Are we there yet ?
This might be one point of the year that in terms of the sporting landscape the world simply has nothing to really offer . Granted , one can point to other outside events beyond the four major professional team sports in North America . In Europe , the Tour de France has now started and that rancid stench that will continue to emanate across from France over the remaining seventeen days fifteen days of the event might be enough to induce regurgitation of one’s meal . The sport of cycling remains in tatters as to its image , with its international governing body , the ICU (International Cycling Union) still at a loss , as to how to abate the rampant and widespread cheating that still remains within the sport .
Lance Armstrong still remains a pariah , as he continues to skirt the real reasons why he chose to cheat by using steroids as well as EPO and several other illicit substances . As to what was meant to be an in-depth interview with media maven and mogul, Oprah Winfrey . Well that bile inducing bilge , was about as noteworthy as Clint Eastwood’s appearance at the Republican National Convention , when he stood on stage , asking questions of an empty chair that suggested he was questioning Barack Obama . Well if that is what it takes the GOP , to be seen as enlightened and a party of the inclusive ____ good luck to them . Personally , I am looking for someone and a party that is keenly aware as to how to deal with many of the issues that still beset this country and not a bunch of clowns from either party , simply paying lip service and giving us sound bytes on what they believe that the electorate needs to hear .
The Tour de France is sport of cycling`s premiere event , with only the World Championships and the Olympics having as much prestige . Yet it is the classic French endurance event that brings in widespread acclaim and undoubted wealth for the winner . However , considering that Alberto Contador , Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis , three of the most recent of eight winners of the event , have in some way been caught up in the less savory and most corrupt revelations and side of the sport . Landis and Armstrong had their names stricken from the record books , as to the list of winners of the event . Contador , for some reason still remains a competitor in the sport and is a contestant in this year’s event , though he is not seen as an overall favorite .
As a Brit , I know how painful it is to watch tennis at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club at Wimbledon each year ! It has been almost eight decades since an Englishman has raised the Men’s Singles Trophy denoting a native-born winner . Fred Perry won the last of his three-straight titles in 1936. And since then , no other male player from the United Kingdom has come remotely close to producing a home-grown champion . This year’s hopes rest with the Scot , Andy Murray , who as the reigning US Open and Olympic champion , will have the nation , soundly supporting his efforts . Now, if Murray should make it through his semifinal meeting with Jerzy Janowicz , he will have the dubious privilege of having to meet the number one ranked Novak Djokovik in the Men`s Finals . All odds favor the Serbian whose run through the tournament has been nothing short of amazing . By Sunday afternoon , we may well witness Djokovik adding to his already impressive resume` , as he seeks to rewrite the history books and place himself amongst the modern-day greats of the Open Era.
The United States does not have single male or female representative left , in either the Men’s or Women’s Singles Tournament. Something I believe , that will sternly that will need to be addressed by the USTA (United States Tennis Association) and how they assess the structure and system now in place . Serena Williams has been the most dominant player in Women’s tennis for just over a decade , but as her career has now reached its apex . There is no telling how long the desire will remain for the fourteen-time singles Grand Slam winner . With her amassed wealth estimated $100 million fortune , and outside business ventures , those scenarios could very well be a driving force that sees the thirty year old step away from the sport sooner , rather than later . On the men’s side of the equation , there is not a great deal that could lead one to believe that there is a future Grand Slam winner amongst the best male players in the United States . The highest ranked in the world rankings , is Sam Querrey at number nineteen , and his run at Wimbledon was somewhat short-lived and about as scintillating as being hit in the face by a wet rag , as he succumbed to the unseeded Bernard Tomic in five sets .
The UFC will kick off UFC 162 , with a co-headline event that will see reigning middleweight champion Anderson Silva defend his title against Chris Weidman . For the Brazilian jujitsu practitioner this will be the twelfth defense of his title, as well as seeking his seventeenth consecutive win inside the octagon . All feats are now UFC records and the primary reason by Silva is considered to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts (MMA) . As a practitioner (karate & muy-thai) and proponent of MMA , this is now the primary reason why I believe that mixed martial arts has simply left the sport of boxing in the dust . It has now become far more popular as a genre and participant sport , with an ever-increasing demographic, as well as now drawing a large following amongst females . Granted, , with the rise of females fighters such as Ronda Rousey , Jessica Andrade , Liz Carmouche , Alexis Davis and Germaine de Randamie . It is now easy to see why UFC President Dana White finally succumbed to admitting females within the UFC fold , as well creating the bantamweight division weight class for women . Rousey is currently the unbeaten UFC champion within that weight class .
Saturday night’s main and under-card a, provides the most discerning fans of the sport, the chance to see some of the best practitioners of this fast growing sport into the public domain . From my own perspective, I do not believe that Weidman will provide all that stern a test for the champion , simply because of the challenger`s inexperience and the lack of real quality opponents that he has faced over his short career within the UFC ! Silva for his part , has toyed with his opponents , simply making a mockery of the division and the lack of overall talent within the middleweight division . Anderson Silva is not, and has not been thoroughly challenged by any of his opponents over his last sixteen bouts . Those who believe to the contrary , simply point to an instance were that has actually been the case and then point out , what the end result tended to be .
The Mandalay Bay Hotel Resort & Casino Complex , in Las Vegas , Nevada , will be the scene for this latest extravaganza being staged by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta , as owners of UFC. What started out , as merely a tough man contest where differing fighting styles were pitted against each other , by the respective fighters , has now become a multi-billion dollar global concern , presided over UFC by the Fertitta brothers, in conjunction wit Dana White . In a little more than a decade and a half , from UFC 1 to now , UFC 162 , this sport has become more respectable and more disciplined , in terms of safety issues, than anything shown by the international governing bodies of the sport of boxing . Subsequent events have now become regimented with a greater emphasis being placed on the safety of the fighters . Furthermore , with the misuse of steroids being part of the sports` panacea , MMA under the UFC banner has become one the few sports were their initiative beyond suspending for a first offense , they are also penalized monetarily by the UFC hierarchy and are subject to further punishment in the states where the sport is sanctioned in North America . Can the same be said , with regard to baseball , basketball , football or hockey ? Most definitely not ,when you consider the intransigence shown by the respective bodies , especially under the auspices of Bud Selig , David Stern , Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman .
Baseball has reached the midpoint of its season and a number of teams , I believe can be counted out of contention as it relates to their postseason ambitions . It is pretty much safe to say that barring divine intervention from up on high, the New York Mets (35-47) , will once again be on the outside looking in . Recent results or not , J P Ricciardi and Sandy Alderson can already begin to think about next season , while getting rid of the dead weight on the roster . Far be it for me to suggest , but if it were possible to jettison Fred Wilpon , his son, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz . I for one , believe that we would all breathe a sigh of relief and so too might the majority of the fans within baseball ! One could also preface that, by saying the same thing for baseball`s hierarchy , because under Bud Selig , let us put it succinctly , not everything he as touched , has actually turned to gold . Selig`s imprint on the game has been akin the AIDS` virus and its virulent spread across the globe , specifically on the continent of Africa and in the Far East Asia where it still remains a scourge .
Matt Harvey may well be having a terrific season for the Mets , but beyond his contributions and that of David Wright . It is pretty much safe to say that there is not a great deal that can be taken away from the season as a positive for the franchise , much less by way of the managerial acumen of Terry Collins and his managerial staff . Coming off a 5-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks the Mets have a mere handful of games before Citi-Field in Flushing, New York, hosts the 2013 MLB All Star Game and all of the festivities we are accustomed to witnessing at the mid-season that is associated with the showcase event .
New York`s next game will pit them against the Milwaukee Brewers (34-50) in a match-up between two desperate ball-clubs seeking redemption at this point of the schedule , after performing poorly through the first half of the season. The rest of the way should prove to be really interesting over the remainder of the MLB schedule .
Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds now has the unique distinction of being the only pitcher in the last decade to have pitched two no-hitters . The fact that he was able to achieve this feat inside the space of eighteen months is all the more surprising . Albeit , that for much of this season in terms of pitching heroics , the buzz has simply been about Matt Scherzer (13-0) of the Detroit Tigers and his phenomenal start to the season , in going 13-0 with a . fourteenth consecutive victory not seemingly out of the question. No-hitters and perfect games are the Holy Grails for a big-league pitcher, and for them to have their names etched in baseball immortality, is not something , that can be taken away or denied. Granted in the age of skepticism and the very fact the game of baseball has been unable to get rid of steroid cheats , makes the fans not necessarily admirers of many of today`s achievements by the players. Especially, when we know that the league hierarchy and the union itself, has done little to rectify the plague that has become widespread within the game . For those of you in doubt , then simply be aware of the fact that over almost two hundred players have now been embroiled in the abuse of steroids covering the game of baseball , covering the Minor League as well as in the Majors . Yet Bud Selig , team owners and Michael Weiner of the MLBPA have simply not offered any explanation for these statistics and the very fact that cheating still remains a blight on and to the game . There still remains the apathy of the fans and analysts alike , which is not unusual, when in large part neither shows a preponderance of showing any damn common sense concerning the issue .
To make things even worse , as it relates to an already tarnished image within the game . The Texas Rangers` GM Jon Daniels … signed …. Manny Ramirez , a two-time steroid offender to a Minor League contract . Ramirez who escaped the wrath of a mandatory one hundred game suspension by immediately retiring , then went off and parlayed his services to the highest bidder by playing baseball in the Far East . Now having returned to the game , he has been welcomed back with open arms , as if his actions were never of any consequence . Daniels in a public statement ____ stated, `that taking a flier on Ramirez was well worth the risk`. What I would like to know , is how the ownership group of the Texas Rangers feels that this is in any way beneficial for their image much less of benefit to the game , which is still in a state of disrepair ? Any thoughts on that, at this juncture ?
? Baseball , but for its own stupidity , simply cannot get out of its own way or the repeated pratfalls that it constantly tends to make .
It may not have come as a surprise , given the recent upheavals amongst the coaching fraternity within the NBA . Yet the hiring of Brad Stevens to succeed the nine year tenure of Doc Rivers , may well have taken the whole world by surprise . Stevens who coached the Butler Bulldogs for six successful seasons and then on to two successive NCAA Finals Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011. . That may well been the sort of composure and coaching acumen that impressed the Boston Celtics` front office staff , led by team owner Wyc Grousbeck and GM Danny Ainge to hire the young college coach . We know the nature of the NBA , where the mindset is to win , now , and along the way place a competitive product on the field of play . With the departures of Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers and the trades tat sent Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets . It would appear that the rebuilding process for the Celtics is now underway. To my mind this maneuver is simply two years too late . Doc Rivers over the last two seasons may well ave been somewhat disgruntled with the direction tat the franchise may well ave been heading in , but it did not seem to negate his intent , tat saw him re-sign with the Boston Celtics , a contract for a three-year extension , paying approximately $ 18 to $20 million over the period in question . Somehow, I get the feeling tat Doc Rivers was simply blowing smoke up everyone`s ass , as to his own discomfort , and $20 million was just a nice way of easing the pain .
Stevens may well bring in his own coaching staff , but a great deal of what may well transpire , will come out of the relationship fomented and built up with Celtics` point guard Rajon Rondo , which will be pivotal the success of the franchise and its long-term future . The team`s draft class and their subsequent transactions may well bring about the success sought , and in light of the cap space created , the franchise will be one of the teams that could be an ideal destination for one of the marquee free agents seeking to make that organization a legitimate contender.
At this point of the year, what if anything do you most look forward to by way of the sporting calendar and the events that may pique your interest ? Simply chime on in with a comment as you see fit .
Picture and slideshow details below .
(1) Tejay Van Garderen of the United States riding for BMC Racing looks on prior to stage two of the 2013 Tour de France, a 156KM road stage from Bastia to Ajaccio, on June 30, 2013 in Bastia, France. The 100th edition of Le Tour de France commences on the island of Corsica and ends July 21 in Paris. Doug Pensinger /Getty Images North America …
(2) Jan Bakelants of Belgium and Radioshack Leopard celebrates as he crosses the finishing line to win stage two of the 2013 Tour de France, a 156KM road stage from Bastia to Ajaccio, on June 30, 2013 in Ajaccio, France. Getty Images / Bryan Lennon …
(3) Andy Murray of Great Britain embraces Jerzy Janowicz of Poland at the net after their Gentlemen’s Singles semi-final match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2013 in London, England. Getty Image Europe /John Finney …
(4) Andy Murray of Great Britain plays a backhand during the Gentlemen’s Singles semi-final match against Jerzy Janowicz of Poland on day eleven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2013 in London, England. John Finney / Getty Images Europe …
(5) Chris Weidman , seen here speaking with the convened press concerning his upcoming UFC middleweight title about against champion Anderson Silva . The two will square off in the octagon this Saturday at UFC 162 at the Mandalay Bay Complex , in Las Vegas, Nevada ,. MMA Fighter @ copyrighted material …
(6) Anderson Silva , UFC middleweight champion , left , is seen here facing off against challenger Chris Weidman in a pre-fight photo promotion at the Mandalay Bay Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada . Silva is a clear favorite in this record-setting title defense against his less experienced opponent. Getty Images / Matt Berger …
(7) Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 3, 2013, in Toronto. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette …
(8) CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 5: Pitcher Homer Bailey (34) of the Cincinnati Reds and catcher Ryan Hanigan (29) of the Cincinnati Reds are presented with lineup cards by Manager Dusty Baker (12) of the Cincinnati Reds to commemorate Bailey’s second career no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants two nights earlier before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Great American Ball Park on July 5, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images ….
(9) Jon Daniels whose decision to sign slugger Manny Ramirez to a minor league deal has raised a few eyebrows around Major League Baseball. The Rangers` front office executive believes the deal well worth the risk and of benefit to the Texas Rangers organization . Getty Images / Elise Amendola …
(10) Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge , left, speaks alongside new head coach Brad Stevens , right, during a news conference where Stevens was introduced Friday, July 5, 2013, at the NBA basketball team’s training facility in Waltham, Mass. Stevens twice led the Butler Bulldogs to the NCAA title game. He replaces Doc Rivers, who was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. AP Photo/Josh Reynolds …..