Ours is not to reason why , it is merely to …………

Ours is not to reason why , it is merely to …………

With NBA season having just begun and with the MLB season all but having reached its climax . It is good to know that the fans still have the NFL season going in earnest , even if the fans and those in attendance have been witness to some terrible performances this season . Speaking as a fan of the New England Patriots (6-2) , my loyalty is not in question , but my willingness to see this team ebb and flow in terms of their play this season has simply kept me wondering why I continue to endure such pain !

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As Bill Belichick continues to tinker with the defense alongside coordinator Matt Patricia , one can understand why even at this juncture things have simply not fared as well as they should ,. because of a lack of leadership within the secondary . The loss of Vince Wilfork cannot be made up by thinking that a number of first and second year players are ready to step into the fray . Never mind the fact that even with the return of Rob Groknowksi , this offense is far from the one witnessed .in 2012. Aaron Hernandez’s ongoing legal problems notwithstanding , the receivers on the team are nowhere the caliber of their counterparts of 2012. Danny Amendola is proving to be as soft as a baby’s backside and any type of innocuous injury has to be a cause of concern for the coaching staff as well as the front office , given financial outlay made to the player .

This upcoming Sunday , New England will play host to the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5) , as they look to make something of what is turning out to be something of a forlorn season . A loss in this game and questions may well be raised concerning the future of a number of players on the roster and quite possibly of the head coach Mike Tomlinson . To my mind , his dismissal would not be in the best interests of the franchise or that of the players . The real issue with the team has been a lack of depth in a number of key areas both on offense as well as defense . And the outcome of this contest may well come down to which team has the desire to win and also by way of time of possession in controlling the clock .

Can a clearer picture now be painted of how bad the Minnesota Vikings (1-6) just happen to be ? The longer the fans have to bear witness to this atrocity , the more one has to ask whether or not both Leslie Frazier and GM Rick Spielman should remain in their current positions. Having gone through their roster of struggling quarterbacks , this has become a team totally devoid of any substance or leadership , with the talents of both Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson being wasted this season . Hard to believe that this is the very same running back who came within a couple of yards of breaking the single season rushing mark of Eric Dickerson .

Now firmly rooted to the bottom of the NFC North the Minnesota Vikings are now playing for pride self-respect at this juncture . And even with the so called light at the end of the tunnel by way of an almost $1.5 billion facility expected to house the franchise for the 2016 NFL season . Does anyone really believe that by then this organization will be able to turn things around based on the current environment within the franchise ?

Leslie Frazier will take his team on Sunday to visit the equally abysmal Dallas Cowboys , a team that has continually underachieved over the past eight seasons , in spite of comedic and outlandish statements made by team owner Jerry Jones . Not far behind that context now appears to be wide receiver Dez Bryant , who recently proclaimed himself just as good a wide receiver as the Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions . Somehow Bryant’s statistics were not the equal of his opponent in the Cowboys’ inexplicable loss , where they led for almost three quarters of that contest . . It would be safe to say , that there will not be a great deal of interest in the contest between the Cowboys and Vikings this upcoming Sunday , other than for the fantasy geeks, seeking to gauge how their players acquitted themselves during the games in question .

The Boston Red Sox were able to pull off the victory (6-1) needed to secure that franchise’s third World Series in the past ten seasons . Manager John Farrell’s influence was clearly seen in the team’s play throughout this series and it was a great sense of achievement after a 2012 season that was filled with the comedic revelry and incompetence provided by Farrell’s predecessor Bobby Valentine > . If there is any justice to this 2013 season by way of the awards given , then Farrell should be a consensus favorite to win the AL Manager of the Year Award .

Game six was simply about the performances of two Red Sox players , most notably their starting pitcher John Lackey and the DH David Ortiz , whose legend with the franchise has now grown to legendary status , simply because of his career with the ball club. Anyone, who now feels that there will be a fall off from this team as next season approaches , his clearly misjudged the mindset within this organization . Farrell and his managerial staff along general manager Ben Cherington will undoubtedly seek to fortify the roster making the changes where necessary , while promoting from within . It is my belief that the Boston Red Sox will start as the clear favorites to retain and make a successful defense of their AL East title . I simply cannot see an aging New York Yankees’ roster or the cash starved Tampa Bay Rays or Baltimore Orioles making any inroads on a team who simply made a mockery of the division along with the rest of the AL , by way of their play and domination of the opposition throughout the season . The postseason pitching and offense of the Red Sox was very resolute and the managerial acumen of John Farrell was unquestionable .

For the St Louis Cardinals who came up short in this series , they can simply take heart from the fact that they acquitted themselves well , but during the six games of this best of seven series they were simply outplayed .

The NBA year tipped off on the 29th October , that for 2013 has begun a little earlier than usual . Yet for all of the nuances sought by David Stern to create an even greater allure for the fans and corporate endorsers alike . The league and its brand can only be sustained by the game’s elite stars and many of the more popular and successful teams . With the Boston Celtics having gone the through a major upheaval during the off-season with the departures of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry as well former head coach Doc Rivers . It remains to be seen as to whether or not Brad Stevens as Rivers’ successor can lead a newly revamped Celtics’ roster to any type of success this season . It may well be a year or two before Rajon Rondo and his teammates can aspire to reach the level of success attained under his former coach .

An opening season 93-87 loss to the Toronto Raptors was not a cause for concern for Boston , but it may will certainly punctuate what it is likely to a season which will be gauged as something of a learning curve for this young and inexperienced team along with Stevens’ coaching assistants . Next up for the Celtics will be a home game against the Milwaukee Bucks as they seek to obtain their first win of the season within the Eastern Conference as well as the Atlantic Division .

So now, there is no chance of the Miami Heat going 82-0 , and I do believe that 81-1 is also unlikely ! As a reminder to ESPN’s contributors Skip Bayless and that proverbial fool Bill Simmons , who are of the opinion that the Heat will march unchallenged to another title . This team led by LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will undoubtedly have a very good season and are likely to be dominant during their regular season schedule . Yet , they cannot and should not be placed in the same pantheons of those great Lakers , Celtics or even the Bulls’ teams that were so dominant during their impressive reigns . Granted , on paper this is a very good team , but beyond the mainstay of their big three and the sharp shooting Ray Allen , is there anyone who feels that there is a really great deal of depth to this roster ?

Out of the gate with a 1-1 record , it should be noted that while there should be no cause for concern as of yet . An opening night victory , against the Chicago Bulls at home, as the defending NBA champions was to be expected. However , what followed in their next game against the Philadelphia 76ers , on the night that Allen Iverson formally announced his retirement from the league , came as a jolt to many , as the Heat put on what can only be seen as a lackluster performance against a Sixers’ franchise that the champions have simply had the better of during their regular season meetings over the past few years . Erik Spoelstra need not be worried , as he is unlikely to lose his job this early in the season and his mentor Pat Riley is likely to see this as only a mere blip on the radar screen, as the team goes about their season . Yet to my own mind, I believe that this defeat came more out of a sense of complacency , more than anything else , with this team , as they were still busy celebrating last season’s triumph . The Heat, will look to rebound from that loss when they take on the Brooklyn Nets at their palatial venue the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York on Friday night . With a combined payroll in excess of $215 million on display , one can only hope that the two teams will offer up something that can be deemed as being a highly competitive and entertaining game .

In the aftermath of the sale of the Sacramento Kings by the Maloof family to tech entrepreneur Vivek Ranadive . It will be interesting to now see where the franchise goes from here . Certainly not the league hierarchy, never mind David Stern’s failure to acknowledge what mismanagement of the franchise by the team’s then primary partners Joe and Gavin Maloof . To my mind , the NBA commissioner in spite of his alleged business acumen , is simply an opportunist, who prefers the glare of the spotlight upon himself and his achievements , rather than seeking to deal with many of the acute issues that currently affect the NBA . Stern was quick to originally back the plan of the sale of the Kings to Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer and venture capitalist billionaire, Chris Hansen , who planned to relocate the Kings to Seattle, Washington , thereby bringing back an NBA franchise to the city , after the hasty and surreptitious departure of the Seattle Supersonics . As if that deal was not underhanded enough, it should be noted that the commissioner promised the city that he would do his utmost hasten the return of NBA team back to the Northwest . Yet in the time, since the Sonics’ departure , very little has been done by the league hierarchy to assist in that venture .

Ballmer and Hansen’s original bid to purchase the Kings was considerably more than with the winning bid of Ranadive’s whose insistence that the franchise would be retained in Sacramento finally won the day with the NBA’s Board of Governors and with the city’s mayor Kevin Johnson , himself a former NBA player . It should be noted also , that Johnson also seeks to use public funds to aid the new ownership in making upgrades to the Kings’ current home , before seeking to finance the building of a new venue for the team. All of this while, his own city has steep financial budgetary concerns and a fiscal deficit , not uncommon across the state of California or at the state level , where Governor Jerry Brown and the State Legislature are at loggerheads as to how best reduce their debt and fiscal anomalies brought on by years of largess and no financial restraint being shown by both legislative chambers and with Brown’s predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger , hardly putting a dent in the deficit and debt crisis that he promised he would be able to deal with , through proper fiscal constraint and the cutting of a number of state ran programs .

Away from this all , the Kings’ first year head coach Michael Malone has to get this team all on the same page , while having to deal with the often mercurial and temperamental talent of DeMarcus Cousins . If the franchise is to have any type of chance at success over the course of this season , then the often criticized center will have to raise the level of his play while leading by example . And if there is one thing we know to be true concerning the player it is that he remains immature and someone who often seeks a confrontation with an official , if things don’t necessarily go his own way on the court of play.

The Kings started off the season with an impressive victory over the Denver Nuggets , where it was an all-round effort by this young team . On Friday , it should be a true test of their mettle where they are due to face conference rivals the Los Angeles Clippers in a contest which should prove to be a very good match-up of teams with postseason aspirations .

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Picture gallery .

At the halfway point of the NFL season , we can now look to a second half where there will be a great deal to play for amongst those seeking to make themselves a serious playoff contender . With the MLB postseason , now having come to an end , the only remaining issues are that of the individual awards and that takes place by way of the legal overtures now in play . A successful season overall ? I believe it only appropriate to let you be the judge of that ! With the NBA schedule in its infancy , I certainly do not believe that the teams will begin to find their rhythm until we are at least three weeks into the year’s calendar of games . By all means do leave a comment as you think fit on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick , right , is seen here with the team’s defensive coordinator Matt Patricia , as they discuss a defensive scheme during a game this season . Off to a 6-2 start after eight games, the team’s defense still remains a work in progress and has proven to be inconsistent . Belichick delved into the market at the trade deadline looking to shore up and fortify a still struggling secondary. AP Photo / Paul Ross …..

(2) Former Catholic High School star Harrison Smith, second from right, stands with Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier, from left, No. 3 overall pick Matt Kalil and general manager Rick Spielman at the Vikings’ facility in Eden Prairie, Minn., on Friday. Smith and Kalil were both taken in the first round on Thursday in the 2012 NFL draft. Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …

(3) World Series’ MVP David Ortiz celebrates , pointing to the appreciative Red Sox fans after the team’s 6-1 rout of the St Louis Cardinals in game six of the World Series . The series’ win would be the franchise’s third in the past ten years and their eighth overall . For manager John Farrell this would be his first title in his first year with the franchise as its manager. Ortiz’s stats were franchise highs in the World Series for the ball-club. MLB.com all rights reserved copyrighted material ….

(4) WALTHAM, MA – JULY 5: New Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens (R) is introduced to the media by President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge July 5, 2013 in Waltham, Massachusetts. Stevens was hired away from Butler University where he led the Bulldogs to two back to back national championship game appearances in 2010 and 2011 . Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images ….

(5) Sacramento Kings’ owner , tech entrepreneur Vivek Ranadive is seen here with the city’s mayor Kevin Johnson . Ranadive and his group bought the Sacramento Kings for an inflated price of $535 million . An apparent higher bid from a consortium led by Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen was turned down by the NBA Board of Governors , who voted against the relocation of the Kings to Seattle after a long-held promise by the commissioner that he would seek to secure the return of an NBA franchise the city in Washington State.
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tophatal ……………… 10/31/2013 .

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Working out with Elle Alexander never looked so good !

Bottoms up , bottoms down

More jiggle and wiggle to make jello seem so proper .

Don’t worry there can never be too much junk in the trunk ! Your thoughts on that ?

Aye Mamacita

All hail the conquering hero ……..

All hail the conquering hero

Week eight of the NFL departed in a cloud of despair for a number of teams , with many having seen their season implode with a great deal of smoke . For the win-less Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7) , we could very well be seeing the last remnants of both Gus Bradley and Greg Schiano as head coaches in the league . Albeit , it is my belief that the Buccaneers would rather not have to let their head coach go and then still have to fulfill the financial obligations of existing contract . As of 2012 they were still paying former head coach Jon Gruden , and they also owe Schiano’s predecessor Raheem Morris monies due from the final two seasons of his original deal . Which begs the question , Joel and Avram Glazer , as well as GM Mark Dominik , are they as smart, as some would try and suggest ? The Buccaneers remain one of the franchises within the NFL , that persistently has trouble attracting fans for regular season home games as well the preseason , but yet, all I tend to hear from their weary fans, are that due to harsh economic times this has been the norm . That is simply utter idiocy , as prior to the most recent downturn in the economy , the franchise still could not attract fans . It has become the norm in the Tampa Bay area market, where the fans are simply fair weather fans , only jumping unto the bandwagon, when things are good .

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In the Buccaneers rather lopsided 31-13 home loss to the Carolina Panthers , it was the franchise eleventh defeat in their last twelve regular season games dating back to 2012 . Anyone under the slightest impression that this Greg Schiano coached team had within the slightest chance of winning the game , either had to have been under prescribed medication or simply saw something that just was not there . Defensively , the team lacks a great deal of discipline and from an offensive standpoint they are as equally inept and just as awful as the word ” offensive” would suggest or con-notate in another vernacular. The real issue with this team and the coaching staff as well , is that there are no leaders and absolutely no one held is accountable in either juncture . And the opinions I have read by Buccaneers’ fans concerning the team simply glosses over that fact , as they look elsewhere for answers .

With the mid-season trade deadline set for 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday 29th October, it will be interesting to see whether or not Mark Dominik sees fit to make one or two moves that might suggest that the Buccaneers will seek to amass draft picks for the 2014 NFL Draft , while giving up on the remainder of this season . There certainly is not any point in them trying to make a run at the division given the fact that they are firmly rooted to the bottom of the NFC South with only the hapless Atlanta Falcons looking as equally abysmal a franchise, within the division . The Carolina Panthers have been the surprise team from within , while a resurgent New Orleans Saints’ team looks to make themselves a force to be reckoned this season , not just within the conference but also the NFL as a whole .

Week nine and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will head West , where they will take on the Seattle Seahawks (7-1) in an NFC match-up of two teams heading in opposite directions. The Seahawks will be looking to firmly tighten their grip on the NFC West , while distancing themselves from their closest divisional rivals the San Francisco 49ers (6-2).

Greg Schiano was brought in as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach , under the belief, that what was needed was a stern , strict disciplinarian and someone with an eye for coaching and developing young talent . Unfortunately , if this season is anything judge by , then he has failed miserably on both fronts . It is hard to see where the franchise now goes from here and one also has to ask the question , is Mark Dominik the right person for the job as the team’s general manager ? Clearly , other than the drafting of Doug Martin in 2012 , the Buccaneers have little to show for their lack of any type of tangible success , and another season of setbacks , only profligates another year of discontent for their long suffering fans , who have not seen the franchise in the postseason since 2007 .

There seems to be a constant struggle between ” good ” and ” evil ” within the NFC East each season . Either the teams there, will serve up some great football , or it tends to be the kind that will have you yearning for days when there were said to be highly skilled players within the division . Granted , from season to season , what you see is what you get . Yet , in 2013 , beyond the plethora of bad performances without having to cite injuries , there can be no excuse for the fact that the Dallas Cowboys (4-4) , Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) , New York Giants (2-6) and Washington Redskins (2-5) are no better than . 500 in terms of their overall records . To say that the division sends a bad message about the football now being played in the NFL would be an understatement , but how else can you explain the woefully inept displays from a quartet of teams , that is said to house the best division in the entire NFL ? Personally , I believe the NFC East to be overrated , with a number of players , either past their prime or steadily on something of a downward spiral . As good as Tony Romo is said to during the regular season , we can agree can we not that when it comes to the postseason , the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback is simply like a deer caught in headlights. He may well be a fantasy geek’s dream during the regular season , because that is all he ever will be .

Someone will have to explain to me , how the Dallas Cowboys can somehow lapse into a complete breakdown , having led the Detroit Lions through three quarters with a 13-7 lead , only to then give up twenty four points in the final quarter and then succumb to the Lions 31-30 . Jason Garrett and his coaching staff either like to be far too conservative , or there appears to be a nonchalant attitude in how they view each opponent on a week to week basis . The Cowboys either choose to play up or down to the level of the opposition they face . More often than not , it has been beneath the level of the foe they have to face, during the course of this season .

I would dare say that when the Dallas Cowboys face the Minnesota Vikings (1-7) this upcoming Sunday , there is no likelihood of being able to clarify how that game is likely to turn out , if we base our knowledge on what is said to have taken place during week eight . All things should point to an easy win for the home team , but as I alluded to before , Dallas more often than not, has chosen to play down to the level of an opponent they have faced during this season . So make of it, what you will .

In what proved to be a pivotal game five of this season’s World Series , the Boston Red Sox pulled off a 3-1 victory over the St Louis Cardinals , to place themselves one win away from capturing their third World Series’ title in the past nine years. In what turned out to be a thoroughly thrilling contest , very much in the vein of this series , this game ebbed and flowed as both combatants tried to outwit each other over nine innings .

Jon Lester of the Red Sox out-pitched his opposing number Adam Wainwright but once , again as so often before , it was left to David Ortiz to provide the heroics for the team as he has often done before . Should Boston go on to take this series , then it is my firm belief that Ortiz is likely to be named the series’ MVP . Yet , with their being two games left of this current contest , it would be completely foolish to write-off the St Louis Cardinals at this juncture . The NL pennant winners are far too resolute a team to call it a day , and simply give up . It is certainly not within the players’ or coaching staff’s mindset that all is lost . And even if the final two games are being played in Boston at Fenway Park , all that is needed , is for a game six victory St Louis to even the contest and then, this series now becomes a one game sudden death , all or nothing sweepstakes .

With all the controversy that has plagued this baseball season , it is still good to know that the continued idiocy is not far away from the headlines ,even if the purists and apathetic would prefer to look the other way in spite of the irreparable damage done to the sport . As we all know at the end of this postseason soiree , the MLB hierarchy will seek to press ahead with their action against Alex Rodriguez in seeking a multi-game suspension of the player . Not to be outdone, Rodriguez in turn has sought to press ahead with a federal civil suit against baseball (MLB) citing slander , emotional distress and damage to his reputation , with the game’s hierarchy in seeking to suspend him from baseball , with a two hundred and fourteen game suspension . The hiring of two prominent New York City criminal attorneys in John Tacopina and David Cornwell to represent the player not only at the tribunal hearing, but also in his defamation lawsuit , has me wondering how much longer can this absolute farce be maintained ! No one seems intent on giving an inch , and it has become abundantly clear that this case is now taking on some rather unsavory racial overtones , quite possibly with a great deal of this being orchestrated by Rodriguez’s legal team , in some part .

Hordes of demonstrators in support of the New York Yankees’ third baseman have turned up outside the MLB headquarters, protesting the unfairness of baseball’s investigation and the fact that Alex Rodriguez is being made a scapegoat because of his ethnicity . Back in March of 2010 , I do not believe that was said to be the case when Alex Rodriguez , willingly chose to proffer up what was then an insipid act of contrition , in apologizing for his use of a banned substance . Yet , somehow four years later , when what is said to be tangible evidence of the player willingly having bought several illicit substances for his own personal use and with sworn subpoenaed testimony from Anthony Bosch (founder) of Biogenesis that Alex Rodriguez was indeed a client , who purchased products from his company . It would appear , that now would be the time to use race and ethnicity , as a way to sully what has already become a sordid affair . From my own perspective , baseball , specifically its hierarchy , owners and the union have never treated the issue of steroids with the seriousness it deserves . Yet , for the tens of millions dollars that have been made by the teams , players and the game as a whole during the era of steroids , in reality for all of the suspensions meted out by Bud Selig , not much has really changed to abate the rampant epidemic , that has further soiled the reputation of the game.

Once the World Series reaches its finale , baseball’s season will carry on at length , as it becomes a legal issue concerning Rodriguez’s appeals hearing in front of mediation specialist Fred Horowitz , and then onwards , dare I say downwards, with what is likely to be a rather comedic federal trial ?

Speaking of which , just when you thought you had heard the last of Barry Bonds , his name is amongst the list of eligible Hall of Fame candidates for 2014 . However , you will be pleased to know , that Bonds too , is seeking his own legal recourse in having his 2011 federal trial verdict of guilty be overturned in an appeals’ court hearing . The former San Francisco Giants’ slugger along with his attorneys have filed an appeal in the Ninth District Court of Appeals to have his case be re-heard by eleven Appeals’ Court judges , where their finding would hopefully overturn the original conviction and verdict of guilty on counts of obstruction of justice and perjury . If Bonds’ request were to be turned down then his only course of action left would have his case be heard by the US Supreme Court , in front of the Justice there. Which begs the question , will Antonin Scalia and Sonia Sotomayor be feigning or actually drooling over the player , upon his entrance into their hallowed chambers ?

For Bonds who believes that his testimony that he never knowingly took a banned substance and that because he is the son of a famous sports’ personality , it equated , whereby he was seen somewhat differently by a jury of his peers , doesn’t seem to quite wash with how the player was known to acquit himself on the field of play as some have stated , he often remained aloof from many of his teammates during the latter part of his career , as he sought after many of the game’s titular records from in terms offense and their notoriety. The seven-time NL MVP’s once meteoric star and his ascent to the top of the game, with its fall , came the distrust of many of the game’s most ardent fans . Though one cannot deny Bonds’ greatness prior to any of the alleged use of a banned substance , it has been the player’s reasoning and deniability that has continued to be a real cause for concern , as he often used his status for a number of noteworthy causes . I am not so sure that even in light of that fact , one can still look at Barry Bonds in a positive light and deem him to be a role model for anyone .

With the resignation of Jim Leyland , as the manager of the Detroit Tigers , . I believe that the organization should look for a successor from within their current coaching staff. It certainly has not hurt , that both of the managers in this season’s World Series were at one time assistants on the respective teams that they are now managing in baseball’s showcase finale . Continuity , I believe is at times, the best way to proceed , rather than seeking to go after a high-profiled name . That was clearly the case in 2012 when the Boston Red Sox made the horrendous mistake with the hiring of Bobby Valentine . GM Ben Cherington was against the hire , but team President & CEO Larry Lucchino somehow convinced the other senior partners along with majority stake holder John W Henry that Valentine was indeed the man for the job . Last season for the Red Sox , beyond the infamy of the sheer ineptitude and the last place finish within the AL East , was also memorable , equally comedic and utterly diabolical for the sound-bytes uttered by the then beleaguered Valentine , who sought to blame everyone else but himself , for the team’s miserable year in 2012. How quickly was Valentine’s successor John Farrell able to turn things around ? Well, the proof has been in witnessing where the team now just happens to be . Is it possible, that this type of situation can be replicated with the Tigers , if GM Dave Dombrowski makes the right decision by promoting from within ? The Tigers’ general manager is not keen to show his hand at present, but he is likely to weigh up all of the possible options available to him , while remaining in close contact with team owner Michael Ilitch .

Brad Ausmus , former catcher in the Big Leagues and now a special assistant within the San Diego Padres’ organization appears to be the front-runner to succeed Jim Leyland , after what are said to be an encouraging round of interviews with both Dave Dombrowski and Michael Ilitch. . Yet, amongst the Tigers’ coaching staff there are candidates such as Lloyd McClendon , Rafael Belliard , Gene Lamont and Tom Brookens . All of whom , if given the chance could quite possibly fill the vacancy left with the resignation of Jim Leyland . Players on the staff such as Justin Verlander , Miguel Cabrera , Prince Fielder and Max Scherzer are likely to be gauged as to their thoughts on the managerial vacancy , but off course the final say will rest with the general manager and team owner . Jim Leyland has served the game well and his departure from the game , though unexpected, came at the right time , for the now legendary manager , whose resume` is an accomplished one .

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Picture gallery .

Heroes within the world of sports can at times be characters with flawed personalities , or they can be someone , we can have a great deal of respect for . Yet somehow, there is a chance what we deemed to be a hero in one person’s view , can very much be the opposite for someone else . Do you believe that as a sports’ fan , there is room the modern-day hero within the world of sports ? Or do you best believe , that these athletes are simply nothing more than gifted individuals within their chosen professions , who are deservedly rewarded , for what they do ? By all means , do leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) Gus Bradley of the Jacksonville Jaguars who as head coach of the team , has seen them fall to an 0-8 start and currently are at the bottom of the AFC South joining NFC compatriot the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for having the two worst records in the NFL . AP Photo / Martin Bucknell …

(2) Mike Glennon (8) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers calls a play in the huddle during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers would go on to lose the game , which is one of seven straight consecutive losses , for a franchise that has lost eleven of their last twelve regular season games dating back to 2012. Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann …..

(3) A Boston Red Sox fan holds up a sign for manager John Farrell (53) of the Boston Red Sox prior during Game Five of the 2013 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. Rob Carr / Getty Images North America ….. Getty Images / Rob Carr …..

(4) David Ortiz (34) of the Boston Red Sox runs after hitting an RBI double scoring Dustin Pedroia (15) in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Five of the 2013 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. . Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …. (5) Alex Rodriguez is seen here signing autographs for fans , having just left the MLB headquarters in New York City , where he and his attorneys met members of the MLB hierarchy and their investigators . Courtesy of ESPN / all rights reserved …

(6) Fans of Alex Rodriguez come out to show their support for the player as he departs from the league’s headquarters in lower Manhattan , New York City . Ed Marsh / NY Daily News …

(7) A small gathering of Rodriguez’s fans show their support for the beleaguered player . AP Photo / Tom Archer ….

(8) Barry Bonds is seen here leaving the 9th District Court of Appeals where he and his legal team are seeking to have his April 2011 guilty verdict appealed and overturned with a special trial in front of an empaneled court of Justices within the Appeals Court’s jurisdiction. If Bonds gains no recourse, then his only remaining alternative is for his case to be heard by the United States Supreme Court . AP Photo / Todd Hatcher ….

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tophatal …………….. 10/29/2013

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Don’t believe the hype ……….

Don’t believe the hype

One of the seminal groups in all of music, but more so rap music, came out with a song that still resonates socially today, as it did two decades ago. Chuck D and Flava Flav , two of the founding members of the rap group Public Enemy are just as respected today, as when they first burst onto the scene over two decades ago with their socially conscious lyrics, which some suggested as being overtly racist . Take that with a pinch of salt, from a group of individuals, who at first thought that Rock-n-Roll was the Devil’s music. The song in question, by the Grammy nominated group was ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’ , delivering strong lyrics of defiance and of being socially relevant. Well today , in the world of sports , that means not being socially relevant , much less being involved. More so today, it is all about creating an image of being family friendly, in order to lure being wielding and deep pocketed corporate sponsors , broadcast networks and their billions of dollars . Nowhere, is that particular message more resonant , than within the NFL , NBA , MLB and Collegiate Athletics .

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This season in the NFL , a great deal of the hype was made over the amazing start of both the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs . Two teams who came flying out of the starting gate, having rolled off seven straight victories apiece . By week seven in the league , the Broncos had fallen back to earth , having slipped up , when Peyton Manning as the ‘prodigal son’ , made his return to Lucas Oil Stadium , home to the Indianapolis Colts , where Manning and his teammates would succumb to his former team in a thoroughly entertaining game , as we witnessed the ongoing maturation process of Andrew Luck , the number one overall pick from the 2012 NFL Draft .

With their now being only one remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, as the 7-0 Kansas City Chiefs seek to keep their quest for a perfect regular season alive . All eyes will on Andy Reid’s rather surprising roster and their seeking to keep that record intact. From my own perspective , I felt with the departure of former general manager Scott Pioli , Matt Cassel , along with a number of players who proved to be unproductive , there was a chance that the Chiefs would be something of a surprise in 2013. Little did I realize, that they would now seen, as perhaps the best team in the NFL . Certainly, the traits were already there from last season , but what was most definitely needed , were the players to execute and coaching staff in place to get the players buying to into a proven message . Pioli’s successor , John Dorsey laid the foundations for that , with the hiring of Andy Reid and the acquisition of quarterback Alex Smith and some very shrewd off-season moves . On Sunday , the Chiefs will seek to further distance themselves from the rest of the AFC West , when they play host the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Missouri , in what should to be a very good AFC match-up .

If to suggest that things could not get any worse for a team now seeking not only redemption but also respectability , then what more can one say, about the now stagnant Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6) , who tonight host the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida ? This team has lost focus , heart , but overall there seems to be no leadership forthcoming from anyone on the roster or coaching staff . Greg Schiano’s demeanor at times has shown a lack of discipline , which seems to have been reflected a great deal in the Buccaneers’ lackluster displays throughout the season. And as usual, the Buccaneers’ fans continue to show more optimism than anything else . A loss tonight , and the franchise can start to think about 2014 and their likely draft status next year , beyond assessing the current roster .

I was never impressed with the hiring of hiring Greg Schiano in 2012 , in spite of his pedigree as a head coach with Rutgers . All of the bally hoo, surrounding the hire and the player acquisitions that came about , with GM Mark Dominik being viewed as a front office genius. Not much, by way of tangible success was borne out of the transactions or the overall play of the team during Schiano’s first year tenure. Take into the account, the idiocy , this preseason concerning what appears to the head coach’s reluctance to play Darrelle Revis during the four exhibition games and you can now understand why the Buccaneers’ season has simply spiraled out of control , with their not being much hope that things are likely to be turned around anytime soon .

As to the week eight schedule in the NFL, there are a number of games that will most definitely carry a great deal of intrigue and hype around them . I will personally leave that to the on air television personalities to discuss , because I am always assured of something inanely stupid being stated by the individuals in question who allegedly are providing the fans with a great deal of insight.

Leave it to the NCAA , to continue to show their utter stupidity and ongoing incompetence. After almost eighteen months of continued buffoonery by the Infractions’ Committee , an announcement was made as to the punishment to be meted out the Miami Hurricanes’ program and their willful violations of the NCAA rules , on a wide variety of transgressions . Bearing in mind , the actual mistakes by the NCAA investigators , the loss of documentary evidence and then their falsification of records . The fact that NCAA President Mark Emmert is said to feel comfortable the findings and the verdict rendered , either shows signs of his own stupidity or the very fact that the NCAA has lost all touch with reality along with its own credibility . I would like to think that the University President Donna Shalala would challenge the findings and the verdict , simply based on the wrongdoings by the NCAA investigators, if nothing else , to show that Collegiate Athletics’ governing body , simply cannot change the rules to meet their needs , after their own misdeeds . Granted, the University of Miami is at fault for its failed oversight in the monitoring of the athletic staff , compliance office and that of the student athletes past and present , embroiled in the scandal that has brought further disrepute upon the program .

As to the belief, that the NCAA has always had the student athletes’ interests at heart. I will liken that premise to the slave master /plantation owner an and his overseer , who grants the slaves on the plantation some time during a hot humid day, a ten minute water break, before they are made to return to their daily chores . As Malcolm X so astutely stated, “ we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock , Plymouth Rock landed on us “ ! The students remain indentured slaves of a corrupt and flawed system , but no one seems to want to acknowledge that fact , but they are prepared to discuss what is said to best adjudge, a fair way of determining a national champion in football at the FBS (Football Subdivision D 1 Level) . Have I actually missed something here , amidst all of this, and the countless billions of dollars reaped annually within collegiate athletics , but no transparency is shown by the NCAA , BCS or the major bowl conferences by way of their finances or business practices, while each of the entities operate under a tax-exempt status ? I guess, that must be overlooked by those who try to seek some sort of justification for the latest pretense being shown by the BCS and conference commissioners ?

As Wil Muschamp and his coaching staff seek to find ways to now resurrect the Florida Gators’ season after the team were routed by the Mizzou Tigers . I can’t help but wonder what must now being going on in the minds of the Gators’ fans statewide as well as nationally ! . Yes, there are fans of the program who actually reside outside the state of Florida . Who would have thought that, but yes, they remain as loyal as ever . For my friend, Chris , who in a recent comment on my site tried to suggest that the Gators have now slipped as low as number three in the state , in terms of football prominence . My response to that , would be , you seemed to have forgotten about the rise in prominence of the centrally (Florida) based UCF Golden Knights (5-1) , a now nationally ranked program in the BCS Poll and who appear to be on route to a major BCS Bowl berth, should their season pan out .

For Wil Muschamp and the Gators, they now have a week in which to prepare before facing the Georgia (Bulldogs) on the 2nd November , during week ten of the College Football season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville , Florida. To say that this game will be of utmost importance as a “make or break” for the season, would be a vast understatement. Nonetheless, it has to be now or never if Florida are to make something of their year.

It may not have been the World Series many had hoped for, with undoubtedly many hoping that the Los Angeles Dodgers would now be staring down the Boston Red Sox in the 109th edition baseball’s postseason finale . The Dodgers simply failed show up in game six of their NLCS game against the St Louis Cardinals , who simply laid waste the Los Angeles franchise’s ambitions for the postseason . And for one of the team’s most prominent owners , Magic Johnson . This will be the season where he can now look back and merely speculate on not only what might have been, and whether not , it is now worthwhile pushing the team’s payroll to beyond $250 million annually , which would be an MLB record in terms of a team’s salary obligations . Not even the now once mighty New York Yankees have ever been bold enough to undertake such a premise. Can someone remind me once again , why it is that Alex Rodriguez remains the highest paid player in the game ? Damned, if I know !

Game one of this year’s World Series was something of a shock as the Boston Red Sox showed their intent , in making the Cardinals pay for their defensive errors on their way to an 8-1 opening series’ game-win . A shell-shocked Mike Matheny and his coaching staff must now be wondering , if after that bombardment they are in for more of the same during game two on Thursday night when the series resumes at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts. I believe that this St Louis’ team has it within them to even the series but it would have to be premised on the Cardinals’ players not repeating the mistakes witnessed in game one .

The more things are said to change, the more they remain the same . That is most certainly true of what might now be the most incompetent administration to hold office political office in this nation . Once again , leave it to Barack Obama to come up with another lame comment as to why he is so upset with the contractors who set up and maintain the website for the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Obama-care) . Upon the website’s debut there were numerous problems that Kathleen Sebelius’ department , the Department of Health and Human Services failed to acknowledge or bring to the attention of the various technicians within that agency or the contracted company providing the maintenance and administration of the site . Now leave it to none other than the House Energy & Commerce Committee who also deal with health matters within the Congress . As they have sought to empanel their committee and request the presence of Kathleen Sebelius and the contractors to answer questions, as to why this site has either repeatedly crashed or the fact that most inquiries to the site would not lead an individual beyond the homepage . Nothing like incompetence, to show what you are not missing, when the government repeatedly screws things up. For months on end , during the initial setup there were numerous issues that cropped up concerning this site (healthcare.gov), but somehow , it is only now , that there seems to be a sense of urgency after the tens of millions of dollars that have spent . Call me naive , but where else can you find this sort of incompetency without anyone being accountable for the sheer magnitude of the ineptitude executed and then somehow deliberately covered up ?

Should I now shed a tear every time Barack Obama is upset or emotionally torn apart by an issue ? I will be damned, if I now give him the time of day , much less anything else ! Is it not enough , that he has made a complete ass of himself , concerning the issue of Syria and the apparent death of 400 children, who were subjected to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian military forces , during what has now become a violent uprising in the Middle Eastern country . Yet, there seems to be no sense of outrage by this President , over the fact that approximately 550 children have been gunned down on the streets of Chicago , Illinois over the past thirty months. A great many of the victims were innocent and mere bystanders to a senseless crime wave , driven by drugs and gang related, as to the territorial rights of the various gangs at the center of this spree . The President, though not a native Chicagoan , his former senatorial seat took in certain parts of the Windy City.

Now come full circle, and with the NBA regular season is due to commence in five days and there seems to be a heightened sense that Chicago Bulls are more concerned with the start of their season , rather than the ongoing crime spree gripping the city . The city’s mayor Rahm Emmanuel , himself a former Chief of Staff to the incumbent President, has already shown his own incompetency since becoming the city’s chief executive . Emmanuel has complained, that he does not have the necessary resources to take a tough enough stance on crime , but has sought to inflame the situation even more so, by systematically cutting resources because of his city’s now burgeoning fiscal crisis. What this has now indicated to me, is that the country has become more uncaring and there is only a pretext displayed as to their being any type want to or need to aid others in distress . I believe that this all has more to do with apathy and a complete lack of understanding by the government itself , as to what is really ailing the nation at present !

No one from within the Bulls’ front office has spoken publicly on the issue of the increased violence within the city . Yet, the franchise has seen fit to air numerous radio and television commercials reminding the fans in the run-up to the start of the preseason and regular season of the return of the team’s star point guard Derrick Rose . I can only surmise that team owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Gar Forman do not believe that there needs to be a shared or civic responsibility as to the communal well-being of the citizens of the city , just as long as they are under the roof of the United Center in Chicago , showing their support for the team.

After an almost eighteen month layoff , a great deal is expected not only of Derrick Rose, but also the team as a whole , where the presence of Joakim Noah is likely to be felt throughout much of this upcoming season . Noah’s growing , maturity , presence and the very fact that his all-round game seems to have improved immensely over the past two seasons , would suggest that he is ready to be seen as one of better center/ power forwards within the NBA at present , especially from a defensive standpoint .

With Chicago starting off their regular season schedule as guests of the reigning NBA champions , the Miami Heat . The added expectations are that both teams will prove to be a serious challenge to each other within the Eastern Conference as well as during the playoffs this upcoming season . A likely match-up between the two, sets up some scintillating possibilities and expectations for both sets of fans , as well the NBA fans in general .

For the Miami Heat , it is not only about making a successful second defense of their NBA crown , but whether not this team can be seen as a legitimate dynasty , with its core element of LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade leading the charge towards for NBA immortality . Seen, as clear-cut favorites, to make that defense more than a reality . The question now becomes, which team within the Eastern Conference will pose a serious enough threat to derail those hopes during the postseason ? It is my belief, that the Miami Heat will gently stroll through the regular season , not necessarily posting the best record within the conference , but they will have certainly will have done enough , to make their qualification for the NBA playoffs a foregone conclusion and from there , they can simply shift into overdrive and lay waste to the opposition within the East and then await their Western Conference counterpart without a great deal of trepidation.

With finances, for any professional sports’ franchise always at the forefront of profitability, it has become increasingly annoying to hear senior basketball executives simply walk around with their head buried in the sand , acting as if the glaring precipice they are close to , does not pose an imminent threat or danger. Not unlike the mind numbing stupidity, shown by the Congress and how they have continually dealt with the fiscal budgetary crisis and the debt ceiling . After a while , there is only so far down the road where you can kick the can , before coming to the conclusion that something drastic has to be done . It is the same within the NBA and the very fact that teams who are being punished, by way of the league’s luxury tax, for exceeding the soft “salary cap” ($58.044 million) , are now looking at ways to implement a much more equitable solution. Far be it for Congress, to actually think of trying such an idea of reining in their spending or even for the members to actually seek cuts their own benefits . Like, that is ever likely to happen ? Voices of dissent, are no now coming from owners such as Micky Arison , James Dolan , Mikhail Prokhorov , Jim Buss , Robert Pera and Ted Leonsis . Yet, with David Stern not wanting to leave a maelstrom for his successor , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver to deal with , it would appear that the NBA Commissioner will seek to calm those voices of dissent, by simply stating , that there is nothing for these owners to worry about. Where have we all heard that before , and then a calamitous event occurs ?

Though voted up upon by the NBA Board of Governors and approved, the league hierarchy’s wish to increase the rate upon which the luxury tax is based , which will rise from $1-00 for every dollar over the mandated soft cap of approximately $58 million to $1-50 for every dollar over the aforementioned figure . One can well understand the outrage of any team owner, who has a payroll in excess seventy-five or one hundred million dollars and the financial forfeiture that will have to be made to satisfy the league (NBA). Yet these are the very same owners who have allowed their general managers to spend so capriciously on players’ salaries and team payrolls. Not unlike the federal government and its idea of sound financial and fiscal restraint .

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Picture gallery .

What do you now believe to be the biggest myth or hindrance to the sporting landscape today , be it from a financial standpoint or otherwise ? Also what positives do you now believe there to be within sports ? Leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support !

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

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(1) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos meet after the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 39-33 . Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …..

(2) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball during the game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …

(3) Quarterback Alex Smith (11) of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball into the end-zone for a touchdown during the 1st half of the game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squires ….

(4) Wide receiver Eric Page (17) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fumbles a punt return against the Carolina Panthers October 24, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Carolina recovered and won 31 – 13 . Getty Images / Al Messerschmidt ……

(5) Quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) of the Florida Gators is hit by defensive lineman Kony Ealy (47) of the Missouri Tigers during the game at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Columbia, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squires …..

(6) St Louis Cardinals’ pitcher Michael Wacha delivers a pitch during the first inning of game two of the World Series played at Fenway Park , in Boston Massachusetts ,. . St Louis would defeat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 to even the series at one game apiece (1-1) in the best of seven-game series . The series resumes on Saturday evening with game three scheduled at Busch Ball Park in St Louis , Missouri . AP Photo / Matt Slocum …..

(7) Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox breaks his bat hitting a single during game two of the World Series played on Thursday , 24th October , 2013 at Fenway Park against the St Louis Cardinals . Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is well placed to see the incident . AP Photo ? Charlie Riedel ……

(8) Health & Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius is seen here with President Barack Obama at the White House in the Rose Garden , as the Commander-in-Chief addresses the convened press on his healthcare initiative . Sebelius’ department and the secretary , herself, have come in for mounted criticism for the handling of the technical issues concerning the website that provides all of the pertinent information concerning the Affordable Healthcare Act . The issue has been an ongoing problem for several weeks, with patrons of the site not being able access pages beyond the initial homepage . The website is actually administered by an outside government contractor . . A Congressional committee has been empaneled and convened, with both Sebelius and high-ranking personnel within the Health & Human Services’ Department summoned to attend an inquiry to answer questions concerning the still ongoing issues . Also in attendance, will be several executives from CGI Federal Inc . Reuters/ Craig Thompson …..

(9) Derrick Rose , left and Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls are looking place a serious dent in the Miami Heat’s attempt of making a successful defense of the NBA title . The Heat won the title previously in 2006 and then again 2012 and 2013 . The Florida based franchise are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive titles since the Los Angeles Lakers were able to achieve the feat in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Chicago Sun Times/ AP Photo / Mark Richardson ….

(10) From left to right , Mario Chalmers (15) , Lebron James , Chris Bosh , Greg Oden (52) and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat. Oden is the newest member of the franchise and will be seeking to add his presence to what is an experienced roster. Injuries have restricted Oden’s career in the NBA but during the off-season he was signed by the Miami based organization and has began to contribute to the team’s preseason production . Head coach Erik Spoelstra no doubt hopes that the player will be able to replicate that form during the regular season . Miami Herald / AP Photo / Paul Sharpe …..

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tophatal ……………………… 10/24/2013

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Public Enemy ” Don’t believe the hype “

No it’s not a punch drunk diatribe ……… it’s real boxing , is dead on its feet .. no last man or standing count

No it’s not a punch drunk diatribe ……… it’s real, boxing is dead on its feet .. no last man or standing count

It has becoming increasingly embarrassing to look at the world of boxing and take that sport, either legitimately or seriously . The talent level, I believe has dropped to an all-time low ! Granted , we are asked to look at the ring exploits of Floyd Mayweather (45-0, 26 KO’a) with a great deal of praise as he seeks to make his reign with the sport even more impactful than it already is . To my mind , Mayweather’s statistics, have simply been padded out over the past seven years ,with the welterweight champion having not fought anyone of note . The fact that he is now being paid a king’s ransom for many of these bouts is an affront to fans of the sport, but more so, I believe, it continues to show the gullibility of the fans and the fractious nature of a sport governed by so many international bodies , with each having their own champions in the various weight ; categories . Add in the fact that promoters such as Bob Arum ( Top Rank Inc) , Don King ( Don King Promotions ) , Oscar de La Hoya ( Golden Boy Promotions ) , Shelly Finkel , Lou Duva and Dan Goosen have simply made a mockery of boxing’s landscape along with corrupt practices of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the lack of real accountability within the state ran agency .

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Consider the following , it has been almost a decade since the sport of boxing had an undisputed heavyweight champion. The title holder at the time, was Lennox Lewis of the United Kingdom. Lewis was a boxer of limited ability , but with a more than adept defense , in terms of his boxing skills , but he was simply not a fighter who drew you to the edge of your seat once he was in the ring , let alone provide you with great deal of excitement or entertainment level . His career record bore this out , in spite of becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world . Boxing longs , and yearns for the days when Mike Tyson ruled the heavyweight division with such animus and venom . Unfortunately, the division is simply devoid a dearth of talent and the title holders , a pair of Ukrainian siblings , in Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko , have no wish to unify the titles and grant the fans the wish of seeing an undisputed champion. To show how dire the situation now appears to be, the top ten rankings as ratified by the WBA and WBC , two of the more recognized international bodied that govern the sport , the list of American fighters ranked are barely known in the country much less from a global standpoint . Such are , the dire state of affairs in the sport , where US born fighters , once actually littered the rankings with recognized names . Now you would be hard pressed to ask a fan if they could recognize Chris Arreola , Deontay Wilder , Bryant Jennings and the other no-named aspiring list of contenders for what was once the most prized possession in sports, and that was to be known as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world .

If you thought things could not get much worse in a sport, where there no longer seems to a dearth of young and upcoming talent . Consider, the fact, that aging veterans such as Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins are still lured back into the ring , simply to bask in past glories. Both fighters are both past their prime , albeit , that Hopkins is currently the current IBF light heavyweight champion , a title that he will be defending against the lightly regarded Karo Murat , though ranked the number two contender by the IBF for the crown . That fight is scheduled to take place on Saturday , 26th October , 2013 at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey . This will be Hopkins’ first defense of the title won under a controversial decision when he defeated Tavoris Cloud . To say that the sport is not without its ongoing controversies and problems could be best summed up in stating , ‘that boxing’s governing bodies and the various states’ athletic commissions , still show a great deal of incompetence at all levels , from the officiating to the referees actually presiding over a number of these title fights . In the case of Shane Mosley , whose yearning for one more title shot seems about as compulsive , as one might believe, that the fighter would be still be considered at the age of forty-two , a serious contender to challenge either Floyd Mayweather or Timothy Bradley . Yet with his proposed fight against Australian , Anthony Mundine being postponed, due to a contract dispute between the fighter and Mundine’s promoter , in a schedule bout that was due to take place in Sydney, Australia . It begs the question, why else would Mosley now risk life and limb, in a bout where it is unlikely that the winner would likely prove to be cannon fodder in a proposed title bout against any of the claimants in the light middleweight division .

As financially rewarding as the sport has become for Floyd Mayweather with the world champion having now surpassed over $300 million in career earnings , a figure unheard of with regard to the sport, with only Mike Tyson , and Oscar de La Hoya having exceeded the $200 million career earnings’ mark in their professional ring careers. Mayweather for his part, in conjunction with Leonard Ellerbee , his business partner as well his chief legal counsel, have invested the fighter’s earnings into several lucrative fields , with Floyd Mayweather now owning large tracks of real estate in the greater Las Vegas area , alongside a lucrative collection of classic automobiles, as well as his own fight promotion’s company . With the fighter also midway through his six fight $200 million deal . with Showtime PPV , whose parent company Viacom , are looking to re-sign the champion to perhaps an additional two or three fight deal,. that could net him as much as $150 to $200 million . One has to wonder what will happen , when the announcement is made by Floyd Mayweather that he intends to retire ? It is solely my belief , that if he is able to run his career record to 50-0 , he will walk away from the sport knowing that he will go undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest fighters ever to grace a boxing ring , in the annals of pugilism history . Should he be anointed as the greatest of all-time ? Well, that is rather subjective rather than being objective, but the boxing historians are likely to try and make a case either way.

With no real challenger on the horizon, Floyd Mayweather simply cherry-picks his opponents, while seeking to obtain the highest financial rewards possible . In his last bout, against the then unbeaten Saul Alvarez , which turned out to be an erroneous mismatch . Yet somehow, an official sanctioned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission came up with a scorecard that suggested that the ’bout’ was a draw . These are the repeated types incompetency shown within the sport at the highest levels which brings into disrepute , boxing , the collective misdeeds of the promoters , the governing bodies and the state commissions, themselves . With their being no intent by the states, to have some uniform code applicable to the sport , there remains no cohesive mandate of how boxing governed in the United States . In the aftermath of Mayweather versus Alvarez fiasco , the lone dissenter amongst the group of boxing adjudicators Cynthia “C J “ Ross , took an indefinite leave of absence, notifying Executive Director Keith Kizer of her decision . It should be noted however, that Kizer stood by Ross’ decision and scorecard from the bout , calling her a person of impeccable character and above reproach . With the comedic derision and echoes of criticism that followed Keith Kizer’s statement, it is a wonder how the sport of boxing remains relevant within the state of Nevada , let alone Las Vegas.

The fight that everyone yearned for , but it all came to no avail, would have been the match-up of arguably the two best boxers of the last decade , in the welterweight division . A contest between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines . Yet the constant bickering between the two opposing camps, the constant mistrust and allegations of outrageous demands , meant that a proposed bout would never get off the ground in spite of the undoubted promotional acumen of Bob Arum , the promoter of Pacquiao and the always publicity seeking forte of Mayweather . With the Filipino fighter , having lost two of his last five bouts , his career on the decline, a proposed match-up of the two fighters , though lucrative in some circles, would not necessarily bring about the rewards sought by the promoters and for either Mayweather or Pacquiao .

Another troubling aspect, that remains within boxing , is the simple reluctance with the various title holders , in seeking the unification of the titles at the various weight categories . At present , there is not one unified champion , in any of the categories , in what is now turning out to be a drab and an almost unprecedented era in the sport’s history . Yet, with the decline of the sport, figurehead promoters such as Bob Arum and Don King remain eternal optimists, while pointing to what they say are fast rising stars within boxing . I am sorry , but despite the skills of Andre Ward , Sergio Martinez , Gennady Golovkin , Adrien Broner and Adonis Stevenson , no one is likely to feel that these fighters are likely to set the sport abuzz , with each lacking the charisma to lure fans back to the sport in droves .

While Las Vegas has now become the Mecca for the sport of boxing , with the most lucrative fights taking place in the gaming capital of the world . It is easy to understand why boxing has become a billion dollar economic impact for the city on annual basis . It is has become a rarity for either Vitali Klitschko or Wladimir Klitschko to fight in North America , where their popularity can be best summed up, as being marginal. Beyond the presence Floyd Mayweather and the now declining skill-set of Manny Pacquiao , boxing will face a hard time ringing in a new era of superstars within its sport . Mayweather and his promotion’s company Mayweather Promotions Inc do seem to be nurturing a budding stable of stars , but they are a long way off from gaining the notoriety or becoming the marquee names , sought to make them a lucrative draw in the boxing capital of the world .

With boxing’s marked decline and the rapid rise of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) under the banner of UFC . Simply another reason why the sport of boxing either has to do something radical to bring itself back into the mainstream or become on the brink being extinct . It is my belie, f that the sport is now considerably closer to the latter than most would care to admit and that includes notable boxing historians , journalists who cover boxing along with the president of the WBA Gilberto Mendoza , WBC President Jose Sulaiman , IBF President Daryl J Peoples , and WBO President Francisco Varcarcel . All of whom are somewhat distrustful of the other competitive organizations governing the sport and their alleged altruism and intent. From my own perspective , with that much dissent within the masses , nothing good can be gained , when all of the parties concerned, have their own self interests at hand, rather than seeking to sort out their difference and then work towards the betterment of the sport and a common goal !

The state of Nevada and California have been quick to recognize the rapid growth of MMA , with UFC President Dana White leading the charge for the combative genre/sport to gain national and worldwide recognition . With their being now twenty-four state sanctioned commissions now validating the sport and a code of conduct in place alongside what in many circles is deemed to be one of the toughest medical and drug testing policies in all of professional sports . It does lead to the question , as how far behind does the sport of boxing remain in that particular category ? When fighters such as Evander Holyfield , Roy Jones Jr and Miguel Cotto are allowed to circumvent one state’s rules and then be sanctioned to fight, after having proven to have suffered a major concussion . In all fairness , it does seem that boxing and the pretext set , that it cares about the fighters, must be seen as a charade .

White along with Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III have come in with the mindset of giving the fans what they want by way of their brand and product . Competitive bouts, regular title fights , and with fighters , who are of an accomplished skill-set to go alongside a personality . That type of “selling point” , obviously beats out the “ scripted idiocy” of the WWE and the current lackluster scene within the state boxing . Fighters within the UFC have made themselves accessible to the fans and events scheduled by the UFC as a precursor to major title bout brings out legions of fans seeking a chance to many of the top stars on show , as well as the protagonists for the scheduled fights in question . With many of the UFC’s titleholders now becoming significantly more well-known , not just by way the television broadcasts but with the sport now gaining a much wide acceptance within the print media. Clearly , Dana White and his co-founding partners of the UFC have given the consumers and fans alike , something that they deem to be a viable brand and product . Can the same be said for the current state of boxing and the exorbitant prices fans are being asked to pay for a pay-per-view (PPV) event ?

If the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather is seen as the “current face “ of boxing , then in the world of MMA , with the rapid ascent the UFC’s light heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones , that division as well as the genre could be well served for years to come if the charismatic and unbeaten Jones simply delivers what he has been doing since his entrance into the sport a little more than five years ago. . Jones has become increasingly popular, not just within the sport but his new-found celebrity status has now brought him not only fame and fortune, but also opportunities outside the sport, by way of contract endorsements. The light heavyweight champion has become the first MMA fighter to be actually signed to an endorsement deal with sports’ apparel giant Nike Inc . Add in the fact , that Jon Jones’ agent Malki Kawa was also able to land him an endorsement deal with Gatorade and it is clear that beyond the ring earnings for a fighter within the sport there are now untold riches to be attained outside the octagon. One of MMA’s greatest fighters Randy Couture , a former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion has now progressed from the sport , to now a supporting cast member of the now popular Sylvester Stallone driven action series’ franchise , ‘ The Expendables’ , of which the two movies have now grossed over $575 million worldwide . With Couture back on board, for the third movie, now being shot on location, there is no telling whether or not this might also be something that is likely to pique Jones’ interest at some point in the future , with his delving into Hollywood. Certainly, with the heightened popularity of female MMA fighter Ronda Rousey and her having joined the cast for the third installment of the action series . It begs the question, do UFC fighters make better actors, than their boxing counterparts ? No one ever claimed that either Muhammad Ali or the late Ken Norton , were thespians of a proven quality , but their presence in front of a camera even in an acting portrayal , were considerably less memorable than their careers in the ring .

With no projected bout on the horizon for Jon Jones but with a legitimate batch of contenders all seeking to take the crown away from the champion . It will be left in the hands of UFC President Dana White to make the announcement, as to who Jones’ next challenger is likely to be . For Jon Jones, much as it now has been for Georges St Pierre , Jose Aldo , Anthony Pettis and Cain Velazquez , the sport of MMA has become their stomping ground to gain worldwide fame and access to a new burgeoning legion of enthusiasts for the genre. Boxing has never effectively marketed their fighters or the sport, in such a way. So much so , that beyond the marked decline in its popularity , other than Floyd Mayweather there is simply no fighter that one could point and make the valid claim that he would be a worthy successor , once the current pound-for-pound “King of the Ring” hangs up his gloves permanently .

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Boxing fan or not , what do you believe to be the greatest impediment to the sport over the past decade ? Has it been the rapid rise of Mixed Martial Arts or the continued misdeeds by those who govern the sport or has it been the unwillingness of the title-holders to unify their divisions ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the topic as a whole. Thanks, as always, for the continued support of this site as it has always been greatly appreciated , whether or not you are in agreement with the content matter .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Saul Alvarez , left , is seen here taking some extreme punishment from welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr during their title in September held at MGM Grand Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas Nevada . Mayweather would successfully defended his title , winning with a majority decision , but not without controversy after it was revealed that ring judge Cynthia ” CJ ” Ross declared the bout a draw , scoring her card 114 points apiece for each fighter after the twelve round title fight . Ross has since taken a prolonged leave of absence as a licensed boxing judge with the Nevada State Athletic Commission . AP Photo / Mark Ross ……

(2) Mayweather , left , is once again seen getting the better of his opponent Saul Alvarez during their welterweight title fight . Floyd Mayweather has now pushed his record to 45-0 (26 KO’s) and is looking to reach that fifty fight win streak before perhaps calling it a day in the world of boxing . Having multiple titles in multiple weight classes , the future seems somewhat bleak in terms of a quality opponent being found for the title holder in terms of his fight . With his seeming reluctance to move up into the middleweight division and perhaps meet Sergio Martinez , we are likely to see Mayweather simply cherry pick his opponents as he meets his contractual obligations with Showtime PPV . Getty Images / Brian Ettinger …..

(3) Lennox Lewis is seen here defeating Mike Tyson in their WBC / IBO heavyweight title fight in June , 2002 , staged at The Pyramid in Memphis , Tennessee . Lewis won the fight with an eighth round stoppage of the challenger , with a knockout . The British boxer was the last undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. It has been over a decade since we have a claimant of that undisputed crown within the heavyweight division . Daily Mirror UK / Evan Grant ….

(4) CEO of Mayweather Promotions Leonard Ellerbe (L) talks with boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. during the final news conference for Mayweather’s bout against Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino April 28, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather and Mosley will meet in a 12-round welterweight bout on May 1, 2010 in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller / Getty Images North America …..

(5) Owners, from left, Frank Fertitta, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta have come a long way since Zuffa was founded in 2001. Zuffa LLC is the holding and parent company of UFC and its associated affiliates . With in excess of $1.6 billion in annual revenues , the company has made all three men extremely wealthy individuals, with the UFC brand, now reaching globally, with offices in London , , Montreal , Rio de Janeiro , Sydney, and Beijing , China. AP Photo / Eric Jamison ….

(6) Challenger Chael Sonnen ,left, is met with an elbow from UFC light heavyweight title holder Jon ‘Bones’ Jones in their bout at UFC 159 staged at the Prudential Center in Newark , New Jersey on April 27th 2013. MMA Junkie / …..

(7) A skilled grappler and wrestler , Jon Jones has now become the quintessential fighter and the pound-for-pound top ranked practitioner in the UFC , holding a 19-1 record . Jones also holds the record for the number of title defenses made as the light heavyweight champion , with five successful defenses. Heath Evans / AP Photo ……

(8) Miesha Tate , left , is seen here at the cursory pre-fight picture junket and publicity exhibition , where Tate will challenge the unbeaten women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey for her title at UFC 168 , which will be staged the MGM Grand Garden Casino & Hotel Complex in Las Vegas on December 23rd , 2013 . Rousey has become one of the most recognizable faces in the world of women’s MMA as well as within the UFC as whole , which has allowed her to parlay that notoriety into some acting roles , notably in Fast & Furious VII as well as ‘The Expendables III ‘ . Top Fighter Inc ….

(9) With the male demographic making up more than 85% of the fan-base of MMA , there is no denying that at every opportunity the UFC will choose to use the sexual allure of their female fighters . Ronda Rousey has no qualms and is seen here as part of a very extended Maxim pictorial photo shoot . Courtesy of Maxim Magazine .

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A sprinkling of pixie dust might just do the trick …..

A sprinkling of pixie dust might just do the trick …..

Just when I thought it was safe to dip my toe back in the water and have an enjoyable weekend by way of the sporting events that piqued my interest . Well, wouldn’t you know it, the whole world gets turned upside down . The New England Patriots after an exhilarating victory over the New Orleans Saints in week six , somehow find a way to make that result seem completely irrelevant by then giving one of their most inept performances of the season in a 30-27 loss to their divisional rivals the New York Jets . Far be it for me to suggest that the AFC East is now becoming as malignant a cancer as the NFC East in terms of the play of the teams to be witnessed there also . Yet in reality , this NFL season , I believe has now come down to some truly bad coaching and even worse an abundance of bad performances from players thought to be leaders.

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If postseason interviews, are a clear indication as to the mindset of a team and the coaching staff, in particular . Then a Bill Belichick interview, will either have you befuddled or simply irate in seeking an explanation as to the reasons why the team’s performance was so inadequate , and lacking passion . As a fan of the Patriots, I have always felt the head coach to be condescending , if not self-absorbed, as to his own importance. While I do not question his achievements as a coach , I do believe that he lacks humility and at times a great deal of etiquette in dealing with the press and public alike . Sunday, was simply another aspect of what makes up the psyche of Bill Belichick and how he conducts himself with the national media in a post-game interview .

Tom Brady for his part, had one of his less memorable games of the season , but in light of that, the Patriots’ defense remains a work in progress that at times can just as shaky as they can be impressive in a momentary instance . . The loss drops the New England to 5-2 within the AFC East, while sill leading the division over their nearest rivals the New York Jets (4-3) , followed by the Miami Dolphins (3-3) and the Buffalo Bills (3-4) . New England’s next game will be another divisional match-up in week eight where they will play host to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts , on Sunday, 27th October, 2013 . A second successive defeat and it will not matter , how the fans or press alike felt about the return of Rob Gronkowski in week seven , but more to do with the apparent direction that the team is said to heading in at this juncture .

The return of Peyton Manning to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Indiana , home to the Indianapolis Colts and where the revered quarterback had many of his greatest regular season successes . On Sunday , it became the site of where the player and his new team the Denver Broncos would see their unbeaten run to start the season come to an abrupt end . Manning and his successor Andrew Luck , are two players who have met many of the expectations analysts and fans alike expected of these two stars. If there are now any doubters, who believed that the Colts erred in drafting Luck in 2011 , well it now looks as if those doubts have been firmly cast aside . Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano , and his coaching staff , have blended a very young team at its core with some veteran leadership provided in the guise of wide receiver Reggie Wayne . The fact that the Indianapolis Colts now handily lead the AFC South should not come as a surprise in spite of the missteps made of the Houston Texans , a team to my mind that is very good during the regular season , but who tend to fall flat once the postseason comes into view.

A warm welcome was given to Peyton Manning as a “ returning prodigal son ” , but that was about the only act of generosity that was availed to the player on the day , as the Denver Broncos fell the Colts 39-33 , in one of the more exciting games to take place during week seven of the NFL schedule . Manning and Luck combined for over six hundred yards of passing offense , with a another one hundred and eighty-five yards of rushing offense from the two teams combined. . With that Broncos’ defeat , the NFL is now left with one unbeaten team , with the surprising Kansas City Chiefs (7-0) , who handily took care of the Houston Texans , albeit , that the result does not seem reflective of that fact. As to that this now might do for the psyche of Andy Reid’s players and the confidence that this victory has now emboldened the team . I can only surmise, that they will be looking to push that mark to 8-0 when they play host to the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri during week eight , the halfway point of the NFL season .

Hapless performances , with hapless teams , usually lead to coaching dismissals and the jettisoning of players at the end of a season . I think that at this juncture it is pretty much safe to suggest that Greg Schiano and several of the players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ roster are witnessing their season simply spiral further out of control . Schiano lacks discipline , which is simply reflective in the repeatedly abhorrent performances put up this season by the Buccaneers’ defense , never mind the woefully inept of play of the offensive altogether . Many of the patrons of this site , who I know to be ardent fans of this team , simply cannot point to one player , who they believe to be leader , much less the best player on the entire roster . As with everything else, that seems to encapsulate the professional sports’ franchises in the Tampa Bay area , theirs(fans) are lives, based on sheer optimism more than anything else . This season for the Buccaneers, has simply borne that fact out , as they once again succumbed to their sixth successive defeat of the season and pushing their record to 0-6 , leaving them firmly rooted at the bottom of the NFC South , and joining the New York Giants (0-6) as the worst team in the NFC this season.

The fact this latest loss (31-23) by the Buccaneers came at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons , a team with issues on both sides of the ball this season, beyond the injuries sustained. At several points during the contest , Schiano’s players had this game for the taking , but simply could not come up with anything of relevance, in terms of their play. Is that meant to be a damning indictment of Greg Schiano , his coaching staff and of the team in particular ? I will let you be the judge of that and simply ask you to reflect upon the team’s record at this point of the season and where they stood at the exact same point in 2012 . Tampa will not have that much time to regain its focus or composure , as this upcoming Thursday , they face divisional counterparts , the Carolina Panthers , who this season , look as if they are a team playing with a great deal more confidence , with signs of maturity also being shown by the team’s quarterback Cam Newton . Can Tampa overcome the Panthers, to obtain their first win of the season ? The more poignant question to ask, perhaps might be, is this team is simply good enough to break their current drought and play with a great deal more consistency ?

Well, we now know who the World Series’ aspirants will be in 2013 , with the St Louis Cardinals as the NL pennant winners , facing off against the Boston Red Sox in baseball’s showcase finale . Each team will be seeking to add their third World Series’ title in the last decade. An astonishing feat, but nonetheless not surprising, given the pedigrees of the franchises in question . Both managers, Mike Matheny of the Cardinals and John Farrell of the Red Sox , also will seeking their first managerial titles in this contest, and this series could give the fans of baseball the match-up they desire above all else . West Cost bias asides, the fact that the Cardinals made light work of the Los Angeles Dodgers , a team that was being touted as the outright favorites to win it all , was either a sign of disrespect to the other participants this postseason , or it simply came down to aura of the franchise as a whole and its legacy . Never mind the fact , that with a burgeoning $215 million payroll , this team had a great to prove , but it simply was not to be , as they succumbed to St Louis in a rather lopsided series’ defeat (4-2) .

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox is proving to be a man of all seasons , during the regular and postseason play for this baseball franchise . When one considers the great players to have donned the uniform of this ball club over the years , he could very well become one of its most beloved . I certainly believe, that he is one the players to have played for the team over the past ten years . Given his productivity during that time , is there any reason to believe otherwise ? Ortiz was not the only factor , add in Shane Victorino’s heroics in the Red Sox’s dominating display in the ALCS , but he surely was one of the primary reasons why the team overcame the Detroit Tigers and put that series beyond a doubt .

Game one of the best of seven-game series begins on Wednesday at Fenway Park , in Boston Massachusetts , as the series gets underway . With the starting lineups yet to be announced , it will be interesting to see which pitchers will be on the mound to get things rolling in this contest , between these two fabled teams. . If things are projected as I believe they will be, Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright is likely to face off against Clay Buchholz in the opening series’ starter .

When NBA player Jason Collins revealed to the world in a Sports Illustrated article that he was in fact a homosexual athlete in the very machismo and male driven world of the NBA . His public announcement was heartily welcomed from players and executives alike, as he became the first openly gay male athlete to declare his sexuality (preference) in one of the four major team sports . Yet having made that public declaration , the still unsigned free agent center remains in no man’s land , admired because his openness and honesty, but somehow now disavowed by the league and its ongoing hypocrisy. It seemed not so long ago that Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson was being greatly admired for his making the public aware of the fact that he was HIV positive though yet to show full-blown symptoms of the AIDS’ virus . Granted , through his philanthropic foundation has raised tens of millions of dollars for AIDS’ research and education , it should still not hide the fact that both Collins and Johnson o were at first treated as pariahs , in this all male dominated fraternity . Yet in reality , it is unlikely that Collins is the only male player in the NBA that is likely to be homosexual , and it would appear that were there another instance , it is highly unlikely, that player would feel comfortable enough reveal himself to the public. For for all of this homogenized idiocy, that everyone is treated equally , what we now see , is a very clear evidence that the NBA wants to remain a bastion of testosterone driven athleticism , while creating a facade , that all are welcomed within its fraternity of players . It should be noted that after the public announcement , none other than former Utah Jazz and Los Angeles’ Lakers ‘ player Karl Malone showed his intense bigotry and ignorance , in publicly stating that he would not play on a court where Magic Johnson was on the opposing team .

Does anyone truly believe that Jason Collins poses a real threat to the existence of an NBA franchise in terms of the public’s view of the player and their view of that team , itself ? I mean what does it say about us as a society , where bigotry can still rear its ugly head in sports, even when the created perception within society is that there is equality and justice for all ? Furthermore , if players such as Darko Milic , Greg Oden , Hasheem Thabeet and Nazr Mohammed can still find themselves on an NBA roster , with the numbers derived in 2012 , then surely there is something wrong with the game or the NBA is showing its true colors .

It would be correct to suggest that at this stage of his career, Collins would be viewed as a journeyman within the league , and one could attest to the fact that numbers last season were far from stellar . Yet , it should be noted that on a bad …. Washington Wizards’ team anything type of stat put up last season would have to be comically viewed as a positive on an organization that simply seems to devoid of managerial as well coaching acumen .

As to why teams may seem, reluctant to sign Jason Collins , to any type, of an offer-sheet , be it a ten-day contract or a deal for the veterans’ minimum , remains a question that has yet to be answered by coaches , front office executives , team owners , players and the . union alike . No one wants to upset the apple cart , but yet it would appear , that the bigotry and ignorance prevails , albeit , that is being conducted somewhat under-handedly , without any apparent reason being given by the powers that be. David Stern and the league hierarchy but their actions have tended to reflect something totally different , but for all of the pretext , the only issue that has ever mattered to the NBA , is that it remains a league driven by profits , rather than at times seeking to ingratiate itself in dealing with a number of socially relevant issues .

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There are stories aplenty around the sports’ world at present , many of them heartwarming , while others are simply filled with a great deal of venal garbage , much of it that the media , in one way or another , will seek to skewer and spin to meet whatever need , they feel best meets the consumers’ appetite . I don’t sprinkle any pixie dust on the articles or news that may well pique my interest . I simply offer up a few pointers and then let you be the judge of the content . Take it or leave it , I am still OK with that , and I won’t whine on like an infant , whose pacifier has been taken away , because of an opposing view . So chime on in with your thoughts and views on anything else you feel may well be pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details’ gallery below .

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(1) Bill Belichick , left , shakes the hand of his opposing number Rex Ryan of the New York Jets after the Patriots’ 30-27 overtime loss to their AFC East divisional rivals . The Patriots’ head coach took responsibility for the team’s loss but failed to point the several coaching errors made by himself and the coaching staff during the closing minutes of the game during regulation . AP Photo / Seth Wenig ……

(2) New York Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith (7) celebrates with teammates Willie Colon (66) and Nick Mangold (74) after scoring a rushing touchdown in his team’s 30-27 overtime victory over the New England Patriots at Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey on Sunday afternoon . AP Photo Seth Wenig ….

(3) Brandon Bolden (38) of the New England Patriots struggles for yardage between DeMario Davis and Quinton Coples (98) of the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on October 20, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images North America / Jeff Zelevansky ….

(4) Harry Douglas (83) of the Atlanta Falcons pulls in this touchdown reception against Johnathan Banks (27) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on October 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox ……

(5) David Ortiz (34) and manager John Farrell (53) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Detroit Tigers in Game Six of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 19, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Tigers 5-2 to clinch the ALCS in six games . Getty Images / Al Bello ….

(6) Adam Wainwright (50) of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the 2013 National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 14, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Stephen Dunne …

(7) NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA player and Courage Award recipient , Jason Collins , center and GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard . GLSEN’s Respect Awards in Manhattan. Collins since his announcement earlier this year has spent a great deal of time speaking at public engagements , college campuses , middle and high schools nationwide by invitation to address individuals who face difficulties in declaring their sexuality . Photo Credit: Mariela Lombard for GLSEN. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …..

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The road less traveled , often too bumpy with an ox and cart …….

The road less traveled , often too bumpy with an ox and cart …….

The MLB postseason is now at its penultimate stage, before it enters the final phase with the World Series . With four teams vying for the two remaining berths available for the game’s biggest showcase . In the ALCS , we have the Boston Red Sox matched up against the Detroit Tigers , with the winner looking to be the AL representative . In the NLCS , in what is now turning out to be somewhat of a thrilling contest with the Los Angeles Dodgers and their $215 million payroll , as they now find themselves on the brink of elimination in their series against the St Louis Cardinals .

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Now while fans would obviously suggest that the Dodgers’ season was a successful one , in the aftermath of what appears to be an inspired move by Don Mattingly with the introduction of Yasiel Puig into the Dodgers’ lineup . It has to be said that, that in this series , in spite of Puig’s presence , the team simply has not fared as well , as many had expected . Down 3-2 against a Cardinals’ team , who in game five came up with an inept performance . It has to be said, that with the two final games of the series returning to Busch Stadium in St Louis Missouri, it is difficult to envisage how the Dodgers will seek to erase this deficit and then take this contest outright.

If the Los Angeles Dodgers were to fail at this juncture, I cannot help but wonder how the front office will view the season overall in the advent of such a series’ defeat. Clearly, for the owners, specifically lead partners , Magic Johnson , Mark Walter , Todd Boehly and Peter Guber , a number of decisions are likely to be made in conjunction with team President Stan Kasten and GM Ned Colletti , concerning the current makeup of this team .

Jim Leyland and the Detroit Tigers are proving to be a very resilient team throughout this postseason . The team’s pitching and offense has remained consistent, with Jhonny Peralta , Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez leading the way for the ball-club. The Tigers are on a mission this postseason , seeking redemption after their dismal display in the 2012 World Series against the San Francisco Giants , where the exploits of slugger Pablo Sandoval were made to look all the more astonishing against what was meant to be an outstanding pitching lineup. Not to be outdone by this all, John Farrell and the Boston Red Sox showed the baseball world why this team why the won the AL East with a great deal of ease , while the fans of the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles were bemoaning their problems . To put it politely , the Orioles relied primarily on a player whose exploits this season will come under a great deal of suspicion in the coming years . Chris Davis hit fifty home runs in a season for the first time in his career and here, we had idiots lauding the feat , especially in light of the numerous suspensions rendered by baseball’s hierarchy in 2013 . Beyond that, there was not much more about Baltimore’s season to admire beyond Davis’ exploits and that of Manny Machado . For the Tampa Bay Rays , it was simply the optimism of their fans and their short run in the postseason , as the team simply was not good enough , once they made it into the divisional round of the postseason .

This series between the Red Sox and Tigers , has become an all-out assault on the fans’ senses , in terms of the productivity shown by the two teams in this ALCS contest . And with Detroit, now squared at two games apiece (2-2) , it will now become a test of will between the both teams and which shows the desire to take the “spoils of war ” .

Away from the postseason , beyond the ongoing idiocy of New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez seeking to sue just about anyone , whom he feels , may well have slighted him and impugned his reputation. It appears that saga will be ongoing for the foreseeable future .

The list of eligible candidates in 2014 for Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame , now seems endless . We have repeat aspirants, many of whom are being nominated for the process, for at least the fourteenth time . As to what this might suggest about the BBWAA and their issues over the careers of Jack Morris , Don Mattingly , Alan Trammell and Lee Smith , I believe has more to do with the lack of credibility amongst the adjudicators of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) !. These are the very same individuals who cover the sport and who simply turned a blind eye to the steroid era , yet now we are to believe , that they bring with them, the utmost integrity, in terms of their judgment and who ought to be eligible for the game’s highest honor, outside of winning a league MVP award or a World Series’ ring ?

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I have always felt that the game of baseball has been replete with utter incompetence and stupidity on so many levels , that you can no longer take the sport seriously on its merits ! Purists might try and suggest the contrary , but simply look at the two decade long tenure of Bud Selig , and then try to make a case where he has added to the integrity of the game ? The clock is ticking folks , have at it, and come hard or come soft , but at least try to come up with something relevant if you can, and then we can perhaps have something of a debate on the facts, as we know them to be.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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(1) Yasiel Puig (66) of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides back safely into first base in the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Harry How ….

(2) (L-R) Mark Ellis (14) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate scoring a run in the fourth inning with Andre Ethier (16) against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 14, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How / Getty Images …

(3) Miguel Cabrera (24) of the Detroit Tigers hits a single in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 16, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez …..

(4) The Detroit Tigers Jack Morris pitches in the 1984 World Series Game 4 vs. San Diego Padres at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, MI . Morris will induction into Baseball’s Hall of Fame , on his fourteenth attempt since becoming eligible . 10/84 Credit: John Iacono ….

(5) Lee Smith seen here meets with members of the press in Midland Texas at a public function to honor the former baseball big league player . Cindeka Nealy / copyrighted material @ all rights reserved ….

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It’s not always the journey , but the first step taken on the road to that destination

It’s not always the journey , but the first step taken on the road to that destination

Six weeks into the NFL season and what we have all witnessed within the league , just happens to be an abundance of bad coaching , with some inexplicable explanations being offered up by the players and coaches alike for their continued mediocrity. Far be it for me to suggest, but I have never impressed by claims that there is said to be parity in the league (NFL) . It is my belief , that there are good teams, moderately good coaches , but an abundance of talent , where in large part , a number of these players are overpaid and not particularly skilled or adept, much less be able to show signs of leadership . Unfortunately, a large part of the fan-base that tend to follow the sports’ scene, they would to rather discuss rather the more mundane topics in the world of sports rather than succinctly debate a topic of discussion .

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A recent visitor to my site made a comment that he could not have foreseen the impact made, where the Kansas City Chiefs would have started off the season at 6-0 , remain unbeaten and would now be challenging the Denver Broncos as the best team in the NFL. From my own perspective , I believe that the groundwork had already been laid , but the only things needed, were the right coaching staff , a good enough quarterback to helm the team , along with a front office , where the executives and coaches were all on the same page . Last season , none of the aforementioned criteria were in place , with Romeo Crennel as the head coach , along with his coaching staff and Matt Cassel as the team’s quarterback . The one saving grace for the franchise, might well have been , general manager John Dorsey , having replaced Scott Piolio , has seen fit to draft players who have been able to contribute immediately to the team , while acquiring players who were ready to play .

After the Chiefs’ clinical annihilation of the Oakland Raiders , the first of their two , now highly anticipated divisional match-ups against the Denver Broncos, are the games in question that the fans and the nation now awaits , with a great deal of excitement over the contests of note. Kansas will play host to the now troubled Houston Texans in week seven at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri, a chance to push their record to 7-0 and giving the team their best start in franchise history, now seems all the more possible, given the frailties of the Texans at present on both sides of the ball. It must be said that for a number of teams, they are now simply playing for self-respect or in a number of cases, the livelihood of the respective head coaches in question. The more things are now beginning to unravel for the Oakland Raiders , it is my belief that Dennis Allen’s days with the once venerable are numbered, with GM Reggie McKenzie now seeking to make the head coach , the sixth incumbent to be fired from his position with the organization since 2005 .

College Football heads into its eighth week with the Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0) still riding high atop of the AP Poll , with the BCS rankings due to be announced later this month. Yet for some inexplicable reason , a number of analysts and outside observers or one might describe as antagonists, are now trying to suggest that Nick Saban’s team not deserving of being the top ranked team in the nation. Last I looked , Alabama remained unbeaten , albeit , that they have had a few scares along their schedule . In light of that however, their closest rivals in the rankings, the Oregon Ducks (6-0) in spite of their offensive prowess , have yet to show the nation that they are as equally adept on the defensive side of the ball . Granted, the Pac 12 has never been known as a conference where defense has been taught ,much less played to any degree , with the exception of perhaps one or two programs , most notably the Stanford Cardinals (5-1) . But in light of their recent slip up against the Utah Utes , defense , we can now surmise, is not now a prerequisite within the conference.

Alabama will play host to the Arkansas (Razorbacks) at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa , Alabama , this Saturday , as the Tide seeks to keep their unbeaten record intact , while further strengthening their position atop of the rankings and within the SEC Western Division . A J McCarron and his teammates will seek to use this game as a reminder why this team is still seen as a prohibitive favorite to win their second consecutive national title, Saban’s fifth , and the program’s fourth in the past seven seasons .

Living in the state of Florida where College Football is treated with such reverence , the choices will abundant with regard to the programs , yet the only ones that seemingly matter , are the Florida Gators (4-2) , Florida State Seminoles (5-0) and the Miami Hurricanes (5-0) . Having lived and worked professionally in the southern part of the state before moving northwards on 2003 , the program of choice , merely by way my association with several alumni who were students at the University of Miami . I was able to frequent a number of basketball and football games as their guests and rallying to their support in such instances . Granted, as of late, the Canes’ program has been mired in controversy , while it still awaits some form of punishment for multiple violations of the NCAA rules on recruiting , alleged , academic fraud and what are said to current and former students gaining monetarily from gifts in violation of NCAA edicts . University President Donna Shalala and recently installed AD Blake James are still trying to remove the smear and lingering stains of the school’s association with the incarcerated felon Nevin Shapiro , whose statements led to the NCAA’s investigation of the athletics’ program by the NCAA’s Infraction Committee , as ordered by NCAA President Mark Emmert . That effort and investigation was mired with a great deal of incompetency, and it seems rather impulsive to believe how any reasonable verdict can be seen as just , in light of the ineptitude shown by collegiate athletics governing body .

With both Florida State (Seminoles) and Miami Hurricanes , riding on the crest of a wave, their SEC counterpart, the Florida Gators have found a way to simply throw a wrench into their season , with their recent loss to the LSU (Tigers) . That defeat has now left Wil Muschamp , his staff and the team asking why things have come apart when their intent was to be a major part of the SEC championship scene, if not the national championship landscape, itself ? Two losses , this season , and suddenly we have to question the direction Muschamp has the program heading in , and the quality of his recruits over the past two years . Florida now has the unenviable task of now having to go on the road to take on the Missouri (Tigers) this upcoming Saturday, in what can be best described as a make or break game for the team , this season . Another loss would further impact their year and all that they had hoped to achieve .

Al Golden and the Miami Hurricanes ,with a top twenty-five ranking nationally, are also sitting pretty within the ACC standings , and are seen as one of the like candidates for the conference championship , with an at large bid for a BCS Bowl game, if their schedule pans out, along the lines of an unbeaten season , if nothing else . The team itself has been on a tear and certainly their best result of the season so far , had to have been their dismantling of Florida . It certainly was a telling statement and laid the foundation for what has been an extraordinary year for several players on the team , but most notably for quarterback Stephen Morris , whose growing confidence and maturity process has been highlighted with his play this season . Add in a robust offense and a tenacious defense that appears to be very athletics , and one can understand the reason why Al Golden and his staff have to be pleased by what he has witnessed this season .

From heir-apparent to now head coach , Jimbo Fisher has now been given keys to the vehicle and he is now beginning to steer it on a course of his own design , and not one set out for him by predecessor Bobby Bowden , who over the latter part of his coaching career with the FSU Seminoles , may well have been caught asleep at the wheel. Bowden suggests, that he left the program under his own steam , but in reality , when faced with the option of being unceremoniously being fired , he sought to leave , in what can be best described as a polite dismissal , but accorded , all the trappings of a celebrated head coach leaving of his own free will . The octogenarian may well have built the program into a national powerhouse, but in the final years of his coaching the Seminoles , his teams were lackluster , uncompetitive and simply not winning .

Recruiting and coaching has been one of Fisher’s greatest attributes, and with his coaching staff in tow , he is now proving how good a coach he can really be, when the right talent is in place . An unbeaten start to the season , with their being rave reviews over Jameis Winston , a quarterback , who has not been afforded the same attention given to the likes of Tajh Boyd , Johnny Manziel , Teddy Bridgewater , Aaron Murray , Zach Mettenberger and A J McCarron. Perhaps , that is not such a bad thing after-all , if he remains off the national radar , while racking up the statistics and leading an unbeaten program back to national prominence . Winston , however , has not been able to achieve this all by himself , as it has been a collective team effort along the way. The Seminoles may not be laying waste to their opponents with the mindset of Oregon Ducks’ coach Mark Helfrich . Yet , as a fan of the college game, I would rather see the ‘noles in full flight rather than witnessing Ducks’ program, whose primary forte’ is simply either an aerial or ground assault , without their being a presence of the team actually being able to play any defense . While my thoughts may not be shared by many , we simply do not how good Oregon is meant to be , because they have yet to be tested over the course of their somewhat “soft schedule” . And for this, , they are rewarded with a number two ranking in the nation and in some cases, there are claimants that they should be seated atop of the AP Poll . I guess only time will tell, what is likely to happen !

On Saturday Florida State will have a prime-time nationally broadcast game against Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium , in Clemson , South Carolina , in a contest of two unbeaten teams , top twenty ranked and with likewise BCS national championship aspirations . The winner of this game, is still likely to have inside track of being a top five ranked team, once the dust has settled on the week eight schedule within College Football, while the loser is likely to drop outside the fifteen .

College Football with all of its , niceties , oddities , corruption , the biggest farce remains the naïveté of the BCS Committee and the major conferences that its present format of determining a national champion now requires a little tweaking . Well that is akin to the present administration , House of Representatives and the Senate reaching a bilateral agreement on the debt-ceiling as well as the fiscal waywardness of the Congress altogether . Needless to say, with idiots such as , Ted Cruz , Eric Cantor , Rand Paul , John Boehner , Paul Ryan , Marco Rubio , Harry Reid , Nancy Pelosi , Chaka Fattah , Max Baucus , Bill Nelson , and Charles Schumer as well this weak-willed President, Barack Obama have created such a cluster ##ck , that now the finger-pointing and name calling carries on unabated, without either side having a goddamn clue, as how best to proceed. The same can now be said of the premise, behind the new format to adjudge and determine how a new national champion will be decided along the lines of a playoff format . If the news being released by the BCS is to be believed , a panel of twelve to eighteen individuals will be seated to discuss the issues and then come to an agreement , to have a format in place with a seeding system, all in place for the 2014 season.

Courtesy of USA Today

NEW YORK (AP) — A person with direct knowledge of the process tells The Associated Press that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to be part of the selection committee that will pick the teams for the College Football Playoff next year.

The person also said a former Air Force Academy superintendent and a former NCAA executive who worked with the basketball tournament, are expected to be part of the new 12-to-18 member football panel.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the selection process is still ongoing.

The committee is expected to be comprised of current athletic directors and former college athletic administrators and coaches.

Last year, Rice and business executive Darla Moore became the first two female members of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters.

GOOD FIT: Rice more than qualified for committee

The makeup of the College Football Playoff selection committee is expected to be set by the end of this season. Potential committee members have been asked to keep their involvement confidential until the announcement is made, but College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said the names wouldn’t be a surprise to many.

“You’ll know almost all of them,” Hancock said recently.

Although Hancock and several commissioners have taken to referring to the selection committee as “the most prestigious committee in sports,” its business – and its members – will also be the subject of intense scrutiny.

“If they’re gonna be scrutinized the way they’re gonna be scrutinized, we’ve got to be ultimately careful and do every bit of due diligence,” Delany said recently. “You can expect that media – new media, old media – when someone says, ‘Oh, that guy voted that way for that reason,’ they’re gonna be under a fine-tooth comb. We’ve got to make sure, for everybody’s sake, that we’ve done everything we need to do to understand that.”

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Now while on paper, this all seems feasible, the nuances of this all , will be derived upon which individuals, are invited to be part of the process , provide their expertise and the experience that each will bring to the table. In the midst of this all, a public announcement was made that one of the committee members, will be none than former NSC member and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice . Her expertise on Soviet Bloc politics, while unquestioned , her scope on a great deal of international diplomacy, bordered on being inept , but it should be remembered that the Commander-in-Chief at the time her tenure, was none other than George W Bush , whose geographical , political , international diplomatic knowledge and business acumen could be written on the back of a first class stamp and sent to Timbuktu , for all of the use that it would do. Likewise, has to be the case, in naming Condoleezza Rice to be a part of this committee.

The BCS and the major conference commissioners, clearly lack intelligence if they believe that Rice adds legitimacy to the panel. Much like an idiot, once suggested to me that former Vice Admiral James Stockdale should be treated with reverence, because he was a war hero . At the time, our discussion took on the fact that Stockdale, whose war service record was impressive , his inclusion in the political arena was about as welcomed as a sexually transmitted disease . He simply was clueless on wide range of political subjects, including the country’s domestic and foreign policy, as well its economy . This came at a time, when Stockdale was asked to be the Vice Presidential running mate of then Reform Party candidate , Ross Perot , whose own rise to fame, had more to do with his connivance and being able to have the government to subsidize many of the corporate entities he would simply plunder, as a part of an asset stripping exercise. Yet, all of this was somehow overlooked by the individual, whose lips must have been at one time, firmly pressed on James Stockdale’s sphincter. Is this really the stupidity of the US electorate at work, or merely the ongoing apathy that has been the norm over the past three decades ?

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Picture gallery .

The BCS Committee and the major college football conferences had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century , very much in a similar vein as Major League Baseball had to drag its dumb ass along the way and adopt what Bud Selig still believes to this day, baseball has the toughest drug testing policy in all of professional team sports. Unfortunately, baseball’s commissioner , has never been looked upon as being one of the most intelligent individuals , never mind , in all of professional sports . The same can now be said of individuals such as John Swofford and Mike Slive , whose imprints are all over the current and sad state of affairs as it relates to this whole process , never mind the fact that final arbiter here will not be the panelists themselves but the major broadcast outlets , who now more than ever before, will be the ones with the real power , because if any part of this format is not to their liking, does anyone truly believe that this whole premise will ever see the light of day and actually be adopted in whole or in part ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the topic at hand .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Wide receiver Justin Blackmon #14 of the Jacksonville Jaguars makes a reception as cornerback Champ Bailey #24 of the Denver Broncos makes the tackle at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 13, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. Denver would defeat Jacksonville 35-19 , dropping the Jaguars to 0-6 , tying them with the New York Giants (0-6) for the worst record in the league this season . Getty Images North America / Doug Pensinger ….

(2) Jacksonville Jaguars new head football coach Gus Bradley , left, smiles as he answers questions from the media during an NFL football news conference on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Jacksonville, Fla. Team owner Shad Kahn looks on. AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey ….

(3) Jan 14, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey (left), chairman & team owner Clark Hunt , and coach Andy Reid pose for photos during the press conference at The University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

(4) DeAndrew White (2) of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs with the ball while defended by Nate Willis (21) of the Kentucky Wildcats during the game at Commonwealth Stadium on October 12, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky. Getty Images / Andy Lyons ……..

(5) Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators holds up one finger following a touchdown during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Gainesville, Florida. Getty Images / Sam Greenwood ……

(6) University of Miami President Donna Shalala is seen with here with the AD Blake James . In the aftermath of the Nevin Shapiro scandal, during which the now incarcerated felon , disclosed payments made to players on the program’s basketball and football teams. A number of coaching staff members were implicated in the allegations , including the current football coach Al Golden and a number of members of his coaching. However , the NCAA’s findings, are tainted , after it had been revealed , that evidence collected by the investigators from the Infractions’ Committee , were in fact of no use and littered with fabricated inaccuracies , after the original documents were either mislaid or inadvertently destroyed . Kyle Perry / Miami Herald …

(7) Head coach, Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles talks to head coach Randy Edsall of the Maryland Terrapins pre-game on October 5, 2013 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida John Gammons / Getty Images …..

(8) Republican legislators , from left to right Mitch McConnell , John Boehner and Eric Cantor are at the forefront of their party’s wish rescind the President’s healthcare initiative as well Barack Obama’s wish to raise the debt-ceiling limit . As contentious as the situation appears to be neither side seems intent in showing any bilateral compromise . AP Photo / Richard Carter

(9) Barack Obama is seen here alongside Harry Reid (center) , Nancy Pelosi and House Representative Jim Clyburn . AP / REUTERS / Tim Heller

(10) Ross Perot who twice sought the US Presidency as a third-party candidate is seen here with Vice Admiral James Stockdale (background) . A Medal of Honor recipient , Stockdale seemed to be out of touch with the political environment and many of the issues adversely affecting the country. Time Archive …

(11) Condoleezza Rice , a former NSC (National Security Council) member , adviser and Secretary of State during the second term of two term President George W Bush . Rice will amongst a group of panelists who will be adjudging the programs eligible for the new BCS playoff format that will be adopted in 2014 . As to whether not Condoleezza Rice’s inclusion adds legitimacy to the panel , can be adjudged in how one views the process in its entirety. AFP/ Photo / Peter Hamilton ……

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Ewa Sonnet

No praise can be gained from being this bad

No praise can be gained from being this bad

Of the slew of games played on Sunday afternoon , perhaps none could have been more disturbing to watch from a fan standpoint , than to see the Oakland Raiders in their divisional match-up against the surprise team of the season, the Kansas City Chiefs . With a new coaching staff and quarterback Alex Smith in tow , the Chiefs are off to a 6-0 start and are seriously challenging the Denver Broncos as not only the best team in the AFC West , but also the conference , as well the league (NFL) in its entirety. For the woefully inept Raiders, this appears to be just another season, where they are about to be another tremendous disappointment for their long-suffering fans. Incumbent starting quarterback, Terrelle Pryor just does not seem to have what it takes to lead this team , and with the recent decision to render Matt Flynn disposable by the front office , it leaves the franchise with very few options at the position , other than to use their backup , or once again bring in an unsigned a free agent or to trade for a player .

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Slideshow .

In what should have been a competitive game , the Oakland Raiders simply proved that the continued troubles that have befallen the franchise have yet to be clearly addressed on both sides of the ball , as well as from a coaching standpoint , with Dennis Allen , being in charge as the team’s head coach . As to whether or not he survives the remainder of the season, will be dependent upon whether or not he can turn around the fortunes of this team. GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis must be extremely troubled by what they both witnessed on Sunday afternoon , with another anemic display in the Raiders’ 24-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs . Raiders’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor was sacked ten times , threw three interceptions , harried all afternoon and gave one of the most uninspiring performances of his NFL career . It begs the question, how much longer will the fans have to be forced to bear this sort of ineptitude?

For Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs , the start to this season has been more than expected , with the leadership skills of Alex Smith coming to the fore alongside his play , as well as that of both the defense and offense . Both of which are highly ranked within the NFL, with the Chiefs’ secondary being seen as one of the most efficient and stymieing in the league. The first of the two divisional contests between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos could prove to be one of the highlights of the regular season as well as providing a broadcast for the television broadcast outlets. Both teams are unbeaten and are atop of the AFC West division , albeit , that Broncos are getting all of the major headlines , because of Peyton Manning’s extraordinary season in 2013 .

There are no positives to be taken away in this defeat for the Oakland Raiders , and I cannot help but wonder where this organization now goes from here ! It would appear that they can either start to think about next season now , or simply carry on with , and offer the fans a paltry return for money not well spent to witness a very poor on-field product , by of the team’s continued play and the extremely poor coaching by Dennis Allen and his coaching staff . I have to believe that Allen will be given every chance to ride out the storm and try to turn things around , rather than being fired , something that Mark Davis’ predecessor , Al Davis , was not averse to doing, if he felt that his head coach was not making the grade . The firing of Dennis Allen , were it to happen now or at the end of the season , would undoubtedly bring about a great deal of angst and turmoil , yet this has become the norm for this particular franchise over the past few seasons , with so many nonsensical moves being made by the front office in terms of coaching and personnel turnovers. I am not sure that the Oakland Raiders would be the ideal destination for any first time head coach in the NFL , let alone for an experienced coach with an established record of excellence , who has already seen his fair share of turmoil . There just seems to be no consistency to the Raiders either on or off the field of play , and it has been mirrored in a number of decisions concerning this franchise and many of the most recent business decisions made, that has the organization going from being amongst one of the most profitable in the NFL, to one of the league’s more beleaguered teams from an economic standpoint .

This may well prove to be the season where the Houston Texans (2-4) will either sink or swim by way of their on-field trials and tribulations . Matt Schaub through much of his NFL career year has proven to be be one the league’s more durable quarterbacks, but in 2013 , he has proven to be anything but , hampering his team with his all too errant plays and with the Texans’ defense proving to be decidedly shoddy , it is difficult to see how the ball club will make it into the postseason , in what is now proving to be an extremely competitive AFC South division. The Texans did themselves no favors on Sunday, as they lost their fourth consecutive game , thereby dropping their record to an anemic 2-4 within the division , falling further behind the divisional leaders the Indianapolis Colts (4-1) . Texas’ opponents on Sunday were the St Louis Rams (3-3) , who themselves are looking to make some sort of impact within their division and on the season as a whole . Houston’s 38-13 loss at Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas, in front of a packed home crowd , with millions more , by way of a national television audience , was just as inexplicable as the play of Matt Schaub and his replacement during the game T J Yates . The incumbent starting quarterback’s departure, due to an injury, was met with a raucous chorus of boos and cat-calls from the home crowd , with the player having playing with a great deal of indecision . Yates, as Schaub’s replacement, did not fare any better, impeding whatever chance the Texans may well have had in getting back into this contest on Sunday afternoon . Houston’s 38-13 defeat , might well have been of a wider margin , had Sam Bradford and the Rams executed more stoutly on offense .

For Texans’ owner Robert McNair and general manager Rick Smith , a decision is likely to be made concerning not only the future of head coach Gary Kubiak , his coaching assistants and Matt Schaub, but also a number of players thought to be superfluous to the team .

In an earlier post entitled “You are only as good as your record reflects “ , I suggested that teams in the NFL by way of their record are what they appeared to be in spite of their head coaches . In week five , the Pittsburgh Steelers remained win-less and you simply knew that it would be only matter of time before Mike Tomlin had his team playing at a level , expected of not only himself but also the ever loyal Steelers’ fans . Well on Sunday , the ever perplexing New York Jets granted their AFC North visitor’s wish by giving them a gift that is likely to keep on giving . Not only did the Jets lay down , but their performance went a long way in reflecting what is so wrong with this team beyond the alleged improvement in the play of the team’s rookie quarterback Geno Smith . The rookie may well have his issues , but so does the rest of this roster and the entire coaching staff , who simply had the roster ill-prepared for this contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers .

The 19-6 victory for the Pittsburgh Steelers pushes their record to 1-4 and drops the New York Jets to 3-3 within the AFC East .

A marquee match-up between two of the league’s best quarterbacks and leave it all, to a bone headed decision by a head coach , that led to his team’s defeat (30-27) on Sunday afternoon. In this contest between Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints . A brain seizure on the part of Saints’ head coach Sean Payton , would be his undoing and the last-minute heroics we have come to witness from Brady all too often ,when he has been asked to lead his team from the brink of defeat in the dying moments of a game, was once again evident for all to see .

Instead joining a group of teams at 6-0 in the NFL , the New Orleans Saints having fallen from the ranks of the unbeaten , now find themselves at 5-1 , and with questions being asked of the normally aggressive coaching style of Sean Payton , who for once , that it prudent to be conservative in his game calling . I believe that the New Orleans Saints can rebound from this loss but that air of invincibility that the team was said to have had , is now non-existent and so too has the NFC’s last unbeaten team . With the league now left with two unbeaten teams , with the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs and their respective records at 6-0 , it remain to see what will be in store for the fans week seven . Kansas City will play host to the Houston Texans next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium , in Kansas City , Missouri, whereas the Denver Broncos will be the guests of the Indianapolis Colts , as Peyton Manning will face his former team , and where he laid the foundation for his now record breaking career .

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Picture gallery .

Your thoughts on the week six results in the NFL , and which of the three remaining win-less teams will at season’s end be the league’s worst performing franchise? By all means, chime with your thoughts on the subject matter .

Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Linebacker Tamba Hali (91) of the Kansas City Chiefs sacks quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) of the Oakland Raiders during the first half on October 13, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. This was one of ten sacks inflicted upon Pryor during the game of which Hali ended up with two sacks for the game as the Chiefs’ defense simply manhandled the Raiders’ offensive line almost at will . Getty Images North America / Peter Aiken ….

(2) Jamaal Charles (25) of the Kansas City Chiefs attempt to avoid the outstretched arms of D.J. Hayden (25) of the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter October 13, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. . Kyle Rivas / Getty Images …

(3) Running back Jamaal Charles (25) of the Kansas City Chiefs dives into the end zone for a touchdown against defensive end Jack Crawford (91) of the Oakland Raiders during the second half on October 13, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City won 24-7. Getty Images / Peter Aiken …..

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

(5) Texans’ fans show their disgust with the team by donning paper bags during the game against the St Louis Rams on Sunday afternoon at Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas . The Rams would go on to defeat Houston 38-13 , with the Texans losing their fourth consecutive game of the season and dropping their record to 2-4 within the AFC South . AP Photo / Eric Gray ….

(6) Houston Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub (8) leaves the game , during the fourth quarter played against the St Louis Rams . Schaub was injured in the fourth quarter and left the field to a round of boos and cat-calls from the home fans . His replacement T J Yates fared no better in the contest, throwing in an interception that was returned for a touchdown . adding to the team’s burden , with five games , where a Texans’ quarterback has thrown for an INT this season . Getty Images / Patrick Schneider ….

(7) New Orleans Saints’ wide receiver Kenny Stills makes a catch in the end-zone during the fourth quarter of a game played at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts . The Patriots would come back to win the contest in the waning the moments of the match-up , after an earlier coaching blunder made by Sean Payton of the Saints , allowing Tom Brady enough time on the clock to engineer a fabulous come from behind win for the New England Patriots . Getty Images / Rob Carr …..

(8) Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady (12) manages to evade Tom Johnson (96) of the New Orleans Saints during a game played on Sunday afternoon in Foxborough , Massachusetts . New England would defeat the Saints 30-27. Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …..

(9) Saints’ head coach Sean Payton shakes hands with the Patriots’ Tom Brady after the game , in which the New Orleans Saints relinquished a three-point lead in the dying moments of the contest between the two teams. Getty Images / Rob Carr ….

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Back to the drawing board , again ……….

Back to the drawing board, again

Well, with both the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays bowing out in the divisional series of the NLDS and the ALDS. It is hard to explain, where the two teams now go from here in terms of their immediate long-term futures. Managers, Fredi Gonzalez and Joe Maddon did all that was asked of them by way of their respective hierarchies, but at the end of the day it simply was not enough. The Atlanta Braves with a great deal of ease won the NL East , going away from their closest rivals , the Washington Nationals . In the case of Maddon and the Rays, it was a year erratic plays and then heightened moments of excellence, only to the stumble at the most inopportune of moments. Simply making the postseason, was all that the Rays could have hoped for, in spite of the optimism shown by the team’s 2012 Cy Young Award winning pitcher David Price .

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Utter frustration and dismay, would be the best way to describe the very fact that the Tampa Bay Rays fought all season long to gain a postseason berth , only for their pitching and then their hitting to let them down in their ALDS match-up against divisional rivals the Boston Red Sox , who might now be the clear favorites to win the AL Pennant for this season. Of the four teams left at that stage of the postseason the Red Sox might well be the most balanced of the quartet in terms of their fielding , offense and pitching . And that to my mind may well be the determining factor as to whether or not John Farrell leads this team to their third World Series’ title in the past seven seasons . It would certainly justify the faith shown in the manager and his staff , after a year of sheer turmoil and utter incompetence shown by Farrell’s predecessor , Bobby Valentine . The ease with which Boston was able to dispose of the Tampa Bay Rays, says a great deal about the determination of the team and the simple lack of real depth and leadership of the Rays’ staff altogether . When I have repeatedly pointed this fact out to a number of Tampa’s supporters , few have been prepared to answer that question succinctly, simply choosing instead to point to the managerial acumen of Joe Maddon. Yet , the manager can only give instruction to his players, and then expect them to execute accordingly.

The ease of Boston’s 3-1 series’ win in a best of five game series , has been a damning indictment of a Rays’ organization , although well ran , it remains with an unenviable task of trying to compete against teams within their division , who possess far deeper pockets and essentially have far greater resources all-round. During this off-season, GM Andrew Friedman will have to contemplate whether or not the organization can afford to retain the services of David Price , who in many ways was the team’s best pitcher and overall performer during the postseason. A one-year . $10 million contract was all that the ball-club could afford in 2013. Greater riches await Price and his agent Bo McKinnis , should they refuse what is likely to be another single or no more than two-year deal from the organization . A rather asinine article written in the business bible for many Forbes Magazine, suggested that the Rays would be able to negotiate a multi-year multi-million television deal that would be able to sustain the franchise over the decade and a half. Unfortunately, the writer of this article must have been someone with very little knowledge of the ball club and clearly not an intelligent enough individual, to realize the fact that once again the Tampa Bay Rays were at the lower end of attendance levels for baseball’s thirty teams during the 2013 season . In spite of the claims MLB that the Tampa Bay Rays draws on average in excess of 22,000 fans per home game at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida. That figure in reality, is a great deal closer to 15,000 hardcore fans that this franchise is known to possess. The fact the matter is, in spite of a growing television audience in the local market , on the national stage this ball-club is far from being a major draw.

Tampa as a baseball town, is unable compete along the lines of their big market counterparts, never mind the fact, that the Sales and Marketing Department’s attempts of selling the Rays as a brand, has proven to be about as successful an attempt, as it has been for the current Presidential administration’s attempt to raise the debt-ceiling and creating the perception that it will be a cure to solving the federal government’s budgetary woes. One can only carry on repeating the same lunacy for so long, before the general public or the fans finds that whole exercise tedious and rather comedic. The biggest issue I have with the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization is the continued reluctance shown by managing partners Matt Silverman and Stuart Sternberg to seek out a wealthy financial backer willing to take stake in the franchise , while providing the franchise with the means and resources to go after some of the more marquee free agents available. Granted, Maddon and his managerial assistants in conjunction with Andrew Friedman have been able to assess great talent by way of the MLB Draft over the past few years , while also being able to obtain workmanlike free agents via trade acquisitions that have proven to be productive. Yet, if Tampa is to compete against the top-heavy payrolls of teams such as the New York Yankees , Detroit Tigers Boston and Boston Red Sox , then the front office will clearly have to rethink its current strategy.

The disappointment of this postseason, has not been lost on the Rays’ fans as a great deal more was expected from this team at the start of the season. As the year wore on, it became abundantly clear that they were not the best team in the AL East , as many analyst and commentators alike had predicted. All of the hyperbole was simply misplaced on a team , that at best, their main hope was simply to make the postseason and then hope that the baseball gods would look down upon the franchise favorably as they sought to make their way the World Series. In 2013, it was not meant to be and at this juncture, I do believe it may well be a considerable length of time before we see the Tampa Bay Rays make another appearance in baseball’s showcase finale. Five years removed from that sensational year and that series’ appearance against the Philadelphia Phillies whetted the appetite of the fans, but it has now become a lovelorn quest that has proven to be so disappointing at every juncture for this organization in the subsequent years after that World Series’ appearance in 2008 .

As the front office spends time this off-season reassessing their needs and how best to strategize, who will remain a part of the current roster , and which players will be jettisoned. The thought has to be , whether or not it is feasible to continue along this path while knowing that next season without a doubt the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles are likely to get considerably better in terms of their lineups . In the case of the Toronto Blue Jays , theirs has been a lesson in abject stupidity and a complete lack of leadership from their executives on down to the managerial staff and amongst the players . After such an abject season, one can only question the decisions made by the front office and the lack of competitiveness shown by the team throughout the entire season. I can only surmise, that the goal of the organization was simply to assemble a platoon of overpaid stars to place alongside Jose Bautista and then to let the chips fall where they may , rather than to assemble a cohesive lineup. Manager John Gibbons is likely to return , but in all likelihood , his long-term future with the organization will not be all that long , if this franchise fails to compete in 2014.

With Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees agreeing to a contract extension , it remains to be seen whether not the organization will be as ambitious in retaining the services of Robinson Cano , as the player becomes a free agent this off-season. The retirements of Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera , will see something of a depleted pitching staff , that this season was nowhere as good as advertised . Add in, the continued idiocy of the Alex Rodriguez saga and the Yankees’ less than ambitious task of seeking to remove the player from their organization , along with Bud Selig’s stupidity, in handling this issue. And baseball’s most celebrated franchise will have its own endearing off-season drama of comedic events .

Two years in succession and a change of leagues and the absolute mediocrity shown by the Houston Astros remained intact. It is one thing to lose one hundred games 2012 , but to repeat that feat again in 2013 as the American League’s newest arrival, was something that I believe not even the Astros’ fans were expecting. GM Jeff Luhnow and team owner Jim Crane must now be wondering, if that added incentive of $100 million offered by the league hierarchy was worthwhile in making jump from the NL Central to the AL West . While there is said to be a sense that current manager Bo Porter has the team heading in the right direction , there are those who feel that he and his staff are not the right people to be in charge and oversee the development of their young players on the roster, as well as seeking the progress of the farm system and prospects . With a payroll of just over $22 million in 2013 , the Astros’ salary obligations were the lowest in all of Major League Baseball and a far cry from the $228.8 million that was committed to by the New York Yankees . Consider the fact also that the game’s highest paid player , Alex Rodriguez , whose salary this season was a colossal $29 million delivered meager returns for the franchise , while the likes of the Astros struggled not only with attendance , but also trying to remain competitive over the course of the season . Next year, we are likely to see the Astros begin their Spring Training schedule with the usual mindset amongst baseball’s thirty teams , but once the regular season starts , will the team revert to ways of old , in proceeding to show us the form witnessed in 2012 and 2013 ?

As an avowed Atlanta Braves’ fan I expected a great deal more out of the team during the postseason ! The fact that Fredi Gonzalez and his staff could muster a sense of urgency amongst the players provides me now with the ammunition I need to not only be critical of the manager but the entire organization as a whole , from the executives on down . The NLDS series was simply an absolute abomination to endure and watch. Capsizing at sea perhaps , would be the best way to describe the effort of the team , as no one showed any emotion, or sought to step up to the plate. A clear case can be made that the Braves are a reflection of the manager Fredi Gonzalez , whose laid back style is not the type effort that is needed when managing in the postseason .

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Now that we are down to the final four teams for playing to become the AL and NL pennant representatives for this season’s World Series . It will be interesting to see how these respective series pan out with the Boston Red Sox playing host to the Detroit Tigers for the first two games of the ALCS at Fenway Park , while the St Louis Cardinals will have as their guests at Busch Stadium the Los Angeles Dodgers . While the league hierarchy and some of the more uninitiated, try to suggest that baseball has a level playing field , but consider the fact that these four teams combined, will have a payroll exceeding $600 million. Baseball has lost its way, in spite of the controversy and drama seen this season . Simply leave comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his teammates celebrate their 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves in game four of the NLDS played at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angles California . AP Photo / Mark J Terrill ….

(2) Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves reacts after striking out in the third inning of game four of the NLDS played against the Los Angeles Dodgers . Heyward like the rest of the Braves’ offense performed poorly during the series as a whole . Getty Images North America / Stephen Dunn ….

(3) Tampa Bay Rays’ manager Joe Maddon speaks with pitcher Jamey Wright , during the second inning of game four of the ALDS , which was played at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida against the Boston Red Sox . Also pictured, catcher Jose Lobaton . Boston would go on to win the game 3-1 and take the series 3-1 to make their to the ALCS , where they will play the Detroit Tigers . AP Photo / Chris O’Meara ….

(4) Red Sox relief pitcher Koji Uehara celebrates with teammate , Jarrod Saltalmacchia after Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays is struck out in the ninth inning of game four of the ALDS . AP Photo /John Raoux ….

(5) New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman is seen here with the team’s manager Joe Girardi . The manager has agreed to a four-year contract extension said to be valued at $16 million . This off-season the team faces a number of tough decisions , most notably the re-signing of third baseman Robinson Cano as dealing with the decision to also acquire Japanese pitcher Lure Masahiro Tanaka . There also remains the uncertainty as to whether or not Alex Rodriguez will be a part of the roster for the upcoming 2014 season . The Yankees’ third baseman has a lawsuit in which he seeks to sue MLB as well as the team’s lead physician Dr Christopher Ahmad in a suit seeking unspecified damages , emotional distress , pain and anguish , slander , while seeking to do harm to his career and reputation . It should be noted , that an appeal’s hearing and date has yet to be set in the ongoing process, during which Rodriguez will seek to have his two hundred and eleven game suspension overturned . Getty Images / Thomas Croft ….

(6) Alex Rodriguez is seen here arriving at the MLB headquarters in New York City for an impromptu meeting with arbitrator Fred Horowitz . Also in attendance , were the player’s legal team headed by criminal defense attorneys Joseph Tacopina and David Cornwell . Getty Images / Robert Keller ….

(7) Houston Astros’ owner Jim Crane , left, is seen here with the team’s manager Bo Porter as he is formally introduced to the convened members of the media at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas . Coming off two straight seasons of losing in excess of one hundred games , the long-term future of the franchise is not as bright as Crane and his fellow executives have been trying to suggest . In recent months , it has been suggested that the Astros have been facing some steep financial difficulties which the owner and general manager Jeff Luhnow have denied . AP Photo / Ashley Jacobson …..

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tophatal ………… 10/10/2013

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MLB news

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Gianna Michaels

You are only as good as your record reflects

You are only as good as your record reflects

You are only as good as your record reflects or that of the acumen shown by the coaching staff , And this season , it would be pretty safe to say that the NFL and its teams have shown us , all that glistens is not necessarily gold . The Seattle Seahawks having started off its season with four consecutive wins and were quickly brought down back to earth by Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts . And while I have read a number articles within this forum by a number of knowledgeable sports’ fans simply looking to put their own spin on the season , with what they deem to be their interpretation of the season , by way of the league standing . I would suggest that while it all seems to be feasible, what is exactly achieved by such an article if nothing else, than to elicit a comment ? Standing atop of the respective conferences are the Denver Broncos (5-0) and Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) within the AFC , while in the NFC , Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints , loom larger than life , overlooking all that they can possibly survey.

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Slideshow .

At the start of the season , I felt that the AFC would prove to be the dominant conference by way of the caliber of the teams. Yet, at this juncture, nothing could be further from the truth. In the AFC East , a New England Patriots’ team sits at 4-1 , but in reality at best, they are no better than a 2-2 franchise. The division itself has a budding divisional triumvirate of teams looking to show their dominance , led by the Miami Dolphins , New York Jets and Patriots , with the Buffalo Bills (2-3) holding down the bottom position within the division. . Those three teams could very well be on their way to reminding the fans that the AFC East is likely to be very competitive. As an avowed New England Patriots’ fan , I must admit that while I am happy to see them riding high within the AFC East , leading the division with a 4-1 mark. It has been the inconsistency shown of late, on the offense and injuries that has me wondering, is this team is as good as advertised?

To further emphasize my dismay with the Patriots , it was bewildering to see that this team could only must six points in total , in their 13-6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals . Even more exacerbating, were the post-game comments by Tom Brady , as to the reasons behind the team’s defeat. The Patriots’ quarterback had his worst performance of the season in this game and he certainly was not helped by the poor protection from his offensive line was a complete embarrassment. Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick seemed to gloss over that fact by simply addressing the matter with his customary aplomb, with scant regard for the questions being posed by the convened journalists wishing to discuss the matter in-depth .

With Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski not due to return until possibly by week six or eight , the offense will be totally reliant on Stevan Ridley , Julian Edelman and Brandon Bolden . Beyond the injury issues of Gronkowski , the loss of defensive end Vince Wilfork , who over the past six seasons has been the bedrock of the defensive line, as well as providing a great deal of leadership to the younger players. His loss for the season , to a torn Achilles’ tendon was a big blow. He cannot be replaced, in terms of what he has able to contribute to the team from the intangibles provided. Yet, if there is a coach who get more out of a team with less , then it would have to be Bill Belichick . Fans, with their prognostications, had the New England Patriots with a 14-2 or 13-3 record for the season . Realistically , based on what I have seen this season at this point , a mark of 11-5 or 12-4 seems more likely, along with the divisional title and a postseason berth in tow.

Rancor and sheer dismay can only describe the continued anger I still possess concerning the Patriots’ mishandling of the Wes Welker ” debacle” . In spite of the public statements made by team owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft, GM Nick Caserio and Bill Belichick , it has been their pride that has dictated the fact that they are unwilling to admit to making a major blunder , which allowed Welker’s departure to the Denver Broncos. The wide receiver’s successor, was none other than Danny Amendola , whose initial success had many asking Wes who? Well , now the question being asked has to be, is Danny Amendola made of Paper Mache’ ? Injuries have followed the player throughout his entire career and his performances have been sketchy at best. Now on the sidelines with another injury, I can’t help but wonder how long his tenure will be with the Patriots at this juncture. New England went from an all Pro wide receiver, in Wes Welker to an injury plagued , all too inconsistent player, whose best attributes, one could describe whimsically, as someone who knows his way around a team doctor’s office.

In week six the New England Patriots will face a tough task when they host the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon in what should prove to be one of the highlight match-ups on the day. The Saints’ aerial attack, is also supported by a very good rushing offense led by Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles . New England’s defense is likely to be tested throughout much of the game.

As Peyton Manning looks to be marching on towards his fifth League MVP award , his younger sibling Eli Manning , the two-time winning Superbowl quarterback with the New York Giants (0-5) is now having a horrendous season , with the team now lacking confidence and head coach Tom Coughlin willingly taking all of the shots, by stating that the team’s woes are his alone . Admirable, as that may well be, Coughlin is trying to deflect what even the most none observant already have come to realize. This season , the New York Giants are not a very good team on both sides of the ball. Eli Manning’s performances are a far cry from the player who in 2011 excelled in his red zone play and who now seems to be a shell of the player who led the team to those Superbowl victories over the New England Patriots in 2008 and 2012 .

I am not about to suggest that Tom Coughlin is likely to be fired , but if he continues to come to the support of his players without seeking to hold them accountable , then in all likelihood GM Jerry Reese and owner John K Mara will be left no other alternative, than to relieve the head coach of his duties , should they fail to end up with a winning record . As things now stand , at worst , an 8-8 or 9-7 season could be all that is needed to win NFC East division that for years has been vastly overrated and in truth greatly bereft of depth in great talent . On Thursday night , with the Giants still seeking their first win of the season they will be the guests of the Chicago Bears (3-2) and Jay Cutler , with a team whose early start to the season indicates that , they too , are not as good as advertised , in spite of a very good defense with great take away capabilities .

With Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4) still win-less and in the aftermath of the Josh Freeman fiasco, with the player being waived by the NFC South franchise. Freeman has now found his way onto the Minnesota Vikings’ (1-3) roster , a team that this season has simply been wasting the talents of Adrian Peterson . With incumbent starting quarterback Christian Ponder sidelined by an injury , the team’s options at the quarterback position have become extremely acute . The other candidates are Matt Cassel , McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Freeman, himself. In all likelihood, Cassel will get the start when the Vikings play host to the Carolina Panthers (1-3) this Sunday in an NFC game that pits two teams with multiple issues that need to be addressed .

When the Denver Broncos play host to the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) in a contest I truly believe that the odds-makers in Las Vegas will either be salivating over or quite possibly be unwilling to touch . In terms of a spread and the over/under , there too I believe, that we could be on pace to see something of an NFL record being set ! The Jaguars are a team that has spiraled downwards into the depths of an abyss of mediocrity , with Gus Bradley and his coaching staff without the answers to provide an explanation for the team’s woes . Denver may well be able to pull off a double-digit margin of victory , while piling up the points, in what I believe could very well be the largest margin of victory that we are likely to see in the NFL this season !

Far too many individuals, are subscribing to this idiocy, that there is parity in the NFL. In reality, what we are currently seeing in the league is some very bad coaching with a diluted down product and a number of vastly overrated players. As exciting as many might believe the NFL to be at present , unless the talent level, that we seeing coming up through the ranks by way of the players at the collegiate level , who then declare their eligibility for the via the NFL Draft. We are likely to see something of a cyclical occurrence, wherein from season to season there will be a rise and then deep drought in the play and with the player entering the NFL .

If character is said to mean something in the NFL , then the troubles now facing San Francisco 49ers’ defensive player Aldon Smith should give Jed York , Trent Baalke , Jim Harbaugh and the rest of the Niners’ front office a great to worry about and be concerned with . In light of the franchise still choosing to pay Smith’s salary while he takes a leave of absence and undergoes treatment for alcoholism , it is rather disturbing to find out the real reason behind the player seeking treatment came by way of an altercation at a private party he hosted , where he was stabbed twice , but two victims were shot . Though the event took place back 2012 , a year later , and after several incidents concerning law enforcement for DUI (twice) and resisting arrest , it seems inconceivable that neither the NFL or the Forty Niners took the player to task, by either suspending him or seeking his being placed in a substance abuse program. This asinine notion by the fans, that the NFL cares , is simply hokum and hogwash , as the only thing that Roger Goodell , the league hierarchy and owners simply care about , is making a great deal of money ! Anyone, who can now make a claim to the contrary , is simply lacking a great deal of intelligence .

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Picture gallery .

Week six of the NFL regular season schedule will bring about a number of results, some surprising , while others will not . Chances are however, both the Buccaneers and Jaguars will remain win-less , as the rest of the league sets about on its merry way . What if anything, are you hoping to see this upcoming weekend or starting off as of tomorrow night ? By all means, do leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site and its content !

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Picture and slideshow gallery .

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(1) Broncos’ head coach John Fox ,left and his Kansas City Chiefs’ counterpart Andy Reid have both led their teams 5-0 starts this season in the NFL . The two teams will clash twice in their AFC West divisional contests this season and there is a likelihood that one of the two franchises will still be unbeaten at the time of the first of those two contests. Getty Images / Paul Kruger …..

(2) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots hands the ball to Stevan Ridley (22) in the first half of a game played at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Jim Rogash / Getty Images North America ….

(3) Quarterback Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants and quarterback Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos talk to former Giants player Y.A. Tittle and Frank Gifford during the coin toss before the game at MetLife Stadium on September 15, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images North America / Rob Antonelli ….

(4) Vikings’ quarterbacks Josh Freeman left , is seen here with Matt Cassel at the team’s training facility at Winter Park , Eden Prairie , Minnesota . With Christian Ponder sidelined , Cassel is likely to be the starter for Sunday’s game with Josh Freeman as his backup . AP Photo / Anne Heisenfelt …..

(5) Blaine Gabbert (11) of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks to pass the ball against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on October 6, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams would go on to defeat the Jaguars 34-20 to inflict the Jacksonville Jaguars’ fifth consecutive loss of the season in 2013 , leaving the team firmly rooted at the bottom of the AFC South . Getty Images North America / Dilip Vishwanath …..

(6) Aldon Smith is seen here alongside NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Draft Day, having been taken as the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the San Francisco $49ers . Entering his third year with the franchise Smith has faced a litany of legal issues since becoming a player in the NFL . What is even more troubling during this whole period has been the reluctance of the 49ers’ organization to address the matter publicly , with head coach Jim Harbaugh simply deflecting questions on the matter . Roger Goodell , we are told , is said to be monitoring the situation closely ., and as we all know the commissioner dealing with an issue of this magnitude, is somewhat like a child playing with his own pacifier. He will chew and suck on it , before spitting it out , because there is something else that he chooses to deal with elsewhere . AP Photo / Mark Smith …..

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tophatal ………………………

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Shake ’em like you mean it baby !

She’s acting like she’s got a “pair” and we love her for that .

Pride comes in various forms and it comes before a very great fall ….

Pride comes in various forms and it comes before a very great fall ….

So over the weekend , Pedro , a very good friend of mine , asked me to be the godfather to his two-year old son , Pedro Jesus Jr . Now, this will be something, that I will take a great deal of pride , in becoming this child’s godparent . Not being a parent myself , albeit, that I lived vicariously through the birth and growth of several nieces and nephews, my greatest joy has been to see the all of these children grow up to be productive citizens . My greatest hope , will be witness the same for my godchild’s future and if along the way, I can impart any wisdom upon him , to make him a better person , then it will be something that I will take a great deal of pride , alongside that of his proud parents .

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Slideshow .

Speaking of pride, the sporting weekend did not turn out at all well for two of the teams I support. In the NFL , the formerly unbeaten New England Patriots fell to the vastly improved Cincinnati Bengals , led by quarterback Andy Dalton . Inexplicably , the Patriots’ offense could only muster six points , to show for four quarters of a mediocre Sunday afternoon display , for which neither Tom Brady or head coach Bill Belichick could come up with what one would deem to be an acceptable explanation to explain the team’s first loss of the season . To only saving grace from the defeat , was that the Patriots’ closest rival within the AFC East , the Miami Dolphins also suffered a loss at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens in another AFC match-up.

The Patriots will now have to prepare themselves for what is likely to be a ferocious onslaught in week six , when Drew Brees and the unbeaten New Orleans Saints come calling at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough, Massachusetts , this upcoming Sunday. A second successive defeat and there are likely to be questions asked of this Patriots’ team , specifically why they have become so anemic and sedentary ?

Two of the more enticing games that took place on Sunday afternoon , pitted the Denver Broncos , as the guests of the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks , in their visit to the Indianapolis Colts . In light of Roger Staubach’s ludicrous statement that Tony Romo was a championship caliber quarterback , capable of leading the Cowboys to the Superbowl , has me wondering what type of psychotropic medication the Hall of Fame great is currently using to make him more lucid, or less as the case might be . As exhilarating a contest this game said to be between the Broncos and Cowboys, it became abundantly clear that this match-up would become a test of attrition and will , between the two opposing quarterbacks . Tony Romo can be best described as a great regular season quarterback , but it is becoming abundantly clear that the player lacks leadership skills and appears to be someone who simply does not know how to handle real adversity , all that well. . The Cowboys came away with a narrow three-point loss in a 51-48 defeat at home from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas . Romo, may well have had a career day , with over 500 yards in passing , along with five passing touchdowns , but the loss now pushes this Jason Garrett coached team to a 2-3 record within the NFC East with the division itself in some dire need of real competitive play from all four of the occupants there .

Seattle’s contest with the Colts proved to be a match-up of two of the best quarterbacks from the crop of last season’s players taken in the 2012 NFL Draft . Andrew Luck , leading a relatively young roster , more than held their own against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks , in what I believed to be the best game of the entire weekend ! Luck in his brief NFL career , has now led the Colts to nine come from behind wins during his tenure , and it now looks as if the player has more than won over franchise’s faithful , who may well have had doubts that he was the rightful heir apparent to his predecessor , Peyton Manning , who this season has been rewriting the record books .

Your record simply reflects what you are in the NFL and if you are 0-5 , then that suggests that apart from being win-less , you are amongst the worst teams in the NFL . It is pretty much safe to say , that for both the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) and New York Giants (0-5) , their respective seasons are all but over . The Jaguars are playing in front of meager crowds at Ever Bank Stadium , while the Giants are simply hanging on for dear life , while seeking to further embarrass their two-time Superbowl head coach Tom Coughlin . Once, a stern disciplinarian, Coughlin still holds his players accountable for their actions . Yet, at present, it looks as if that the team is now lacking, not only leadership, but a great deal of confidence , as well as a lack of pride .

Well , as baseball’s postseason gets into full swing , several series within the wildcard rounds brought us little suspense , but now as the divisional series are in full swing . We are finally beginning to see the cream rise to the top , while the lesser lights have suddenly fallen flat and at the bottom of the cup . The Tampa Bay Rays are coming apart at the seams and it appears that Joe Maddon can no longer convince the fans are public alike that the franchise’s season was nothing more than aberration .

In the best of a five-game series, the Rays now find themselves down, 0-2 against a Boston Red Sox team, managed by John Farrell , that seems intent on winning their third World Series title in the past six seasons . I am not about to suggest that Tampa Bay has made it easy for the Red Sox to progress towards another AL pennant berth , but anyone who witnessed Saturday’s 7-4 loss and then its precursor of a horrendous 12-2 shellacking , will know that apart from the anemic offense shown , with the team’s defense has bordered on being downright insulting and even an affront to even the kids who play Little League Baseball .

Game four of this series will resume on Tuesday evening when the Tampa Bay will host the Boston Red Sox in a ” must-win game” , if they are to prolong their season . A loss and Tampa’s season will come to an abrupt end before it has even started .

While the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves won their divisions with considerable ease . It was felt that their NL divisional series would be considerably more competitive . With their first two games squared at one game apiece (1-1), Los Angeles then took a decisive role in annihilating the Atlanta 13-6 to take a 2-1 lead in the best of five game series . Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez , will now have to get his team mentally prepared for this decisive game , knowing full well that they cannot afford to lose. Game four , tonight , is in a must win or go home situation for Atlanta , wherein a great deal will be asked of Freddy Garcia , when he takes to the mound to oppose the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw .

As highly favored, as the St Louis Cardinals are meant to be in their series against the Pittsburgh Pirates . Who would have now thought that it would be the Cardinals on the brink of elimination , seeking to erase a 2-1 deficit ? Clint Hurdle and his staff , along with this team , have continued to defy all logic , as they continue to show a great deal of resilience, with Pittsburgh’s season being one of the major talking points of this baseball year . Pittsburgh will seek to close out the series in front of a home crowd of boisterous and raucous fans when the two teams meet at PNC Ballpark in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , on Monday afternoon.

As a former military vet , having counseled as well as assisted US military veterans in gaining benefits wrongfully denied by the federal government . It has become alarming to see how many of them, have become drug dependent by choice , on either prescriptive medication or far more hardened narcotics . Delusional and manic-depressive, as many of them have become, through the counseling and then providing them with the means to turn their respective situations around. That side of my participation , has become one of the most rewarding aspects of the work that I have done in this specific area ! Those veterans , who tend to fall through the cracks are either individuals who were never provided the assistance sought from the outset , or in a number of cases , simply those who felt that they can best deal with their issues on their own. In light of this , I raise the point of now unrestricted free agent and NBA star Lamar Odom , whose personal and professional career now seems to be careening out of control , after the revelations of his chemical dependency and a recent DUI charge, that he refutes . Personally , I feel that once your life has become intertwined with a member of the Kardashian family , his marriage to Khloe Kardashian , then you might as well place gun to your head and simply pull the trigger . Hopefully, Kanye West and Jaden Smith can learn something from this all , before it is too damn late .

With the NBA preseason already in full swing , it is extremely difficult to see how a team would be willing to acquire Odom , and then place him on their roster , with all of the personal baggage that the player now carries and his unwillingness to seek any type counseling or rehab . In 2012 with the Los Angeles Clippers , Lamar Odom’s statistics with the team can be best described as anemic and whose versatility at the height his career saw him as one of the most effective duel threats on both ends of the floor . With those days long done, the power forward has become a shell of that player , offering ,little by way of productivity , guidance for younger teammates , and who if anything, has become a “cautionary tale” of what wealth , fame and the glare of the spotlight can do to an athlete , who simply cannot handle the pressure , never mind the fact that , he has now become associated with a family that craves the spotlight , just as much Odom is now said to crave the hits of his drugs of choice cocaine and marijuana .. Which begs the question , what type of drug testing is now in place by the NBA hierarchy and how is that Lamar Odom’s issues were said to have gone unnoticed by the Clippers and his former team , the Dallas Mavericks ? Clearly, there is something awry with the league’s testing protocols and that of the teams’ own complete lack of oversight . Yet somehow , neither David Stern , the Mavericks’ front office or the NBPA saw if fit to address the issue , as it continues to carefully continues to cultivate that family friendly image of the league and its brand . Claims were made as recently as 2010 , that as many as forty-percent of the league’s players were recreational users of marijuana . I would dare say, that figure might well be considerably higher , with a number the athletes within the game, quite possibly using other illicit substances , while being able to circumvent the testing protocols of the NBA .

Not only will it be a long-shot for Lamar Odom to land a roster spot on a team , but with the preseason already up and running , and with the player being unable to prove himself as being in the right mental or physical shape . Why would a franchise be prepared to undertake such a high risk ? It would be stupid and financially though not a major burden , it would be money better well-spent , but it would be , elsewhere , on a player who can contribute immediately to a team .

The welcomed return of Derrick Rose to the NBA after a seventeen-month layoff will be a breath of fresh air in the league and add to its vitality . That being said, the former number one draft pick from the 2008 NBA Draft , was sorely missed by his Chicago Bulls’ teammates in the 2012 and 2013 NBA Playoffs . His return will certainly add more versatility and depth to perhaps, one of the best rosters in the entire Eastern Conference , in terms of overall depth. NBA preseason and all that it is said to accomplish , will be nothing more than for the coaches to assess the talent on their rosters , most notably the young rookies from the most recent draft and how those players will seek to acclimatize themselves . Though not seen as a consensus number one overall pick , Anthony Bennett was taken specifically , by the Cleveland Cavaliers to fit a role on a very good young team . It remains to be seen what the Cavaliers will have to offer their fans this season at the Quicken Loans Arena , in Cleveland , Ohio. Returning head coach, Mike Brown has been given the chance by GM Chris Grant to reprise the form shown when during the reign of LeBron James , the franchise was one of the more desirable venues to see some great basketball .

. Cleveland will open its regular season schedule with a home game against the Brooklyn Nets , a team that will see the debuts of their off-season acquisitions Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry . It will be all or bust , for the franchise , that will be coached by the recently appointed rookie Jason Kidd . GM Billy King and team owner Mikhail Prokhorov will have a great deal riding on the season beyond their reputations and the coaching acumen of Kidd .

For Derrick Rose and the Bulls , this season will most certainly offer the young point guard the chance to remind us once again why his prodigious talent has him earmarked as one of the handful of elite players now within the NBA , whose performances are at a consistently high level , when he is on a basketball court .

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Picture gallery .

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Picture and slideshow details .

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(1) Wallace Gilberry (95) of the Cincinnati Bengals sacks Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals would go on to defeat the Patriots 13-6 . Getty Images / John Grieshop ….

(2) Chris Crocker (32) of the Cincinnati Bengals sacks Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Patriots 13-6. Getty Images North America / John Grieshop ….

(3) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys yells the call against the Denver Broncos in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. The Broncos would defeat the Cowboys 51-48 , dropping the home team to 2-3 within the NFC East , a division that is now beginning to look very much like an elephants graveyard. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez ….

(4) Rays’ catcher Jose Lobaton rounds the bases , having hit a home run to win the game for the Tampa Bay Rays , in their 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida . With the victory , Tampa’s postseason hopes remain alive as they seek to even their ALDS at two games apiece . AP Photo / Mike Carlson …..

(5) Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers coming off three days rest pitched his team to a decisive game four victory over the Atlanta Braves , where they now await the winner of the Pittsburgh Pirates versus St Louis Cardinals’ series in the NLCS . The contests between those two teams is now tied at two games each (2-2). Game five will be played on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium in St Louis Missouri . AP Photo / Danny Moloshok …..

(6) Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe looks on as his two-run home run makes its way out of the ballpark as catcher Brian McCann of the Braves looks on . Uribe alongside Carl Crawford’s two home runs secured a 4-3 victory for the home team as they defeated the Atlanta Braves 3-1 in the NLDS to reach the NLCS for the first time since 2009 .

(7) Lamar Odom seen here having just signed with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2012 . The troubled star now , an unsigned free agent hopes to catch on with an NBA franchise this season , in spite of his now well chronicled drug issues over the past eighteen months . Odom is now estranged from his wife Khloe Kardashian-Odom , television reality star and a member of the Kardashian family , whose reality show ” Keeping Up with the Kardashians” is one of E Entertainment Television’s most popular “unscripted” series . AP Photo / Hal Marcum …..

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Jordan Carver shaking things up , so wonderfully .

Wet-n-wild with Jordan Carver . Nice , really nice !

Pine tar, anyone ?

Pine tar, anyone ?

Just when you thought could not get any more asinine within the world of baseball and how the league hierarchy has dealt with the Biogenesis ” scandal” , word now comes that beleaguered baseball player Alex Rodriguez will seek to sue Major League Baseball for slander , collusion in trying to have his career derailed and put to an end with their wrongful pursuit of him with regard to baseball’s substance abuse policy . The plaintiff furthers goes on to suggest that the hierarchy’s vindictive pursuance of him also contravenes the union’s (MLBPA) collective bargaining agreement. The league as defendants deny this , stating that the agreement agreed to and ratified by the union , allows them the right, to pursue a player and punish them accordingly, where they find there is irrefutable evidence that is beyond reasonable doubt ,that he has violated a league rule .

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At a time when baseball should be celebrating their postseason , the attention is taken away from these events , by a player known to be self-absorbed and only concerned with his own image, rather than showing himself to be a loyal teammate . MLB Commissioner . Bud Selig and the league hierarchy will now have to press the veracity of their case, should it be presented for trial in front of judge . Yet it is becoming abundantly clear that the New York Yankees’ third baseman is not prepared to give up without a fight , while seeking to defend his already tarnished reputation. From my own perspective the longer this story remains within the public’s view , the more embarrassing it is for the sport of baseball , because the commissioner’s handling of this whole episode has been poorly handled , with Bud Selig truly showing a complete lack of leadership.

A date has yet to be set for Alex Rodriguez’s appeal’s hearing, concerning his two-hundred and eleven game suspension for violating baseball’s steroid policy , an allegation that Rodriguez continues to deny , in spite of the evidence said to be in the hierarchy’s possession. While this process remains at an impasse , the question that also needs to be asked , is why no action by the New York Yankees and in particular with no public statement forthcoming from either Brian Cashman , Hank or Hal Steinbrenner ? I can only surmise that the front office of the organization is as incompetent as the league hierarchy itself . Rodriguez’s contributions for the New Yankees this season have been mediocre , with the player now a mere shadow of himself , while remaining the highest paid player in the game . A poor return for the franchise, whose season simply imploded during the final month of the season with the team’s poor play . A great deal of uncertainty now clouds the immediate future of this ball-club with their being no clear intent that manager Joe Girardi will return in . 2014 . That situation will play itself out, with a decision being made by the Yankees’ front office after Girardi has met with general manager Brian Cashman to discuss his future with the organization .

The Cincinnati Reds after their , all too disappointing season , have seen fit to fire manager Dusty Baker , with a year left on his current contract . GM Walt Jocketty , President & CEO Robert H Castellini made the decision to change course after another under-achieving 2013 sojourn . Baker in his six seasons with the Reds, was able to guide the ball-club to the postseason in four of the six seasons he managed the franchise , winning the NL Central division twice in 2010 and 2012 . Yet for all of that success, it was deemed not enough to constitute his return next season , which in many respects, with the team missing the postseason in 2013 , having finished a distant third in the NL Central behind divisional champions the St Louis Cardinals (97-65) and the surprisingly resilient Pittsburgh Pirates (94-68) , with the Reds’ lackluster mark of 90-72 . In terms of successor to Dusty Baker, the franchise has not made it clear who they will seek to replace him with as club’s manager , but it is quite clear that they will seek an individual with the name recognition and the necessary experience to lead the Reds in the next phase of their history .

A surprisingly successful season for the Cleveland Indians came to an all too abrupt end with the Indians’ 4-0 loss in the wild-card round of the postseason to the Tampa Bay Rays . Fittingly, for manager , Terry Francona , his return to the Big Leagues was a successful one having spent almost two years on the sidelines, before being hired by GM Chris Antonetti in 2013. Under Francona , in managing this team , they were able to show a great deal of resilience by pushing the Detroit Tigers for much of the season within the AL Central . There were signs to suggest that in 2014 the Indians will be a force to be reckoned with , not just within their division but across the AL as whole . I certainly believe that with the Indians’ depth and their prospects within the farm system , they will be much closer to being a legitimate challenger for a an AL pennant in the coming seasons.

If the NL has taught us anything this season within baseball , it has been that the cream always rises to the top. It should have come as no surprise that the Atlanta Braves , St Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers were the three triumphant divisional winners , winning those divisions by comfortable margins and with a great deal of east. With that in mind , with the postseason having begun , we are now down to the divisional series , where within the NL , the Pittsburgh Pirates are pitted against the St Louis Cardinals , with the other series pitting the high spending Los Angeles Dodgers against the Atlanta Braves . The first games of those two series were lopsided affairs , with the Cardinal getting the better of the Pirates in a 9-1 victory and the Dodgers laying the lumber, in thrashing the Braves 6-1 at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta , Georgia. The Pirates were able to exercise the demons of that loss, by coming back to defeat the Cardinals in game two 7-1 in game two of their five-game series . Game two of the series, between the Braves and Dodgers will resume tonight , with Atlanta looking to level that contest at one game apiece . A loss at this juncture would all , but bring about the inevitability of the end to the Atlanta Braves’ season, were they to lose the second game of this five game series .

While it can be said that the New York Yankees had a disappointing season, their erstwhile divisional rivals have rebounded from a disastrous 2012 , to win the AL East , under manager John Farrell , with the same old faces contributing greatly to the success of the team along with an influx of seasoned veterans such as Shane Victorino , Mike Napoli , Ryan Dempster , Jake Peavy and Jonny Gomes all lending a hand in that success . A year after the Bobby Valentine chapter of mismanagement and shameless finger-pointing by Farrell’s predecessor , for his own incompetence , it is good to be witness one of baseball’s more venerable franchises back where they belong . In light of that however , the Red Sox will face a tough ALDS series against the Tampa Bay Rays . Game one of this contest will begin today at Fenway Park in , Boston , Massachusetts , in-front of a raucous crowd of rabid Red Sox fans. Undaunted by the task they face , the Rays will be anxious to prove to their doubters that they do belong in the postseason . To my mind, both Farrell and his Rays’ counterpart , Joe Maddon are legitimate candidates for the AL Manager of the Year , but as they say , ” beauty is in the eye of the beholder “ , and given the idiocy of , and shown by the adjudicators of the Baseball Writers Association of America , we are likely to see either right decision being made or the sort of lunacy that the BBWAA has now become more known for .

Billy Beane has been able to achieve the extraordinary , with menial resources by way of a team payroll , but his skilled acumen , shows why he is one of the best general managers in all of baseball. Just imagine what he might have been able to achieve with the Oakland A’s , were he afforded a player budget in excess of $150 million , instead of the paltry $70 million he is currently allowed to operate with ? The A’s won the AL West by playing at a consistently high level throughout the season . Within the division, teams such as the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers simply flamed out and offered little challenge to the Oakland based franchise .

With their second consecutive divisional title in the bag , the Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin and his team will play hosts to Jim Leyland , manager of the Detroit Tigers in a series (games one , two and five , if needed) , where an AL pennant berth will await the winner of what is bound to be a competitive series given the tightness of the season contests in 2013. Leyland and the Tigers will undoubtedly be looking to redeem themselves this postseason, after the horrors of 2012 and their lopsided World Series’ loss (4-0) the San Francisco Giants . In the blink of an eye, the Tigers’ potent offense of 2012 , were rendered useless by a Giants’ pitching staff that played with a sense of purpose. Jim Leyland and his managerial staff will hopefully have learned something from that painful experience.

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It all seems so asinine, that at a time when baseball should be celebrating the best that it has to offer by way of its postseason showcase . It is left to one the game’s most despised individuals in Alex Rodriguez to further sully its image and reputation . Not that the sport has not been assisted by the buffoonery of Bud Selig , Michael Weiner , Executive Director of the MLBPA , the players and the journalists who cover the cover the sport. Needless to say the not so attentive and anal retentive fans who simply point to the idiocy of the hierarchy’s adoption of instant replay as a positive within the sport when they are far more acute issues that need to be dealt with. None of which, the players , union or league hierarchy would care to address with any real urgency. As the title of this pieces alludes to ___ “ Pine tar anyone” ? Baseball will remain replete with far more than its oddities , self- aloof demeanor and ideas of a grandiose nature , way above anything meaningful that is said to have been achieved over the past three decades. For that, we ought to thank the players for their continued ignorance and shameless stupidity , lack of authority shown by the owners , whose only interests are greed and the making of a “quick buck ” . Needless to say, atop of the list , remains the gutless windbag Bud Selig , whose departure from the game cannot come around quick enough ! Chime in, with your thoughts on this article and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below.

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(1) Merely a victim ? Or a shameless pariah looking to absolve himself of all responsibility for his actions ? Pictured inset , New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez seeks to sue MLB , in what he claims is a witch hunt sought by the league hierarchy to drive him out of the game of baseball . The player is the game’s active home runs’ leader and the leader in several other offensive categories . Rodriguez also will seek have his two hundred and eleven-game suspension overturned by an appeal’s tribunal presides over by arbitrator Fred Horowitz . A date for that hearing has yet to be set and it is likely that it will not take place until after the World Series . AP Photo / Alex Parsons ….

(2) Manager Dusty Baker (12) pulls Johnny Cueto (47) of the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the National League Wild Card game at PNC Park on October 1, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Getty Images / Jared Wickerham …..

(3) Danny Salazar (31) of the Cleveland Indians gets pulled by Terry Francona (17) of the Cleveland Indians in the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during the American League Wild Card game at Progressive Field on October 2, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rays would go on to defeat the Indians 4-0 . Getty Images / Jared Wickerham ….

(4) Boston Red Sox DH , David Ortiz watches his ground double as Rays’ catcher Jose Lobaton looks on during the game . The Red Sox would defeat the Rays 12-2 in game one of their ALDS contest played at Fenway Park in Boston , Massachusetts . AP Photo/ Charles Krupa ….

(5) PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 30: Manager Jim Leyland (10) of the Detroit Tigers looks on against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on May 30, 2013 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images …

Oakland A’s general manager whose stewardship of the front office has made the franchise one of the most admired in all of baseball . AP Photo / Keith Marshall ……

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Greed is good ! The problem remains, when is enough not enough?

Greed is good ! The problem remains, when is enough not enough?

One of my favorite movies of all-time, just happens to be the Oliver Stone directed and scripted theatrical release Wall St (1987). The movie depicted the cutthroat business of the financial markets of Wall St and the corruption involved in the world of high finance, the derivatives market and the stock exchange . Having worked in that field for a number of UK-based financial concerns in the areas of capital markets , economic research , mergers &acquisitions , arbitrage and money markets , upon my exit from the military , I can tell you that the portrayals of some of the characters were closer to reality , rather than the fabric of Stone’s imagination. The Oscar-winning director, may well have consulted with a number of Wall St bankers and financiers as a sounding board, in order to create the Michael Douglas’ character Gordon Gekko.

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Even today , the financial sector remains replete with its cast of characters , noted billionaire and multi-millionaire executives and dealers who display their wealth , all too ostentatiously, while paying homage to no one but themselves. In the world of professional sports’ franchise ownership , the same can be said of many of today’s most prominent team owners. Steeped in tradition , many of the owners from the past were treated with such reverence , but unfortunately , the same cannot be said for the vast majority of now involved this endeavor. Owners are now, power-hungry and money driven to eke out the last red cent that can be made from every dollar , and there to assist them with their wanton lust are Bud Selig , Roger Goodell , Gary Bettman and David Stern .

A patron of my site recently left a comment to a piece that I had written suggesting that the NHL (hockey) was now back on its feet, being a well ran organization , with now rising attendance. I found the comment itself rather comedic and totally lacking of insight and knowledge from someone who clearly had no idea what they were talking about , and someone who may well not have conducted any research before coming up with his assumption. The NHL remains in a very tenuous situation , one wherein the teams have in fact remained oblivious to the issues that caused their most recent labor stoppage , its fourth in the last two decades. Somehow this was all lost on this patron, who simply glossed over the following. The Phoenix Coyotes having barely escaped bankruptcy , are now under a new ownership group , who having chosen to remain within that locale, are now struggling to find major corporate sponsors as well as a local television contract, something which is one of the mainstays behind any professional sports franchise ownership and a major provider as a revenue stream. The NHL may well reconfigured the divisions, but it remains a vain attempt to not fully address the main problems that still befalls the game as a whole .

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman may well be restrained in his dealings with union counterpart , Executive Director Donald Fehr , who formerly held a similar position with the MLBPA (Players’ Union) . As we can all attest , that specific union much like its hockey counterpart , has baseball’s hierarchy quivering with fright , the very moment they mentioned the words , “labor stoppage “ or “ strike” . The same can be said, of the NHL hierarchy , their recent dealings with Donald Fehr and the ridiculous events that led to the most recent stoppage. Hockey drops the puck on their preseason on the 1st October , with the hope of seeing increased attendance levels and a greater presence in terms of a television audience , something that has been on the decline over the past three seasons . By stark contrast, teams said to be showing financial constraint in terms of their payroll commitments , suddenly began to revert back to ways of old by offering exorbitant long-term contracts , when it was clear that from a financial standpoint those obligations could not be met , with their being a sharp decline in team revenues. Consider also, the alleged health of the NHL by way of its franchises and their financial well-being , remains a myth, rather than a fact that they have steadily growing profits and revenue streams .

Hockey’s big four , by way of their prominence in terms of ownership and profitability, are the Montreal Canadiens , New York Rangers , Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings , have long been seen as the way franchises within the sport should be run. With their respective owners , the Molson family (Canadiens), James Dolan , Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Inc (holding company &sports’ franchise conglomerate) and Michael Ilitch have tried to show some financial constraint , but the issue remains , the weakness shown by the NHL hierarchy led by Gary Bettman when dealing with the NHLPA .

If hockey is said to be in something awry, MLB (baseball) joins the NHL as one of the most ineptly ran hierarchies in all of professional sports. Team owners , the general managers and MLB hierarchy , in conjunction with the union; have literally brought the game to its knees, with the ongoing scandals and the lack of leadership at all levels within baseball . Inasmuch, as the teams, with their history reveled in their perceptions of greatness , with owners of the past , such as George Steinbrenner , Walter O’Malley , Robert Carpenter III , Lou Perini , William Bartholomay , Jean R Yawkey , Ted Turner and Horace Stoneham may well be deemed as relics from a bygone age . Granted , George Steinbrenner brought the game into a new age , with his realization that the media could be used to further the visibility of a brand . With that came the establishment of the YES Network , wherein the Boston Red Sox followed suit with the creation of , NESN , which has now become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Fenway Sports Group (FSG) .

Baseball’s revenues have grown exponentially, to the point where game’s revenues now tops $7.5 billion annually . With that, we have seen the avarice of the owners, players and the league hierarchy alike , along with the escalating team payrolls and players’ salaries . Yet, for all of the greed shown, there has never really been any type of financial restraint being shown by the league itself . Now fans and analysts may well point to the fact that baseball does have a “luxury tax” built around the falsehood of an artificial salary cap based on a $200 million threshold . It is a luxury tax that a number of prominent team owners are now beginning to question its feasibility and whether or not its use, is still warranted. . Bud Selig would have you believe that the luxury tax has been of great benefit to the game , but in essence , it has been nothing more than keeping a number of less profitable franchises from failing into bankruptcy . Given the fact that baseball does have a number of unprofitable franchises who actually manage to obtain a profit by way of the luxury tax scheme as a recipient. It begs the question , should the big market teams be penalized for the inefficiency being shown by their small-market counterparts ?

Unless many of us were not deep-rooted fans of the New York Yankees , we could have not failed to realize the mediocrity of the Yankees’ season and the excuses now being made in certain circles for that failure . Off-field controversies asides, the team was mishandled by Joe Girardi and his staff, with a number of players on the roster simply under-performing , with little leadership being provided in the absence of team captain, Derek Jeter . Certainly , none was forthcoming from the game’s highest paid player , Alex Rodriguez , whose own issues seem to have come full circle once again , after his less than contrite apology in March 2010 , for the use of a been steroidal substance . Somehow , the third baseman’s anemic season was further compounded by the ineptitude of the entire front office’s handling of this latest scandal to hit the Yankees’ organization , never mind Bud Selig’s own idiotic antics in this matter. Rodriguez for his part , faces an off-season of real uncertainty , as he awaits an appeal’s hearing on his two-hundred and eleven game suspension . Arbitrator Fred Horowitz will listen to all of the evidence presented, before returning with a summary verdict . By no later, than late November , we are likely to find out , whether or not the now disgraced player has a future in the game , or will be cast aside , like a worn out pair of shoes. Alex Rodriguez has his detractors in and outside of the game , but to my mind baseball’s fraternity of players , have been nothing , but hypocrites , when the issue of steroids is raised within their environment ! Rodriguez, should lose his appeal won’t be financially impacted by the result , having earned in excess of $400 million over the course of his career . I mean what is the loss of $34 million to someone who will have earned well in excess of $25 million in 2013 , for putting up mediocre numbers , albeit, that he spent several months on the sidelines, being on the team’s disabled list ? . Rodriguez’s desire to be on the roster had nothing at all to do with wanting to contribute to the team , but more so to do with his own greed and lust to be seen as the best player of his generation, with the tainted legacy following in hot pursuit . The New York Yankees’ failure to make the postseason will not be a major blight to the finances of the organization , but their non-appearance tends to add weight , that without their participation , there does tend to be a considerable fall-off in the television ratings.

“Three-peat ” ? Well, that will be the cause-celebre’ for the Miami Heat should they actually manage to achieve that feat and become the first team since the Los Angeles Lakers reached that mantel in 2000 , 2001 and 2002 , under famed head coach Phil Jackson . Since acquiring LeBron James , Chris Bosh via free agency and the actual re-signing of Dwyane Wade in 2010, all to considerably lower deals than the players in question could have obtained . The Heat as a franchise, has seen its value increase 35% , with profits doubling during that time-span. The team has now become the “hottest ticket” in town and the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , is the place to seen at a sporting event in the state Florida. Sorry Buccaneers , Dolphins , Jaguars and Rays’ fans , but A-List celebrities have no wish to be seen at a venue where the decibel levels and meager attendance , tend to be a great deal quieter than being at a funeral service. .

Though Forbes may well have the Miami Heat’s value listed at .$685 million at present , that figure in reality, is now closer to $850 million , and as long as James remains with franchise alongside Bosh and Wade , that figure will appreciate more in value along with the organization’s profits . There was a reason behind Pat Riley and Micky Arison’s alleged Machiavellian scheme and madness , the answer was to simply make even more money as well as winning a couple of NBA titles to add to the mantelpiece . Can’t really fault them for that, can we ?

The Miami Heat in all likelihood will have another banner season in terms of attendance and once again be ranked among the top-five NBA franchises in terms of attendance levels all year-long, at home and for away games . David Stern continues to sell the merits of his brand to the consumer and corporate endorsers alike, but along the way his notion that while the league is making money , a number of teams , simply are not . And how does he answer those questions when they are posed by a journalist with a great deal of business insight ? Well, the commissioner tends to deflect them all , by putting on the charm and acting as the guardian of the keys to the castle otherwise known as the NBA .

The plot-lines have already been made clear, and they start with the following . Who in the East will be able to wrestle away the conference title from the defending NBA champions? Will LeBron James, win his fifth league MVP award? For all of the monetary commitment made by the Brooklyn Nets , will Jason Kidd be able to lead his assortment of highly paid stars to their first NBA title? A great deal is on the line for Nets’ GM Billy King and the franchise’s larger than life owner , Russian billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov .

In the Western Conference the never-ending drama and soap opera now parodying a comedic episode of ” Friends “ has now become a what if issue . Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak are now caught between a rock and a hard place . Last season they gambled hugely and lost , while under the belief that Dwight Howard was the missing piece they needed to make a deep playoff run in the postseason . Howard’s performances were anemic , as were those of his former teammates . Granted , the loss of Kobe Bryant was gut wrenching , but even that cannot hide the fact that beyond being a poorly coached team , head coach Mike D’Antoni remains completely out of his depth . He shows no wish to coach defense in spite of his public statements. Failure this season , and I do believe that apart from the roster being revamped and s we are likely to see the departure of Mitch Kupchak . He has become ” long in the tooth ” as a general manager , and in recent years his draft choices have become a complete bust . This could prove to be interesting beyond the anticipation of the Lakers’ fans , because it is my belief we will see a further decline in the fortunes of the NBA’s most renowned franchises .

The NFL has started off with a terrific bang , but as always that comes with the same stories replete with embarrassment. Divisions seem to be playing out with a number of teams proving to be downright mediocre . Nowhere is this more evident than within the NFC West , where if things carry on as they are we could once again see a team with .500 record make the postseason. Certainly, a case is being made by all four teams , the Dallas Cowboys (2-2) , New York Giants (0-4) , Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) and Washington Redskins (1-3) , that they are currently the face of what is now said to be wrong in the NFL. Bad coaching and in a number of cases highly overpaid players , simply failing to live up to the hyperbole . Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach went so far as to suggest that Tony Romo was the quarterback he believes is capable of leading the Dallas Cowboys to the Superbowl . Not wanting to disparage , but it may well be that the Cowboys’ great has yet to witness Romo’s play in the postseason and the very fact that current starting quarterback has only one playoff win to his postseason career after a decade in the NFL . Given the current state of the Dallas Cowboys’ season , it seems highly unlikely that this team in its current guise, will add to that tally for the player . Never mind, that doubts are continually raised, as to the coaching acumen of Jason Garrett , in spite of the implicit faith being shown in him by team owner Jerry Jones.

If there is anything that we do know about Jerry Jones as the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. It is his propensity of making a great deal of money , most notably for his franchise , with the NFL in some respects trailing in his wake, in following many of the commercial and marketing strategies the ubiquitous owner has put in place as the general manager and de-facto CEO of the franchise .

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Picture gallery

This season will be a tough one for the Cowboys , and they face an even tougher task this weekend , when their opponents are the unbeaten Denver Broncos (4-0) , led by Peyton Manning , who through four games this season has put up some scintillating figures for the AFC West franchise . The game itself promises to be a high-octane affair amongst an array week five match-ups that should prove to be entertaining . The NFL will continue to reap the seeds sown of their s labor , even when its brand looks extremely dour, because , it has become a well-oiled multi-billion industry on an annual basis, with the spoils of war being shared, equally amongst the teams. Yet for some reason, I get the feeling, that the league hierarchy remains unconcerned in such an instance. Your thoughts on this all and anything else you feel to be pertinent to the subject matter ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details .
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From left to right , Davids Stern , Bud Selig , Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman . The four executives are the highest ranking leaders within the four respective professional team sports . AP Photo / Gary Halvorson ……

(2) Radim Vrbata of the Phoenix Coyotes is seen in a game against the Los Angeles Kings . Getty Images / Christian Peterson ………

(3) Walter O’Malley is seen here perusing a picture of Dodgers Stadium . Known as a shrewd businessman , O’Malley was vilified for relocating the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles and then renaming them the Los Angeles Dodgers . AFP /REUTERS ….

(4) Andy Pettitte (46) of the New York Yankees is joined by Derek Jeter (2) and Mariano Rivera (42) to honor Pettitte, who is retiring from the Yankees, before their game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on September 25, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Rays defeated the Yankees 8-3 . Getty Images / Mike Stobe …

(5) A duo of destiny ? Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra (foreground) and LeBron James are seen here on the sidelines during a game interval. The coach and player will be looking win their second NBA title and the franchise’s third overall in their history. AP Photo / Mike Rodgers …

(6) Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni and Kobe Bryant . The two are hoping to rebound from an awful 2012 , that saw the team’s hopes derailed in the postseason by a first round exit . . AP Photo / Kim Thompson …..

(7) Roger Staubach is seen here on the sidelines with Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys . Staubach a Superbowl winner with the franchise , believes the current incumbent quarterback is good enough to win a Superbowl title with the ball-club. Getty Images / Matt Richardson ….

(8) Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (center), flanked (from left to right) by son Jerry Jr., daughter Charlotte Anderson, wife Gene and son Stephen. AP Photo / Paul Marsh ….

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If at all interested , do take time participate in the above mentioned poll.
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tophatal ………………. 10/01/2013

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NBA news

NBA regular season schedule 2013-14 begins 29th October , 2013

Miami Heat news

Miami Heat schedule (2013-14)

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NHL news

NHL divisional standings (2013-14) and by conference

NHL team payrolls
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MLB news

MLB postseason history (2013)

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NFL news