Time gentlemen , please !

Time gentlemen, please !

By Tophatal

I am all for sensibility where warranted , but there comes a time, where common sense should take precedence over everything else ! That certainly has to be the case concerning the Philadelphia Eagles , as their season continues to implode and spiral out control . Andy Reid , may well have been inconsolable after the death of his son , Garrett Reid , to what might have been an apparent drug overdose . That being said , while he has my condolences , when it comes to his handling of the team , he certainly isn’t deserving of a pass . The same can be said of the team’s beleaguered quarterback, Michael Vick , as he simply has grotesquely awful for much of this season . Gifted and talented athlete or not , Vick this season has been wildly erratic , and amongst the most inefficient players at the position during 2012.

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Coming off a thoroughly humiliating 30-17 loss to the rampant Atlanta Falcons (7-0) , the Eagles are simply a listless vessel , adrift at sea, in their own ineptitude. And while there has been a considerable shakeup with the front office , with the departure of Joe Banner , to assume a similar role with the Cleveland Browns , as the team President. It should be noted , with Banner leaving , it still has not abated the continued incompetence being shown by this team . Furthermore , it appears that Michael Vick seems to be in denial that he is just as responsible for the team’s failures this season , as are the coaching staff , as well as his teammates. At 3-4 within the NFC East , a mark that they also share with the equally inept Dallas Cowboys (3-4). Both of these teams are now looking up at the division leading New York Giants (6-2) , and at this juncture, it is not an exactly and endearing sight. In all likelihood the Giants will prevail as the champions of the NFC East , but a wildcard spot might not come from within this division. So it would be understandable to comprehend what is now at stake for both of these teams.

It now appears that Andy Reid is at a crossroads , as he must now make a decision concerning his besieged and beleaguered quarterback. I should preface this by saying , that the alternatives facing the coach should he decide to demote Michael Vick , does not appear to be all that bright. The only alternative that the team has at present is to promote rookie Nick Foles, or to go with five-year veteran Trent Edwards . Not entirely enticing options, for a head coach , whose tenure now appears to be in jeopardy . Foles was drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the franchise , with the thought of his remaining on the sidelines , learning the facets of the game from seasoned veterans , such as Edwards and Michael Vick. Vick’s inconsistency this season , have been compounded by the losses , and the ineffectiveness of the Eagles’ passing and rushing game. Trent Edwards is unlikely to fare any better and throwing in a rookie such as Foles , might well do more harm than good. Michael Vick for his part, has to now face reality, that the wasted years incarcerated in a Federal Penitentiary , should have been his most productive years in the league , rather than for the fans to now witness a player with declining skills , and someone who has glaringly lost a step or two, as evidenced by the number of times he has been sacked season and the number of costly fumbles now on his resume’ for this season. Vick was never an elite quarterback , much less a moderate quarterback at best , he was simply a gifted athlete, who chose to play the role of a quarterback.

Week nine , and the Philadelphia Eagles will be the guests of the New Orleans Saints (2-5) in an NFC game that will have a great deal of meaning for both teams , when one bears in mind their divisional standing. It is incumbent that the Eagles come away from that game with a win, but that same scenario is raised when assesses the underwhelming season of the New Orleans Saints. Scandals , asides , the franchise still has not endeared itself to the vast majority of fans , in the wake of the now ongoing drama concerning this team.

Raise your hand if you have heard this question before ? Why is Norv Turner still coaching NFL ? Keep your hands up, as I’m still counting ! Shit, I’ve lost count . It may well be apathy , but the fans in the city of San Diego obviously love to endure mediocrity , because mediocrity, has been so prevalent with this franchise , the San Diego Chargers . And that has been especially true during the tenure of head coach, Norv Turner. Marty Schottenheimer , was fired because he could not take this franchise to the next level , and yet his successor, has wasted repeated opportunities to take the Chargers to their desired destination , and that is to a Superbowl . Rarely has a franchise , been so poorly ran, as the Spanos’ family led by patriarch ,Alex Spanos , has seemingly allowed AJ Smith , as the general manager , make the sort of personnel decisions one would associate with a bureaucratic federal agency , whose wish is to simply waste the taxpayers’ money.

Coming off a rather embarrassing 7-6 loss to the lowly Cleveland Browns (2-6). It is hard to imagine how things could get any worse for a franchise that has underachieved this season. Yet it has, and will probably get a great deal worse for a team , whose coaching staff that seems to be, bereft of creativity and intelligence. If a team, that was thought to be viewed as a major threat to the Broncos’ recent to ascendancy and divisional supremacy within the AFC West is now faltering , then what would that suggest about the franchise and the division as a whole? If at season’s end Turner remains in his position , then I will be shocked by such an outcome , winning season or not !

Philip Rivers remains the team’s best player, as he has been over the past five seasons , yet his talents are being profoundly wasted by Norv Turner, who does not know , how to best utilize the player’s skill-set , or assemble a good enough team, to give the Chargers the best opportunity to win. Rivers for his part has to be frustrated by the team’s lack of success , and I truly believe that he is now at his wit’s end concerning being a member of a failed franchise. A free agent in 2016 , Rivers may well request a trade , rather than continuing to be a part of Chargers’ franchise that on appearance seems to be heading nowhere. Whether or not the front office would be amenable to such a deal , would be impacted by upon the situation that the franchise finds itself in. Rivers’ contract would not prove difficult to offload , given the bounty that would be provided to the Chargers by way of draft picks , as they seek to rebuild the franchise. However, such a scenario for the moment is merely a thought , and not much more beyond that.

Next up for the Chargers, will be a Thursday night game on the 1st November, against divisional rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs (1-6). For the 3-4 Chargers , a game behind the division leading (AFC West) Denver Broncos(4-3) . The game to be played at Qualcomm Stadium , in San Diego , California, should give us a clear indication as to the path that will be taken by both franchises, as they both seek to be prevalent.

While the NFL has gone to great lengths to stress its diversity , it should come as a great surprise that during the Superbowl era while the league officials at varying levels within its hierarchy. And the makeup of the NFL team rosters is apparently 72.7% minority based , predominantly, African-American. It seems strange that within the ranks of NFL ownership , there is only one owner of ethnic race. Granted , Reggie Fowler , a minority partner in the Minnesota Vikings’ ownership structure, is the lone African-American owner of an NFL franchise. It should be noted , Fowler failed in his original attempt to purchase the franchise, when it was placed on the market by Red McCombs . The sale of the franchise to Zygi Wilf , and the Vikings long sought search for success has been well chronicled since that sale. While Fowler remains in the background as Zygi, his sons, Leonard, Jeffrey and Mark Wilf are the business face of the NFL franchise.

In November 2011 , when Shahid Khan made a successful $775 million bid and purchase of the Jacksonville Jaguars, he became the first owner of ethnicity, of an NFL franchise, who was an outright unanimous stakeholder. Khan a self-made billionaire, and a naturalized US citizen , was born in Lahore, Punjab Province of Pakistan. His entrepreneurial skills and the very fact that he is an impassioned NFL fan cannot hide his love of the game, as he seeks to make the Jaguars a competitive and commercial success. Years of coaching woes under a string of coaches , has brought the franchise little success over the last decade plus.

In a very in-depth profile by the CBS’ news magazine program “60 Minutes”, the program’s anchor , Scott Pelley, conducted a very insightful interview with Shahid Khan , that covered the businessman’s rise from being an impoverished engineering student to his success behind the automotive services’ company Flex-N-Gate . A company, which he bought from the original owner , and has now turned into a business enterprise that has revenues in excess of $ 8 billion ($8,000,000,000) annually

, manufacturing and supplying automotive bumpers for all of the Big Three domestic automotive companies, as the leading foreign manufacturers, with production facilities in North and Latin America. Khan , was quick to point out that while the NFL hierarchy was amenable to his becoming an owner and joining their fraternity , the fans around the league were not so kind in their approval. It is hard to believe that in the four decades since the what we have as the nascent point of the civil rights’ era , in 2011 there still remains a great deal of racial bigotry and intolerance towards a person of color ! Shahid Khan and his family were subjected to the most heinous of verbal assaults , with many questioning not only his ethnicity , birthright , but also whether not fans of the Jaguars would be required to recite a verse from the Koran upon attending the team’s home games at Everbank Field, in Jacksonville , Florida , home to the Jacksonville Jaguars . Insidious as that suggestion is , this seems to be the world that we now live in .

Shahid Khan, a devout Muslim , is not a vocal proponent radical Islam , as espoused by these ultra-conservative Imams , who also are proponents of Sharia-law. He is keenly aware of his visibility as a high-profiled Muslim, and has done a great deal , nationally , and locally, to promote tolerance between Muslims , Christians , Jews and those of other religious beliefs, in order to foment and foster the respect of others. He is now genuinely beloved by Jaguars’ fans, and can be seen at home games , actually greeting the fans as they walk up to the gates of their home stadium. In the year, since he assumed control of the franchise , he has sought to make the team more competitive having assumed control after the purchase from Wayne Weaver. Subsequently, GM Gene Smith has sought to assemble a roster thought to be competitive enough to contend within the AFC South.Head coach, Mike Mularkey, and his coaching staff have adjusted slowly in trying to turn things around, but it is felt with the retention of Maurice Jones-Drew to spearhead the team’s offense , alongside quarterback Blaine Gabbert , and wide receiver, Justin Blackmon .

The Jaguars drafted prudently , looking to obtain players they felt would be able to contribute immediately to the franchise’s growth over the course of this season. The players acquired , rounds’ one through seven were , Justin Blackmon, Andre Branch, Bryan Anger, Brandon Marshall, Mike Harris, and Jeris Pendleton. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a lowly 1-6 within the AFC South , rooted at the bottom of the division and with the Carolina Panthers (1-6) , they share the worst record in the NFL . Clearly, the Jaguars’ issues go way beyond their on-field problems and injuries have played their part in the team’s problematical season. In their most recent game the Jaguars were on the wrong side of a 24-15 loss to the Green Bay Packers (5-3). The Jaguars will play host to the Detroit Lions (3-4) this Sunday, in a game that will have dire meaning for both teams. The Lions are having an indifferent season, and inexplicably Matt Stafford has been unable to take advantage of his premier offensive target of last season, wide receiver , Calvin Johnson. Head coach, Jim Schwartz, and his coaching staff have tried to the team playing with some semblance of consistency , and they have fallen short of their preseason aspirations. So much so, that is becoming increasingly hard to see the Lions make the postseason, unless they are able to get on a hot winning streak. Two of the team’s defensive stalwarts, Ndamokung Suh and Nick Fairley have had their issues during the offseason, for which, both players have been given stern warnings by GM Martin Mayhew, as to their behavior both on and off the field of play. If the Lions are to come out of this game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, then their play has to vastly improve not just against this opponent , but also over each of the adversaries that they will meet over the remainder of the 2012 regular season schedule.

With the trade deadline having now been pushed back forty-eight hours , from 4:00PM EST , Tuesday, 30th October , 2012, to the 1st November , 2012, 4:00PM (EST). It will be interesting to see which teams will seek to make bold and ambitious moves , in order to make a push towards , and by winning their division or a postseason berth by positioning themselves with a beneficial finish, within the AFC and NFC.

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Picture gallery.

What are your expectations for the second half of the NFL season? And which teams do you believe will be in the running for a divisional title and a playoff berth ? Also, with the NFL having made a big display and effort to create a diverse workplace in terms of the league’s makeup , do you believe that enough has been done to create an environment where there might be another owner of ethnicity within the NFL beyond Shahid Khan? Do leave a comment as a you see fit , on this subject matter, and anything else you believe pertinent to this article.

Picture and slideshow details below for your perusal.


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(1) Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Michael Perez

(2) Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) scores on a 63-yard touchdown pass as Philadelphia Eagles corner-back Nnamdi Asomugha (24) goes in for the tackle during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Mel Evans …

(3) Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles , left, and wide receiver DeSean Jackson walk off the field at the end of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. The Falcons won 30-17 . AP Photo/Michael Perez ….

(4) Quarterback Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles holds onto the ball as Corey Peters (91) of the Atlanta Falcons attempts to strip it during the fourth quarter in a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 28, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Falcons defeated the Eagles 30-17. Rich Schulze / Getty Images North America …

(5) Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator , Todd Bowles, left, looks on as Eagles head coach Andy Reid walks by before an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. Reid dismissed former defensive coordinator Juan Castillo during the team’s bye week. AP Photo/Michael Perez ….

(6) New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) fumbles the ball as he is hit by Denver Broncos outside linebacker Wesley Woodyard (52) in the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Denver. The Broncos would defeat the Saints 34-14 . AP Photo/Jack Dempsey ….

(7) San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) reacts after an incomplete pass to wide receiver Malcolm Floyd late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Cleveland. The Browns won 7-6 . AP Photo/Tony Dejak …

(8) Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan ,left, is seen here CBS reporter Byron Pitts filming a segment for the news’ magazine program “60 Minutes” . There was a televised broadcast in-depth interview conducted by Scott Pelley , during which Khan’s life was profiled at extraordinary lengths and the public was introduced to the NFL’s first majority owner of ethnicity within the league. Shahid Khan paid $775 million in purchasing the NFL franchise from Wayne Weaver in November , 2011. In that time he has been the subject of racial bigotry by “alleged fans” of the NFL . copyrighted material … @ all rights reserved ..

(9) New Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, right, is introduced by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during a news conference at the NFL owners meeting in Irving, Texas, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011. The sale from franchise founder Wayne Weaver to the Pakistani-born Khan was unanimously approved Wednesday. The deal reportedly is for $775 million. AP Photo/LM Otero …..
(10) Shahid Khan , seen here with a group of ardent Jacksonville Jaguars’ supporters for an NFL game played at the franchise’s home venue, Everbank Field , in Jacksonville ,Florida ,. The owner has reiterated his position, that the team will not be relocated, and that his intentions are to make the franchise a competitive and commercially successful enterprise . The fan-base for the Jaguars however, is amongst the lowest in the NFL , and ranks in lower half of the teams within the league. AP Photo/ Richard Harris ….

(11) Reggie Fowler , left , is seen here with former Minnesota Vikings’ owner Red McCombs in 2004 . Fowler failed in an attempt to buy the franchise from McCombs that year , after it had been revealed that he could not meet the financial guarantees sought by the NFL in making the purchase . He would however , be part of the consortium led by Zygi Wilf , that would make a successful bid for the Minnesota Vikings in 2005 . AP/REUTERS/ Phil Sharpe ….
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A Tribe Called Quest ——- “Find A Way”

Charity begins at home , who wants a handout?

Charity begins at home , who wants a handout?

By Tophatal

Alas, what should have turned out to be a stupendous World Series , in essence became something of a non-starter as the San Francisco Giants simply ”bludgeoned “ the Detroit Tigers into submission. What should have been an exceptional series given the merits of both teams as their divisional as well as pennant winners . Baseball’s postseason finale ending up being, such a one-sided affair , that the only thing that can be taken away from the event, is that the Giants are head and shoulders above everyone else in the game. For the New York Yankees’ fans out there , there is a right way and a wrong way, in doing things when it comes to assembling a team and in terms of a team’s salary. I guess that over the past four years , GM Brian Cashman has not been hitting a home run out of the park on either account .

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Game four proved to be anticlimactic, as once the Giants’ pitching staff got into a flow and with the timely hitting by the team’s offense , you simply knew that Jim Leyland’s players had no answers for the situation that they found themselves in. It is one thing to be swept, but to be “swept” so unmercifully , had to be completely embarrassing for the Detroit Tigers’ organization. The MLB hierarchy had a few positives to take away from this all , with the new wildcard berth playoff format , but beyond that , there was nothing truly memorable about this World Series , that so thoroughly uncompetitive because of the overall lack of effort from the Detroit Tigers. World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval , has in essence made the Giants’ fans forget about the Melky Cabrera fiasco and the player having the miss the San Francisco Giants’ foray this postseason. It seems highly unlikely that the slugger will be back in 2013 , with GM Brian Sabean and the team’s ownership , unwilling to commit to the player long-term. Kudos to the San Francisco Giants and their fans on a fantastic season , as it was well deserved !

Week eight in the NFL offered up some real “dogs” in terms of several of the games played, and anyone who believes that this is simply the best that league has to offer , had better revise their thoughts on the issue. First off, New York Jets’ head coach , Rex Ryan really needs to climb down off his sanctimonious high horse and realize that his team is now in a whole world of trouble after their hideous display against the Miami Dolphins at home. How Ryan could stand there, on the dais during his postgame interview to suggest that there were a number of positives to come out of this game , after your team was soundly beaten 30-9 , is way beyond me ! And for those of you out there , who remain Tim Tebow apologists , please get a clue , one if not two ! Tebow has not shown that he has the capacity to play in this league, and that has been especially true this season . Thankfully the Jets will have some respite as Week 9 becomes a bye week for the franchise , but they will resume their schedule in week 10 , with a game against the Seattle Seahawks , at Q West Field , in Seattle , Washington. The loss, drops the New York Jets to a (3-5) mark, and places them firmly at the bottom of the AFC East . There you go Rex, how about those apples, then?

From a public relations’ standpoint , the New Orleans Saints will have their impassioned throng of fans but going beyond that point , one has to admit that 2012 has been an exceptionally bad season for this organization. Drew Brees may well have been lauded for surpassing Johnny Unitas’ mark of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Yet, in reality, this has been the only positive for the team throughout their schedule, to date.

Sunday afternoon, the Denver Broncos played hosts to the New Orleans Saints at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium , in a clash of two veteran quarterbacks. Peyton Manning was leading the Broncos , who seemed to have hit a groove , and were playing to the height of expectations. For the Saints coming into this game and specifically , the events of the past few weeks , as it relates to the unresolved issues concerning the bounty scandal , which still remains unresolved because of the buffoonery of NFL Commissioner , Roger Goodell.

If the Saints felt that coming into this matchup they would be able to offload their frustrations and built up tensions , well nothing could have been further from the truth. This was not a trap game , nor was it a situation where you could have envisaged the team playing so badly. However, that was exactly what was on display , as evidenced by disastrous display , as the Saints were roughed up and repeatedly punched in the mouth , as they suffered one of their worst losses of the season in a humiliating 34-14 defeat. It is pretty much safe to say that at this point of the season , it now comes down to all or nothing for the New Orleans Saints , because other than the lowly Carolina Panthers (1-6) , Joe Vitt’s team would now be firmly rooted at the bottom of the NFC South. The Saints can salvage some of their reputation and make an initial approach of giving their season some semblance of meaning, when they face the equally inept Philadelphia Eagles , on Monday night , 5th November at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, in New Orleans, Louisiana ,. A loss would do irreparable damage to the team , but bear in mind with the ongoing off the field fiasco now in play , I am not so sure that there is a real desire to see the New Orleans Saints succeed !

I’ll say this for Jerry Jones , the more he opens his mouth , the more I liken him to a politician who simply doesn’t know when to shut the hell up ! Instead , this proverbial pain the ass, continues to bitch and whine on just about everything concerning the woes of the Dallas Cowboys. The only thing, that now separates Jones from Donald Trump, is a bad coiffure, and an equally bad reality show. But then again, the Cowboys’ games are being televised on a weekly basis and likewise , as with Trump’s reality show ( The Apprentice) , the content is equally as abysmal !

Prior to Sunday’s game between the Cowboys and their arch-rivals the New York Giants, Jerry Jones had professed that his team was still capable of winning the Superbowl and NFC East. Inasmuch, as I admire Jones for his false sense of bravado , absolutely nothing the team has done this season has convinced me that they are amongst the elite within the NFC , much less the best team within the NFC East .

Looks can be misleading , as can be results , as in their first divisional meeting in 2012 , the Dallas Cowboys came away with a well-deserved victory over the Giants in a 24-17 win in Week one . Since that loss , Tom Coughlin’s team has been on a marauding rampage , carving up teams within their path, on their way to a 6-2 record within the NFC East , while sitting a game behind the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons(7-0) within the NFC for the best record in the conference. And while the New York Giants are on the ascent, it now looks as if the Cowboys are now plummeting out of the sky faster than a meteorite. No, it’s not a bird, it’s not a plane , but it’s the Dallas Cowboys and their bullsh#t, falling faster than the sound of a speeding bullet . “ The Cowboys , are who we thought them to be “ ——paraphrasing Dennis Green , and fortunately , I am not yet ready to crown their ass ! And for the Cowboys, money doesn’t necessarily talk by way of the team’s salary , but the bulls#it is now beginning to walk backwards towards being mediocre as usual !

Speaking of another franchise , that just happens to be stinking up the joint more than a herd of elephants in a pen at a municipal zoo. No other team, perhaps other than the Panthers , has been more inept than the Philadelphia Eagles . I know that Eagles’ head coach Andy Reid has been given a pass, because of his familial and emotional issues that have befallen the coach this season, the death of his son, Garrett Reid. Now at this juncture the Eagles’ front office has to stand tall and let Reid know , that they will no longer tolerate his ineptitude and that of the team’s , specifically that of the team’s quarterback , Michael Vick . Not long ago , fans and NFL analysts alike, were lauding Vick as perhaps the best “ pure athlete “ to enter the NFL and play the position. As of late, seeing Michael Vick going about his profession in the NFL , is akin to watching an aging male octogenarian struggle with his memory , while trying not soil himself. As his play this season has declined , so too have the fortunes of the Philadelphia Eagles, once thought to be amongst the favorites for the Superbowl this season. Sorry, Eagles’ fans, but this team simply isn’t good enough by any stretch of the imagination!

Lincoln Financial Field , home to the Philadelphia Eagles , was turned into an elephants’ graveyard, as this Michael Vick team defecated all over the stadium in front of their fans. For some reason , Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons were allowed to lay an almighty ass whooping on the Eagles, as they relentlessly pounded the NFC East franchise on their way to a lopsided 30-17 victory. Vick for all of his supposed poise , was a man whose confidence is now shot to hell , as evidenced in his postgame interview , as there are now mounting calls for the player to be benched. He is no longer the team’s best option to secure a victory, much less be viewed , as the team’s best player. As they say however, “ beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. And the Eagles have been far from a thing of beauty this season , and things are unlikely to change over the remainder of the season !

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Picture gallery.

Week eight , what if anything was the most surprising to you in terms of the results ? And which teams do you now believe are under the most pressure to succeed ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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Picture and slideshow details below.
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(1) San Francisco Giants’ Pablo Sandoval holds up his MVP trophy after Game 4 of baseball’s World Series against the Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Detroit. The Giants won 4-3 to win the series. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(2) San Francisco Giants owner Bill Neukom , right to left, Pablo Sandoval , Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy holds the Commissioner’s Trophy after Game 4 of baseball’s World Series against the Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Detroit. The Giants won 4-3 to win the series. AP Photo/Matt Slocum, Pool …

(3) New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 in East Rutherford, N.J. The Dolphins won the game 30-9 . AP Photo/John Minchillo …

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I’m all about the Benjamin’s but f#ck this !

I’m all about the Benjamin’s but f#ck this !

By Tophatal

So with the opening week of the NBA only three days away , the salvo heard around the league is that of the Oklahoma City Thunder trading away their Sixth Man of the Year , James Harden . The player who won Olympic gold , being a member of Team USA at the London Olympics , was also a member of the Thunder’s roster who lost a lopsided series (4-1) to the Miami Heat , in the 2012 NBA Finals . The deal involved Harden as a center piece of what has to be said , is something is a lopsided trade that favors the Oklahoma City Thunder .

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In what appear to be too long a protracted deal between Harden’s agent Rob </a</a</a</aPelinka and Sam Presti, general manager of the Western Conference champions . The agent sought a max contract , befitting of his client, that would see the player being offered a 5 year $60 million deal . However, it appears that the small market Thunder , in spite the rise in their acclaim fan-base and growing prominence within the league, the decision was made to deny Pelinka’s request on behalf of his client. With the deal now a nonstarter , the Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey approached the Thunder with a way out that appeared amenable to all of the parties concerned. Morey’s offer was a trade of the expiring contract of Kevin Martin and the franchise’s 2012 first round draft pick ——- Jeremy Lamb , in exchange for James Harden. Also thrown in to further “sweeten “ the deal, would be the fact that the Thunder would get two first round draft picks for 2013 and 2014. Anyone with an ounce of common sense , can see that the Oklahoma City Thunder has gotten the better end of this deal. Harden, may well be going to play alongside Jeremy Lin , but the move only marginally makes the Rockets better. In return , coach Scott Brooks gets a proven scorer , in Kevin Martin , and a player in, Jeremy Lamb , a focused young rookie , who has proven his worth as a member of the 2011 NCAA national championship team , the U Conn Huskies. Whether or not the addition of Lamb and Martin , gives a new resolve to Kevin Durant , Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka , remains to be seen . Anyone who believes that this trade makes the Oklahoma City Thunder , considerably weaker, then they should consider asking themselves what are gains and then disadvantages to this deal?

This trade may well prove to be fortuitous for the Oklahoma City Thunder , but at the same time , one has to question what this now does to the dynamics as it relates to the makeup of the roster , from last season to now ? Harden , Kevin Durant , and Russell Westbrook made up a formidable offensive threat with their scoring capabilities , and the intangibles brought by Harden on both ends of the floor . The addition of Martin provides an additional scorer for the team , and with Jeremy Lamb beginning to show that he is capable of playing the NBA , after a successful career with the U Conn Huskies’ program , it would appear that Sam Presti , could very well be unto something in terms of this trade.

As many of you might have been recently be made aware , NBA Commissioner , David Stern , will step down from his position , a role that he has held for the past three decades. The commissioner, intends to step down in February , 2014, and will be succeeded by his deputy , Adam Silver. In the three decades that Stern has presided over the league , the NBA’s revenues have grown exponentially , as the values of the teams within this enterprise, have risen to unprecedented heights. The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks remain two of the leagues more forceful franchise , while also being amongst the most valuable .

While I have admired Stern from afar as being the consummate businessman , in recent years many of his decisions have become a boon to the NBA franchise who now struggle to eke out a profit . And seated at the head of the table, are the New York Knicks , who are followed by the Lakers in terms of profitability and revenues . In recent years, a number of teams have struggled due to their not being fiscally responsible. David Stern would have us believe that the problems that have ensued primarily came about due to a dour economy , but when question as to why the franchises have significantly chosen to increase their budgetary expenditure with regard to team payrolls , while not making an attempt to rein in costs, the commissioner’s response have been somewhat nonsensical and almost unbelievably naïve . Yet , somehow Stern , the NBA hierarchy and team owners have a fashioned a response to so many of their woes, by apportioning blame upon the NBPA (Players’ Union) for the league’s ills. The NBA’s handling of their forced lockout that curtailed and cut short the season from 82 games to sixty-six , left many wondering, if David Stern’s ego had got the better of him. And even after an agreement, which many of the league’s top analysts believed to be amenable , there still remains a growing distrust between Billy Hunter’s members and the league hierarchy.

Big bold season ahead for the 2012-13 season and with a rash of offseason moves made by the teams, and now the questions being asked . Can LeBron James reign supreme over the league once again, winning the NBA’s biggest individual awards, while leading the Miami Heat in making a successful defense of their NBA title? And will Derrick Rose make a successful return to the NBA, while the Chicago Bulls looks to redeem themselves after last year’s postseason demise in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Rose’s injury , and coach Tom Thibodeau’s indecision during that series , led many to believe that the Bulls’ run would be short-lived.

This season, the Chicago Bulls will be without Rose, for their first twenty to thirty five games , as he seeks to make a full recovery , having undergone knee surgery. While the Bulls’ best player remains sequestered on the sidelines , it will be left to the likes of Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Richard Hamilton, Kirk Hinrich , and Luol Deng , to take up the slack and steer the team back to winning ways. Bulls’ owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM John Paxson were no doubt tremendously disappointed in the way the team succumbed the Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs in losing that first round series 4-2.

The common feeling amongst the fans and most NBA analysts, is that the Chicago Bulls will remain legitimate contenders , but a stalwart such as the Boston Celtics , alongside the New York Knicks , Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets will be part of the Eastern Conference’s postseason fare during the 2012-13 schedule.

Of the teams mentioned perhaps the most intriguing might just be the Brooklyn Nets . Having removed from New Jersey to Brooklyn, New York, into the NBA’s newest venue , the Barclaycard Center , an almost $600 million edifice , built with the height of opulence, for even the most discerning of fans. Team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov , general manager Billy King and head coach Avery Johnson have seen fit to revamp the roster with the addition of a number of free agents along with the team’s insertion of their draft choices . The biggest acquisition made was that of Joe Johnson along with the $60 million still owed to the player over the three remaining years of his existing contract. I’ve read a number of pieces breaking down why the Nets will be a force to be reckoned with this upcoming season . The consensus is that this remains Deron Williams’ team, whose leadership skills and arguably his playing ability will have to be at his optimum best if the Nets are to mount a serious challenge against the Bulls, Celtics and Heat , this upcoming season. If the Nets can prevail over the Big Three within the conference , as well as the other contenders within the Atlantic Division , the franchise’s domiciled division.

Now while a great deal of the offseason news tribulations of a number of franchises were well chronicled , perhaps the biggest story, just happened to be the Lakers’ acquisition of Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic . Howard , was not the only All Star to have joined the renowned Los Angeles franchise , as Mitch Kupchak engineered the smooth maneuver to obtain p two-time league MVP Steve Nash. Nash’s acquisition will give the Lakers one of the best back-courts in the NBA , with the former Phoenix Suns’ point guard joining Kobe Bryant, to create a formidable force for this team. Head coach, Mike Brown, for his part knew that this team failed miserably last season , with far too much pressure being placed upon the lofty shoulders of Bryant , while many of his teammates stood idly by. Having won five championships with the franchise, Kobe Bryant remains hungry for that sixth championship ring, that would place him alongside his idol , Michael Jordan , whose six championships with the Bulls , six Finals’ MVP , and six regular season MVP awards , cements Jordan as the greatest player to have ever graced the NBA stage. Bryant will upon his retirement will be a shoo-in for the Naismith Hall of Fame .

The Western Conference , this season I believe will be a monumental dogfight between the Los Angeles Lakers , Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs . As the Western Conference champions , the Thunder will have a tough task on their hands to make a successful defense of that title. As teams chase postseason glory , it will incumbent upon the coaches , general managers and the league hierarchy itself to provide the NBA fans with a product that they will find to their liking. A truncated season in 2012 , led to poor play in a number of games , but what cannot be denied is the very fact that injuries played a large part in determining the season. David Stern tried to suggest that was not the case , even in light of the evidence that suggested to the contrary. The commissioner has served the NBA well , working in conjunction with major corporate sponsors , some of which are amongst the biggest companies on the NYSE and that venerable publication Fortune Magazine. But it was undoubtedly Stern’s keen instinct to realize an asset and then use that asset to great effect. Michael Jordan , was “ King Midas” , for the league, as the player’s fame and notoriety was elevated . The commissioner made sure that he was able to ride on Jordan’s coattails, as the NBA brand became a worldwide phenomenon , easily outstripping the popularity of the NFL, and what was said to be America’s pastime , baseball(MLB) . Granted, the NFL, remains a $7.5 billion business annually, in terms of its revenue , while baseball peaks at $7 billion , with the NBA’s own revenues topping out at $4.345 billion . But by for sheer brand recognition , it is the NBA that now has the clout that the NFL and baseball could only wish they possessed. I would have mentioned the NHL , but that remains a sport that repeatedly over the past two decades has shot itself in the foot , and seems completely bereft of common sense and amongst its hierarchy , franchise owners and union (NHLPA). Beyond that , there is not much more that needs to be said , concerning the sport of ice hockey, as the hierarchy enforces their a league wide lockout in the past two decades. And the fans of hockey don’t seem to feel slighted by this idiocy ? I guess not , if they remain not only silent with their apathy to begin with ! NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and his union counterpart , Donald Fehr , Executive Director of the NHLPA , might just be , two of the dumbest executives , in all of professional sports ! Your thoughts on this ? .

Queue the season , and on opening night 30th October, 2012 and there are three games on the opening day schedule. The Cleveland Cavaliers will play host to the Washington Wizards , at Quicken Loans Arena , in Cleveland , Ohio. The second , of the trio of games will have the Miami Heat taking on the Boston Celtics at the famed AA Arena , in Miami , Florida, with the final game , pits the Dallas Mavericks —– against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles , California,.

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Picture gallery .

With the regular season due to begin this Wednesday , what do you hope to see this upcoming season within the NBA ? And have you been entirely happy with the tenure of David Stern as the NBA commissioner ? Do leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow details for your perusal.
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(1) In this May 3, 2012 photo, Oklahoma City Thunder’s James Harden (13) grabs a loose ball against the Dallas Mavericks during Game 3 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs in Dallas. The Thunder have traded Sixth Man of the Year Harden to the Houston Rockets, breaking up the young core of the Western Conference champions. The Thunder acquired guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb , two first-round picks and a second-round pick in the surprising deal that was completed Saturday night, Oct. 27, 2012. Oklahoma City also sent center Cole Aldrich, and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to Houston. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …

(2) In this Oct. 1, 2012, photo, Houston Rockets’ Kevin Martin poses during the NBA basketball team’s media day in Houston. The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded Sixth Man of the Year James Harden to the Rockets, breaking up the young core of the Western Conference champions. The Thunder acquired guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round pick in the surprising deal that was completed Saturday night, Oct. 27, 2012. Oklahoma City also sent center Cole Aldrich, and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to Houston. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan,File …..

(3) In this Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 photo, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, left, and Kevin Durant, right, wait to come back into an NBA preseason basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, in Tulsa, Okla. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki …

(4) Sam Presti, general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder seen here announcing the trade that would send James Harden and two role players from the Thunder’s staff to the Houston Rockets , in exchange for Kevin Martin , Jeremy Lamb and two first round draft picks from the 2013 and 2014 NBA Draft. AP Photo/ Greg Edelson ….

(5) From left to right , NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver , is seen here with David Stern , commissioner of the NBA. Stern recently announced that he would be stepping down from his current role , effective in February, 2014. The commissioner has held that position for an astonishing thirty years , during which he has led the institution from a small multimillion dollar concern , to a now mutli-billion dollar industry , with satellite offices globally and commercial tie-ins with several Fortune 500 Companies . Getty Images / Chris Graythern …..

(6) Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose , left, speaks during the NBA basketball team’s news conference, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Deerfield, Ill. AP Photo/Charles Cherney …

(7) Another “Fab Five” ? In picture are , foreground Kobe Bryant , Metta World Peace, background , left to right Steve Nash , Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol . The quintet pictured , are seen at the Toyota Center , training facility for the Los Angeles Lakers , in El Segundo , California . GM Mitch Kupchak , and head coach Mike Brown hope that with the franchise’s offseason moves , this will be enough to make the Lakers a formidable force to contend with this season within the NBA . AP Photo / Emilio Etchevarria ….

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A hard rain is going to fall ………….

A hard rain is going to fall

By Tophatal

Two games into the 2012 World Series , and it already appears to be looking , that , only one team has chosen to turn up and participate in baseball’s biggest postseason fare. The San Francisco Giants have taken a 2-0 lead over over their AL opponents , the Detroit Tigers , and the game one heroics of Pablo Sandoval , still remains on everyone’s minds. Game two, and it was left to Giants’ pitcher Madison Bumgarner to heap further embarrassment upon an anemic Tigers’ offense.

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If Jim Leyland’s players are to have any chance of resurrecting this series , then the team’s three games at Comerica Park , in Detroit, Michigan , starting Saturday night . Then , we will have to see a renewed and impassioned effort from the Detroit Tigers, as they go about seeking to erase a 2-0 deficit in the World Series. On the mound as the starting pitchers , will be Ryan Vogelsong of the Giants , facing Anibel Sanchez of the Tigers. What cannot be denied throughout this postseason , has been the very fact that the San Francisco Giants have been playing at an exceptionally high level. And if anything, this team seems to be excelling in such a way , that you simply get the impression that no matter what obstacle that is placed in front of these players , Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff would find a way of surmounting those odds . The Detroit Tigers , now look like a forlorn team, simply going through the motions, as they face what appears to be the inevitable . A series’ sweep at this juncture , wouldn’t as such be a bad , but I get the feeling that baseball’s hierarchy , is still hoping that the series can go the full length of seven games or at a bare minimum , six games at least . Anything short of that, and the major financial windfall hoped for by Major League Baseball (MLB) would appear to be for nothing. It remains to seen what will transpire over the next three days , beginning on Saturday night for the resumption of this series.

Not as good as advertised ? Well yes , that would be case after last night’s fiasco at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome/Mall of America Field , in Minneapolis, Minnesota , as the Minnesota Vikings played host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . To describe this game as a mismatch , would be an understatement , as it appeared that at no time during the contest did this Vikings’ team actually seem intent on playing. Head coach, Leslie Frazier , and his coaching staff could not have been entirely happy with his team’s effort . And I am sure that the coach was expecting a great deal more out his offense , which is led by Pro Bowl running back , Adrian Peterson . Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder may well have impressed in the early part of the season with his steady play and leadership skills , but in last night’s game , we witnessed an erratic performance from Ponder ,wherein he was harried and harassed by a hungry Bucs’ defense , simply intent on negating the Vikings’ passing game and rushing attack. Christian Ponder’s counterpart , Josh Freeman , may well have had his best game of the season , with the Buccaneers’ offense simply shredding Minnesota’s defense , on their way to an emphatic 36-17 victory over their NFC counterparts.

Buccaneers’ coach Greg Schiano , can now feel assured that the team may well have now found their footing, after something of a sporadic start to their season. The NFC South still remains the domain of the Atlanta Falcons (6-0) this season, but I believe that the Buccaneers at 3-4 , will be hard pressed to even mount a serious enough challenge to the Falcons , much less the rest of the NFC over the remainder of their season !

There is no denying that Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones remains of the NFL’s more lugubrious and outspoken owners. That being said, in recent weeks , Jones’ claims that his 3-3 franchise remains capable of winning the Superbowl has to be laughed at , even out of respect. But that is just , Jerry being Jerry , and not much else beyond that ! I mean , how else would anyone else take much notice of such a poor performing and overrated team ? Well, not unless the Cowboys’ cheerleaders come to a decision that the pregame and halftime entertainment for the team’s home games, will simply have them parading on-field completely naked . Can I get an Amen , on that ?

This weekend at Cowboys Stadium , in Arlington, Texas, when the team plays host to divisional rivals the New York Giants . Tom Coughlin’s team will be looking to cement their lead within the division , with a win over their arch-rivals. A Cowboys’ win at this stage of the season is of the utmost, if they are resurrect their season , and have some semblance of respectability. Tony Romo this season has been inconsistent , as too have the rest of the team , seemingly unable to gain any real traction over the course of their schedule.

The match-up between these two stalwarts should prove to be entertaining, as they always have been, in such meetings . Their last such meeting came in Giants’ home game at MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford, New Jersey , when Dallas prevailed in a 24-17 victory over the New York Giants . Dallas’ head coach Jason Garrett would probably like nothing more than to win both divisional games over the Giants , and put something of a dent in their rivals’ divisional and postseason aspirations.

It is extremely hard to assess the Detroit Lions, as a team this season . Especially in light of the fact that last year , the franchise gained their first playoff berth in just over a decade. However, that foray was short-lived , when the team came up against a rampant New Orleans Saints’ team that culled the Lions into submission on their way to a 45-28 victory in the wildcard round of the playoffs. This season with the Lions, has more to do with , why Matt Stafford has been unable to find his wide receiver, Calvin Johnson in the end-zone . And inexplicably , one would have to ask , is this really a bad 4-2 team , that now sits at the bottom of the NFC North ? Head coach, Jim Schwartz , has to be perturbed that the team has been so inconsistent, with many questioning whether or not the Lions are actually capable of making the playoffs. It was felt with the growth of the franchise over the past two seasons and the maturation of the Matthew Stafford , this might be the season where we see these players take it to the next level and make a deep run into the playoffs. Now it looks as if they are about to be in a monumental battle just to stay within striking distance of the division leading Chicago Bears (5-1) .

Beyond the struggles of the offense this season , Schwartz also has to contend with a defense that just has not been playing up to their perceived potential . This Sunday however , the Detroit Lions might get the chance to rectify those problems , when they face the equally susceptible Seattle Seahawks (4-3) in a game to be played at Ford Field , in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions will get the chance to test themselves against the Seahawks’ rookie sensation Russell Wilson , as the young quarterback seeks to lead this team to the top of the NFC West , and a post a serious enough challenge to the San Francisco 49ers (5-2). Calvin Johnson is undoubtedly one of the best wide receivers currently playing in the NFL today , and quite possibly one of the best wide receivers to have come along in the draft over the past decade. Johnson , himself, has ambitions to surpass the single season receiving yards’ (,1848 yards), a record held by Niners’ great , Jerry Rice , a holder of innumerable NFL records , far too numerous to mention. The Lions’ receiver, also has ambitions to pass the single season receptions’ mark (143) of Marvin Harrison , a figure achieved by the former Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver in 2002. Calvin Johnson believes it is possible for him to surpass 2,000 receiving yards and 200 receptions in a single season. Astounding marks by any stretch of the imagination , but if the Lions’ passing game remains somewhat stagnant , the struggles for Johnson are liable to continue.

It has been well chronicled that this season the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) have had their issues beyond their injury woes . Todd Haley was brought in to succeed Bruce Arians as the team’s offensive coordinator, as the franchise seeks to reinvent itself . Ben Roethlisberger , known for his passing game has seen fit somewhat to readjust to Haley’s playbook, of which the player was initially critical. However, the real issues now concerning the Steelers , is that the core of this roster , is an aging one , with a number of players whose skillset appears to be on the decline. Mike Tomlin , and his coaching staff will certainly have to get this team up and running , if their season have semblance of respectability. The 2011 postseason proved to be something of a complete letdown , during which the Steelers were blown out of the water by Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos shot a t salvo across the broadside of the NFC North franchise , which sank their ambitions in the playoffs. The result proved to be enough a reminder that the front office really needed to address many team’s issues on both sides of the ball. The 2012 NFL Draft , as GM Kevin Colbert , in conjunction with Mike Tomlin went about rebuilding the roster , with their draft picks and free agency acquisitions.

The Steelers will face a stern test this Sunday, as they host the Washington Redskins , and their wunderkind quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Redskins’ top draft pick of 2012, is the NFL’s third rated passer, who has been putting together, a set of top-notch performances that could up netting the player , the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award . And if you are wondering how the other rookies taken in this year’s draft are in terms of their standings , are doing ? You should note the players in question have been contributing with a great deal of confidence for their respective teams this season. This highly anticipated match-up should prove to be interesting , if their previous meetings are anything to go by.

When the New England Patriots meet the St Louis Rams in a game to be played at Wembley Stadium , in London , England , this will be another of the NFL hierarchy’s broad based reach, in luring further attracting fans on a global basis. The league seems intent on making these games an annual tradition ,which in many instances , has drawn the ire of a number diehard fans. Roger Goodell has a litany of issues to deal , which from a public relations’ standpoint has been handled without as about as much aplomb , as would be expected of an executive , who is simply has no idea , as to what the hell they are doing. Still not out of the woods as of yet , Goodell now has the audacity of having recused himself in presiding over the hearing that deals with the reinstatement of the suspensions of the four players embroiled in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal. There is a growing suspicion that the commissioner’s handling of his whole episode has been poorly handled. And it will continue to be that way , even in light Goodell recusing himself , and then making a request of Paul Tagliabue to preside over those hearings. Having Tagliabue preside over this case, shows no impartiality , as sought by the NFLPA (players’ union) , whose lawyers are providing the legal representation for Jonathan Vilma , Scott Fujita, Will Smith , and Anthony Hargrove. Whatever the outcome of this hearing , I certainly do not believe that the interests of the NFL will be best served , simply because of the league’s poor handling of this whole episode !

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Picture gallery your perusal.

What thoughts or impressions do you have concerning the salient points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit.

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below.
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(1) San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval , right, and second baseman Marco Scutaro warm up during workout at Comerica Park in Detroit, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. The Giants are scheduled to play the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of baseball’s World Series on Saturday in Detroit. The Giants lead the best-of-seven games series 2-0 . AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ….

(2) San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy watches a baseball workout at Comerica Park in Detroit, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. The Giants are scheduled to play the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of baseball’s World Series on Saturday in Detroit. The Giants lead the best-of-seven games series 2-0. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …..

(3) Angel Pagan (16) of the San Francisco Giants successfully steals second base ahead of the tag attempt by Omar Infante (4) of the Detroit Tigers in the eighth inning during Game Two of the Major League Baseball World Series at AT&T Park on October 25, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images /Christian Peterson …

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) breaks a tackle by Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Letroy Guion (98) during a 64-yard touchdown reception in the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Andy King …

(5) Dallas Cowboys corner-back Morris Clairborne (24) picks off a pass from Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton a Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith , front left, makes the tackle during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C. AP Photo/Bob Leverone …

(6) Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) catches a pass under pressure from Chicago Bears corner-back Charles Tillman (33) in the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast ….

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Breaking news , or is it ?

Breaking news , or is it ?

By Tophatal

So it took the Miami Marlins a woefully inept season and payroll north of $145 million to see that Ozzie Guillen wasn’t a good enough manager to take the ball-club to a World Series’ title. Hired to great plaudits and the expectations that with all of their postseason acquisitions of high-priced free agents, the feeling was that the Marlins would be serious contenders for not only the NL East title , but also the NL pennant. The manager left the Chicago White Sox under a cloud of controversy and with the accompaniment of a great deal of baggage.

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Marlins’ GM Michael Hill, Dave Sansom , Larry Beinfest , and team owner Jeffrey Loria , made this decision to jettison the often beleaguered and outspoken manager. Guillen’s insensitive, and some might say idiotic remarks concerning Cuban leader, Fidel Castro , once again indicated that controversy is never far behind this controversial baseball figure. With the firing of Ozzie Guillen , it will prove to be extremely difficult to gauge where the front office seek to go in search of a successor to Guillen. I do not believe that they will have immediate success filling this vacancy with a near certainty. Whoever happens to be the next manager of the ball-club will placed in the sixth manager to fill this position since 2008.

What cannot be denied is that this Marlins’ team was grossly mismanaged by Ozzie Guillen, and that is in spite of his alleged talent as a manager. Granted, he won a World Series’ title with the Chicago White Sox , in 2005, when the team defeated the Houston Astros , 4-0 , in a rather lopsided series. In the subsequent years beyond the controversies , and skepticism that followed Guillen , the feeling was , sooner , rather than later, his tenure as a manager with a franchise would be short-lived. All of this was for a team to finish with a 63-99 record and at the bottom of the NL East ? Damn , that is so pathetic !

From my own perspective with so much uncertainty surrounding this franchise , and the mere fact that Loria and his partners have come under a great deal of scrutiny concerning the financing of the Marlins Ballpark . This $575 million , 35,000 seat venue was built using the resources of the city of Miami via a bond issue, which places the residents on the hook should the city not be able to meet the financial obligations of this debt instrument. It has led to the US Justice Department to conduct an ongoing investigation into how this deal was arranged and whether or not there was any collusion on the part of MLB hierarchy along with the Marlins’ organization used coercion to force the municipality to finance the vast majority of this deal. Miami Mayor Tomas Regaldo, and specifically MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, have remained mute on this matter, choosing not to answer questions on the matter , referring the matter to their respective legal counsels. Do we really need to go down this road concerning the malfeasance that has gone on concerning the Marlins’ franchise and the very fact that Bud Selig chooses not to address such issues concerning so many teams around the league? There are so many anally retentive fans who try to suggest that the financial state of the game is better than it has ever been before . The commissioner points to baseball’s to the game’s increasing revenues but rarely does he choose to address the fact that just under than half of the league’s thirty teams breaks even by showing a healthy profit.

It should be noted that with Ozzie Guillen’s firing , he is still owed $7.5 million on the three years remaining of an original four-year $10 million contract. As to what this would suggest concerning the Marlins’ capricious spending not only on Guillen , but also the almost $215 million committed to the free agents signed this past off-season , and the fact that the organization finished with a sub .500 record is enough to indicate that not a great deal of financial expediency was original placed in their whole thought process as they chased after baseball excellence to begin with . But this is the Miami Marlins , an organization that is and has been bereft of intelligence and whose ownership group are amongst the most corrupt , egregious , gregarious of individuals , and owners within the game of baseball !

Not content with whining , it would appear that Cam Newton is now choosing to distance himself from the team’s failings this season . The Panthers are now 1-5, and have all but given up on their season , obviously to the disdain of the Carolina Panthers’ fans. Head coach , Ron Rivera , will be dealing with a multitude of issues beyond the ongoing immaturity being shown by the number one draft pick from the 2011 NFL Draft .

Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon has been mentoring offering advice and words of wisdom to Cam Newton . Recently, in a candid interview , the NFL great, suggested that the criticism of the Panthers’ quarterback was somewhat unjustified, and in some cases, bordered on being racist. Is he kidding me ? If Cam Newton, cannot deal with adversity on the field , and then cowers the moment there just happens to be criticism of him off the field , and how he conducts himself , in terms of his demeanor and dealing with candid questions from the press . Then his stay in the NFL will be short-lived , as even the great players themselves have been leveled with a certain amount of criticism at one point during their careers. As for Moon, he is being disingenuous , rather than being constructive toward his protégé , in saying that the criticism is racially motivated . I mean is Rush Limbaugh now back offering his analysis of the “black quarterbacks” now playing in the NFL ?

Warren Moon , should take a step back, and review the events on the eve and immediately after the night that Hank Aaronbroke what was then the all-time home run record held by Babe Ruth. Aaron’s demeanor and class showed , as he was berated , had his and that of his family’s lives threatened , never-mind the racial epithets thrown in, by an intolerant bunch of racial bigots ! Moon now has the temerity to suggest, that criticism of Cam Newton’s play comes in part , because of his racial background ? How asinine and ridiculous is that ? If Newton and Moon are not willing to admit that the player is struggling this season, then he might as well cut short his career in the NFL . Cam Newton has become so accustomed to being coddled and told how great that he is , that he has begun to believe the all of the print written about him , and the fact that he felt that the leap from a college career to the pros of the NFL would not be that great. Perhaps , if Gene Chizik didn’t coddle the player as at Auburn , and instead teach him to be more of a productive individual on and off the field of play. The controversy that embroiled the program concerning whether not Newton , but specifically his father had received money from the school that would determine his son’s choice to further his collegiate athletic career. And though investigated by the NCAA , with no wrongdoing said to be found , questions still arose as to what may , or may not have transpired . To my mind, having the NCAA Infractions’ Committee investigate any issue concerning a program, is akin to having the Keystone Cops investigate a violent crime , only to find no evidence of wrongdoing !

Though in 2011, Newton had an excellent year, leading all rookie quarterbacks statistically in a number of statistically categories , those figures did not matriculate into anything by way of the Carolina Panthers’ standing in the NFC South or NFL as a whole . However, it was felt that the front office’s prudent justification of selecting the Auburn —- quarterback was a sound decision. Questions may still have been at the back of team owner , Jerry Richardson and then general manager, Marty Hurney’s mind , as to leadership qualities and maturity level of the player , as it had been noted that on several occasions he clashed with his college coach Gene Chizik. One should bear in mind also, that there was a giant shadow cast as to Newton’s eligibility status , and the actions of Cam Newton’s father in an “alleged play to play scandal” that embroiled Auburn University. Though investigated by the NCAA , it is unclear as to how in-depth the investigation was said to be , though there was no wrongdoing found on the part of the school, although a number of questions to this day, still remain unanswered concerning the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner’s status at the time.

There will be no respite for the Panthers’ franchise until they are able to turn things around. This will first have to start with the mindset of Cam Newton , and him holding himself accountable for his own mistakes both on and of the field as a professional. Failing to do so , only leads to continued problems for the franchise as well as an acrimonious environment with a divided locker room filled with disgruntled players. It will be incumbent also , upon Rivera and his coaching staff to deal with the matter firmly, rather than allowing the young quarterback to continue in such vain. Granted, winning , and winning consistently changes the environment . creating a conducive atmosphere where those issues then disappear altogether. For the Carolina Panthers as of late, victories have been hard to come by and therein lies the problem as a whole. It would appear that this team either does not know “how to win” , or has completely lost their “will to win”. Week eight should definitely tell us whether or not the Panthers are back on track, or of it will be more of the same when they clash with the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, Chicago , Illinois, this upcoming Sunday, in an NFC conference game. A loss at this stage of the season , and the franchise should genuinely think about beginning to rebuild for next season , and also look at the ‘ unproductive players who are superfluous to the Carolina Panthers’ needs.

A clash of the Titans , or will Saturday’s game between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bull Dogs , have more to do with the Gators finally cleansing themselves of the spirit of Urban Meyer ? A year or more removed from the former head coach’s abrupt and untimely departure , Wil Muschamp’s team remains unbeaten (7-0) , ranked number two in the BCS rankings , and they have inside track to the SEC East Division as well as a championship berth in the SEC title game. That will certainly add that “sweet taste” of success to the Florida Gators for this season , but yet , I do feel that Muschamp’s aspirations go far beyond an SEC title , as a BCS Championship Bowl berth has to be at the back of his mind. Defeating the Bulldogs and then quite possibly facing number one ranked Alabama or LSU (Tigers) in that conference title game would surely propel the Gators into national prominence , and a berth in that national championship game. Well, that would be unless the idiots behind the BCS , AP Poll and the computer tech geeks have an aneurysm in having trouble in deciphering what is patently obvious , while it stares right back at them ! We can opine playing the games, but yet , there can be no concrete decision made as to a proper and equitable format to decide a national championship for College Football at the D1 level. How asinine is that situation ? This from a country that was the first to place a man on the moon ? That explains it all , does it not ? Man on the moon , but we can’t figure out how the fuck to have a consensus of opinions on having a national champion in college football !

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Heisman Trophy talk, well it narrowly beats talking about the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates , or does it ? Forget Obama and Romney ! Whoever ascends to the White House , in November, will bring about or carry on with policies , that will still cripple the country , as neither of the Presidential candidates are as insightful as they would have us believe . Braxton Miller , Colin Klein , Manti Te’o , Kenjon Barner , A J McCarron , De’Anthony Thomas , and Johnny Manziel , are but a few of the names being tossed around for this year’s top individual collegiate award ,as the best player in the nation. Last season, Andrew Luck was the undoubted favorite to win it all, but down the stretch , he and the Stanford Cardinals faltered , while Baylor’s Robert Griffin III , simply stole the show, and with it , came the Heisman . Now it goes without saying, that both Luck and Griffin as the top two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft are having exceptional seasons . Now both of these highly sought after quarterbacks are leading their respective teams to moderate success at this point of the season . It seems strange somehow that a player who has led his team to a 7-0 start in this collegiate season , is barely given a mention amongst the players seen as contenders for the Heisman Trophy. Florida’s Jeff Driskell is having a moderately successful season , but it would appear because his statistics are not into the stratosphere , it would appear he is not worthy of a mention among the top candidates for this year’s trophy. Make of it what you will, but at the end of the day , does winning the Heisman still carry that luster and real appeal. It may well add weight in terms of commercial value and the fact that a player’s agent can then obtain a healthy contract for their client , if they just happen to be the top pick in the NFL Draft. Beyond that the award while renowned is simply an accolade rest on a mantelpiece as a reminder to friends and associates. .

Raising the specter of ridicule, as always over the past eighteen months, has been Roger Goodell’s handling of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal. As this whole episode becomes even more protracted and asinine , so too are the decisions being rendered by the league hierarchy led by the commissioner, himself. Now comes word that with Goodell recusing himself from hearing the suspended players’ appeal , he has appointed his predecessor , Paul Tagliabue to preside over those very same hearings. I have always maintained that Roger Goodell is a pompous ass , whose intelligence is barely above the requirements seen as normal . How in God’s name, does the commissioner believe that having Tagliabue preside over these hearings provide impartiality, integrity and legitimacy to a process that has been flawed from the very start ? The four players still at the center of this all, Jonathan Vilma , Scott Fujita , Will Smith and Anthony Hargrove , whose interests are being represented by legal counsel provided by the NFLPA (players’ union) are now intent on challenging Paul Tagliabue’s authority to preside over the hearings to decide whether or not their suspensions should be reinstated . Far be it for me to suggest , but if a multibillion dollar enterprise (NFL) does not have the common sense to hire a retired Federal Court judge to provide the transparency and credibility sought in this matter , then it shows how out of touch with reality the NFL has become ! This institution (NFL) has become as corrupt as a Medellin drug cartel , with its secrecy and complete lack of transparency. Yet , all we ever tend to hear from these asinine self-absorbed on air analysts , are stats , the league is making money , cause for fantasy geeks to have an orgasmic sensation , and whether or not Tim Tebow can add competitiveness and a competitive streak to the New York Jets . Well we do know the answer to the latter , don’t we ? The NFL needs to get a clue , as too, the players’ union (NFLPA) , rather than continue act as if their members are above reproach , which , they are not !

With the departure of Mike Holmgren from the Cleveland Browns , and the ongoing issues with the team . It is hard to envisage what direction the franchise will now take , and that is even with Joe Banner , succeeding Holmgren as the de-facto general manager and team President . Brandon Weeden’s first season in the NFL is proving to be something of a learning curve for the player and the team’s head coach Pat Shumur and his coaching staff. Weeden has in effect supplanted Colt McCoy as the team’s incumbent starting quarterback . The Browns are now 1-6 within the NFC North and they sit at the bottom of the division , and they have one win, in their last six games . The team this weekend will play host to the San Diego Chargers at Browns Stadium , in Cleveland , Ohio . A win for the Browns is of the utmost urgency for the franchise if they are to have any semblance of a respectable season . One of the few bright spots for the Browns over the course of this year has been the play of team’s running back Trent Richardson . Chances are , the Browns’ season will be one filled with more heartache than sheer joy , but here’s hoping that the sorrow will not be too much for the fans to endure .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the salient points within this piece ? Simply a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) FILE – This April 10, 2012 file photo shows Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen gesturing at a news conference about comments he made about Fidel Castro at Marlins Stadium in Miami. Guillen has been fired after one year as manager of the last-place Marlins, whose promising season began to derail in April when his laudatory comments about Fidel Castro caused a backlash. The Marlins announced the firing of Guillen on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(2) A Marlins’ win , something of a rarity in 2012 for the franchise . Miami Marlins players celebrate carrying Donovan Solano, top, after Solano’s single scored the winning run against the New York Mets after a baseball game in Miami, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. The Marlins won 4-3 in 11 innings . AP Photo/Alan Diaz ….

(3) From left to right , Larry Beinfest, former Marlins manager, Ozzie Guillen, team owner , Jeffrey Loria , and David Sansom . The decision was made to fire Guillen on 23rd October , 2012, after the team’s disappointing season , last place finish in the NL East and failure to make the postseason . Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….

(4) Adam Greenberg, right, signs the contract as Miami Marlins general manager Michael Hill looks on before of a baseball game between the Marlins and New York Mets, in Miami, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. Greenberg was beamed in his debut for the Cubs in 2005. He never made it to the big leagues again. Until now, at 31. The Marlins signed him to a one-day contract and he’s to pinch-hit against the Mets. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ….

(5) Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton, foreground, is seen here alongside Hall of Fame and NFL great , Warren Moon . The former Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback has been mentoring ever since he was taken as the number one overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft . Newton has endured that ” proverbial sophomore slump” in 2012 , as the Panthers have simply suffered an atrocious start to their season . Newton has under a great deal of criticism for his poor play . However, it has been the recent statements attributed to Moon , that have been cause for concern. Warren Moon has stated , that much of the criticism of the young player has been ” racially motivated “ , rather than being simply about Newton’s apparent poor play this season . It now begs the question , is Moon being over protective of the player , or is it really a matter of Newton the maturity , mindset leadership ability to play alongside his teammates in the NFL ? What has patently clear , it is that Cam Newton has been complete denial , as he has repeatedly continue to throw his teammates under the bus over the course of this season during his post-game interviews with each defeat that has taken place in 2012 . AP Photo / Michael Clark ….

(6) Florida’s Quinton Dunbar , right, breaks away from South Carolina linebacker DeVonte Holloman (21) on a 13-yard touchdown pass play during the first half of an NCAA college football game , Saturday, … AP Photo / Gerry Foster …………

(7) Quarterback Jeff Driskel (6) of the Florida Gators looks to throw the ball against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Gainesville, Florida. Getty Images North America Chris Trotman ….

(8) Running back Hunter Joyer (41) of the Florida Gators is tackled by linebacker DeVonte Holloman (21) of the South Carolina (Gamecocks) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Gainesville, Florida. Chris Trotman /Getty Images ….

(9) Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators watches warmups prior to the game against the LSU Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 6, 2012 in Gainesville, Florida. Chris Henderson / Getty Images …

(10) Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators greets Jordan Reed (11) as he leaves the field against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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One of my favorite pick me ups to get my motor running , the always luscious Denise Milani !

Just what the doctor ordered , Melyssa Ford

Deja vu ? Not necessarily , it’s that certain time of the year we all go crazy for baseball

Deja vu ? Not necessarily , it’s that certain time of the year we all go crazy for baseball

By Tophatal

Perhaps, in one of the most exciting NLCS’ series in recent history , it all came down to a final game seven decider, to see who would be the NL representative in this year’s —- World Series . The St Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants have provided not only their legions fans with a great deal of excitement this postseason but also the vast majority of baseball fans in general with their heroics .

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Having somehow miraculously erased a 3-1 deficit , Bruce Bochy’s San Francisco Giants came back from the dead and simply laid waste to the dragon , e their opponents in this duel the St Louis Cardinals. What might more surprising, was the ease with which the team outplayed and then subdued the Cardinals , on their way to a thoroughly convincing 9-0 victory. In front of a sold-out crowd at AT&T Park in San Francisco , California , and millions more watching via a national network broadcast , fans were able to see these two teams stake their claim to be the NL representative in baseball’s biggest postseason fare.

Bruce Bochy now stands on the cusp of making history as a manager of the Giants, as he seeks to bring a second title to the in the last four years . In 2010, the ball-club defeated the Texas Rangers with consummate ease (4-1) , with Edgar Renteria , being named World Series’ MVP. This time around, a claim could be made that there are a litany of players on the San Francisco Giants’ postseason roster who could actually end up with that accolade. Marco Scutaro came away with the NLCS MVP , after having a phenomenal series and dare one say , an postseason so far ? In terms of the team’s offense , the contributions have come from all corners , with each player coming into their own at some point over the Giant’s sojourn this postseason .

And while we laud the accomplishments of the offense of the San Francisco Giants , it should be noted also , that , last night , it was the team pitching , and specifically that of Matt Cain , who pitched 5 scoreless innings , as the relievers , then came in to close out the game and series, as the ball-club makes its second appearance in the World Series, in two years.

For the Giants’ front office executives , this further adds to the financial expediency and restraint shown by GM Brian Sabean , in recent years , in simply not seeking to outspend his rivals , while laying the foundations towards building a successful organization. The future would seem bright for the San Francisco Giants , albeit that their divisional rivals , the Los Angeles Dodgers , will seek to slow down the Giants’ dominance of the NL West in recent seasons. Dodgers’ co-owner, Magic Johnson has pretty much insisted that money will be of no object , as his franchise chases postseason glory . However, I would preface that by saying , spending big , doesn’t necessarily equate into winning big . Simply look at the payroll of the , Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees , Los Angeles Angels , Philadelphia Phillies and the Dodgers themselves ? Then ask yourself this , would you deem their seasons in to 2012 to have been a tremendous success ?

Jim Leyland, and the Detroit Tigers have swept through their postseason schedule with enough ease, to suggest that they were never truly tested at any time. The fact that they destroyed the venerable New York Yankees ,without even breaking sweat , as Joe Girardi and his coaching assistants simply had no answers , as how to deal with a talented Tigers’ team . Well , it must leave some of us asking , are the Detroit Tigers simply that good ? Or with hindsight , would it would be correct to state that the Yankees are really that bad ? Girardi’s team may well have had the best record in the AL , but you would be hard pressed to suggest that they were , or are the best team within the league , and that is not solely based on their postseason play .

It wasn’t that long ago that Tigers’ fans were calling for the head of Jim Leyland to be served up on a silver platter along with that of the team’s general manager Dave Dombroswski . Well, what a difference year makes , as the team signed big league slugger Prince Fielder , to go alongside an already potent offense led by newly minted Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera . Less we forget also, reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner , Justin Verlander is having another outstanding season , while leading a formidable Tigers’ pitching rotation .

There is not much to choose between these two teams by way of their competitiveness. One could describe the San Francisco Giants as a gritty and determined roster of players, as evidenced by the play in the NLDS as well the NLCS . The Detroit Tigers for their part can simply go about their task with a great deal of professionalism , a trait that seems to the trademark of their manager , Jim Leyland. With game one set to begin on Wednesday, 24th October , 2012 , with the Giants hosting their AL Central opponents . This World Series should have the makings of a match-up that could meet all the needs of even the most discerning of sports’ fans . On the mound for the Tigers will be their ace , Justin Verlander , but as of yet , no decision has been made by Bruce Bochy , as to who will oppose Verlander , in the opening game of the series.

Team owners , Michael Ilitch of the Detroit Tigers and Larry Baer, as the senior managing partner for the Giants’ ownership group , in seeing their respective ball clubs make the ascent to the pinnacle , where at the end of this series they will deemed world champions , adds a great deal to the commercial worth of the winning franchise. Now for the league’s twenty eight teams now on the outside looking in , now would be the time for them to ponder ________ as to what might have been . In truth , this has been a season where a number teams exceeded expectations, whereas others simply fell by the way or under-achieved. Baseball’s postseason gala now offers us the penultimate series , with an outright winner to be crowned “champions” . 2012 was an exceptional good year within the game with a number of feats that had the fans enthralled. We were able to witness the rise of rookie “phenoms” such as , Bryce Harper , Mike Trout , Yoenis Cespedes , Norichika Aoki, Yu Darvish , Wei Yin Chen and Nate Jones , all of whom , will look to build upon their achievements of 2012.

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What highlights this season have stood out for you as a baseball fan? And which team do you believe has been the biggest surprise of the year ? By contrast which franchise to your mind has been the biggest disappointment overall ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit .

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(1) San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo and catcher Buster Posey react after the final out in Game 7 of baseball’s National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in San Francisco. The Giants won 9-0 to win the series. AP Photo/Ben Margot …

(2) San Francisco Giants’ Marco Scutaro reacts as Buster Posey (28) scores during the third inning of Game 7 of baseball’s National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in San Francisco. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ..

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(3) St. Louis Cardinals’ Tony Cruz reacts after losing 9-0 to the San Francisco Giants after Game 7 of baseball’s National League championship series, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in San Francisco. The Giants won 9-0 to win the series. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …..

(4) San Francisco Giants’ Angel Pagan is tagged out at home by St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina during the seventh inning of Game 7 of baseball’s National League championship series Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in San Francisco. AP Photo/Ben Margot ….

(5) San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo reacts after the final out in Game 7 of baseball’s National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in San Francisco. The Giants won 9-0 to win the series. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ….

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There’s no crying in baseball , as in football , and in all sports , men are supposed to act like men

There’s no crying in baseball , as in football , and in all sports , men are supposed to act like men

By Tophatal

Well the sporting weekend brought us all a whole slew of news from the sublime to the ridiculous . As a once proud boxing fan , I must say, to see another folk hero and legend simply bite the dust , when my memories of him were as he reigned supreme as a world title holder , took something of a shock . This past weekend , legendary fighter , Erik Morales challenged world lightweight titlist Danny Garcia in a televised title fight for Garcia’s WBA and WBC titles . The fight promoted by Oscar de La Hoya’s promotional company , Golden Boy Promotions Inc. , was staged at the Barclaycard Center , in Brooklyn , New York , home to the Brooklyn Nets (formerly known as the New Jersey Nets).

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In sports , there are times when I believe all of us have witnessed a legend simply go down in flames , in essence they have been involved in their chosen endeavor for far too long , and they have not been encouraged to walk away in their prime . Such , has been the case for Morales , himself a former world title holder and a formidable opponent to many of his peers at the height of his dominance and once impressive career. Saturday night, against a much younger opponent in Garcia, Morales’ career came to an abrupt end . In four hellacious rounds of boxing the former title holder was subdued, punished and almost beaten to a bloody pulp. This is not the way I envisaged Erik Morales fight career to end , as I felt that he would walk away from the sport of boxing under his own steam. Instead , a fourth round knockout inflicted upon him by the title holder , sealed his fate, and has now brought Danny Garcia new-found fame , and perhaps untold future riches , as his promoter Oscar de La Hoya has promised the young fighter major title defenses against credible contenders and perhaps a chance to challenge unbeaten welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather . The latter prospect I do not believe will take place this year but is likely to place at some point during 2013 . A great deal of that however , would be predicated upon Mayweather , and his business adviser , Leonard Ellerbee , reaching a compromise with Golden Boy Promotions , on the purse and revenues’ split , as well an agreement on co-promoting the bout as a joint venture. Anything short of that and we are liable to be left with the same asinine and misguided scenario that has deprived the fight fans of seeing Floyd Mayweather taken on Manny Pacquiao.

There is no denying at the height of his boxing prowess , Evander Holyfield was a fighter of great talent , but the unfortunate thing that fans have to now stomach , is the very fact that this former world heavyweight champion , now past his prime , is seeking one more title shot , as he seeks to win the heavyweight crown for an unprecedented fifth time. It is at times like this, where you simply have to question the integrity of boxing as a sport , and whether or not there is a voice reason within the upper echelons of boxing’s numerous hierarchies. I mean, where else can you have at least six international governing bodies of one sport, and where in the United States , each of the various state athletic commissions do not have a comprehensive standard for presiding over the sport , much less how they deal with the cross state interpretations of the rules mandating the governing of the boxing ?

With the New York Yankees being swatted aside like an unwanted insect by the Detroit Tigers , as Jim Leyland’s team inflicted such a painful 4-0 series’ sweep over the Bronx Bombers in the ALCS . Now within the Yankees’ locker room and clubhouse of this franchise , you have a great deal of whining and dissension amongst the players. So much so , that one has ask is this simply “sour grapes” on the part of the team in simply failing to admit that over the course of this series they were of no match for the Detroit Tigers, who were by far the better team , not just throughout the season but also over the course of the postseason ?

The biggest failure with the Yankees has been the lack of offense shown during the playoffs by the players , who thought to be amongst the best hitters in the game. Instead their efforts bordered upon being so inept , that it had many wondering , whether or not Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano , Nick Swisher , Mark Teixeira and Eric Chavez could actually hit above their own body weight . With the ball-club’s exit from baseball’s postseason fare , it now leaves us with three team’s vying for the game’s biggest prize. The Detroit Tigers , having punched their ticket to the World Series, now awaits the outcome of the NLCS , where the St Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants are now tied at three games apiece (3-3) in this best of seven game series.

The Giants were able to force a game seven , after a thrilling game six victory (6-1) over the Cardinals. As to what to expect tonight , when these two teams meet in the series’ decider. Well , there is likely to be a great deal of fireworks both on and off the field of play , as both sets of fans will be geed up at the prospects and also for what is at stake for both of these respected franchises . Taking the mound for the series’ decider , will be Matt Cain of the Giants, who will face Kyle Lohse of the Cardinals. The winner of tonight’s game will not be given much rest , as the World Series begins on Wednesday 24th October , with the Detroit Tigers playing host to the NL pennant winner at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan.

Week seven in the NFL , brought us a slew of games , inter-divisional as inter conference match-ups that should have wetted the appetites of the NFL fans . Well , we got that and a hell of a great deal more , as many of those duels were exhilarating , while others were simply “ clunkers” of the highest order. Who could have foreseen that the Baltimore Ravens would have ended up being maligned and beaten like an unwanted stepchild by the Houston Texans ? Cruel and inhumane punishment ? At one point I believed that , Roger Goodell was in communication with the NFL hierarchy , to see if the league had a rule to govern what was taking place on the field ! Forget about the Saints’ bounty scandal, as there were more hits being put on the Ravens’ defense than the New Orleans Saints had placed on their entire opponents over the four-year span that their nefarious deeds were said to be enacted . Let me pose this question to you all , when was the last time that you saw a Baltimore Ravens’ defense look so exposed , flawed and completely outplayed ? Injuries asides, a can of proverbial whoop ass was laid out by Matt Schaub and his teammates , as the Texans romped their way to a decisive 43-13 victory. Yeah buddy, I get the impression that Ray Lewis and rest of the Ravens’ secondary may not have been crying when it came to their postgame locker room discussions with head coach, John Harbaugh , but there might have been a few F-bomb “ expletives” …. rolling off the tongues of several of the Ravens’ players ! And fu@k you as well , may well have been the exchanges between the defensive and offensive units of the team. The Ravens’ 5-2 record within the AFC North , would suggest that they are a good team , but not exactly a great team , as they would envisage themselves to be.

Ah , the pain of defeat , it tells you a great deal about the teams and how they handle that type of adversity . The leaders on a team , are viewed as players who can lead by example , wherein others will follow. However, far too often , a rookie is thrown in at the deep end and the psychological damage done, can cause irreparable harm to a franchise . After an outstanding rookie season in 2011 , Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers has fallen back to earth with a tremendous thud . So much so , that some are questioning whether or not this player can have a long and prosperous career in the NFL. Sophomore slumps ? Yes , we have heard of those but how does that now equate with what we are now witnessing with the young quarterback , taken number one overall in the 2011 NFL Draft ?

An outstanding college career by Cam Newton was seen as a precursor as the next step for the player. The team did have their issues by way of injuries in 2011, and their inconsistent play led to a number of misgivings as to the possible progress sought, but it was felt that for the most part in 2012 the team could and would be competitive . Instead , head coach, Ron Rivera , now has to deal with a litany of issues both on and off the field of play . GM Marty Hurney , was promptly fired by team owner Jerry Richardson , after what he feels has been a disastrous start to the season . The Panthers are off to a 1-5 start and sit at the bottom of the NFC South , and there now seems to be no respite in sight.

With his undoubted talents , Cam Newton has not endeared himself to the Panthers’ fans or the local media , with his ongoing signs of immaturity and constant complaining about the team’s defeats , since his introduction to the NFL. Newton should understand , that you win and lose as a team , as the game of football is certainly not singularly about individual talent. If that were the case , then there would be no damn need for the sport . The expectations may well have been high, and it could well be that the burden that the young quarterback was being asked to bear , was too much of a task to undertake. Herein , lies my question , when drafted as the number one pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2011 , surely the player must have known what he was in for , from a franchise whose record that previous season as a miserly 2-14 mark ? Newton , for his part is being handsomely rewarded by the Panthers as a player , and it should be noted that he now has several lucrative commercial endorsements that nets the quarterback additional millions.

Coming off the team’s lackluster home loss (19-14) to the Dallas Cowboys , during which both teams played some rather uninspired football . It has to be said , that if Cam Newton’s continued whining is anything to go by , then he as well as teammates are as just much to blame for the Panthers’ languid performances this season ! The player however, has sought to distance himself from to those woes , instead choosing to complain about what he sees are the constant mistakes made by others . There may well be other far more experienced players on the Panthers’ roster , but it is to Cam Newton to whom the fans and press alike will continue to look at in gauging the team’s success. If as witnessed, his continued demeanor suggests a lack of maturity and complaints in not being able handle the adversity of defeat , then Newton’s career in the NFL will not be a successful one. As to where this now leave a franchise with a 1-5 mark this season, the team’s next scheduled game against the Chicago Bears , could very well give us a clear indication as what to expect over the remainder of the season. Your thoughts on the Panthers’ woes this season and the constant whining now coming from Cam Newton?

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What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? And what sporting event this past weekend do you feel may well have been the most relevant in terms of its emotional draw ? Do leave a comment as you see fit , and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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(1) Mexico’s Erik Morales, right, spins to the canvas after being knocked out by a punch from Danny Garcia, left, of Philadelphia, in the fourth round of their WBC and WBA super-lightweight title boxing bout at the Barclays Center, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Jason DeCrow …

(2) Danny Garcia, right, punches Mexico’s Erik Morales during their WBC and WBA super lightweight title bout at the Barclays Center, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in New York. Garcia knocked out Morales in the fourth round. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

(3) Referee Benji Esteves stops the fight after Mexico’s Erik Morales, right, was knocked out by Danny Garcia during the fourth round of their WBC and WBA super lightweight title bout at the Barclays Center, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

(4) Russia’s Nikolai Valuev, right, connects with Evander Holyfield. Photograph: Dean Treml/AFP/Getty Images…

(5) Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera celebrates after hitting a two run home run in the fourth inning during Game 4 of the American League championship series against the New York Yankees Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(6) St. Louis Cardinals’ Daniel Descalso (33) flips his bat in front of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey after striking out during the second inning of Game 6 of baseball’s National League championship series Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, in San Francisco. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …

(7) FILE – In this Aug. 4, 2012 file photo, Carolina Panthers’ team president Danny Morrison , left, talks with general manager Marty Hurney during the NFL Carolina Panthers’ Fan Fest football practice in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers fired Hurney Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 following the team’s 1-5 start this season . AP Photo/Bob Leverone ….

(8) Dallas Cowboys defensive end Jason Hatcher (97) and Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) sack Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) during the first half of an NFL football game , Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, in Charlotte. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …

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It’s not easy being “cheesy” , so what’s up with the Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics ?

It’s not easy being “cheesy” , so what’s up with the Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics ?

By Tophatal

One year on , though not necessarily one year the wiser , as we have now seen with the Boston Red Sox this past season . In what can be best described as one of their worst in recent memory as the franchise fired Bobby Valentine. The beleaguered manager, was dismissed after a woefully inept season and where there was an upheaval in the team’s roster . Carl Crawford , Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett were jettisoned as the front office sought to bring some semblance of normalcy to the organization.

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Speculation had been rife , as to who would succeed Valentine , and the presumptive favorite was said to be the Toronto Blue Jays’ manager John Farrell, a former assistant manager with the Boston Red Sox. Now it is official, and Farrell has been hired by the renowned franchise, but a public statement and the manager’s formal introduction to the public has yet to be made. It would be remiss to suggest that many of us did not see this coming , the firing of Bobby Valentine . From my own perspective , all along , I felt the hire of Valentine was a monumental mistake ! The former ESPN baseball analyst brought little to the table by way of his managerial acumen , but yet somehow GM Ben Cherington and team President Larry Lucchino saw the often opinionated Valentine as the right successor to Terry Francona . It is extremely hard to explain how an organization with so many resources could have failed so miserably , but somehow this was on display throughout the course of the Red Sox’s season. Bobby Valentine sought to use excuses as to the team’s failures, not once ever admitting that either he or his managerial staff had once failed in their responsibilities but such are the vagaries where the hire was made purely on Valentine’s character , rather than his ability as a manager. Truth be known, he was simply lacking in as the Red Sox quite possibly one the worst seasons in recent memory concerning this baseball franchise.

Looking back on many of the issues of this team , but specifically Bobby Valentine’s failed return to the role as a manager of a big league franchise, and you simply knew that the plotline for this melodrama was doomed, and would end in disaster. The fact that the ball-club finished at the foot of the AL East with a 69-93 (.426) mark , simply explains a great deal as to why the team failed so miserably . The team’s pitching was lackluster , as too was the offense . In a nutshell, with their being little to offer the fans by way of encouragement on the field , there was more drama to be found off the field , with Bobby Valentine’s repeated pratfalls and his hostile relationship with the press but specifically the print and television media within the New England market. And nowhere was this more evident than with the former manager’s combustible and volatile relationship with local sports’ talk radio network WEEI.

With the installation of John Farrell to succeed Bobby Valentine , it remains to be seen how many , and what changes might or will be made to resurrect the franchise’s fortunes. In season where everything about the Red Sox suggested failure , as in stark contrast we saw why the team failed so miserably in comparison to last season .Granted, the team imploded on the last day of the season in their 4-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, and thereby bring about one of the most surreal endings to a season within MLB for the Boston Red Sox. Needing only a victory to gain a playoff berth , with that defeat suffered at the hands of the Orioles, it allowed the Tampa Bay Rays to gain that lone AL wildcard berth with their 8-7 victory over the New York Yankees. The challenges may well have been there with the outrage and criticism leveled at Terry Francona, but the reality was the very fact that the players failed to live up to expectations during the season. Franconia’s contract was not renewed and the fallout from it all unquestionably led to the decision made by Ben Cherington and Larry Lucchino to seek what they felt was a suitable candidate to succeed the manager who took that organization to their most recent successes in the World Series in 2004 and 2007.

If John Farrell is to succeed in 2013 , then a number of changes are likely to be made beyond the existing coaching staff. A number of the team’s likely free agents will be allowed to leave as the franchise will seek to assess a number of their top prospects and a number of players within their farm system . If those players are able to step up to the plate and lead by example where so many of the players in 2012 simply failed to do so adequately.

There is no denying in the off-season but there was so much dislike , by way of the fallout within the Boston Celtics’organization. As fallouts go, there was much to feel displeased about . Ray Allen , an unrestricted free agent departed, to join the Miami Heat , perhaps one the Celtics’ most heated and hated rivals in recent years . The loss of Allen, though not thought to be severe , it certainly led to Kevin Garnett voicing his displeasure concerning his former teammate’s departure , which Garnett felt was a betrayal. However, what is known, is the very fact that the relationship between Allen and the team’s point guard , Rajon Rondo , was said to be often contentious and heated. With Allen gone, Celtics’ general manager Danny Ainge looked to replace the renowned sharp-shooter. The front office executive along the franchise’s senior managing partner Wyc Grousbeck , knew that to replace Allen , they needed someone with equal experience and some would suggest leadership skills. The team found its man in , Jason Terry , a former Sixth Man of the Year and NBA titlist with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 . Whether or not Terry can add to the team’s offensive prowess and defensive capabilities will be dependent upon the role which he is asked to fill by head coach , Doc Rivers.

Now while the Celtics in recent seasons have had their success in the postseason , wherein the that success was built around what was known as their ” Big Three” , of Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce , with the additional contributions of Rajon Rondo. In the preseason so far the Boston Celtics are 3-4 in their schedule, with one more preseason game due today , when they face the Philadelphia 76ers at the TD Banknorth Gardens , in Boston , Massachusetts,. In bolstering the team’s roster , Doc Rivers signed seasoned veteran, Leandro Barbosa , with a view to having the player platoon in a backup role. The head coach seeks to get the best possible out his roster as the team embarks upon their 2012-13 schedule. The team’s three picks from the 2012 NBA Draft are Jared Sullinger , Fab Melo and Kris Joseph , three players seeking to establish themselves within the NBA.

With the regular season not set to begin until 30th October , 2012, it will be interesting to see how this new look Celtics’ roster will acquit themselves over the course of this season . Doc Rivers’ players will be the guests of the Miami Heat at the AA Arena , in Miami , Florida , as the defending champions embark upon defending their title . The Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra , with his own stable of stars , led by three-time league MVP and Finals’ MVP , LeBron James, will seek to send an emphatic sign to the rest of the NBA that all signs to the title will be met by with a stern message that they will not relinquish their grasp on the Larry O’Brien Trophy without a fight.

The Boston Celtics are likely to be sternly tested by the occupants of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . Of the teams likely to seek dominance within the division are the Brooklyn Nets , whose recent move from New Jersey back to New York City , gives the nation’s biggest ad-market a second NBA franchise in addition to the New York Knicks. Also looking to make life difficult for the Celtics will be the Toronto Raptors, another resident within the division alongside the Knicks, 76ers, all of whom are thought to be in with a chance to have their shot at the divisional title. In terms of the conference overall , with a view to a playoff berth, and a great deal for those teams will be there to play for. Based on last season’s conference and divisional standings , we are liable to a number of changes , as the 2012-13 schedule unfolds.

I have long been a great admirer of Doc Rivers as a head coach , but my own feelings towards Kevin Garnett have gradually gone from a healthy respect of future Hall of Fame inductee, to one where it has become complete disdain ! Garnett when he is on a winning team , can be one of the most affable of characters , but his comments after the departure of Ray Allen, shows the seasoned veteran to be an immature ingrate ! Care to offer up your thoughts on that analysis ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to salient points within this piece ? By all means do take time to offer up a comment as you see fit.

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Picture and slide show gallery details below.
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(1) FILE – In this Sept. 7, 2012, file photo, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell sits in the dugout before the Blue Jays’ baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Boston. The Red Sox reportedly have reached an agreement to bring Farrell to Boston to replace Bobby Valentine. Red Sox spokeswoman Pam Kenn said early Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, the team had no announcement to make. Comcast Sports-Net New England reported that the deal was agreed to. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …

(2) New Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona laughs during a news conference at Progressive Field Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 in Cleveland. Francona has returned the Indians , succeeding his fired predecessor Manny Acta . AP Photo/David Richard …

(3) Boston Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino , left, and general manager Ben Cherington appear during an interview at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, hours after announcing that manager Bobby Valentine will not return in 2013. The Red Sox finished their baseball season in last place for the first time in 20 years . AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(4) Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine watches his team play the New York Yankees during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in New York. Having been fired by the Red Sox on the 8th October , it remains to be seen whether or not he will return to the analyst’s booth with ESPN , a position he held with the broadcast outlet before being hired by the franchise in 2012. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

(5) Head coach Doc Rivers and Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Five of the 2008 NBA Finals on June 17, 2008 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Getty Images /Elsa Amendola ….

(6) Corrine Grousbeck , left , seen here alongside her husband , Wyc Grousbeck , center , managing partner of the Boston Celtics , who is seen here speaking with New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft , at a Celtics’ game at the TD Banknorth Center in Boston , Massachusetts,. AP Photo/ Tony Thompson …

(7) Philadelphia 76ers’ Lavoy Allen (50) , left, tries to get around Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett (5), right, in the first quarter of an NBA preseason basketball game at the TD Garden, in Boston, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. AP Photo/Steven Senne ….

(8) Los Angeles Clippers’ Matt Barnes, left, drives around Ray Allen of the Miami Heat during their NBA preseason basketball game in Shanghai, China, Sunday Oct. 14, 2012. Allen left the Boston Celtics as a free agent after a contentious season with his former team, where his relationship with Rajon Rondo had deteriorated . As a result of his departure the player was berated by Kevin Garnett , who indirectly referred to Allen, as a traitor. While the controversy ensued over much of last season , it should be noted that neither Garnett , Doc Rivers or the front office sought to derail the animus within their midst. AP Photo/Kin Cheung …..

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It’s not a story until the events are told or written ………….

It’s not a story until the events are told or written

By Tophatal

Well the knockout punch was delivered to the New York Yankees’ postseason hopes , as the Detroit Tigers simply went about their task in defeating their opponents 8-1 , in a four-game sweep of the ALCS , and doing so with consummate ease. In the wake of that debacle , the bloodletting begins, and the questions will be asked , as to why the Yankees’ season came to such an abrupt end . Does anyone truly care at this juncture ? Needless to say, a number of excuses will be proffered up by various individuals within the New York Yankees’ organization , without their being any type of gesture to suggest that they were simply outplayed by a far better team , in the Detroit Tigers. Where this now leaves Brian Cashman and the front office executives as they move forward, having surveyed the damage done , remains to be seen.

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One glaring issue, is the lack of real productivity in the postseason from this Yankees’ offense. And specifically in the series against the Detroit Tigers , as the bats of Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira , normally seen as the players who spearhead the team’s offense , as witnessed throughout much of the regular season. However, in the series against the Tigers, those bats were dormant and extremely quiet. Collectively, the salaries of the aforementioned players , is in excess of $75 million . And considering the number of teams within the game, whose payrolls are short of that mark, it begs the question . Are the New York Yankees simply overpaying for the talent mustered together on this roster ?

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Losing , then leaving . Bryan Heyza loads the New York Yankees bags into a vehicle after the team lost Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. The Tigers, who won 8-1, move on to the World Series. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

With Derek Jeter having gone down injured earlier in this pennant championship series , and lost to the ball-club for the remainder of the postseason. Manager, Joe Girardi , must have been looking for one of his more seasoned veterans to step up to the plate and assume the mantle as the inspirational leader of this team. Girardi , himself, has been less than inspiring , and one could sense that a series’ defeat , though not a series’ sweep was something that he looked to avoid. Well for all of the manager’s words of wisdom, neither one of those scenarios have been avoided , as the franchise was inflicted its worst postseason series’ loss in almost two decades . If there is blame to be apportioned , then surely the majority of that blame has to be squarely placed upon the shoulders of Alex Rodriguez. And though the fingers can be pointed elsewhere , towards other members on this roster, it has to be at the third baseman , as he is the most seasoned and experienced player on the team. That being said , it should not be overlooked that he is also that team’s highest paid player. To my mind, Alex Rodriguez has never been a player , or the player to inspire or lead a team , as I don’t believe he possess the demeanor to assume that role. Yet , somehow , he is sometimes to referred to as a player , who can change the face of a game with one swing of the bat or with an outstanding defensive play. Well, that hasn’t been evident with Rodriguez in quite a while , and the $30 million annual salary that he is now being paid does appear to be an exorbitant waste of the Yankees’ resources.

In the off-season , after this embarrassing series’ sweep , it remains to be seen as to what decisions will be made concerning number of players on this Yankees’ roster , whose contracts are set to expire or those who it may well be felt are superfluous to the managerial staff’s needs. A great deal of speculation has been made that Brian Cashman will seek to trade Alex Rodriguez , but I seriously doubt that there will any “major players” or takers willing to assume the remaining $114 million left on his existing contract (not including bonuses). If anything, I firmly believe that Rodriguez will be forcibly challenged to assume more of a leadership role of this team. At best , both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera , have no more than one or two more years of play , left in them. Once their careers have come to a close with this franchise, a post Jeter , Rivera chapter , a new era will begin , and it will be left to Rodriguez to lead this new-look organization into the future as they seek further glory.

Now while the ALCS has come to a quick close, the NLCS continues, as the St Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants seek to earn the right , to play the Detroit Tigers in this season’s World Series. Bruce Bochy’s players now find themselves down 3-1 in this best of seven-game series . Tonight , his team will seek to erase that deficit, and square the series, when the two teams meet at Busch Stadium , in St Louis , Missouri,. On the mound will be Barry Zito of the Giants, facing the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn , in what will be a “must win game” for the San Francisco Giants. Failure to do so , would see Mike Matheny’s Cardinals team take what would appear to be a not an insurmountable lead , but quite possibly leaving the Giants with an uphill battle that would prove difficult to overcome.

Zito will have to pitch the game of his life if the San Francisco Giants are to have any hope of evening this series . As the defending World Series’ champions , Mike Matheny , will seek to become and join a select group of individuals to have won a World Series in their first full season as a manager . The last person to do so was Bob Brenly, as the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks , when they won the title in 2001, defeating the New York Yankees , in five games (4-1). It has been a tremendous season for Matheny and the Cardinals , and the very fact that his team brushed aside the heavily favored Washington Nationals , while almost staring at an 0-2 deficit in their NLDS series , does indicate how resolute these Cardinals’ are . No Albert Pujols , no problem, merely insert David Freese , in his place , throw in , Carlos Beltran , Daniel Descalso , Matt Holliday , and Yadier Molina . And you would be hard pressed to prove that the team had skipped a heartbeat, in light of last season’s triumph.

The San Francisco Giants had a tremendous season in 2012 , and for Bruce Bochy , and this franchise whose victory in 2010 brought this famed ball-club their first title in over four decades. In defeating the Texas Rangers, it brought the Giants back to prominence, and placed an even greater spotlight on such young stars as Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum. Posey , it would appear, is one of the leading candidates for the NL MVP award in 2012. As to whether or not these two young players can lead their team back a second appearance in the World Series in two years , remains to be seen. ,

A potential Detroit Tigers’ match-up against either St Louis Cardinals or San Francisco Giants , given the fan-bases of both of these organizations within their locale and on a national basis. It would prove to be a ratings` bonanza for Foxsports Television , who will broadcast the entire World Series’ schedule during prime-time. For Jim Leyland , but in particular for, GM Dave Dombrowski and team owner, Michael Ilitch , their personnel moves made during this season , have borne fruit , and put the Tigers on their path to success this season , and that is with all of the heroic contributions of their 2012 Triple Crown champion, Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers’ fans have waited long and hard for the franchise to redeem themselves and gain their first World Series’ title since 1984. In the ensuing years since that triumph , the baseball god’s have not looked upon this baseball club favorably, and that is in spite of their history and attempts at making a return to the game’s biggest fare.

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Picture gallery.

Whatever the outcome of the NLCS , I think that we can all agree , that this season within the game of baseball has been truly a tremendous one . I would certainly like to believe that this postseason will prove to just as entertaining and as thrilling in terms of the suspense and performances provided in 2011 ! What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the 2012 postseason fare ? Your comments are most certainly welcomed , and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) The Detroit Tigers rush the field after the team won the American League championship series against the New York Yankees in Game 4, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. The Tigers, who won 8-1 , move on to the World Series. In “sweeping” 4-0 , the Tigers inflicted the New York Yankees one their most lopsided series’ defeats , in the franchise’s postseason history. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ..

(2) From left, Detroit Tigers’ Gerald Laird, Phil Coke and Jhonny Peralta celebrate after winning Game 4 of the American League championship series 8-1, against the New York Yankees, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. The Tigers move on to the World Series. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(3) Bryan Heyza loads the New York Yankees bags into a vehicle after the team lost Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. The Tigers, who won 8-1, move on to the World Series. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(4) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez watches as he flies out in the sixth inning during Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …

(5) San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy scratches his head in the dugout during the seventh inning of Game 4 of baseball’s National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(6) The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after Game 4 of baseball’s National League championship series against the San Francisco Giants Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 8-3 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …

(7) San Francisco Giants catcher Hector Sanchez can’t handle the throw as St. Louis Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter scores from second on a single by Matt Holliday during the fifth inning of Game 4 of baseball’s National League championship series Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ..,.

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Tamika Curry . October’s flavor of the month .

Don’t look now but there’s trouble in paradise ….

Don’t look now but there’s trouble in paradise

By Tophatal

It’s not yet time to strip down the inner workings of the New York Yankees, but with the current furor now encircling this storied franchise and the fact that they are now on the cusp of being unceremoniously dumped out of the ALCS for this season. The one question, we may well choose to ask, is how could this all have happened so rapidly? Losing Mariano Rivera in the middle of their season obviously was a serious enough blow that the team never truly recovered from , and that is even with the installation of Rafael Soriano to take over the closer’s role for the franchise. And as great as Soriano has been , Rivera’s departure has dealt the New York Yankees a great blow.

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If the questions that abound concerning the Yankees, that have permeated throughout their season beyond the inconsistency of the team’s pitching woes . Then, it would have to include the poor performances of Alex Rodriguez throughout this season. That notwithstanding, having to fight all the way down the very last day of the regular season to barely hold on to the AL East, the ball-club found themselves in the postseason. The team dealt with the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS , having won the series 3-2. As I alluded to earlier, the New York Yankees now find themselves on the cusp of bowing out of the ALCS , as the Detroit Tigers have simply made a mockery of Joe Girardi’s players. One could point to the fact that with the loss of Derek Jeter in game one of the series against the Tigers against the Orioles , the team would face an uphill battle for the rest of the series. To compound it all, his loss for the entire postseason, has in essence, ripped the “heart and soul” out of this team. Where Jeter would lead by example , his teammates more often than not, would follow. Now there is simply no one on this roster that is prepared to assume the mantle of being the vocal leader amongst his peers. Alex Rodriguez, perhaps the team’s most naturally gifted player doesn’t wish to assume the role , nor can he be considered a team player , much less a good teammate . Yet somehow, in spite of his accomplishments , and the fact he remains not only the Yankees’ highest paid player. Rodriguez’s ten-year $275 million contract , has now become a boondoggle for the New York Yankees, from which they can never truly escape.

Game three of the ALCS, saw both Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher being demoted from the lineup in a pivotal series’ game. With both demoted players on the sidelines , the decision to include Brett Gardner and Eric Chavez , was meant to be a boost for the franchise. Unfortunately, someone forgot to mention that in the script to the opposing Tigers’ players , as the reigning AL Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander , seemingly pitched his team to victory . Now down 3-0 to the Detroit Tigers , can we all now admit, that this Yankees’ team simply hasn’t lived up to the perceived expectations ?

The fourth game in this best-of-seven series is unlikely to see the return of Alex Rodriguez or Nick Swisher to the Yankees’ starting lineup. Joe Girardi, simply hasn’t got that many options for a team that has simply been woefully inept in this series from a pitching and offensive standpoint. And simply looking at the team’s postseason stats in the ALCS and one could see why Joe Girardi has been perturbed by his players’ display, in terms of their hitting and pitching. Beyond C C Sabathia, during this postseason, there has been little that one could possibly describe as being positive about the Yankees’ pitching. As to the team’s offense, well, let’s just say now comes and can described as being anemic at best, mediocre at its very worst. Matt Scherzer of the Tigers will be looking to seal New York’s fate when he takes the mound against C C Sabathia, tonight at Comerica Park , in Detroit , Michigan.

In light of what is likely to be the demise of the New York Yankees during the postseason, the rumors have started that the front office will seek to offload Alex Rodriguez , by shopping the player to any interested party seeking acquire the player and assume the bulk of his remaining contract. The local Tampa Bay area CBS television affiliate WTSP Channel 10, through their sports’ anchor ,Dave Wirth, reported that GM Brian Cashman sought to gauge the interest of the Miami Marlins, and that the front office has spoken Marlins’ GM, Michael Hill. Both parties have categorically denied that there has been any maneuver made along those lines. It is believed that the Yankees’ organization are prepared to offer Alex Rodriguez in exchange for the Marlins’ relief pitcher Heath Bell. As to what this might suggest as to the possible desperate measures now being sought by Brian Cashman , speaks loudly to the fact that the team’s third baseman is now proving to be a disquieting cancer within the team’s locker room and having a deleterious effect upon the whole organization.

From my own perspective , I have always felt that Alex Rodriguez was a singular minded individual , who cared nothing for his teammates and whose sole emphasis when it came to the game of baseball was the financial gain and the acclaim ! Well he now has both , having been the only player in baseball history to sign two salary packages totaling in excess of $ 500 million (half-a-billion dollars) . Also bear in mind, he is now the active home runs’ leader in Major League Baseball (MLB) , as he focuses on, and looks to surpass Barry Bonds’ home runs’ career mark. Less we forget also, Rodriguez still has the scourge of his admitting to the use of steroids during his career , and for which some six months after his admitting that use , his named was linked to incarcerated Orlando medical professional, Dr. Anthony Galea, now serving time (5 years) for transporting illicit drugs across state and international borders, and then knowingly , prescribing and selling those very same products to the public as well as some very prominent professional athletes . Begs the question even light of his less than contrite apology 2010 , why did the New York Yankees still choose to support the player ? Greed , no less, as that can be the sole reason for their stance. A lesser player, would have been thrown to the wolves by the ball-club. Apathy and hypocrisy, knows no boundaries within the realm of sports , but more so within the game of baseball.

It would not be remiss to suggest that Alex Rodriguez has greatly under-achieved this season when adjudged against other third basemen within the AL as well as the rest of baseball . Undoubtedly, he is still a very skilled player , but one simply gets the impression , if he could get by, giving the least effort necessary , he certainly would. And that if anything, has been one of the main criticisms of Rodriguez as a player. Clearly, that has been the case since he joined the New York Yankees via a trade from the Texas Rangers in 2004 . Eight years later , the Yankees have profited greatly from a financial and competitive standpoint to have Alex Rodriguez within their midst , but at the same time , while with the organization he has proven to be an even greater distraction rather than that ever reliable asset sought in the mold of his teammate , Derek Jeter. Brian Cashman , and to a lesser extent the Yankees’ players have sought to present the organization as a singular unified union , all seeking the same goals. This season they have simply fallen short of those goals, and one has to wonder what if anything has set about the chain of events that has seen this team simply fall apart , when in other seasons , we would never have witnessed such discord within this franchise . What thoughts if any, do you have on the matter?

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Picture gallery.

Do you now believe that it would be in the New York Yankees’ best interests to trade Alex Rodriguez ? And if so, which team would be the best fit for the player? Also what has been the biggest failure of this baseball team over the course of this season? Do take time to leave a comment on this article and on anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1)New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez watches Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …

(2) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts with Andruw Jones before Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(3)Detroit Tigers’ Delmon Young hits an RBI single in the first inning during Game 4 of the American League championship series against the New York Yankees Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …

(4) DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 18: Nick Swisher (33) of the New York Yankees reacts after he struck out in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during game four of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …

(5) Alex Rodriguez (2) (2L) of the New York Yankees talks with Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman (R) before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium on July 2, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Getty Images North America / Nick Laham …

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Delusional in Texas , loving it, and proud of it ..

Delusional in Texas , loving it, and proud of it ..

By Tophatal

I expect politicians and celebrities within the public domain to make asinine comments on a regular basis, and in large it has come to be expected from many top sports’ personalities as well. So it should come as no surprise that billionaire NFL team owner , Jerry Jones is espousing the fact his Dallas Cowboys’ franchise is capable of winning this year’s Superbowl (SB XLVII). Having chutzpah is one thing, but here, the franchise owner is either being a complete ass , or he is simply delusional. Personally, I think it is a little of both!

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This season the Cowboys are off to an inauspicious start, and once again inconsistency remains the norm with this team. Now one could question the play-calling of head coach Jason Garrett, and the very fact that from a defensive standpoint , this Cowboys’ secondary is not particularly good. And defensive coordinator , Rob Ryan , would simply have you believe that it remains “a work in progress” . and , at the right time the defense will gain its momentum and find its rhythm .”Excuses, excuses , excuses “ , nothing but excuses from a failed franchise which simply has done nothing of note over the past decade. The team does bear a 2-3 record ,and sits firmly at the bottom of the NFC East standings, behind the Washington Redskins (3-3), Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) and the hard charging , New York Giants (4-2). The latter of those teams , who to my mind are the best team in the NFC , albeit that their record does not bear this out ! The Atlanta Falcons (6-0), remains the NFL’s only unbeaten team, and while their early schedule seems to bear out a litany of soft opponents, it only seems natural as the season progresses, Mike Smith’s Falcons will be sternly tested over the remainder of their season. Now one could attest to the fact that both the Chicago Bears (4-2) , Arizona Cardinals (4-2), Minnesota Vikings (4-2) and Seattle Seahawks (4-2) , all have similar records as the Giants . What certainly stands out is the fact that , Tom Coughlin’s team is one of the most prolific in the league . In addition, that been has been borne out by their net points’ differential .

Courtesy of NESN.com

Jerry Jones says Cowboys can still win Superbowl after 2-3 start

By Ethan Bukoweic

The Dallas Cowboys last won a Super Bowl in 1995, when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. Dallas has gotten off to a 2-3 start this year, including a 31-29 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, where poor fundamentals, time management issues and penalties cost the Cowboys a win.
Despite the rough going so far, though, Jerry Jones said he still thinks his team can bring home the Lombardi Trophy when all is said and done. Jones gave his team good chances to win it all on KRLD-FM on Tuesday, according to Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas. “All of those things give us a chance to take a team that is, if you look at the pluses [Sunday], evolving into a team that can compete for the championship,” Jones said. “Not next year. This year.” It is hard to say what “pluses” Jones is talking about. In the Sunday loss, the Cowboys were penalized 13 times for 82 yards, marking the third time this season that they have been penalized 13 or more times in a game.

Also, head coach Jason Garrett failed to manage the clock wisely when Dallas had the last possession of the game, and star wide-out Dez Bryant dropped a two-point conversion that would have tied the game. Even though the Cowboys are not producing, Jones continues to stick by his roster of underachievers. “Let me emphasize that. I’m not into everybody getting better or learning for years to come. It’s this year,” Jones responded when asked if he truly thinks his team can win. The Cowboys have a huge mountain to climb if they seriously expect to contend for a championship this season, and it all starts with their game against the Carolina Panthers this Sunday.

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What may well be perturbing the Dallas Cowboys’ owner has been the fact that he has seen the Washington Redskins improve under first-year quarterback Robert Griffin III, while the all too complacent Philadelphia Eagles seem to be at a crossroads at this stage of their season. Does the beleaguered Andy Reid maintain his faith in the increasingly unreliable —- Michael Vick , as their best option to win , or does he make a change and simply give up on the team’s season ? The issues with this Eagles’ team have been well chronicled this season , and the excuses seem to be prevalent from the print and television media within the state of Philadelphia , and further afield. And for the veteran quarterback, he might now be realizing that this could very well be the last time he will have a realistic chance of playing for a legitimate playoff contender. Clearly, the front office will have to reassess not only the player personnel of the franchise, but also Andy Reid and his entire coaching staff.

Jerry Jones, apart from having the most valuable NFL franchise , the Cowboys also happens to be the league’s most profitable team , by far. One quarter, of all NFL merchandising sales just happens to be Dallas Cowboys’ related. And a large portion of the revenues derived from those sales, goes directly into the franchise’s coffers, as Jones, his sons, Stephen Jones, and Jerry Jones Jr , have directly cultivated relationships with apparel manufacturers or indirectly have bought or created their own apparel business , which in turn has licensed to produce apparel for a number of NFL franchises around the league. There is no denying the elder Jones’ business acumen, which one patron recently sought to question. Somehow, I get the feeling might be his best and only option because looking at the sports’ related area of economics might not have been his strongest field.

The issues with the Dallas Cowboys are so glaring that and startling that a tractor-trailer having driven through it all , and it still would not have all been covered. A porous and inconsistent defense , an erratic offense , and not one player wishing to step up to be a the vocal leader, and the fans and public alike should believe that this team is good enough to win a Superbowl ? Fu#k , Jerry Jones must have been prescribed an unapproved drug that is still in its testing stages, if he believes that the Cowboys in their current guise are capable of beating any of the top NFC contenders

, much less anyone from within the AFC . Tony Romo may well have excelled last season within the NFL , but let’s be real , the player has yet to win a meaningful game over the course of his career , much less solidify himself as one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. Yet fans and analysts alike continue to espouse and drool over his less than stellar exploits as if they are looking at a Playboy pictorial of some well-endowed buxom females. Nude Playboy pictorials are fine, the play of Tony Romo , well , not so much !

Given, the considerable talent that is said to be on this Cowboys’ roster , then their issues either stem from poor play , or extremely poor coaching by Jason Garrett and his staff , led by lead assistant and defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan. Now there seems to be some sort delineation and discord as to where the lines should meet , and where the blame should be apportioned concerning the franchise’s plight. Jones has not been overly critical of his head coach, but there have been one or two pointed statements directed at Jason Garrett , that are meant to be a reminder as why it was he was chosen to succeed Wade Phillips. None of which continue to make any real sense to me, given Garrett’s inexperience as a coach, and the mere fact that he has repeatedly made the sort of game mistakes that most would find inexcusable and completely asinine. Yet, he were are , where an egotistical owner is trying to sell not only the Cowboys’ fans a “bill of goods “ but he’s now trying to sell his bullsh#t to the general public as well ! Are you buying or convinced what Jerry Jones is selling , is a worthwhile product? Alternatively, are you convinced that he is simply blowing smoke up everyone’s ass ?

Week seven will see the Dallas Cowboys being entertained by the Carolina Panthers (1-4) at Bank of America Stadium, in Charlotte, North Carolina, this upcoming Sunday. The series’ meetings between these two franchises, since the Panthers came into existence , has the two teams meeting eleven times , with the Cowboys holding an 8-3 lead their lifetime match-ups. Their last meeting came in the 2009 season , wherein the Dallas Cowboys came away with a rather lopsided 21-7 victory. If the Cowboys are to have any semblance of a successful season then conference as well as divisional wins will have to be paramount to the team’s success and for the franchise. At a minimum , a 9-7 record might just be able to garner the Cowboys a playoff berth for the postseason, but yet much of that will be predicated upon what their conference rivals are able to achieve over the remainder of the regular season.

If Romo’s play has continued to come into question , then so too must the play of the team’s receiving corps , led by Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree , DeMarco Murray, Jason Witten , Dez Bryant and Miles Austin . If a team such as this , with that much talent can’t get the job done on offense , then there has to be something wrong within the whole mindset of this organization. Defensively, the team can be best described as being sporadic , albeit that, DeMarcus Ware tries to lead by example amongst his defensive teammates . Ware , along with Bruce Carter, Sean Lee , Gerald Sensabaugh and Danny McCray are meant to be lynch-pins that somehow hold the defensive front for the Cowboys. However, the momentary lapses and what now appears to be in-fighting amongst the offense and defense, that now somehow , has things in complete disarray for the Dallas Cowboys. If Jerry Jones truly believes that this team can win a Superbowl when his there is such a multitude of problems within their midst, then he is an even bigger fool than I first thought him to be !

While the Dallas Cowboys are steeped in their self-indulgent form of mediocrity, the state of Texas’ other professional NFL franchise , the Houston Texans are now riding high , sitting atop of the AFC South with a 5-1 record. Head coach, Gary Kubiak and his coaching staff finally have a team, that can be truly competitive and a match for any of the top contenders within the NFL. With the team coming off their first loss of the season, a rather lopsided 42-24 defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers . I would like to think that the complacency shown by the team can be something of a learning tool for the remainder of their season !

There is certainly a lesson to be learned , in how Texans’ owner Robert “Bob” McNair , GM Rick Smith and the front office have stood by the coaching staff, as the organization has laid the foundations for the team’s success in recent seasons. McNair has been a “hands off” owner leaving the personnel decisions to Rick Smith and Kubiak’s staff. Meanwhile, the owner has simply dealt with the business aspects of marketing the Texans’ brand statewide as well as nationally. The team has been very prudent in their acquisition of free agents and their drafting of players in recent seasons. In addition, one of the Texans’ standouts this season has been their 2011 first round , eleventh overall draft pick , J J Watt. It has been the player’s resiliency and that of the defensive unit, along with the team’s explosive offensive capabilities, that has led to the Texans’ success in 2012. Quarterback, Matt Schaub, should consider himself extremely lucky that he has the likes of Arian Foster , Andre Johnson , Ben Tate , Owen Daniels and Justin Forsett as part of his offensive weaponry , which currently is amongst the most potent that the NFL has to offer. The Texans’ next game will be a clash of two of the AFC’s best teams, when they host the Baltimore Ravens (5-1) at Reliant Stadium, in Houston , Texas, this upcoming Sunday, in what is sure to be one of the better NFL games being staged this weekend.

Jerry Jones’ indifference could well have arisen from the fact that while the Cowboys’ inconsistency has remained , the ascent of the Houston Texans has given him a cause to be even more concerned. The Dallas Cowboys may well have been self-described as “America’s Team” , but the fact of the matter is, they are not even the best NFL franchise in the state of Texas.

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In light of Jerry Jones’ recent comments concerning his aspirations for the Dallas Cowboys this season, do you believe that his biggest concern should be the team’s immediate future and specifically that of their next few games , rather than thinking ahead to the team’s showdown with the NFC East leading , New York Giants on the 28th October , 2012? What thoughts if any do you have concerning this subject matter ? By all means do leave a comment as a you see fit on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the this topic.

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(1) Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, left, watches warm ups prior to a game against the Houston Texans with this sons Stephen, center, and Jerry Jr. at Reliant Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images North America / Bob Levey ….

(2) Dallas Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh (43) looks on from the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. Baltimore won 31-29. AP Photo/Gail Burton …

(3) Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett reacts after officials confirmed running back Felix Jones’s touchdown after a review in the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. AP Photo/Patrick …

(4) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. Baltimore won 31-29. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(5) Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice reacts after scoring a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Baltimore, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. AP Photo/Nick Wass ..

(6)Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (80) and quarterback Matt Schaub (8) watch from the bench in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in Houston. The Packers won 42-24 . AP Photo/Dave Einsel …

(7) HOUSTON – OCTOBER 19 : Former U.S. President George Bush speaks with Robert McNair , team owner of the Houston Texans, before a game against the New York Jets at Reliant Stadium on October 19, 2003 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Hot chic pic of the day. Sandee Westgate

What’s your take ?

What’s your take ?

By Tophatal

Well the MLB postseason is now in full flight, and we now have the two championship pennant series up and running. In the ALCS , the twenty-seven time World Series’ champions now find themselves in an 0-2 hole , with the team having lost their captain, Derek Jeter . Could anything else, go wrong for the franchise at this juncture ? Throw in the fact that Jeter will not be a participant in the remainder of the postseason , and the team offense is barely hitting above the Mendoza Line (.200) in the playoffs , and one could subscribe that to the fact that the New York Yankees have created their own recipe for an unmitigated disaster.

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Now if that was not enough to deter the most vociferous of Yankees’ fans , then they will most certainly have to be pessimistic, in knowing that the face will have to face reigning AL Cy and MVP winner ….. Justin Verlander in tonight’s pivotal game three match-up at Comerica Park , in Detroit, Michigan,. I would like to think that Joe Girardi’s players can dig themselves out of this self-created hole , but all signs now point to the fact that they are now way beyond being rescued . A high-priced cabal of players simply assembled together, and there seems to be no synergy at all with regard to this playoff roster. Granted, Jeter was the glue that held the team together , but now there appears to be no one that Joe Girardi can rely on to lead by example. Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano are having forgettable postseasons, in terms of their offensive statistics . And for three-time MVP , Rodriguez , I would dare say that there is a growing belief that he is being vastly overpaid , while offering so little tangible in return to the New York Yankees. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in pay by merit in terms of production , but what happens when a player who is the highest paid individual in the game offers up a measly return for an organization ?

Now some might say when your franchise is worth an estimated $2.5-$4 billion and you can simply write-off a $30 million salary against the ball-club’s operational expenditure over the course of the year, then there should not be a real cause for concern. But how many of baseball’s other teams can actually afford to be as capricious in their spending as the New York Yankees ? With the exception of the Philadelphia Phillies , Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers , Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers , I certainly do not believe that any of the other of the MLB ball-clubs can afford to be that generous by way of team salaries. Desperate times do call for desperate measures, and the decision of Joe Girardi not to have Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher in tonight’s starting lineup , with both players being replaced by Eric Chavez and Brett Gardner in the Yankees’ lineup. Starting pitcher, Phil Hughes will be New York’s hope of trying to slow down the Tigers’ offense in this game.

For manager, Jim Leyland and his coaching staff, a chance at redemption after 2011’s letdown would provide this veteran manager with a great deal of satisfaction. Tigers’ GM, Dave Dombrowski, went out on a limb to acquire Prince Fielder to bolster an already potent Tigers’ offense , that is spearheaded by 2012 Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera. Beyond the offense, the Detroit Tigers to solidify their position as best the best team in the AL this season, albeit that their record does not bear this out , but they were able to win the AL Central division with consummate ease.

Whatever the outcome of tonight’s game, one thing is sure , GM Brian Cashman, COO Lonn A Troost , and Managing General Partner, Hal Steinbrenner , will have some serious decisions to make , as it relates to the future makeup of this player roster . Acquiring high-priced free agents, has been far too often the norm concerning the organization’s mantra, and when it has borne fruit it has proven to be extremely successful for this ball-club. However, when it has proven to be fruitless , it has been something of a monumental failure , with the organization ending up with egg on its face. This Yankees’ franchise has a wealth of talent within its farm system and amongst their top twenty prospects, but it appears that urgency rather than prudence has been the driving force with regard to the organization , as they seek to win, meanwhile profiting quite comfortably from an economic standpoint .

In the NLCS, the two participants are the San Francisco Giants, and the St Louis Cardinals seeking to be the NL pennant representatives in the World Series . The season series between the two teams in 2012 proved to be eventful , with the Cardinals ad Giants having met six times (tied series 3-3) over the course of the year , with their last meeting coming on the 9th August , 2012 , ending in a 3-1 victory for the St Louis Cardinals. . Game one of the NLCS will pit Matt Cain (1-1,5.06 ERA) of the San Francisco Giants against the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse (0-0, 1.29 ERA). In this first best of seven-game series , it will be incumbent upon the Giants to come quick out of the gates in order to gain that initial game one advantage, and there is no denying that both managers, in Bruce Bochy and first year manager Mike Matheny, of the Cardinals , as they each seek to take their respective franchises to baseball’s biggest postseason fare. Bochy’s intent is to secure the San Francisco Giants’ their second World Series’ title in three years , with the team winning their most recent title in 2010. With the resurgence of the Bay area professional sports’ franchises , specifically the Giants and off course the San Francisco 49ers , it should be noted that this is a boom time for the awareness of these two franchises nationally. These two teams will be at full strength and I believe that the series will be a competitive one throughout! Whether or not the NLCS will go the full stretch of seven games will be dependent upon the play of players such as David Freese, Carlos Beltran, Adam Wainwright , Chris Carpenter and Jason Motte seeking to make the Cardinals repeat champions in 2012. Likewise, the Giants will be looking to Buster Posey, a likely candidate for the NL MVP candidate, along with teammates Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval , Marco Scutaro , Matt Cain, Madison Baumgartner , Tim Lincecum and Santiago Casilla will be chasing that dream to secure another world championship for this renowned franchise.

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Do you believe that the 2012 MLB postseason has lived up to your expectations when adjudged against that of 2011 ? By all means do leave a comment as you deem fit on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) New York Yankees’ David Phelps throws in the fourth inning during Game 3 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(2) Detroit Tigers’ Delmon Young is congratulated by teammates after hitting a home run in the fourth inning during Game 3 of the American League championship series against the New York Yankees Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(3) New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks to the media before Game 3 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(4) New York Yankees’ Robinson Cano blows a bubble as he waits to hit in the fourth inning during Game 3 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(5) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez walks out of the batting cage following batting practice before the start of Game 3 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …..

(6) St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in St. Louis. The Cardinals host the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 baseball’s National League championship series on Wednesday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(7) San Francisco Giants’ Angel Pagan sits in the dugout during baseball practice, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in St. Louis. The Giants are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of baseball’s National League championship series Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …..

(8) San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in St. Louis. The Giants are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of baseball’s National League championship series Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

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Rumors of my early demise were vastly exaggerated …..

Rumors of my early demise were vastly exaggerated …..

By Tophatal

Well there now remains only one unbeaten team left in the NFL, after the Houston Texans’ (5-0) start to the NFL season came undone in the team’s surprisingly lopsided 42-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers at home , at Reliant Field ,in Houston , Texas. In what was a highly entertaining and exhilarating game , Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rogers , simply put on a scintillating display that shredded the Texans’ defense and leaving Gary Kubiak and his coaching staff looking for answers as to his team’s poor defensive play .

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The win now brings a sense of respectability to the Green Bay Packers’ (3-3) season and places them in a good position to make a run at the NFC North divisional title. At present , the division is led by the Chicago Bears (4-1) , followed by the Minnesota Vikings (4-2) , the Packers and the surprisingly stagnant Detroit Lions ( 2-3). For Packers’ head coach, Mike McCarthy , this now gives the franchise some respite, as they seek to assess the issues that have befallen the team over the course of this season. The defense, still remains a work in progress, and unless there is more attention given to the Packers’ secondary , they will remain amongst the “also rans” of the NFL and looked upon as one of the poorer defenses in the league. Next up for McCarthy and the Packers will be a > road game against conference rivals the St Louis Rams (3-3) at the Edward Jones Stadium , in St Louis , Missouri,.

At the start of this season , it was my firm belief that we would be seeing some semblance of really entertaining and meaningful football being played within the AFC East ! Boy was I wrong! Nothing could be further from the truth, as the sheer ineptitude being shown by all four teams within the division is a cause of real concern. All four teams within the division currently bear the same record (3-3) , albeit, that from a statistical standpoint the New England Patriots , because of their offensive prowess maintains a lead over their divisional Miami Dolphins , New York Jets and Buffalo Bills . The divisional games between the quartet of teams will now have a greater bearing upon how the division could very well be decided .

On Sunday , the New York Jets seemed to have re-found their footing, as they dismantled and then trampled upon the luckless Indianapolis Colts , as Rex Ryan’s players had their biggest win of the season , in defeating the Colts 35-9. Jets’ quarterback , Mark Sanchez had one of his best games of the season , as the team’s offense was efficient in their execution , while the defense simply offered Andrew Luck no real opportunity to really get his game going.

The Seattle Seahawks entertained the New England Patriots at Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington. Suffice to say , that what should have been seen as an easy win for the Patriots, ended up in a one point defeat . With the Seahawks’ playing some stifling defense in the latter stages of the game, and though a ten-point lead should not be seen as insurmountable , who knew that the Patriots would be so complacent in allowing first rookie quarterback Russell Westbrook to lead his team back , in erasing that deficit and on to a 24-23 victory over the New England Patriots ?

If there are now two teams that’s said to be in urgent need of attention , given the fact that each barely seems to be alive . Then the teams in question would have to be the Dallas Cowboys (2-3) and the Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) . Both franchises are now having to play catch up within the NFC East to their most erstwhile rival the New York Giants (4-2) , the defending Superbowl champions. Embattled head coaches , Jason Garrett of the Cowboys and Andy Reid of the Eagles , have summarily seen their teams perform poorly throughout much of this season . A great deal of this incredulity has to come from the fact that the quarterbacks in question of both teams have not shown the resilience or leadership skills needed to place either franchise in a position to be seen as a credible Superbowl contender. Never mind, the asinine analysis being provided by the on-air personalities who would have a hard time explaining why it is that they view Tony Romo and Michael Vick, as quarterbacks within the NFL , who can lead their teams deep into the playoffs . Neither has had much success as a player in the postseason , but the prognostication that has been repeatedly been provided would have you think that these NFL analysts are actually salivating over a Playboy centerfold pictorial of a rather buxom female , rather than two quarterbacks who are simply overrated ! Romo’s and Vick’s stats in the postseason are not exactly eye-popping , while one could allude to the fact that the talent they have been surrounded by , has not exactly been outstanding . To my mind, both players , while being talented , neither has the leadership skills needed to really take a team deep into the postseason , much less win a Superbowl. Both are handsomely rewarded , in terms of the salaries paid to them ( Michael Vick & Tony Romo ) by their respective franchises, but beyond that , there is little there to suggest that they are actually worth the compensation bestowed upon them.

The Dallas Cowboys were the guests of the Baltimore Ravens this past Sunday , and right off the bat, the smack-talk that came from both sets of players assured of an eventful game. What became clear throughout this game , is that DeMarcus Ware cannot be the lone individual amongst the Cowboys’ secondary who turns up to play every god-damn game. Beyond that, the inconsistency of Dallas’ offense from week to week has to be another disturbing factor for the coaching staff. Rob Ryan and his offensive counterpart, Bill Callahan are simply doing such a poor job , that it is my belief that should the franchise fail to make the postseason, then any presumed shakeup within the organization that is liable to take place at the behest of team owner and de-facto general manager , Jerry Jones , may well lead to both assistants being relieved of their duties within this NFL franchise. Jones, may well not suffer fools gladly, but at present he has a number of fools, as subordinates, at all levels of this franchise now serving him. However, the biggest fool of all , may well be the owner , himself !

And though the Ravens may well have come away with a narrow margin of victory , in defeating the Dallas Cowboys 31-29, that victory was never truly in doubt.

The Eagles are like a mild irritant that once scratched , you simply open up a festering wound ! In the game played at Lincoln Financial Field that gaping wound was opened up for the whole nation to see how woefully inept that this team has become . Vick still remains more of a liability, than an asset , as he successfully proved once again , in his throwing another two interceptions , along with being sacked three times and a forced fumble , in the Eagles’ lackluster performance against the equally befuddling —- Detroit Lions . A 26-23 victory for Matt Stafford and the Lions, brings their record to 2-3 ,but at the same time you get the impression that this Jim Schwartz coached team may well struggle to gain a playoff berth , because of the inconsistency shown by his players. Lions’ wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, may well seek to become the first receiver in NFL history to surpass the 2,000 yard threshold in a season , but I seriously doubt that it will be happening in 2012 , not with the Detroit Lions ! As proficient as the offense was in 2011, by comparison this season , Matt Stafford his offensive teammates seem to have regressed , as too have their much vaunted defense.

Team struggles are one thing , but no matter how one relishes the NFL season, it does take prudent judgment to make those erstwhile prognostications as to the merits of a franchise. This year , much like any other, it remains the same as to the ambitions all 32 franchises in the NFL . In the coming weeks it will be interesting see how the likes of the Eagles, Cowboys, Packers , Patriots and Lions will fare . At the same time we might well have our first managerial casualty of the season , if Pat Shurmur is unable to turn around the fortunes around of the Cleveland Browns (1-5).

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We are not yet at the midway point of the season , but to your mind what has been the biggest surprise of the NFL season ? And which team does believe has proven to be the biggest disappointment to date? Do leave a comment as you see fit .

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(1) Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and guard T.J. Lang (70) celebrate a touchdown against the Houston Texans in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game , Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Houston. AP Photo/Dave Einsel ….

(2) Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (80) and quarterback Matt Schaub (8) watch from the bench in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in Houston. The Packers won 42-24 . AP Photo/Dave Einsel …

(3) Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones (89) makes a touchdown reception against Houston Texans corner-back Kareem Jackson (25) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Houston. The Packers won 42-24 . AP Photo/Patric Schneider ….

(4) Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is face masked while being sacked by New York Jets’ Quinton Coples (98) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Seth Wenig …

(5) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. Baltimore won 31-29 . AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …..

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Playboy centerfold Traci Denee`’ . Would you like to butter her “biscuits” ?

The crack of maple, and then there was the crack heard around the world , Jeter’s ankle just gave out

The crack of maple, and then there was the crack heard around the world , Jeter’s ankle just gave out

By Tophatal

That tingling sensation at the back of your neck are the hairs standing up, and now comes the unthinkable, the New York Yankees’ postseason hopes now appears to be on the line with the injury sustained by Derek Jeter in the ALCS series against the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees’ captain ,Derek Jeter , sustained a season-ending injury, a broken left ankle , that will now see him miss entire postseason schedule . The loss was magnified by the fact that the team lost their series’ opener in a highly sensational game to the Tigers in extra innings.
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Slide show.

For the thousands in attendance at Yankees Stadium in New York City , New York , and the millions more watching on broadcast television , the sight of the five-time World Series’ champion being assisted off the field sent a chilling feeling, as the captain left the game. Jeter’s teammates , to the man , showed their angst in their post-game interviews, stating that they were in complete shock to know that their trusted leader would no longer be part of this series or the remainder of postseason. The game itself, prior to the loss of Derek Jeter, ebbed and flowed over the nine innings before entering into suspense filled ending that went extra innings (twelve) . Tigers’ closer Jose Valverde blew the save opportunity when offered, and it became clear that the Yankees sought to take advantage of the chance to garner a 1-0 lead in this best of seven-game series.

As ALCS games go, this one might be one of the most eventful and thrilling in recent history. Joe Girardi now has to reshuffle his lineup, and with the poor postseason for Alex Rodriguez , somehow you get the feeling that the third baseman might not be the manager’s choice to replace Jeter at the short-stop position. In all likelihood , Girardi will seek to either platoon his available short-stops Jayson Nix or Eduardo Nunez to replace the team’s All Star short stop . Nunez has proven to be the better of two options with far better defensive and offensive skills than his teammate. A game-time decision will be made by Joe Girardi , when the two teams meet today in game two . On the mound for the Yankees , will be Hideki Kuroda (0-0,2.16 ERA) , as he faces off against Anibel Sanchez (0-1, 2.84). The team lineups will be will be announced later on today, prior to the game-time start. The New York Yankees can ill-afford to find themselves in an 0-2 deficit , in this best of seven game series, and going down would lead to a monumental mountain to climb in having to erase such a margin.

Jim Leyland , and Dave Dombrowski have assembled a team for what they believe , is for the long haul , and it should be noted that Miguel Cabrera , Prince Fielder and Justin Verlander , are intent on bringing a championship back to Comerica Park, and the always vociferous Tigers’ fans . In 2011, the Tigers were part of baseball’s postseason fare, where they would fall (4-2) to the Texas Rangers . The team would also be a participant in the 2006 World Series, where they would succumb to the St Louis Cardinals in a thoroughly lopsided series.

Michael Ilitch, the Tigers’ billionaire team owner yearns to see the franchise win a World Series , having had considerable success with the Detroit Red Wings and their multiple —- Stanley Cup titles . If ever the time was ripe for such a scenario , then now would be it , albeit that the ball-club’s sole triumph in the game’s biggest postseason fare came in 1984 , as Alan Trammell , Marty Castillo and Jack Morris , led the Tigers to their biggest postseason victory in the franchise’s history. The Detroit Tigers are celebrating , with Miguel Cabrera coming off a tremendous season , with the acclamation of being the first Triple Crown award claimant in forty-five years, having succeeded Carl Yastremski , in accomplishing that feat.

In the NLCS match-up the San Francisco Giants are playing host to the St Louis Cardinals in their series for the first two games . Game one, will pit Lance Lynn (1-1, 8.10 ERA) of the Cardinals against Madison Baumgartner (0-1, 8.31 ERA) in what is sure to be a highly competitive game.

The two participants in this season’s NLCS are the winners of the last two World Series titles in 2011 and 2010. Both franchises are steeped in tradition and success , and the emphasis in this series will undoubtedly be the pitching, albeit that neither team is said to be found wanting, in terms of their offensive prowess . Should either of the two series go their full distance , then we should be in for an eventful postseason foray , with thrills , spills and whatever else these games will have in store for us all .

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Picture gallery, for your perusal.

Which events of the MLB postseason have been the most surprising by your estimation? And which teams do you believe will be the two participants in the World Series? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below.
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(1) Detroit Tigers pitcher Jose Valverde waits for the ball after giving up a two-run home run to New York Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki , rear, in Game 1 of the American League championship series Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in New York. Valverde and the Tigers would go on to defeat the Yankees 6-4 in twelve innings .AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(2) New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter reacts after injuring himself in the 12th inning of Game 1 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers early Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(3) Trainer Steve Donohue , left, and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi , right, help Yankees’ Derek Jeter off the field after he injured himself during Game 1 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …..

(4) Detroit Tigers’ Alex Avila attempts to catch a pop-up by New York Yankees’ Raul Ibanez in the fourth inning of Game 2 of the American League championship series Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. Umpire in background is Rob Drake . AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(5) Fans seated in the upper deck at Yankee Stadium wait for the start of Game 2 of the American League championship series between the Yankees and Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …..

(6) San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence , left, and Marco Scutaro work on some bats during a practice session for baseball’s National League championship series Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in San Francisco. The St. Louis Cardinals play the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the NLCS on Sunday. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ….

(7) Cardinals closer Jason Motte (right) embraces catcher Tony Cruz as their teammates rush the field after Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. AP Photo/Chris Lee, Post Dispatch ……

(8) Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson speaks at a news conference after Game 5 of the National League division baseball series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, Oct 13, 2012, in Washington. St. Louis 9-7 . AP Photo/Nick Wass ……

(9) St. Louis Cardinals’ Pete Kozma singles in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the National League division baseball series against the Washington Nationals on Saturday, Oct 13, 2012, in Washington. David Freese and Daniel Descalso scored on the play . AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais ….

(10) Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper stands by his locker after Game 5 of the National League division baseball series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, Oct 13, 2012, in Washington. St. Louis won 9-7. There now seems to be a great deal of questioning of the decision made by GM Mike Rizzo to shutdown the team’s starting pitcher —– Stephen Strasburg , and thereby dashing the hopes of the ball-club’s chances of advancing deeper into the MLB postseason. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais ……..

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Veronica Vior

Two thumbs up to the NFL at this point, and an index finger to the commissioner for his lackluster efforts ……

Two thumbs up to the NFL at this point, and an index finger to the commissioner for his lackluster efforts

By Tophatal …….

While Roger Goodell continues to make a complete ass of himself, as he looks to clip the wings of the four players, he believes to be central to the New Orleans Saints’ scandal. It is indeed good to know, that the NFL itself, is back up and running, with the NFL certified officials are now back on the sidelines officiating the regular season games. The thought that this idiocy could have carried on , because of the sheer stupidity shown by the league hierarchy ,led by the NFL commissioner , still has fans wondering whether or not the owners themselves, will seek to rein in the autocratic powers of the league’s highest-ranking official. It is about time , that individuals such as Jerry Jones , Robert Kraft, Steve Bisciotti and Jeff Lurie stood up and be counted , rather than cowering in the corner , simply too afraid to step out into the light and let their voices be heard. Instead , this farce with regard to the NFL itself is simply built upon the premise, that the league goes out and coerce their broadcast partners to up the ante in terms of the bloated television contracts that makes up the annual $ 7.5 billion revenues that graces the league’s coffers . Roger Goodell’s whole foundation as it relates to the NFL is built around that proxy and not much else beyond that and anyone who believes to the contrary , simply has no goddamn idea as to what the NFL continues to do , while creating a façade that it cares about the retired veterans and their needs.

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Week six brings us a slew of games and a litany of issues for a number of teams seeking not to have themselves out of the divisional races at this point of the season. Thursday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans in a conference match-up , that saw the home based Titans overcome the beleaguered Steelers, with a last-minute field goal by Rob Bironas , which secured a 26-23 victory for the AFC South franchise.

At 2-3 within the AFC North , it now looks as if Steelers’ head coach , Mike Tomlin has a multitude of problems on his hands . Another lackluster effort by the team, and you have to wonder whether or not the aging corps of veterans on the roster can still contribute to this franchise’s efforts .For Mike Munchak and his coaching staff , he can take comfort in the fact , that his players fought back , and really showed a great deal of resolve in defeating the Steelers . Next up for the team will be a week seven match-up against the Buffalo Bills .

Say what you will, but the continued idiocy concerning the New York Jets makes for good scripted fodder and a topic of conversation for fans, as the team falls apart under the weight of continued expectation. Fantasy geeks, are opining on how best to use Tim Tebow in a game. Here’s a suggestion for you all, if offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano can’t figure this shit out , concerning the use of the player , much less the fact that quarterback, Mark Sanchez is struggling to have a barely decent season , much to the chagrin of the print media in the tri state area. Then why, oh why, would you all be so concerned with this idiocy? Has Tebow actually done anything, to have you believe that at some point in the season he is liable to be a “fantasy stud” or sleeper ?

The New York Jets will play host to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts , as the AFC South franchise seeks to build upon their Week five victory over the Green Bay Packers . One simply gets the feeling that another loss, at this point of the Jets’ season , and there might well be a great deal more at stake and on the line, beyond the immediate future of Mark Sanchez , Tim Tebow and the rest of this roster. How about the entire coaching staff stepping up to the plate and being held accountable for this mess ? Needless to say , head coach Rex Ryan and his ever declining girth will try to make light of the situation by pointing to the fact that the team has had a number of injury issues.

Early days yet , but with the ever-growing confidence being shown by Andrew Luck, and the very fact that his teammates have a belief in his abilities , it could lead to the fact that the Colts could pull of a big surprise and actually eke out the semblance of a successful season . The franchise at 2-2 within the AFC South, they sit three games behind the division leading Houston Texans (5-0). It is safe to say that whatever happens over the remainder of this season , Colts’ GM Ryan Grigson and team owner Jim Irsay , will be entirely happy in their decision to make Andrew Luck the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Say it with me , “it is time for Jerry Jones to relinquish the reins of the Dallas Cowboys” . My wish is not to see the owner give up complete control of the franchise, but I no longer believe he serves the best interests of the Cowboys by making all of the player personnel decisions ! The franchise hasn’t hit pay-dirt in terms of a bona-fide successful draft pick in several years and the last such instance might well have been in 2005 when they took DeMarcus Ware as the eleventh overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Ware has become a perennialPro Bowl caliber player, and he has been the best player on an ever inconsistent roster this season . On Sunday afternoon , a warm and hearty welcome awaits the Dallas Cowboys when they are the guests of the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium , in Baltimore, Maryland,. All of the trash talking that has been taking place between the opposing sets of players will be laid out bare on the turf during the game . It will be interesting to see how Jason Garrett and Rob Ryan prepares this Cowboys’ team, for a vastly improved Ravens’ offense , seeking to show that they are amongst the very best that the NFL has to offer this season.

One more home game and one more blackout as the moribund Tampa Bay Buccaneers can barely muster support for their games at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida,. Begrudgingly, fans are now making light of that , fact beyond the situation where this is an extraordinarily bad Buccaneers’ team . Head coach , Greg Schiano and his coaching staff have not been readily available to explain the woeful ineptitude shown by his players , while at the same , he can point to few positives concerning this team. Josh Freeman has simply regressed as a player , while the defense is simply a poor work in progress , that seemingly has become so inconsistent. Sunday afternoon, the Buccaneers will host the Kansas City Chiefs in a inter-conference match-up of two teams with postseason aspirations. As to whether not those aspirations will materialize is simply dependent upon how both franchises will fare over the remainder of the season and upon their final conference and divisional standings .

The NFC East has a long-standing heritage of being looked upon as one of the better divisions within the NFL , and for Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan , his most immediate concern , is the readiness of the team’s rookie quarterback , Robert Griffin III, whose introduction to the NFL has been somewhat exceptional. Griffin, along with teammate and rookie running back , Alfred Morris , are one of the primary reasons to watch the Redskins play over the course of the season. Morris , a sixth round draft pick by the Redskins in 2012 , has proven to be one of the rookie sensations of the season . This Sunday should provide us with something of an indicator as to everything we have either heard or seen concerning the effectiveness of Morris as a running back.

It should come as no surprise that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are struggling as a defensive and offensive unit. A first year coach , whose embodiment is to simply speak boldly about his team playing hard , with their being little evidence of that , as the Buccaneers have simply been erratic, in both aspects of the game. If this team is to have any semblance of success of the course of their season, then wins are of the utmost priority to the coaching staff and organization as a whole. And while the stands have been bare , there seems to be apathy amongst not only the fans, but also with the Glazer family as the owners of this franchise. There can be no more excuses concerning the franchise and the idiocy that the economic environment is the primary reason behind the lack of support for the Buccaneers. This organization has simply struggled to fill its home venue during the growth years and the more successful seasons. Now in the lean years , it is still very much more of the same, while we now have the idiocy of the state legislators seeking to force the NFL to change its criteria concerning the rules and blacking out of televised games in the local market. Even in the advent of changes set into motion , in 2012 , the Buccaneers have simply struggled to fill the stadium. Anyone care to explain why, beyond the team’s poor showing beyond the field of play?

We should be provided with a great deal of excitement this Sunday, as the games get underway. In all likelihood , there will be a number letdowns as well as surprises that will be thrilling for the fans and public in general. Which teams do you believe will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed ? Also , are you entirely satisfied with the commissioner’s handling of the ongoing New Orleans Saints’ drama? And do you believe that Roger Goodell should recuse himself from rendering any verdict concerning the punishment of the players involved in this scandal ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for your continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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Slide show gallery details below

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(1) FILE – In this Sept. 5, 2012, file photo, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gestures to fans before an NFL football game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys in East Rutherford, N.J. Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith and the NFL players union left little doubt they remain determined to challenge Commissioner Roger Goodell’s authority to suspend players in connection with the league’s bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints. Goodell ruled Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, that Vilma, a linebacker, would remain suspended for the season, while Smith, a defensive end, still would face a four-game ban. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….

(2) Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers training staff tend to running back Isaac Redman (33) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. AP Photo/Wade Payne ….

(3) In this Sept. 23, 2012, photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers corner-back Aqib Talib (25) runs with the ball after intercepting a pass by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo during an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas. The NFL suspended Talib four games without pay Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances . The fifth-year pro said in a statement released by the team that he took an Adderall pill without a prescription “around the beginning of training camp.” He will not appeal the ban, which begins Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. AP Photo/LM Otero ……

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