Big news, little news and not so ingratiating news

Big news, little news and not so ingratiating news

Well the sports` world is abuzz with the arrest of NFL player Aaron Hernandez ,with the tight-end player being charged with tree counts of homicide , five counts of illegal gun possession and a slew of other charges , which if found guilty , he could very well be facing a life-sentence or possibly worse . From hereon-in, the justice system will be left to deal with this ongoing matter . As to this idiocy of their being public outrage that an athlete has been implicated in a homicide . Well , let`s look at the NFL as a league, and the very fact that since the Superbowl twenty-eight players have been arrested for some type of legal infraction . In 2011, there were 163 arrests of NFL players for a number of wide ranging legal issues . Yet somehow , in the midst of the New England Patriots` tight end being arrested , there now seems to be some outrage ? Does anyone the cases of Leonard Little , Rae Carruth and perhaps the most infamous of them all , O J Simpson ? How soon , we tend to forget ? Or is this the usual absurdity and apathy of the sports` fan in general ?


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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his union counterpart, DeMaurice Smith have yet to issue a public statement concerning the arrest of Aaron Hernandez , which in essence is no big surprise, given the absurdity of how each of the individuals tend to deal with and look at the NFL`s image overall . Goodell tries to use platitudes to describe the league , repeatedly pointing to growing revenues and not much else beyond . Smith for is part, simply wants to talk about the growing strides made in his members` rights and the relationship with the league hierarchy . Perhaps , if Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith spent more time looking at the behavior of the players both on and off the field of play . Then perhaps, the NFL would not find itself in its present predicament .

The State Attorney General`s Office in Massachusetts , knowing now it will be placed under microscope, as this story will remain front page news until a trial date is set , cannot afford any missteps being made as they seek to make their case against Hernandez and his accomplices in the death of Odin Lloyd . And with the court of public opinion being what it is . The justice system will also be tested, as once again, we question whether not a celebrity or athlete is treated any different from an ordinary member of public when they become a defendant . I guess we already know the answer to that don`t we ? Because this belief that the US legal system is amongst the best in the world, has become something of a farce and a complete oxymoron .

Don`t look now, but the NBA`s answer to Groundhog Day is once again upon us . The NBA Draft and everything that it is said to represent , is just that , another reason for the league hierarchy and David Stern to create the perception that the fans should be riveted by the events they unfolds, as the league`s newest members seek to make their fortune , as well as grace us with their athletic ability . Personally , I find the drafts , as they relate to each of the four major professional team sports to be boring and a seamless act of futility . The NBA Draft is, and the process of its Lottery, is simply skewered to add needless intrigue . The Cleveland Cavaliers were given the dubious privilege of having the first pick, which they used on Anthony Bennett , out of UNLV .

Cavaliers` owner, Dan Gilbert and GM Chris Grant can now go about molding this franchise into a championship caliber contender . Given the missteps of Gilbert and the inane rants against former player LeBron James . Now, might well be the time for the besieged executive to simply keep quiet and stop with the rater petulant behavior that he has become associated with .

Away from the spectacle of the Draft , the biggest NBA story , was that of the trade, which saw both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce depart from the Boston Celtic to join the Brooklyn Nets . I guess this is what is meant by keeping up with the Jones`s ? As Nets` owner, Mikhail Prokhorov and GM Billy King seek to keep up in-city and conference rival the New York Knicks . Pardon for me saying this, but the two NBA franchises within the state of New York were about as impressive to me during the regular and postseason , as a full frontal pictorial of Rosie O`Donnell , naked , leaving simply nothing to the imagination . There is not much else that needs to be said after such a ghastly site . An aging Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce alongside Deron Williams , might well prove to be engaging almost alluring , but the fact of the matter is , without a respected head coach , and a team that seems to be simply averse to playing defense , you can`t hold out much hope of the Nets being viewed as a legitimate contender for an NBA title . Granted , the odds-makers in Las Vegas may well take an opposing view , but isn`t what they are meant to do , in order to lure in those sucker bets ?

If the Los Angeles Lakers` season wasn`t enough of a melodrama , this off-season , it now seems to be taking on a life of its own . GM Mitch Kupchak is trying is best to retain a player , in Dwight Howard , who by his demeanor simply has no wish to stay with the team . Howard and his agent Dan Fegan , may well say one thing but the player it has been revealed is said to be considering meeting with officials from the Houston Rockets , Atlanta Hawks , New Jersey Nets , Denver Nuggets and most notably the Los Angeles Clippers . I know in such instances, players like to keep their options open , as they are about to become unrestricted free agents . Yet, if the league`s alleged best center is intent on staying with the Lakers , then why would he seek to engage several other teams to gauge their interest in his services? Remaining with the Lakers , the franchise would be able to offer him the best deal possible in terms of a long-term contract (five or six years) . however , in terms of a higher annual salary for lesser deal in terms of length , then his options would be best served by signing with one of the aforementioned teams in question .

From my own standpoint , one of the reasons I believe Dwight Howard is likely to leave the Lakers, is because what I feel is a deteriorating relationship with Kobe Bryant ! There seemed to be no on-court camaraderie between the two players and that to me is a clear indication of two players who only play at having a mutual respect for each other . If Mike D`Antoni as a head coach was not able to realize those dynamics along with Mitch Kupchak , then it is extremely clear that these two individuals clearly have no idea as to what the hell they are actually doing .

Lakers` fans have now become eternal optimists, because they now know that Kobe Bryant is now on the downside of an illustrious career and with no heir-apparent to assume the mantle as the leader of this team . It is extremely to difficult to see in what direction the franchise will ultimately seek to go . If Dwight Howard were to depart , given the presumption that the franchise is able to lure a big time free agent during the off-season . It would have to be some of unique talent and a major draw that would have the fans packing the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California . Spending money , merely it is readily available , doesn`t always guarantee a title , which is something that the Los Angeles Lakers` fans have seemingly become accustomed to . And it is this type of mindset, that has become all too prevalent around the NBA, as teams seek out glory . Unfortunately, the league hierarchy has also fallen into that trap, leading to severe financial problems around the NBA for several of the franchises. Doubt my word ? After the Miami Heat`s first NBA title , in the subsequent years leading up to the franchise’s second title win , team President Pat Riley presided over annual losses that would amount to, in excess of $123 million. Things were turned around rather quickly, when the ubiquitous executive engineered the acquisitions of Chris Bosh and LeBron James to coincide with the re-signing of Dwyane Wade. The rest as they now say _______ is history , with the franchise having won back to back titles , as well as making three consecutive NBA Finals` appearances . Along the way, the club has become one of the biggest draws in the game, as well as one of the NBA`s most profitable teams .

I am not prepared to go out on a limb as of yet , but it appears that the Pittsburgh Pirates (48-30) are the best team in baseball , that no one seems to be interested in talking about . Not that I would blame them , given the misgivings that the Pirates have provided us with, repeatedly over the years . At present the team does possess the best record in baseball alongside fellow NL Central residents the St Louis Cardinals .

A case could be made that Clint Hurdle should be seen as the mid-season candidate for Manager of The Year , given what he has been able to achieve and though , not many felt that the Pirates would be challenging for a divisional title or playoff berth . Winners of eight of their last ten games , Hurdle and his players are playing with a mindset that they are seeking some semblance of respect from their peers . Hurdle`s coaching staff led by hitting coach , Jay Bell , and pitching coach Ray Searage as part of a staff tat as been one of the primary reasons behind the team`s success this season.

Pirates` All Star , Andrew McCutchen leads a lineup that has been one of the most productive teams in the NL this season in terms of home runs . The outfielder , along with Starling Marte , Garrett Jones , Russell Martin , Gaby Sanchez , Jason Grilli , Wandy Rodriguez , Jeanmar Gomez , A J Burnett and James McDonald are among the players, who have the Pirates and their fans riding on the crest of a wave in attendance at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Coming off a 9-4 away victory over an uncompetitive Seattle Mariners` team , the Pirates are seeking to win their first divisional title since 1992 , when they won the last of three consecutive divisional titles under then manager Jim Leyland . And after that empathic victory over the Mariners the Pirates will play host to the Milwaukee Brewers in the first of a three-game series at their home venue . On the mound for the Brewers will be Johnny Hellweg who faces off against Gerritt Cole , the Pirates` number one overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft . Cole is proving to be everything that GM Neal Huntington believed that he would be , having scouted the player, gauged his career at UCLA (Bruins).

So here we are, at or close to the midpoint of the season and the AL East is said to be up for grabs. The Boston Red Sox leads the division , with the ever-present New York Yankees in close proximity of the first-place team . Also within distance, are the Baltimore Orioles , with the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays closely trying not to be viewed as the division`s cellar dwellers . An eleven game win streak may well have created the perception that the Blue Jays were back in the race , but nothing could be further from the truth . With all of the bally hoo made over the acquisitions made by Toronto in acquiring R A Dickey and Jose Reyes , the team has been or playing .500 baseball for much of the season . Once again proving you don`t build a franchise by merely putting together ill-fitting parts , for a roster that simply is not good enough to win its division, much less be considered a legitimate wildcard candidate .

Chris Davis and Manny Machado may well be two players that have provided Orioles` fans with a great deal to relish this season and perhaps long-term for the franchise. Yet to my mind and for all of their accomplishments , I do not believe that two singularly or combined, have provided as much excitement this entire season as the singular feat on Friday night as Miguel Cabrera single-handed destroyed an overrated Tampa Bay Rays` team . Rays` fans are optimists and not much more than that , by way of their overall intelligence . As to this idiocy, that Evan Longoria can lead the Rays to any sort of dominance this season. Well, that is not about to happen , with the player once again injured , and now perhaps dashing the hopes of the fans and the team in general .

. Miguel Cabrera, is proving is why he is the best pure hitter in baseball , by far surpassing many of his peers in the game today . Chris Davis may well lead the league in home runs , but his overall body of work is simply now befitting a player who has toiled in the shadows ___ now having a breakout season . By comparison, Cabrera is simply carrying on from where he left off from last season , while showing what many first saw in the player when he first broke into the Majors as a rookie with the Miami Marlins in 2003. A Triple Crown winner 2012 , Miguel Cabrera, while proud of that feat , would like nothing better, if he could now seal the deal with a World Series title for the Detroit Tigers , after the franchise’s lackluster efforts in last season`s showcase finale , which resulted in a lopsided series` loss to the San Francisco Giants .

It now remains to be seen whether or not the Tigers can fulfill the ambitions of their well-respected slugger and the franchise’s fans .

In what can be best described as two children squabbling over a toy . The latest drama surrounding the New York Yankees , between GM Brian Cashman and third baseman Alex Rodriguez , is proving to be an embarrassment and an unwanted spectacle for the franchise . I tend to look at such child-like antics with a great deal of glee ! I mean, where else can you find a millionaire athlete being belittled by the one of team`s leading front office executives with the general manager simply stating that the player should shut the ##@k up“(choice expletive) . With the team owing Rodriguez in excess of $100 million over the next four seasons to a player whose productivity has been on the decline . It easy to understand the uneasiness that Brian Cashman now has and the proliferation of a mistake that he made in re-signing the third baseman . Now reviled by the fans and press alike , it does make one wonder how Alex Rodriguez now believe that he can really be of any use to the Yankees at this juncture .

The Yankees are struggling mightily and with the loss of Mark Teixiera for the season, the only ray of hope appears to be the imminent return of Curtis Granderson and at some point over the next six to eight weeks , team captain Derek Jeter . Manager Joe Girardi knows that he is under a great deal of pressure to guide this team into the postseason . Failure to do so , would be considered a major failure by the front office led by lead managing partners , Hank and Hal Steinbrenner . The Steinbrenner family has a great deal of money vested in the ball-club with Alex Rodriguez being the highest paid player on the team`s roster .

Friday night saw New York go down in flames with a 4-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in a game played at Orioles Ballpark/Camden Yards , Baltimore , Maryland . The two teams will meet again on Saturday and Sunday , to end a three-game series between these two famed clubs . As contentions as we know the AL East to be , it will be now or never for New York to prove themselves worthy , or simply bow out at this juncture . A $225 million payroll simply cannot hide the numerous flaws on this Yankees` team and that was all too prevalent with CC Sabathia being unable to gain his two hundredth career win in Major League Baseball. Two hundred wins while credible , the benchmark in the modern-day game is three hundred wins , which we are unlikely to see again within the game of baseball .The active wins` leader is Andy Pettite , with two-hundred and fifty career wins (250) and counting , with the Yankees` ace likely on the downside of a fantastic career .



Picture gallery .

With the All Star Game just around the corner , it will be interesting to see how the teams will fare between now the game`s mid-season showcase event . At this point last season , it was something of a spectacle to see the schedule take shape by way of the – ball-clubs` play and how the year actually panned out . Should we expect more of the same in 2013 ? Amongst these and other questions , are the ones that will be the prevailing scenarios that are likely to play out . Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter are certainly welcome .


Picture and slideshow details below .


(1) Friends and relatives arrive for Odin Lloyd’s funeral service embrace outside of Church of the Holy Spirit in Boston, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Hundreds of relatives, friends and well-wishers wept together and hugged at the funeral for Lloyd, a semi-pro football player whose killing led to murder and weapons charges against former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …

(2) Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez stands during a bail hearing in Fall River Superior Court Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Fall River, Mass. Hernandez, charged with murdering Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player, was denied bail. AP Photo/Boston Herald, Ted Fitzgerald, Pool …..

(3) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ,left , is seen here alongside DeMaurice Smith of the NFPLA , as the two answer questions in front of a Congressional Committee in 2011 during the NFL work stoppage . Goodell and Smith, have yet to address the situation concerning the arrest of Patriots` tight-end Aaron Hernandez on charges of the counts of homicide (capital murder) as well as weapons` related charges . Hernandez is one of twenty-eight players arrested in 2013 and it appears that there will be no signs of abatement concerning the gross misbehavior of the league`s players as it relates to law enforcement. Something of which the NFL and the union have an extremely poor record of addressing , either by choice or through their sheer stupidity . Atlanta Journal Constitution / Paul Marcus …

(4) Miami Heat President Pat Riley is seen here alongside Ray Allen and team head coach Erik Spoelstra . Allen was a member of the team that won the franchise its second NBA title in seven years . The veteran player was also re-signed when the front office exercised the $3.5 million option , with Allen being a member of the roster for the upcoming 2013-14 season . The world champions also bolstered the lineup through the NBA Draft . Te Miami Herald / Ernesto Aguirre ….

(5) LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 28: Dwight Howard (12) of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts while playing the San Antonio Spurs in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on April 28, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The player who can become an unrestricted free agent during this off-season has been non-committal as to whether or not he will be returning to the Los Angeles Lakers . Meanwhile , Lakers` GM Mitch Kupchak has stated that it is his intent to re-sign the center to a long-term max contract , that would pay Howard $123 million over six years. Dwight Howard and agent Dan Fegan have stated that the player will make his intent clear on 10th July in a press conference. Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images …

(6) Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez (24) , Starling Marte (6) , Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen (22) celebrate after the Pirates defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 10-3 in a baseball game Friday, June 28, 2013, in Pittsburgh. The Pirates won 10-3 . AP Photo/Keith Srakocic …

(7) FILE – Alex Rodriguez, right, seen in this May 6, 2013 file photo and the New York Yankees are not seeing eye to eye on his hip injury. The star third baseman tweeted Tuesday night June 25, 2013 that his hip surgeon has cleared him to play in rehabilitation games, a move that angered Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, seen in this March 6, 2009 file photo, according to The two individuals have never really seen eye to eye and the relationship can best be described as testy , if not frosty . It has been revealed that Cashman approached team President Randy Levine with a view to voiding the player`s contract when it was revealed that his name had become embroiled in the Biogenesis scandal . No action was taken , but the MLB hierarchy has yet to render a decision concerning any player suspension concerning the players named in the documents in the possession of the US Justice Department . AP Photo/File …..

(8) Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, center, and Austin Jackson, left, celebrates with on-deck batter Prince Fielder after Cabrera hit a first-inning, two-run home run off Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Colome during a baseball game, Friday, June 28, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Cabrera went four-for-four , hitting two home runs , with four runs batted in , in the Tigers` 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …..


tophatal ……………………… 06/28/2013


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Too big to fail and too dumb to clean up its own frigging house

Too big to fail and too dumb to clean up its own frigging house

With the recent announcement that New England Patriots’ tight end Aaron Hernandez has now been arrested by the Massachusetts State Police and placed into custody at the Attleboro Police Station, pending chargers being filed by the State Attorneys` Office . It begs the question, where this now not only leaves the Patriots’ organization , but also now the further tarnished image of the NFL ? Robert Kraft , owner of the NFL franchise and his general manager Nick Caserio have taken it upon themselves to cut the player and voiding part of his seven-year $56 million contract , that the now disgraced Hernandez signed in 2012 . Not a moment too soon , as far as I am concerned , as from the outset the player and his legal representatives have played fast and loose with the rule of law . Evidence , it has been suggested , that may well have been tampered with , yet here were the player’s lawyers suggesting that the press and outside sources were denigrating Aaron Hernandez`s character. If I am not mistaken , the player was uncooperative with law enforcement from the very beginning , concerning the death of a former close confidante Odin Lloyd . The victim , Lloyd, who Hernandez was dating his sister , we now know was the victim of a homicide , and where his body was found less than a mile from his home in Attleboro , a suburb, north of the city of Boston .


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Slideshow for your perusal .

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , forever the so-called protector of the NFL image now has to deal with a situation where one of the league’s most high-profiled franchises now finds itself front and center in the biggest news’ story to hit the NFL during its off-season . The New England Patriots made a splash of its own , when they acquired former New York Jets’ backup quarterback Tim Tebow to a two-year deal . Personally, from my own mindset as an avowed and die-hard Patriots’ fan , I was quite looking forward to a preseason of high-end comedy, and all of the drama that is likely to follow the fourth year player . Now , instead , the fans of the NFL as well of the Patriots will be treated to a great deal of conjecture and speculation that is more than likely to be played out in the court of public opinion , as the fate of Aaron Hernandez is played out in front of our very eyes . As to Tim Tebow’s future with the Patriots , well that will now rest upon how quick the player can acclimatize himself to the quirks of head coach Bill Belichick and the likely offensive plays devised by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels .

I am of the opinion that Tim Tebow is being ingratiated and not good enough to play in the NFL at a consistently high level . His career so far in the league has been a clear reflection of that and it is not likely to change anytime soon . Even though the player has become another reclamation project for Bill Belichick , let’s not kid ourselves that Tebow fits into the mold of a Corey Dillon or a Randy Moss . On his best day Tim Tebow would not be competent enough to lace up the boots of either of the aforementioned players , but yet there remains apologists out there still with the wish of seeing the player in the NFL , while other claims that he would be of great financial benefit of a franchise in need of a sales pitch and to make even more money . The latter premise might just be the biggest joke of all !

In light of no charges having been filed against Aaron Hernandez as of yet , it should be noted that this is not the first time that the player has run afoul of the law . A pending suit has been filed against Hernandez , concerning an incident that took place in Miami where it is claimed that he shot a man in the face on the premises of a night club in South Florida . The suit filed for a second time now awaits a hearing and a trial date in the Miami Dade County Court System. Hernandez’s prior run ins took place while in college , and also while a juvenile , and it is clear that it has become a pattern of behavior with the now troubled player . As to the claims by the player’s legal team of undue bias and a rush to judgment. Well, let’s just revert back to the old adage , where there is smoke , there is fire .

One of the more subtle notes to come out of this all with the arrest of Aaron Hernandez during this off-season , has been the very fact that , he has become the twenty-eighth player from the NFL to have been arrested since the Superbowl (SB XLVII) came to an end , between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens .

At a time when the league has enough issues to deal with , it is now becoming abundantly clear that as much as Roger Goodell believes that he can assuage us , with the fact that his actions are in the best interests of the NFL when it comes to dealing with players’ behavioral issues . It is clear, that the NFLPA (union) simply has no idea, nor does it seem to care about how their members parade themselves within the public domain. Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and the union’s executive committee would rather spend their time trying to make fools of the league hierarchy and franchise owners alike . Something, that they have successfully been able to do, outsmarting the commissioner and his subordinates , repeatedly over the past few years .

To realize the seriousness of the situation that Aaron Hernandez now finds himself in . Consider the fact that his agent , has advised him to hire noted Boston criminal attorney James Sultan of the renowned law firm Rankin & Sultan LLC . The charges that could very well be filed against the player could either be , obstruction of justice or , manslaughter or premeditated murder . All of this being mere supposition , because neither the State Attorney’s Office or the Massachusetts State Police have been prepared to divulge that information to the public as of yet . With Aaron Hernandez having been arrested , his arraignment before a judge , where the charges will be made public , is now all that awaits the start of the whole ongoing criminal process . Alas , this is the last thing that the NFL really needs, as its preseason , has yet to begin , but the fans are now salivating , waiting for the customary league protocols of the OTA’s (organized training activities ) to commence .

The alternatives for New England are not all that bright in terms of its overall offense . Rob Gronkowski , a big part of the Patriots’ offense over the past two seasons , will have to undergo off –season surgery . Further hindering the offensive weaponry available to quarterback Tom Brady . And the thought of Danny Amendola now being viewed as a ready-made replacement for the departed Wes Welker , is akin to substituting a Ferrari with a Dodge Pinto . Not one of the wiser off-season decisions made by the front office in allowing the departure of a fan favorite in Wes Welker . And let us not forget that Tom Brady made available over $9 million in salary to aid the franchise cap-wise in order to re-sign the renowned wide receiver . All to no avail, as Welker now becomes a prime target and added option for Denver Broncos` quarterback Peyton Manning .

The New England Patriots has always prided itself on being an organization that has individuals with character, that would provide leadership to the younger members of its playing staff . To my mind , that no longer seems to be the case ! As affable as Tom Brady appears to be , the wealth attained , the accolades , notoriety and glamour that comes along with being one the league’s more high-profiled players , may well have left the quarterback jaded and unconcerned as it relates to the franchise . Granted , winning cures what ails us , especially in the case of a professional sport’s franchise . Yet , the fact of the matter is , the departures of players such as Tedy Bruschi , Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel have done more harm to the Patriots, than good . Age being a determining factor in their departures , unfortunately , in the subsequent years , the players drafted , have yet to show the leadership abilities , shown by the aforementioned players in question . The blame for this has to lay squarely upon the shoulders of Bill Belichick, and no one else . As great a head coach as he is, the “Midas Touch ” , he is renowned for , now seems to be missing , and it has most definitely played a part in the team’s failures in recent years , most notably in the postseason .

The preseason , with all that it represents , will now become one of urgency for Bill Belichick and his coaching staff . If he cannot get things right at that juncture , then no matter what the off-season in terms of its drama has provided us with , could very well pale into comparison should their regular season within the AFC East and in the league in particular , end up being a monumental bust .

For the past four seasons , Alex Rodriguez has been the highest paid player in baseball . Granted , the always opulent New York Yankees , will continue to outspend their rivals as they seek to maintain a standard of success that is unprecedented in baseball history . That asides , it has to be said , since the death of the late George Steinbrenner III , it does seem as if this ball-club seems to have regressed not just from a competitive standpoint , but also one in terms of its character and what it appears to tolerate from their players by way their behavior . Derek Jeter now on the downside of an illustrious career , seems to be on the verge of making a return , but a setback now seems to have curtailed that scenario. Manager , Joe Girardi , perennially under the microscope now has to deal with a fan-base that still yearns for success and one that now, is no longer willing to tolerate excuses as a reason why, for the team’s indifferent season .

Away from that scenario, we now have the still noncommittal Rodriguez declaring his fitness and ready to resume contributing to the team . Well , it means that the third baseman will add to the organization’s embarrassment more than he has already done with his conceit and web of lies . Then that , I might understand , but if he is actually talking about contributing on the field from his own standpoint by way of his meager offerings . Well, the New York Yankees might well be best served if the player remains on the team’s disabled list for the rest of the season . It is not as if he is currently being missed by Joe Girardi and his staff . Given what the team has been able to achieve by way of their results and their standing within the AL East , I seriously doubt that he has been missed by his teammates , much less the fans in attendance at Yankee Stadium , this season .

The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Report: Yanks GM angry at A-Rod for Twitter update

By Howie Rumber , Associated Press

NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees are not seeing eye to eye on his hip injury. The star third baseman tweeted Tuesday night that his hip surgeon has cleared him to play in rehabilitation games, a move that angered Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, according to
“You know what, when the Yankees want to announce something, (we will),” Cashman told the website.
“Alex should just shut … up,” the GM said, punctuating his comment with a profanity.
Cashman added that he planned to get in touch with Rodriguez right away.
The general manager did not respond to calls from The Associated Press.
Rodriguez had left hip surgery on Jan. 16 and has been working out since May at the Yankees’ Tampa complex. The three-time AL MVP took swings in a simulated-game situation for the first time on Monday.
On Tuesday night, he posted a message on Twitter: “Visit from Dr. Kelly over the weekend, who gave me the best news — the green light to play games again!” Rodriguez also posted a photo of himself and Dr. Brian Kelly, who performed the operation in New York.
Rodriguez did not stop to speak with reporters Wednesday when he drove into the team’s minor league complex in Tampa, Fla.


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New York Yankees` GM Brian Cashman , was obviously aggrieved by Alex Rodriguez’s announcement that he has been declared fit for a return to the game, by the surgeon who performed his hip surgery in the off-season . The player “tweeted” this proclamation without having first sought the approval of the team , never mind the fact, that he had yet to be declared physically fit enough by the team’s medical staff to even resume light training . Cashman , obviously angered by the player’s actions vented his feeling s to the local print and television media with a few choice expletives concerning his third baseman .

As we all know Alex Rodriguez’s name has once again associated with the latest debacle wrap itself around the game of baseball . Fans are calling for what they would like to see happen without ever once thinking that the game’s player on both sides of the equation simply don’t give a damn what they might . The known cheaters that have profited by way of using illicit substances are still allowed to participate in the game , after an innocuous tap on the wrist like a child being scolded by a kindergarten teacher . Anyone who genuinely believes that a fifty-game suspension is enough of deterrent to a player , then clearly they are misguided , if nothing else , simply pathetic .

The Yankees fort their part , even in light of Rodriguez’s almost whimsical admission of guilt in using a banned substance , chose not to suspend the player after that asinine act of contrition in 2011 , choosing instead to allow the player to resume playing for the team . Now comes the hard part for the organization , they are simply waiting for Bud Selig to make his formal announcement as to what punishment will be meted out to the players embroiled in the Biogenesis scandal . Meanwhile , knowing that the MLBPA (Players Union) is likely to fight tooth and nail to protect their members from any type of punishment they feel to be too draconian as a verdict rendered by the league hierarchy . From my own standpoint , Bud Selig and all of the parties involved , the teams , owners , union and front office executives, have all played their part in allowing this subterfuge to be perpetrated upon the public and fans alike . Baseball, or what is being reportedly being played, has become a caricature of what was once said to be America’s pastime .

Brian Cashman may well be angered by Alex Rodriguez’s actions , but my question for the front office executive and that of the Yankees’ ownership . Where were you all when this first came to light , and why no public outrage ? Instead, you all were gleefully rubbing your hands and ecstatically carrying on, as if you had hit the jackpot . Now that the can of worms have opened up along with all of the undesirable artifacts that come along with this whole scandal , all of this sacrosanct piousness, becomes all the more asinine and self-evident of an organization simply without a clue or any damn leadership to begin with .



Picture gallery .

In light of the events mentioned within this article , what outcome would you like to see concerning Aaron Hernandez and Alex Rodriguez ? Chime in on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter at hand .


Picture and slideshow details below .

In this image taken from video, a state police officer and dog arrive outside the home of New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez, Saturday, June 22, 2013, in North Attleboro, Mass. State police searched Hernandez’s home as they investigate the killing of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player whose body was found nearby. AP Photo/ESPN …

(2) Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez arrives for arraignment at Attleboro District Court Wednesday, June 26, in Attleboro, Mass. It wasn’t clear what charges were being filed against him. Less than two hours after his arrest, the Patriots announced they had cut him from the team. Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player for the Boston Bandits, was found slain June 17 near Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro. AP Photo/The Sun Chronicle, Mark Stockwell …

(3) FILE – In this Dec. 23, 2012 file photo, New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (81) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla. Hernandez was taken from his home in Attleboro, Mass. in handcuffs Wednesday morning June 26, 2013, more than a week after a Boston semi-pro football player was found dead in an industrial park a mile from Hernandez’s house. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack …

(4) Patriots’ GM Nick Caserio ,left, is seen here with head coach Bill Belichick . In light of the arrest of Aaron Hernandez , the decision was made to cut the player from the team’s playing staff . That decision was made in conjunction with team owner Robert Kraft . Courtesy of AP Photo / Richard Thompson …

(5) New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman, left, is seen here alongside Alex Rodriguez as the player is questioned by the convened press at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa , Florida . Rodriguez took questions on the allegations of his use of banned steroids . In what now appears to be the latest exchange between the player and the executive , Rodriguez seems to have angered Brian Cashman that he had been given “the all clear” to resume playing , having yet to pass a physical by the Yankees’ own in-house medical staff . Cashman in response to the player’s “tweet” responded with a few choice expletives stating that the player “should simply shut the @#%k up ” ! Courtesy of USA Today ……….



tophatal …… 006/26/2013



NFL news and archived stories

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News, views, and what the hell was that ?

News, views, and what the hell was that ?

Well the NBA season is over and done with , and now the fans will have the downtime of this off-season to assess how their teams will seek to strengthen their rosters, while seeking to usurp the Miami Heat and their dominant season . The NBA Draft will act as a precursor, as to what we can expect, as a number of struggling organizations will seek to better themselves . To my mind , it will not be so much about what these teams do , but what Pat Riley , Erik Spoelstra and team owner , Mickey Arison will seek to do , to improve this organization not just from a competitive standpoint but also economically as well .


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Slideshow .

LeBron James pretty much etched himself into the NBA record books with a series of scintillating performances against the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals , that were almost Jordan-esque, in their nature and size . That being said, this seven game series , might just go down as one of the very best in recent NBA Finals` history . And while praise is being heaped upon James` broad shoulders, it would be remiss not to think that Erik Spoelstra has contributed as much to the team`s success this season, as he did in last season`s Finals also . The head coach of the Heat has pretty much written his own chapter in Miami Heat history , of which I am pretty sure , there is still a great deal to come from this Pat Riley protegé !

A great deal of speculation will begin as to whether or not this team will be broken up as the coaching staff seeks to bolster the roster . First of all, can we stop with this asinine notion and situation where LeBron James will seek to opt out of his present contract and ply his trade elsewhere ? James and his agent , Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Management , are unlikely to give up the opportunity of being in a major high-profiled market to go elsewhere , not while James is at the height of his earning power in the NBA and a marketing behemoth to the advertisers of Madison Avenue and their global clients . Somehow this all seems to be overlooked by many of the analysts and fans out there , who simply use stupidity as a guide for what they deem to be common sense, in suggesting that the player is likely to leave the confines of Miami . For the moment, the Miami Heat organization, will be allowed to enjoy the spoils of war, before preparing for the upcoming season .

In what now seems a catalyst for excessive stupidity this season and during the off-season . The NBA has simply gone awry, with the number of head coaches either being fired or simply not having their contracts extended . One of individuals who was said to be an unwilling participant in all of this , just happened to be Vinny Del Negro , who in having guided the Los Angeles Clippers to the postseason was summarily dismissed by the organization , headed by team owner , Donald Sterling and GM Gary Sacks . Now one could speculate, as to the reasons why Del Negro was not rewarded with an extension of his contract . Yet, his untimely dismissal, does smack of what now appears to be an underlying trend that now seems commonplace across the NBA, amongst the team owners and general managers alike. It seems that when all else fails , the best person to blame, has to be the head coach , rather than the players who under-achieve or a general manager who just doesn`t have a damn clue . It is clear that neither Gary Sacks or Donald Sterling have ever had a clue how to run or create a successful NBA franchise . A case in point can be made, that the evidence has been there all along , for all to see over the past decade or more, as it relates to the Los Angeles Clippers .

With the recent public announcement that Doc Rivers has been hired to succeed Vinny Del Negro , it will be extremely interesting to see the direction that will be taken by the organization under their new head coach. A number of decisions will have to be made during this off-season as to the makeup of the roster , the status of their impending free agents , as well as the upcoming NBA Draft .

For the Boston Celtics , after what appears to be years of none movement by way of simply improving the roster overall . GM Danny Ainge , lead managing partner and team owner , Wyc Grousbeck , are now left with having to pick up the pieces after the abrupt departure of Doc Rivers . As to how the situation will be viewed by the Celtics` unabashed die- hard fans, remains to be seen . Yet it is my belief, that a great deal of the blame for Rivers` departure , lies with the coach himself and the actions of Danny Ainge , who at times seemed averse to change , that would have helped the franchise’s long-term goals . . I have yet to hear a succinct reason why Rivers signed a three-year contract extension in 2012 , knowing full well that he remained unhappy with a number of decisions being made by the front office, even when his input was called for . From my own perspective, Doc Rivers is just as much to blame for Celtics` present predicament , as are the executives within the front office of the Boston Celtics` organization !

In what might amount to an admission of guilt , Hall of Fame bound former NFL head coach Bill Parcells says, he as a great deal of regret in leaving the New England Patriots in 1996 . Four absolute years of futility, by his successor , Pete Carroll , pretty much laid the foundation for the Bill Belichick years of unparalleled success . For Parcells to readily admit that fact and that he and team owner , Robert Kraft failed to see eye to eye on a number of issues while he coached the franchise , was not necessarily astounding , but it leads me to believe that the head coach was a man , who simply liked to do things his own way and was unwilling to accept criticism even when valid . Parcells` resume` we know to be unrivaled , with the coach having taken four separate teams to the postseason during his now famed coaching career . A Superbowl appearance came with the Patriots in , during his four years with the well-respected NFL franchise . In what amounted to be a lopsided to be a 35-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers , for which the season that turned out to be so full of promise ended up being something of a major letdown for the franchise , and brought about an abrupt end to Bill Parcells` reign with the Patriots .

Courtesy of USA Today

Bill Parcells laments decision to part ways with Patriots

By Jim Corbett , USA Today Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Bill Parcells has one haunting memory from a coaching career that will culminate with his Aug.3 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: his bitter post-Super Bowl XXXI divorce from the New England Patriots and owner Robert Kraft after the 1996 season.

“I regret leaving New England. Had we done things differently … ” Parcells recently told USA TODAY Sports. “I had a good young team there. I hated to leave that team, because I knew what we could do.

“I was absolutely too headstrong. And he might have been a little headstrong, too. I think both Kraft and myself, retrospectively, would have done things a little differently.”

And the course of NFL history would have changed.

Parcells was succeeded in New England in 1997 by Pete Carroll, who coached the Patriots for three seasons before he was replaced by Bill Belichick in 2000.

The Patriots have won three Super Bowls and reached two others under Belichick, who, without the New England job available, might have remained head coach of the New York Jets for more than a day before resigning to move up the road to Foxborough, Mass.

Parcells and Kraft have made their peace, getting over a breakup caused by Parcells’ lack of final say on building the roster, which was decided by then-director of player personnel Bobby Grier. That power struggle led Parcells to taunt Kraft with the famous line: “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.”

Kraft recalled the truce, which happened about 10 years ago.

Click on link to read in full .

Bill Parcells can be seen as one of the modern- day innovators within the NFL coaching fraternity . The measure of success can also be seen from the coaching tree that has been established by Parcells and the members of his coaching staff who went on to carve success for themselves in the NFL , in various capacities . If that is not enough to signify the greatness of this former head coach , beyond his obvious over-sized ego , then I certainly don`t know what will .

Now as an avid Patriots` fan , I have to admit that this story concerning Aaron Hernandez’s involvement in the death of a former close confidante bears all t the remnants of quite possibly a friendship gone sour . The victim, Odin Lloyd , is a one-time known md close associate of the Patriots` tight end . That being said, with Hernandez now having gone, from a person of interest in this homicide, to the number one suspect , it now has me questioning why Robert Kraft , GM Nick Caserio and Bill Belichick would still allow the player to turn up at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts , for the team`s off-season workouts , mandatory or not ? It has become enough of a circus and a distraction the nation`s press and television media encamped outside Patriots` headquarters, waiting for the next glimpse of the now besieged and troubled player .

Personally, I would like to see what the next step that will be taken by the Patriots` hierarchy or the NFL itself , should the player be arrested and be charged with Odin Lloyd`s murder ! If that wasn`t enough and given Aaron Hernandez’s unwillingness to cooperate with local law enforcement and his own actions , prior to being questioned , leads me to believe that he does have a great deal to hide beyond his possible involvement in a homicide ! The destruction of what law enforcement (Boston PD) believes to be pertinent (cell phone , cleaning up of his residence and that of his SUV ) points to that of serious felony having been committed . Yet mere supposition alone, cannot be enough to truly suggest a player` guilt . However, any good prosecuting attorney should be able to indict and arraign a possible defendant on less . I may well be mistaken , but at this juncture , I am not expecting an asshole such as Roger Goodell to make any public statement , much less deliver any sort edict stating the player should be suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation. Would that be too much to ask of the NFL`s buffoon of a commissioner , given his proclivity for supposedly wanting to protect the NFL`s image ?

It is becoming abundantly clear that the NFL has become archaic monolithic system that is simply devoid of intelligence and this ongoing fact that all Roger Goodell can actually point to, are increased revenues , yet little by way any concern over welfare of retired veterans, most notably the issue head trauma and concussions . For years, Goodell and his predecessor , Paul Tagliabue , ignored their own in-house studies as well that of studies conducted by world-renowned academic facilities, Stanford , UCLA Medical Facility Berkley, John Hopkins University , Sloane Kettering as well as studies conducted by the AMA , NIMH and the AAN (American Academy of Neurology) . In the midst of this all , remains the apathy of fans who say that the NFL continues to emasculate the league and the way football is officiated , interpreted and the rules adhered to by the referees. Somehow these are quite possibly the same idiots , who raise the national flag to show that they are patriots but simply couldn`t give a shit that there are now more than 750,000 homeless military veterans in living on the streets of Los Angeles , New York , San Francisco , Miami and Washington, DC ., all suffering chronic mental health and drug-related issues . Where is the compassion for those men and women said to be coming from ? Yet , these are the forgotten , who no one seems to care about at all , not even the VA (Veterans Administration) the federal government itself, in spite of the lip service coming from members of the House , Senate , as well as Barack Obama , himself .

I may well be mistaken, but this year is 2013 , is it not ? A little over two eighteen months ago, ago an individual and former patron of this site was simply critical of me , because I was overly critical of the Kansas City Royals(35-38) and that as an organization , they were not only bereft of talent but also devoid of intelligence, in terms the ownership and managerial staff . Far be it for me to suggest , but it has been several years since the Royals last made the postseason , let alone contest for their division during that time-frame. Furthermore , this season , the Royals are once again playing sub-par baseball and while not belying their status as an also ran within the AL as well as baseball as a whole .

Royals` manager Ned Yost and his staff have been entrusted to guide this team for the long-haul , but it is my belief that Yost is handicapped by ball-club that simply has no wish to spend money to bolster this team . Be it, adding a veteran leader or simply a talent, by way of a bonafide star who is productive as an offensive player or pitcher . The biggest issue facing the Kansas City Royals , are that their fans have always been under the impression that the team will contend , if not this year , then it will be next . God bless those Royal fans, and their ongoing optimism, in spite of the sheer ineptitude shown .

Year in and year out the MLB Draft has been an ongoing process of the Kansas City Royals and GM Dayton Moore going through the motions creating the perception of creating a competitive ball-club. David Glass , owner of the Royals , in spite of his alleged business acumen , and the propensity for simply sitting back and let the chips fall were they may. And as we know MLB simply takes care of its own , even when they just happen to be abhorrent mediocre and repeatedly so . The Royals will continue to live high on the hog , just as long as Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy avails teams such as the Royals with their asinine tax sharing revenue scheme , which since the day it was initiated, , it has barely created a level playing field . Others might well counter that with the argument that the World Series has been contested by several different teams . However, if one would merely look at the make-up up of postseason , specifically the divisional series and championship series , over the years that the perennial contenders are always there . As to the World Series itself , well what can one say , when the names more often than not tend to be the same ? Does anyone truly believe that the Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates , Tampa Bay Rays , Houston Astros , New York Mets , will ever win a title , given their respective records in recent years ? Granted in 1969 , the Mets triumphed over the Baltimore Orioles , with a lopsided 4-1 series` victory . Since then , four decades plus of sheer purgatory , financial mismanagement and the absurdity of Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi are credible enough to turn things around for this moribund franchise . Terry Collins and his bedraggled team are simply back to their ways of old , with the same old excuses being put forth by their fans and the front office . I wonder why ? One merely has to look at the team`s season and standing in the NL East to realize what a mess the New York Mets continue to be .

If I were a Royals` fan , am I supposed to be sold players such as Mike Moustakas , Alex Gordon , Eric Hosmer , Billy Butler , Lorenzo Cain and a team batting average of . 257 , which in essence, places the Royals in fifth in the AL ? Yet what might be of even more concern, is the fact that the team cannot manufacture runs (RBI`s) or even home runs . Wow ! And these are the type of statistics that will lure fans to Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri ? The one saving grace might well be, that in terms of pitching , the team does possess the best ERA in the AL with league low average of 3.52.

Next up for Kansas City will be a home game against the Atlanta Braves ,with Kris Medlen taking the mound for Atlanta against Ervin Santana of the Royals , in what is sure to be a lively pitchers` duel between these two players . Great games are normally expected when we have two highly competitive teams facing off against one another. At present , only one of these two ball-clubs actually fits that criteria of being even remotely competitive . Care to guess, which one ?

Los Angeles Angels` (33-43) owner, Arte Moreno , has become disgruntled and upset by the direction of this team . I cannot say that I would blame him , given the fact, that he now has over $450 million invested in three high-profiled players on this roster . Yet here are, almost at a crisis point, almost midway through the MLB season . A season , in which, the Angels have simply been mediocre , at best . It is not that hard to fathom how an organization can in fact be so naïve in its wish to seek out success , having to see their crosstown rivals be front and center, garnering much of the news when it comes to all things baseball in the city of Los Angeles . There is no denying that this season both the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers (33-42) are grabbing all of the headlines within the game but for all of the wrong reasons. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto and his Dodgers` counterpart Ned Colletti are struggling to make both teams relevant within their respective divisions . For managers, Mike Scioscia and Don Mattingly , for all sense and purpose , their jobs now appear to be on the line, with respective owners Arte Moreno and Magic Johnson undoubtedly rethinking the situation, as whether or not, it would be wise to extend the contracts of the two beleaguered managers . By season`s end I believe we will be given the answers in both cases !

As I alluded to earlier with over $450 million invested in Albert Pujols , C J Wilson and Josh Hamilton , it is extremely difficult to see how and where this team will be in a position to challenge for the AL West this season , when they are struggling just to be competitive within the AL as a whole .



Picture gallery .

The Angels will be the guests of the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park , in Detroit ,Michigan for a series of games . Jim Leyland brings in a team that will be seeking to tighten its grip on the AL Central , as they seek not only redefine themselves , but also seek redemption after last season`s lopsided World Series ` loss to the San Francisco Giants . As the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics contest the AL West , leading the Angels by ten and eleven games respectively, you kind of get the feeling that we could very well be witnessing the beginning of the end as it relates to the career of Mike Sciocsia with this ball-club. As one of the longest tenured managers in baseball , Sciocsia`s greatest achievement in came in 2002 as he led the organization to their lone triumph in baseball`s biggest showcase event .

Your thoughts on the points raised within this piece and how you see the second half of the season panning out for a number of teams within baseball ? Do leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

Picture and slideshow details below .

(1) NBA champion Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra , center, gestures to fans during a parade honoring the team in Miami, Monday, June 24, 2013. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ….

(2) Fans take photos of the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy with their mobile phones and cameras as it rises from the from a box, Monday, June 24, 2013, during a celebration for season ticket holders at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 in Game 7 to win their second straight basketball championship. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(3) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 24: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat celebrates alongside teammate, Juwan Howard on the bus during the championship celebration parade through downtown Miami on June 24, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images …..

(4) LeBron James , left , is seen here with his childhood friend and business partner Rich Paul . Paul a former junior associate with mega-agency CAA Sports left to form Klutch Sports Inc , taking along with him the NBA star , who at the time , just happened to CAA`s biggest NBA client . James and Paul are also co-founders of LMR Enterprises which oversees all of James` business interests , covering endorsements , his charitable foundation as well as other outside interests of the player. Mathe` Enterprises Inc. copyrighted material …..

(5) FILE – In this file photo made Feb. 1, 2013, Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers gestures towards an official during an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic in Boston. A Celtics official told The Associated Press, Sunday, June 23, 2013, that a deal to allow Rivers to coach the Los Angeles Clippers has been agreed to. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal was contingent on NBA approval and negotiations between Rivers and the Clippers over a new contract. AP Photo/Charles Krupa ….

(6) CHICAGO, IL – MAY 17: Trey Burke (3) completes a lane agility test on Day 2 of the 2013 NBA Draft Combine on May 17, 2013 at Quest Multiplex in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(7) New England Patriots` owner Robert Kraft , left , is seen here with then team head coach Bill Parcells . The two individuals had what could be best described as a testy relationship , that would often become extremely combustible . Parcells would have four successful seasons with the franchise , before leaving abruptly at the end of the 1996 season . In a recent interview with USA Today , Bill Parcells voiced his regrets in leaving the Patriots under the circumstances that he had chosen to depart . Boston Globe / Frank Pietro ….

(8) Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas tags out Chicago White Sox’s Paul Konerko (14) on the way to third before throwing to first for the double play hit into by Dayan Viciedo during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 22, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …

(9) Los Angeles Angels` owner Mike Sciocsia is seen here with team owner Arte Moreno . Sciocsia is under a great deal of pressure this season for the team to succeed . However , with players failing to live up to expectation and a seven-figure payroll that ranks among the top ten in all of baseball . It begs the question , can Mike Sciocsia and his staff survive the season or will Jerry Dipoto and the team owner relieve the manager of his managerial position at season`s end ? AP Photo Mark Rogers ……..



tophatal ………………………….. 06/24/2013 .

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Hot chic pic of the day Sheneka Adams .

Think big , spend big and then end up broke ….

Think big , spend big and then end up broke ….

With the upcoming NBA Draft but a few days away and the NBA postseason soon to come to an end . It will be worthwhile assessing how some of these young college players will go about acclimatizing themselves to the role of a professional athlete in the NBA. Repeatedly, we are told that the life of an athlete is not necessarily a glamorous one , yet the NBA does seek to glamorize the lifestyle of its athletes and the game’s highest profiled star , LeBron James , who right now is a participant in this season’s NBA Finals , with the Miami Heat facing off against their Western Conference opponents the San Antonio Spurs .


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Slideshow .

In his ten years in the NBA , LeBron James has been simply been more than a prodigious talent . He has in fact become the face of the NBA , a marketing phenom , and a face that corporate America now loves and simply cannot enough of . Other than , Kobe Bryant , Tiger Woods , Dale Earnhardt Jr , Peyton Manning and Tom Brady , there might not be a more marketable athlete in the North American market place . For the whining Tim Tebow apologists out there who believe the player to be a bankable and marketable asset? Simply try to assess the so-called high-profiled endorsement deals that he is said to have signed. Not one is with a Fortune 500 Company , and I grant you , because he may well have the highest selling jersey in the NFL , it simply does not equate to millions of dollars for the player , by way of annual residuals or for that matter , major revenue for the NFL franchise that he might actually be assigned .

In this day and age when we have a government that is so damn clueless on the economic woes of the country and wherein the electorate remains apathetic. It should come as no surprise that although financial frugality is preached by the federal government , they simply cannot and choose not to live within their own means . Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the recently appointed Treasury Secretary Jacob ‘Jack’ Lew can point to few positives within the economy as a whole . Likewise within the NBA hierarchy and the outsized ego of David Stern and his notion of a financially stable NBA , and its brand now reaching beyond the borders of North America .

The NBA commissioner still cannot stem the tide of stupidity being shown by the team owners , general managers or the players themselves . A four a half billion dollar a year industry is essentially now on the verge of overheating . Financial restraint is not something that the league can point to and with many of the games` players now earning well into seven figures with multi-year multimillion dollar contracts . I believe that we should be asking, what are the league and union now prepared to do , in order to stem the tide financial capriciousness on the part of the teams and their players ?

At the end of the daft process the rookie players and their agents will meet the general managers and team owners to essentially hammer out the details of their rookie contracts . The top pick in the NBA Draft will be guaranteed a three-year $`12 million contract , with a sliding scale being used to determine the subsequent contracts through the remaining rounds of the draft . Though the general managers and the teams’ legal counsel, can choose to add in certain incentives to such deals. Many of these young rookies are under the impression , are that once, they-put-pen to paper , having signed that deal , they are now set for life , and the subsequent years , in terms of any additional contracts that they may well sign . How this will all fits into their lifestyles can be seen by how they choose to spend their new-found wealth . You can choose to maintain one place of residence and drive one $400,000 sport’s car at a time . Yet somehow , that seems to be lost on a number of these young stars . And if you were of the opinion that the NBA is the only place where such trappings of wealth and opulence may well take place , then you would be sadly mistake , as the NFL and Major League Baseball (MLB) seemingly has players of their own who are of the very same mindset .

In a recent episode expose` documentary , as part of ESPN’s acclaimed series 30/30 , a segue was done on NFL players who have found themselves bankrupt and simply penniless , albeit that a number of them had several very successful years playing in the league . With the average life of an NFL player being no more than 6.8 years , their greatest earning period or span comes between the fifth to eighth years , dependent upon the position played . And clearly in the NFL where quarterbacks come at a premium , they are by far in a way the highest paid in the league on an annual basis and by way of the determining length of a contract.

In recent weeks and months we have seen reigning Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco parlay his spectacular postseason displays into an extraordinarily rewarding contract , that comes courtesy of Baltimore Ravens ` GM Ozzie Newsome and team owner , Steve Bisciotti . Flacco , himself , believes he can be even better this upcoming season , as the Ravens seek to make a successful defense of their Superbowl title . As to how the player will now seek to spend and invest is new-found wealth remains to be seen . Yet , I can only hope that the misfortunes that befell Bernie Kosar , do not become a part of Flacco`s personal and professional life .

From a stellar career in the NFL , upon retirement , Kosar went through a financial and personal maelstrom where his personal fortune , a reputed $ 50 million, simply went up in smoke , through bad business investments , a major divorce settlement , members of the family simply stealing from the player . Most of all , Kosar was simply negligent and all too trusting of a father , who acted as his agent , and was someone , who simply had no legal or financial experience to handle the player`s business affairs . Bernie Kosar today , is a broken man , both financially and from a health standpoint , as he now suffers from arthritic pains in both hands as well as his hips . Furthermore , the former Cleveland Browns ` .. quarterback spoke of the fact, that he also suffers from neurological issues , which he believes came from the multiple concussions suffered throughout much of his professional playing career.

Bernie Kosar joins a long list of professional athletes who down the years have simply been all too foolish with their earnings . It would appear that any business venture offered up as an investment that came their way . Many of these players would simply turn over countless thousands of dollars to their alleged business partners . Many of those schemes in some cases, would turn out to be a Ponzi Scheme or a multi-layered sales` gimmick , where the money was simply being siphoned off to an offshore bank account. Amongst the other NFL players, willing to speak on camera about their own experiences as part of this documentary program , were Andre Rison and Keith McCants . McCants` own story was very troubling , given his career and then his sinking into being a prolific drug user, petty criminal, who would also become homeless and panhandling on the streets of Atlanta , to aid in his chronic drug use . Now five years free, from narcotics and alcohol , Keith McCants spends much of his time speaking to and lecturing young children about the dangers of drugs , alcohol and their dangers as an athlete . McCants would also suggest that the NFL simply as not provided incoming rookies with enough education or information , in warning them of the dangers of suddenly coming into a great deal of money and the sharks who seek to make them their prey . Those signing bonuses as part of a player`s contract, are in fact the only thing that is guaranteed in a compensation package that an NFL player receives .

For Andre Rison , noting was ever too big , as a way of showing off is opulent lifestyle . As mercurial a talent as the wide receiver was said to . It was also his off the field activities and lifestyle that often brought the player to the fans and public`s attention alike . From wanting to be a musical impresario , Rison was known to have once backed a budding rap artist paying some $500,000 merely as an advance for the recording of that artist`s rap album . An album, which would go to sell less than 30,000 units nationally , and would end up being less than a shrewd investment for the player , who would also spend a further $1.5 million to build a state of the art recording studio in his home , in the hopes of budding a budding music star , having also bought a recording facility and created his own record label in downtown Atlanta . Sports` cars , $2,000-00 bottles of champagne merely to celebrate an Atlanta Falcons` win was nothing out of the ordinary for the 1989 NFL first round draft pick for the Indianapolis Colts , as a wide receiver .

Perhaps the most infamous incident we can all remember as it relates to the troubled wide receiver, was the now infamous event of is then companion , musician , Lisa Left-Eye` Lopez , who set fire to the 11,000 square foot , $5 million mansion that the couple shared in suburban Atlanta , Georgia . After the incident , Lopez would state ____ “ I just wanted it to burn and for it to hurt him “ . Andre Rison for his part , was remorseful over the incident , as he believed that he could have handled the situation a great deal better , rather than it turning initially into a physically violent altercation from the outset , before Lisa Lopez`s own actions . Rison does have regrets concerning many episodes concerning is colorful and all too dramatic life. Many of which he acknowledged , that if he had it all to do all over again , he would have been less exuberant and more trusting of those offering more trusting advice . Numerous legal issues in the ensuing years , forfeiture and seizure of property as well as owing state and federal authorities monies in back taxes , and a number of paternity suits have all but left the player bankrupt and penniless .

The NFL does now offer rookie symposiums for their players to attend , which are now mandatory for all rookie entrants to into the league . Those meeting constitute visits and lectures by certified financial planners , accountants , well-respected lawyers and agents . Yet somehow it does seem almost inconceivable that if the statistics are to be believed , as many as 63% of all players within five years of their retirement do undergo financial hardship , with many having to file for personal or corporate bankruptcy . All this ,while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to speak in volumes as to the growing revenues of the NFL , without ever once addressing the financial hardships that befall many current and former players .

Courtesy of ESPN

Broke and going nowhere

According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 60 percent of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. By the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress. Sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders, saddled with medical problems, and naturally prone to showing off, many pro athletes get shocked by harsh economic realities after years of living the high life. Drawing surprisingly vulnerable confessions from retired stars like Keith McCants, Bernie Kosar and Andre Rison, as well as Marvin Miller, the former executive director of the MLB Players Association, this fascinating documentary digs into the psychology of men whose competitive nature can carry them to victory on the field and ruin off it.

Director Billy Corben (The U, Cocaine Cowboys, Limelight) paints a complex picture of the many forces that drain athletes’ bank accounts, placing some of the blame on the culture at large while still holding these giants accountable for their own hubris. A story of the dark side of success, “Broke,” is an allegory for the financial woes haunting economies and individuals all over the world.

Director’s Take :

In June 2009, we interviewed quarterback Bernie Kosar for the ESPN 30 for 30, The U. Anyone who knows Bernie will tell you, he’s as kind and generous a guy you could ever meet. In fact, he was extremely generous with his time that morning; he talked with us for several hours and, afterwards, took pictures and signed autographs for the crew.

A few weeks later, Dan LeBatard broke the news: Following a series of bad investments and a costly divorce, Kosar had filed for bankruptcy. It was a shock. Beyond football, Kosar was renowned for his business savvy and known to have been even more financially successful after his decade-long NFL career than during it.

Personally, it broke my heart. Other than appearing tired at times, there was little or no indication during the hours Bernie spent with us that he was in the midst of this ordeal.

In the early part of the millennium, you’d occasionally hear about a high-profile athlete suffering financial difficulties, but Pablo Torre’s article, ‘How (and Why) Athletes Go Broke,’ in the March 2009 Sports Illustrated, cast a spotlight on what seemed to be an emerging epidemic in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown.

These days, it seems there’s a new story every week and we felt these stories were worth exploring. Not everyone was so enthusiastic about it, though.

They say the most uncouth subjects for dinner conversation are politics and religion. I gotta add money to that list. Athletes, a famously proud group, were not particularly anxious to discuss the state of their finances, so getting interviews for this project, not surprisingly, proved to be a challenge. I really admire the people who agreed to speak with us because they sincerely felt like they have something to offer the next generation and hope that others will learn from their experience.

The way “Broke” is structured, it’s not about people, per se, but the problem, told by the people who experience(d) it. It’s essentially a step-by-step guide, How To Lose Millions of Dollars Without Breaking a Sweat.


Click on link to read in full .


In the NBA , the figure is just startling concerning the financial hardship faced by a numbers players there in the immediacy of their retirements . Latrell Sprewell and Antoine Walker are two players , whose stories of financial hardship have been well chronicled , with both having to file bankruptcy , owing their creditors a combined $35 million , with assets of less than $2 million . It is that sort of insanity that tends to be overlooked , as we continue to heap praise upon many of these athletes , in many respects for no good purpose , other tan to laud their athletic feats . With 76% of their players seeking some sort of aid after retirement and considering that in the NBA , salaries are entirely guaranteed . It begs the question , what is it and why is that these players become so enamored with spending so capriciously without ever really thinking about their long-term future and post-game life ? Granted , the likes of Michael Jordan , Dave Bing and Magic Johnson have each become extremely successful entrepreneurs in their own right . Yet it speaks only to a very small percentage overall of the players who can successfully point to the fact , that they have been able to leave the game in a better financial and physical shape than when they first entered the NBA .



Picture gallery .

Again , with the NBA also following in the same footsteps of the NFL in terms of also having their own rookie symposiums . One has to ask , are the leagues in question as well as that of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the NHL doing enough to avoid a major catastrophe , as it relates to the financial well-being of their players ? Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter at hand ? Chime in with a comment, as you see fit .


Picture and slideshow gallery details below .


(1) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James smiles as he speaks during a news conference before NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Heat host the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday . James as been at te forefront of te game ever since is entry into the NBA as the number one overall draft pick in the 2003 NBA Draft . In that time he has become the game`s best player as being deemed it`s most marketable star and ambassador , along the way amassing a fortune now an estimated at 130 million . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

(2) Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (L), speaks while Treasury Secretary Jack Lew listens during an open session of the Financial Stability Oversight Council at the Treasury Department, April 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. The session was held to discuss the financial markets and emerging threats to financial stability and make relevant recommendations. Getty Images North America/Mark Wilson ….

(3) Superbowl MVP Joe Flacco is seen here with teammate Ray Lewis after the Baltimore Ravens` victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Superbowl (SB XVII) . Flacco in the aftermath of the team`s victory was able to parlay his postseason performances into a multi-year , multi-million dollar contract that makes the quarterback amongst the highest paid players in the NFL . Sports Illustrated / Curtis Matthews ….

(4) Former NBA star Antoine Walker , whose storied career saw him win a college national championship as well as an NBA title , but also having earned in excess of $100 million in career earnings , the player filed for personal bankruptcy after some bad business investments and gambling habit that simply overtook his personal and professional life . Walker is now back in the league but playing in the NBA`s Development League , were his impact has been minimal . Antoine Walker still believes that he can still contribute to a legitimate title contender in the NBA at this juncture of his career . AP Photos REUTERS /Keith Marshall …

(5) Former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar is seen here with neurosurgeon Dr Richard Sponaugle , as the player makes the public announcement that he is now suffering from a neurological disorder (CTE) that now affects his speech as well as his ambulatory movement . Kosar , one time successful entrepreneur now lives a life of simplicity , relying primarily on his NFL retirement benefits to aid him . Having seen large part of his personal fortune simply disappear through a number of fraudulent deals overseen by his father , and a divorce settlement the player did not challenge . It is extremely difficult to have any compassion or feel any empathy for an individual who simply was far too trusting , naive and who simply chose to ignore the warning signs in his presence at each juncture of his life . Hamilton News Media Outlet ……..

(6) Former NFL wide receiver Andre Rison is seen here with former companion , Lisa Left Eye` Lopez , a co-founder of te seminal best-selling female rap group TLC . The two individuals had a very tempestuous and volatile relationship that was often violent and spontaneous . Rison , no stranger to controversy, has become the public and private face of a gifted athlete who lived an excessive lifestyle and who somehow was able to throw away many of the opportunities tat came his way . Now with little left to his name the former player spends much of his time lecturing young individuals on the dangers that comes along in being an NFL player and not being financially responsible . Getty Images North America / Paul Engle ………

(7) Keith McCants , six-year NFL linebacker professional whose career was essentially cut short by injuries . McCants is seen here talking about his career on te ESPN magazine program 30/30 (Broke) and the fact he is now broke . The player became a chronic drug user addicted pain prescription medication . Unable to meet his demand for many of the narcotics he became addicted to , McCants would resort to and commit acts of petty crime , such as theft , and check cashing fraud to meet his addiction demand . Now drug and alcohol free, Keith McCants has been critical of the NFL and their unwillingness to provide retired veterans with aid for such addictions as well as the fact that at the time of his being drafted there was not a program in place to assist the players in learning financial responsibility , providing them with the proper assistance in terms of agents (now certified) by the NFL , and lawyers (offering legal advice on a wide variety of issues) . The latter scenario was put into place by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue in conjunction with the NFLPA and their , then , Executive Director Gene Upshaw . Courtesy of ESPN @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ……………..



tophatal ……… 06/19/2013


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Tears of the Sun …….

Tears of the Sun

I am pretty sure the start of the current NBA Finals the Miami Heat were the overwhelming favorites to win this series outright over their Western Conference opponents the San Antonio Spurs . Both teams came into the Finals , with not only a rich achievement of success over the course of their respective histories . In essence, throughout much of the regular season and postseason we bore witness as to why both of these teams arrived at their present destination.


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Five games into the NBA showcase finale and we now appear to be on the cusp of seeing Miami’s season come to a finality , and end , in which having made three consecutive NBA Finals , their tally may well up just showing a record of 1-2 . Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra now has to rally his troops for that final onslaught, as they now seek to erase a 3-2 deficit against the four-time NBA champion Spurs . No small task, when you consider that the opposing coach is none other than Gregg Popovich . Far too many of the analysis`, I have read by patrons within this forum , suggesting that Miami would see these Finals as nothing more than a cakewalk , clearly showed how blurred the diagnosis were by these individuals . And it certainly did not get any better when ESPN/ABC NBA analyst Stephen A Smith simply waxed on lyrically as to why , he thought that LeBron James would be the dominant force in how he perceived the outcome with the Miami Heat prevailing . Well , if Smith had not spent so much time with this lips glued to James’ sphincter , he would realize that this is not a Spurs’ team whose intent is to go down without a fight . Furthermore , the analyst is not from someone , who is known to show any impartiality , clearly blurring his judgment along the way .

Coming off an impromptu game five loss , Miami and its players now face the daunting task of having to fend off a San Antonio Spurs` team that now smells blood in the water . Bearing in mind that during this series itself , no one team has been able to pull of back to back postseason wins , you now get the feeling the bow will break in terms of San Antonio now making that more of a reality . Meanwhile , odds-makers in Las Vegas are either laughing all the way to the bank or a number of them may well be left in a scene of apoplexy . Needless to say, Vegas, will always come out on top , no matter how one might view the situation . One of the more disturbing things to have witnessed in this series has been the somewhat casual , if not laissez-faire manner in which Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have gone about providing LeBron James little help , if any , during the Finals . A far cry from 2012 , when each of the Heat`s Big Three played their part in the defeat of the Oklahoma City Thunder in what was deemed to be a rather lopsided NBA Finals , that season . James would come away triumphant having led the franchise to its second world NBA championship , as well winning the league`s regular season MVP award and Finals` MVP award .

The 2012-season for the Miami Heat was one, in which we witnessed the team come away , winning their division with a great deal of ease and never seriously challenged within the Eastern Conference for any type of dominance . Sorry , Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks` fans , but this was not going to be your season , not by any stretch of the imagination , as was borne with your fall from grace during these playoffs . Need I say anymore, on the matter ? It is one thing to use superlatives to describe a team, laying out an argument as to their dominance . Yet , these were many of the asinine claims being made about the Miami Heat throughout much of this past season . Granted , they came away with a league best sixty-six wins on their way to a 66-16 record , but in no way should that record and the ensuing results be an argument for any foundation that this roster was amongst the ten best teams in NBA history . This Miami team at its very best , would be deemed a noteworthy opponent for many of the great Boston Celtics , Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers teams of the past , but to suggest , that they are even remotely close to being one the ten best in NBA history , is simply asinine . In a seven-games series , I would seriously doubt that the Miami Heat in its current guise could take down a Showtime Lakers` team made up of Magic Johnson , Kareem Abdul Jabbar or James Worthy . Never mind , a Celtics` team made up of Larry Bird , Kevin McHale and Robert Parish . As to the 95-96 Bulls` team , well let`s just say that Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen at their best with their supporting cast would have feasted off such a poor rebounding Miami Heat team , in spite of the athleticism of LeBron James .

Miami`s Team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison went out of their way to make sure that the team assembled with all of its ill-fitting parts would be one , that could be deemed a championship caliber team . That being said assembling a group of three superstars and then to surround them with role players , is not always enough to secure a championship . Last season, could not be seen, as the exception to the rule . And were it not for a young and inexperienced Thunder team coached by Scott Brooks , it is my belief that particular NBA Finals in 2012 , would have been far more competitive and a true reflection of both teams , with the outcome being a great deal closer than the 4-1 series` victory reflected in what turned to be a lopsided affair , for Miami .

If Miami are seen as one of the glamor teams of the NBA, because of its proximity to the night life , sumptuous beaches and multimillion dollar mansions , homes to some of the most notable of the glitterati imaginable . On the opposite side of that coin , one might view the San Antonio Spurs as being one of the lesser lights of the NBA . How wrong you would be to think that , with the achievements of this franchise under Gregg Popovich, team owner , Peter Holt and the front office led by RC Buford . Never known to be big spenders , making all too outlandish salary commitments to players , San Antonio under Holt`s tenure , have simply become one of the most well-respected and best ran organizations in the entire NBA . Economically , the franchise may not be able to compete with the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks , but I would dare say that those two teams would not mind having the consistency shown by the Western Conference representative in the NBA Finals . During which the coach and franchise have not produced a sub .500 season , which is a great deal more than can be said for several of the more illustrious franchises around the NBA and their fans who aspire for greatness but simply do not know how to damn well recognize it , but will continue to serve up rather inane and idiotic platitudes as to what they deem to greatness .

In the playoffs for the San Antonio Spurs one would expect to see the customary performances from Tony Parker , Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli . Yet , it has been a wide array of game to game performances by Gary Neal , Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard that have set the stage for placing the team on the cusp of raising their fifth NBA title . In doing so they ave negated the offensive strategies put into motion by Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat . Neal and Green would be my choices for co-Finals` MVP or quite possibly , Green having a slight edge over is teammate . Either way, it would not really matter to even the most discerning of San Antonio Spurs` fans, just as long as the team is able to raise the Larry O`Brien Trophy at the end of either game six or seven at the American Airlines Arena (AA Arena) in Miami , Florida , over the next seventy-two hours . For a seasoned veteran such as Tracy McGrady , this might be the final piece of the puzzle the player sought to end his often troubled and varied career in the NBA. A two-time scoring .scoring champion and with multiple All Star appearances , this would be a fitting end for a player, who while being an exceptional talent , who never fulfilled that preeminent role that he long sought to fulfill . And for McGrady, any postseason contribution that he can make in assisting San Antonio in a victory, will be more than appreciated by the fans of the organization .

To suggest that the NBA postseason has been less than turbulent, would be an understatement . Numerous coaching firings and with general managers and team owners now scouring for the best available talent . It begs the question is now big game season and what the hell is going on , by way of the lack of intelligence with these owners ? Eleven of the coaches who guided their teams into the playoffs, were either relieved of their positions or simply not offered a renewed contract extension. Jason Kidd , having retired, is now the successor to PJ Carlisemo as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets . Nets` GM Billy King and team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov have shown their implicit faith in an unproven talent , but there is no denying Kidd`s undoubted talent as a player. Now the question becomes , what type of a relationship , will the new head coach have with his roster of underachieving talent ?

With Deron Williams said to be the face and future of the franchise and long seen as one of the best point guards in the NBA . There are two things , I believe are solely lacking in Williams as a player ! He remains an immature prima donna, and someone who cannot be viewed as a vocal leader of this team by any stretch of the imagination. As to Deron Williams, being one of the elite players at the position in the NBA , those claims can be challenged on numerous levels . Yet herein lies the issue , assists alone and being able rack up the stats , are by no means an indication of a player`s greatness , if he is unable to lead or make those around him better . And those claims cannot be made or be justified concerning the Nets` point guard .

The biggest move, should it actually materialize , are the percolating rumors of the Los Angeles Clippers gauging the interest of Boston Celtics` head coach Doc Rivers in succeeding Vinny Del Negro of the Western Conference franchise . As part of the possible move would be Kevin Garnett also being included as part of a package deal , along with Paul Pierce , in exchange for Blake Griffin , DeAndre Jordan , Eric Bledsoe , and two first round draft picks from the 2013 NBA Draft and in 2014 .

For the past few years , Doc Rivers has grown impatient with the Celtics` management as they have simply misspent that time in the belief that by delaying the inevitable and trying to ride on the backs of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and a healthy Rajon Rondo , all would be fine for this illustrious franchise . Now set to be in a rebuilding mode , it could prove to be very beneficial for GM Danny Ainge to off-load aging stalwarts such as Garnett and Pierce along with a beleaguered head coach and simply get the best possible pieces to complement the skill-set of Rondo and the remaining players on the roster . Certainly, the Celtics would be cap-friendly and they would also be able to pursue a number of desirable fee agents during the off-season without having to break the bank . Something, I believe lead managing partner Wyc Grousbeck has to be assessing and considering in conjunction with his general manager .

I have long maintained that Donald Sterling , owner of the Los Angeles Clippers might just be one of the worst owners in all of North American professional sports ! Granted , his franchise , had to live in the shadows of the Los Angeles Lakers, for the better part of two decades and counting . Yet in all of that time , you cannot count on one hand the number of times that the franchise has even ever had a chance of doing something exceptional in the postseason . This year would be no different for a team that was simply defensively challenged , even when pressed upon by former coach Vinny Del Negro to simply put forth that extra effort , there was none to be found . Personally , I am not so sure that even with an aging Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to assist a wily and skillful, Chris Paul , we are simply going to see more of the same . It is not as if Garnett and Pierce still have the legs on them to contribute greatly , giving Rivers anywhere between fifteen to twenty minutes a game . Furthermore, if the swirling rumors are to be believed that Paul, himself , has expressed an opinion that he would like to see the Clippers` management make a solid run at acquiring Dwight Howard . Then, I for one , would like to know how this would sit , not only with the Lakers` fans and management , but also Kobe Bryant ? In addition to that scenario, it might not be such a bad thing to see the center simply disappear from a Lakers` lineup, where his regular and postseason contributions for the team , could be best described as anemic .

Wyc Grousbeck may well seek to buy out Paul Pierce`s contract for $5 million , rather than being committed to pay him the $ 15 million due in 2014 . If it is David Stern`s intent to show the fans that the NBA does understand the meaning of financial frugality. Then the league hierarchy , team owners and the union (Players` Union) , have a damn idiotic way of showing it . We all know that baseball remains in a financial maelstrom and in one hell of a mess , with much of it being at the insistence of Bud Selig , that with growing revenues , the game has never been healthier . Unless the MLB commissioner does not know how to read a balance sheet , then he is simply talking out of his ass. Not too far behind, remains his counterpart from the NBA. , who if anything has simply sought to create even greater subterfuge within the NBA concerning the financial health of the teams there . Look at the mess that baseball remains in from a financial standpoint , without us delving into the never-ending saga of steroids and who now happens to be the latest cheat to have been caught in the net that the league hierarchy has repeatedly never been able deal with the culprits involved , adequately Manny Ramirez , having twice failed a drug test , basically, upon his second transgression , simply retired without any penalties being leveled against him by MLB , and the former Major League slugger is now back in the game playing in the Far East , while being well compensated for his efforts and fans see nothing wrong with this at all ?

Stern will bow out as NBA Commissioner in February of 2014 , marking twenty-five years as the NBA`s highest ranking executive . Granted , during the course of his tenure , he has made several mistakes , none of which he has ever been prepared to admit to . It is essentially, and has been Stern`s demeanor , behavior and how he perceives is importance within the game , that I believe has done the NBA image more harm than good ! David Stern remains a pompous and conceited oaf , whose very tenure now should come into question concerning the numerous pratfalls made during is twenty-five year reign . If there is one thing that the NBA can be congratulatory about during the commissioner`s reign. It is that he took the opportunity to ride on the coattails of NBA`s greatest player and global ambassador , Michael Jordan . Now fans might well point to the explosion of the NBA and television exposure , came when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird made the smooth transition from very successful collegiate careers to creating perhaps the greatest rivalry in NBA history . Those epic and legendary meetings between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers , especially from the postseason , are still of some relevance today . Unfortunately, we no longer have the players who carry the necessary glamor or skill-set to warrant our interest in those match-ups .

Jordan has left an indelible mark on the game, that still holds our attention , even in the aftermath of his retirement from the NBA . Now as an owner of the Charlotte Bobcats (soon to renamed the Hornets) , the former player`s struggles as a front office executive are now well chronicled and still come into question concerning the personnel decisions that have been made with regard to the franchise . Now as the Bobcats enter the off-season the team`s greatest priority remains not only drafting well to complement the existing roster led by Kemba Walker , Michael Kidd Gilchrist , Jeff Adrien and Gerald Henderson . It will be interesting to see how Jordan , his fellow executives and the coaching staff , led by Steve Clifford , will go about assessing the talent needed to make this team considerably better , after another inept season by the franchise , which saw the Bobcats post another sub .500 record with a team and an almost league of 20-62 , just above the equally abysmal Orlando Magic this past season .



Picture gallery .

In light of the events that you have witnessed in the NBA Finals , how do you see tonight’s game playing out ? Also , do you believe that David Stern`s successor should come from within the existing NBA hierarchy ? Or would you prefer it to be an outsider , yet also an individual , who does have the necessary experience to bridge the gap between the fans , the NBA brand and imagery ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .


Picture and slideshow details below .

(1) San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker (9) shoots against the Miami Heat during the first half at Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

(2) Miami Heat’s LeBron James loses the ball as San Antonio Spurs’ Tiago Splitter (22) , of Brazil, and Boris Diaw (33), of France, defend during the second half at Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …

(3) San Antonio Spurs’ Danny Green (4) scores a three-point basket against the Miami Heat during the second half at Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

(4) Pete D’Alessandro smiles as he answers a question after being formally named as the new general manager of the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball team by new Kings owner, Vivek Ranadive , right, during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, June 17, 2013. D’Alessandro, who spent the past three seasons with the Denver Nuggets, replaces Geoff Petrie who had been notified that he would not be retained after his contract expired June 30. Te departure of Petrie was also met with the summary firing of head coach Keith Smart earlier this year , one of fourteen coaching casualties that took place in 2013 . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(5) FILE – In this June 13, 2013, file photo, Brooklyn Nets new head coach Jason Kidd meets with reporters after he was introduced at an NBA basketball news conference in New York. Ex-teammates, players and a former NBA assistant coach say the credibility a sure-fire Hall of Fame career brings and familiarity with today’s players will help Kidd successfully transition into coaching. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews ….

(6) Celtics` head coach Doc Rivers , center , is seen here , flanked by Kevin Garnett , left and Paul Pierce , right . In what could be one of the biggest blockbuster moves of the off-season , the Boston Celtics are said to be mulling over an offer from the Los Angeles Clippers that would see the cross-country move of all three Celtics` personnel , in exchange for De`Andre Jordan , Eric Bledsoe , Blake Griffin and two first round NBA Draft picks . Boston Globe / Patrick Shaughnessy …..

(7) National Basketball Association Commissioner David J. Stern, left, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, participate in the Wall Street Journal’s “The Future of Sports” discussion in New York, Wednesday, May 6, 2009. AP Photo/Richard Drew ….

(8) ) ORLANDO, FL – MAY 5: Patrick Ewing , left, and Steve Clifford, assistant coaches of the Orlando Magic, watch their team warm up before playing the Indiana Pacers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 5, 2012 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. The two will reunite , with Clifford recently being named to succeed Mike Dunlap as the head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats . Patrick Ewing will become Clifford`s lead assistant of the newly formed coaching staff. Dunlap`s one year tenure with the Bobcats , was filled with ineptitude on so many levels, for the first year NBA coach. Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images …



tophatal ……. 06/17/2013


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There`s a troubling issue that needs to be addressed and it`s not going to dealt with anytime soon

There`s a troubling issue that needs to be addressed and it`s not going to dealt with anytime soon

This year , it would appear that the MLB season is becoming one of controversy , and a great deal of animosity between a number of teams within the game . Look no further than yesterday`s game between the struggling Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks . Both teams are now caught up in a rivalry that is now seething with a great deal of childlike immaturity from both teams, with the respective managerial staffs also at odds with one another.


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Dodgers` manager Don Mattingly and Kirk Gibson of the Diamondbacks, are two managers who had more than respectable careers at the height of their success. In watching this Los Angeles Dodgers` team struggling over the course of this season , is an exercise in excess , opulence and simple stupidity gone awry . A $225 million team payroll now has me believing that lead managing partner, Mark Walter and h is partners may well have to completely rethink their strategy , as it relates to the team`s play over the remainder of the season .

Looking at the Dodgers all I just happen to see, is a team that is simply bereft of leadership , with not one player on the entire roster simply willing to step up to the plate and assume the mantel of a leader . With the team firmly rooted at the bottom of the NL West , one has to wonder how long a decision is made by GM Ned Colletti and team President Stan Kasten to purge the roster and simply look further afield by way of their farm system by way of available talent . It as become abundantly clear , that with all of the high-priced players that make up the team and overall lack of productivity on all fronts , something drastic as to be done , before the fans themselves start to voice their disapproval .

If the Los Angeles Dodgers are to have any semblance of anything resembling a dignified season , then games and series , such as their upcoming schedule against the Pittsburgh Pirates , will have to be won with te utmost of ease and efficiency . Given the inconsistency of the team , I simply do not believe that is likely to happen at this juncture ! Players such as Matt Kemp , Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier , this season , have simply been a shell of the team we saw from last season , with an explosive offense . This season the offense could be best likened to a damp squib , with the pitching not that far behind .

Well , other than their off the field issues , with both Alex Rodriguez and catcher , Francisco Cervelli , now embroiled in the latest idiocy , that now further tarnishes baseball`s all too disreputable reputation . This year for the New York Yankees seems to be like any other at this time of season for this renowned organization . They are in contention for their division alongside heated rivals the Boston Red Sox . That being said, neither GM Brian Cashman or lead managing partner , Hal Steinbrenner have seen fit to address the latest allegations now surrounding the All Star third baseman or the team`s catcher . I guess that is to be expected , when over the years as the mounting evidence of steroid cheaters and the rumors surrounding their efforts to avoid being caught . In that time , not one prominent owner , general manager has spoken out publicly , decrying the misdeeds of the players . Which begs the question , have they or the players ever really cared what the fans or public ever thought about the level of cheating that has gone on , for well over a decade and a half ? Clearly, that buffoon of a commissioner , Bud Selig , might as well be walking around with either his head shoved up his own ass or buried in the sand .

Truth be known , the apathy and the sudden calls player banishment , is now, all so asinine , when one considers , for better part of seven years , during the mid nineties , when Mark McGwire , Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds were laying waste to one of baseball`s most hallowed records , fans simply did not give a damn . Anal retentiveness and apathy does a have a place within the American way of life ,and sporting landscape , especially , when it comes to the nation`s pastime . The evidence was there , ignored repeatedly , even after a very in-depth investigation had taken place , but yet the fans , major media outlets , as well as baseball`s sports broadcast partners and their self-absorbed broadcasting analysts simply chose to look the other way . Nothing new really , when you consider collectively, their IQ`s would not be enough to gain them membership into MENSA . The current players themselves have simply refused to speak out on te issue , te prolific and wat now appears to be widespread use of illicit substances banned by te game .

Prominent high-profiled players such as Torii Hunter , Albert Pujols , Derek Jeter , Ryan Howard , Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder , have simply refused to say anything on the matter . Could it be that the players` own union , the MLBPA would rather remain mute on this idiocy while trying to paint themselves as pillars of integrity and virtue ? Yet somehow Bud Selig seeks to use players such as this, to be role models and ambassadors for a game , that is now losing its relevance for many and within the fabric of the nation`s social culture . Can we now stop it also , with this all too asinine notion , that baseball remains the nation`s pastime ? It has not been that way in over five decades and counting , even with what baseball`s hierarchy assures us , has been a rising level of attendance for games over the last eight consecutive seasons . What should be of more concern for Bud Selig , is the very fact that his RBI initiative (Returning Baseball to the Inner Cities) has , had the success of a lead balloon .

Three games above .500 and the Tampa Bay Rays`(35-30) inconsistency will become their own undoing this season . Thought to have best pitching rotation in the American League . The pitching has been nowhere near consistent enough to validate those claims , in spite of the outstanding season by Matt Moore .

With David Price now sidelined on the DL , it will be left to Moore , Jeremy Hellickson , Alex Cobb and Joel Peralta to now spearhead what is in essence, an extremely weak pitching rotation , based on the team`s ERA of 4.26 . Yet if te pitching can be adjudged to ave been a major letdown , then the team`s offense has offered little to support the claims of Joe Maddon and his staff that they are capable of challenging for the AL East divisional crown , if not the division at a minimum , then a wildcard berth , while making up for the team`s shortfalls .

Limited resources , a lack of creativity in terms marketing and an unwillingness by managing partner , Stuart Sternberg to search for a wealthy financial backer to finance the organization . It has to be said, that in spite of recent successes of the Rays , from an economic standpoint , were it not for the fact that they are the beneficiaries of the league`s tax-sharing scheme . There is no way in hell , that this ball-club could remain solvent much less competitive enough to field a team in the AL . Miserly support in terms of their home games at Tropicana Field . It would be fair to suggest that Major League Baseball is far from being a viable concern not only within the state , but specifically within the Tampa Bay area . Yet there are those who still call for a state of the art venue to be built for what has always been a poorly supported baseball franchise .

Now one could argue that the Tampa Bay Rays have achieved an astonishing amount of success under the present ownership group led by Stuart Sternberg . By comparison , Sternberg`s predecessor, Vince Naimoli proved to be a lying cheating and conceited individual , who sought to extort money by any means necessary from the state and municipal agencies , while putting out a less than stellar product on the field of play during his tenure as the Rays` owner . In reality , we are now seeing history repeat itself somewhat , with the expectations now being a great deal more , but repeatedly in the last few years the Rays have fallen sort in their and the fans` expectations of winning a World Series title .

This season Tampa`s circumstances , are one where GM Andrew Friedman made the decision to pare down the team`s payroll from a figure of just under $64.1 million in 2012 to what the front office believes to be a feasible and much more manageable figure of $60.8 million . One would consider that to be somewhat miserly, if not paltry , when measured against the teams who consistently maintain a high six or eight-figure salary commitment on an annual basis . Considered to be the face of the franchise for its immediate and long-term future , Evan Longoria is considered to be the Rays` best player as well its highest paid . And though it is my belief, that two or three years down the road the commitment ___ shown to the third baseman could become the Rays` own undoing . It seems almost certain that 2013 will be the final year that the fans will have the privilege of seeing David Price pitch for the team . A one-year $10 million deal , which is on the extremely low side for an AL Cy Young Award winner , starting pitcher , one year removed from winning that award and from what many believe to be the player`s best season with the franchise .

The Tampa Bay Rays , on Friday , will play host to the Kansas City Royals , with both teams seeking to make the best out of this series , while looking to place themselves in a better position from a divisional standpoint and also by way of challenging for a wildcard berth . On the mound for the Royals will be Luis Mendoza (1-4, 4.19 ERA) facing off against Matt Moore (8-2, 3.78 ERA) , in what should prove to be an interesting pitchers’ duel between these two young starters .

From my own standpoint with a great deal to play and ignoring controversies that have now engulfed the game of baseball and the ongoing apparent idiocy of how Bud Selig continues to ineptly handle each scandal that as come to the fore . I for one , would certainly like to see his named successor be someone from outside the archaic hierarchy that presently represents the game at its highest levels . Not only am I sick and tired of hearing this ongoing bilge that the team owners are consummate businessmen . When in reality , nothing could be further from the truth . Captains of industry , they may well be away from baseball , but I have yet to witness a concern being ran so incompetently , where secrecy and lies are perpetrated with such regularity , that Pinocchio and a disreputable congressman or woman would definitely feel ashamed . Yet, there are fans and analysts alike, who choose not to question the autocratic power and rule of Bud Selig , the league hierarchy and te bellicose owners , who make up baseball`s governing body , along with a dimwitted union (MLBPA) , now led by Executive Director Michael Weiner .



With the baseball season just over one-third of the way through its schedule , has there been anything overall that has been of a complete surprise to you ? Also from a list of the following candidates , whom I believe to be more than capable of succeeding Bud Selig , rather than baseball choosing a successor from within their own ranks. Do you believe that Bob Costas , Hank Aaron , Sean McManus , David Levy , or perhaps someone else of your own choosing would be a better successor ? Rather than an heir-apparent , from within baseball`s inner sanctum be rubber stamped , and supposedly bringing about a transition that will essentially offer the fans more of the same incompetent and inefficiency that MLB has now become more known for .


Picture and slideshow details below.


(1) Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly , center, yells at members of the Arizona Diamondbacks while umpire Manny Gonzalez holds him back as Jerry Hairston Jr. looks on after starting pitcher Zack Greinke was hit by a pitch during the seventh inning of their baseball game , Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in Los Angeles. Mattingly was one eight individuals ejected from the game and now awaits any punishment deemed appropriate to be rendered by the MLB hierarchy . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers batting coach Mark McGwire, right, yells at Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson after Los Angeles Dodgers’ Zack Greinke was hit by a pitch during the seventh inning of their baseball game, Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ……

(3) New York Yankees trainer Steve Donohue , left, checks on catcher Francisco Cervelli, center, as manager Joe Girardi looks on during the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium in New York, Friday, April 26, 2013. Cervelli left the game . AP Photo/Julio Cortez …

(4) Manager Joe Maddon (70) of the Tampa Bay Rays talks with principal owner Stuart Sternberg just before the start of the Grapefruit League spring training game against the Minnesota Twins at the Charlotte Sports Complex on March 11, 2013 in Port Charlotte, Florida. Getty Images North America / J Meric …

(5) Embattled MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , who over the past eighteen months has moved from scandal to the next , never actually dealing with each crisis and solving it effectively . NY Daily News / Paul Carson ……..



tophatal …… 06/12/2013


MLB news and MLB news from around the league

MLB standings & wildcard standings

MLB results 13th June 2013

MLB schedule 14th June 2013

MLB probable pitchers 13th June 2013

This day in MLB history

This week in MLB history

This week (month) in MLB history

MLB standings 13th June 2012 and wildcard standings from that date

MLB hierarchy

MLB team owners


Tampa Bay Rays` overview & Tampa Bay Rays` news

Tampa Bay Rays roster (depth chart)

Tampa Bay Rays team stats


3LW ………. ` No More` (Baby I`ma Do Right)

A plan of action that just does not seem to be working

A plan of action that just does not seem to be working

Well, three games into the NBA Finals for the 2012-13 season and the postscripts and obituaries could very well be on the verge of being written , as the Miami Heat now find themselves between a rock and a hard place . Down 2-1 in the best of seven-game series , it is hard to imagine how this Heat team can now survive when LeBron James is being poorly supported by what appears to be a cast of disinterested players . Off the court , Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff are simply being out-coached by a seasoned veteran in Gregg Popovich . I offered an early synopsis of this series by suggesting that this NBA Finals’ series , could very well be that of the a chess match between a Grand Master and a young protégé . Well , Spoelstra is now proving to be less of a protégé and more of a first time novice . And that is hard to believe , when you consider Erick Spoelstra`s resume and his success in guiding the Heat to the 2012 NBA Finals , in their series` victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder .


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Slideshow .

Last night was a game for the ages as the San Antonio Spurs rained down threes on a Heat defense , that simply did not know what they had been hit with , and how best to address the play of Gary Neal and Danny Green throughout four quarters of outstanding play . The fact that game three turned into something of an extraordinary blowout , with it being , the third largest margin of victory ever recorded in an NBA Finals’ game , can leave no doubt in any ones` mind how dominant the San Antonio Spurs were said to be on their home-court in last night`s game .

Gregg Popovich for his part , now seeking to add a fifth NBA title to an already legendary and impressive resume` , now knows that he will have to impart a great deal more knowledge to his players , and remind them that they cannot afford to be , at all complacent . The fact that they have Miami on the ropes , having to take a standing eight count , one more body shot , should very well be enough to subdue what has been a very poor performing Miami Heat team in this Finals’ series . . And while LeBron James leads all scorers on this Miami Heat roster during the playoffs . It must be said that he has been subdued and his play has been often pressured and unlike the usually proficient and prolific type of play off production in this series , is definitely not what we have come to expect from the ten-year veteran and four-time League MVP .

If Erik Spoelstra can now be adjudged, as having a problem with the poor and inconsistent play from Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh , Mario Chalmers , Udonis Haslem , Ray Allen and Chris Anderson . Then it does beg the question , what else can he now ask of a team that has seemingly lost its way , and wherein , their on-court general , LeBron James , simply is now at a loss for words and who cannot navigate through what now appears to be a fully confident San Antonio Spurs , that is now said to be playing some resolutely stout defense ? Spoelstra , his coaching staff and the players will have to answer this very question , while preparing for game four on Thursday night in front of what is sure to be a raucous and vocal home crowd of San Antonio Spurs` fans at the AT&T Center , in San Antonio , Texas looking to will their team to a victory .

A 3-1 lead at that juncture for San Antonio , I believe would leave the Miami Heat with an insurmountable task of having to win three straight games at the American Airlines Arena in Miami , Florida , to close out and make a successful defense of their NBA title . One might deem it to be not out of the realms of possibility , given the team`s home record (37-4) during the regular season . Yet, this is the NBA postseason , the league`s showcase finale and it is where the Miami Heat have proven to be far from convincing at home or away so far during this series as well as in the Eastern Conference Finals in their series against a very young energetic and tough Indiana Pacers’ team .

For the San Antonio Spurs now chasing that fifth NBA title in the franchise’s illustrious history , all under the auspices of team owner , Peter Holt and the steadying presence of Gregg Popovich and GM RC Buford . It does go to show that you don’t necessarily have to be in a market city to be a perennial success while still being able to be a profitable NBA concern . Granted , when witnessing the idiocy of such teams as the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks , who in recent years , have been more known for their rather asinine belief that they can buy their way to success by lavishing exorbitant salaries on players , while getting little in return on that investment, by way of any tangible success. One seriously has to ask why is that these moronic fans try to repeatedly equate mediocrity as being acceptable , and as a degree of success ? It was abundantly clear to see that the New York Knicks` fan in particular , expected far more from their team during the postseason , than they even now would readily care to admit . Yet , it should come as no surprise however , when you hear the rather asinine excuses then proffered up by those less than intelligent fans for the team’s fall from grace during the playoffs . . Lame excuses , clearly showing , a lack of any conceivable intelligence one thought that could be found from a bunch of Neanderthals .

RC Buford and Gregg Popovich have gone about constructing this team with a view of building for the franchise’s long-term future , as well as seeking to be seen as a perennial championship contender . The Spurs’ record over the last seventeen years , simply speaks for itself beyond the legacy of many of their great players of the past . Constituted around their Big Three of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker . It must be said that the chapter subsequently written after the retirement of David Robinson speaks well of what the franchise has been able to achieve and is likely to achieve with young players such as Danny Green , Gary Neal , Kawhi Leonard , Nando De Colo , Dajuan Blair , Aron Baynes , Patty Mills , Tiago Splitter and Corey Joseph representing the Spurs’ future. Plainly put , other than the Los Angeles Lakers in recent years and that of the Miami Heat . This San Antonio Spurs’ franchise has been the one constant on a landscape within the NBA , that has been simply devoid of creativity , deftness in terms of economic frugality and assuredness . The New York Knicks may well be the most valuable NBA franchise , but I can categorically state that their fans , team owner , James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald would gladly trade that all , for just one NBA title to be recently added to that franchise’s list of accomplishments over the last decade . Any Knicks’ fans who claim to the contrary, can be considered , itinerant buffoons and complete idiots !

For the Miami Heat , their season now all comes down to this , win games four through seven , otherwise fold your tents and use the off-season to deconstruct what went wrong . Look at the numerous deficiencies on the team , and simply get away from believing the idiotic hype and plaudits being heaped upon a group of players that are simply not as dominant , but who were suggested as impervious , as was being suggested by the likes of imbeciles such as Bill Simmons , Stephen A Smith , Jalen Rose , Magic Johnson , Ernie Johnson and a whole multitude of on air NBA personalities , who have literally drank , way too much of the damn Kool Aid . LeBron James may well be the best player to have donned an NBA uniform since the retirement of Michael Jordan . Yet at this moment in time ” King James is being made to look like a mere mortal and not a basketball God , like the man he hopes to emulate , in terms of having an illustrious NBA career , while making a profound impact upon the game .

For Miami Heat President & General Manager , Pat Riley and team owner , Micky Arison , having assembled a three superstars to supposedly to win multiple NBA titles , garner the Heat franchise even more notoriety than they would be normally accustomed to. While, having appeared , in three consecutive NBA Finals, a commendable feat in of itself, the fact that this team , so highly favored after a franchise record breaking season . It has to be said, that were this team to be summarily be dethroned as defending champions , without much of a tenacious defense of that crown . The questions will be asked not just of a number of players on this roster , but also of the front office executives and their willingness to overspend on talent , far exceeding the NBA salary cap of $58.044 million . A lone title in 2012 , now seems indecent , when one considers the brouhaha made by Bosh , James , Wade and the local media market in Miami , as the franchise’s future dominance of the NBA was said to be a certainty . Well folks , that simply has not happened , and it is now time for the players on the Miami Heat , to put up or simply shut the hell up and stop with the rather mundane excuses for the team’s woes . Real champions , step up to the plate , they do not wait to be asked, nor do they seek to make excuses ! .

Perhaps this should not prove to be either surprising or all that idiotic given the immense propensity for the stupidity shown by the NBA team owners and their fellow executives , the general managers . It seems inconceivable to think that of the sixteen teams to be part of this postseason eleven of those teams have either summarily fired their head coaches or sought not to extend their contracts . And of the NBA’s thirty franchises , there were thirteen coaching vacancies as of Tuesday night . If the rumors are to be believed , then the Boston Celtics’ head coach , Doc Rivers is unlikely to return the team for the 2013-14 NBA season . Team owner , Wyc Grousbeck and GM Danny Ainge are said to be clearly aware of the situation and appear to be offering on the verge of offering Rivers a very lucrative long-term contract , in order to have the coach remain with the franchise . The contract would reputedly make Doc Rivers amongst the highest paid coaches in the NBA , and is rumored to be in the region of a five-year $38 to $40 million contract . With the Celtics thought to be in a rebuilding mode , and veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce said to be on the downside of their respective careers . One can only surmise that Doc Rivers has no wish to be around another process that is likely to take two or three years to make the Boston Celtics , deemed a legitimate contender within the NBA much less the Eastern Conference itself .

With the recent joint retirements of Jason Kidd and Grant Hill , the league has now lost two of its greatest ambassadors for longevity within the NBA . Kidd and Hill were both co-joint Rookies of the Year in 1994 , the year the duo were drafted . Two possible future Hall of Fame inductees ? Well , that remains to be seen , but what we do know for certain , it is that Jason Kidd wishes to fulfill an ambition to be an NBA head coach . The former point guard , is now said to have formally been invited by Brooklyn Nets’ management to interview for the vacant head coach’s position with the franchise , with the now former player said to be an early favorite to succeed the ousted PJ Carlesimo . GM Billy King and team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov are not said to be in a hurry to come to a decision in making a formal announcement . Yet any long and protracted situation , concerning the vacant position , does not bode well , with the upcoming NBA Draft (2013) less than two weeks away. Teams and their executives will be vying to get their staffs together and assess the status the eligible college and international talent that have shown their intent to join the professional ranks of the NBA . A case can be made that the Brooklyn Nets should make the decision now rather than leaving it too close to the eve of the NBA Draft .



Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Also do you believe that the Miami Heat has it within them to even this series and win it outright , thereby making a successful defense of their NBA title ? Chime with your thoughts on this , and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter , as you see fit .


Picture and slideshow details below .


(1) Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra watches a team during NBA basketball practice Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in San Antonio. The Heat trail the San Antonio Spurs 2-1 in the best-of-seven games series. Game 4 of the NBA finals series is scheduled for Thursday. A thirty six point loss (113-77) to the Spurs in game three has placed the Miami Heat in a precarious situation . AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(2) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, left, and guard Tony Parker, right, of France, talk during a practice on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in San Antonio. San Antonio will face the Miami Heat in game 4 of the NBA Finals basketball game on Thursday; San Antonio leads the series 2-1 . AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(3) Miami Heat forward LeBron James looks to pass around San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan and Heat’s Chris Andersen during the first half at Game 3 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …

(4) Joint co NBA Rookies of the Year in 1994 , Grant Hill , left , is seen here with Jason Kidd. The players enjoyed successful collegiate and NBA careers and are almost certain to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame , having met the five-year eligibility requirements . AP Photo / Mark Parrish ………

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tophatal ……… 06/11/2013


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2013 NBA Finals

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San Antonio Spurs` overview

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San Antonio Spurs` roster & coaching staff

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San Antonio Spurs news


Hot chic pics of the day Ewa Sonnet .


A side order of breasts please , just the way I like `em !

Struggling for the truth or what we perceive to be the truth. Are you not amused?

Struggling for the truth or what we perceive to be the truth .Are you not amused?

In spite of the latest outrage in baseball it is plain to see that the average baseball fan as simply been blasé` as it relates to the use of PEDs within sports . They take umbrage at that , show their disdain, but yet when twenty- four lives are tragically taken in an act of violence perpetrated by a cold-blooded monster . Instead of outrage , we have the idiocy of politicians stating that the government is seeking tread on the rights of the individual , as well as their Second Amendment Rights. What I would like to know is , since when where the rights of twenty-four children all aged under ten less pertinent than that of anyone , much less the damn idiot who seemingly gunned them down in a school classroom and in the hallway of an educational establishment in New-town, Connecticut ? Yet, this is the sort of apathy, that the nation is confronted with , as it repeatedly goes from one damn crisis to the next . And repeatedly those incidents are either self-inflicted or one where no due diligence has been used .


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Slideshow .

MLB`s hierarchy is now off on another idiotic attempt to go after a group of twenty or more players , after evidence purportedly shows that these players knowingly bought banned substances for their own personal use . My bone of contention as always, during Bud Selig`s farcical reign as commissioner , has been his wanton ignorance and stupidity . Placed in a position of power, simply as a lap dog for these idiotic MLB team owners , Selig has been richly rewarded to the tune of $25 million in annual compensation in 2012 , without having left a real indelible mark on the game, in terms of progress . And for the lame brained fans out there, who seek to use the introduction of the wildcard as a plausible instance , take note that its introduction was simply done as a way of adding an extra revenue pie slice , to what is now an already diminishing brand, by way of its falling viewership on television . With that in mind, all of the criticism now being leveled at Anthony Bosch and his company Biogenesis , while warranted . Let us not forget , those leveling much of that criticism, were the same damn idiots trying to paint Victor Conte and BALCO , as simply being a company meeting situation of supply and demand . How quickly, one seems to forget the BALCO Affair and the names associated and embroiled in that drama , as it unfolded.

Among the players now named in this latest edition of the “Spanish Inquisition“ , Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are the most prominent names mentioned , along with Melky Cabrera and New York Yankees` catcher Francisco Cervelli . The fact that the US Justice Department along with MLB are part of this ongoing investigation cannot be stressed enough, and wherein the league itself in spite of the insistence that it now has the toughest guidelines. as to its testing protocols. It has now become abundantly clear that Bud Selig and Major League Baseball are no closer to catching the cheaters and punishing them with impunity, than a child would be in grasping a rainbow . Consider the fact that in the last thirty months, in excess of 185 players within the game have tested positive at all levels within the game for a banned substance , with the majority of the players being caught , are playing at the Minor League Level . If it is now widespread at the lower levels within baseball, then one can now see that the malignancy of cheating within the game , is now more widespread than even baseball , the public and the odious members of the press would care to acknowledge .

Personally , I find the idiocy of Bud Selig and is own demeanor in all of this , as being one of the primary reasons baseball is now playing catch-up in this whole asinine spectacle ! And it has become abundantly clear that with no disapproving voice from any major team owner , much less a prominent player within the game , current or former . It begs the question why this outrage , after all of te damn apathy , when the fans were simply exalting the feats of Barry Bonds , Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire ? Are they that naive and that damn asinine ? Furthermore , asking for accountability from anyone within te game , most of from Bud Selig , is akin to asking Sarah Palin er preference on whom she would like to see as the current occupant , residing in the White House . Palin, herself , is simply devoid of intelligence as are the most prominent members of baseball`s hierarchy along with the vast majority of team owners !

The sport of baseball either cannot police itself or it simply chooses not to, unless there happens to be some sort of public outrage , which at best, is simply laughable, if not minimal . And let us not forget, that there has been the complete apathy of the fans and their ongoing damn stupidity. This country as it is has a fucking pandemic in terms of an ongoing drug problem, without idiots , professing the fact that they simply don`t care what the players are using or taking , just as long as they are entertained by their feats of allegedly gargantuan and Herculean efforts on a baseball diamond. Well if that is the case, then why stop dope dealers from pedaling their narcotics outside schools , because if the claims are to be believed . Wouldn’t those kids also profit from the use of meth-amphetamines as well crack cocaine or anabolic steroids? This once again shows the damn stupidity and naiveté of the public at large and their simple ongoing apathy.

Bud Selig and the members of the league hierarchy will now be left with number of far-reaching decisions by way of the length of any suspension to be rendered , the possible fallout from this all , and the very fact that the MLBPA (Players` Union) have already stressed that they will seek to protect the rights of their members and defer any penalties that they believe to be draconian , by taking legal recourse . So let`s get this straight , the players union, who fought tooth and nail against any type of testing , only to acquiesce to MLB , in order obtain financial concessions from the league hierarchy in their last collective bargaining agreement , will once again seek to returning to its ways of old ? So from a dick-head in their former leader , Donald Fehr , they have now turned over the reins of leadership to an even bigger fu#king dick- head in Michael Weiner ? Same old baseball, where things may look as if they have changed , when in fact , they have not ! Leading the charge as always, are the players , owners and Bud Selig, who if anything, are simply too fu#king stupid for their own good.

If the Justice Department is now being called upon to prosecute with impunity of this latest idiocy within baseball. Then I for one, would like to see how they will seek to go about, in presenting the public`s case against the defendants . Well, it is not as if Eric Holders` office has really shown a propensity to truly go after a criminal or criminals in the true sense of the word . Plea agreements , in order to insure the incarceration of a defendant in what the majority of the time tends to be something of farce, as the prosecution to pad their statistics with that long sought victory. The US Attorney General is now trying to fend off calls for is removal from office , as the nation`s highest-ranking law enforcement officer . Questions have arisen not only about Eric Holder`s conduct in office , but also the fact that he has lied to Congress repeatedly, while being questioned by a congressional committee . All of this, while he is being protected, by his bumbling and selfless Commander-In-Chief, Barack Obama . Truly , a delight and sight , in watching these two buffoons run rings around Congress , while trampling upon on the rights of the electorate as well trying redefine what the US Constitution and Bill of Rights is said to represent .

It has truly been a delight this season to watch the respective seasons of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets continue to spiral out of control. For managers Don Mattingly and Terry Collins , this may well be the very last chance they will be given to prove themselves in their current positions. . Collins` Mets are simply bereft of talent and real leadership from anyone on the team`s roster and that includes the much heralded David Wright , who to my mind is simply overrated , and an individual who is playing on a goddamn awful team . I was once told by a patron of this site that this team is just a few meaningful pieces from being a legitimate contender within the NL (National League) . Based upon what I have seen from the players this season , they are as far off from being a contender as it would be desirable to witness Rosie O`Donnell participating in a sex scene for a pornographic movie . I would preface this by saying , it is not very often that you see a Mets` fan trying to show a modicum of intelligence , if any at all ! Suffice to say , finding a New York Mets` fan with an IQ above 100 , is akin to suggesting that you have never heard a member of Congress utter something stupid on air a sound bite , during an interview .

Mattingly`s position with Los Angeles, remains just as dire , and in having a star-studded team , even if it , has been felled by a litany of injuries . No excuses can be made for the Dodgers` poor showing throughout much of the season . . It is hard to offer an explanation how the Los Angeles Dodgers might extricate themselves from such a mess . Especially in a case, w here GM Ned Colletti , under the auspices of team President Stan Kasten have gone about spending money on this current roster , very much in a way that a drunken sailor on furlough might go about spending money on hookers in the Red Light districts of Amsterdam , or Phuket , Thailand .

The New York Mets currently , sit seven games ahead of the equally abysmal , and last placed Miami Marlins (18-44) , whose front office must now be pondering if the mediocrity shown last season , is about to be revisited once again in 2013. The NL East is likely to become a two –horse race between the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals , with both the Marlins and Mets remaining on the outside looking in . And now for Terry Collins` players , now is truly the time for them to prove their worth after hapless start to the season , with the manager not having much faith in any of his front-line players . Coming off an 8-4 home game loss to the Marlins , New York now faces tough three game series against a very good St Louis Cardinals team . And I get the impression , as just like in their previous meetings , this series is likely to be another lopsided affair ! On the mound for Tuesday`s series opener will be Michael Wacha of the Cardinals against the Mets` Jeremy Hefner .

When your team`s payroll is said to be well into six-figures and simply adding to it another $19 million with a high-point of $26 million as part of a six-year deal to a temperamental pitcher , is seen by the ball-club`s owners as a necessity . Then you simply know that , there does not seem to be any rhyme or reasoning behind the Los Angeles Dodgers at present . Lead managing partner , Mark Walter , along with Todd S Boehly and Magic Johnson , have categorically stated, that their intent is to win at whatever the cost . From a financial standpoint , that will never be an obstruction to the owners` ambitions. But am I beginning to wonder in light of team`s on an off the field issues this season , is any of their apparent logic , all that sound ? For Zack Greinke , he must surely have believed that Christmas has come early in 2013 .

At 27-35 , firmly rooted at the bottom of the NL West standings , it would be fair to suggest that the Dodgers are present are far from being a team that could be looked upon as a cohesive unit . Their pitching has become atrocious and the offense could be, best described as being anemic . Mattingly and hitting coach , Mark McGwire have been unable to stem the tide of ineptitude shown by the Dodgers` bats , one through nine . All pleasantries asides , if the Dodgers are not able to mount any type of an assault on this season before the All Star Break , then they might as well curtail any thoughts they might have towards a playoff berth as an NL representative this postseason .

An upcoming three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks , starting today , should give us enough of an indicator as to whether or not this Dodgers` team has enough of what it takes to derail the ambitions of a divisional rival who has been one of the surprise teams among the National League this season .



Picture gallery .

Of the salient points within this piece , what if anything do you agree with or disagree with ? State your reasons, and whatever else you believe is pertinent to the subject matter in question . Thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

Picture gallery and slideshow details below .


(1) New York Mets` manager , Terry Collins and his staff are having a disastrous sojourn during the 2013 season with no respite in sight . GM Sandy Alderson may well be forced to relieve Collins of is managerial duties by season`s end. AP Photo / Mark Gilchrist …

(2) Storm clouds ahead for bot Dodgers` manager Don Mattingly , left, and hitting instructor Mark McGwire , as the Dodgers find themselves in last place within the NL West and far off the pace in terms of an NL wildcard berth . Getty Images North America/ Paul Randall ……

(3) MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is seen here with baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson at an MLB game played at Yankees Stadium . The commissioner seems to be nonplussed by the fact tat another steroid scandal has once again caught the MLB hierarchy asleep at the wheel . NY Daily News /AP Photo/ Mark Puig ….

(4) Attorney General Eric Holder is questioned about the Justice Department secretly obtaining two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press, during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. In what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion,” the Justice Department monitored outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. There have been calls made by Democrats as well as Republicans for older to be removed from his position as the nation`s highest ranking law enforcement official . The Justice Department will also ave to come to a decision as whether or not to prosecute Antony Bosch , founder of the Miami based supplements` company Biogenesis . Bosch has been arraigned and indicted but as part of a plea agreement , he has supplied the Justice Department and the MLB hierarchy with a list of names of players he supplied with anabolic steroids as well as other banned substances . And though we are led to believe that only twenty four players are said to be involved in this latest scandal , Bosch insists that this all runs deeper and that there are at least dozens of other MLB stars embroiled in this scandal , many whose names have not been made public . AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite …..

(5) Pedro Gomez , left of ESPN is seen here conducting an interview with Anthony Bosch , founder of the Miami based supplements` company Biogenesis , center of the latest scandal that as embroiled the game of baseball and which has shown the league hierarchy to be completely incompetent and devoid of intelligence . Courtesy of ESPN all rights reserved copyrighted material …



tophatal ……… 06/10/2013


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For all the Marbles and whatever else you can think of

For all the Marbles and whatever else you can think of

Well now that the NBA Finals` parings are set with the San Antonio Spurs representing the Western Conference , where their opposition, are the highly favored Miami Heat of the Eastern Conference . Led by reigning four-time League MVP Lebron James , the Heat will be looking to make a successful defense of their NBA title . This might not be the postseason finale that everyone had hoped for amongst the throng of NBA fans , as a more lucrative finale might well have been envisaged , with a Miami Heat match-up against the Oklahoma City Thunder or Los Angeles Lakers within the Western Conference , being the desired option .


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The two opposing coaches could not be more diametrically opposite , with a seasoned veteran in Gregg Popovich , and his opposing number being , Erik Spoelstra , seeking to add a second title to is resume` . For Spoelstra , the additional factor , beyond his knowledge of the game , is that his mentor and team President Pat Riley will be presiding over this series with the demeanor of an individual who is proud of his young protege . There is no doubt that the Miami Heat were by far the best team in the NBA this season , without reflecting on their overall record or the idiocy of the New York Knicks` fans bemoaning the fact that having beat Miami during the regular season and taking their regular season series (3-1) . It is quite clear that within New York and perhaps farther afield , fans of the franchise are not all that bright . Suffice to say , what happens in the regular season simply counts for nothing , or simply paraphrasing ___ “ what happens in Vegas , stays in Vegas “ .

Now while LeBron James seeks to add to is already glowing career, this future Hall of Fame player , has simply excelled this season , far surpassing his exploits of the previous season . One has to wonder , where Miami would be without James` exploits over the regular season and into this postseason . He has led this Heat team in almost every offensive category that matters , and LeBron James has proven to be a defensive stalwart on a roster , that during the postseason , has not been all that exhilarating . Contributions from Chris Bosh , Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade can best described as somewhat anemic , if not downright dire at times . There is no denying that the bench or should one say the presumed role players on the Miami Heat roster will have to step up their game against a San Antonio Spurs` team that in should no way be underestimated . There is a damn good reason that Popovich has been behind and the main architect of a franchise , which he has successfully , led to four NBA titles over the course of his now historic reign .

Players such as Mario Chalmers , Norris Cole , James Jones , Chris Anderson , Shane Battier , Mike Miller , Juwan Howard , Rashard Lewis , will be called upon at various points in this series to make various contributions . Erik Spoelstra will make demands of his players and quite rightly so , as failure to be even competitive against San Antonio , could very well lead to dire consequences .

James , Wade and Bosh , are meant to strike to fear into the hearts of rivals and foes alike. Yet somehow , in the Eastern Conference Finals , against the Indiana Pacers , a series that went to an astonishing seven games , came as a great surprise to analysts fans alike . Miami never really had an answer for Roy Hibbert , David West and Paul George , and were it not for the postseason inexperience of a young Pacers` team , this conference finals` series could very well have provided us with the privilege of seeing Miami dethroned as the defending conference champions in such a surprising manner .

If LeBron James` career can now be described as being or approaching a description of being Jordanesque . Then the career of Tim Duncan has to be one , that would place the power forward on the Mount Rushmore of the titans to have played that coveted position in NBA history . Duncan played alongside one of the great big men of the modern-day game , in David Robinson . The Master and student coexisted and led to the franchise to the first of their four titles in 1999 . Duncan a first round draft pick by San Antonio in the 1997 NBA Draft . The series` victory …. over the New York Knicks proved to be an apt finale of Robinson`s now illustrious career , as he bowed out , riding off into the sunset and retirement , as an NBA titlist and Hall of Fame inductee , a few years later .

In the subsequent years the NBA Draft would prove to be fortuitous for the San Antonio Spurs as Gregg Popovich and his staff would proceed to acquire some extremely productive players , while also attaining players notably seasoned veterans via free agency or the customary off-season trades . The addition of Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker can only be seen as momentous events in San Antonio`s history as an NBA franchise . With the Argentinian and French man simply bringing along their extraordinary skill-set to a mid-market NBA team that was always seen , as being well ran , under the auspices of team owner Peter Holt and GM R C Buford . They may well do things big in Texas , but in San Antonio , this has been a franchise that has gone about doing it all , the right way , without the need to cause a big splash or make complete of fools of themselves in the process . Please take a hint Mark Cuban , Jerry Jones , Tom Gaglardi and Nolan Ryan . In recent years other than the Dallas Mavericks` triumph in 2011 , there really has not been much that as been really achieved by your respective professional sports` franchises , that you seemingly parade about as a bastion of opulence , rather than attaining actual tangible success .

Parker and Ginobli have been great complementary pieces to Tim Duncan over the years , with the trio providing some of the richest moments for the San Antonio Spurs over the past decade . Three titles together , has proven to be a greater reward than even most observers would have come to expect from this triumvirate , with each player having distinguished themselves at the highest levels possible on the NBA` s greatest stage , its postseason finale .

Gregg Popovich will seek some solid production from the likes of Kawhi Leonard , Dajuan Blair , Boris Diaw , Matt Bonner , Danny Green , Tiago Splitter and Gary Neal throughout the course of this series . One of the stranger stories to have taken place with regard to the Spurs , was Popovich`s decision to sign veteran Tracy McGrady . The fifteen-year career veteran , a two-time scoring champion and multiple with All Star appearances , one now has to deem it , McGrady , is now the process of winding down his career , seeking to win that all too elusive first NBA championship ring . Whether or not McGrady ascends to those heights of acclaim , while providing the Spurs with a much-needed lift , remains to be seen over the course of the NBA Finals . Game one kicks of what hopefully, will be a seven game series, if merely to whet the appetite of the fans and the NBA hierarchy .

One of the few things that the NBA cannot afford to have happen during this NBA Finals would be for the series to be a lopsided series of uncompetitive games. LeBron James will undoubtedly seek to impose his will upon this series , while hoping to maintain his postseason scoring average .



Picture gallery .

Whatever, the outcome of the NBA Finals , this series should prove to be historic , for a number of reasons . LeBron James comes away with his second title in three years . A San Antonio Spurs` victory adds to that franchise`s already impressive history , and that of their Big Three , and their well-respected head coach. The true NBA fans , should be in for a real treat and a feast of exhilarating entertainment . Your thoughts on this upcoming series ? Leave a comment as you see fit .


Picture and slideshow details below .

(1) Tim Duncan , left, is seen here with teammate David Robinson . Two years after being drafted by the San Antonio Spurs Duncan would make his first appearance in an NBA Final . The duo would lead the franchise to their first NBA title , with a series` victory over the New York Knicks in the 1999 NBA Finals . AP Photo / Mark Jameson ….

(2) MIAMI – JULY 09: LeBron James (6) , Dwyane Wade (3), and Chris Bosh (1) , of the Miami Heat show off their new game jerseys before a press conference after a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Architect of the move , team President Pat Riley and approved by team owner Micky Arison , the trio and their teammates were assembled not only to win multiple titles but to also make Miami Heat franchise a more profitable and lucrative concern for their billionaire owner . Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images …

(3) Gregg Popovich, left, a four-time winning NBA title coach , seeks to add a fifth Finals` series victory to is resume` . Whereas, is opposite number Erik Spoelstra seeks to add what will be his second title in his third consecutive appearance in the NBA postseason finale . Courtesy of @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

(4) Miami Heat’s LeBron James , left, talks with Chris Andersen , right, during NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, June 5, 2013 in Miami. The Heat play the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(5) Tim Duncan (21) , center, is seen here alongside teammates , Manu Ginobli (20) and Tony Parker (9) in a game played against the Phoenix Suns this season . The Spurs would prove to be victorious defeating the Suns .on their way to a 58-24 record in the Western Conference placing as the second seeds , yet once again winning their division all too convincingly . Getty Images North America / Adam Knox ………….

(6) San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan , left, and shooting guard Tracy McGrady celebrate on the bench during the fourth quarter of Game 6 of a Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, May 16, 2013. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ….

tophatal ………. 06/05/2013


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A call to arms

A call to arms

There is nothing more disturbing than the continued idiocy that portends as to the self-serving attitude of the modern-day athlete and fans out there who would simply seek to defend the indefensible . Former , seven-time Tour de France winner , Lance Armstrong has become a pariah within his former sport . Not that the sport of cycling can still be taken seriously when its own governing body (International Cycling Union) has been slow to go after the cheaters within cycling and truly punish them with impunity , rather than this continued slap on the wrist and then allowing a number of those cyclists to return to the sport at a later date . Armstrong for is part now is part of an investigation now being conducted by perhaps, the most inept governmental agency within Barack Obama`s administration . The Justice Department , ran rather ineptly by Attorney General , Eric Holder , remains a damn joke .


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Holder`s office having previously conducted an investigation into the allegations against the now disgraced cyclist closed that investigation, stating , that were was insufficient evidence against Lance Armstrong to proceed with an indictment and then prosecution . Pardon me , but what has really changed in the ensuing two years that as really brought about these turn of events and changed, when the evidence first gathered, proving willful malfeasance by Armstrong and several members of his cycling team was more than conclusive ? Yet the sheer apathy of is supporters was there to be seen . Just going to show, the apple does not fall far from the tree , when you simply witness blind ignorance and damn stupidity by a group of individuals who are simply frigging clueless and would rather not seek out the information that is there for all to see. .

Lance Armstrong now believes that he should not be punished for his misdeeds , while he harangues former close confidantes , chastising in private , while now offering what is clearly nowhere as sincere , a contrite apology . For the idiots who still remain under the impression, that the USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) overstepped their boundaries in seeking out Armstrong. Simply get a clue , and actually verify the standing that particular institution has , as concerning the sport and specifically all of sports, as it relates to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) , and that the USADA acts in conjunction with the US Olympic Committee , as well as having powers as mandated by the government . Lance Armstrong`s estimated personal fortune $100 million is in jeopardy, and is now subject to several legal civil suits . As to his own charitable foundation , Live Strong , well , that organization is now seeing a precipitous fall off in public and corporation donations , albeit that the athlete no longer has any ties to the foundation he started over a decade ago , in order to seek a cure for various forms of cancer . Armstrong , himself, a cancer survivor, having overcome testicular cancer, parlayed much of the goodwill and empathy received to build a philanthropic effort that over a decade has raised in excess of $250 million for cancer research . Commendable as that might be, Lance Armstrong preyed and played on the sympathy of the public major corporations alike , lying about his heroism and his deeds . Simply inexcusable , yet many amongst us, view it as the athlete , as having done nothing wrong.

Courtesy of USA Today

For Lance Armstrong, sorry has been the hardest word

By Brent Schrotenboer , USA Today

A day before his famous confession in January, Lance Armstrong called the home of Frankie and Betsy Andreu.

Both were victims of Armstrong, people he bullied and smeared in pursuit of fame and fortune in professional cycling.

He tried to apologize.

“He told me in that phone call he wanted to meet with us, sooner rather than later,” Betsy Andreu told USA TODAY Sports. “I don’t know how Lance expresses his contrition, but ‘sorry’ is just a word unless it’s acted on. Meeting would’ve done wonders.”

She arranged to meet him in April but said he canceled at the 11th hour, telling her he didn’t trust her.

READ: E-mails between Armstrong and Andreu

Four months after he admitted in a lengthy televised interview with Oprah Winfrey that he had doped, lied and bullied for more than 10 years, Armstrong has, for one reason or another, failed to apologize to almost all of the people he promised he would. In some cases, he has tried to reach some who, after years of being attacked by Armstrong, haven’t returned his messages.

Though he had hoped the truth would set him free, Armstrong also has found it potentially could be expensive. The federal government, two insurance companies and others have filed suit against him, saying Armstrong’s confession proved he defrauded them. The potential liability in those cases is more than $135 million for the former cyclist, whose legal argument is essentially that his confession isn’t relevant to the money he collected from them.

Though he had hoped the truth would set him free, Armstrong also has found it potentially could be expensive. The federal government, two insurance companies and others have filed suit against him, saying Armstrong’s confession proved he defrauded them. The potential liability in those cases is more than $135 million for the former cyclist, whose legal argument is essentially that his confession isn’t relevant to the money he collected from them.

Armstrong said he would spend the rest of his life making amends. His critics say it’s the same old self-serving Armstrong, even in contrition. A person close to Armstrong says that’s not the case, though he acknowledged the legal issues.

“It’s way too soon to assess Lance’s post-Oprah conduct and how this will all turn out,” said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation. The person said, “Lance is committed to participating in real dialogues and constructive change” but that his attorneys are not going to put him in “positions where he just becomes a punching bag for other people who have their own agendas.”


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While we are at it , how is that a mismanaged entity such as the US Postal Service , in the past three years , has lost in excess of $25 billion and is projected to lose as much as $30 billion ($30,000,000,000) for the fiscal year ending September 2013 , is involved in sponsoring a professional cycling team ? Patriotism asides , it is this sort of asinine idiocy that takes place for what is said to be a stand-alone entity . Yet the Post Office`s debts are in fact guaranteed by the US government , ergo , the US taxpayer . There you go folks , your tax dollars simply not at work for you . When pressed on the fact the current US Postmaster General , Patrick Donahoe , seems to be nonplussed by the fact that, Lance Armstrong , having been sponsored and received in excess of $30 million from Donahoe`s concern , has yet to state why he and the USPS hierarchy have not sought legal recourse for the return of the said funds in question . Personally, I am no longer at a loss to see why it is that the Postal Service is so archaic and simply out of touch with new technology as well as being so inefficient ! Yet, time and time again , I repeatedly ere how efficient US businesses tend to be. I have yet to see it, with a number of so-called corporations , who simply cannot grow organically , but tend to do so by the use of creative accounting and layoffs , only to then have their manufacturing or ancillary staff set up in an office or factory overseas , thereby depriving the US workforce of jobs . Am I, missing something here ?

Well by now, a number of you will know by that rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z has formed a sports` management agency to represent a stable of established sports` stars . Amongst his RocNation Sports Agency signees are, the New York Yankees , Robinson Cano , New York Jets` quarterback , Geno Smith , New York Giants` wide receiver Victor Cruz and Skylar Diggins , recently of the Notre Dame women`s basketball team and drafted by the WNBA`s …. Tulsa Shock . The RocNation agency was formed in conjunction with CAA Sports , one of the worlds biggest sports management and entertainment agencies , with offices worldwide . However , Jay-Z`s latest entrepreneurial endeavor has come under a great deal of scrutiny as well as criticism , because of the way several of the company`s representatives have gone about luring several athletes to sign with the agency .

Now having accumulated an estimate fortune in excess of $450 million , with a budding business empire wherein , Jay-Z, otherwise known as Sean Carter , has multiple business interests, ranging from his upscale night clubs , 40/40 establishments, as well as, a restaurant chain , commercial and residential real estate properties . The rapper is known to be a shrewd businessman , having sold his record label Roc-A-Fella Records , for a reputed $275 million, while still retaining the musical rights to all content performed as an artist while recording for the label . Shrewd indeed , while now having formed RocNation, which now encompasses , fashion and apparel concern , an in-house promotional company , record label , studios , managing and promoting artists signed to the eponymous label. Furthermore, having divested himself of a minority stake in the Brooklyn Nets , and the franchise`s home venue the Barclays Center . It was only a matter of time before the world would begin to speculate were Jay-Z would seek to make his next fortune .

What is now known , concerning Geno Smith`s retaining RocNation as his representation , as an agent , but also for legal matters concerning endorsement deals . It has come to light , that the player , having dropped his original agent , met with representatives from RocNation in something of a clandestine manner , clearly in breaching of NFL rules , because the representatives from the company had yet to be certified by either the league (NFL) and duly recognized by the NFLPA (Players` Union) . To date, no proceedings have been taken against the company by the league hierarchy ,but it does beg the question. Was the company aware that they were in breach of league regulations , in signing the player before having met the criteria of having a certified official sign the player and become his agent ? It is something that has yet to be answered by the rapper or any of his representatives from the company. In light of this however , an impromptu statement was recently made by Smith, stating that he was not lured away from his agent to join RocNation , and that the decision to fire is then agent , was his alone . As to what bearing this might have should either the NFL or Players Union seek to order an investigation , could very well have some ramifications upon how these agents and companies represent themselves in the market place .

The NFL remains a dark and devious world , where one`s word isn’t necessarily a bond of trust or honesty . In 2010 , uber-agent , Drew Rosenhaus negotiated new contracts and deals for a reputed $ 675 million , covering rookies and free agents under his representation . However, in the midst of it all , it should be noted that Rosenhaus , is said to have knowingly poached clients away from rival agents , even when it was known that the players in question remained under contract with their agent at the time . In each of the instances in question, of which there were several , Roger Goodell`s office was said to have found no wrongdoing by Rosenhaus or any of his subordinates from his company , Rosenhaus Sports Representation . Once again, the commissioner , and his office would rather blow smoke up everyone`s rear end , rather than deal with instances, where the image of the NFL is actually being brought into disrepute . How else would you explain the apparent none action by the league even after a number of agents have repeatedly questioned the actions of Dew Rosenhaus and lodged formal complaints not just with the NFL but also the Players` Union ?

I don`t begrudge Jay-Z , or that of his company Roc Nation entering the world of athlete management representation , while seeking to level the playing field . What I do feel in such an instance, is what appears to be the mitigated and premeditated instance , where the conduct of his company has already come into question , either by a genuine mistake or what could very well have been a preplanned effort by a representative of the business , looking to make a big splash in the sports world, as well as in the world of athlete representation. If there is an intent to do something , then at least have the common sense and intelligence to do it right , rather than coming across as a haphazard and incompetent fool ! .

The Atlanta Braves have definitely cooled off from their hot start to the season . Manager Fredi Gonzalez , however, has to be perturbed in recent weeks by team`s sudden inconsistency and the loss of a number games where they were highly favored to win . This has not been lost on Gonzalez`s staff or GM Frank Wren , as they seek to find ways to stop this fait-accompli on the players` part .

One of the bright spots to the Braves` season has been the play of Justin Upton and Evan Gattis , whereby both of these young players have stepped to the plate and they have bot been extremely productive for the team. . Upton`s elder sibling, BJ Upton has been going through his own issues having been acquired by the franchise as a free agent this off-season . The outfielder has yet to find his consistency or power albeit, that as of late he has found ways to be otherwise productive for the Braves .

Coming off a well-earned 2-1 victory over divisional rivals the Washington Nationals , the Braves do seem to be primed to perhaps increase their lead over the Nationals within the NL East , in what now appears to be a two-horse race within the division. The Braves further emphasized their recent dominance of the Nationals by repeating Saturday`s effort with a 6-3 win over Davey Johnson`s players . The Washington Nationals now have problems of their own, in sidelining Bryce Harper , placing the player on the DL , with the outfielder suffering from bursitis of is right knee . And given the issues of the Nationals last season and how they dealt with Stephen Strasburg , let`s just say , are we about to see history simply repeating itself ?

The Braves will host the Pittsburgh Pirates (35-22) , starting Monday , with a three game series at Fulton County Stadium , in Atlanta , Georgia . I am not about to suggest that the Pirates are a resilient team , giving that ball-club`s undoubted affinity for simply imploding during the season and simply falling from grace and out of contention repeatedly within the NL Central over the past few years . And no matter how optimistic manager Clint Hurdle appears to be concerning this team . One simply knows it is only a matter of time before the Pirates simply makes a mockery of their season altogether .

. On the mound for the Braves in the upcoming game will be Kris Medlen , who will be facing off against AJ Burnett , in what is sure to be a great pitching duel. From my own perspective with the retirement of Chipper Jones , as a an avowed fan of this team , I am looking forward to seeing which of the players will now seek to assume the mantle of being a vocal on the field leader of this ball club . Will it be Dan Uggla , B J Upton , Jason Heyward , Craig Kimbrell , Brian McCann or someone else on the roster coming to the fore over the course of this season ?



Picture gallery .

Your thoughts on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit .


Picture and slideshow details below .


(1) A pensive Lance Armstrong, is seen here at a conference discussing cancer research with convened members of the press as well as top medical professionals in the field of oncology and cancer research . Te former seven-time Tour de France winner was stripped of his titles , having admitted his guilt in a doping scandal that has cast a giant shadow over the sport of cycling . The ICU , the international governing body for the sport , have themselves been extremely slow in bringing in far-reaching measures , that punishes cyclists with impunity regarding their doping . Courtesy of slate,com/ ………..

(2) U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder listens to a question at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 6, 2013. Holder and his office have come in for a great deal of criticism in recent months in his agency`s handling on a wide variety of issues . having first conducted an original investigation into the allegations of Lance Armstrong having been involved in doping, along with several of his teammates on the US Postal Service Cycling team . The Attorney General`s office , the US Justice Department decided not to proceed ahead , claiming that there was insufficient evidence to lead to an indictment and successful prosecution . A mere two and a half years later , it would appear that the agency will now go ahead in prosecuting Armstrong on the basis of the original evidence gathered by the USADA and WADA . It seems that the ongoing stupidity of the US Justice Department knows no boundaries in their ongoing incompetency . REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst ….

(3) Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing about the U.S. Postal Service. Donahoe has been reluctant to explain why it is that the US Post Office has failed to go after Lance Armstrong , and seek the return of $ 30 million paid out to the cyclist in endorsement monies , in a lucrative contract with Armstrong`s team , managed by Johann Bruyneel , a former cyclist , who himself , has come under the spotlight and glare of WADA and the ICU . AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin ….

(4) Rapper , and music mogul Jay-Z ,left , is seen here with New York Jets draftee Geno Smith . The player who came in for a great deal of criticism for his behavior at the NFL Draft , is now the subject of some unwanted publicity , concerning his signing with the rapper`s newly minted sports agency RocNation Sports , a full service management firm , offering sports management and some legal services . Questions have arisen, as to whether or not Smith was signed by NFL certified agent within the agency . Should that not be the case in contravention of NFL and NFLPA rules , then the player and agency itself could become subject of an investigation and a reprimand , if there is clear evidence that those measures were contravened . ……..

(5) Drew Rosenhaus , NFL agent whose company represents over 125 current and former NFL players. Considered to be one of the most powerful agents in the NFL , Rosenhaus has been described by fellow agents and a number of NFL general managers as a pariah , while some have actually referred to him as a “bloodsucking leech “ . Drew Rosenhaus sees himself, as nothing more than a damn good agent , offering his clients the best representation that money can buy . Getty Images / Paula Marks …..

(6) Atlanta Braves’ B.J. Upton rounds third base to applause on a home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Atlanta. John Amis/AP Photo …

(7) Washington Nationals’ Chad Tracy (18) , Ryan Zimmerman (11) , Rick Eckstein , and manager Davey Johnson , right, watch the final moments of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 6-3 . AP Photo/John Amis ….

(8) Washington Nationals catcher Jhonatan Solano tags out Atlanta Braves’ Justin Upton (8) at home plate as he tries to score on from third base on a ground ball by Evan Gattis during the sixth inning of the MLB National League baseball game, Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Atlanta. John Amis/AP Photo …



tophatal ………… 06/03/2013


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