Speak no evil , see no evil and hear no evil

Speak no evil , see no evil and hear no evil

Well modesty forbids me to gloat , but I can’t help but feel that while the San Antonio Spurs many of the doubters of this team must now be somewhat disappointed . At the ripe of old age of thirty-seven , Tim Duncan is still proving that he remains a formidable player after all these years . Gregg Popovich , has now guided the team to their fifth NBA Finals` appearance since 1997. The franchise is also seeking to win their fifth title under Popovich`s tenure . This much we do now know , whoever the Spurs are to meet in the upcoming Finals , will be meeting a rejuvenated team with three future Hall of Fame players on the team`s current roster .

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In the unlikeliest of situations, San Antonio simply slipped by the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals in a four-game sweep of their conference counterparts . For Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff of the Grizzlies , theirs was a commendable year , where their season-high came by way of their first round defeat of the number one seeds in the conference , the Oklahoma City Thunder . Suffice to say , as the Spurs await the winners of the ongoing hard-fought series between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers .

Now while the Heat have taken a 2-1 lead in their series , no one is saying that this duel has reached a finality by way of LeBron James and his teammates having slammed the door shut on Pacers` postseason aspirations . This still remains an unfinished and a completely unwritten chapter , a number of plot-lines and episodes that still remain unresolved .

The baseball season has become something of an anathema as the duels between the pitchers and batters remains a highly competitive one . That being said, there is very good reason to believe that if things play out as they currently are , the fans MLB analysts alike , could be in for a great deal of fun , as the year unfolds .

Last season’s Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera is ahead of last season’s pace , as he looks to possibly make history as the game’s only repeat champion in that specific category . Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers (29-20) are themselves riding high in the AL Central , with Jim Leyland’s players seemingly looking to run away with the division . However , in light of that all, the Cleveland Indians , led by new installed manager Terry Francona has the Indians a mere 2½ games behind the Tigers .

Far be it for me to suggest , but I believe that the last time Indians Tigers contended for anything in baseball , I was in the midst of a divorce , not exactly a happy time for myself and presumably the franchise at the time . Amicable as the parting was said to be , it must be said , my ex-wife doesn’t remain on my list of high priorities . In the case of the Cleveland Indians winning does remain utmost at the top of their agenda , along regaining their respectability amongst their peers within the game.

If there is likely to be a managerial casualty within the game at present , then one could possibly look no further than Bo Porter of the Houston Astros , Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers , Mike Redmond of the Miami Marlins and Terry Collins of the New York Mets . All three managers currently have their respective teams playing sub .500 baseball , and I might, the sort of mediocre baseball , that I seriously doubt that their owners or general managers thought would be so dire .

I am not about to go into any in-depth prognostication as to why I believe that four managers in question should be relieved of their duties . Yet , there is enough evidence there to suggest that this season , neither of the aforementioned individuals have done anywhere near enough to guide their respective teams , with any great authority . Mattingly’s position on appearance alone , might appear to be all that tenuous , but you simply cannot overlook that the Dodgers , in spite of the team’s compilation of injuries , the team has performed miserably . What makes this all the more embarrassing , is the very fact that with a $200 million payroll , team owners , Magic Johnson , Todd Boehly . Peter Guber and Mark Walter , may well be putting on a brave face , while their ball-club is beset by on the field issues . Yet who would have guessed that this team would be performing so badly in the midst having been purchased with a $2 billion price tag and with the lingering odor of former owner Frank McCourt still wafting over Dodgers’ Stadium , in Los Angeles California , like rancid feline urine . It begs the question that in spite of the big splash and the bold predictions , the Dodgers have come up way short of Johnson’s own lofty expectations for this team and the season.

The Dodgers will entertain their cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Angels today in a game to be played at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles , California . On the mound for the team when they face off against the Angels will be Hyun Jin Ryu against the Joe Blanton in what should prove to be a very good pitchers’ duel . For GM Ned Colletti and team President Stan Kasten , the issues faced beyond the team’s bloated payroll and the under-achievement of the players , is that there now appears to be no leadership forthcoming from either Matt Kemp or Adrian Gonzalez , two of the team’s better offensive players and likely to be amongst the NL’s prime candidates for the NL MVP .

No lull before the storm but the NFL OTA’s (organized training activities) for a number of teams , have brought about a few odd spectacles for a number of franchises . Perhaps none more so , than for the Buffalo Bills , whose playoff drought in the league has been so lean , that the fans crave it , like the air they breathe . Head coach Doug Marrone and the front office had their turmoil during the off-season, but the big surprise came with the franchise’s choice to take a quarterback in the first round of this past NFL Draft . EJ Manuel was the player who had the privilege of being the franchise’s first draft pick , player , surprising a number of fans NFL analysts around the league environment . As a draftee taken out of Florida State where he had a moderately successful collegiate career .

Signs are , with Manuel along with veteran Kevin Kolb are likely to have something of an unsettling regular season , albeit , that it might still be too early assess how good or bad this team is likely to be . Marrone will certainly be looking to see of a journeyman such Kolb , still has anything to offer a franchise at this stage of his career . Kolb has suggested that he has joined the Buffalo Bills with a view to winning and to guide the young rookie quarterbacks on the team`s roster . Last I looked , Kevin Kolb`s resume` as a player , gave nothing by way of a suggestion , that he could or would be ever considered to be a winner ! The former Eagles and Cardinals` signal caller , if anything , can be best described, as a below to moderate backup quarterback in the NFL .

Inasmuch, as I love to watch energetic and competitive football , I truly believe that the AFC East will be determined this season will be determined by the play of the New England Patriots and how Bill Belichick sets about in the preparedness of his team . As the Patriots go , then so will the destination of the divisional title . With the Bills opening their regular season a> schedule with a game against the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo , New York on the 8th September, 2013 , opening weekend of the NFL regular season schedule . If the game is anything like the previous meetings between these two teams , then the fans in attendance, will be definitely be in for something of a treat . Newly installed GM Doug Whaley , in his first draft , in a capacity as a general manager , sought not to make the type of mistakes that were often associated with a number of his predecessors . That being said , it might will be the off-season free agent acquisitions , that may well stir a great deal of debate as it relates to the Buffalo Bills .

I am not about to suggest that Bills draftees , EJ Manuel , Robert Woods , Kiko Alonso , Marquise Goodwin , Duke Williams , Jonathan Meeks , Dustin Hopkins and Chris Gragg will not be able to make solid contributions for the team this upcoming season . Yet considering , the Bills` lackluster performances in 2012. By comparison to the team`s draft class of last season , was less than superlative , by way of their contributions for Buffalo , in terms of their schedule and the franchise`s final divisional and conference standings overall .

I am sorry, but after the idiotic behavior we all witnessed that went viral concerning, the now former Rutgers University men`s basketball coach, Mike Rice . and the school’s former AD , Tim Pernetti , whose incompetency was only outdone , by his sheer and utter stupidity in not having fired Rice , with cause , rather than seeking to make Rice is own personal reclamation project , even when it was known that Mike Rice was a repeat offender . I felt that there could be no way in hell that things could have gotten worse for the once distinguished educational establishment . State ran, or not, the absolute incredulity shown by all involved within the university`s administration is a clear indication why greed , and stupidity , overtakes common sense and moral expediency within collegiate athletics . And please, do not look for to any sound reasoning or common sense to be shown by anyone within the NCAA hierarchy , Most definitely not while on NCAA President Mark Emmert`s watch . Emmert has enough skeletons in his own damn closet to make a corrupt member of the US Congress blush .

Courtesy of ESPN

Julie Hermann remains under fire

By Andrea Adelson ,

Incoming Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann, already accused of abusive behavior toward student-athletes during her time as the women’s volleyball coach at Tennessee, is the focus of another lawsuit — this one during her time at Louisville in 2008.

According to a report in The New York Times, assistant track and field coach Mary Banker approached Hermann, who was then a senior athletics administrator at Louisville, about what she thought was sexist behavior and “discriminatory treatment” by head coach Ron Mann. After taking her concerns to human resources, Banker was fired within three weeks.

According to the legal filings obtained by The Times, Hermann initially was supportive of Banker after hearing of her complaints. In an email to Banker, Hermann wrote: “Thank you … We’re lucky to have you … You’re a change agent … don’t let their limitations take you out of the game … thank god you’re here.”

According to a filing, Hermann expressed concern after Banker went to HR with her complaints about Mann.

“Hermann called Banker into her office and flat-out told her, ‘You should not have gone to HR,’ ” the filing states, adding that Hermann allegedly told Banker: “I don’t know how I’m going to restore trust in you amongst staff now,” and “I don’t know how you’re going to work downstairs after this.”

On Monday, Rutgers president Robert Barchi gave a vote of confidence for Hermann, and supporters defended her as a strong leader and advocate for women after it came to light that Hermann had been sued by former Tennessee volleyball assistant coach Ginger Hineline in the 1990s. According to the suit, Hineline accused Hermann of discouraging her from getting pregnant. Hineline was awarded $150,000 in a settlement in 1997.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich told ESPN, “In 15½ years, I never had one problem” with Hermann. “She did impeccable work for us. No one has said anything the past 15 years. She is beloved here.”

Joan Cronan, Tennessee women’s AD emeritus, also voiced support for Hermann, claiming in a statement that she does not “recall it being an abusive situation.”

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich told ESPN, “In 15½ years, I never had one problem” with Hermann. “She did impeccable work for us. No one has said anything the past 15 years. She is beloved here.”

Joan Cronan, Tennessee women’s AD emeritus, also voiced support for Hermann, claiming in a statement that she does not “recall it being an abusive situation.”

“I hold Julie Hermann in high regard, and I believe she is well-prepared for her new role at Rutgers University,” Cronan wrote in her statement, according to MyCentralJersey.com. “My recollection of the time Julie was at the University of Tennessee is that it was a very frustrating time for everyone connected with the volleyball program, which had performed far below our expectations. However, I do not recall it being an abusive situation.”

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Rutgers University President Robert Barchi has used about as much expediency while this continued idiocy has taken a familiar course along the route of ineptitude . The school recently hired Julie Hermann to succeed Tim Pernetti . Yet only now, has it come to the fore after grave doubts had been presented about Hermann`s character , honesty and integrity . In choosing to make Julie Hermann the first female athletic director of a D1 school in the last fifteen years , now poses the question , how much due diligence was used by Barchi and his subordinates during the entire interview and hiring process ? Throughout much of Hermann`s career`s in collegiate athletics , either as a coach, or as an administrator , some form of controversy has continued to followed her . Now with allegations of sexual impropriety , allegations of misleading investigators in a legal issue , as well as issues concerning her own competency in her now chosen field as an administrator . One has to wonder , why Barchi and interim AD made the decision to hire Hermann . New Jersey governor , Chris Christie has now entered the fray with reservations in part questioning Robert Barchi`s choice of Julie Hermann to succeed Tim Pernetti . Christie , conscious of this latest problem , obviously, does not want to see the state ran university fall any deeper into a quagmire of its own making .

. The nation`s children are being sent to establishments of higher learning to first and foremost , obtain an education and learn how to be productive citizens. Unfortunately , it is the faculty members who now seem to be falling way sort of what the parents and public alike expect from our state ran and private universities .

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Picture gallery .

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

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) SAN ANTONIO, TX – MAY 21: Mike Budenholzer , assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs, speaks with Tim Duncan (21) and Kawhi Leonard (2) before resuming play against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 21, 2013 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images …

(2) Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) blocks a shot by San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) during the first half in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, May 27, 2013. AP Photo/Danny Johnston …..

(3) San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, of the U.S. Virgin Islands, left, is congratulated by Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins after Game 4 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, May 27, 2013. The Spurs defeated the Grizzlies 93-86 to advance to the NBA finals. AP Photo/Danny Johnston ….

(4) DETROIT, MI – MAY 28: Miguel Cabrera (24) of the Detroit Tigers singles to left field in the first inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park on May 28, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ….

(5) LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 28: Hyun-Jin Ryu (99) of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts as he watches the third out of the ninth inning for a two hit complete game shutout of the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on May 28, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …

(6) Quarterback E.J. Manuel from Florida State stands with the team jersey after being selected 16th overall by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the NFL football draft , Thursday, April 25, 2013 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. AP Photo/Jason DeCrow …..

(7) Kevin Kolb of the Buffalo Bills speaks to the convened press, after recently been acquired by the team as a free agent . Kolb now seen as a journeyman quarterback will be viewed as starter for the team this upcoming season , but the prevailing thought appears to be that the job is E J Manuel`s for the taking as Buffalo`s options at the position do appear to be thin . Ryan Peters / Getty Images ….

(8) FILE – In this May 15, 2013 file photo, Julie Hermann , left, sits with Rutgers president Roberet L. Barchi, as they listen to a question during a news conference where she was introduced as the new athletic director at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. A high ranking official at the University of Tennessee has voiced her support for Hermann, who is facing allegations she verbally abused players while she was the volleyball coach with the Volunteers. AP Photo/Mel Evans ……..

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tophatal ………………………. 05/28/2013

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Hot chic pic of the day Vida Guerra and another framed picture below .

Launching paper planes and making excuses

Launching paper planes and making excuses

Isn’t it amazing how soon we forget after proselytizing as to the greatness of a team , and once they have fallen from grace , we tend to start to make excuses for the prognostications and false claims . In the world of politics that has always been the norm. In the aftermath, of the New York Knicks’ exit from the postseason , all of the diagnosis has begun . And I might add, those who bore false witness are now running for the hills seeking still trying to seek some positives from what has been a monumental mess concerning the postseason . Granted , the Knicks and Mike Woodson came through the first round unscathed with a none too competitive first round series’ win over an aging and some might say clearly mismatched Boston Celtics’ team in a rousing 4-2 series` victory .

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The New York Knicks’ season was filled with highs and lows , with the team ending their sojourn with a 54-28 record , good enough to be the second seed in the Eastern Conference , finishing twelve games behind the Miami Heat (66-16) . A great deal of the Knicks’ failures during the postseason can be summed up with the fact that this team is simply not , defensive minded , lacks the competency to play it with any great authority , in spite of the claims of the supporters of the team who claim to the contrary . And a few games , to where the Knicks held the Celtics, to under eighty points in their first round does not point or indicate to the fact that the team can play defense with any presumed authority . To believe that , would be to suggest that the Knicks would be able to make it the norm , as it relates to their play. One ought to note that the Boston Celtics are an offense challenged team to begin with , where scoring is simply not a premium , in where having to place their faith in an aging Paul Piece indicates the magnitude that they had as a unit , when there was no else capable on the roster to carry that burden of scoring .

Having dispatched the Celtics , the New York Knicks were faced with having to go up against the NBA’s best defensive team during the regular and fourth best in postseason . The Indiana Pacers , coached by Frank Vogel , are well coached and play as a team , rather than as a disproportional edifice , where the play of a lone superstar dictates the play overall of that team . Much as it is in the case of the New York Knicks and their having Carmelo Anthony be the “tip of the spear “ and foil for just about everything that they do from an offensive standpoint . There is no doubt that the New York Knicks were favored to win this Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Indiana Pacers , and that is even now with the all too dubious claims of the Knicks’ supporters who would now have you believe that all they were hoping for was simply a berth in the playoffs . All well and good , but in reality , the Knicks’ front office , players and fans , had ambitions and were looking towards a potential Conference Finals’ series against LeBron James and the Miami Heat . Alas , it was not to be , and one could point to a number of reasons behind the team’s failure in the postseason. As laudable as it was , to see the franchise’s presence back amongst the NBA’s end of year showcase , in reality , we all knew that this team simply was not good enough to be even remotely considered a legitimate contender to take down their Eastern Conference rivals , much less the potential win the NBA title .

Where this now all leaves the New York Knicks and in particular the frustration for Mike Woodson and his obvious disappointment , will now be based upon how team owner , James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald will seek to make any moves as they deem fit , in bolstering the Knicks’ roster . Old at its core , let’s be realistic , the contributions of Marcus Camby , Jason Kidd , Kenyon Martin and Steve Novak as well as Amare Stoudemire , could be best described as being anemic during the postseason . It might not be deemed so comical and idiotic , when it was suggested that Woodson was actually unsure what to expect from Chris Copeland , as a player . I can only surmise that Copeland was viewed as nothing more than a bench-warmer by the Knicks’ coaching staff . In the Knicks’ game five victory over the Pacers , Copeland came off the bench , scoring thirteen points , to be a hero in the team’s second win of the series . And JR Smith may well have won the Sixth Man of the Year Award for his regular season contributions ,but can someone please explain to me , why he was nowhere to be seen during the postseason ?

Of the sixteen participants in the postseason , the New York Knicks’ payroll was amongst the highest of the teams left at that stage of the proceedings . The team’s payroll for the season , of $80.3 million , was not of season’s past , when it exceeded $100 million , hitting the franchise hard in terms of the league mandated ” luxury tax” , which saw teams having to pay a dollar for dollar sum back to the league hierarchy for exceeding the “soft salary cap” . And it would appear that while David Stern sells the idiocy of the NBA being on a sound financial footing , the Knicks for their part will continue to spend their money capriciously on players , who in large part , simply do not pay off as a tangible return on that investment . As proof of that , Amare Stoudemire is still owed an astonishing $45 million on the two years remaining of what still in many eyes , was viewed as a ludicrous and outlandish contract, a five-year $ 100 million deal for the center / power forward . I would preface this by saying, with the idiocy witnessed within the Knicks’ front office, by former head coach and team President , Isiah Thomas , was allowed to simply throw money at players with little or no talent whatsoever . Inasmuch as Thomas’ successor Donnie Walsh tried to steady that ship, it would appear that the idiocy remained , while Jim Dolan craved the success of seeing his franchise back amongst the elite of the NBA .

A decision will have to be made on whether or not a number the Knicks’ impending free agents will be retained , as well as the long and short-term future, as it relates to Amare Stoudemire whose contract remains a yoke around the neck of the Knicks’ franchise , when one bears in mind the league’s existing $58 million soft salary cap , and that the franchise will this season will be remitting $23 million back to the league hierarchy in terms of the luxury tax .

With a $1 billion price tag the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are by far the most valuable franchises in the NBA . For the Knicks being just one of the baubles in the Dolan family sporting interests that makes up parent company holdings for MSG Entertainment Inc / The Madison Square Garden Entertainment Company , it easy to understand why the franchise has been always been perceived as one the bell-weather models of the professional sports’ franchise industry . With that being said , wealth and fortune are by no means a guarantee of competitive success , when there has been poor professional acumen shown by the Knicks’ organization over the past few seasons. Bear in mind also , that beyond the fans within the New York state area , you also have the print , television and radio media simply lauding the franchise at every turn over the course of the regular season . Now that they have been inauspicious dumped out of the NBA postseason play . Fans and the media , are at a juxtaposition , as to how best to explain their team’s fall from grace . Self absorbed, and conceitedness or simply an unwillingness to accept the fact that they are not as good as advertised ? I will leave it for you to be the judge of that !

In what was deemed to be a competitive Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies , who defeated the number one seeds , the Oklahoma City Thunder with surprising ease . The Spurs have nonchalantly dusted down the Grizzlies in the first two games , taking a 2-0 lead before the series resumes at the Fedex Forum in Memphis, Tennessee on Saturday 25th May , 2013 .

The Spurs’ Big Three of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker have provided the experience and bulk of the offensive output of the franchise during the postseason . Duncan in spite of his age , is having one of his better seasons in what is sure to be undoubtedly viewed as a Hall of Fame career. Game three will be pivotal for both teams and should Lionel Hollins’ Grizzlies suffer a home defeat , then for all sense and purpose this series will be over , bar the ticker tape parade .

Zach Randolph has proven to be the Memphis’ best player during the regular and postseason , is now seeing what it is like to play with a great deal of emotion , only to have the door slam shut in his face . And while in the series against the Oklahoma City Thunder he was ably assisted by Marc Gasol , Tayshaun Prince and Mike Conley . The reality of that first round performance , was that it placed the Grizzlies’ on an emotional high and a physical plane , but now having met the San Antonio Spurs , reality has now finally set in , that their story is only half-written , and the ensuing chapters are now looking , not so bright .

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Also , in light of the Knicks’ postseason demise , how would you go about addressing several of their personnel decisions that will undoubtedly have to be made ?

Picture and slideshow details below for your perusal .
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 18: Lance Stephenson(1) of the Indiana Pacers celebrates in the game against the New York Knicks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 18, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.The Pacers won 106-99 . Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images …

(2) New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson talks to Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first half of Game 6 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Indiana Pacers . Getty Images /Andy Lyons …

(3) Paul George (24) of the Indiana Pacers battles for the ball against J.R. Smith (8) and Kenyon Martin (3) of the New York Knicks during game three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 11, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers won 82-71 . Getty Images North America / Joe Robbins …..

(4) From left to right , New York Knicks’ owner James Dolan , GM Glen Grunwald and head coach Mike Woodson . In light of the team’s demise in the postseason, all three executives will face some tough decision-making concerning the makeup of the team’s roster as they enter the 2013-14 NBA season . Courtesy of NY Daily News/AP Photo / Drew Pearson ….

(5) New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire , center, is tied up by Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert , right, and forward David West during the second half of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series in Indianapolis, Saturday, May 11, 2013. AP Photo/Michael Conroy …

(6) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan celebrates with the team as he comes down to the bench during the overtime in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 93-89 . AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(7) Memphis Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph argues with an official during the second half in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

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tophatal …………….. 2013/05/24

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Hot chic pic of the day Kathy Lantigua .

Hit me with your best shot ……..

Hit me with your best shot

In spite of the fast start to the season by the Atlanta Braves’ Justin Upton and the fact that , as the team has tapered off somewhat , so too has the player’s productivity as of late . Upton, still leads the Majors in home runs and is ranked in the top ten several of the other categories that matter the most in terms of offensive productivity . That being said , I firmly believe that we are unlikely to see a repeat of the feat , in the accomplishments of the Detroit Tigers’ ….. Miguel Cabrera , who last season placed himself in the ranks of baseball’s immortals , by becoming the first player in four decades to have attained the Triple Crown . Granted , this season Cabrera , is once again off to a prodigious start , ahead of last season’s totals at the same point of the season .

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In terms of the game seeing a pure hitter , other than Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera , the game has simply been devoid of one of baseball`s purest art forms . With what many might suggest was the forced or rightful departure of Barry Bonds , a seven- time NL MVP and two time NL batting champion . The controversial slugger in a recent interview went so far as suggesting, that Miguel Cabrera is now not only one of the best players in the game , but that also , that Cabrera is now the best pure hitter in all of baseball . Mighty praise indeed, coming from a player who quite possibly, is one of , and still remains one of the most despised players in baseball`s already tainted history .

Bonds the all-time career home runs` king , as well as the single season home runs` record holder , has not quite been able to disassociate himself from perhaps , the game`s most infamous era . Steroid still remains a stigma from which baseball cannot escape and with Bud Selig`s poor handling of the steroid cheaters being best described as comical , if not haphazard ! It is plain to see that the game beyond needing a fresh new influx of new young . We have been lucky enough over the past few seasons to see the ascent of Stephen Strasburg , Bryce Harper , J P Arencibia , Carlos Gomez , Yoenis Cespedes , Aroldis Capman , and Mike Trout . However, while current and former players such as , Ryan Braun , Melky Cabrera and Bonds are still visible and contributing to the panacea of the game. It does leave us pondering , what other misnomers have we yet failed to see and what other secrets would the league hierarchy would rather us not witness ?

Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers have been something of an enigma over the past few years , and if there was an indicator of that , then it would have to be the 2012 World Series and the very fact that the team simply wilted under the weight of great expectation . Manager, Jim Leyland and his managerial staff , along with GM Dave Dombrowski , have been entrusted in getting this team back to another postseason finale .The Tigers` postseason showing statistically , if anything gave us a clear indication why the team failed miserably in being swept (4-0) so convincingly u, by the San Francisco Giants . . Inasmuch, as I believe the Tigers to be one of the best teams in the AL , I am not so sure that even as proficient as they appear to be , they will actually have enough to contend with the likes of Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees , Texas Rangers and Oakland A`s . The Tigers on Tuesday were the hosts of the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field , in Cleveland Ohio , in a series that should prove to be very interesting .

There is no denying that throughout the years the front office of the Tigers have been very prudent in their draft choices and that was very much in evidence when they acquired Justin Verlander , as the second overall draft pick in the 2004 MLB Draft , and in the subsequent years we have seen Dave Dombrowski , simply making sure that the franchise’s choices have been beneficial for the organization . . Beyond the troubles now facing the Miami Marlins , New York Mets , and Houston Astros , it must be said that the biggest disappointment beyond that of the Los Angeles Dodgers and their $215 million payroll , which ranks amongst the highest in all of baseball . The ongoing woes of the Minnesota Twins (18-24) , Ron Gardenhire and the duo of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau . It is difficult to see how this franchise can survive in the midst of their ongoing turmoil of being uncompetitive , while committing , jointly , over $ 130 million in salaries , for the next five years to the aforementioned pairing. Current Twins` owner , Jim Pohlad and GM Terry Ryan do appear to be nonplussed as how best to lead this ball-club in the sort an long-term, as repeated mistakes are being made on an annual basis , as it relates to the makeup of the team`s roster and a slew of major personnel and business decisions.

This Twins` franchise remains a poorly supported team that is so reliant upon the largess of the MLB hierarchy to support its sustenance. Were it not for the ongoing luxury tax and the disbursement of the monies derived of that scheme, that is shared amongst the small market teams . I honestly believe , that the Minnesota Twins would be a team , facing the death knell of being contracted ! Valued at around $575 million and with gross revenues of $214 million , the Twins manage to eke out a small profit barely above $10 million ( $10.8 million) . These are indeed trying times for baseball , with their being few positives that the game can truly point to from an economic standpoint , when many of the teams cannot stand by themselves , without an assist from the league hierarchy . Yet somehow, Bud Selig is intent on painting a rosy picture as it relates to the sport he oversees . You can`t blame the idiot for trying , and that is now what the commissioner has become , an all too cumbersome idiot !

Coming off a 5-4 loss to the NL East leading Atlanta Braves , it is now pretty much safe to say that the Twins can now start to use the remainder of their season to assess this roster as well as many of the players that Ron Gardenhire and Terry Ryan might indeed , seek to call up from their Minor League System system amongst their AAA affiliates . As to the futures of both Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, while the duo remain in tandem , not achieving much for the franchise, and burdening it with their voluminous salaries . It does beg the question , does Jim Pohlad truly comprehend what is going on within his midst ?

I will no longer bemoan the fact that I was once an avid supporter of the Miami Marlins for several years , having lived in the South Florida community for a period of time , throwing the weight of my support behind the franchise . However, in late 2011, I abandoned the team , because of what I felt a lack of honesty and respect that was forthcoming from the ownership group of the ball club . Now, I constantly hear statements being made by fans , suggesting that a team and its owners are merely there to entertain the fans , while making money . Off course, that may well be true , but at what expense to the fans and the consumer ? Granted , we do have a right as a consumer to refuse, to be a willing conduit for a franchise`s profiteering , by simply refusing to attend a ball game . Yet, when a franchise benefits from the utter stupidity that has been shown by a municipality or state agency , then we should all be concerned . Especially, when, it is the public`s resources that are being used for the benefit of millionaire and billionaire sports` franchise owners, in order to build a palatial edifice to house a professional sport`s team . .

A year into its existence and the Miami Marlins Ballpark , has now become an elephants’ graveyard , with the attendance levels being so anemic during home games , you could hear a pin drop . The 37, 000 seat venue built at a cost of $575 million , using public funds , was a simply case where , Bud Selig and team owner , Jeffrey Loria cajoled , coerced and it is my belief may well have extorted from the city of Miami , for their approval , illegally , in their voting to finance the funding and building of the ballpark . Unfortunately, with the US Justice Department now investigating the city and their actions, as it relates to the stadium deal . It has me believing that US Attorney General, Eric Holder`s office , is as equally incompetent as the subject of their investigation .

As to the Marlins` own impediments this season , well let`s just say their inept record (13-33) , simply speaks volumes as to how mediocre they have been . GM Michael Hill and newly installed manager Mike Redmond seem to be at a complete loss as to how to address the team`s ongoing woes . Coming off a 7-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies , the team faces their divisional rivals in an evening game at their sparsely attended home venue . On the mound for the Marlins will be Kevin Slowey (1-4, 3.44 ERA) against Cliff Lee (4-2, 2.83 ERA) . .

Marlins` owner Jeffrey Loria in the midst of is ball club`s meltdown last season , led to the shedding of many of the high-pricedand high-profiled stars acquired prior to the start of the 2012 season , complained in the aftermath of last season`s woes , the press were in part to blame for the teams woes beyond the incapability of manager Ozzie Guillen . This much I do know , since his acquisition of this franchise , Loria has proven to be a self-absorbed wind-bag , whose lies are only further confounded by the ineptitude that has been sown by this club , and where his actions are seemingly suborned by Bud Selig and the members of the MLB hierarchy .

Courtesy of USA Today

Bonds on Cabrera: ‘He’s the best,’ but ..

Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY Sports

It’s probably foolish, if not absurd, to draw comparisons to Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera.

Cabrera, after all, is the greatest player in the game of baseball.

The last time we’ve seen greatness like this is from one of the greatest three players to ever step on a baseball field, and certainly the finest of his generation:

Barry Bonds.

CABRERA: On another Triple Crown bid

“He’s definitely the best,” Bonds told USA TODAY Sports in a telephone interview Monday. “It’s not rocket science here.

“He’s the best. By far. Without a doubt. The absolute best.”

Bonds, as you might imagine, was aware of Cabrera’s performance a night earlier, when he slugged three home runs against the Texas Rangers to announce, on national television, that his Triple Crown performance in 2012 might have been a mere prelude.

Now, it’s certainly premature, Bonds says, to dare imply Cabrera is as good as him. You can’t make that argument, not with a record 762 homers, seven MVP awards, 14 All-Star appearances and eight Gold Gloves on Bonds’ resume.

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Bonds` claims as Miguel Cabrera being the best pure hitter in the game today , could very be quantified by saying , the player`s accomplishments in the seasons leading up to his Triple Crown year , was a precursor to the events that took place in 2012 . Down the years there have been some prolific hitters in the game , and many who have been just as productive as Cabrera has been through the first decade of his career . The Detroit Tigers slugger`s accomplishments this season , may well have to be set aside this year for the greater good of the team , if it is Jim Leyland`s wish to see his players seek a return engagement to the World Series .

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Picture gallery .

Of the players I have been privileged to witness either on film or via a live broadcast perhaps none have impressed me more than the likes of Hall of Fame inductees Hank Aaron , Tony Gwynn and Ted Williams , whose accomplishments by themselves, speaks volumes as to what they have meant to the game and the great joy that they have brought to the fans during their illustrious careers . As to whether or not, Miguel Cabrera will be able join the ranks of those baseball Gods , remains to be seen . Your thoughts on this are more than welcome. So by all means, do leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

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(1) Atlanta ,Ga, May 20: Dan Uggla (26) of the Atlanta Braves is congratulated by Justin Upton (8) after hitting a first inning three run home run against the Minnesota Twins at Turner Field on May 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

(2) ATLANTA, GA – MAY 19: Justin Upton (8) of the Atlanta Braves is unable to make a running catch against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Turner Field on May 19, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images….

(3) A pensive Barry Bonds looks on during a game for the San Francisco Giants . The player having retired leads the game in several offensive categories , but without a World Series ring , albeit , that his postseason exploits are terrific . As to Bonds` impending future and the awaited call for his induction into Cooperstown and baseball`s Hall of Fame , with each passing year it seems all the more remote that scenario will ever take place for the former Giants` slugger . AP / Steve Falconer ….

(4) CLEVELAND, OH – MAY 21: Miguel Cabrera (24) of the Detroit Tigers rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 21, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images …

(5) Twins` manager Ron Gardenhire is seen here talking catcher Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau . The Minnesota Twins are off to another indifferent – start to the season with many now beginning to speculate and wonder whether or not Gardenhire will survive the year , with ball club playing some of the worst baseball in the AL , while firmly rooted at the bottom of the AL Central . Morneau and Mauer for their part , are not having the seasons one would normally associate with the two Twins` All Stars . AP Photo / Keith Parker …. .

(6) Miami Marlins` owner Jeffrey Loria , left is seen here at the team`s ballpark , a 37,000 seated venue in downtown Miami , which itself as now become subject of a federal investigation by the US Justice Department and the city of Miami officials and claims that bribes might well have been accepted by in return for their votes concerning the $575 million provided for the financing and building of venue at the taxpayers` expense . City Mayor , Tomas Regalado continues to deflect questions , stating pending a legal investigation, he is unable to provide any answers that the public or press might have . Also in picture , right , is the Marlins` beleaguered manager , Mike Redmond . AFP /Quinn Taylor .

(7) Tony Gwynn is seen here with fellow Hall of Fame inductee Cal Ripken Jr . Gwynn a seven-time NL batting champion came closest to hitting the .400 batting average plateau , a feat matched in the modern era only by Boston Red Sox great , Ted William in 1941 when he had a batting average of .406 . Getty Images North America / Zack Morris ….

(8) Hank Aaron is seen here in the dugout during a game for the Atlanta Braves . Aaron`s twenty-two year career saw the Braves` slugger break what was then the all-time home runs` record of 714 , held by Babe Ruth . REUTERS/AFP archives …. ,
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tophatal ………… 05/21/2013

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MLB news

MLB news from around the league

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule

MLB probable pitchers 05/21/2013

MLB results 21st May 2013

MLB Triple Crown winners

MLB league debuts 2013

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis , feat`g Ray Dalton ….. “Can`t Hold Us “

Why not simply place a mannequin in your shop window ?

Why not simply place a mannequin in your shop window ?

No good can ever come from letting your heart rule your head when it comes to business or in the world of sports . Let’s face it, those now trying to suggest that an NFL team would benefit having Tim Tebow on their roster solely from the point of being able to lure fans to an NFL venue . Case in point , did that scenario actually work for NFL franchise, the New York Jets in 2012 ? Granted , the team and franchise were thoroughly mismanaged with Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano simply making a mockery of their profession as NFL coaches . Never mind the fact that , then GM , Mike Tannenbaum and many of the alleged asinine decisions that were said to have been made in conjunction with both Ryan and Sparano . Those decisions included the signing of Tebow after what was said to be “his great season” in 2011 and the fact that he led the Denver Broncos into the postseason .In reality , those exploits were less about Tebow and more to do with the desire of the team and their front office staff led by former Broncos’ star and Hall of Fame inductee John Elway .

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In the aftermath of the Broncos’ short-lived postseason foray , John Elway and team owner Pat Bowlem made the decision that changes would be needed in terms of the make up of the team’s roster and who would ultimately lead the team during 2012 at the quarterback position . Tim Tebow became superfluous to the team’s needs and he was traded to the New York Jets . The trade itself was met with a great deal plaudits as it was felt that the Heisman Trophy winner would bring a revived presence to the Jets’ offense and a luring of fans to their palatial venue , Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey , home to both the AFC East franchise as well as the New York Giants . Inasmuch , as I believe Tebow to be a great ambassador for the game of football , at as a player , but for a few fleeting moments in 2011 , he has yet to show that he can play in the NFL with a great deal of consistency . As to Tim Tebow being viewed as a brand that can sell tickets much less be the face of a major corporation. Well let’s now take a look at that shall we ? Can Tebow be considered a “winner “ in the NFL , because essentially that is what an advertiser will base their product’s selling point on , apart from what they believe are the quarterback’s unique qualities . Furthermore , in terms of Tebow’s marketability , beyond his Christian faith , this asinine notion that he is now the most influential athlete in North America does actually ring hollow , if not being downright asinine and insulting .

Beyond Tim Tebow’s affability , what is it that the fans can actually most look forward to ? The NFL in this day and age is about winning , making money and the overall marketability of its stars . Tebow is a draw , but he is not a major draw where instantaneously you would be drawn to him or a product that he would be hawking on behalf of a major endorser . And while we are at it , let’s look at the so-called major endorsers now said to be part of the Tebow “ branding “ . Other than his ads for TiVo , the player’s presence as a major marketing draw for Madison Ave , is barely noticeable and his annual earnings of $ 4 million by way of his off the field activities , pales into insignificance when adjudged against that of Peyton Manning , Drew Brees and Tom Brady . Granted, the three players in question, have longer tenures in the NFL and have been far more successful than the now unrestricted free agent with a four-year career to his name .

The rumblings, well not necessarily around the NFL , but more so within the state of Florida and the NFL franchise that is in desperate need of more notoriety .Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan is said to have taken a liking to Tim Tebow, and originally upon his multimillion dollar purchase of the beleaguered North Florida franchise , it was being suggested that the team acquire the former Florida Gator . This AFC South team has been in a state of disarray for several years , and this has revolve around the lack of progress and productivity in the play of Blaine Gabbert and the fact that his coach at the time Jack Del Rio was ill-equipped to aid the player in his troubles , in spite of his experience and that of the coaching staff at the time . Khan and general manager David Caldwell may have mulled over the novel idea of bringing Tebow to Jacksonville , with a view to luring fans to one of the NFL’s least supported franchises and where in their last eighteen regular season home games , the Jaguars have been unable to sellout a single game and thereby initiating in the NFL’s television blackout policy .

Personally , I think that even if Tebow were part of the Jaguars’ roster , merely as a selling point , he would add nothing more than the curiosity and novelty factor for the franchise ! In a hotbed area , where College Football ” rules the roost ” , it easy to understand the reasons why the Jaguars have failed to attract a fan-base big enough to fill its venue , Ever-Bank Stadium , in Jacksonville , Florida . From an economic standpoint , how much in value would Tebow add to franchise such as the Jacksonville Jaguars , by way of their bottom line , overall value or for that matter by way of additional revenues overall

? Just because he has the top jersey sales in the NFL , that simply counts for squat ! In reality however , all three NFL franchises that reside in Florida , do have a tremendously tough time even attracting and selling out on a regular basis for their regular season home games and that has been widely known amongst sports’ economists and the NFL hierarchy for several years now . Something that you would be hard pressed to even get NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , to readily admit , much less that of the ownership groups of the Jaguars , Miami Dolphins or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .

The NFL is actually big , in Florida , but not to the point, where fans are thronging to see the three franchises domiciled within the state . Go figure ! .

What the immediate future now holds for Tim Tebow, is now based upon whose statements you are prepared to believe , whether or not they are coming from NFL insiders , on air television personalities who cover the sport or from Tebow’s own agent . At present Tim Tebow’s agent , Jimmy Sexton has not provided the public or any of Tebow’s fans with a desired destination of his client . Yet this much we do know , Tebow still yearns to be a player in the NFL , though not as a position player but simply as a quarterback . As to the possible takers for the player’s lackluster talents , even if he were to be viewed as a backup or merely as a selling point for a franchise . In light of 2012’s debacle in New Jersey with the New York Jets , would you as an owner , general manager of head coach bring in Tim Tebow to be part of your franchise ? I think that New York Giants’ co-owner Steve Tisch , summed it up best, when he stated , “ the Jets ruined Tim Tebow “ ! Truth be known, Tim Tebow was already ruined before he ever played his first down in the NFL . The Florida Gators’ coaching staff under his college coach , Urban Meyer simply did not prepare the player in terms of his skill-set in preparation for what he should have expected in the NFL . One should also take note that another of Meyer’s pupils Alex Smith struggled for the first few years of his NFL career , only in 2012 to be then subjected to humiliation and then be beaten out by second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick for the staring role on the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 . The rest as they say is history as it it regards to Kaepernick’s own accomplishments in 2012 with the franchise .

Well over the weekend the once and highly favored New York Knicks were summarily dumped out of the NBA postseason . Reasons to be happy ? Hell yeah , if you’re not a Knicks’ fan but then again , who amongst really expected to the Mike Woodson to guide this team deep into the postseason ? Were we meant to be sold on the fact that Carmelo Anthony , on his own , would lift his fellow teammates unto his broad shoulders and take them to the promised land ? In no uncertain terms , the reality for the Knicks and their loyal devotees , this team couldn’t support their own lofty goals much less anything else . Aging at their core , the New York Knicks’ roster had more in common with prospective members of AARP , than it would for a franchise seeking to win their first NBA title since the ’72-73 NBA season .

So much was made of the prodigious talent on this Knicks’ roster and the fact that its offense was said to be explosive . Yet what no one failed to pick up on , even those who are said to be avowed experts on the game , was the very fact , the New York Knicks were a defensively challenged team , and where several players on the team were simply averse to playing a defensive role , even when not called upon by Woodson’s coaching staff . The very fact that they were summarily dumped out of the NBA postseason by the Indiana Pacers in game six of the Eastern Conference semifinals was enough of an indicator to me , what playing as a team was meant to be about and simply having one superstar and a group ill-fitting parts that were so disjointed , that you would have that they were glued together with saliva mixed with epoxy resin. Nothing ever stuck and so errant and inconsistent was the Knicks’ play against the Pacers that 4-2 series’ loss was nothing short of a real embarrassment . However, the Knicks’ fans will try to make light of this all , by trying to suggest that their only wish was to see the team simply make the postseason . Well , they were able to achieve that , but the front office led by owner James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald , expected a great deal more from one the NBA’s most respected franchises .

Beyond Carmelo Anthony , the Knicks’ guard was barely supported in this series , which begs the question what will be or should one say , what decisions are likely to be made by Mike Woodson and Glen Grunwald concerning the makeup of this roster , as it relates to the upcoming season . Power forward , Amare Stoudemire is owed an astonishing $44 million over the next two seasons , and it once again further emphasizes why this franchise still remains absolutely bereft of intelligence within the upper echelons of its organizational structure .

Forty four million dollars to guy way past his prime , and whose wish is to go out a winner ? Grunwald’s predecessor Isaiah Thomas as the architect of that deal , still casts a giant shadow across the whole panacea of this Knicks’ franchise beyond his alleged sexual proclivities and peccadilloes that cost the organization in excess of $2 million in a legal suit settled in the US Federal Court several years ago .

It is my own personal belief that as ambitious as Carmelo Anthony just happens to be , he simply cannot win an NBA title being surrounded by a team that at its core while showing a great deal of playing experience , in reality those players’ best years have already passed them by ! It certainly will be interesting , to see what players are jettisoned from the roster and which are likely to be retained .

Whatever was said by Bud Selig to convince Houston Astros’ owner Jim Crane to make the jump from the NL Central to the AL West this past off-season , was clearly a situation where beyond the added “sweetener “ of a $60 million rebate after his purchase of the franchise . The Houston billionaire must have been lulled into a false sense of security , as to how his team would fare in the AL . The Astros alongside the Miami Marlins , currently have the two worst records in all of baseball and are likely to be on course of actually surpassing last season’s marks for sheer ineptitude by both franchises .

Astros` GM Jeff Luhnow has done as much as is humanly possible , but his biggest mistake in terms of the personnel decisions made , may well have been the hiring of Bo Porter to manage this team . Beyond that , what looks like the inexperience of Porter’s coaching staff , has been the multitude of mistakes by the manager and his staff , concerning game strategy and what his best starting lineup might just be . At 12-32 , losers of eight of their last ten games , the Astros are twelve games behind the division leading Texas Rangers (29-15) within the AL West.

The Astros will play host at Minute Maid Field , in Houston , Texas in a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals , staring today . Jeremy Guthrie will start for the Royals against Dallas Kuechel of the Astros in a game that will tell us a great about both of these teams and their apparent ambitions as it relates to the overall season . .

Jose Altuve and Carlos Pena appear to be the most productive players on the Astros’ roster by way of the team’s offense , yet the team’s struggles this season are not solely confined to the offense but also their pitching . . .

The Astros’ projected number of wins’ total for the season is 46-116 , and when adjudged against last season’s total of 55-107 , it easy to understand why there seems to be a great deal of apoplexy and some might suggest the belief that it was misguided to have the Houston Astros relocate from the National League to the American League.

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the salient points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and once again thank you for your continued support of this site !

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Picture and slideshow gallery details .
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(1) Sports agent Jimmy Sexton is seen here in his office . At present Sexton’s most visible and high-profiled client ,Tim Tebow , is an unrestricted unsigned free agent , still in search of an NFL team . AP Photo / Roger Carter ……

(2) Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez look on, as as Jets’ offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and head coach Rex Ryan explain a play to starting Greg McElroy during an NFL game in 2012 . AP Photo / John Corbett ………

(3) From left to right Jaguars’ head coach Gus Bradley , Shahid Khan and David Caldwell . The trio are beset with multiple of issues concerning this upcoming season and the ambitions of this franchise and their ambitions . The team’s quarterback Blaine Gabbert , has simply been lackluster in his performances for the franchise and it is one of the primary reasons behind the team’s failures in 2012 . AP Photo / Clark Devlin …..

(4) New York Knicks’ J.R. Smith reacts late during the second half of Game 6 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, May 18, 2013, in Indianapolis. Indiana defeated New York 106-99 to win the series 4-2 . AP Photo/Darron Cummings …

(5) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 18: Head Coach Frank Vogel of the Indiana Pacers gestures during the Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 18, 2013 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(6) New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson talks to Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first half of Game 6 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Indiana Pacers Saturday, May 18, 2013, in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Darron Cummings …

(7) Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez , right, rounds the bases in front of Houston Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez (9) after hitting a home run in the fifth inning of the baseball game on Sunday, May 19, 2013, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic ….

(8) Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve , top, hops over Pittsburgh Pirates’ Michael McKenry as he is forced out on a fielder’s choice on a ground ball to third by Clint Barmes in the fifth inning of the MLB interleague baseball game on Sunday, May 19, 2013, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic ..

(9) Astros’ owner Jim Crane , left is seen here with team general manager Jeff Luhnow at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas . The team has gotten off to an incredibly bad start this season are projected to win no more than 46 game games as part of their one hundred and sixty-two game schedule in 2013 . Should that figure be correct , then it would fall considerably short of the fifty-five games won in 2012 , which was an MLB season record low for the thirty teams that make up the league. Getty Images North America / Bob Levey …

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tophatal ………. 05/20/2013

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NFL news and archived stories

NFL preseason schedule and NFL schedule

NFL transactions

NFL Draft 2013

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NBA postseason (2012-13)

NBA results 19th May

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MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule

MLB results 19th May

MLB probable pitchers 20th May 2013

Troubles ? Yes me too !

< Troubles ? Yes me too !

At diverging ends of the same kaleidoscope within the world of baseball we have two teams , both seeking to achieve the same goals his season . For the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays , this could prove to be a make or break season for both of these esteemed franchises . Both teams are barely playing .500 ball within the league standings with the Dodgers firmly rooted at the bottom of the NL West with a 17-22 record , forty games into the MLB season . For Joe Maddon and the Rays , this season has simply been one of sheer inconsistency , with the team now having lost their AL Cy Young Award winner from 2012 , David Price (1-4, 5.24 ERA ) for what appears to short but most definitely acute period , where he will be sorely missed from the team’s starting lineup, as he will be placed on the team’s DL . Not the sort of start that the fans had envisaged for the ball club coming into the season.

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At the same point last year things were somewhat different for both teams in terms of their standing at the time . Joe Maddon came into the season with what was adjudged to be the best pitching lineup in baseball , with a league leading 3.19 ERA in 2012 , yet this season things are not quite what they should be as it relates to the team’s pitching within the AL . With Price now on the fifteen-day DL , spearheading the lineup of the Rays’ starting pitching , will be Moore (7-0, 2.44) , whose surprising start to the season , has him amongst the top pitchers in the AL as well as within MLB , itself .

If this Tampa Bay Rays’ team is to have any chance of having a successful season , then for all sense and purpose the level of their play will have to be raised from beyond its current . Long considered to be the Rays’ best player and the presumptive leader in the clubhouse . I have always felt that Evan Longoria , undoubtedly a tremendous player , I believe him to be lacking in the skills needed to be viewed as a leader on this roster . A prodigious talent , the Rays drafted the third baseman as their first overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft . In the subsequent years Longoria has proven to be an invaluable asset to the Rays both on and off the field of play . He is now the highest paid player on the Rays’ roster and amongst the highest paid third baseman in the game. Albeit , that he will have a long way to go in order to match the reputed $29 million that the New York Yankees will have to pay the sidelined , and often controversial Alex Rodriguez , the game’s highest paid player on an annual basis . Clearly a case , where reputation rather than apparent talent is a constant reminder why the game of baseball remains devoid of financial expediency amongst the team owners and general managers .

Although the Rays are 6-4 in their last ten games , a two-game losing streak , is clearly representative of the ongoing problems facing Joe Maddon and his managerial staff , as they close out the first quarter of their arduous 162 game schedule . And the team’s most recent game was a narrow defeat suffered at the hands of their divisional rivals the Boston Red Sox , a team that seems to have rebounded under the presence their recently installed manager John Farrell . Joe Maddon will now take his to Camden Yards to face the Baltimore Orioles in a three game series , with the first of those games taking place on Friday , in what is sure to be a highly competitive match-up. Taking the mound will be Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 5.25 ERA) of the Rays facing off against Jason Hammel (5-1, 4.93 ERA) .

Already 4 ½ games behind the division leading New York Yankees (25-16) within the AL East , the division is likely to become either a three of four-way dogfight , if the Orioles can play themselves into the mix to join the Red Sox , Yankees and Rays as part of this all-our guerrilla warfare that is likely to take place between this quartet of teams over the course of the season . I think that is pretty safe to say , that in spite of the off-season splash made by the Toronto Blue Jays in acquiring Jose Reyes and R A Dickey , that organization is simply bereft of intelligence , overall talent , but above all , managerial acumen !

How this season goes for the Los Angeles Dodgers and what they are able to achieve , could go a long way in determining whether or not Don Mattingly and his managerial staff are retained at the end of this year . With a splash being made after the franchise was acquired for an astonishing $2.15 billion , it has to stated that with an ownership group that includes Magic Johnson , Hollywood mogul Peter Guber , and billionaire venture capitalists , Todd S Boehly and Mark Walters , expectations are understandably high. . Anything short of the MLB postseason will be seen as a major disappointment for the organization but most notably the fans . For a team with one of the largest payrolls in baseball , success for the Dodgers will be measured by the number of World Series titles that this organization believe that they can amass . And for the Los Angeles Dodgers whose last postseason appearance came in 2009 , in the NLCS , which came with a lopsided 4-1 series’ loss to the Philadelphia Phillies .

Almost forty games into their schedule the Dodgers are a ghastly (17-22) , looking up at the San Diego Chargers (18-22) , Colorado Rockies (21-20) , Arizona Diamondbacks (23-18) and the division leading and defending NL West champions the San Francisco Giants (24-17) . With almost $90 million tied up in players on the team’s DL , it is easy to understand why the Dodgers had their woes this season , just prior to the return of Zack Greinke . A case could be made that the team’s failure are simply because of the unforeseen injuries to a number of mainline starters . Yet with a roster that is literally filled with All Stars at several positions , this should not be the excuses one would expect to hear anyone on the coaching staff , much less from a front office executive or the players themselves .

The Dodgers will be tested this weekend , when they begin a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves at Fulton County Stadium , in Atlanta , Georgia , over the next three days. On the mound in the first of the three scheduled games , will be Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers against Paul Maholm of the Braves . If there is another case to be made for Don Mattingly and the team’s woes , then it would have to be the anemic lack of run productivity from the team’s alleged potent offense . With a team ERA of .261 , the Dodgers at this point of the season have a lowly 127 runs batted in (RBI’s) , an NL low and ranking them next to last in the league , just above the woefully inept Miami Marlins . Hard to imagine that being adjoined to this team , given the makeup of the roster and the prodigious talent that makes up the offense . Matt Kemp looks a pale shadow of himself compared to last season , whereas, the always consistent Adrian Gonzalez is simply doing what he does best , and that is to hit and create runs . And this season from an offensive standpoint , Gonzalez has proven to be the Dodgers’ best player , by far .

If these are signs of desperate times, then I would have to say that in spite to a solid start to their season , the Texas Rangers remain under a great deal of pressure to succeed . In two of the last four seasons this organization has stepped unto the game’s grandest stage and simply come up short . In 2010 and 2011 , back to back seasons , the Rangers under manager Ron Washington played in the World Series , and the fact that on both occasions , the manager’s teams were simply no match for the San Francisco Giants or the St Louis Cardinals . Both seasons with then team President , Nolan Ryan in charge , a team that w as built under Ryan’s expressed wishes , with the ambition to garner that elusive title . No expense was spared to lavish millions on players who were thought to be in their prime or on the cusp of meeting that goal. GM Jon Daniels , was merely the puppet , as the marionette Nolan Ryan pulled all of the strings needed .

From my own perspective, I believe that the Rangers will be hard pressed to replicate their divisional success of the past few seasons . Last year , for 157 days of the 182 days that the baseball season on view. It was simply a spectacle for those in attendance for many of the games , many of us were privileged to witness the team`s dominance of the AL West . Yet over the last ten days of their season imploded, as they succumbed to the Oakland A`s on the final day of the regular season, and in doing so , lost their divisional title . Last year , for 157 days of the 182 days that the baseball season was simply a spectacle for those in attendance of the games , many of us were privileged to witness the team`s dominance of the AL West . Yet over the last ten days of their season imploded, as they succumbed to the Oakland A`s on the final day of the regular season, and in doing so , lost their divisional title . That meltdown on the final day of the regular season led to the ramifications , as during the off-season, we saw the removal of Nolan Ryan from his position as team President , albeit that he still retains a minority stake in the franchise as an owner . Ryan relinquished his role in all day-to-day personnel decisions, which will now be left in the hands of Jon Daniels and team manager Ron Washington . The Hall of Fame pitcher , will now be with Rangers in merely an advisory and consultancy role , without any real authority whatsoever .

For the Rangers ,in spite of the doubters , because many believed that a number of their off-season moves including the trade of Josh Hamilton , might well have hindered the progress of the team. Instead , the performances of Yu Darvish , has the fans simply forgetting about the players who left during this past off-season . On Friday the Rangers will play host to the Detroit Tigers for a weekend three game set at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas . With each team, seeking supremacy within their division, this series should make for an interesting insight into the ambitions of both of these highly respected ball clubs.

It would be correct to suggest that last season Washington Nationals` GM Mike Rizzo , erred , when he made the decision to end the season of pitcher Stephen Strasburg far too early than was needed . With the player being placed on a pitch count, the decision was made that Strasburg would pitch no more than one hundred and eighty-five innings for the entire 2012 season . That decision in essence, cut what hopes and aspirations the team ad for the postseason and it simply sent the wrong message to Strasburg`s teammates and to the Nationals` fans . No amount of excuses from manager Davey Jonson or the downright asinine assertion , that the shutting down of the player was for his own well-being and good . Harper`s innings` count would end up at 159.1 innings for the year and the subsequent belief still remains that the loss of Strasburg for the postseason led to the Nationals` downfall.

For Stephen Strasburg and teammate Bryce Harper , as the two stalwarts of the current roster , as the duo along with Gio Gonzalez are seen as the long-term future and their of their championship aspirations. This season both of the aforementioned stars have suffered rather serious injuries during games. And remarkably, neither Davey Johnson or Mike Rizzo have sought to have either Harper or Strasburg removed from the games in question . Kind of idiotic , when you consider how much fuss was being made over Stephen Strasburg and his long-term health. So I guess with hindsight you can teach two old dogs a trick after-all ! And that is ow not to make a complete ass of yourself while trying to safeguard your image and baseball intellect . This season the Nationals have gotten off to something of an inauspicious start , yet they remain within striking distance of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East , as they seek to make a successful defense of their divisional title .

The NL East should prove to be an interesting duel between the Braves and Nationals in terms of their play and ultimately their regular season meetings in 2013 should prove to be pivotal , as both seek to earn a playoff berth this postseason .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

One quarter of the way through the MLB season , what if anything has stood out most for you in terms of the play of the teams and what do you hope to see from the ball clubs in the lead-up to the MLB All Star Game in 2013 ? By all means, simply leave a comment as you see fit .

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(1) Atlanta Braves left fielder Justin Upton (8) celebrates with teammates Jordan Schafer (17) and Andrelton Simmons (19) after hitting a grand slam in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday, May 17, 2013 in Atlanta. Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis looks on at right. AP Photo/John Bazemore …

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Nick Punto is forced out at second base by Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) after a Matt Kemp ground ball in the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 17, 2013, in Atlanta. The Braves would defeat the Dodgers 8-5 . AP Photo/John Bazemore …

(3) Tampa Bay Rays’ Ben Zobrist , left,connects for a double against the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning of a baseball game , Friday, May 17, 2013, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton …..

(4) BALTIMORE, MD – MAY 17: Evan Longoria (3) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with manager Joe Maddon (70) after scoring in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 17, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images …

(5) Bryce Harper is seen ere alongside Nationals` manager Davey Johnson and a team medical assistant , as he is escorted off the field having suffered a mild concussion . AP Photo /Matt Palmer ….

(6) Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo , left, talks with manager Davey Johnson during batting practice at Nationals Park, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, in Washington. The Nationals host the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League baseball division series Wednesday. The best-of-five series is tied 1-1. < AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

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tophatal …….. 05/17/2013

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MLB news and team by team news

MLB important dates

MLB transactions

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule

MLB results 16th May

MLB results 17th May

MLB probable pitchers (05/17/12013)

MLB probable pitchers 18th May

This week in MLB history and on this date (05/17) in MLB history

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Hot chic pic of the day actress Sharon Leal .

You asked my opinion and now I’m giving it to you , nothing has changed

You asked my opinion and now I’m giving it to you , nothing has changed

What looked as if it would prove to be an exciting NBA postseason , is now turning out to be a horrendous nightmare not only for a number of favored teams who harbored championship ambitions , but it could also lead to a monumental nightmare for the television ratings and become a major catastrophe for NBA hierarchy led by Commissioner David Stern . Nonetheless , the league will now have to go with what now appears to be its only plotl-ine left , and that is the possible successful defense by the Miami Heat and the title they won in 2012 .

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With Stern , due to step down from his position in February of 2014 , it was widely known that he wanted to step down on a career-high, after twenty-five years as the NBA Commissioner . He will be succeeded by his able second in command , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver . Though this postseason doesn’t appear to be have been clouded by any major controversies , it must be said that once again the officiating this postseason once again remains as inconsistent as it has ever been and as we have all known to be in recent years . Players and coaches , have ran afoul of the league officials , with financial penalties being levied against the perceived culprits . And as usual , David Stern has remained staunchly supportive of the referees , even when their errors have come to light.

The Miami Heat have simply cake-walked through this postseason , easily dispatching their first round opponents the Milwaukee Bucks with effortless ease . In their conference semifinals’ showdown with an injury ravaged Chicago Bulls’ …. roster , LeBron James and his teammates , merely toyed with the Bulls this second round series , albeit , that they lost just one game , in that best of seven games series . At 7-1 this , postseason , Erik Spoelstra seems to have his team playing at a high octane level , ready to place their foot on the gas , as and when needed . James for his part has raised the level of his play , more so , now in the postseason , than at any time during the regular season .

Having come through that series against the Chicago Bulls unscathed , the Miami Heat now await , the series’ victors between the number the two seeded , New York Knicks , who are fighting off elimination against a determined Indiana Pacers’ team , coached by Frank Vogel . And for the teary-eyed Knicks’ fans who have now been inexplicably silenced by their team’s inept play in this series . Well, let’s just say , that when praise is due, it ought to be given and where criticism is warranted , then take it like a man , stop with your goddamn bitching and whining as to what might have been .

There is no doubt in convention circles , that this series against the Bulls would have been far more interesting had the Heat faced , Derrick Rose , Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich , a trio of players who in part , have been sideline during the postseason , due to various injury woes. Inasmuch as head coach Tom Thibodeau , might well be disappointed , he saw in several of his players , a grit and determination that he can build on for the future . And amongst the players , who I believe will be an integral part of the team’s long-term future, will be Jimmy Butler ! He proved to be a defensive stalwart , albeit , the team faced a Heat with a great deal of offensive fire power. Thibodeau also , can take pride that in Joakim Noah , he seems to have found someone who is not afraid to play with gusto , while leading by example . It now also raises the question , can and when Derrick Rose chooses to return , will or would he , be willing to defer his leadership role to Noah ? My own thoughts are , the point guard did his teammates and the Bulls’ organization no favors in being none committal concerning whether or not he would be a willing participant in the postseason . It would be remiss also , to overlook the contributions of Rose’s replacement this off season , diminutive point guard , Nate Robinson .

With the Bulls’ abrupt departure , it now leaves now speculating , which of the two teams left , now said to be slugging it out , will be or would prove enough of a formidable opponent for the Miami Heat , as they are now a mere eight games away from repeating as NBA champions ? In each of their regular season meetings with the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks , Erik Spoelstra’s team were definitely tested in each of the match-ups in question. In their regular season series’ meetings with the Pacers , Miami were on the wrong side of the loss column , 1-2 this past season . And in their always highly contested meetings with the New York Knicks , once again the match-up would lead to another regular season deficit (1-3) for the Heat . Yet this is the postseason , a time where nothing can be left to chance , and where the circumstances will be entirely different , with their being so much at stake . The odds-makers in Las Vegas will undoubtedly make the Miami Heat the prohibitive favorites in either of the series’ match-ups in question .

Now if someone can explain to me how a team that finished atop of their division , the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference , with a mark of 58-24 , some five games ahead of their closes divisional rivals , the Brooklyn Nets (49-33), can then suddenly in the wake in what do not appear to be insurmountable odds , seemingly fall apart , in the way that the New York Knicks have done ? Was it not enough that all season long their all too obnoxious fans, were simply lauding this team , as if they were the second coming of the era , during which the franchise led by Patrick Ewing were deemed perennial contenders within the Eastern Conference. Instead , but for their first round series’ victory , this team would not have been viewed a passable imitation of a varsity basketball team . No excuses , here it is , the New York Knicks are vastly overrated , upon which their play is solely based upon the offensive prowess of Carmelo Anthony , with their being little if any, overall leadership ability being shown by anyone on the entire roster .

Called upon to now show their mental and physical fortitude , the Knicks find themselves adrift in the midst of sheer ambivalence , and some rather asinine statements , forthcoming from members of the playing and coaching staff, as to the reasons why they now find themselves in a 3-1 hole to the Indiana Pacers . And if that were not enough , Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson , has to be in apoplexy as to why his team has been so poor in their defensive assignments . Nowhere, has this been more evident , than in this series against the Pacers . Roy Hibbert is being made to look like an All Star , while David West , Paul George , George Hill are making the core of this Knicks’ roster look their age . AARP would feel proud and privileged enough to make Marcus Camby (39) , Jason Kidd (40) , Kenyon Martin (36) , Amare` Stoudemire (31) and Pablo Prigioni (35) early paid up members of the organization representing the nation’s population, aged fifty and over . Far be it for me to suggest , but that grouping combined have played their part , in much of the Knicks’ defensive and offensive woes during the postseason .

Tonight’s game five remains pivotal for both teams , with the Pacers seeking to close out the series . Should the Knicks be fortuitous in their endeavors and manage to eke out a win on their home-court at Madison Square Garden , then it would set right up for a grand series’ finale over the possible , final two games of this conference semifinal series .

Zack Randolph , it has to be said, has simply come into his own over the past three seasons , but during this season , the player has looked like someone on a mission of acceptance from his peers , while seeking redemption , after his often troubled stay in Portland , with what was then a franchise known not only as the Portland Trailblazers but also as the “Jailbreakers” . So much so , that it was hard not take note of the back pages of the nation’s daily papers , when you simply read about another player from the Blazers’ organization running afoul of the law , for a litany of legal issues , be it DUI , spousal abuse , drug possession and or sexual assault . Take your pick , at one time or another, it was simply a staple within that organization , for a player or players to parlay their notoriety for some illegal or stupid act , that would have them become part of a police blotter after their apprehension and arrest.

Having easily dismantled the “ highly touted “ …. Los Angeles Clippers , few gave the Memphis Grizzlies much of a chance against the Oklahoma City Thunder , the defending Western Conference champions . In what was seen as a supposed precursor to a possible conference finals’ match-up against the winners of the San Antonio Spurs versus the Golden State Warriors . A clear path , had been set for the Thunder and Scott Brooks’ players, yet somehow , someone forgot to pass on that particular script to the Grizzlies. Lionel Hollins and his team , simply flipped the script and hoisted the Kevin Durant and his teammates on their ass , with a surprisingly easy , 4-1 series’ victory.

Now one could question whether or not Memphis would have won their series against the Thunder , who were without their All Star point guard , Russell Westbrook . On the sidelines , having suffered a season ending injury , the player has supported his teammates throughout the postseason. It must be said that with Westbrook missing from the team’s lineup , a great deal more was being asked of Kevin Durant as well as Kevin Martin . , who was not able to provide the foil needed , in order to assist Durant throughout the series . Last night’s game was very much indicative of that and a great deal more , as neither the team or Scott Brooks made the adjustments necessary in order to erase any part of the series’ deficit , much less play themselves back into contention . Suffice to say , with the departure of the Thunder , the Western Conference Finals may well lack the buzz , panache and excitement everyone might have been expecting . Randolph and his teammates await the outcome of the series between the Spurs and Warriors , knowing full well that the Grizzlies , now have their own destiny in their hands .

A decision has been made with regard to the future of the Sacramento Kings , with David Stern , pretty much playing Devils Advocate in a decision , which I find to be completely asinine , disingenuous and self-serving on the part of the commissioner . Hell, no one ever said that you had to be honest or a man of integrity to be the highest ranking executive within the NBA hierarchy . None of the traits that I believe Stern actually possesses ! With the NBA’s Board of Governors voting against the relocation and sale of the franchise to the consortium led by billionaire venture capitalist , Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer . This now leaves the road clear for a rival bid by software mogul , Vivek Ranadive to be accepted by the league to acquire a 65% stake in the Kings . The remaining 35% would still be retained by the Maloof family , current owners of the beleaguered Western Conference franchise .

Stern was very welcoming of the Hansen , Ballmer bid , when it was first announced, with the billionaire entrepreneurs giving the league a clear indication that it was their intent to buy the franchise for a reputed $575 million and then seek to relocate the Kings to Seattle , Washington . David Stern is either averse to making money or he simply got weak kneed when the team owners snubbed their noses at two individuals whose combined fortunes could swallow up the entire NBA in terms of the value of the league’s thirty teams . Either way, this episode leaves a rather distasteful odor , when you seek to dig to the bottom of this all. Sacramento City Mayor , z Kevin Johnson , whose last minute effort led to the Ranadive bid , will now seek to use public funds to either refurbish the Sleep Train Arena , home to the Sacramento Kings , or they well may well seek to use those funds in conjunction with what we are told will be private financing to possibly build a new venue and a commercial and residential complex that will sit by side with the proposed venue . Now bear in mind , that the Kings remain one of the NBA’s poorest supported franchises in terms of home and overall attendance , as well as being one of the NBA’s least profitable teams . It does beg the question what are the ulterior motives behind Johnson’s moves , when his own city is currently facing an economic blight , with a major budgetary deficit that still has yet to be properly addressed ? Anyone care to answer that particular question ?

Politicians no matter what their altruism might appear to be, are no different from drug dealers who pedal their ware to young and old . Only in such instances , it is deemed as a felony and a crime . whereas , an incompetent elected official can lie , cheat and steal , will not face any legal repercussion , unless his hands are physically caught in the “ cookie jar “ , misappropriating public funds for his own personal use or soliciting a bribe . I’d like to think that Kevin Johnson doesn’t fall into any of the categories mentioned , but , then again , the former NBA star , turned politician , has himself , been less than upfront throughout this whole saga . Much like the NBA commissioner , who continues to bask in his own limelight , claiming accolades that he is not necessarily deserving of .

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the salient points raised within this piece ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit , and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it greatly appreciated !

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(1) Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) talks with Dwyane Wade (3) during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal against the Chicago Bulls, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(2) Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (3) and Chris Bosh , right, hug after the Heat defeated the Chicago Bulls 94-91 in Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal, Wednesday, May 15, 2013 in Miami. The Heat advanced to the conference finals having defeated the Chicago Bulls 4-1 in the series . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

(3) Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose , left, stands with teammates during the second half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(4) Chicago Bulls’ Carlos Boozer wipes his face as he stands with Joakim Noah (13) during a time out in the first half against the Miami Heat in Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(5) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, left, and Indiana Pacers’ Paul George vie for a rebound during the first half of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series, on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(6) Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph (50) shoots as Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (5) and Serge Ibaka (9) defend during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki …

(7) Vivek Ranadive , left, has the support of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and California state Sen. Darrell Steinberg in buying the Kings. Photo: Richard Drew, AP ….

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NB: NBA related links to ongoing stories

NBA owners vote to keep Kings in Sacramento

Seattle still without NBA team after relocation denied

Hinkie formally introduced as 76ers president

The Splash Brothers

And to NBA articles within this site, click on link provided . NBA posts

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA postseason 2012-13

NBA results 15th May , 2013

NBA schedule 16th May

NBA postseason 2011-12

NBA free agents

NBA team salaries (2012-13)

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Hot chic pic of the day Sarah Randall .

The boy who cried wolf …..

The boy who cried wolf

Now inasmuch as I love the game of golf and like the majority of the fans , I believe the sole reason to watch the sport, is primarily the ongoing ‘dominance’ of Tiger Woods , as he chases down with a view to surpassing Jack Nicklaus’ all-time Grand Slams’ tournament wins of eighteen Majors . Woods , the winner of fourteen Grand Slam titles , is already a four-time winner on the PGA Tour for this season , as well as leading the PGA Fedex Cup standings . Not so long ago, I read a rather asinine , yet innocuous and inane piece by a fellow blogger, who suggested Woods’ career was on the decline . Clearly , the piece was written by an individual with very little knowledge of the sport and someone who I believe, had done little research if any , into Woods’ career , let alone that of Jack Nicklaus and many of the all-time greats within the sport . It is all too easy to come out with a rationale , yet to make a statement and not have anything to back it up with , is simply asinine and completely lacking in intelligence . Leave that sort of bullshit to those who espouse it best , the lame ass politicians in Congress !

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In The Players Championship , held this past weekend at the TPC Sawgrass Course in Ponte Vedra , Florida . This tournament often considered to be a “fifth Major” by PGA Tour professionals , had a great deal of thrills and excitement over the four days of competition . Nonetheless , the tournament itself , will now become more known for what has taken place off the course , rather than for any of the exceptional play that was said to have taken place throughout the four days competitive play. Long considered , two of the best players of this era , Tiger Woods and Spaniard , Sergio Garcia , have long held some might say a great deal of animus towards one another . Whereas , Woods has had a considerable amount of success worldwide as well on the PGA Tour . Garcia’s success , if anything , have been fleeting , with no one lingering moment that would indeed make you sit up and take note .

The final round of The Players Tournament would turn out to be a round full of errant play, several players in contention for the lead , with most notably both Woods and Garcia vying for the top spot on the leader-board. As the final holes of this event played themselves out , it was clear for all to see that Garcia was the player under pressure and someone who is not known to handle adversity all that well . Consider the fact that Woods, when in contention for the lead of a tournament from the third round onward , the player is a staggering 52-4 . Pressure ? I’d say that Sergio Garcia might well have been pissing and defecating in his pants , for all of the good it would do ! The Spaniard would suffer a meltdown in the final round of play , twice placing his ball in the water on the fifteenth green as well as double-bogeying that the sixteenth hole , leading to his falling out of contention for a victory . Woods would end up with the victory , his second Players Tournament Championship win and the seventy-eighth of his professional career on the PGA Tour . A mark that now leaves him four behind the all-time leading total of eighty-two wins , held by the legendary and late Sam Snead .

In the aftermath of it all , Garcia would claim that Woods’ conduct was unsportsmanlike , very much unrepresentative of the etiquette of golf . Pardon me for saying this , but since when was there anything remotely resembling the etiquette of golf , much less sportsmanship of the PGA Tour ? Consider the fact, that fairness and sportsmanship is seemingly judged by the interpretation of the rules, as seen fit by Tour Chairman Tim Finchem and members of the PGA Tour Executive Board . And if that wasn’t enough , players are now of a differing opinion , on whether or not belly-putters should be allowed to be used on the Tour by their fellow professionals . One should also not that Tour professional Vijay Singh is now seeking to sue the PGA Tour for loss of reputation and seeking punitive damages for what he says are unfounded allegations that he used a banned substance . With the R&A (Royal & Ancient Golf Club) , international governing body for golf , along with the PGA Tour are now sensitive to the issue of steroids within their sport , as well as now seeking to have te sport reintroduce to the Summer Olympics , first as an exhibition event , in 2016 , and ten formally in 2010 . One could attest to the fact that these are now sensitive times for the sport , as they seek international recognition beyond their already large international fan-base . With WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and and the USOC (US Olympic Committee) and USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) already tackling the issue of illicit use of banned substances within the sport of cycling and the recent behavior of former seven-time Tour De France champion , Lance Armstrong , does anyone truly believe that Tim Finchem now wants to see golf , its image and the PGA Tour dragged through the mud , with its image sullied any further ? Your thoughts on this all ?

Courtesy of ESPN

Vijay Singh sues PGA Tour

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Vijay Singh sued the PGA Tour on Wednesday for exposing him to “public humiliation and ridicule” during a 12-week investigation into his use of deer-antler spray that ended last week when the tour dropped its case against him.

The lawsuit was a surprise, and so was the timing — the day before The Players Championship, the flagship event on the PGA Tour held on its home course where Singh, who has three major championships among his 34 PGA Tour victories, has honed his game for the past two decades.

More from ESPN.com

Vijay Singh’s decision to sue the PGA Tour is misguided and says a lot about the man himself, writes ESPN.com’s Bob Harig. Story

“I am proud of my achievement, my work ethic and the way I live my life,” Singh said in a statement. “The PGA Tour not only treated me unfairly, but displayed a lack of professionalism that should concern every professional golfer and fan of the game.”

Singh filed the lawsuit in New York, where he has a home and the tour has an office. He is in the field at The Players Championship and will start with Robert Garrigus and J.J. Henry at 2 p.m. ET Thursday.

The 50-year-old Fijian, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006, said in a Sports Illustrated article in January that he used deer-antler spray and he was “looking forward to some change in my body.” The spray was said to include an insulin-like growth factor that was on the tour’s list of banned substances. The tour sent a sample from Singh to be tested, and it returned small amounts of IGF-1.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced April 30 that the tour was dropping its case because of new information from the World Anti-Doping Agency, which said deer-antler spray no longer was considered prohibited because it contained just minimal amounts of the growth factor.

The lawsuit claims the PGA Tour relied on WADA’s list of banned substances and methods without doing any of its own research, including whether such substances even provide any performance-enhancing benefits. Singh’s lawyers said the tour “rushed to judgment and accused one of the world’s hardest working and most dedicated golfers of violating the rules of the game.”

“We have not seen the lawsuit, just the statement,” PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said. “We have no comment.”

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Singh’s character to my mind, still remains in question in spite of his worldwide career , and as an inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame . When first questioned, on this matter , the Fijian golfer was reluctant to answer any questions on the matter . Vijay Singh is reluctant to discuss the matter in public , without the presence of a legal adviser . As to what that might suggest , I will let you be the judge of that ! Consider also, the PGA’s own rules on banned substances are ambiguous at best , and with the substance in question known to be used by Vijay Singh , commonly known as Deer Antler juice , known to have slight traces of anabolic steroids . It does beg the question how will the PGA Tour and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club address the issue on the Tour as well as on a global basis ? The spirit of the game be damned , if the ambiguity continues , then to hell with this bullshit of fairness and sportsmanship ! It is now time for Finchem and his cohorts to stop blowing smoke up everyone’s ass, in trying to suggest that golf remains the last true bastion of sportsmanship and professional course etiquette , as nothing could be further from the truth .

Well , with a number of series now about to reach a crescendo in the semifinal stages of the NBA postseason . It is now time to take stock of the teams and how they are said to be faring . If you consider yourself to be a loyal and devout New York Knicks’ fan, do you bury your head in shame by the team’s embarrassment in their continually woefully inept displays against the Indiana Pacers ? Or do you simply decry the fact that this is nothing more than an aberration that the team is now facing a pivotal game four while quite possibly being on the cusp of elimination . All season long , Knicks’ fans and many of their players , were seemingly under the impression that it would be preordained that the team would be on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals , and a potential match-up against the Miami Heat . Well as now , things are not looking so good for Mike Woodson’s players , as they seek to erase a 2-1 deficit against Frank Vogel’s all too competitive Pacers’ team .

Tonight’s game will be a true test of the intestinal fortitude of Knicks’ forward , Carmelo Anthony and his teammates when they face the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana , Indianapolis . Grit and determination has been ever present, but it has been the defensive mindset of the Indiana Pacers throughout much of the playoffs . For all of the talk of the Knicks and playoffs their perceived prowess , other than their first round series victory , there has been very little to suggest in this series they are capable of erasing this deficit (2-1).

Should the Pacers prevail , tonight , then it would certainly cast a giant shadow over the Knicks’ organization . Most notably for team owner , James Dolan , GM Glen Grunwald this would be seen as a truly disappointing season , in light of franchise’s own lofty expectations . Of the remaining participants now in the now postseason , only the Miami Heat have a larger payroll than their Eastern Conference counterparts , the New York Knicks. A commitment that is just under $80 million , with the biggest outlay going to Amar`e Stoudemire , a player who has yet to make a solid contribution of any kind to the Knicks during the regular or postseason for the organization. That being said, if Carmelo Anthony is able to lead this team in erasing this deficit , then it leads to a best of three game series’ finale , in what so far has been a highly entertaining and scintillating series .

In world of theater , the saying “ it is not over until the fat lady sings “ , might just be ringing true as it relates to the Oklahoma City Thunder . The number one seed in the Western Conference , now find themselves in a horrendous hole , after last night’s inexplicable six point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies . Needless to say , that the fat lady off stage near right is simply clearing her throat she gets set to regale us will with an aria . On the other hand , it could very well be that Kevin Durant and his teammates are trying to lull us all into a false sense of security . At this juncture , my money is now definitely on the fat chic ! . Who would have thought that the Thunder would be facing a 3-1 deficit , and that Zack Randolph and Marc Gasol would have been amongst the most explosive offensive duos during the postseason ? Not I said the fly ! Likewise , even with the loss of Russell Westbrook to a season ending injury , I still felt that that Scott Brooks’ players had enough to simply withstand an all-out assault from Lionel Hollins’ players . Now all that awaits this Grizzlies’ team and a path to the conference finals , will be for them to close out their series with a rousing game five victory at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma on Wednesday night when the two teams meet to resume their conference semifinal series . And the chances are , that will be the likely outcome given the rather inconsistent play from the Thunder over the past two games .

The series as they are now placing themselves out within the Western Conference now seems to be taking on a life of their very own . And nowhere is that now self-evident tan the series between San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors . The head coach of the Warriors Mark Jackson has simply made believers out of is doubters who were dubious of his abilities as a coach in the NBA .From my own perspective I firmly believe that Jackson was greatly overlooked in the NBA Coach of The Year balloting , but this is merely my belief , objective as it appears to be.

For the Spurs` Big Three of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker , this might well be the trios` last hoorah . In their time together, the triumvirate have garnered several of the game`s highest individual and team awards . That in of-itself will not be enough to satisfy the most ardent of fans of the San Antonio Spurs , who simply wish to see another title brought to the franchise , whose last postseason triumph, the fourth in their history came in 2007 .

With the series now tied at two games apiece (2-2) , it now leaves Gregg Popovich in something of a dilemma , and how he makes the adjustments needed to secure a series` victory . It is clear that from a defensive standpoint , the Spurs are struggling and have struggled to negate the effectiveness of Steph Curry throughout this series . As Curry goes in this contest , then so might the Warriors` postseason foray and the franchise`s aspirations .

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Picture gallery .

In light of the points raised within this article what thoughts if any do you have concerning this article ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit 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) Tiger Woods of the USA plays a shot from the 11th tee during round two of The Players Championship at The Players Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Richard Heathcote/Getty Images North America … (2) Sergio Garcia of Spain plays a shot from the 11th tee during round two of The Players Championship at The Players Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Richard Heathcote/Getty Images North America ….

(3) Sergio Garcia (left) and Tiger Woods shake hands on the first tee prior to the start of the third round of The Players Championship from the TPC Sawgrass Course at Pontre Vedra Beac , Pontre Vedrea , Florida , AP Poto / Micael Fletcer ….

(4) Vijay Singh (L) of Fiji talks to Robert Allenby of Australia during a practice round for THE PLAYERS Championship at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 8, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Singh has field a federal civil suit in US Courts claiming defamation of character , libel and slander in a suit filed against the PGA Tour and Commissioner Tim Finchem . Vijay Singh is claiming that suit derives from the fact that the PGA Tour knowingly leaked details concerning an ongoing investigation of his knowingly taken a banned substance . Singh maintains is innocence stating that he only takes a medical supplement known as Deer Antler juice , which does contain small amounts of anabolic steroids . The player is seeking punitive monetary damages . Many of Singh`s peers believe tat is actions will do irreparable damage and harm to the PGA`s reputation and they have called for him to halt his legal action . AP Photo /Keith Meachem ………

(5) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony wipes his face as he leaves the court following the first half of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in Indianapolis. The Knicks would lose game four 92-83 , and now face a pivotal game five on Thursday night , as they are now down 3-1 in the best of seven-game semifinals` conference series . AP Photo/Darron Cummings …..

(6) New York Knicks’ Jason Kidd (5) shoots past Indiana Pacers’ George Hill during the first half of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Darron Cummings …..

(7) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (21) is fouled by Golden State Warriors’ Harrison Barnes , left, and Golden State Warriors’ Festus Ezeli also defends during the first half in Game 5 of a Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series , Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

(8) Steph Curry (left) is seen ere looking to defend the lane against the Spurs` Tony Parker during game three of the Western Conference semifinals played at the Oracle Arena in Oakland California on the 10th May , 2013 . AP Poto / Keith McCarron ……

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Tophatal 05/14/2013 aIK

NB : As of 14th May 9:32 pm EST no results were known concerning NBA games being played .

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Yahoo Sports Golf

PGA Tour & news

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA playoffs brackets’ overview

NBA results 13th May

NBA schedule 14th May

NBA team salaries

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Miami Heat news

New York Knicks` news

San Antonio Spurs` news

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Mine is not to reason why , only to ask the questions when needed

Mine is not to reason why , only to ask the questions when needed

Well the NFL Draft came and disappeared , leaving a great many fans , either overjoyed or extremely disappointed with the decisions made by their respective teams . And for the franchise with the ignominy of having that final pick for the last player to be taken . Let’s just say , for that player and others taken in the seventh and final round ,it is simply nothing to be ashamed of. If memory serves me correctly , a certain three-time Superbowl winning quarterback and future Hall of Fame inductee by the name of Tom Brady , dropped from the middle rounds , only to be taken as a sixth round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots . And as we know , the rest as they say “ is history “ , not just for Brady and his undoubted postseason exploits but also for that of the franchise .

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Cincinnati Bengals first-round draft pick Tyler Eifert (85), a tight end from Notre Dame, catches a pass during NFL football rookie mini-camp , Friday, May 10, 2013, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Al Behrman …

As a die-hard Patriots’ fan , I must say that I was not overly enamored with a number of the picks made in this draft by the front office of the organization . However, in light of the team’s defensive woes over the past few seasons . I can only assume and hope that GM Nick Caserio , Bill Belichick and the coaching staff , will have firmly addressed the needs of the team . Certainly , in 2012 , this secondary of the New England Patriots were found to be wanting in the most explicable of moments , but specifically during the regular season . As to the postseason and the team’s exploits there . Well, the cupboard was laid bare, during the AFC championship game , against the eventual Superbowl champions , the Baltimore Ravens . Not only was that cupboard empty , but the anemic performances rendered by the Patiots’ players in that conference title game , led me to believe that they simply gave up before the second quarter, simply thinking that they could rest on their laurels , because of a 13-0 lead over a Ravens’ staff that at the time seemed ill-prepared .

The second half of the game would prove to be Belichick’s undoing , as the team was unable to muster a single point in the final two quarters of game . Someone perhaps, should have told Bill Belichick that the best performing quarterback during the postseason was in fact in fact a member of the Baltimore Ravens . Joe Flacco , simply excelled , out playing his counterpart , and further emphasizing why during this off-season the Ravens’ front office were simply prepared to “break the bank” in offering the four-year starter a whopping six-year …. $120 million contract , making one of the highest paid players in the NFL and certainly amongst the “ highest paid “ at the quarterback position . Needless to say, Ravens’ owner , Steve Bisciotti and GM Ozzie Newsome believe to be , money well spent .

The Baltimore Ravens’ off-season has been well chronicled , with their being a number of departures , from the players who were part of that Superbowl winning team . One might surmise that John Harbaugh and his coaching staff might well be despondent after the defections and retirement of certain players, but such has been the astuteness shown by Ozzie Newsome and his continued brilliance , concerning his this and previous draft classes . It would take a foolish individual to bet against the Baltimore Ravens making a quick return to the postseason .Simply consider Habraugh’s coaching record and the playoff appearances made by the franchise since he succeeded Brian Billick in 2008 .

In many respects, I do believe that there has been a disconnect between Belichick and what he believes to be are not his flaws as a head coach. Conceited , obnoxious and clearly, he is not willing to admit when he has definitely made a monumental mistake . Much of that has led to many of the on field coaching miscalculations, which now seem to be all too prevalent in the Patriots` play over the past two seasons. The AFC East this season will be filled with pratfalls for the Patriots as they go about seeking another divisional title and making the postseason .

Bill Belichick and his players , will open up their season with a quartet of preseason games beginning with a game against the Philadelphia Eagles and in many respects , I do believe that there has been a disconnect between Belichick and what he believes to be are not his flaws as a head coach. Conceited , obnoxious and clearly, he is not willing to admit when he has definitely made a monumental mistake . Much of that has led to many of the on field coaching miscalculations, which now seem to be all too prevalent in the Patriots` play over the past two seasons. The AFC East this season will be filled with pratfalls for the Patriots as they go about seeking another divisional title and making the postseason .

As I alluded to earlier , the Patriots will open up their season with a quartet of preseason games beginning with a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field , in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , on the 9th August , 2013 , week one of the NFL`s preseason schedule . The team will open up their regular season with a game against divisional rivals , the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium , in Orchard Park , New York , which kicks off the NFL`s regular season schedule .

Now, while this off-season has been filled with stories , that the ever demanding NFL fans yearn for and a great deal more . Perhaps the biggest story may well be that of the New York Jets` drafting of quarterback Geno Smith and the player`s demeanor and rallying cry that he “ entered the NFL to win “ . Conceited, bellicose and full of bravura , Smith may well feel that he has something to offer the Jets , considering their disastrous 2012 season , where Rex Ryan could seem to get noting right and where the continued idiocy surrounding both Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow became cannon fodder for print and television media alike . Never mind the anecdotes that the late night television talk show were graced with, in terms of never-ending comedic content ……. “how far can Tebow throw ? Obviously not far enough. “ How many Jets` players does it take turn on a light switch? None , they still live in the dark ages and no one on last season`s roster, is actually intelligent enough, to even know that Edison invented the incandescent light bulb.

GM John Idzik has been entrusted to rebuild the roster through the draft and via free agency . Given Idzik`s experience and is astuteness in the drafting of Seahawks` quarterback Russell Wilson in 2012 as a third round draft pick in last season`s draft by the Seattle Seahawks , when Idzik led the franchise`s front office . The Jets are hoping that he can work his magic for a second time in such an instance, by having a quarterback competition amongst the quarterbacks on the Jets` roster . It was under such a premise that Wilson won the starting spot on the Seahawks` roster . . Russell Wilson would show is maturity , leadership and dexterity in leading Seattle into the playoffs , where they would succumb (28-30) to the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round of the postseason .

It would be asking a great deal of Geno Smith to beat out Mark Sanchez for the starting role at the quarterback position , yet given Sanchez’s woes this past season , it would not come as a surprise , should that situation arise . Sanchez is under a great deal of pressure to prove that he is still a viable commodity as a quarterback in the NFL , after all the of plaudits and acclaim received in the first two years of his career .

The Jets will open their regular season with a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida , on the 8th September , 2013. It should be a game that will be a test for both sides as each seeks to resurrect their flagging franchise’s fortunes.

Speaking of a franchise with flagging fortunes , what chance is there for the Jacksonville Jaguars to turn things around ? First time head coach Gus Bradley will have a difficult season , along with new owner , Shahid Khan , having spent $773 million to purchase the franchise, and now seeking push a declining attendance level , and place it amongst the upper echelons of the NFL . For one of the NFL`s least profitable franchises , it must be said that the Jacksonville Jaguars are in a market, where it is barely self-sustaining . Yet for some reason , there is this continued belief that the franchise can maintain a presence in the Central Florida market place , while remaining part of the NFL .

The Jaguars` season in 2012 , started and ended with the ineffectiveness of quarterback Blaine Gabbert , and the problem that apart from not being able to put up points on the scoreboard , with both the defense and offense of team was simply anemic , if not mediocre overall ! ! The struggles of Jaguars will be littered with obstacles this season , which I do not believe that they will be able to overcome. The team in its present guise, simply is not good enough , in spite of the players drafted and their off-season maneuvers in terms of the acquisition of free agents . Call me naïve , but the Jaguars have not been of any relevance in the NFL in over a decade and to think that because an owner (Shahid Khan) , no matter what the success attained in the business world . It is by no means a dead-on certainty, that he will be able to replicate that success in the NFL , even with the professionals that make up the Jaguars` front office and tat of the coaching staff .

For Gabbert , this season will place the quarterback under a great deal of pressure , as he has seen many of his contemporaries from the 2011 NFL Draft have a considerable amount of success, while the player himself , has continually struggled throughout his entire two-year career in the league . Bear in mind also, the quarterback is amongst the highest paid players on the Jaguars` roster . Gus Bradley , has few alternatives , if his quarterback is unable to lead this team to even some moderate success in the AFC South , much less in the league over the course of the season.
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I am of the opinion that players ought to be rewarded , based upon their productivity and not solely upon potential or acclaim . Yet for some reason, this off-season Cowboys` general manager and team owner , Jerry Jones saw fit to reward the team`s starting quarterback , Tony Romo with a seven-year $119 million contract , that makes Romo amongst the highest paid players at the position in league . Consider the fact , that while many would consider Tony Romo a very good regular season quarterback . The player`s failings and continued failure in the postseason belies the fact, that Romo has yielded little in return for the franchise over the course of his ten-year career. One playoff win , and he gets rewarded with an exorbitant contract , for a player who lacks leadership skills and were he and his teammates continue make excuses, with alarming regularity for their recent postseason woes . For Romo , one win in four playoff postseason appearances would suggest to me, that there isn`t an ounce of goddamn common sense to be found inside the Cowboys` front office and even less amongst their ever under-achieving playing staff .

Sooner or later , Jerry Jones will begin to realize that Jason Garrett simply isn`t good enough a coach , to guide Cowboys to were think that they ought to be , much less realize the fact, that the team last season was not good enough to garner a playoff berth . Now the Dallas Cowboys, are now seeing their divisional rivals back amongst the upper echelons of the NFL.

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File- This Dec. 30, 2012 file photo shows Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) standing during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md. Romo and the Cowboys have agreed on a six-year contract extension worth $108 million, with about half of that guaranteed . The agreement was reported on the team’s website Friday March 29, 2013. AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

Sooner or later Jerry Jones will begin to realize that Jason Garrett simply isn`t good enough a coach to guide Cowboys to were think that they ought to be , much less realize the fact, that the team last season was not good enough to garner a playoff berth . Now the Dallas Cowboys, are now seeing their divisional rivals back amongst the upper echelons of the NFL. Now the Dallas Cowboys, are now seeing their divisional rivals back amongst the upper echelons of the NFL . What better way for the Cowboys to begin their regular season than a match-up against New York Giants ? A franchise that in recent years under head coach Tom Coughlin , seems to have found a way to achieve what the Texas franchise has failed to do in almost two decades , and that is to win a Superbowl . In recent years the contests between these two teams have been highly competitive and all too physical . And the NFC East is all the better , when both the Cowboys and Giants are both playing at very best . Your thoughts on the matter ?

As usual, there is always a reason to heed each season cautiously , as the head coaches are going to be on “the hot seat“ . Much of that, boils down to the play of the teams , and how they fare over a sixteen-game schedule . It will be interesting to see which of the head coaches are, or will fall from grace !

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New Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen (L) greets Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie (c) and team owner Mark Davis , during a press conference on January 30, 2012 in Alameda, California. Dennis Allen was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing Hue Jackson who was fired after one season . Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ….

! I may well be, rushing to a presumption of judgment , but having seen the customary merry-go-round as the usual plethora of firings take place amongst coaching staffs and front office executives . Given frequency with which the Oakland Raiders tend to fire their head coaches in recent seasons. I get the feeling that Dennis Allen`s tenure could very well be sort-lived ! Team owner , Mark Davis and GM Reggie McKenzie , I believe are deeply distrusted by the vast majority of Raiders` fans . Yet , rarely do I ever hear them being critical of the front office in recent years and the confounding ways in which they have conducted personnel decisions. Needless to say , once again the Raiders` draft class and recent acquisitions will be questioned in many areas , and quite honestly , I would not expect it to be any other way !

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With the preseason a little more than three months away , but with a number of teams having brought in their rookies for their symposiums , organized training activities (OTA`s) and none roster invitees . It should be very interesting to see how a number of the first round draft picks will fare , in comparison to their predecessors of last season. Your thoughts on the upcoming season and in particular, which teams , do you believe will be a credible contender for the Superbowl ? Chime in with a comment as you see fit .

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(1) Cincinnati Bengals first-round draft pick Tyler Eifert (85), a tight end from Notre Dame, catches a pass during NFL football rookie mini-camp , Friday, May 10, 2013, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Al Behrman …

(2) New England Patriots NFL football head coach Bill Belichick speaks during a news conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Friday, May 3, 2013. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …

(3) FILE – In this Jan. 20, 2013, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to wide receiver Wes Welker (83) before the NFL football AFC Championship football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Foxborough, Mass. The Denver Broncos have found a new target for Peyton Manning , agreeing to a two-year deal with Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker . AP Photo/Elise Amendola, ….

(4) Broadcaster Jim Nantz interviews Baltimore Ravens quarterback and Superbowl MVP , Joe Flacco (5) after the Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Bill Haber …

(5) File- This Dec. 30, 2012 file photo shows Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) standing during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md. Romo and the Cowboys have agreed on a six-year contract extension worth $108 million, with about half of that guaranteed . The agreement was reported on the team’s website Friday March 29, 2013. AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(6) Rookie head coach, Gus Bradley , is seen here overseeing workouts with the Jacksonville Jaguars` first team squad . Bradley has an arduous season ahead with quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who has failed to live up to expectations as a two-year starter with the Jaguars` franchise . Gabbert enters his third season , while under a great deal of pressure from his backups , Chad Henne , Jordan Rodgers , and Matt Scott . Florida Times Union / Mark Cready …..

(7) New Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen (L) greets Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie (c) and team owner Mark Davis , during a press conference on January 30, 2012 in Alameda, California. Dennis Allen was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing Hue Jackson who was fired after one season . Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ….

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NFL related articles and links : Courtesy of NFL.com & Yahoo sports

Packers’ rookie running backs having friendly competition

Tannehill gushes over Wallace

Draft Fallout: Urlacher era is over

Raiders CEO Trask resigns after 25 years with organization

Giants sign 5, waive 6 after rookie mini-camp

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Tophtal 2013/05/10

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NFL news and archived stories

NFL transactions and for the month of April

NFL schedule (2013) , week one , two and three and four

NFL preseason schedule

2013 NFL Draft

2012 NFL standings (division) and by conference

2012 NFL regular season results and postseason results

2008 NFL regular season and postseason

2008 NFL divisional standings & conference standings from that season

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New England Patriots’ overview & profile

New England Patriots’ news and archived stories

New England Patriots’ schedule and their preseason schedule

New England Patriots’ 2013 draft class

Patriots’ off-season transactions (May) and for the month of April

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Hot chic pics of the day . Bar Refaeli (above), and actress Kerry Washington , below and Vanessa Minnillo ..

Bada-bing bada-boom ! Wow , she`s hot , is Kerry Washington , damn hot !

Minnillo , is she a naughty schoolgirl or what ? Your thoughts on the matter ?

Same time next year , but this year appears to be no different from last season

Same time next year , but this year appears to be no different from last season

A month into the baseball season and fans are now exhilarated with the play of the teams and their impressive starts in several cases. With that in mind it should be noted , that there are a number of teams that have fallen short in failing to meet early expectations . Injuries have played their part but none more so than per usual . The New York Yankees have Derek Jeter , Alex Rodriguez , Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson still sidelined , in various stages of recovery , but with no timetable actually set as of yet for their return . Consider the fact , that the five players in question , account for more than $83 million of the team’s annual $227 million payroll for 2013 , which currently are not on the playing field for a team that now has posted a 18-13 (.581) record , good enough for third place within the AL East .

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For the Yankees’ fans , I believe that they will continue to rally behind the team , in spite of their off the field issues , as it relates to their still ailing and troubled star Alex Rodriguez . The third baseman is once again embroiled in another sordid affair , in which his name and that of several other Major League players are in engulfed in a further story of illicit banned substances , that have been allegedly supplied to them by a South Florida supplements’ company , Biogenesis , owned by Floridian businessman , Anthony Bosch . The company is at present subject of joint investigation by the DEA , FBI and US Justice Department . Meanwhile, MLB Commissioner , Bud Selig is said to be closely monitoring the ongoing investigation from afar . I liken Selig’s interest in the matter , much as in the same way he monitored the financial misdeeds of Frank McCourt , as he financially ruined the Los Angeles Dodgers , Saul Katz’s and Fred Wilpon’s continued “ idiotic” stewardship of the still financially embarrassed and uncompetitive New York Mets . Need I remind you all, of the ongoing mess that remains the Miami Marlins and the very fact that team owner , Jeffrey Loria still seeks to apportion blame elsewhere for the team’s ineptitude in 2012 , while then seeking to conduct his own “ bargain basement sale “ , in terms of trading away many of the team’s high-priced acquisitions of last season ?

The Miami Marlins, losers of two straight and are 5-5 in their last ten games . It does beg the question , how much more will the fans of this impoverished team continue to tolerate , in spite of the claims by many analysts, that baseball , Major League Baseball , remains a viable option within the state of Florida . Granted , the state does remain a hotbed for excellent talent and the Spring Training (Grapefruit League) home for several teams around the league , as well as their Minor League affiliates . Yet beyond that , for Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays , there has been either a steady decline or sparse attendance for their home games , as well as what appears to be an anemic fan-base .

Having been a one-time supporter of the Miami Marlins , I long shied away in my continued support of the franchise , after the inherent lies perpetrated by the team’s ownership , that has been continually been suborned by Bud Selig and an “ absolutely clueless” hierarchy , that is seemingly supported by the also clueless on air radio and television analysts , and personalities who cover the sport . As to the print media and their idiocy , well let’s just say if those assholes cannot succinctly inform the public of anything worthwhile, as it relates the real underlying issues of baseball . Then under what circumstances, are we to believe that they would be able to explain to us in depth , the reasons behind the continued economic imbalances as well the continued cheating that still runs the gamut of Major League Baseball ?

This season if anything , we have seen a string of great performances from several pitchers within the AL and NL , that has given us a clear indication as to the reason behind the “rise of the pitcher” and less of an emphasis in terms of run productivity . . The Texas Rangers’ starting ace , Yu Darvish came within “ two outs” of pitching what would have been baseball’s twenty fourth “perfect game “ in baseball’s history earlier in this season , in an exemplary display of a controlled pitching performance that was simply scintillating to say the very least . On the receiving end of that 7-0 loss , were the woefully inept Houston Astros (9-24) , whose record this season , is the worst in the Majors , and it is looking increasingly like that this team could very well end up surpassing last season’s mark within MLB for the worst record (55-107) in the game.

Speaking of teams, that are, and will remain inept, beyond the Astros , Miami Marlins. There is a growing belief that the Chicago Cubs , New York Mets and San Diego Padres , simply show no wish to be competitive . The continued excuses , especially amongst the Mets’ fans has become mind numbingly stupid and beyond belief ! No amount of excuses can be made for the ineptitude shown by the front office staff , even after the dismissal of former general manager , Omar Minaya , with the influx of Sandy Alderson and J P Riccardi , to now assume control for all of the executive decisions made , with regard to the acquisition of player personnel , either through the draft or free agency . . The Mets are not even remotely competitive within the NL East this season , and in all likelihood , if Terry Collins and his managerial staff are unable to turn things around . Then, we are likely to see the dismissal of the manager, from his first managerial position within the game .

Wednesday afternoon , the New York Mets will play host to another struggling ball-club , when they take on the Chicago White Sox at Citi-Field , in Flushing , New York . A game , where I expect that the attendance is likely to be somewhat dour , if not anemic ! Taking the mound for the Mets will be Jeremy Hefner (0-3, 4.34 ERA) who faces Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.38 ERA) .. At 12-16 , the Mets are in need of victories , as well as series’ wins , if they are in anyway of having a chance , much less of keeping in close proximity of the division leading Atlanta Braves (19-12) , . who are closely followed by the Washington Nationals , Philadelphia Phillies , followed by the Mets and the barely recognizable Marlins at the foot of the division.

As I alluded to earlier , this season the pitching within the Majors seems to be significantly better than I expected it to be ! In the past few seasons there has been the propensity see a significant rise in home runs and , RBI’s , but one of the more startling statistics that has come to the fore, has been the fluctuation in the number of “walks” from season to season . Either the batters are simply not that good , or the pitching , however cyclical it might well be , is now back at a level where the likes of Yu Darvish , Matt Cain , Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez , Clay Buchholz , Clayton Kershaw and Jordan Zimmerman being dominant this season .

It has been a number of years since the game has seen a player reach one of the pinnacles within the game and that is forty home runs and 40 stolen bases in a season . Seven years in fact , a feat that has only been accomplished four times in the game’s history . Alfonso Soriano , then playing for the Washington Nationals was the last player to achieve that feat in 2006 , which now seems to have become something of a rarity within the game of baseball. Personally , I now find that feat somewhat more enthralling, far more than the single season home run record . Albeit , that the taint and stain now associated with the players that have surpassed Roger Maris’ mark over the past decade and a half , does make the game of baseball all the more tawdry and dare one say , meaningless in terms of Maris’ feat ? It must be said , the “era of steroids “, simply has been a blight , casting a giant shadow over the game today , while the league hierarchy still remains at a loss , how best to address the issue . Meanwhile, the game’s revenues increase exponentially , primarily from the re-negotiation of the television contracts and less from the profitability of the league’s thirty teams.

As to the aspirants , seeking to succeed the reigning World Series’ champions , the San Francisco Giants . It must be said that one of the prohibitive favorites before the season started , might well have been the cash-laden and definitely ambitious Los Angeles Dodgers . Lead managing partners , Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly and Magic Johnson , have simply let it be known “ no expense would be spared “, as the Dodgers seek to bring back a title to the city of Los Angeles and to a ball club simply starved of that success.

It will be a quarter of a century since the Los Angeles Dodgers were triumphant in baseball’s biggest postseason fare. As the 1988 team proved to be successful in defeating their fame instate , rivals the Oakland Athletics 4-1 in a best of seven series finale to the season of that historic finale series . World Series MVP , Orel Hershiser had an “ outstanding series” as mirrored in his stats for several of his electrifying performances for the Dodgers , who were managed by legendary franchise icon Tommy Lasorda .

The Los Angeles Dodgers managed by Don Mattingly is suddenly struggling to get an an injury riddled …. team competent to compete against divisional rivals within the NL West . It`s pretty much safe to say that if Mattingly isn`t able to at least guide the Dodgers deep into the postseason . Then there is the likelihood that GM Ned Colletti will have to consult the front office as to whether or not it would be in the franchise`s best interest to retain Don Mattingly`s services as the team`s manager .

A knock against the was the bravado sown by their fans and owners alike , was in thinking , that merely because of franchise`s monetary resources, backed by a multi-billion dollar television contract and the $125 billion in assets of venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners Inc , parent company of Guggenheim Baseball Properties , owners of the Dodgers` ball-club. With a payroll now exceeding $233.1 million of which , there is now $68.9 million now committed to players on the team`s disabled list . It is easy understand, one of the numerous reasons behind the Dodgers problems this season , specifically as it relates to the team`s play . If there is one thing that we know about this team , it is that from a pitching and from an offensive standpoint the Dodgers are capable mounting a mid-season assault that could very well place them amongst the thick of things within the division as well as the NL overall . From an offensive and pitching standpoint the team does possess the weapons to get the job done , but much of that will be dependent upon the leadership shown by the likes of Matt Kemp , Clayton Kershaw , Adrian Gonzalez , Josh Beckett , Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford , whose combined salaries make up a large part of the financial commitment that the front office has made to the aforementioned players .

Mattingly will lead is players into a three-game series starting on Friday 10th May at home in Dodgers` Ballpark , in Los Angeles California, against the Miami Marlins , led by first-year manager Mike Redmond . This is a series that should tell us a great deal about the apparent directions that the teams are said to be heading in and their overall ambitions over the course of this season.

For the moment the Boston Red Sox (21-13) seem to be riding on the crest of a wave with the best record in the American League . A mark , which they currently share , with the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers , however , to my mind , the team that has been playing the best baseball over last ten games has to be the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers (19-12) , who over their last ten games , have gone an astonishing 9-1 , best in the Majors , and most certainly by far the best in the American League .

Yet , for all of grit and determination shown there is a common belief that the Tigers lack real leadership quality and the very fact that for all sense and purpose , the team`s manager, Jim Leyland appears to be too laid back a coach . I could very well be wrong in my summation of Leyland , but last season`s World Series` loss to the San Francisco Giants , I believe was a damning indictment of what was said to be wrong with the team and organization , from top to bottom . Add in the laissez-faire approach of the managerial staff and what could be further from the truth ?

The Tigers were brushed aside with the utmost of ease , in a rather embarrassing 4-0 series sweep , in what could only be described as one of the more embarrassing series’ defeat MLB postseason history . For Detroit Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski and owner Mike Ilitch , these are trying times for a franchise that has labored for years and who have not won a title since 1984 , when they defeated the San Diego Padres 4-1 for the last of the ball-club’s four titles that they have won over the course of their history. Bittersweet memories , when you consider also , that prior to last season’s appearance against the Giants , Jim Leyland and the Tigers would also come up short in 2006 , when the team fell to the St Louis Cardinals and the heroics of the diminutive David Eckstein , who was named World Series MVP after his heroic performances for the Cardinals .

In spite of their being three legitimate All Stars on the Tigers’ roster . I am inclined to believe that Miguel Cabrera , the game’s most recent Triple Crown winner , along with Cy Young and AL MVP winner , Justin Verlander and the always prolific Prince Fielder are likely to struggle should they make another return the postseason . Last season’s anemic postseason displays were simply endemic of what appears to be an ongoing problem for the franchise, as a whole . The Detroit Tigers appear to be gun-shy and all too afraid of even their own shadow being cast across a baseball diamond . Your thoughts , on my assumption concerning the Tigers?

The consensus coming into this season, was the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays might possess the best pitching staff in the Majors . Last season’s AL Cy Young winner David Price was said to be confident and the fact he was the recipient of a one-year $10.1 million contract was a boost in confidence for the player and presumed leader amongst the Rays’ pitchers . Instead for Price , his season has been one of indifference , and some shoddy pitching from a number of his teammates , thought to be able to provide Joe Maddon with the biggest weapon that the Rays have in their arsenal and bag of tricks .

Amongst the Rays’ pitching staff , it has been Matt Moore (6-0, 2.14 ERA ) off to a surprising 6-0 start that seems to have caught everyone by surprise and placed him among the best pitchers in the AL as well as the league (MLB) as a whole , with the season barely just over a month old .

Coming off a decisive 10-4 victory over a struggling Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup , the Rays will again play host to the team at Tropicana Field on Thursday evening . Taking the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays will be David Price against R A Dickey (2-5, 5.36 ERA) in what should a fascinating match-up the game’s most recent Cy Young Award winners from the AL and NL , respectively.

Given, the season that Dickey had in 2012 with the Mets , where he was the sole reason to watch that impoverished team play . Now the fortunes of the Blue Jays seem to have taken a turn for the worst and it would appear that even in light of their propensity to make a lavish splash in the off-season with a number of high-priced acquisitions . Someone, may well need to remind GM Alex Anthonopolous that a team cannot be made up from ill-fitting parts, that is completely lacking chemistry as well as leadership both on and off the field of play .

Blue Jays’ manager John Gibbons and his staff will be thoroughly tested throughout the course of this season , and it should come as no surprise if once again , this franchise were to have another failed season .

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Picture gallery .

At this point of the MLB season , what if anything, has been the biggest surprise to you as a baseball fan ? And by the All Star Game , do you believe that a number of teams can be ” written off “ as lost causes , in terms of their perceived expectations ? Chime in with a thought on this , and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Juan Nicasio, front, reacts as New York Yankees’ Vernon Wells , rear, rounds the bases on his two-run home run in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. AP Photo/David Zalubowski …

(2) New York Yankees’ Vernon Wells , left, follows the flight of his two-run home run with Colorado Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. AP Photo/David Zalubowski …

(3) Injured Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees looks on from the dugout with teammate Jayson Nix (17) during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium on May 4, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. There does not seem to be a timetable set for the short-stop’s return after complications related to his recuperation , from his leg injury . Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …

(4) Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria and David Sansome seen here at the inaugural opening the 34,500 seat Marlins’ Ballpark in Miami , Florida built at taxpayers’ expense and now having become something of an elephants’ graveyard for the teams’ home games since its opening in April 2012 . Miami Herald / Hector Rodriguez ….

(5) Yu Darvish (11) is seen in a baseball game played against the Astros , in Minute Maid Park , in Houston , Texas , where he was on the cusp of becoming the twenty fifth player to have thrown a perfect game in baseball history . The Houston Astros were able to derail Darvish’s bid for baseball immortality . AP Photo / Sam Parish ……….

(6) Matt Kemp (27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his three run homerun with manager , Don Mattingly(8) during the fifth inning to trail 5-4 to the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on September 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Mattingly’s contract with the Dodgers at the end of this season and it would appear that Stan Kasten , SVP of Baseball Operations appears to be noncommittal with regard to the manager’s future. After thirty-three games into the season and with a plethora of injuries to several All Stars on the team’s roster . The Dodgers are 13-20 , firmly placing them at the bottom of the NL West . Harry How / Getty Images …..

(7) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Moore has gotten off a fast start going 6-0 with a 2.14 ERA , which places Moore in the upper echelons of the AL pitchers in terms wins as well in MLB as a whole . AP Photo/Mike Carlson …..

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MLB related stories :

A’s-Indians tilt takes controversial turn in ninth

Goldy tags two more homers for D-backs sweep

Papi goes 0-for-5 as 27-game hitting streak ends

Moore gets 6th win, Rays beat Blue Jays 10-4

Hit by liner, Happ says ‘I feel really fortunate’

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MLB pieces within this site . Merely click unto the link provided below.

MLB archived articles

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Tophatal …….. 05/8/2013

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MLB news and news from around the league

MLB team injuries

MLB transactions

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule 8th May 2013

MLB probable pitchers

MLB results 7th May 2013

MLB team payrolls 2013

This week in MLB history

This day in MLB history (8th May) and 9th May

MLB World Series overview

World Series champions by franchises

MLB World Series appearances and titles by leagues : American League (AL) & by National League (NL)

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Desperate times call for desperate measures ………..

Desperate times , calls for desperate measures ……

Strange as it now seems, the NBA finds itself in a quandary with the departure both the Los Angeles Lakers and now the Boston Celtics from postseason play. This now leaves the league without the two most prestigious teams in NBA history and quite possibly, what is likely to lead to a decline in viewership, for postseason play . The fact that both teams were unceremoniously dumped in the first round was not astonishing but it does lead us to question however , what is it and where will both franchises be heading , in terms of their immediate and long-term future ?

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For head coaches Mike D’Antoni and Doc Rivers , it now leaves both , questioning whether or not they can proceed along into next season , with aging rosters , and in some case , players who are essentially , either past their prime or who have simply underperformed . From my own perspective I believe it to be both and the very fact that a false sense of security led both to believe that their teams were simply good enough to make a deep playoff run during this postseason . Now we know, that has not been the case , and both teams in their current guises, are likely to be revamped by their respective front office staffs.

While many of the results of the postseason might not have come as a great surprise to a number of fans and analysts alike . It must be said , that the fashion in which a number of teams were dispatched from the playoffs did come as a surprise . Perhaps none more so than the Brooklyn Nets whose payroll is was amongst the highest in the league . The team’s three main stars , Deron Williams , Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace accounted for more than 54% of the ….. team’s $83.9 million payroll .

With Nets’ fall from grace against a short-handed Chicago Bulls’ team , where the ramifications were great and the judgment from the front office , was swift and “cold-blooded “ . GM Billy King , in conjunction with team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov have summarily dismissed interim head coach PJ Carlisimo , issuing a public statement, announcing that the coach would not be returning for next season. . Carlisimo was able to get this team playing with a great deal of resolve during the regular season , but somehow , the their postseason play was lackluster and uninspiring . As to the continued idiocy that Deron Williams is one of the premiere and “ elite “ point guards in the NBA . I would like to know what it is , that Williams is said to have done to warrant such plaudits from analysts and fans alike ? More style over substance than anything else , with the idiotic hyperbole surrounding a player who has failed to reach anywhere near his alleged potential. Williams cannot be seen as a leader , and he simply does not possess that trait , in spite of comments being made to the contrary about the player .

Pushed to a game seven , which was played at the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York . The Brooklyn Nets simply did not have an answer for Joakim Noah , whose play during the game was simply outstanding . Never mind that from a defensive standpoint , this PJ Carlisimo coached team seemed to be as slow, as a group of aging geriatrics in search of a bedpan , as they sought to discharge themselves of a bodily function . Suffice to say , the stench now emanating the NBA’s newest venue had more to do with the odor of fecal matter and urine which may well have emanated from the bodies of the Nets’ players , who were ran off their home-court by Tom Thibodeau’s players .

Where this now leaves the Brooklyn Nets and the decisions that will undoubtedly have to be made as it relates to this roster , and that of the hiring of a high-profiled head coach. A great deal of that will now boil down to the mindset of the team’s billionaire owner , Mikhail Prokhorocv and the price he might well be willing to pay , to get the right man for the now , open vacancy. We already know that his desired choice , eleven-time NBA title winning coach , Phil Jackson is not available for the position . Jackson has accepted in principle , an executive position with the Detroit Pistons , having met privately with the team’s owner , Tom Gores . That now creates a dilemma and a great deal of speculation as to whether or not , the Pistons’ general manager , Joe Dumars will remain a part of the organization , in essence , becoming a subordinate of Phil Jackson , whose role within the organization will be a great deal similar to the role held by Jerry West , within the Golden State Warriors’ front office under co-owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber .

It is my own belief , that Dumars is likely to relinquish his role within the Pistons’ front office, having guided the franchise to their most recent win of an NBA title in 2004 , when the team coached by Larry Brown won with surprising ease , , shoving aside a star laden Los Angeles Lakers’ roster of All Stars . In the subsequent years , fate has not been too kind to a franchise that has simply labored , while making numerous mistakes in terms of , off and mid-season trades , mishandling of the rather archaic and asinine salary cap ($58.044 million) and draft classes .

Unless I am mistaken, the New York Knicks and their fans either believe that this postseason , they are meant to be a team of destiny , and supposedly the likely combatants to meet the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals . Anyone who has witnessed team’s play in their first round match-up against the Boston Celtics , will know that they were extremely luck to come through unscathed , ultimately with a series’ victory (4-2) . Yet this team was far from convincing under Mike Woodson’s tutelage . If nothing else , the Knicks’ players showed their complacency but above all , they clearly misjudged the mental approach that the Celtics brought in this series .

Now when it matter most , the Knicks are back to the ways of old , proving that they simply do not have the mental or physical toughness to play with any real grit or determination . In the opening game of their Easter Conference semifinals series against the Indiana Pacers . This Carmelo Anthony led team , was exposed , and all of their flaws were on display, for everyone to witness . Defensively incapable of stopping a much younger team at its core , the New York Knicks are said to be ” showing their age “ . Granted , with age comes experience , and along with that there should be dexterity in one’s play . Yet , somehow , Anthony and his teammates were simply unable to do that , in seeking to defend their home-court advantage in game one of this series .

Frank Vogel , his coaching staff and players have to be delighted with the fact that they fired the opening salvo , with a 102-95 victory at Madison Square Garden in front of a sold out crowd , with millions more , watching via a national television broadcast network . Now the question becomes , can the Knicks avoid going down 2-0 in a series , that will undoubtedly be defined by their presence of mind , and whether or they can defend their home-court with any sort of distinction ? Your thoughts on the matter ? The two teams will resume the series on Tuesday evening during prime-time , where Mike Woodson and his players will surely be looking to avenge that game one defeat .

It’s still early days yet in the NBA postseason , but overall , are you completely satisfied with the turn of events that have taken place ? Also , which teams do you believe are now in need of a good enough head coach to lead that franchise where they need to be ? Chime on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter at hand

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Slideshow details below .
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(1) CHICAGO, IL – MAY 02: Brooklyn Nets Head Coach, P.J. Carlesimo, addresses the media during a press conference following Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Chicago Bulls during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 2, 2013 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The much traveled and well-respected head coach will not be returning to the Nets next season , a decision said to have been jointly made by GM Billy King in conjunction with team owner Mikhail Prokhorov . Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(2) Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts to a call during Game 6 of their first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets in Chicago, Thursday, May 2, 2013. The Nets won 95-92. AP Photo/Daily Herald, Joe Lewnard …

(3) Pistons’ general manager Joe Dumars (left) is seen here with the team’s owner Tom Gores . The franchise has brought in famed former head coach Phil Jackson in a consultancy and executive role to provide Dumars with insight on personnel decisions . However , it is being widely speculated that apart from Dumars’ role being diminished , it could very well lead to his abrupt departure from a a franchise where he has spent his entire professional career as a player and front office executive . AP Photo / Michael Ross ….

(4) Boston Celtics’ head coach Doc Rivers is seen here with the team’s general manager Danny Ainge . This off-season Ainge and senior managing partner , Wyc Grousbeck will face several tough questions , as to whether or not the roster will need to be revamped for the upcoming 2013-14 season . Veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are nearing the end of distinguished careers , but their productivity was very much lacking when it was needed the most during the postseason . AP Photo/ Kirk English ….

(5) Indiana Pacers forward David West (21) drives past New York Knicks forward Kenyon Martin (3) in the second quarter of Game 1 of their second-round NBA basketball series at Madison Square Garden in New York, Sunday, May 5, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(6) From left to right , Avery Johnson ,former head coach of the Brooklyn Nets is seen here with team owner Mikhail Prokhorov, center , and the team’s general manager , Billy King . With a bloated payroll and simply no one on the roster capable of playing any defense , much less their being team defense exhibited by team . It became increasingly clear why the Nets were unceremoniously dumped out in the first round of the NBA Playoffs , by an injury plagued Chicago Bulls team. AP Photo /Richard Carter ….

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Tophatal 05/06/2013 ……… https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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NBA news and archived news

NBA Playoffs overview (brackets)

NBA results 5th May

NBA schedule 6th May

NBA free agents 2013 and for 2014 and future payrolls based cap-hits

NBA team salaries (cap figure of $58.044 million for the 2012-13 season)

Highest paid NBA players (overall)

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Hot chic pic of the day Kate Upton

More images below . Do enjoy . I know that I will !

In the land of milk and honey ………

In the land of milk and honey

Well the NFL Draft came and went without too much fuss or ballyhoo , but yet fans are now either trying to speculate as to what now is likely to take place amongst a number of franchises around the league . The biggest story might well have been the New York Jets’ decision to waive the team’s backup quarterback, Tim Tebow . GM John Idzik in many respects , was simply being polite with regard to the player’s future and undoubtedly his deteriorating skillet . Yet , for some sense of purpose there seems to be fans around the NFL , who believe that the player is still capable of playing the game at a high level within the league . From my own perspective in spite of what Tim Tabor was able to achieve in 2011 , he is simply not good enough to play the position in the NFL . Doubt my word , then simply look at the stats which will bear this all out , most notably in 2011 and of course last season .

The pressure now seems to be on the Jets’ incumbent starting quarterback , Mark Sanchez , whose own long-term situation will be under scrutiny by the front office . Not to be left out of that equation also , will be the future of head coach Rex Ryan , whose four years with the franchise , has seen more lows than highs. Ryan it was said , was a defense minded guru of the game , but over the past two seasons, this was not borne out at all , by the team’s play . And with the team’s draft class , said to be one a mixed bag of tricks , with the biggest name of that class being West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith . As to what, this might now mean for Mark Sanchez, can now be determined in the public statements made by John Idzik . The general manager for the fans and public’s consumption has said that in essence all five quarterbacks on the team’s roster will be part of the competition , to fill the starting role for the franchise this upcoming season .

Character issues or not , the young rookie quarterback will have a great deal to prove in his rookie season , if it is his intent to beat out Sanchez , David Garrard , Greg McElroy and Matt Simms , for the starter’s role on this team .

There now seems to be a complete disconnect in the NBA between the intelligence of the players , how they view themselves and what now seems to be happening in the real world . As all know , athletes today, simply see themselves , as above the fray , above the law , and if nothing else , they will have their agents , simply create an image, that in no way reflects who these athletes , actually are . The New York Knicks in the past forty-eight hours have gone from a franchise that was one everyone’s lips as the likely contender and opposition for the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals , to a roster full of self-observed players , in which their fans are now looking to make excuses for the players’ lapse in judgment and their somewhat anemic performance in game five of their first round match-up against the Boston Celtics . A Boston team , who now seem to be playing with a great deal of emotion , in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon tragedy . As to the lapse in judgment , put that down to the juvenile mentality of a seasoned veteran , in Kenyon Martin , who seems to be having something of a rejuvenated NBA life after something of an underachieving career overall . It was at Martin’s insistence , that he and his teammates dressed in black as a show of unison , and apparently as a way of somehow imposing their will upon their opponent . Well, that idiocy seemingly backfired , with the Knicks being hoisted on their own ass , deservedly so , as they were soundly beaten by their Eastern Conference rivals .

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Forced into a pivotal game six match-up , albeit , that the Knicks lead the series 3-2 , they simply cannot allow the Boston Celtics to come away with a victory tonight , when the two teams meet in a packed TD Bank North arena , in Boston, Massachusetts ,. With seemingly nothing to lose , Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers knows that with his team riding on a wave of emotion and with the fervent support of the residents of Boston , leveling the series and then setting up that series’ deciding game seven , would place the Knicks in an unenviable position . A scenario that doesn’t exactly bode well for the New York Knicks and specifically New York sports’ fans in general . The 2004 ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees , not only did that series rancor the New York fans , but it set about the spiraling out of control of every fan within the tri-state area who just happened to be a Yankees’ fan , after the Red Sox came back from erasing a 3-0 deficit to win the series 4-3 , then going to win the World Series that season .

The likelihood of that scenario now happening does seem remote , but given the uncertainty shown by this Knicks’ team and the inexperience of this current roster as it relates to postseason play. It would not necessarily be something of a surprise to see the team bow out postseason play . Yet on the other hand , it would be seen as catastrophic , given the high expectations of this organization , the coaching staff and players . It would be pretty much safe to say that after Carmelo Anthony’s spectacular season , the one thing the one thing he is likely to regret , would be for this team to dumped out of the postseason unceremoniously , while the whole NBA world looks on .

The New York Knicks’ fans may well have been justified, in suggesting that their team were perhaps the ones to beat during the regular season , with the exception of the Miami Heat within the Eastern Conference . Yet , when asked to succinctly put into words the strengths and weaknesses on this roster , it was akin to watching a child trying to speak their very first words . They were enraptured , by style over , any real substance , it was as plain and simple , as that ! This Knicks’ team lacks a great deal of heart , lacks toughness , but it overall , when it comes to real adversity , there is no one willing enough to step up to the plate and lead by example . While ESPN analyst and noted journalist Stephen A Smith gushes over the team like a high school senior out on a prom date , believing that he’s unto a sure thing . At the back of his mind , even Smith , is now having reservations as to whether or not they possess the psyche to actually get the job done .

With their being some critical game sixes on the schedule tonight , for all sense and purpose a number of teams participating , are likely to see their seasons come to an abrupt end . This much I do know , of the first round series that have taken place or that have yet to reach their finality . None has been more entertaining than that of the series between the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets . Not only has this contest become one of mental attrition , it has become physical , with now an apparent dislike between the two teams and the opposing head coaches , each making their feelings felt as to the lack of sportsmanship by either . It’s time for George Karl and Mark Jackson to “ throw down “ , take off the gloves , really say what they mean and might feel .

Last night , it all came to a head when the two teams met in game six , with the Warriors looking to close out the series and the Nuggets simply looking to stay alive . Instead , the game became the “coming out party “ for Steph Curry , who this postseason , has been the most electrifying player to watch , as his stature and game has grown. . There was a sense that we were seeing the NBA’s new star , and indeed Curry may well be what the Warriors’ fans have yearned for, after all these years in the wilderness and being the butt of so many jokes around the NBA.

Warriors’ owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , along with Jerry West , have steered this franchise from being a nondescript entity to one of the league’s more surprising teams this season . A season in which the franchise has shone , a great deal now is expected of this team as they proceed forward . In the conference semifinals , a second round match-up against the number two seeds , the San Antonio Spurs awaits Steph Curry and his teammates . As to the likely outcome of that series , much of that will be predicated upon the play of Curry and the coaching ingenuity shown by Mark Jackson . I get the feeling that while that series will be entertaining , the likely outcome will not be what the Warriors’ fans are hoping for !

On Saturday night , WBC and WBA light middleweight champion Floyd Mayweather (43-0,26 KO’s) will defend his welterweight title against fellow American , Roberto Guerrero in what will or should be a highly entertaining spectacle . Mayweather , long regard as the best pound for pound fighter on the planet , in reality is now fighting merely to pad record and the monetary gain. The financial rewards for the titleholder for this bout , is likely to see him , walk away within excess of $25 million , simply for defending his title, and before any residuals are added to that figure. Already , a shrewd businessman , Floyd Mayweather , along with his partner Leonard Ellerbee , through his promotion’s company , now have the financial clout to dictate when , where and whom he fights and that is all set to his own schedule.


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Mayweather remains the biggest draw in boxing , and the long awaited bout that many have yearned for , is now unlikely to ever take place . With two recent losses on his record , Manny Pacquiao is now on the decline and no longer a desired opponent of Floyd Mayweather , in spite of his own claims, of having offered the Filipino fighter $25 million guaranteed , to face him at a place of their choosing . The titleholder knows how to talk up a fight , denigrate an opponent , but most of all , he simply knows how self-promote. Not since Muhammad Ali at his very best , have we seen a fighter with this much talent , simply wade through his opponents as if it were all secondary to him and simply a light workout . Granted , one might point to “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Mike Tyson at the height of their acclaim , but neither fighter had the aptitude or showmanship now being exhibited by the Michigan native .

Mayweather for is part, seeks to stake his claim , as one of the best ever in the annals of boxing history . With career earnings in excess of $ 225 million , the fighter recently signed a six-fight deal with the CBS owned Showtime Network , that will see Floyd Mayweather earn $200 million over the duration of the deal, which does not include any of the ancillary benefits normally associated with such deals. Boxing`s steady decline, in terms of viewership and the sport`s now narrow audience , no longer makes it the prerequisite destination for the average male , let alone the legion of females drawn to the bouts and the fighters .

Away from the gladiatorial arena , Mayweather, in a recent interview conducted with ESPN`s , Stephen A Smith , which sought to soften the boxers image . Smith fawned over the fighter. much like a schoolboy with a crush on a teenage girl . The interview in so many ways , was bile inducing drivel and slop , with the fighter pointing to the fact that he was incarcerated for a six-month sentence, during which he stated he missed his kids , spouse and other immediate family members . It should be noted, that the reason for Floyd Mayweather`s incarceration, was the fact he was charged with assault and battery on his spouse , children, as well as threatening a federal witness and law enforcement officer. Yet , this was excluded in the interview while Smith tried to suggest Mayweather had in fact turned over a new leaf in is life. I`m sorry but Smith , like Floyd Mayweather , were simply seeking to blow smoke up everyone`s ass with an interview that simply had no substance to it at all . Being the biggest, doesn’t always mean the best and that now is certainly the case when it comes to journalistic integrity .

One month into baseball`s long and arduous season, it looks as if we already know the teams that seem to be playing themselves out of contention without any chance of being remotely involved in postseason play . I am not about to suggest that this season is likely to be a monumental bust , but there does seem to be something of anomaly being set in this scenario. Coming into this weekend`s schedule , several games are likely to have the fans rooting wholeheartedly for their teams . The Boston Red Sox (20-8) currently have the best record in the Majors leading the AL East by a 2 ½ game margin over the New York Yankees (17-10) .

The San Diego Padres are a team heading nowhere with the team`s coaching staff seemingly at a loss , as to how best to address the woes of the organization . Far be it, for me to suggest , but having changed hands in terms of the team`s ownership , nothing seems to have changed at all in terms of the mediocrity exhibited by the ball-club .

Bud Black has been entrusted to manage this Padres` team . So far this season , things simply have not gone as planned, with the San Diego Padres rooted firmly at the bottom of the NL West with an 11-17 record . The Padres are scheduled to meet the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-game series at PETCO Park in San Diego , California . The first of those three games are set to start on Friday , 3rd May 2013 , and somehow this contest between two struggling teams , gives credence as to what can go so wrong , when an organization has been completely mismanaged .

What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the points raised within piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit and as always , thanks for the continued support of this site !

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Tophatal ……. 05/03/2013

NB : At the time this posting the series between the Celtics and Knicks was not yet final in terms of a result .

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(1) Jets` GM John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan .

(2) Stephen A Smith and Floyd Mayweather .

(3) Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) shoots over Denver Nuggets’ JaVale McGee (34) during the first half of Game 6 in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, May 2, 2013. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …

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NFL news and news from around the league

NFL archived stories

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NBA news and archived stories

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MLB news and press releases

MLB standings (05/03/2013) and wildcard standings

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May 3rd

All good things must come to an end, and they will, at some point !

All good things must come to an end, and they will, at some point !

This baseball season will have an inevitability about it , but perhaps none more so than when Mariano Rivera takes the mound for the final time of his illustrious career . Granted , there remains the common belief that the team in its current guise can make it to the World Series , while seeking to win that title for an unprecedented twenty-eighth time in the New York Yankees’ history . Team owners , Hank , Hal Steinbrenner and their younger female sibling , Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindahl have sworn to carry on their late father’s legacy , which was one of steady and unprecedented success , while seeing the economic growth of the ball club seemingly increase exponentially at an impressive rate .

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Slideshow.

Brian Cashman as the general manager of the Yankees , remains under a great deal of pressure to succeed , as the heightened expectations have always been there , ever since he ascended to his current position within the franchise’s hierarchy . The late George Steinbrenner III , whose death saddened baseball’s fraternity , remains a constant reminder of his striving for success.

Joe Girardi and the team’s coaching staff have seen this team struggle while still remaining somewhat competitive within the AL East this season . With a mark of 15-10 , good enough for second place within the division , the ball-club sits three games behind the Boston Red Sox (18-7) . With their being a growing concern over the team’s pitching , it will be left to Mariano Rivera , CC Sabathia , Andy Pettite and Hideki Kuroda to spearhead the pitching staff , which remains one of the weakest within the AL and the league altogether . With that in mind , it should be noted with a litany of injuries , Joe Girardi knows that he can no longer afford to have any more shortfalls with regard to the health of his roster .

The New York Yankees are now severely challenged in terms of run productivity , albeit, that Robinson Cano remains the lone constant and the team’s best player . A more telling issue might well be the fact that the Yankees’ most recent game , which ended in a 9-1 loss to the Houston Astros played at Yankees Stadium , in New York City ,New York on Monday afternoon . If nothing else , it would suggest that this team remains far off from where it needs to be if it is to make a serious challenge in taking on the might of the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays , Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays .

The Yankees will host the Houston Astros and Bo Porter’s struggling team , two more times as part of a three-game series . It must be said , as the New York Yankees proceed over the course of their season , I do believe that they will continue struggle throughout their schedule . While Brian Cashman spares no expense in assembling a roster , it does seem ludicrous that in spite of the claims that Hal Steinbrenner sought to pare down the team’s payroll , instead it has increased back above $215 million for the 2013 season . And while this is nothing new for a franchise whose estimated value is estimated is in excess of $1.8 billion , with their being added resources available , via the team’s wholly owned cable sports’ programming outlet the YES Network Inc . It does beg the question, at what point will the ball club cease to be merely reliant upon the premise of being built upon , solely existing , because of their financial excesses , rather than building organically from within , in terms their competitive presence . It certainly has been a long time , during which one could point to the fact that the franchise could point to having produced a prominent and perennial All Star over the past decade.

If Mariano Rivera, is said to be, in the twilight of his career , it should be noted that Derek Jeter , the Yankees’ third baseman , who is still recuperating, while on the DL. Jeter yearns to be part of the present roster , but with the team’s orthopedic specialist noting that the player still has a cracked bone in his right foot , that still has yet to heal . There is no foreseeable situation, that indicates that Jeter’s return will be imminent, with the player making a contribution to the team.

With Jeter sidelined , questions also, still remain as to the well-being also of Alex Rodriguez, and his name now being associated company founder, Anthony Bosch and his South Florida based medical supplements’ company Biogenesis Inc . Bosch and where his company is at present, under investigation by the US Justice Department , after the revelations that Biogenesis supplied several prominent Major League players with PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) A denial, categorically and wholeheartedly denied by the company’s founder , Anthony Bosch. In his first public interview, with ESPN’s …. Pedro Gomez , Bosch was noncommittal in several answers concerning the claims and allegations , and with regard to the documents now said to be in the Justice Department’s possession , documenting the sale and distribution of the illicit substances in question .

Rodriguez , along with 2011 NL MVP , Ryan Braun have denied their association with Bosch’s company , albeit that Braun’s agent , Nez Balelo has issued a public statement on his client’s behalf, stating that Ryan Braun was merely a paid consultant for the company , in his role as an endorser of one of the company’s various supplement products. However, Anthony Bosch, when questioned by Pedro Gomez directly on the claims made by Balelo , they were immediately unanswered , with the company founder stating that Braun was not a paid endorser for any of his company’s products . It now begs the question, will Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy simply still sit around with his fingers stuck in their rectum, while the game of baseball is further tainted by the misdeed and ill-gotten gains of the steroid cheaters within the game ? It is not as if Selig has front and center in his handling with the whole steroid debacle to begin with ! Never mind the simple-minded idiocy and complete denial shown in the legitimate circles of journalism that was said to be covering the sport . It should also be noted, that for many of the ass rendering purists within the game, who still live in a bygone era , who believe that the game still has a purity and character, when nothing could be further from the truth !

If there is one thing that is a certainty with the season still in its infancy , it is that both the Miami Marlins and New York Mets remain a goddamn mess from a competitive and economic standpoint , and that is with due compliment to the genuine Mets’ fans out there , who are of the belief that because the ball club was a afforded financial backing from several prominent Wall Street financial institutions , that simply creates a “stay of execution” for a franchise that has been mismanaged thrown to the wolves by the team’s ownership group headed by Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz. Even with the alleged acumen of Sandy Alderson and J P Ricciardi , it is now becoming clear that the Mets remain a work in progress , and that is in the aftermath of the idiocy shown by Alderson in giving David Wright an exorbitant and outrageous contract that now places a stranglehold on the franchise’s growth. As productive as Wright is said to be , without their being any semblance of competitive spirit and play from anyone else on the roster beyond Lucas Duda , there is simply nothing at all that would suggest that the Mets have the wherewithal to compete with the likes of the Atlanta Braves or the Washington Nationals over the course of this season .

The Mets are currently playing .435 borne out with a 10-13 mark as of the 29th April , ranking the ball club in the lower half of the NL and MLB as a whole. Surely , something good can come out of this season for the franchise beyond the continued mediocrity we have witnessed over the past six seasons with this organization .

Mets’ manager Terry Collins and his coaching staff will have a great deal to prove, as I believe that Collins’ tenure could very well be short-lived if he is unable to guide this team to at least a winning season ! Anything short of that and the front office will have to act aggressively , by bringing in a manager with wholly different attitude and a background of proven success . I don’t believe that claim can be made with regard to Collins’ managerial experience and resume`.

If the New York Mets’ season in 2012 could be a described as unabated disaster , then the Miami Marlins’ year was simply a mess , with the front office , managerial staff led by Ozzie Guillen , simply clueless as to what was needed to create a winning formulae for success. Less we forget also , through a great deal of connivance by team owner Jeffrey Loria and with the intervention and collusion of Bud Selig , the city of Miami now finds itself the subject of federal investigation. And with that ongoing investigation being conducted by the Criminal Division of the US Justice Department , this could have some serious repercussions and ramifications for the city of Miami , and in particular for the game of baseball, and how the sport conducts its business and specifically the actions of the team owners .

The city of Miami remains under investigation by the federal government after the allegations were made that city commission members may well have been paid to change their vote , on the financing bill, that became the source the building of the 34,500 seated Miami Marlins Ballpark , built at the cost of an estimated $600 million , which is being completely funded with public financing . And with the Justice Department, having subpoenaed documents in the city’s possession, as evidence, that they believe will assist in the building of their case. From my own standpoint , I believe that far too often , city and state politicians would rather fall in line and side with sports’ hierarchies , rather than doing what is in the best interests of their constituents and residents . Bud Selig has been reluctant to speak openly on the matter of the Marlins’ Ballpark , and the ongoing investigation.

Meanwhile , Jeffrey Loria , and senior executives from the Marlins’ hierarchy have been reluctant to speak publicly on the matter , citing the ongoing actions of the US Justice Department . It begs the question , what and when will Bud Selig show that there is transparency to be found as to how the league conducts its everyday business ? Repeatedly , I read fans continually complaining about their being overtaxed, but I have yet to read of any complaints wherein , the fans are actually calling for Selig and the team owners being taken to task and that of cities where the teams reside , and the fact that there remains a gross misuse of public funds . Personally, I don’t believe the fans intelligent enough to fully comprehend what is going on within their midst ! And nowhere is that more evident than with the continued idiocy being shown by the fans of the Tampa Bay Rays , calling for the building of a new stadium to house the two decade old franchise .

When subjected to the questions as to where the funding for such an endeavor should come from the fans and media within the local area , clearly cannot give a definitive answer as to how the financing should be realized . With the cities of St Petersburg and Tampa , as well as the state having their ongoing budgetary woes , it is clear that the fans are at a loss to give succinct and logical explanation , as to how the financing would be in place for the building of a new venue.

Rays’ owner Stuart Sternberg continually complains , giving numerous reasons as to why new stadium is needed for his ball club , but yet the owner has been completely noncommittal in stating , that he would in part fund such an endeavor from his own personal fortune . Yet the anal retentive fans of the Rays , and the local media show their complete stupidity and lack understanding of the underlying economic realities . That should really come as no surprise given the complete lack overall understanding of the fans , ingenuity and leadership at all levels within the state’s political hierarchy. The state of Florida remains locked in a fucking time warp , which is still embedded, in the era of the sixties and seventies . Doubt my word ? Then simply consider the actions of the state’s unpopular and much ridiculed governor , Republican Rick Scott , and it should be noted that the Democratic Party within the state , remains a complete oddity , and a mirror image that we continue to witness at the national level for both of the political parties in question. Both are aimlessly heading nowhere , without a sense of urgency or an understanding concerning the economic woes of the country . Likewise the same thing remains a constant within the game of baseball , which is mirrored by the financial woes of several teams around the league .

The AL Central once again , looks like a division that will be highly contested but I do believe that it remains the Detroit Tigers’ to lose ! Granted, we repeatedly here that the Kansas City Royals will be a team to be reckoned with , and will play their part in competitive season and divisional race. Yet consider the fact , that, this organization as been one of the most mismanaged and incompetent franchises in all of baseball over the last decade . One would have to be either increasingly optimistic in seeing this team currently ascend to the top of the AL , while remaining competitive enough to be seen as a legitimate contender for the World Series . Ned Yost and his staff have been given the reins to guide this team over the course of the season . And while Yost can relish in the fact that his pitching staff has been bolstered by the addition of James Shields and Wade Davis , it might not prove to be enough to get the franchise where they desire to be .The Kansas City Royals are in the midst of a series against Tampa Bay Rays , with the two teams meeting tonight at Kauffman Stadium , in Kansas City , Missouri , for a night game .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Your thoughts at present on the state of play within baseball ? Also what opinions do you have on the league’s current situation as it relates to the South Florida based medical supplements’ company Biogenesis ? Do you believe that the league hierarchy should carry out their own investigation or simply leave it once again in the hands of the federal government to deal with the matter ? By all means do take time to chime in with a comment as you see fit .

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Tophatal ….. 04/30/2012

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Houston Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez (30) fields New York Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki’s fifth-inning infield single in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….

(2) New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera delivers in the ninth-inning of their 7-4 victory over the Houston Astros in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(3) ESPN’s Pedro Gomez , right, is seen here with Anthony Bosch , the founder of the South Florida based pharmaceutical and supplements’ company Biogenesis . The company at present is under investigation by the US Justice Department and FBI for what is believed to be a widespread case of Bosch’s company supplying several prominent Major League players with PED’s and other banned substances prohibited by baseball’s hierarchy. Bosch was very noncommittal with his answers when pressed on his association with several players mentioned in the confiscated documents now in the federal law enforcement’s possession . Courtesy of ESPN & AP Photo /Matt Cohen ….

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MLB news and news from around the league

MLB transactions and transactions in the month of April

MLB standings 30th April 2013 and wildcard standings

MLB results 30th April and teams’ schedule 1st May 2013

MLB probable starting pitchers

MLB standings 1st May 2012

This week in MLB history

This day in baseball history 1st May

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Hot chic pic of the day Melanie Iglesias . One hot piece of Latina @ss ! Your thoughts on that ?