and their team just happens to be raising the Lombardi Trophy , as the Superbowl champions. Now it could be said that the reigning champions , the New York Giants will be looking to make a successful defense of their title. Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning certainly cementing their legacies and perhaps a trail to Canton , Ohio for the Hall of Fame , will have a season literally filled with questions ahead of them . The loss of Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham in the off-season …. to the San Francisco 49ers , which to my mind is no real coincidence ! But if anything a mistake ! Was it really about the money ? This is the New York Giants we’re talking about isn’t it ? The Mara family and Lawrence Tisch are said to be consummate business individuals but even you can’t tell me that it was their desire to allow these two productive players to leave merely because they couldn’t afford the two players monetarily .

And anyone who witnessed the NFC Championship game between the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers can certainly attest to the fact that it was a highly competitive match-up between two evenly matched teams . The Niners as we know came off on the wrong end of what one might deem a bitter defeat with many believing that Jim Harbaugh’s …. team simply let this game slip away . For myself, it came as no surprise having seen Eli Manning snatch victory from the jaws of defeat more than once in some of the biggest games of his career. Manning will and his teammates are under no illusion as to what is expected of them this upcoming season not just within the NFC East but also across the NFL landscape , itself. Certainly , the new look Washington Redskins are out to prove that a new chapter is about to begin with the RGIII era about to be set into motion . In many minds , the two biggest and perhaps biggest disappointments were the performances of the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles this past season . Two teams , who to my mind , that are simply overrated albeit , that they were said to look very good on paper. Look , in the NFL looking good on paper is not what defines how great a team is meant to be ! And that unfortunately is what these lame ass Cowboys and Eagles’ fans having been buying into over much of that last season ! Never mind those mindless idiot NFL analysts who continue to fawn over both Michael Vick and Tony Romo while looking like an effervescent school boy who’s just found a copy of his father’s Playboy magazine collection and thinks it best to start masturbating for self-gratification . Limp dick gone flaccid ?

At a time when the likes of Brady , Eli Manning , Matt Stafford , Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees were lighting up the league last season , what was it that both Michael Vick and Tony Romo were said to be actually doing at the time ? It’s not as if either have ever been known to provide their teams with any leadership whatsoever over the course of their careers ! The day that either of these quarterbacks that has a career defining game that actually means something rather than there being continuous excuses made as to why their teams are continued to be looked upon as failures ! Eagles’ GM Mike Tannenbaum ,, team President Joe Banner and Jerry Jones have done themselves no favors with some of the dubious personnel decisions made in their various executive capacities , with regard to their respective franchises.

If there’s an NFL coach who’s under a great deal of pressure to succeed this season then undoubtedly it would have to be Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ …. Greg Schiano . The long-time Rutgers’ head coach was hired by GM Mark Dominik during the off-season after what can be best described as a woefully inept set of performances by the Buccaneers , who at the time were coached by Raheem Morris . Losers of ten straight , of their final 12 games in 2011 . It has to be said that Morris’ players showed their lack of discipline and the rather innocuous and lame statements that came from the head coach added nothing but ridicule for this once highly respected organization .

Greg Schiano and his coaching staff were judicious in their draft picks with Mark Barron being the team’s first overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft . Barron’s presence will add to a defense which executed poorly over the course of last season . But it simply wasn’t the defense that also proved to be a major disappointment but also the offense which repeatedly came up short in so many games . Quarterback Josh Freeman had something of a down year and in so many facets the player could be seen a letdown for the fans who expected so much more from someone said to be a ” franchise quarterback” . And within the NFC South there might just be a bounty of players at the position that would be considered the envy of the coaches and general managers around the NFL .

If there’s said to be a better crop of quarterbacks within the NFL inside of a division than Matt Ryan , Cam Newton , Drew Brees and Josh Freeman , when at their best have to be considered at the top echelons of the players at the position within the NFL . Freeman , knows that if he’s to be considered the leader of this team then he has to lead y example and not simply make excuses and expect his coach to always have his back. And clearly , that was the case throughout much of last season as Raheem Morris would repeatedly defend the player when it was clear he had a bad game or simply provided no discerning leadership when needed . And certainly with the seasoned veterans on the roster in Ronde Barber and Kellen Winslow Jr , it has to said with their mooted silence , you simply knew that this team was in for a long and arduous season . If the duo were not prepared to step up then , then what hope in hell hope will they actually have at all this season ? Schiano may well be talking about holding his players’ accountable but actions speak louder than words ! .

I’ve always had the utmost respect for Jeff Fisher as a head coach in the NFL ! His record simply speaks for itself and his tenure with the Tennessee Titans was an undoubtedly a success until team owner Bud Adams and an ingrate , in , Vince Young who has simply proven that with his god-given talent he simply doesn’t possess a god-damn ounce of common sense . And the same has to be said of Bud Adams at this juncture ! The Titans’ owner simply allowed the player far too much latitude and leeway , while at the same time not allowing Fisher to have any say in team matters. Whenever an owner feels that he has the best interests of a franchise but tends not to hear the input of his head coach , then you know that the organization is about to take a turn for the worse . In the aftermath Adams’ decision in allowing the departure of Fisher as his head coach , with Young also departing , the fall from grace for the Tennessee Titans was akin to the sinking of the Titanic. Anyone who witnessed the chain of events could see this iceberg for miles . F#ck it , if Stevie Wonder had been there , he may well have regained his sight and told Bud Adams to go fu#k himself and the horse he rode in on . Adams like Jerry Jones may well have a keen business acumen but in reality over the last decade their respective NFL franchises have been so frigging pitiful !

Wherever the season now takes the Tennessee Titans it will be interesting to see how they fare against their divisional rivals . The Indianapolis Colts , Houston Texans , Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars should make the AFC South very entertaining this upcoming season. Certainly , in light of the events of 2011 .. and the very fact the Texans under head coach Gary Kubiak and his team made their first playoff appearance in franchise history , having also secured their first divisional title ……. along the way.

The Texans with that already potent …… offense will once again look to Arian Foster , Matt Schaub , T. J. Yates and Andre Johnson will certainly look to cement their achievements of last season while looking to add to those feats .

The Jacksonville Jaguars with Mike Mularkey having succeeded Jack Del Rio , now has to turn things around for a franchise that has continually been of great disappointment for their fans . Blaine Gabbert was thrust in at the deep end this past season and there simply wasn’t enough that could be done by the young rookie quarterback . A woefully inept season and beyond Maurice Jones Drew there wasn’t really a reason to that much of a reason to watch this team play this past season. As to what the Jacksonville Jaguars schedule for their fans remains to be seen but no doubt the players will be out prove to their loyal followers that a new chapter is about to begin . Zahid Khan having bought the franchise for a reputed $ 775 million has made it clear that it is his intent not to relocate the team and to remain in the city of Jacksonville for the long-term . No real surprise there, as the Jaguars’ lease with the city does not expire until 2025 and the franchise would be a subject to a multi-million dollar financial penalty were they to break that lease .

As I alluded to earlier within this piece I am a great admirer of Jeff Fisher . With his hire in the off-season by the St Louis Rams , it has to be said that team owner Stanley Kroenke and the front office staff in acquiring an experienced head coach it augurs well for the franchise . The St Louis Rams in this draft did have the second overall pick before giving up that choice in a trade maneuver that allowed Fisher and his coaching staff a slew of picks after the Redskins sought to trade up to acquire Robert Griffin III. Fishers’ predecessor Steve Spagnuolo had the unfortunate situation wherein , his tenure with the Rams in 2011 was not a memorable one . Injuries to quarterback Sam Bradford and the very fact that last season his team simply performed badly . The Rams simply were not good enough to contend with a resurgent San Francisco 49ers’ team whose defense and offense are amongst the best NFL .

The NFC West to mind along with it AFC counterpart has to be amongst the two worst divisions in the entire NFL . Anyone who would try to suggest that the style and competitive that has emanated from AFC West and NFC West has been some the most exciting football to be found , would have to be completely misguided ! I mean , where else more often than not an 8-8 or 9-7 record would be considered to be good enough to garner berth in the playoffs ahead of teams with much better divisional conference records . But this is said to be the fabled NFL where the brand is still as big as ever but at times the on-field product has the appearance of being completely “watered down” . Now many will disagree with this statement of the NFL now being watered down but in reality it has been the events in recent weeks with the deaths of Ray Easterling and Junior Seau has brought about a much more heightened interest in the NFL and what the league hierarchy has been doing , with their apparent lack of interest in player safety . The NFL, under Roger Goodell may well be saying all of the right things but their actions simply reveal otherwise ! And much of the blame for this can be squarely laid upon the shoulders Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue . It has been the culpability and idiocy of both of these executives that leads the NFL to where it now resides today. A dispassionate body that’s completely lacking in understanding the plight of seasoned retired veterans , wherein both the league hierarchy and its union (NFLPA) seem oblivious , as what needs to be done concerning the issue of player safety and “right an egregious wrong” by not steadfastly denying benefits to these players who rightfully deserve it . Not unlike the situation that has repeatedly arisen with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) , an archaic and bureaucratic government agency that has repeatedly pissed upon the veterans of the US military !

If Goodell , would for once pull his head out of his ass and stop sniffing the sphincter of the franchise owners of the NFL , then perhaps the fans would think of the commissioner as someone with an ounce of common sense and intelligence . Instead it has been his buffoonery that leads the NFL to be looked as being in shambles . God , judge and jury , as he renders verdicts without the input at times of individuals who could provide him with the guidance that would give those decisions a great deal more legitimacy. Now we all await the outcome the appeals that will undoubtedly be lodged by the quartet of New Orleans Saints’ players embroiled in the latest scandal to hit the NFL .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In the aftermath of the NFL Draft which teams do you believe made the best of the opportunities afforded them during this event ? And which NFL rookies do you think will quite possibly have a breakout season in the league ? Simply leave a comment on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent as it relates to the subject matter .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 4 : Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts looks on as he listens to offensive coordinator Bruce Arians (left) and quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen during a rookie mini-camp at the team facility on May 4, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ..

(2) Linebacker Frank Newsome (51) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs during a rookie practice at the Buccaneers practice facility May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …….

(3) FILE – This Dec. 27, 2009 file photo shows New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith (91) grabbing Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) for a sack in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans. Smith is one of four players punished for participating in a pay-for-pain bounty system. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling was announced Wednesday, May 2, 2012. AP Photo/Bill Feig ….

(4)Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey watches his players in a drill during NFL football rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla. AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Bob Mack …

(5) MAY 12: Head coach Jeff Fischer of the St. Louis Rams watches his players during rookie mini camp at the Continuity-X Training Center on May 12, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ….

(6) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , right , is seen here alongside NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith outside of the union’s headquarters the aptly named Upshaw Place , named after Smith’s predecessor Gene Upshaw . The two addressed the convened press concerning their latest deliberations as it related to the collective bargaining agreement . The two sides could not come to an amicable agreement that suited both parties and it would be left to arbitration within the FMCS (Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service) which was presided over by Judge Susan Richard Nelson . Kevin LaMarques / Reuters …. ……..

(7) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles on the field against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on October 30, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. . Chris Trotman / Getty Images …..

(8) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys take a snap against the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images Tom/ Pennington …..
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Do Not Pass Go …. Do Not Collect $200 …..


Do Not Pass Go …. Do Not Collect $200 …..

By tophatal …………. 05/11/2012 8:08 PM

So someone explain to me how in the midst of an economic morass the state of Minnesota specifically its legislature and Republican Governor Mark Dayton (R-Mn) saw fit to sign into law a bill that will in essence place the residents within the stat on the hook for a $ 975 million edifice that will be the future home of the Minnesota Vikings . Team owner Zygi Wilf and his partners paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobbyists within the state to make sure that bill was passed , while at the same time making sure state representatives were fully behind this initiative . Pardon me for saying this , but this has been something of a comedown when one considers that the original development called for a $1.9 billion ($1,900,000.000) commercial and residential project as well as a state of the art venue to house an NFL franchise . It should be noted that Wilf and his partners will be putting up no more than $300 million towards the new venue which will bear the name Target Field , when the construction of that stadium has been completed.

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Slide show for your perusal .

It pains me somewhat to see the apathy of the public who simply see nothing wrong in seeing taxpayers’ monies being used to pay for a billionaire or millionaire’s whim when it comes to a professional sports’ franchise and building them a new stadium to house a franchise. . But these are the very same dumb asses who’ll complain that they’re paying far too much in taxes when it comes to their income . Look , wake the fu_ck up and stop being so damn stupid ! The NFL has an initiative in place to assist their franchises in the cost of either redevelopment or the building of a new venue but rarely is it used by these owners . It should be noted the NFL isn’t the only hierarchy where this premise arises as it should be noted baseball’s most recent stadium the Miami Marlins’ Ballpark built at the cost of some $ 575 million facilitated by a bond initiative underwritten by the city of Miami , will in fact placed its residents on the hook for that sum should the municipality fail to meet its obligations. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado , remains silent while the city is currently under investigation by the US Justice Department concerning the financing of this 37,000 seat venue . Any perceived improprieties it must be said , may well have come about through the interaction of senior council members , the ownership group of the Miami Marlins led by owner Jeffrey Loria . It should also be noted throughout much of the deliberations and the negotiating process Commissioner Bud Selig was front and center , in the midst of this all but with federal government now conducting an investigation through two agencies , namely , the aforementioned Justice Department and the FBI this whole scenario could very well take on a life of its own .

I am not averse to the public funds being used to enrich the infrastructure but can someone explain to me how it is that constantly it has to be the public being used as the whipping post in order to assist the owner of a professional sports’ franchise ? Isn’t enough that in the current environment of a dire economy those said to be knowledgeable on such issues tend to bury their heads in the sand ? Some time ago a former patron of this site who claims his place of his employment was within the employ of a major professional sports franchise but couldn’t damn well explain to me a basic accounting principle , however , he claims he has a finance background . A mind is a terrible to thing to waste , and so too are the idiots who try to maintain that the education system in the United States remains the best in the world . That no longer is the case , as can be seen by the number of graduates in the specific fields of engineering , medicine and the world of geo-political affairs . God knows, there are some real dumb asses who claim to have some knowledge of high finance and economics but simply know fu#k all , when it’s all said and done !

As painstaking as it now appears I have to say that the hiring of Bobby Valentine as the Boston Red Sox manager now seems to be one of the biggest blunders in recent baseball history . GM Ben Cherington and team President Larry Lucchino remain steadfast in this hire but it now appears with this team bearing an 12-18 record and being firmly rooted at the bottom of the AL East and already 7 games behind the divisional leader the Baltimore Orioles (20-12) . It begs the question where can and will the Red Sox will go from here ? The issues with the team are widespread and it is not just with the offense but also the team’s pitching and specifically the bullpen which has been so anemic that it must now have the fans in attendance at Fenway Park , Boston , Massachusetts , apoplexy.

If the issues with the Boston Red Sox hasn’t been heightened even more when the post-game interview given by team’s starting pitcher Josh Beckett simply indicated the depths and length with which this organization has sunk . In the Red Sox’s 4-3 loss to the equally inept Kansas City Royals (11-19) . Beckett who was due for the start against the Cleveland Indians this past Thursday was taken out of the rotation by his manager due to stiffness to the player’s right shoulder . However, what makes this story all the more interesting but at the same time banal was the very fact that Beckett was trying to suggest that his being dropped from the rotation had nothing to do with his having suffered his malady due to playing a round of golf which caused the flare up and soreness in his right shoulder. The player’s explanation to the convened press was flippant and if anything a downright insult not only to the Red Sox fans but also to the organization , itself.

Now one should remember that during the final month of the regular season in 2011 , Becket along with Jon Lester , Clay Bucholz and John Lackey simply succumbed in performing with such depths of mediocrity that led to the team going 7-21 and leading to the Red Sox’s failure to make the postseason and even failing to actually gain the AL wildcard berth when it was actually within their grasp. It would appear that Beckett along with Bobby Valentine are now trying to make light of the whole issue and that of the team’s inept performances so far this season. I’ve maintained all along and will continue to do so , in stating that Ben Cherington and team President Larry Lucchino made a horrendous mistake in hiring Bobby Valentine ! He is ill-suited for this position , his somewhat brash , abrasive style and laissez-faire style simply isn’t working as he tries to cajole these players into playing together as a cohesive unit. And for anyone who believes that Valentine can still muster some semblance competitiveness from this team considering how badly roster has been playing , then they should simply consider what ails the Red Sox . Valentine cannot and has not motivated this team to play with any god-damn pride and his demeanor simply portrays that. A team and its ills at times can be a microcosm of the manager and his lack of communicative skills . Being rhetorical and something of a complete ass says a great deal about the manager but in his having to fill the shoes of the organization’s most successful manager over the last two and-a-half decades places Bobby Valentine and leaves the incumbent in something of a dilemma .

Terry Francona in leading the Red Sox to two World Series titles in the space of four years has been a great deal more than this franchise had attained its previous one hundred years of existence. Bobby Valentine came into his position , making a great deal of noise berating a number of the team’s divisional rivals and simply making a complete ass of himself . Too bad , that he and the team are now looking up at those rivals while Red Sox are firmly rooted to the foot of the division. Call me naive but I believe that the Boston Red Sox are currently deserving of their fate !

On the mound for the Red Sox in Friday night’s game were Ubaldo Jimenez (3-2 , 5.40 ERA) of the Cleveland Indians and Clay Bucholz (3-1 ,9.09 ERA ) . And I would view the lineups of both teams as an indication of what could now determine the situation for both organizations over the coming months . The Cleveland Indians if they are to maintain their current pace while leading their rivals atop of the AL Central will need to win this game and the ensuing series .

Is there anyone or should I say any pitcher in the AL who can stop the torrid pace and performances of Texas Rangers’ slugger Josh Hamilton at present ? The player has simply been hitting the hide of the ball s he looks to rewrite the record books . Single handed he has made mockery of the pitchers faced this season and it begs the question will the single season home run record be in jeopardy ?

Now as Hamilton looks to lead this once again to another postseason berth it creates something of a dilemma for the front office led by Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels . The player becomes an unrestricted free agent during the off-season and undoubtedly Josh Hamilton will look to be fairly …… compensated by the organization. As to what that envisaged figure may well be , remains to be seen . Money should be of no object to the Texas Rangers , and that of the ownership group, when one bears in mind former front office executive Chuck Greenberg negotiated a lucrative tv deal that will net the Rangers $3 billion over the next two decades. It may well be a multi-year deal will be sought by Hamilton and his agent with a timeframe of anywhere between 7 and ten years . At season’s end the Rangers will have a number of decisions to make not solely with regard to Hamilton’s immediate future but also with regard to several players on this team .

With all of the talk of the New Orleans Saints’ “bounty scandal” and the recent death’s of former NFL players Ray Easterling and Junior Seau has heightened the ongoing awareness of player safety or lack of it thereof by the NFL hierarchy. All of the continued absurdity by Roger Goodell , the league and NFLPA (union) and the mere fact that beyond a pension plan and benefits , little has been done in terms of assisting retired players upon their departure and the end of their playing careers. Both Easterling and Seau died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds and the determination of a coroner has the cause of death as a suicide (Junior Seau) . At what point has it occurred to the NFL that has in fact done little to aid their veterans but yet there’s this continued asinine belief amongst the fans that the game of football has become emasculated . In reality , it has become dangerous far more barbarous and it undoubtedly feels into the fans’ mindset for that requirement of un-abandoned barbarity and violence.

I’ve yet to read from within this forum by anyone who has the temerity to suggest that there’s a need for the NFL to look at the mounting evidence of the cause-and-effect of head traumas and concussions .Instead it has been the asinine talk about the game of football simply being watered down . It may well take the death of a player during game for the fans and the league itself to realize the mounting dangers that prevail on the field of play . There has been a complete lack of commitment by the NFL under Roger Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue to fully address the issue of player safety . Never mind the fact that we now have the idiocy being shown by DeMaurice Smith , his executive committee and the player representatives , who have acted with a great deal of stupidity as they seek to reclaim the high ground as this ongoing mess . Smith has tried to suggest that the Saints’ players now under suspension have not given due process by the NFL hierarchy while they have conducted their investigation. However, what DeMaurice Smith has failed to cite has been the very fact that the four players suspended initially chose not answer the questions that the quartet of Saints’ players current and former would be subjected to , on the grounds of self-incrimination. Furthermore , it has to be said that Anthony Hargrove has to be a complete ass to think that having initiated a written document detailing his actions and that of Joe Vitt would not be used as proof of evidence in any ongoing action deemed necessary against him. But such has been the pomposity and sheer stupidity of all the parties concerned in this ongoing spectacle .

And now we are left with Goodell , to be judge and jury over any judgment rendered as a form of punishment to be rendered . Why an empaneled body cannot be set up by the league , of current players , coaches and perhaps an independent arbitrator cannot be put in place , to act as a final point of arbitration for any action deemed warranted has to be looked upon, as simply the commissioner wanting to wield his unyielding and autocratic power . And with the NFL now subject of several lawsuits of which they are defendants , of which the plaintiffs are 1,200 current and former NFL players seeking punitive and unspecified damages for what they state are the gross misrepresentation by the league concerning the evidence they possessed with regard concussions and other neurological disorders that suffered by the players. With the mounting evidence that several players have or indeed are suffering with the debilitating effects of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) often seen as a precursor Alzheimer’s disease and in some cases chronic short-term , and long-term memory loss . The very fact that the league has no setup to assist these players or provides any type of counseling even with the mounting evidence chronicled and correlated by renowned academic establishments as well as the NFL’s own in-house research leads me to believe that Goodell , is now only paying the issue lip service because of the growing public outcry . If only the commissioner and union would show as much passion in dealing with this most acute of issues rather than continuing to chase after that proverbial pot of gold , as has been his want in conjunction with that of the union and the NFL owners . Publicly, the likes of Jerry Jones , Robert Kraft , Dan Rooney II and Jeff Lurie have kept remarkably quiet concerning this matter . Instead , it has been left to Roger Goodell to make his repeated prat-falls on a number of issues , over the course of his tenure as the NFL commissioner .

Now with the abrupt departure of the New York Knicks’ with their fall from grace in their sweeping and embarrassing series’ loss (4-1) to the Miami Heat . There now is mindless idiocy , with the growing calls for Phil Jackson to be brought in to coach this team . Mike Woodson who assumed the role as head coach of the Knicks still as the interim tag placed upon him , as James Dolan and Glen Grunwald gauge the coach’s progress and how he interacts with this current crop of players.

If anything the real issue isn’t Mike Woodson’s coaching skills but the very fact that this perceived view that Carmelo Anthony and Amare` Stoudemire can work and play together as a cohesive unit . Anthony during this course this playoff series was primarily the sole reason to watch this team play . Meanwhile the contributions from Carmelo’s teammates can be best described as minuscule and anemic . I hate to say it but Glen Grunwald blundered mightily when he sought to assemble this roster with ill-fitting pieces in seeking to make this a championship caliber team . Well , so much for the Knicks’ aspirations for this season and immediate future because now , it’s back to the drawing board . And for those now calling for the return of Phil Jackson to an organization where he had success as a player to assume the role as head coach . Let’s just say Phil has more pressing needs on his hands such as making sure that Jeanie Buss is sexually gratified on a regular basis . And if anyone who’s seen Buss’ pictorial in Playboy > ….. who can blame Phil for wanting to ” lay the pipe” to Jeanie Buss so frequently ? Need I say anymore on the matter ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

One could subscribe to the fact that the news cycle within the world of sports tends to be about the good , the bad and the idiocy . We are now seeing a great deal more of the latter than we are normally accustomed to and one should note much of that can be that could be seen with the real lack of intelligence being shown by those at the center of the issues raised . What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit .

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(1)A Minnesota Vikings flag flies in front the state Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., as fans gathered to celebrate the passage of a Vikings stadium bill. Gov. Mark Dayton has promised to sign the bill, a $975 million plan to build on the Metrodome site in downtown Minneapolis with just over half the cost paid with public money. AP Photo/St. Paul Pioneer Press, John Autey …

(2) Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf smiles during a news conference at the state Capitol in St. Paul , Minn., Thursday afternoon, May 10, 2012. Behind Wilf are Sen. Julie Rosen , left, author of the Senate bill, and Wilf’s brother, Mark Wilf . The House and Senate passed Vikings stadium bill . AP Photo/St. Paul Pioneer Press, John Autey ….

(3) Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett wipes his head in the dugout after being taken out in the third inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Boston, Thursday, May 10, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …

(4) BOSTON, MA – MAY 10: Bobby Valentine (25) of the Boston Red Sox removes Josh Beckett (19) in the third inning after Beckett had given up seven runs in three innings against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park May 10, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

(5) FILE – In this Oct. 30, 2011, file photo , New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma watches from the sideline during an NFL football game against St. Louis Rams in St. Louis. An email from an imprisoned friend of the Saints coaching staff with a postscript saying, “put me down for $5,000″ on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, has become another sore point between players being punished for New Orleans’ bounty system and the NFL. Ornstein says now that was written in total jest. When shown Ornstein’s note in its entirety, an attorney for the suspended Vilma echoed his criticism from earlier this week that the NFL is manipulating evidence to strengthen a weak case. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File) ….

(6) New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson calls out to players during the first half of an NBA basketball game in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, May 9, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 106-94 to win the series 4-1 and advance to the second round . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….
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As One Door Opens …. Another One Closes ….

As One Door Opens …Another One Closes ….

By tophatal ……. 05/11/2012 …. 01:15 AM (EST)

With both the New York Knicks and Orlando Magic having both been knocked out of the NBA postseason there now seems to be a sense of uncertainty as it relates to both organizations. For the Knicks under interim head coach Mike Woodson having assumed control of this team , he then has to deal with several issues as it relates to the personalities of the players on the roster. Carmelo Anthony and Amare` Stoudemire , seemingly , two players not too dissimilar in their playing styles . The issues facing the front office , now have to deal with the free agency status of several Knicks’ players. Point guard Jeremy Lin is an unrestricted free agent and could to go elsewhere but that is highly unlikely , as the franchise is pretty much thin in that specific category. An aging and ailing Baron Davis seems unlikely to be a part of the Knicks’ future and Mike Bibby’s contributions to New York Knicks this postseason can be best described as being anemic .

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Carmelo Anthony , Amare` Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler are owed a combined $57.5 million for this upcoming season . The bulk of that commitment , in excess of $40 million is essentially to the team’s two high profiled stars , in , Anthony and Stoudemire. And while there now seems to be a growing controversy , as to whether or not the two players are effective as a cohesive unit. With the duo often seen as prolific scorers , both in essence are a liability to their team , defensively . Routinely during this playoff series against the Miami Heat that any discerning fan could see that both players were non-committal in taking up the gauntlet to answer the coaching staff’s call for a more canny defensive presence . In truth , beyond Tyson Chandler there hasn’t really been that much of a defensive presence from this team throughout the course of the season . And that was simply reflected in their divisional and conference record , which resulted in the New York Knicks being the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference .

Now while there may well have been a glimmer of hope at the start of this series between these two heated rivals . It has to be said the Knicks’ fans worst nightmare came to fruition when what might be viewed as a harbinger of things to come as one by one a number of New York Knicks’ players went down injured either through an accident or their own self-inflicted wounds. Note to Amare` Stoudemire , hitting a glass encasement just because it doesn’t hit back doesn’t make you a man ! Apologies notwithstanding , how much of a frigging ass must you be , to simply place the fate of your team in your opponent’s hand through one-act of sheer stupidity ? I am sure that GM Glen Grunwald and team owner James Dolan may well be weighing up all of these postseason incidents and issues in gauging any decisions that will have to be made , as it concerns a number of players on this roster . Madison Square Garden now becomes something of an elephant’s graveyard for now , unless the New York Rangers can determine their fate in the NHL Playoffs .

Throughout much of the season I felt that Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony could co not co-exist as teammates . So much was made of the organization acquiring both of these NBA superstars but nowhere had I read within this forum or for that matter within the print media , where anyone questioned the fact what kind of environment would be created by this acquisition. And as prolific as these two players are said to be . I can’t help but wonder whether not this was simply an exercise in grandeur on the part of the Knicks or one , which the front office executives simply felt that out of necessity , this was the best possible maneuver that could have been made ! Carmelo Anthony during this series , perhaps , was the sole reason to watch the Knicks during the playoffs as as he averaged 29.7 ppg in the series of games played that ended in a series’ loss to the Miami Heat . Outplayed , out-coached , and if anything it was a real lack of commitment and leadership from a number of players on this team. Doubt my word , then simply review the effort exhibited by the Knicks’ players ?

The New York Knicks as an organization has been built upon a legacy of astonishing history , wherein players such as Willis Reed , Walt Frazier , Bill Bradley , Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Patrick Ewing are still revered . Granted , when Pat Riley , now a front office executive with the Heat , while a coach of the New York Knicks , he simply made this franchise a force to be reckoned with , as ferocious competitors . In the succession of coaches who followed suit , it has to be said, there has little resembling that caliber of tenacity shown in the successive teams played under the New York Knicks’ banner. Jeff Van Gundy , Larry Brown , Isiah Thomas and Mike D’Antoni have each held the coaching position with the Knicks . And dependent how one would determine success , one could subscribe to the fact that there has been little there to actually take comfort in .

While the interim-tag is still affixed to Mike Woodson as the head coach of the New York Knicks the fans have to take some comfort in the fact that he actually had this team playing with a great deal of resolve during the month of April as the regular season reached its culmination . Amongst the teams within the Eastern Conference the franchise had one of the best records over that time-frame . Whatever the future now holds for the Knicks at this juncture the off-season will prove to be extremely interesting , while at the same the upcoming NBA Draft beckons , which can only add to the suspense at the end of the day .

Over the past four seasons within the NBA , I truly believe that the Orlando Magic have been one of the most disappointing franchises within the NBA . Repeatedly , they have kept their fans on the edge of their seats , only to disappoint once again. GM Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy are simply misguided and it has been that type of misjudgement , that could very well lead to both the coach and general manager being fired . The team’s fall from grace in a stunning 4-1 series defeat to the Indiana Pacers has all but guaranteed the end of the Dwight Howard ” era “ within this organization .

The All Star center has had a contentions relationship with his head coach , which led to Van Gundy stating that Howard approached members of the front office seeking either the firing of the coach or his forced resignation. Here , you had two grown men squabbling like kinder-garden kids ! Never mind the fact , that in the end there came numerous denials from both parties , leaving COO Alex Martins in apoplexy and wondering what the fu_k wa going on concerning the two most high profiled individuals on the coaching and player personnel rosters . If that wasn’t enough , can you imagine what the Orlando Magic fans may well have been thinking at that juncture ? Over the years the Magic has had its fair share of ups and downs and now things could very well get a great deal worse .

This team was simply built around some ill-fitting parts and anyone who believed a one dimensional three-pointing shooting and offensively challenged team that in large was so inept that they simply weren’t watching . Dwight Howard , Jason Richardson , JJ Redick , Jameer Nelson , Ryan Anderson and Hedo Turkoglu are not the names that’ll simply send shivers down the spines of an opposing team , much less scare the fans of those teams. But somehow I’m suppose to believe that this roster should be seen as a legitimate contender within the league for the NBA title ? Shit, there have been horses that have e hobbled while competing in the Kentucky Derby that have shown more life than the Orlando Magic has exhibited over the course of this god-damn season . I’m no genius but given the choice I’d shit on this rather than actually watch this bunch of self-absorbed sh_t-heads ! There’s more fun and excitement to be had by taking a nearby trip to Disneyland , Orlando than can be found at the Amway Center , downtown Orlando , and the home this basketball franchise . I kid you not !

If a decision is to be made concerning the future of both Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy , then Alex Martins has to be make that decision before the upcoming NBA Draft . A new coach and general manager would have to be hired before the event in question take place . Any potential candidate perhaps interested in either position would have to be on-board with whatever personnel decisions might be in the offing as it relates to the future makeup of this roster . The 2012-13 season could very well lead to a whole new chapter for the Orlando Magic as an organization , while at the same time leaving their fans in doubt as to what the future holds for the franchise.

I’ll say this for the Texas Rangers’ (20-10) slugger Josh Hamilton , the events of the last five days has left his fans in awe and the front office simply in something of a dilemma . Undoubtedly , while the team has been competitive , therein becoming the first franchise this season to win 20 games , leading the AL West , with an already impressive 4 1/2 game margin over divisional rivals the Oakland Athletics .

Hamilton , part of an already potent offense let rip while slamming the over-achieving Baltimore Orioles for a four home run onslaught on the way to the Rangers’ 10-3 victory over the AL East team. Ron Washington and his staff obviously have to closely monitor Josh Hamilton’s every move , given the player’s issues off the field . A recovering addict , the player has relapsed a number of times and it remains a question mark and something of a giant shadow over Hamilton long-term future . No team would like to make a multi-year financial commitment to the player , especially in light of the issues that make him something of scare. . .

Josh Hamilton becomes a free agent at the end of this season. And I am sure that team President Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels would like nothing better than to retain the player to a contract that is amenable to the parties concerned . The Rangers could ill-afford to lose the player to free agency , given the player’s productive season within the this year .

It would be a matter of speculation and conjecture to suggest that Josh Hamilton wishes to be paid along the lines of the contract gained by Los Angeles Angels (13-18) first baseman Albert Pujols . Team owner Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Di Poto certainly raised a few eyebrows , when the details were made public of the 10 year $ 254 million deal , that cements Pujols’ future long term in a commitment that on the face of it, would appear to have some reciprocity . Money would certainly be of no object to the Texas Rangers , with a tv deal that will bring about $3 billion in revenues over a two-decade period for the Rangers . However, the managing partners and de-facto owners of this ball-club has several multi-millionaires and billionaire seated on the board , who are also members of the ownership group , led by the aforementioned Nolan Ryan. This off-season the organization had committed in excess of $ 120 million in acquiring players , in order to bolster the roster .

Having made two consecutive appearances in the World Series where the Texas Rangers were the eventual runners-up to the St Louis Cardinals (2011) and the San Francisco Giants …. (2010) . No doubt that this postseason the Rangers and their newly revamped team would team would like nothing better than making a decisive run through the ALDS and ALCS on their way to a thoroughly convincing series’ win in the World Series . Elvis Andrus , Yu Darvish , Michael Young , Ian Kinsler , Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland will be sturdy contributors to the team’s efforts this season .

Friday pits the Texas Rangers against the Los Angeles Angels at Rangers Ballpark , Arlington , Texas. With the ailing Angels , who appear to be firmly rooted at the bottom of the AL West at present there’s a lot at stake for Mike Scocsia’s …… team as they seek a resurgent return to form . In spite of winning six of their last 10 games , the issues appear to surround the fact that Albert Pujols has been struggling , having not hit a home-run in 125 at-bats until recently . The lineups for this game should prove to be interesting . Increasing the Rangers’ divisional lead would go a long way in giving the team a further boost in their already burgeoning confidence . And clearly with a number of fans , who were of the opinion that the Los Angeles Angels within their newly revamped roster would be posing a major challenge to their divisional foe throughout the course this season.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The NBA postseason is slowly inching its way towards a finale but as conference semi-finals’ match-ups begin to take shape it will be interesting to see how the remaining teams acquit themselves . What do you envisage for those franchises and what impact do you believe the major players will make at this stage of the season ? Do you believe that Josh Hamilton is deserving of multi-year multi-million dollar contract on par with either Albert Pujols or Mark Teixeira ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit on the points raised within this piece , and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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MIAMI, FL – MAY 09: Dwyane Wade (3) and LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat congratulate one another after defeating the New York Knicks in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 9, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images …

(2) New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony faces up on Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Wednesday, May 9, 2012, in Miami. Anthony scored 35 points for the Knicks and Wade scored 19 as the Heat won Knicks 106-94 to win the series 4-1 and advance to the second round. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ……

(3) Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins, left, and Dwight Howard, center, listen as team general manager Otis Smith answers questions during a news conference,Thursday, March 15, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. Howard signed papers Thursday agreeing to waive the early termination option in his contract, guaranteeing he will be with the Magic at the beginning of the 2012-13 season. . AP /Photo/ Johnathan Raoux …

(4) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 08: Jameer Nelson(14) of the Orlando Magic tries to get a shot off past George Hill (3) of the Indiana Pacers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2012 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Indiana won the game 105-87 to win the series 4-1 . Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images …..

(5) Albert Pujols (5 of the Los Angeles Angels bats against the Texas Rangers on May 11, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images …

(6) Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton heads toward first after being intentionally walked by Los Angeles Angels’ Jerome Williams in the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, May 11, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. Hamilton hit two home runs in the 10-3 Rangers’ win. Angels catcher Bobby Wilson is seen at rear. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(7) Texas Rangers’ Yu Darvish of Japan gets a hug from manager Ron Washington after a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels , Friday , May 11th, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. Josh Hamilton hit two more home runs , Darvish struck out seven and the Rangers beat the Angels 10-3 in a rain-interrupted game Friday night when C.J. Wilson faced only five batters against his old team. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez … …

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Hot chic pic of the day Bianca Beauchamp . And lil’ more more of Beauchampp for your edification .

It sometimes sucks to be good but at times isn’t it better to be su ____ked …….. fill in the blank ? Your thoughts ?

My Bat , My Ball , My Rules ………

My Bat , My Ball , My Rules ………

By tophatal ………. 05/09/2012 …. 09:45 PM (EST)

Well the MLB season is proving to be a year to remember , albeit , that we are now a mere month and one week into the year . Sitting atop of the divisional standings are a group of teams as diverse as one could ever wish to see. There have been rave reviews for the Washington Nationals , a team to my mind that is simply learning how to win and not one of the teams that I believe will be part of the postseason in 2012. As good as they are there isn’t a pedigree behind this team and already injuries have already beset Davey Johnson’s roster of players .

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Bryce Harper the wunderkind of the moment and seen as one the faces of Nationals’ franchise , alongside teammate Stephen Strasburg , . and supposedly for their immediate and long-term future . The two number one draft picks from 2009 and 2010 by the Washington Nationals are now proving to be a major draw this season for the fans at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC.

And though the Nationals sit atop of the NL East with an 18-10 mark within the division , it must be noted that this team just happens to be 4-6 in their last 10 games , not exactly enticing but for now it’ll do , just as long the players remain confident . In light of that , the biggest story in the game prior Josh Hamilton’s explosive offensive display …. against the Baltimore Orioles (19-11) , who themselves are now riding high in the AL East . Hamilton in the game against the Orioles had a blistering onslaught hitting 4 home runs and tallying 18 total bases to become only the . sixteenth player in MLB history to hit four home runs in a game . I’m sorry to say this, but the Baltimore Orioles pitching rotation and bullpen did themselves no favors with this utterly anemic display against this potent Rangers’ offense .

As I alluded to earlier Hamilton’s feat was one of the major stories in baseball but who could escape the idiocy of Phillies’ pitcher Cole Hamels and his post-game interview in which he admitted hitting opposing batsman Bryce Harper in a game played recently . In light of the criticism leveled at him by the Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo who in an expletive laden rant described the pitcher as a piece of fecal matter . That in of-itself wasn’t enough to quell the fomenting ire of fans and analysts alike but at the same time the league hierarchy has seen fit to suspend Hamels for his actions during the game . Not to be left out of this all , Rizzo was penalized by Bud Selig’s office for an undisclosed sum for his public statement concerning Cole Hamels . . The Philadelphia Phillies’ pitcher has been suspended for a mere five games , not for the five starts of the Phillies’ ace . Personally, I find Hamels’ actions petulant and that of an immature child but his statement if anything simply shows the idiocy of what we are now witnessing within the game ! Baseball for all of its legacy and some might say purity has become a passe` and asinine undertaking, given the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of common sense being shown by anyone with authority within the game . It certainly hasn’t been coming from the team owners , general managers , league hierarchy or from the MLBPA (union) for that matter even after Michael Weiner who succeeded the less than agreeable Donald Fehr as the Executive Director of the union .

At present it appears that Matt Kemp and Josh Hamilton are trying to create their own form excitement as it relates to showing their prowess in power-hitting . The onslaught by the duo who lead the who lead the AL and NL respectively in home runs and a number of other offensive categories , is somewhat reminiscent to the year when both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa sought to obliterate Roger Maris’ single season home-run record . A record which has since been surpassed by the now disgraced Barry Bonds and now very much seen as tainted .

Now while the talk seems to be of both Hamilton and Kemp seeking to attain the ” Holy Grail within baseball with regard to the “Triple Crown” , a feat not achieved since the great Carl Yastrzemski achieved that historical feat . The “Triple Crown” and the single season home-run record I truly believe will take a monumental effort to achieve and given the power and athleticism of the players today , it is still something that would be looked upon somewhat dubiously in today’s game. Josh Hamilton is on pace to hit a ridiculous 82 home runs and one doubts that feat is literally achievable . Matt Kemp for his part isn’t going at a snail’s pace in terms of his home-run tally for the season . At the same time I get the feeling that the Rangers’ slugger would rather see his team make another appearance in the World Series , rather than coming up short as they had done previously , in 2010 and 2011 .

For the Texas Rangers’ front office staff led by Nolan Ryan , GM Jon Daniels and the coaching staff led by Ron Washington have to be pleased not only by what has been exhibited by Hamilton but also with the contributions of Yu Darvish , Elvis Andrus as well as the rest of the players on this active roster . And as good as the Texas Rangers appear to be this season , I can’t help but wonder whether or not this team will be in for another unique disappointment during the playoffs ! The AL West as a division is the Rangers’ for the taking , as I cannot see the likes of the Los Angeles Angels , Seattle Mariners or Oakland A’s mounting a serious enough challenge to this already formidable team .

Slowly but surely the Roger Clemens’ perjury trial is slowly inching its way to a verdict and as to what that might be ., no can be completely sure of , at this juncture. Federal Court Judge Reggie Walton has had to preside over this frigging farce . Defense attorneys Rusty Hardin and Mark Attanasio have slowly painted a picture of unreliable witnesses whose characters and testimony are suspect . And for the US Justice Department who chose to bring this case in-front of a judge , it seems so asinine with the countless thousands of dollars has been spent on the investigative procedure before this case even hit a courtroom and the trial itself could very well cost the taxpayer countless thousands more . The now disgraced trainers Kirk Radomski , Brian McNamee and former Boston Red Sox trainers Charlie Moss , Jim Rowe and Blue Jays’ trainer Tommy Craig have all given their testimony that would suggest they each in some way played a part in either supplying or giving the former pitching ace steroids at various points of his Major League career.

Courtesy of USA Today

Clemens trial: Cashman on stand as trainer testifies to acne

By Seth Livingstone , USA Today

WASHINGTON โ€“ New York Yankees senior vice president and general manager Brian Cashman took the stand as a prosecution witness at the Roger Clemens perjury trial shortly before Judge Reggie Walton called for a break on Thursday.

Defense attorney Rusty Hardin was hoping to get more from Cashman than he did from the previous witness. Hardin lit into prosecutors, accusing them of procedural ineptitude and calling unqualified

witnesses which would mean “adding two weeks” to the trial.

Hardin requested the right to call Don Catlin, an anti-doping scientist under subpoena, as a defense witness, complaining that the prosecution substituted U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration chemist Terrence Boos, an expert in controlled substances and drug and chemical evaluation, in his place.

Earlier Thursday, David Lintner, medical director for the Houston Astros, testified that is was “out of the scope of responsibility” for trainers or strength coaches to administer injections to players.

Although Clemens has said he regularly has injections of liquid Vitamin B12, Lintner said he does not supply shots of Vitamin B12 to players because “it doesn’t work.” Lintner said B12 was only useful to those with nutritional deficiencies.

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Clemens, a seven-time winner of the Cy Young Award has over the past five years simply gone about trying to clear his name . But his stance initially , wasn’t helped with the sworn testimony given two congressional committees in 2008, and 2009 respectively. The fawning that certainly took place with the congressional committee members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Energy & Commerce Committee as they listened to Clemens’ expectations as to his use or as he would suggest the misquotes mis-remembering of conversations between he and former teammate Andy Pettite as well as the actions of his former personal trainer , Brian McNamee , was simply an exaggeration . McNamee’s own integrity, has to come into question , in lieu of his admittedly to lying to the FBI and under oath to the aforementioned committees. It begs the question as to the veracity of the prosecution’s case and how they envisage winning it purely on the evidence within their possession . Exculpatory evidence or not , there’s something about this case that makes a complete mockery of the judicial system !

Considering , the $25 million spent on the BALCO investigation and the subsequent trials of sprinters Tim Montgomery , Marion Jones and which further embroiled slugger Barry Bonds at the end of the day . It begs the question if the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder can spend that sort of money pursuing none-violent offenders but somehow the senior banking executives on Wall St can somehow go untouched after their egregious malfeasance that brought the financial and banking sectors almost to their very knees . I certainly would like to know what the US Attorney General will ultimately do in a renewed effort to pursuit of those known to have acted egregiously while their financial institutions were the recipients of countless billions in taxpayers’ monies courtesy of the government ! Holder like his counterpart Tim Geithner within the US Treasury , former commissioner Christopher Cox as the head of the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) and his successors , firstly Mary L Schapiro , who has since been succeeded by Daniel M Gallagher . And each have provided the most asinine of explanations as to how it is that no one has yet to be arraigned , indicted or have gone on to trial ! Something is clearly awry and it has been the complete apathy of the public at large why this has simply been overlooked . But yet there’s the continuous bitching and whining by so many f_cking idiots who simply do not realize what’s actually happening in front of their very eyes ! Need I say anymore on the matter at this juncture ? I’ll let you be the judge of that !

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