Highlights, low-lights and no lights at all …………..
With a mere two days to go , before the culmination of the NBA season and with many of the divisional races all but sewn up , the conference records have yet to resolved, as are the final seedings. In the Eastern Conference the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat are now in a rabid dogfight for that number one spot within the conference . For head coaches, Frank Vogel and Erik Spoelstra , theirs has been a season of thrills and suspense, during which, both have proven themselves to very successful in their endeavors. Whether or not , both are viewed as leading candidates for the NBA Manager of the Year Award , remains to be seen . While I believe, both to be credible and likely vote-getters , the leaders in this field I believe are Dwane Casey , Mark Jackson , Gregg Popovich and Tom Thibodeau ! As an avowed fan of the San Antonio Spurs , in spite of his unprecedented success as a head coach , having won this title only twice during his career . This is unlikely to be the year, that Popovich has a third triumph, in winning these prestigious awards.
In spite of the ballyhooed surrounding the New York Knicks late season acquisition of Phil Jackson to head that franchise’s operations as Head of Basketball Operations , will not bring about as triumphant a year-end as their fans might have hoped . Unfortunately, poor play , lack of commitment from the players and their not buying into the coaching philosophy of Mike Woodson and coaching staff , has pretty much summed up why the team has failed miserably, while their fans continue make the most infantile and immature excuses for the franchise’s failings this season. A rather convincing eleven-point win over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden , in New York City , is simply too little too late , as the games now come fast and quick , with the Knicks’ shot at the eighth and final berth in the Eastern Conference all but dead and buried. A fate, that was created by the Knicks, due to their inconsistency, season long and it is likely to be something that will be addressed by Phil Jackson.
The individual awards, for this season, are likely to be debatable in some contact ,with the biggest of them all , now producing arguments on both sides of the scales, in support of LeBron James and Kevin Durant for the NBA League MVP Award . The outcome could very well be the tightest race, that the league has seen in several years , with it quite possibly , coming down to the wire as who, the winner is likely to be . A fifth victory for James, would place the player in rarefied air, as a multiple winner of the award, as Durant seeks to win his first such honor, in winning the game’s highest individual regular season award. It is my opinion, that it would be a fitting triumph for Kevin Durant to win the award , after a record-breaking season for the player on so many fronts and for the Oklahoma City franchise !
A pitiful season for the Philadelphia 76ers and the simple resolve behind the front office for the franchise to remain uncompetitive, while having fans pay for such a rancid on-court product that protagonists of the NBA and that of the league’s former commissioner believe as acceptable. Personally, if the imprint of David Stern has been over the entire gamut of the NBA for the past three decades and fans are seeking to excuse that mediocrity, then it simply alludes to their ongoing apathy and lack of understanding, of what has taken place within the league during his tenure . For the Sixers fans, perhaps the only bright spot , on an otherwise, mediocre season, has been the play of rookie Michael Carter-Williams , who is likely to be viewed as the most credible candidate on a short-list of no more than four real top-flight nominees , for the Rookie of the Year Award .
The Sixth Man of the Year Award and that of the Most Improved Player are pretty much self-explanatory and not a situation, where there will be a cavalcade of players being lined up as nominees for either award. I believe, that the two leading candidates, in the aforementioned categories, just happen to be teammates , Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford ! Crawford , should win the Sixth Man of the Year , pulling away from the other likely nominees , simply because of his productivity , most notably during the fourth quarter of game . Griffin , is likely to be pressed by the Chicago Bulls’ center Joakim Noah for the Most Improved Player , with quite possibly , with Noah , coming away the victor, solely because of his presence, his resilience and that of the Bulls’ surprising showing within their division and the Eastern Conference overall , this season . From my own perspective , I believe the Tom Thibodeau coached team to be the most dangerous of the top five teams in the conference , outside of the top two contenders, now jockey conference supremacy and that is with all due respect to the third seeded Toronto Raptors .
Out in the Western Conference, while others were making hay while the sun shone brightly , while analysts and fans alike, gathered like flies around fecal matter, in making the likes of the Oklahoma Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers , Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets as likely the teams with the best record in the conference . The San Antonio Spurs , simply put together another regular season display , with the franchise making it sixteen consecutive seasons in the NBA postseason , along with having the best record in the conference as well as the NBA . The Spurs in many respects, they have unnecessarily become, the Rodney Dangerfield of the NBA , as they do not seem to get the due recognition they deserve or the reverence for those astonishing achievements . Four NBA titles during that aforementioned time-span , while averaging, just over fifty wins, per season . Am I missing something here , but are the fans of the league really that anally retentive and apathetic ? I guess the smoke, that gets into their eyes, actually has a great deal more than smoke , but also a great deal of mucus !
Two weeks into the MLB season and there happens to more money sitting in the teams’ dugouts, with regard to players’ injuries , than can be found to make up the payroll of several of the ball-clubs at the lower end of the payroll spectrum. Who would have thought, that Clayton Kershaw and his contract , would now be looked at with bewilderment , but yet by comparison , baseball still has to contend with Alex Rodriguez wanting to offer his advice on the game and its present predicament? Yet , this has been how the game has evolved , with their now being no discerning leadership being shown by the league hierarchy and where the likes of Rodriguez are still given quarter to offer up any type nonsensical stupidity , that the press deems fit for print for the fans , to swallow up.
Newly installed union Executive Director Tony Clark has yet to offer an opinion on his own views, on the punishment meted out to his members concerning steroid abuse in recent months, but I can only surmise that the relationship between Major League Baseball and the MLBPA (union) will continue to be antagonistic , as it has been throughout the reigns of Donald Fehr , his successor Michael Weiner and now likely , Clark , himself !
Already this season, we have seen a number of great single game performances , perhaps none more than the play of Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreu and his almost single-handed onslaught and demolition of the Colorado Rockies , in the team’s 15-3 pounding that took place at Coors Field in Colorado on the 8th April , 2014. Abreu, has been everything, that Robin Ventura , the coaching staff, front office , led by owner ,, Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Kenny Williams believed he would be, when he was acquired as a free, agent in October of 2013 , having been a member of the Cuban national team . It will undoubtedly take a great deal more than simply Abreu’s productivity to lift the White Sox out of the doldrums and prove to be competitive enough a challenger to the likes of the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins , Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians .
Far too early, to start making claims, as who, the best team in baseball just happens to be, as the teams are still finding their rhythms , while we are still in the infancy of the season. Granted , the play of the Houston Astros , is leading me to believe, that the team could be back on route to having a fourth consecutive season of one hundred losses or more . That type of mediocrity, has to be setting a real precedence in the modern-day era of baseball, as we have come to know it . Then again , if the fans are willing to accept the years of mediocrity, exhibited by the Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays , over the past two decades , then why should the Astros’ plight be considered to be any different ?
With a record of 5-8 within the AL West , the Houston Astros are already 3 ½ games behind divisional leaders the Oakland Athletics (8-4) as of 13th April , 2014. At this point last season, the Astros were not in a similar position and by no means should the same date be viewed as something of a precursor, to what was about to unfold over the course of the team’s schedule , but suffice to say , from April 14th onwards things seemed to have spun out of control for Bo Porter , his managerial staff and in particular GM Jeff Luhnow , who was unable to “right a sinking ship ” , with a year-end record , merely indicating how bad the team was said to be and that the level of play by the players was simply below average . Should the fans, be expecting, more of the same, at Minute Maid Park , in Houston this season? Well , dependent upon who one listens to, the Houston Astros are likely to be markedly better or they will remain a cellar-dweller among the AL teams and baseball in general. I am liable to believe that it will be the latter , because there has been no real indication that the front office , has made the moves necessary to improve the roster overall .
With no scheduled game for Monday , the Astros will play host to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday afternoon, when Yordano Ventura takes the mound for the Royals against Lucas Harrell of the Astros , in what is likely to be a solid contest between these two young pitchers .
It’s strange what a flying start out of the gate can do to for the moral of a team . In less than six days , in going, from having the best record within their division the Miami Marlins have found themselves in a place that they now seem so accustomed to. As a one-time fan of the franchise , I have seen the highs lows of the ball-club having won two World Series ,while the owners of the teams at the time, having won those titles , sought to implode the rosters , plead poverty and then seek to use the league hierarchy as befits them in gaining greater dispensation by this league’s idiotic tax revenue sharing scheme , which to this day, no one from Bud Selig’s office can explain succinctly how it is has benefited the league much less the low market teams, as a whole . MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner has proven to be no more competent in his current position , than Tim Geithner might have said to be in his former position as Treasury Secretary. As we know , Geithner , though thought to be a financial wunderkind , proved to be nothing more than a boorish ass, while trying to placate the all too moronic and sophomoric policies of the incumbent President , while his agency failed miserably, in working in conjunction, with the financial sector and FRB in bringing about any real tangible benefit to the economy. Likewise, it has been the same thing with Mariner and his antics with being the league’s highest ranking financial executive. Need we be also reminded, it was Johnathan Mariner, who also suggested that the issue of steroids within baseball, was merely a press’ idea of giving the game a bad reputation.
MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner , not the brightest of people within the MLB hierarchy but somehow his sentiments are shared by some around the game of baseball as it relates to the issue of steroids . AP Photo / Phil Reid ….
I may well be mistaken, but long before the era of steroids, the game of baseball, used segregation as a prominent part, of its terrain, to omit minorities from being participants in the sport ? Yet , here in 2014, we have a fairly prominent African-American within the upper echelons of baseball’s hierarchy , making such a statement? And I was once told by a patron , that this country had advanced along the path of racial convergence , where we need not worry about such issues ? The statements were made by an individual, who within his locale seemed blind, to the racial epithets and attacks were taking place against young women and children entering a place of worship. Now in light of the most recent incidents, having taken place in Kansas City , Missouri and Jasper , Texas , I wonder what this apathetic fool might have to say ?
Mike Redmond as the manager of the Marlins and a former player in the Big Leagues as well as with the team he currently manages . In having to succeed Ozzie Guillen and his year of incredulity , stupidity , slapstick style of management , has been placed in a position where he is unlikely to succeed. Giancarlo Stanton , the Marlins’ best player , alongside Jose Fernandez , 2013 NL Rookie of the Year , are seen as the two players likely to spearhead the Marlins’ resurgence within the division and NL . Unfortunately, I do not believe the evidence is there , nor is there the depth to the roster needed , in order for the Miami Marlins to be seen as a legitimate contender for the NL Pennant , much less a World Series title .
Monday afternoon’s result , was simply, a further indication, why I believe that the Miami Marlins will continue to struggle throughout this season! The team was outplayed in every aspect of their contest, in succumbing 9-2 to divisional rivals the Washington Nationals , where at no point during the game, did the home team have an answer for the pitching of Ryan Zimmerman , much less an answer for the Nationals’ offense. It was plain to see, that the Miami Marlins were outgunned and out-manned by an opponent , whose ambitions this season are certainly greater than anything going on inside of the Marlins’ front office headed by team owner Jeffrey Loria and David P Sansom , GM Michael Hill and Andre Dawson . The Marlins’ struggles on the field may well be well chronicled , but it should also be noted, over the past six seasons , game attendance for the Marlins’ games have been among the lowest in the entire league. Doubt my word, there figures are there, for everyone to witness , so please someone explain to me succinctly why a new baseball stadium has to be built for the Tampa Bay Rays , much less any professional sports’ franchise on within the state?
Picture gallery .
Slow week , in the NFL ? No , the shakeout among the teams continues , as they get rid of what they believe to be “dead weight” by way of the players, in order, to remain cap-friendly . At this point of the off-season , I am not particularly interested in the machinations of the league , much less the idiocy and the ongoing debate, as to who should be taken number one overall in the upcoming NFL Draft . The players having declared their eligibility , will either be able to play or they are likely to become monumental busts . Need we be reminded the goddamn hype over Tim Tebow , whose NFL career was vaguely memorable and for all of Gators’ fans out there who feel that the Heisman Trophy winner was sorely done by . Please get a life , as the quarterback was never good enough to play in the league in spite of a number of results . Simply look at the lack of consistency from the player and the very fact that he was unable to read defenses , much less, that technically, it was very much like watching a child stumbling, while take their very first steps and their idiots, who actually believed he possessed the skill-set to play in the NFL at a high level ? There remains a great deal of apathy and ignorance among the fan-base, within the NFL and among the on air personalities who cover the game.
With the NBA Playoffs about to begin , which teams do you believe will be at the forefront of making a major impact during the postseason ? Which team, teams or player, do you believe has been the most impressive this early in the baseball season ? Finally, with all, of the hyperbole, concerning the proposed number one overall pick in this NFL Draft, do you believe the ongoing discussion has been justified ? By all means, chime in with your thoughts as you see fit and thanks always for the continued support of this site as it greatly appreciated !
Picture and slideshow details below .
(1) NBA head coaches from left to right , Dwane Casey, of the Toronto Raptors , Terry Stotts of the Portland Trailblazers and Jeff Hornacek of the Phoenix Suns . Casey and Stotts, will be leading their teams into the Playoffs but Hornacek and Suns narrowly missed a playoff berth in the Western Conference . Getty Images/ Gregory Ralston ….
(2) Opposing head coaches from last season’s NBA Finals , Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs and Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat are seen here prior to the start of game five of the 2013 NBA Finals Series at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas,. Miami would go on to prevail in the Finals winning the series 4-3 , with LeBron James being named Finals MVP for the second successive time of his career. James also led all scorers in the series and has one of the highest postseason playoff averages in NBA history. AP Photo / Matt Slocum ….
(3) Phil Jackson . left , recently hired to oversee the Basketball Operations of the New York Knicks is pictured here, in-framed with head coach Mike Woodson . Rumors are rife , that Woodson’s tenure with the franchise, is likely to be terminated at the end of the season , with Jackson seeking to replace the beleaguered head coach with a person of his own choice . For the moment the context remains mere speculation , as neither the front office executive, the head coach or team owner, James Dolan have gone on record as stating what is likely to happen in the future concerning the head coaching with the franchise. Getty Images / David Green …
(4) Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers is seen here before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodgers Stadium on May 6 , 2013 in Los Angeles, California. With the season in its infancy , the high-priced pitcher is one of a litany of players across the league on the MLB Disabled List . During the off-season Kershaw signed a multi-year , multi-million deal, that made him among the highest paid players in the league and one of the highest salaried starting pitchers in the game . The Los Angeles Dodgers this season surpassed the New York Yankees with the highest payroll in baseball , with teams’ payroll commitments exceeding last year’s record Opening Day figure of $3.065 billion . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …
(5) Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox who has had a spectacular start to the season for the team as the White Sox seek to make inroads this season , while seeking to be more competitive within the AL Central. AP Photo / Garry Lloyd …
(6) MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner , not the brightest of people within the MLB hierarchy but somehow his sentiments are shared by some around the game of baseball as it relates to the issue of steroids . AP Photo / Phil Reid ….
(7) Nov 2, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins vice president & general manager Michael Hill (left) listens as Marlins new manager Mike Redmond fields questions during a press conference at Marlins Park . Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports …..
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