The fine art of incompetency and how it has found its way into the world of professional team sports, while ambivalent sports’ fans make light of it all … …

The fine art of incompetency and how it has found its way into the world of professional team sports, while ambivalent sports’ fans make light of it all … …

By Tophatal….

In the aftermath of the Thanksgiving Day trilogy of NFL games played on Thursday afternoon and evening. It cannot have escaped the the view of the fans how incompetent the losing teams were said to be. A sign of the times might one think or purely endemic of a league where the talent level and coaching seems to have been on the decline? This season the NFL has seen its fair share of issues on the filed and also off it, with player misconduct taking place center-stage , with the league hierarchy not showing a great deal of intelligence in such matters without the diatribe and downright pomposity of the NFLPA (Players’ Union) being on show for all to witness. Roger Goodell’s lack of communicative skills and lack of candor supports the thought process he remains in over his head. The same can also be said of the franchise owners around the league and their lack of action in dealing with such matters.

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Game one of the trilogy offered up on Thanksgiving Day might have lead us to believe the fans would be in for a treat , but even having ate way too much turkey , with the Tryptophan yet to take effect, it has to be said the level of play from defeated teams would have led the fans to become sick, suffering with gastrointestinal problems and in some cases, loose stool, leading to bouts of diarrhea. Hell, the shit was piled so high by Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler , you could have smelled the odor emanating from Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan , as the Detroit Lions and Matt Stafford feasted upon a Bears’ defense lacking in creativity and real competitive zeal. Detroit came away with a rather lopsided victory where the NFL North divisional opponents succumbed with the utmost of ease .

If ever there was time, to be convinced Jay Cutler never had what it took to lead a team with any degree of success, Cutlers’ performance in this game was a clear indication of that fact. The loss dropped the Chicago Bears’ record to 8-4 a mark shared with the Dallas Cowboys (8-4) within the NFC . With only three games left for the teams to jockey themselves within their divisions and conference as they make a push for a berth in the postseason. Chicago’s position now becomes all the more precarious precarious within the division, the conference and their only hope remains, in winning out their remaining games and a wish to see their fellow conference rivals slip up along the way.

Tony Romo’s playoff record has been well-chronicled, ridiculed and debated. Yet , for all of the missteps by the quarterback, his regular season record though impressive, his unwillingness to lead with authority , never-mind the fact he continues to apportion blame elsewhere for his team’s woes and his own incompetence, clearly seen also in the Cowboys’ lopsided loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, who were led by the team’s backup quarterback Mark Sanchez, having one of his performances as a starter over the past two seasons.

Mark Sanchez not only outplayed the more experienced Tony Romo, with any memories of the infamous “butt-fumble” now being pushed back into the past. Nick Foles now sidelined by injury might not be pushed back too quickly into his starting role. Head Chip Kelly will certainly have to think long and hard before coming to a decision about whether or not to reinsert Foles into the lineup , especially with the team’s backup performing so well. As to what this loss meant to the Dallas Cowboys and the fact , it was all the more bitter , the defeat took place at home inside the cavernous Cowboys’ Stadium in Arlington, Texas,. Jerry Jones might not be seething over the defeat of his beloved Cowboys, but you can bet the organization and their fans have to be embarrassed after such a demoralizing and disastrous display.

If you tend to flirt with disaster one way or another it is likely to come back and bite you in the ass . Over the course of this season the San Francisco 49ers (7-5) and the Seattle Seahawks have courted and flirted with the remnants of that premise far too often the course of this year. These two teams met on Thursday in the late evening game and there was a great deal on the line within the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals now seem to be running away with the divisional lead needing only a victory in Sunday’s game to guarantee themselves a postseason berth. I have no doubt in my mind the Cardinals will come away with an easy road victory over the Atlanta Falcons whose season has not only spiraled out of spiraled of control, but it is now mired in the depths of mediocrity.

Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson have been part of some epic battles during the regular and the postseason . These two young quarterbacks are thought to be among the future of the NFL and two of the young passers to have been drafted over the past three years. Both have been part of the postseason foray and it has been Wilson , who prevailed , as he led the Seattle Seahawks to their lone Superbowl victory in the franchise’s history. Since that success, Russell Wilson has been a model of consistency for Seattle. Kaepernick, while having considerable postseason success, the big win sought, has not come into being.

Seattle’s decisive 19-3 demolition of the San Francisco 49ers was a case in how to negate a team’s offense which has spluttered through this season. The Forty-Niners will now have to win out, if they are to secure a berth in the postseason and even a double-digit win tally of ten wins might now seem improbable, given their performances over their last five games , going 3-2 , which now places them third within their division and the likelihood of scrambling to obtain a berth in the postseason. Not exactly the way GM Trent Baalke, CEO Jed Yorke or Jim Harbaugh and the members of the front office had envisaged seeing the season actually pan out. Thankfully, perhaps the knowledge of knowing their next scheduled game will be against the like-minded and offensively challenged Oakland Raiders (1-10) will offer a reprieve for San Francisco when they meet their opponent on the road in week fourteen. Failure to win there and the team might as well call it quits on their season.

Putting your best foot forward has taken on new meaning in the NFL this season especially within the NFC South. It seems almost unfathomable the winner of the division could end up with as few as seven wins and still make the postseason at the expense of a team within the NFC with a better record. Personally, I would rather not go in depth and describe the seasons of the Atlanta Falcons (4-7), New Orleans Saints (4-7) , Carolina Panthers(3-7) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9), other than to suggest what you see is exactly what you ought to get . All four teams within the division have given a new meaning to the words, “banality”,” ineptitude” and sheer ” mediocrity “ this season . Unfortunately, with the top three teams still in with a chance of winning the division , the fans of the NFL will still have to witness their ongoing performances over the remainder of the regular season schedule. This is what has been endemic about the NFC South all season long, with their being few positives to point out whatsoever.

No one can deny the league’s handling of the Ray Rice “affair” has been an act of sheer stupidity on the part of Roger Goodell, the league hierarchy and in particular on the part of the Baltimore Ravens’ organization . Team owner Steve Bisciotti’s explanation as to why he and the front office failed to act has been met with a great deal of skepticism and the fact that Goodell’s office have stumbled their way through this whole spectacle with repeated pratfalls , while being economical with the truth leads me to believe another misstep by the NFL over another ordeal of this nature and the same steps will almost certainly be repeated. At no time was there any transparency shown by the league , other than during this arbitration case where the arbitrator a former Federal Court judge Barbara Jones found in favor of Rice with the disgraced Ravens’ running back now given a reprieve and being reinstated back into the NFL. As to whether or not another NFL franchise will re-sign Ray Rice will be dependent upon their needs and if they are willing to be subjected to the likely backlash by a number of women’s groups. Now some might point to the fact Michael Vick was allowed back into the league having paid his debt to society after his wrongdoings. Those said to be deserving of a second chance are given that reprieve and a chance to make amends . Rice may well have been contrite after his heinous actions , but his then fiance , Jenay Parker-Rice did little to serve the best interests of women with her statements her husband had been made a scapegoat by the NFL and society in general.

The NFL has failed miserably in their efforts to deal with a number of social ills and the issue of player misconduct, the incompetence of the union and in large part a great of apathy and ambivalence shown by the fans and how they have viewed the issue of domestic violence and spousal abuse.

An old adage …. ” the more things change the more they are said to remain the same” . Quite clearly, this season within the NBA the Philadelphia 76ers (0-15) are well on the way to proving that very point. There is nothing noble or gallant in seeing a professional sports’ franchise display this type of ineptitude while fans try to shrug it off as being part of the game. This very same franchise spent much of last season performing so deplorably , it all seemed lost on the NBA hierarchy as they sang and heaped praise on their departing commissioner David Stern . Proponents of the former commissioner continue to point to how he assisted with the growth of the NBA. I will put it more succinctly, when you can ride on the coattails of the NBA’s greatest player and perhaps one of the greatest sports’ personalities and professional athletes this country has ever produced. Only an imbecile could have failed in not being able to expand the reach of the NBA domestically and globally, while witnessing and using the exploits of Michael Jordan to market their brand.

Stern’s successor Adam Silver is now having preside over the 76ers as this team for the second successive season seeks end their schedule with the worst record in the NBA. The best and the worst have been on show in league over the course of its schedule at this point and it is pretty much a safe bet, no one expected to see the Memphis Grizzlies (14-2) and Toronto Raptors (13-3) possess the two best records in the league , with the Grizzlies leading a very competitive Western Conference.

Brett Brown and his Sixers’ coaching staff have a long way to go before they match the infamy of having worst regular season losing streak(twenty-six games) , but they are making damn sure of taking aim of matching that ignominious feat. Fifteen games and counting with each loss to start this season, has been by an average margin of 15.5 points. That sort of ineptitude is either ingrained or by taught by Brown and his coaching staff to the roster of players. I will use the term ” players ” loosely, because there has been absolutely nothing to suggest that this group can actually play the game of professional basketball competitively .

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Next up for Philadelphia will be a game against the Dallas Mavericks (12-5) at the Wells Fargo Center , in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ,. Sixers’ owner Josh Harris and his fellow executives have shown little propensity in changing the mindset of the organization in spite of claims to the contrary by others within the game. Little has been done by this league to even remote chastise owners who merely seek to make a profit from their franchise while producing a bad product on the court. The NBA has become indicative of that over the years and nothing is likely to be done by Adam Silver or the league hierarchy. If left to idiots to such as Mark Cuban to sell the current brand of the NBA as a solid product , the self-absorbed and publicity seeking entrepreneur would have us eat his crow, while telling us what a great Hors-d’ouevre and appetizer the entree and main course just happen to be.

Sixers’ roster led by the mercurial talents of Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid , Drew Gordon , Luc Mbah a Moute and Tony Wroten are hardly names meant to instill e fear in any opponent , never mind the coaching staff lacking a great deal of experience . Yet somehow , there are fans who believe the team being a work in progress, will become competitive in years to come. This lineup is unlikely to be the same a year from now, much less at the trade deadline this season (19th February). GM Sam Hinkie will likely to strip away pieces from the roster under the pretext once again that he is building for the future . Attendance levels at the Wells Fargo Center are lower now than they were last season when the Sixers were not even remotely competitive. The same can now be said of this season as they continue struggle in the NBA.

Phil Jackson since returning to the New York Knicks (4-13) has seen the team struggle this season. The expectations were said to be high , but it is hard to envisage how a roster team devoid of talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony could be seen as a worthy challenger to the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors within the Eastern Conference this season . Derek Fisher is still learning on the job in his freshman year as a head coach and it does not instill any confidence, if you are an observer , watching this team from afar.

Fisher’s career as a player is littered with success, but so far in his first coaching stint , he is beginning to see how tough this job is going to be. Coaching many of today’s top stars in the NBA is not unlike dealing with a petulant child. The Knicks’ head coach will likely find this out while also having to deal with Phil Jackson in his position as Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise. The “buck stops here” , but in the case with this particular franchise, it will be deferred and failure by the team this season, will likely lead to Fisher’s firing. New York is not at all forgiving when their professional sports’ franchises are failing and when the finger-pointing begins and it tends to be the head coach taking the fall as the ” fall guy “, when the players themselves are in fact the real reason behind the team’s failure.

In their most recent game on the 28th November the New York Knicks were on the wrong side of a lopsided twenty-seven point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder . . Returning to the Thunder lineup was the team’s point guard Russell Westrbook , but the Thunder’s best player and League MVP , guard , Kevin Durant is still several weeks away from returning the starting lineup. Westbrook led all scorers in their defeat of the New York Knicks, where the leading scorer for the Knicks’ loss was Amare’ Stoudemire in the absence of the injured Carmelo Anthony.

Any thought that Jackson would have Derek Fisher install the “Triangle Offense” and have it, up and running with a great deal of efficiency has been lost in terms of the Knicks’ play this season. This team , as with last season has yet to show any signs of being a great defensive unit. The Knicks’ strengths will continue to be their offense, especially with Carmelo Anthony on court to display his offensive arsenal .

The New York Knicks and Miami Heat will renew one of the NBA’s most heated rivalries . Dwyane Wade and Chis Bosh are the lone survivors of the franchise’s former ” Big Three” , with the departure of LeBron James and his return to the Cavaliers. New York will play host to Wade and his teammates at Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York. The contest will one of the highlights of Sunday’s schedule. Regular and postseason games between these two storied franchises have in many respects represented the animosity which still exists between the two Eastern Conference teams. For Dwyane Wade this will also offer him another opportunity of going up against Carmelo Anthony in another contest, where the two will seek to show off their vast array of offensive skills.

As the NBA is about to enter the third month of the season, it is hard to envisage how a number of these teams with poor records will actually survive while playing a less than competitive brand of basketball .

It would be fair to suggest the MLB postseason provided the fans with an astonishing array of events. The Kansas City Royals and their improbable run to the World Series gave us great drama and theatrics. Now in the aftermath of the series the Royals are now build on that success. Unfortunately, it now appears one of the team’s regular and postseason heroes will not be returning to the ball-club. Billy Butler was traded by the Royals to the Oakland A’s . In what has to be a strange turn of events the team Kansas defeated in the AL wildcard game would be the recipient of Butler’s services with the player garnering a three-year $30 million contract . As to what this now indicates about the AL Pennantwinners and their apparent wish to be seen as long-term contenders for the World Series has now taken a backwards’ step in my opinion ! For years the front office of this organization has systematically traded away players, rather than pay what was deemed to be fair market value .

Now in light of their recent success, it would appear team owner David Glass and GM Dayton Moore seem to be intent on reverting back to ways of old. An almost three-decade wait for a postseason appearance and now this ? It may not be viewed as a slap in the face of the Royals’ fans, but now trading players away, because you haven’t the financial resources to retain some of your stars on your roster does seem crass and impudent.

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Billy Butler is unlikely to be the last player to be let go by the Kansas City Royals during the off-season and as admirable their season was said to be, all of that will now be forgotten, as the team prepares for their Spring Training Schedule schedule and then unto the regular season. Their regular season schedule will begin with a two-game series against the Houston Astros , an AL franchise still looking for some semblance of consistency and success since Jim Crane assumed control of the Astros .

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With the NFL season now entering its final quarter what do you believe has been the biggest disappointment by way of the players or teams ? Meanwhile, in the NBA do you think the league hierarchy will make an attempt to improve the level of play by possibly making rule changes ? Finally, after the unbelievable postseason by the Kansas City Royals do you believe they are capable of keeping the momentum going and competitive in 2015? Your comments are always more than welcome, so by all means chime in with your thoughts as you see fit.

Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions signals to his team in the fourth quarter while playing the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on November 27, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Getty Images North America / Gegory Shamus

(2) Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions looks to throw a first quarter pass against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on November 27, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Getty Images / Gregory Shamus …

(3) Ezekiel Ansah(94) of the Detroit Lions sacks Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at Ford Field on November 27, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Lions won 34-17 . Getty Images /Gregory Shamus …

(4) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys is hit by Brandon Graham (55) of the Philadelphia Eagles in the second half at AT&T Stadium on November 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images Tom Pennington ….

(5) Quarterback Tony Romo(9) of the Dallas Cowboys talks with quarterback Mark Sanchez (3) of the Philadelphia Eagles after the Eagles beat the Cowboys 33-10 at AT&T Stadium on November 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images /Tom Pennington …

(6) Richard Sherman (25) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates an interception in the fourth quarter on a ball intended for Steve Johnson (13) of the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on November 27, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. . Getty Images / Thearon Henderson …

(7) Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers is seen here with his NFC West counterpart and fellow quarterback Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks . These two young stars of the NFL have been very prodigious since entering the NFL. The duels between the two , have proven to be very exhilarating for the players, the fans and their respective teams. AP Photo / Matt Hammond …

(8) Former Baltimore Ravens’ running back Rice is seen here leaving the arbitration hearing on the 5th November in New York City , New York , along with his wife Jenay Parker-Rice . The player has been reinstated , after former Federal Court Judge Barbara Jones found that Rice had not lied in his statements to the NFL league hierarchy , who claim Rice’s statements were misleading not totally honest . The player who now is an unrestricted free agent can only wait for a team to now offer him a roster spot and possible contract . Yet it seems unlikely for the present given the adverse publicity his case has received and the gravity of the original incident of domestic violence. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s position seems all the more tenuous not only by this outcome but by the league’s failure to act with transparency and in a timely manner . AP Photo / Paul Monroe …

(9) From left to right , Philadelphia 76ers’ players Michael Carter-Williams , Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel . The team is off to horrendous start to the season , with a sixteen-game losing streak and with their being no apparent sight as to where the Sixers’ first win of the season is liable to come from. Losing by an average margin of almost 16 points per game , from a defensive standpoint Philadelphia is simply devoid of talent in various aspects of their game. AP Photo /Emily Carpenter ..

(10) Kansas City Royals’ Mike Moustakas (8) is congratulated by teammate Billy Butler (16) after hitting a two-run home run off Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco during the sixth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, April 18, 2014. AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

(11) Owner Jim Crane (center) of the Houston Astros talks with former owner Drayton McLane Jr (left) and owner David Glass of Kansas City Royals before a game between the Astros and Royals at Kauffman Stadium on June 7, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Ed Zurga ….

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Witnessing the good , the bad and the ugly ….

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Witnessing the good , the bad and the ugly ….

Twelve weeks into the NFL season and in reality there is not a great deal to rejoice about , as several teams have simply failed to live up to expectations. Needless to say at the end of the regular season or perhaps the postseason, a number of head coaches are likely to be dismissed along with their coaching staffs. Topping that list is likely to be the New York Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan who has led his team to a 2-9 season, with the Jets firmly rooted at the bottom of the AFC East .

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To realize how bad the New York Jets have been , you simply have to look at their performance against their divisional rivals the Buffalo Bills. The fans were subjected this monstrous perversion as being great football in the NFL. Laughable to say the very least when you consider the team’s two quarterbacks combined for a performance that would make an NFL fan cringe in revulsion, as to what they had just witnessed. Geno Smith and Michael Vick together went for seventeen of thirty-one in their completions , with 165 passing yards and one interception . If this is what the Jets insist upon selling to their fans and the rest of the NFL in what turned out to be a 38-3 blowout and travesty of a game . Then we need not lament the loss of Rex Ryan , Geno Smith or Michael Vick at the end of this season. As to the idiots, who believe Smith can still become a serviceable quarterback in the NFL , then my answer to you all , bring back Mark Sanchez . Even at his worst , Sanchez was never as incompetent as we have witnessed with Smith this season and last year in particular .

From a defensive and offensive standpoint the New York Jets have been woefully inept and the very fact Rex Ryan and his coaching staff have failed to address those issues have led to their present predicament.

In week thirteen the New York Jets will play hosts to the Miami Dolphins in a home game played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey. I am not so sure that the Jets’ fans will be there to cheer on their home team or simply boo them , while welcoming the Dolphins with open arms ! In all honesty , all this team has provided their fans all season long , has been nothing but never-ending heartache and little else beyond that . Ryan and the Jets will look to seek their third win of the season, while seeking to make up for a disastrous three-quarters of the schedule having pass the Jets’ fans by .

A five-game losing streak can tell you a great deal about a team and the direction they are said to be heading in. Perhaps no other franchise epitomizes that fact than the Carolina Panthers . They may not be rooted at the bottom of the worse division in the NFL at present . Yet there is little to suggest last season’s NFC South divisional champions can now equal that feat in what has been a disastrous season for the team . Head coach Ron Rivera has to be at a loss in explaining how things could have gone so ” far south” for a team where a great deal had been expected from them in 2014. Were it not for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9) and their mediocre showing , we might be discussing which of the quartet of teams within the division might just be the worst. All four teams within the NFC South bear a sub. 500 record a and it seems a travesty, the likely winner of the division will have the privilege of being a part of the postseason at the expense of a team likely to better record overall within the conference (NFC). Such are the vagaries of the system and rules put in place by the NFL.

A bye in week twelve gave the Panthers a chance to recuperate while injured players could regain their active status but their their loss in week eleven to the Atlanta Falcons provided us with litany of reasons why the Carolina Panthers’ season has been so woefully inept. Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton seems to be off his game for a variety of reasons . Without a passing game to assist the team and a running game barely consistent there seems to be nothing left in the tank for this team.

Carolina will be on the road in week thirteen when they face conference rivals the Minnesota Vikings in a “must win game ” if they are to have any chance of making inroads on the divisional lead of the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons for their part will be taking on the best team in the NFC this season, when they host the Arizona Cardinals (9-2) , the surprise of the NFL this year. A win for Bruce Arians’ Cardinals guarantees them a playoff berth and leaves the three remaining teams beneath them within the NFC West scrambling to make good on the remainder of their season. As to what might this suggest, specifically for the San Francisco 49ers (7-4) and the Seattle Seahawks (7-4) with their being so much at stake , will likely lead to one, if not both of these teams quite possibly missing a postseason berth.

When Lovie Smith succeeded Greg Schiano as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , it was thought he would bring a great deal of discipline to the franchise , something lacking in his predecessor. Granted, for the one season Schiano was in charge of the team , they played hard , but unfortunately , playing hard does not equate to wins or success for that matter . This season Smith has failed to instill discipline into this team , a fact borne out by their record , fumbles and penalties accumulated throughout their entire schedule. The one bright spot one might care to acknowledge, has been the play or their rookie wide receiver and best player this year , Mike Evans . Anything else can simply be viewed as being downright mediocre .

Coming off a ham-fisted loss (21-13) to the Chicago Bears, it easy to understand why the Buccaneers have been so inconsistent this season. At no time during this game , were you ever given the impression they had the chance to win the contest . Certainly not in the second half of the game , where they could only muster three points and that was solely through a field goal attempt. It certainly does not paint a pretty picture of this team from an offensive standpoint , let alone delving into the fact their defense has been mind-bogglingly absurd and inefficient. We are likely to see more of that ineptitude when the Buccaneers entertain the Cincinnati Bengals (7-3) at Raymond Stadium in Tampa , Florida this upcoming Sunday. A game which is likely to be used as a springboard for the Bengals as they seek to maintain their slender lead in the AFC North .

As a precursor to Sunday’s games , as is usual at this time of the year, the traditional Thanksgiving Day rollout , has the customary participants the Dallas Cowboys (8-3) and Detroit Lions (7-4) vying for the privilege of making the fans’ festivities on the day seem that little bit more special . Yes, the Cowboys might be in the midst of a competitive battle with the Philadelphia Eagles (8-3) for divisional supremacy in the NFC East. A division to my mind which has been brought back down to earth by the ineptitude shown of the New York Giants (3-8) and Washington Redskins (3-8) or whatever they are likely to call themselves at some point in the future, pending their litigation in US Federal Court . The fact of the matter remains Tony Romo is one hit away from having his season come to a debilitating end. Equally as important to his team , Matt Stafford has to know his game has to be played at more rational pace rather than helter-skelter, as has often been the case.

When the Dallas Cowboys take aim at knocking off the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on Thursday afternoon, it will be part of a three-game trilogy on the day. The Detroit Lions will host the Chicago Bears at Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan , with the final game on the Thanksgiving Day schedule being a match-up between the Seattle Seahawks playing the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara , California , . All three games promise to be highly competitive divisional contests and likely to add a great deal more intrigue to the season with so much being at stake for all six teams involved.

Sunday’s games will also also likely to provide the fans with their fair share of suspense, but we can also count on several of those contests to be bone chillingly lopsided affairs or worse . One game likely to have the fans on the edge of their seats will pit Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (9-2) as they go on the road to face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (8-3) at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin,. This game will pit two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks over the past five seasons as these two titans of the game square off for the for only second time in their careers . Hard to believe, given the legacies both Brady and Rodgers have established for their respective franchises. In that first meeting in 2006 , where the Packers were on the wrong end of a 35-0 humiliation at Lambeau Field, something ideally the Packers’ quarterback and his teammates are not likely to forget . This contest I believe, will be a great deal closer and it is my opinion , the visiting team will come away with the victory , purely from the standpoint they are a more well-balanced team and their defense has been very consistent over the course of this season , and specifically over their last five games where they have managed to shut down their opponents with consummate ease.

Perennially bad teams in the NFL are not uncommon, and this season the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10) and Oakland Raiders(1-10) seem intent on making it a reality of upholding that longstanding tradition which embodies ineptitude. These two teams are a combined 2-20 , and 1-4 in their last five games. The fact they possess the two worst records in the NFL should not be looked upon with deference at all.

It is clear what ails the Jaguars and Raiders goes far beyond ineptitude and has everything to do with bad coaching and some whimsical and often asinine notion by fans and analysts alike , that teams can simply create their success by spending big , acquiring talent via free agency , often overrated and they will be well on their way to success. It has not worked for the Raiders over the past six seasons and it definitely has not worked for Jacksonville since Shahid Khan assumed control of the Jaguars’ franchise. From a draft standpoint , both teams have failed miserably bolster their respective rosters to be competitive enough this season , let alone last season. Yet, he we are once again watching both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders swoon while both franchises have seen a precipitous drop in their attendance levels in comparison to 2013. With both teams now subject to relocation rumors it begs the question, which municipality would really try to endear themselves to a losing NFL franchise solely on the basis of the perception of it all making sound economic sense ?

As popular as the league( NFL) is said to be on the North American landscape and with the NFL now having global tentacles .The he fact of the matter remains , the greater Los Angeles area has no wish for an NFL franchise , where the city itself will be on the ” financial hook” for a venue to house that team. No matter how anyone tries to spin it , the NFL is now being ran by a by a bunch snake oil salesmen . Roger Goodell , is simply leading the charge , while pulling the wool over the eyes of everyone . with a diluted and mediocre product, where he can simply point to the increased revenues of the NFL and not much else.

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The popularity of the league’s marquee players will remain popular , until their retirement, but what then happens when the cupboard is bare and there is no one yet deemed ready to step into the shoes of a Tom Brady , Peyton Manning , Drew Brees , Aaron Rodgers , Larry Fitzgerald or Reggie Wayne for that matter ? Care to have take on it all ?

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Scott Chandler(84) of the Buffalo Bills scores on a nineteen yard second quarter touchdown as Jaiquawn Jarrett (37) of the New York Jets defends during the game at Ford Field on November 24 , 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Bills would go on to defeat the Jets 38-3 in a lopsided contest. . Getty Images North America / Leon Halip …

(2) Quarterback Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets throws against the Buffalo Bills in the fourth quarter at Ford Field on November 24, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Buffalo defeated New York 38-3. Getty Images/ Jamie Sabau …

(3) New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) and New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick (1) on the sideline in the first quarter of their NFL preseason football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, August , 22, 2014. Reeling at 2-9 this season the Jets are firmly rooted at the bottom of the AFC East with the duo quite possibly the worst tandem in the AFC and the league this season, with no signs the Jets’ passing game is likely to improve over the remainder of the season. AP Photo/ Ray Stubblebine …

(4) New York Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan is seen here on the sidelines during a regular season game. The beleaguered Ryan is seeking to save his job as well as the team’s season , but it is beginning to look as if he is in the last throes of coaching this franchise , along with a roster of players who have greatly underperformed this season. No formal statement has been made by anyone from within the front office , as the belief seems to be the coach will be fired at the end of this season. AP Photo / Paul Hobbs …

(5) Cam Newton (1) quarterback of the Carolina Panthers is seen here during a game played against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania. The Eagles would defeat the Panthers in the contest and prolong their losing streak . AP Photo / Amy Hughes …

(6) May 9, 2014 – Tampa, Florida, U.S. – DANIEL WALLACE | Times.Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith , left, listens to wide receiver Mike Evans as he answers questions after being introduced to local media at One Buc Place on Friday, May 9, 2014. Evans was named the Buccaneers 2014 NFL Draft first-round pick on Thursday night. . Evans has been a revelation for the Buccaneers this season and one of their most productive players on a consistent basis all season long. Credit Image: © Daniel Wallace/Tampa Bay Times/ ZUMAPRESS.com copyrighted material all rights reserved ..

(7) Matt Stafford (9) ,left, of the Detroit Lions and Tony Romo of the Detroit Dallas Cowboys will lead their respective teams into this season’s Thanksgiving Day games against divisional rivals . Both players are hoping to be as productive for their teams as they were last season at the same point of the 2013 schedule. Getty Images / Adam Holmes ..

(8) Tom Brady of the New England is seen here with his Green Bay Packers’ counterpart Aaron Rodgers , basking in the revelry of the Kentucky Derby . The two players will be on opposite sides of the field when their two teams meet on Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin ,. This will be only the second professional meeting between these two much heralded quarterbacks , with Brady coming out the winner in that first contest and a Patriots’ 35-0 victory over the Packers. Sunday’s contest is unlikely to be that lopsided a game between the two franchises. AP Photo / Matt Holcomb …

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Tophatal …. 11/26/2014 02:45 AM EST

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It never ceases to amaze ………

It never ceases to amaze

Another political news’ cycle and the apathy and stupidity of the nation’s electorate, remains . As an expat Brit,now residing and working here in the US , I have to admit coming across of the posturing self-righteous group of inviduals is no longer a surprise . The political establishment of Democrats and Republicans, in reality, are no different from one another. But, for the levels of their depths and depravity , the singular thing which clearly defines the two parties, has been how much they can do to ” pull the wool “ over the eyes of the electorate without them catching unto their levels of greed. After the Democrats’ hammering in the midterm elections, where they lost control of the Senate along with several seats in the House and numerous gubernatorial races. They now seem to be lost for words as to the reasons why they suffered such horrendous defeats. Look no further than to the leadership of Barack Obama, who is proving to be just as un-inspirational in his second term as President as he was during his first. There are very few positives the President can point to during his administration’s tenure and his mishandling of so many foreign policy initiatives have become bewildering. Say nothing of which , his domestic policies s have proven to be either ‘hit ‘ or ‘ miss’ , dependent upon one’s views.

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With his recent announcement that he would use his ‘executive powers’ to bring about changes in the country’s immigration policy and certain reforms . The question must ask of those questioning the President’s actions has to be why all of the furor , when previous administrations and the Congress have failed repeatedly to enact any meaningful reform, never-mind this idiocy of upholding the laws of the land , when in many respects it is not just the illegal immigrants who are said to be breaking the laws, but the employers who see fit to hire them , without any real fear of punishment whatsoever. No one seems to be overly concerned specifically on the issue , yet I am suppose to believe the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants have become a burden upon this country ?

The US Congress has been more of a burden on the nation , than the individuals now being thrust into the news cycle because the Neanderthal idiot political hacks on both sides of the aisle have nothing better to disgust or seethe over in anger. You would certainly be hard pressed to find Conservative much less a Liberal actually acknowledge that fact , instead it has been the constant diatribe of name calling and finger pointing from both sides of the political aisle without the idiocy of the political hacks intent on their rancor . I guess once you have published a book , sat on the sidelines, while providing nonsensical analysis , makes one an expert without ever really experiencing the real world issues ? How the fu#k can the likes of Anne Coulter , Mark Levin , Bill Maher, Dennis Miller, James Carville , Joe Sarborough , David Axelrod and Chris Matthews actually relate with the public at large ?

On the sporting landscape it is not entirely different to what we have been witnessing on the political front. In the NBA , fans have become so distraught concerning the ills that currently effect affect the Los Angeles Lakers(3-10) , New York Knicks(4-10) and the Philadelphia 76ers (0-13). These three NBA franchises have gone 7-33 through their first fourteen games of the season . The very fact that all three teams have been playing badly belies the fact their fans continue to postulate and speculate what the real issues are said to be concerning all three franchises.

Byron Scott and the Los Angeles Lakers’ fans are going through the ignominy of seeing this team remain uncompetitive without delving into the fact we have yet to witness Kobe Bryant berate his teammates or the Lakers’ organization , led by team owner Jim Buss and general manager MitchKupchak . Injuries might well be plaguing the Lakers but this should not hide the fact the team has no real depth or character , without pointing to the coaching staff of the head and their not being able to show any coaching acumen. Los Angeles have lost seven of their last ten games and the team’s defense now seems to be in complete apoplexy showing very little by way any type of capability in stopping an opponent’s offensive prowess. In the Lakers’ 140-106 loss to the Dallas Mavericks was the team’s most humiliating defeat of the season, with no one member on the roster showing any type of resilience throughout this contest . These traits have certainly embodied the ongoing hypocrisy witnessed with the team and the lack real competitiveness shown by the Los Angeles Lakers . Yet, somehow the Lakers’ fans are trying to point to what they see as positives. Next up for the franchise will be a home game against the equally abysmal Denver Nuggets coached by former Lakers’ assistant head coach Brian Shaw .

As great a coach as Phil Jackson was said to be , his acumen as an assessor of NBA talent can be described as marginal at best . Jackson’s trait beyond the “Triangle Offense” has been his being able to motivate players to succeed , specifically when he has a complement of superstars to coach. Clearly the case , when you have such players as Michael Jordan , Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Jackson , now assuming the role as Head of Basketball Operations with the New York Knicks, is now being looked upon with a great deal of incredulity and in many circles for its comedic value, with the team now being so incompetent on the court.

The Knicks currently lie third within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference above the win-less Philadelphia 76ers. Derek Fisher as a rookie head coach along with his coaching staff have not only struggled but this idiocy where it will take some time instill the Triangle Offense as a successful strategy , has to be lost on a roster of players who basketball acumen and IQ would barely qualify for them for admittance into a DIII Level NCAA program much less MENSA . At 2-8 in their last ten games , consistency has not been the norm for the Knicks much less the belief Carmelo Anthony can lead the team all by himself without any able support from his “overrated “ teammates .The New York Knicks’ 91-83 victory over the 76ers has typified what has become so wrong with the Conference and why it has been continually seen as a conference lacking in stature in terms of the level of play.

New York and the 76ers will meet again during the course of this season and I seriously doubt Brett Brown and his Sixers’ playing staff will be ready for their next meeting never mind the previous thirteen contests which have made up their schedule at this point of the the season. The 76ers chose ” to tank” the latter half of their schedule in 2013 , seeking to obtain a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft . Adam Silver as the NBA Commissioner might not have seen anything wrong in the organization’s actions, but clearly the fans are being sold a “bill of good” , if there’s said to be any ambition the part of team owner Josh Harris much less any from any of the executives within the front office.

There has been absolutely nothing to suggest the Philadelphia are capable of turning their season around based solely upon their play and the evidence of last season .Josh Harris has turned out to be a monumental fraud much as in the same way are his promises of establishing competitive franchise which the fans would be prepared to follow. Dwindling attendance this year and last season beyond the fact of a mediocre product on the court have played a part in what the fans are being forced to witness this season has led to the change in identity of this franchise. If a Sixers’ great such as Allen Iverson can now become critical of the 76ers , then it should tell you great deal, not only about this club’s fall from grace, but also their continued failure to be productive.

With the NBA still trying to find a rhythm to its season, we cannot escape the fact the league is still mired in controversy. The announcement of his retirement by Jason Collins has done nothing to stymie the fact that league still remains homophobic and racially divisive among the league hierarchy and a number of the team owners . With league stating Jeff Taylor of the Charlotte Bobcats would be suspended for domestic assault and that his punishment would be a twenty-four games suspension, it seems rather perplexing the NBPA (Players’ Union) and their new Executive Director Michele Roberts would go so far to state the league’s suspension was drastic and an overreach of its boundaries , while also contravening the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). One would have thought with all of the adverse publicity received by the NFL on this issue , the union league hierarchy would seek to be on the same on this most acute of issues. Somehow this seems to be the farthest thing on the mind of Roberts , the first female Executive Director the Players’ Union and now one of the most powerful women in all of professional sports.

At a time when sports’ fans in general are getting sick and tired of the bombastic and repeated lax actions of the athletes at the professional and collegiate level, there is a great cause for concern when a female executive, albeit , she believes as the NBPA’s Executive Director she is acting in the best interests of her members , it does beg the question would Roberts have taken the same stance had Taylor killed his victim? Michele Roberts with her statement has not only served her union poorly but it creates the perception is not all overly concerned with the issue of domestic violence of the misconduct of her members. Much as in the same way DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA seems intent to point the finger of blame at the NFL for his members ongoing stupidity . I have to wonder what is it , that both of these executives cannot understand about this issue and how it is actually viewed by the public in general ! Absolute stupidity on the part of both Michele Roberts and DeMaurice Smith remains a constant , as it has been within their respective sports and the unwillingness of both the NBA and NFL tackling a grave social issue head on .

An appeal of Taylor’s suspension is likely to take place , but at the same time clearly the Bobcats’ owner , Michael Jordan would rather see this matter dealt with expeditiously given his team’s innocuous start to the season in year where the Hornets are likely to struggle, even if though they were able to raise the hopes of their fans with a spirited finish to 2013, having made the NBA Playoffs where they would fall in the first round of the Eastern Conference postseason . It will be interesting too see if the Hornets can improve upon last season’s display.

Histrionics asides, the fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling this early in the season should come as no surprise . Yet many were ready to anoint this LeBron James’ led team as the next coming of another NBA dynasty in the making . Pardon me for saying this, but how the fu#k is a rookie head coach , his staff and this team are going to create a symbiotic and synergistic relationship when James has never played with either Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love prior to this season ? The only player of on this Cavaliers’ team where LeBron is known to have played alongside and have any type of relationship with is the Brazilian center Anderson Varejao .

Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert and his fellow executives were extremely delighted with the return of their Prodigal Son , and the fact James did everything to make the Cavaliers’ fans forget their anger after his departure in , 2010, with the franchise now seeing a tremendous spike in their home attendance as well as on the road means a great deal to Gilbert economically. Four straight losses has emphatically shown why the Cleveland Cavaliers remain a work in progress, along with the team’s rookie head coach David Blatt. Idiocy among fans and analysts alike, who tend to overlook what is plainly in front of their very eyes , but no one willingly wants to admit they can make a mistake . Posturing and lame ass machismo tends to be the norm among the dumb ass morons with no real insight or knowledge at all. Cleveland’s next game will be a home contest at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, against the Orlando Magic in a game which will tell us a great deal about both teams as they each seek to move forward .

If Cleveland should fail to make the NBA Playoff this season, I would not see it as a great surprise ! The fans yearn to see what they believe to be elite teams rise to the top , yet in reality there are but a few teams in the league that can now be considered great, much less among the elite. The defending champions the San Antonio Spurs are the yardstick against which every other NBA franchise ought to be measured against , but neither the league or the fans are prepared to pay the team their due respect , simply because they are not seen as glamorous or the fact their stars are not considered to be among the top players currently playing in the league. The hard sell for the NBA has always been their teams when the fans are just gravitating towards the marquee players .

The NBA has yet to actually capitulate to the NBPA , a union still trying to get to grips with their own internal issues and legal woes concerning their previous Executive Director Billy Hunter , who seeks to sue the his former employer for wrongful dismissal , defamation of character , slander and libel. Something I believe Michele Roberts should be more concerned with rather than her idiocy in believing Jeff Taylor should be treated with ” kid gloves” and not made an example of . Great just what the fans want to see from a league executive or a union leader . WTF!

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Picture gallery.

With the NBA season still in its infancy what do you believe has been the biggest surprise of the season ? Also which player or team has proved to be the biggest disappointment so far ? Your comments are more than welcome and thanks as always for the continued support !

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Picture and slideshow gallery details.
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(1) President Barack Obama addresses the nation on his wish to use executive privilege initiate immigration reform , something that has drawn the ire of members of his own party , the Democrats as well the Republican Party and majority of members within Congress. The members there have been ambivalent as to the reasons why they have themselves failed to formulate a comprehensive immigration policy and reform in general. AP Photo / Michael Carbonell ..

(2) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant sits on the floor after being fouled during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 136-115 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill … ….

(3) Nov 22, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire (1) shoots a free throw during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden. New York Knicks won 91-83. Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports ….

(4) Joshua Harris owner of the Philadelphia 76ers. For two straight years , Harris has presided over a franchise which is not only bereft of talent but also leadership within its front office and on the court.. The Sixers are off to a thirteen game losing streak with a defense which ranks as the worst within the NBA in points allowed and points’ differential . Clearly head coach Brett Brown and his coaching staff have no idea how to right team’s issues on the court. Getty Images / Paul Wyatt ..

(5) Jeff Taylor of the Charlotte Hornets is seen here in a courtroom in East Lansing , Michigan, where he plead guilty to misdemeanor domestic abuse , property damage and an employee of the Marriott Hotel where the incident took place . The player has been given a twenty-four game suspension by the NBA . AP Photo/ Mark Jones …

(6) NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts is seen here with her NFL counterpart DeMaurice Smith as the two took part in a discussion concerning athlete misconduct and how their respective leagues can best deal with such issues. Getty Images/ Tony Moore ….

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Tophatal ….. 11/23/2014

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A funny thing happened on the way to the Land of Oz …

A funny thing happened on the way to the Land of Oz …

Tophatal ….

Baseball’s Winter Meetings have yet to take place, but already the big top has been blown off the tent. The meeting of the league’s top executives , ownersand members of the league hierarchy to discuss the vagaries of the game and then to negotiate deals that will see the movement of several players, many of them likely being rewarded with major contracts will be set into motion.

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Over the past five years there can be no denying the Miami Marlinshave been one of the worst performing teams in Major League Baseball (MLB). The very fact that the Marlins have at no time in their history has ever won a divisional title or place higher than second within the NL East should tell you a great deal about the organization, in spite of their having won two NL Pennants and two World Series titles . The last of those postseason series’ coming in 2003 . Since then, things have steadily rolled downhill for the franchise, along with a succession of managers and turnover in front office executives.

The big news’ story of the month within the game of baseball, was the audacious move by the Miami Marlins in signing Mike Stanton to a long-term deal. Stanton signed what is now believed to the largest contract in professional sports’ and quite clearly the biggest in baseball history. Stanton signed a thirteen-year $325 million contract, averaging $25 million a year . Though I do not expect the floodgates to be opened by this deal , it does now place a great deal of pressure on other teams in similar position, looking to sign one of their marquee players. Miami for a number of years has been on the lower end of the payroll scale, albeit in 2013 , they sought to remedy the situation when they splurged on signing some major free agents in an assault on trying to win the NL East that season as well as the World Series title . They failed miserably in both attempts , with then manager Ozzie Guillen providing more entertainment away from the field of play, than was provided by the team during the entire season .

MLB is definitely not known for its financial frugality among its big-market teams and when left idle to their own devices teams in the small-market tend to prove how incompetent they are. The Miami Marlins have become the epitome of that, along with their instate rivals the Tampa Bay Rays and that is with due respect shown to the acumen of former Rays’ general manager Andrew Friedman , whose departure from the franchise to take on the more high-profiled role as a SVP & Head of Baseball Operations with the Los Angeles Dodgers caught just about everyone off-guard including senior executives within the Rays’ organization. With the recent departure of Joe Maddon to become the manager of the Chicago Cubs , Tampa is now left in a quandary. Throw in the departure of their AL Rookie of the Year, pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and you could say it’s back to business as usual for the Rays. Their off-season annual ” fire sale “ is just about to begin.

Now while the Miami Marlins’ fans can only be pleased with the outcome , the signing of Mike Stanton to a long-term deal , the question has to be asked , what type commitment and sacrifices will have to be made by this ball-club? Financial resources for the Marlins are not enormous and we have seen repeatedly the actions of this franchise over the years during their triumphs and letdowns. Jeffrey Loria has proven to be no different from one his predecessors H D Wayne Huizenga, whose ownership the Florida Marlins were well-chronicled. Huizenga’s gutting of the team that won the franchise’s first World Series title left the fans in dismay and utter disgust, has since been repeated by Loria.

As the incumbent owner of the Miami Marlins , I have no real reason to believe Jeffrey Loria will remain a man of his word. Deceit , deception , lies and an un-willingess to show transparency concerning the inner workings of the Marlins along with the alleged brow-beating of the Miami City Council leading to their capitulating , in the ball-club’s wishes to have the city finance the building of Marlins Ballpark , where undue pressure was brought to bear by former commissioner Bud Selig, really does cast a light on how Loria and Major League Baseball likes to conduct its business. Unfortunately, those same character traits are not shared or instinctive with Tampa Bay Rays’ owner Stuart Sternberg who continues to whine like a spoiled brat, because he cannot get his own way. Michael Hill and Mike Redmond will now seek to bolster the Marlins’ roster during this off-season , but they will also have to deal with trying to resign a number of their impending free agents as well players whose arbitration rights they might want to expedite quickly.

Mike Stanton had an excellent season in 2014 , where he was one of the most productive members on his team as well as in the NL and MLB overall. His second place finish to Clayton Kershaw in the NL MVP race was of no great surprise, considering the astonishing regular season by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher, who also added the NL Cy Young Award to his trophy case for the third time in his career. I believe their might be at least two more Cy Young Awards waiting in the wings for Kershaw, who has to be seen as the best pitcher in baseball without a doubt. Granted his postseason forays for the Dodgers left a great deal to be desired. The team’s malaise was nothing new and simply part of their DNA over the past two years. Don Mattingly’s players seem to be great during the regular season, but they become a deer caught in headlights once the postseason comes around , as witnessed in 2013 and then again during baseball’s end of season ritual. Let’s just say this Dodgers’ team cannot even hit or pitch their way out of trouble . even if they were being aided by the mishaps of their opponents during the postseason.

As I alluded to earlier the floodgates may not necessarily open up with players being offered overly large contracts, but the Marlins have now set a precedent where it will prove hard for any team not be able to meet a free agents’ requests. With the likes of high-profiled sports’ agents such as Scott Boras , Sam and Seth Levinson of Aces Inc Baseball , Dan Lozano , corporate entities such as LSW Baseball , CAA , the upstart IMG and sports’ management agency Roc Nation Sports, all vying to make deals on behalf of their clients. It is easy to understand why general managers such as Brian Cashman, Brian Sabean , Dave Dombrowski , Billy Beane , Sandy Alderson , Michael Hill and Jerry Dipoto are never operating from a position of power. They will more often than not overpay for a player , rather than actually showing some real acumen.

Having won their third World Series title in the past five years the San Francisco Giants are now seated among the elite dynasties of the game. Make no mistake, this is a dynasty , albeit a quiet and unglamorous one. Brian Sabean might just be the best general manager in the game today. His guile and an eye for talent , his acumen in the free agency market, have not only made the Giants a success , but they have laid down a blueprint that a number of teams are now likely to follow. Furthermore , Sabean is not one to neglect his farm system and then seek to implode those affiliates , as he sees the lower rungs of the organization as a treasure trove of future talent. In the aftermath of their most recent success this franchise will now seek build upon their most recent achievement.

San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy and his entire managerial staff are likely to return for next season , but opportunities may well arise where one or two of his assistants will be offered the opportunity to interview a vacant managerial position. Beyond that, the question now becomes what are the integral pieces to kept on this roster and can the Giants afford to pay what is deemed to be “fair market value”? The fly in the ointment was the outrageous contract signed by Mike Stanton and offered by a team, that two years began shedding their high priced players like driftwood being cast away, because it was of no further use. Miami remains a small-market team, with grandiose schemes and big-market ambitions. They are a baseball team that rarely sell out their home games in a venue , which remains sparsely attended. The flip side of that coin are the San Francisco Giants and their ravenous fans and fan-base nationwide. They have the success and a legacy which has been quietly built upon over the years.

The Giants’ 2012 World Series MVP infielder Pablo Sandoval will be looking to get paid commensurate to his status and in line with the top active contracts active within the organization . As an impending and unrestricted free agent Sandoval knows he can go elsewhere and quite possibly obtain long-term contract making him financially secure. Yet, the thought remains with the player being such a part the team’s postseason success , it would seem idiotic for the Giants to let him go , knowing he is not only a clubhouse favorite but also a leader on and off the field. Beyond that , take into account his productivity and being able to come up with some clutch hitting , it places Brian Sabean in something of a dilemma .

If Sandoval does return to the Giants in 2015, along with the core elements of last season’s roster, then San Francisco have to be seen as a prohibitive favorite for the NL Pennant this upcoming season. Granted, they are likely to face a stiff challenge from the St Louis Cardinals , Washington Nationals , Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates , Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds .

Alex Rodriguez’s return to New York Yankees and their lineup for 2015 cannot come around fast enough for many of the ball-club’s fans . The player’s last appearance in a Yankees’ uniform was uninspiring and simply confirmation that Rodriguez is now past his prime. The Yankees’ third baseman having spent the entire 2014 Yankees’ schedule under suspension will look to reinvent himself on and off the field of play. With the retirement of Derek Jeter after a two-decade long career with the franchise. One could surmise, Brian Cashman sees Rodriguez as the “face of the Yankees” moving forward. I firmly believe the organization erred in not tearing up Alex Rodriguez’s contractas they were quite within their right to do so. Incompetency, in their repeatedly mishandling of the players transgressions , breaking the league’s substance abuse policy, spoke volumes as to the numerous reasons why baseball’s policy has no real teeth to it and the complete lack of leadership from Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred. Rodriguez’s contract remains intact , albeit , he lost in excess of $23 million, having not played for the New York Yankees this past season .

Joe Girardi and his staff will certainly look to Rodriguez , Mark Teixeira , Jacoby Ellsbury , Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner, Brian Robertsand Brian McCann to give the Yankees’ more ‘pop’ to their offense where the team was found wanting last season. The Yankees’ pitching was left somewhere in between the depths of mediocrity and the ‘bowel’of Hades .

The Yankees’ free agents for this upcoming season include veteran Ichiro Suzuki , unlikely to return next season, with Dave Robertson , Hiroki Kuroda , Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew, Heath Bell and Chase Headley are several of the players Brian Cashman will have to make decision upon their possible return to the New York Yankees. Cashman has shown very little faith in the organization’s farm system and he is unlikely to do so for years to come. With their failure to make the postseason and decidedly ignominious finish in the NL East the pressure will be on the front office to do something drastic to bring this franchise back to some semblance of respectability. Last season the acquisitions of Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Ichiro Suzuki were meant place the team at the forefront of the AL but their play nowhere near good enough to remotely place them in control of their own destiny.

With the 2014 payroll commitment of baseball’s thirty teams topping $3 billion ($3,000,000,000 for the second year in succession. The two teams at the top of the heap, were the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. At a time when the game’s financial disparities so glaring there has been little to suggest baseball has the wherewithal to get its own financial house in order. The team owners and hierarchy have failed miserably in reigning in team expenses and yet owners are either seething because they cannot their own way in trying to deceitfully have municipalities to finance their venues.

Billionaire and millionaire owners unwilling to go out and do what is necessary in showing their real business acumen, to obtain private financing, rather than repeatedly have the public funds being used to finance such endeavors. It will be interesting to see the moves made by teams during this off-season the guile used by agents, seeking to have their clients be rewarded with the best contract possible. The sheer lunacy of MLB and the antics of the players leave a great deal to be desired and it will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future.

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With the salaries and contracts now on the rise within the game of baseball and no clear sign from the league hierarchy they show any initiative in reining in team expenses or have any idea how to so. What direction do you believe the game is likely to take and can the executives who preside over the game really deal with the issues which adversely effect baseball ?

Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is seen here with Mike Stanton . The Marlins’ player signed a thirteen-year $325 million deal which will pay him $25 million annually. The deal is the highest paid contract in North American sports’ history . Loria and Team President Michael Hill believed it incumbent the organization retain the Stanton for their viability and long term future. AP Photo/ Matt Holmes ..

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers’ SVP & Head of Baseball Operations , Andrew Friedman is seen here alongside team President Stan Kasten . Friedman whose departure from the Tampa Bay Rays took just about everyone by surprise, has now moved to an organization where the resources of the baseball franchise far exceeds anything remotely close the Rays have at their disposal. With Friedman’s departure also came Joe Maddon leaving to join the Chicago Cubs as their new manager. Matt Silverman succeeded Andrew Friedman as the Rays’ general manager but the ball-club has to name a successor to Maddon . Getty Images North America / Paul Hughes … …

(3) ATLANTA, UNITED STATES : Florida Marlins manage Jim Leyland (L), general manager Dave Dombrowski (C), and team owner Wayne Huizenga with the National League Championship Series (NLCS) trophy after their 7-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves 14 October in game six of the NLCS at Turner Field in Atlanta, GA. The Marlins advanced to the World Series a with the win. AFP PHOTO/Robert SULLIVAN …

(4) Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout left , winner of the 2014 ALMVP and the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and NLMVP recipient Clayton Kershaw . Both players invariably made the postseason , but their teams failed miserably . Trout and the Angels fell to Kansas City Royals 3-0 in the ALDS . Kershaw and the Dodgers fared no better, losing to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLCS where his postseason performances were miserable with the posting an ERA in excess of 7.50 . AP Photo/ Tim Martin …

(5) Jeremy Hellickson of the Tampa Bay Rays an AL Rookie of the Year for the franchise in 2011 was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. This seems to be a customary ploy with the ball-club on annual basis , further emphasizing the organization’s lack of resources and the emphasis of year-to-year cost cutting . AP Photo / Matthew Donald … …

(6) Scott Boras a prominent MLB sports agent, seen here in front of the facade of his company Scott Boras Corporation. Boras has negotiated contracts worth in excess of $4.7 billion in the last six years . Feared around the league as one of the most fearsome and ruthless agents in all professional sports. Boras puts the characteristic trait down to the fact he works hard for his clients and to their benefit.. AP Photo / Robin Thomas …

(7) CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 05: Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees speaks to the media before the Yankees take on the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 5 , 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Rodriguez was forced to miss the entire 2014 season after league mandated suspension . Rodriguez will return to the Yankees’ lineup in 2015 hoping to make a solid contribution for the team. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(8) Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates who over the past two seasons has been one of the primary factors in the ascent of the Pirates and top-five finishes in each of the last two years of the NL MVP voting. McCutchen hopes to lead the ball-club to another postseason berth in 2015 and deep run in the postseason playoff schedule. as well as the winning of a second NL MVP Award with the Pirates. Getty Images/ Adrian Parker ….

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Tophatal 11/19/2014

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Shake it off , shake it up and down .

A few light touches makes the scenery all the more appealing don’t you think ?

The Learning Curve ….

By Tophatal

There seems to be a disconnect in the world of sports at present with so many stories now ongoing. The NFL provided fans with its usual litany of events which have blotted the horizon. Off the field, the saga of Adrian Peterson has taken center-stage.The league hierarchy has seen fit to pursue the Minnesota Vikings’ running back and his refusal to meet with the league to discuss their ongoing issues as to what they believe fitting a punishment. Adrian Peterson plead his case within the legal system in the state of Texas, where Peterson and the District Attorney’s Office agreed to a plea deal. The running back has already sat out nine of the Vikings’ ten games this season , leading to their miserable standing within the NFC Northand conference.

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Coming off a road loss to the Chicago Bears,dropped the Minnesota Vikings to a 4-6 recordwithin their division, with little to suggest Mike Zimmer and his coaching staff have any idea how to take theteam out of their present rut. The league’s handling of the Peterson saga has left many wondering how Roger Goodell’s inconsistency in dealing with player misconduct can be so incomprehensible. This whole saga along with the Ray Rice episode casts a dark image over the NFL and the league’s continuous misguidance and the statements now coming from their head office. Rice is in the midst of an arbitration hearing where he seeks his reinstatement back into the league may well be the last straw for the commissioner, as he seeks to resurrect his own standing among the fans. Goodell is still backed by the team owners, but one more misstep by the commissioner could lead to calls for his ouster by at least one senior franchise owner , if they feel the NFL’s image has been dragged further into the dust.

The Vikings’ fate now lies in their own hands with their being no sign of an imminent return of their Pro Bowl running back , well at least not by week twelve of the NFL season. In their upcoming game the Minnesota Vikings will play host to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers has been on a blistering pace this season as he and his teammates seek to sow up the NFC North with a number of the leading competitors suddenly falling by the wayside. Green Bay for its part , took care of the Philadelphia Eagles with a robust 53-20 victory , inflicting the Eagles with their biggest loss of the season. Somehow , I get the feeling Chip Kelly and his team have yet to learn the meaning of the word defense , let alone playing conservative football. The “gung-ho” attitude seems to be prevalent with the Eagles.

Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles will certainly get their chance to hop back into the saddle when they face a disappointing Tennessee Titans’ team in week twelve of a home game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the 23rd November, 2014,. With Nick Foles currently sidelined due to injury Mark Sanchez will continue in the role as the team’s starting quarterback.

The Oakland Raiders’ (0-10) season continues to no avail with the team on a ten-game losing streak, showing no signs of life as the season has progressed. Raiders’ head coach Tony Sparano could very well in the throes of his last gasp of coaching the franchise, with team owner Mark Davis and GM Reggie McKenzie likely to make the decision to fire their head coach at the end of the season. The futility shown by the team has been comparable to the Detroit Lions’ season of 2008 when during their sixteen-game schedule, the Lions failed to win a game.If there is fault to be apportioned , concerning the ineptitude of the Raiders , then it rests squarely on the shoulders of both Reggie McKenzie and Mark Davis , as they have repeatedly squandered the opportunities offered to make this franchise competitive. It is hard to believe the last time the Oakland Raiders won a divisional title , the AFC West or made the postseason came in 2002, the year in which they also won the AFC championship , only to then lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superbowl. In the aftermath of the postseason appearance, things have steadily gone downhill for the franchise, with their fans simply reliving the past of a bygone era of the Raiders.

It is difficult to suggest there are any bright spots to be found on this current Raiders’ roster. Quarterback Derek Carr has struggled to maintain a presence for the team. Defensively , the Oakland Raiders find themselves in a familiar position and with defensive coordinator Jason Tarver struggling to get this secondary going it has become abundantly clear to understand the many reasons why the Raiders have been so inept, without also pointing an accusing finger at Tony Sparano and offensive coordinator Greg Olson .

Darren McFadden , Maurice Jones-Drew, Andre Holmes , Denarius Moore , Sio Moore , Khalil Mack and the veteran Charles Woodson have floundered for the Raiders over the course of this season. When the Raiders play host to the Kansas City Chiefs at the O.Coliseum in a Thursday night game , there will be a great deal riding on the contest. Oakland will be seeking to gain their first win of the season, while Andy Reid and the Chiefs will be looking to get a leg up on the Denver Broncos , as these two teams fight it out for divisional supremacy within the AFC West. I would dare say, the San Diego Chargers (6-4) have no wish to be left out of the equation, as they remain a game behind both the Broncos and Chiefs for the divisional lead.

The Arizona Cardinals (9-1) keep on winning even with the sidelined Carson Palmer not being able to contribute a great deal to the team’s success this season. Head coach Bruce Arians, I believe is a justified front-runner to win the NFL Coach of the Year Award , but a great deal may well be predicated upon whether or not he can lead this team to their first divisional title(NFC West) since 2009 . You can either make the assumption the Cardinals are doing it all with “smoking mirrors” or state the San Francisco 49ers (6-4) and Seattle Seahawks(6-4) have been very inconsistent. The fact of the matter remains neither 49ers or the Seahawks have been able to match the consistency of the divisional rival , all season long.

Inasmuch, as the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks were dominant last season within the NFC West and the NFC as a whole, this season , both teams have played “second fiddle ” to the upstart Cardinals, who are a mere two gamesaway from clinching themselves a postseason berth within the conference. Peter Carroll and Jim Harbaugh can only hope Arizona slips up over the remainder of their schedule , allowing either of their teams an entrance into the postseason. Arizona will hope to inch closer to that goal when they play the Seattle Seahawks at Century Link Field on Sunday afternoon in one of the best games scheduled during week twelve of this season.

Nothing in life is ever deemed to be fair, unless you happen to be privileged, by way of social status and wealth. The same might be said of the NFL seedings as the postseason beckons. Unfortunately, the league hierarchy under NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has never seen fit to revamp the system in order to allow teams with a better record than a divisional winner to be given a higher seeding. Looking at the prospect likely to unfold within the NFC South and we could very well see a team with a sub .500 record make their way into the postseason and at the same time deny another franchise a higher ranking (seeding) a berth. Granted, the wildcard entrants allows the the next four teams below the top two seeds within a conference , their chance of advancing further . I cannot help but wonder, how a number of these teams are likely to feel, should a 7-9 or 8-8 team from within the NFC South make it to the playoffs ! To say the the quality of football seen within the division where the Atlanta Falcons (4-6), Carolina Panthers (3-7), New Orleans Saints(4-6) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) reside gives credence to the fact the NFL is urgently in need of a dearth of talent as well as several really good head coaches would be an understatement. All four teams do not possess a winning record and for head coaches, Mike Smith , Ron Rivera , Sean Payton and Lovie Smith , this might be the worst season of their collective careers as a head coaches within the NFL .

The Buccaneers coming off their second win on the season , defeating the lowly Washington Redskins embodied the sheer ineptitude seen all season long within the NFC South. Perhaps, the lone bright spot on the Buccaneers’ season has been the play of their rookie wide receiverMike Evans who provided a scintillating display of speed and maturity beyond his years. How the Buccaneers go about resurrecting their season will be determined by the mindset instilled into the team by head coach Lovie Smith.

Smith will take the Buccaneers on the road to Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois to face his former team the Chicago Bears whose season now seems to be spiraling out of control , with quarterback Jay Cutler being harangued from all quarters for his lack of leadership and dire performances this season. Marc Trestman might now be emerging as one of the leading candidates among the coaches whose heads are likely to be on the ” chopping block”. Trestman and GM Phil Emery could very well be on the outs once this season is over. Lovie Smith was fired in his last season with the Bears , having narrowly missed the postseason in 2012. A winning record (10-6) that year seemed to be lost on the Bears’ front office and the admirable effort made by Lovie Smith and his coaching staff that season. All signs now seem to be point to the fact the Chicago Bears may well seek to trade Jay Cutler rather than retain his services . His tenure with the Bears has seen more lows than highs and it must be said his contract with the team has not proven to be a prudent investment.

There is no denying Washington Redskins’ owner Daniel Synder has continued swinging for the fences , making audacious moves either via free agency or through the NFL Draft. Having acquired both Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins in the now heralded quarterback class of 2012. Things now seem to have taken a turn for the worst with neither Griffin or Cousins being able to perform adequately for the team this season. Injuries asides, with both quarterbacks having been sidelined at some point during their schedule. Jay Gruden’s faith in third string quarterback Colt McCoy was short-lived in spite of the player leading the Redskins to two of their three victories on the season. Neither side of the Washington Redskins’ offense seems to be clicking . On the wrong side of a lopsided defeat suffered at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has embodied the Redskins’ season and justifiably shows why they remain at the bottom of the NFC East.

Washington will head West to face the San Francisco 49ers and Colin Kaepernick, as the host team looks to keep abreast with the Seattle Seahaws while still trailing the Arizona Cardinals by three games within the NFC West. This particular division was orginally viewed as a two-horse race between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks but this season along come the Cardinals to upset the applecart and turn everyone’s world upside down . There is a reality beginning to set in, either the Seahawks or Forty Niners could quite possibly miss the postseason if things continue as they are. In a recent discussion with an acquaintance , he made the statement that he felt San Francisco were still capable of notching double-digit wins and still make the postseason . Given the inconsistency shown by the team , their possible failure in missing the NFL’s end of season showcase spectacle, could come back to to haunt Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff.

Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seawhawks are the defending Superbowl champions and their quest to make a successful defense of their title doesn’t yet appear to be in jeopardy , but there has to be a cause for concern for a team which has been sporadic with their performances over the course of the season. Russell Wilson has continued with his progress and now seems to be on his way to joining the elite players at the position within the NFL . Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington will be the ” place to be” as the red hot ticket game of the day on Sunday when the Seahawks host the Arizona Cardinals and it will be interesting to see how opposing quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Drew Stanton will fare in this highly anticipated contest with their being so much at stake for both teams.

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Picture gallery.

With the NFL season almost three-quarters of the way through its schedule, what do you feel has been the most disappointing event to have taken place during the year ? Also , which teams are likely to make a spirited push to gain a postseason berth as the schedule now becomes more suspenseful for the fans and the franchises with so much at stake ? It has been a learning experience not only for the rookie head coaches in the NFL this season but also for the rookies and sophomore players seeking to make their presence felt in the league. Simply chime in with your comments on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has always been appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow gallery below.
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(1) Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson pictured here , has been reportedly suspended without pay for the rest of the season as the league hierarchy continues with their own investigation and possible further disciplinary action against the player for conduct detrimental to the league. Peterson reached a plea agreement with the State Attorney’s Office in Texas, after his being charged with child abuse . It was not the first time the player had been investigated for such an action. However, this latest incident was the first , in which law enforcement and Texas Dept of Child Welfare saw fit to file charges against Peterson . The league’s handling of this matter has come in for a great deal of criticism , with much of it being leveled at Commissioner Roger Goodell . Getty Images / Hugh Parker …

(2) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears runs past Sharrif Floyd (73) of the Minnesota Vikings during the third quarter on November 16, 2014 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Bears defeated the Minnesota Vikings 21-13. Getty Images/ David Banks …

(3) Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears tries to score on a run but is stopped by Xavier Rhodes (29) of the Minnesota Vikings during the third quarter on November 16, 2014 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Speculation has began mounting the Bears will seek to trade the quarterback after a troubled season with the franchise. GM Phil Emery has not issued a public statement on the matter but there appears to be mounting speculation a trade is likely . Cutler is still owed $16.5 million of his original $126.7 million deal signed in 2012 of which $54 million was guaranteed . Getty Images /David Banks …

(4) In the foreground Oakland Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano and the team’s GM Reggie McKenzie . The Raiders are off to a dismal start this season , having gone win-less and they are now 0-10 , still seeking their first victory of the season . McKenzie and team owner , Mark Davis recently traveled to San Antonio to visit with local politicians , with a view to gauging their interest in having the franchise relocate to the city . No details were imparted by the franchise and the NFL have not made their thoughts known on the issue , where league approval would be sought before such a move could take place. AP Photo/ Philip Davis …

(5) Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback Drew Stanton (5) attempts a pass during a game against the St Louis Rams . With Carson Palmer still sidelined, Stanton has been inserted into the lineup stepping up from his backup role on the roster . The Cardinals have the best record (9-1) in the NFC and the league overall. Arizona seeks to upset the apple cart by dethroning the Seattle Seahawks the NFC West champions for this season . AP Photo / Matthew Osgood ….

(6) Washington Redskins’ quarterbacks Robert Griffin III(10) , Kirk Cousins (8) and Colt McCoy (16) . McCoy has accounted for two of the team’s three wins this season, but for some apparent reason Jay Gruden does not appear to have any implicit faith in the third-string quarterback . This off-season there is likely to be a major upheaval of the playing roster with a number of players being traded or simply waived . GM Bruce Allen and Gruden will be left to make the decisions but there is likely to be a great deal of input from team owner , Dan Snyder . Getty Images / Matthew Robbins .. .

(7) A.J. Green (18) of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a pass as Rafael Bush (25) of the New Orleans Saints defends during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 16, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Cincinnati defeated the Saints 27-10 in the contest . Getty Images / Kevin C Cox …

(8) Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints calls an audible during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 16, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox

(9) Wide receiver Mike Evans (13) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is tackled by corner-back Bashaud Breeland (26) of the Washington Redskins late in the third quarter at FedExField on November 16, 2014 in Landover, Maryland. The Buccaneers beat the Redskins 27-7 in a lopsided game . Getty Images / Patrick McDermott ….

(10) Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers meets his opposite number Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks center-field after a game between the two teams. This season both the Forty-Niners and Seahawks are having to play catch-up to the Arizona Cardinals who lead the NFC West by a three-game margin heading into week twelve of the NFL season. AP Photo / Mark Harris

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tophatal … 11/17/2014

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Where’s the soap ?

The 0-10 Raiders have been the butt of so many jokes this season , but here’s a butt and two boobs , I for one am not laughing at ! Round and juicy , and pleasing to the eye.

Act like you’ve got a pair , …balls that is

Act like you’ve got a pair , balls that is ……..
Strangely enough, hearing a sports’ fans continue to opine on the ills within the game, be it baseball, football, basketball or hockey. My take on it all, if your teams suck , don’t just look at the players , but also the coaches and owners in particular . How they act , will trend to give you a clear idea as to whether or not they know how to handle real adversity. The NBA season remains in its infancy , but we already witnessing several teams struggling to step away from their own ineptitude . There were high hopes for the New York Knicks after Phil Jackson was brought in , to lead their Basketball Operations where GM Steve Mills would be ultimately answerable to Jackson within the Knicks’ hierarchal organization . Owner James Dolan remains the one constant within the organization , whose decision-making continues to come into question. Granted , the franchise remains popular among its fan-base , profitable and still the most valuable team in the NBA.

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Nine games into the regular season and the New York Knicks are 2-7 , just above the win-less Philadelphia 76ers(0-7) within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . For rookie head coach Derek Fisher it would be fair to suggest having seen his team get off to such a sluggish start should be cause for concern. The players themselves have been lackluster with only forward Carmelo Anthony actually showing signs of life .

In their two most recent games the New York Knicks suffered a six-point home loss to the Atlanta Hawks , then followed that up again with another defeat , where their guests, the Orlando Magic inflicted more pain upon what has become a troubling start to the Knicks’ season. Fans of the New Yorks, all too often, tend to point to the positives about their team , one , mainly from an offensive standpoint they can put up points on just about anyone , what they fail to indicate has been the very fact the team simply has no idea how to defend leading their ever increasing issues , which have yet to be addressed by Derek Fisher and his coaching staff

New York came into the season with one of the highest payrolls in the NBA , but nonetheless , Phil Jackson and Steve Mills felt they could live with just as long as the players lived up to expectations . Hard to believe this current roster is no better than the lineup from last season that failed to make the NBA Playoffs . As good as the New York Knicks believe themselves to be , this is not a team currently showing it can compete with the best that the NBA has to offer. Next up for Derek Fisher’s team will be a home game against the Utah Jazz , a contest which will likely tell us a great deal about the mindset of the host.

For two straight years the Chicago Bulls (6-2) have been heavily reliant on Derrick Rose being around for the long haul . In 2012 and again in 2013 , the Bulls’ point guard was felled by an injury . Come full circle and here we are , already wondering about the fitness of Rose after another injury scare. I doubt Tom Thiboadeau wants to head into the next three to six weeks of the Bulls’ schedule without their most prized asset .

In their two defeats the margin of victory for the Bulls’ opponents have been less than seven points in each case. This points to the fact Chicago remains a resilient defensive force , one of the best in conference as well as the entire NBA .

The departures of Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer , two of the Bulls’ best scoring options from last season may well prove to hinder the team’s chances this season, but there is every reason to believe with the addistion of Paul Gasol and the ever-improving play of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson , Joakim Noah , Mike Dunleavy and Aaron Brooks , there is every reason to believe the Chicago Bulls can make a long and spirited run during the NBA Playoffs for this season . Chicago’s next scheduled game will be a match-up with the surprise of the team of the early part of the basketball season, the conference leading Toronto Raptors.

There will come a time when a price has to be paid for the alleged belief the NBA and its idiocy of a soft salary cap has been of benefit to the game. Not unlike the idiocy within baseball (MLB) , where Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred are still mired with their own hierarchical ineptitude . It begs the question, which idiotic fans of professional basketball actually has a clue as to what happened with regard to the economic vagaries of the NBA . Last season the Philadelphia Sixers’ willingly ” tanked “ the final quarter of their schedule , all with the hope gaining a lottery pick from the NBA Draft . Sixers’ owner Joshua Harris has given cart-blanche to ruin the franchise while fans think nothing of the destruction now taking place . Win-less and off to an 0-7 start , there seems to be clear evidence that this team cannot win a game no , matter who the opponent just happens to be .

Sixers’ head coach Brett Brown and his coaching staff have been far from inspiration for this team . Nerlens Noel , Luc MBah a Moute , Jason Richardson , Tony Wroten and Michael Carter-Williams are simply not enough to lure anyone to see the Sixers play . It is pretty much safe to say this season beyond being viewed as an eyesore is far from being desirable for the NBA . Yet , there you have it , with the league hierarchy unwilling to intervene when an organization shows an obvious unwillingness to compete . As to suggesting who the best player on the Sixers’ roster might be , well given what you might see as desirable , I would leave that choice in your hands ! Michael Carter-Williams having been a Rookie of the Year might just be the lone asset on this team .

Two consecutive losses for a combined eighty-five points defines mediocrity in the NBA. Philadelphia’s next game will be on the road when they face the Houston Rockets led by e James Harden and .Dwight Howard . The contest will be a decidedly lopsided affair favoring the home team.. Make no bones about it , the NBA remains a brand is in need of some real coaching talent beyond Gregg Popovich , Erik Spoelstra, Rick Carlisle and Doc Rivers .

Denver Nuggets’ (1-6) head coach Brian Shaw was overlooked when he sought to succeed Phil Jackson as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers . The Nuggets’ record this season reflects how bad this team just happen to be . In the Nuggets’ most recent game the team gave up eighty-four points in the first half of a contest against the Portland Trailblazers . Blazers’ players Damian Lillard , LaMarcus Aldridge and their teammates had a field-day in wiping the court with the Nuggets in their twenty-three point victory over their divisional rivals .

Beyond Kenneth Faried , Ty Lawson and JJ Hickson , there is absolutely nothing to suggest the Nuggets are capable of competing in the NBA . Team owner Stanley Kroenke and GM Tim Connelly have not shown the acumen to suggest they have the best interests of the fans let alone the league , but yet consumers are asked to tolerate this type of ineptitude not just from the Denver Nuggets, but with several teams around the league . Some fans are willing to show their apathy and ignorance by simply pointing to teams who are winning and not the dire consequences which . take place when the franchises are far from being competitive .

When the Nuggets face the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse , in Indianapolis , Indiana the meeting between these two teams should prove to be an caution as to the meaning of ineptitude based on the play of the two clubs this season.

Adam Silver the successor to David Stern as NBA Commissioner, seeks to spread his global brand and professional basketball remains the most popular sports’ brand North America has exported around the globe , far exceeding the reach of MLB , NFL and NHL . Silver has been engaging, while offering little to suggest he is the right person to be leading the NBA. As an executive he has been quick to point out that he believes the federal government should legalize gambling on all professional sports nationwide with their being tight restrictions , due diligence and oversight for the proposed statute. Given the lobbying presence of the hierarchy (NBA) up on Capitol Hill , is anyone actually surprised by Silver’s comments on the issue ? Sorry , but the commissioner is now creating a conflict of interest for his sport because , there are likely to be serious ramifications and misgivings should there be the slightest slightest impropriety within the game by a player coach or executive seeking to decide the outcome of a game by giving a less than forthright effort.

Granted, given the lax play at this point of the season , might I suggest , things might well have gotten off to the start neither Silver the league and the world of sports? College sports specifically football and basketball are aware of the problems encompassing their respective sports and it would be fair to suggest the monitoring by the NCAA under the leadership of Mark Emmert has been less than adequate. Yet , these are some of the issues likely to be faced by the NBA and Adam Silver , has not suggested if the league will seek to monitor the wagering , lines offered on the games and the final results. All well and good in the commissioner’s eyes , but once Pandora’s Box has been opened , the chances of it being closed will be remote .

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Picture gallery .

At this point last season the NBA was still in its infancy but then too., there were signs the league would be in for long and arduous year of rather mediocre play . What if anything has been the most disappointing aspect of the league this year ? By all means simply leave a comment as you see fit on on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article.

o_O

Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) New York Knicks’ front office executives from left to right owner James Dolan, Phil Jackson SVP & Head of Basketball Operations and GM Steve Mills . The team is off to a bad start and hindering their chances within the division and Eastern Conference. Derek Fisher and his coaching staff struggled to find any form of consistency from the playing staff this season . AP Photo / Barry Gill …

(2) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls has been limited in his play this season through eight games , having only appeared in four contests for the team at this point of the season. Head coach Tom Thibodeau may well seek lessen the minutes for the point guard over the next month as he seeks to regain full fitness . Bulls’ general John Paxson may add his input advising Thibodeau because of the franchise’s immediate and long-term investment in the player . Getty Images/NBAE/ Clark Jones …

(3) Head coach Brett Brown center is seen here with members of the Philadelphia 76ers’ coaching staff and players . The teams remain win-less and struggling to make leeway this season. Team owner Josh Harris has shown few signs that he seeks for the Sixers to be competitive over the course of this season, much to the dismay of their fans and several former players including Allen Iverson , who has been critical of the organization. AP Photo / Marcus Shaw ….

(4) Denver Nuggets’ head coach Brian Shaw and the team’s point guard Ty Lawson are seen here on the sidelines during a game . The Nuggets are far from being competitive this season and the fans are now voicing their displeasure with the team and play of the Nuggets. AP Photo / Bob Foster ..

(5) Josh Kroenke left , is seen here alongside his father Stanley Kroenke of the Denver Nuggets . The two are senior executives within organization . The elder Kroenke is also the owner the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche as well as Premierleague soccer team Arsenal . Getty Images / Tim Johnson …

(6) (6) Adam Silver commissioner of the NBA has issued the statement he would like to see legalized wagering for all professional sports, as well as at the collegiate level . Silver believes it would be of great benefit to the NBA but in his comments he made has stated little of how he believes the federal government can mandate a statute covering legalized gaming . The NBA has offered very little , by way their team owners, general managers or the players, . leading many to believe this whole scenario was not thoroughly well thought out . Clearly, Silver since being elected commissioner of the NBA , has sought to stamp his authority , identity on the league and creating the type of dialog that places him front and center of what is likely be a controversial debate . Getty Images / Harry How …

(7) Allen Iverson whose retirement from the NBA after a distinguished career winning a League MVP Award and multiple All Star appearances and litany of franchise records for the Sixers . Iverson has been extremely critical of his former team , management and the front office staff concerning their lack of competitive spirit. AP Photo / Matthew Miller … ….

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tophatal 11/13/2014

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Related article : https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/whining-gets-you-nowhere-when-you-want-to-feel-good-about-your-team-especially-when-you-realize-theyre-on-the-decline/

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Whining gets you nowhere when you want to feel good about your team, especially when you realize they’re on the decline

Whining gets you nowhere when you want to feel good about your team, especially when you realize they’re on the decline

As the NBA season has yet to get into full swing there are now a number of situations beginning to unwind concerning the frailities of a number of teams. In something of a debate, but though a little contentious , a patron on a site suggested that the Dallas Mavericks, a perennial contender was perhaps one of the best franchises in the NBA. All true, as the Mavericks have indeed won an NBA Final where Dirk Nowitzki won the Finals’ MVP in leading the team in a surprising victory over what was then an overrated Miami Heat team led by LeBron James.

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Mark Cuban , the always none too shy, self publicity seeking owner of the Dallas Mavericks, as ever opinionated makes the statement he would like to see the Oklahoma City Thunder “tank” their season . With two of their most senior and best players sidelined by injuries , Oklahoma has made do without both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. I get the feeling, Cuban sees this as the best opportunity for the Mavericks to gain a postseason berth because his team has very little chance of winning what has always been a very competitive Southwest Division within the Western Conference.

Off to a 4-3 start to the season Rick Carlisle and his coaching staff will certainly know this will almost certainly be Dirk Nowitzki’s last season in a Mavericks’ uniform. The center’s career with the franchise has indeed made him the face of the Mavericks during his tenure and a likely Hall of Fame inductee having met the eligibility requirements. Nowitzki leads the team in many of the relevant statistical categories which matter the most .

Coming off a 105-96 loss to the Miami Heat where Monta Ellis led the scoring drive for the Mavericks in this contest. Nowitzki had a solid all-round game but not one where you could state he made a difference with the result. The flaws on the Mavericks are there to be seen, with their being very little resilience from this team with regard to theirdefensive capabilities. Dallas may well be able to outscore their opponents, but clearly defensively , the team cannot defend when a game is on the line and it will continue to be the ‘Achilles’ Heel’ for the Dallas Mavericks.

Next up for Dallas will be the opportunity for the team to gauge themselves against DeMarcus Cousins and a good Sacramento Kings’ team looking to make a clear statement they are ready to compete with the very best the conference and NBA has to offer this season.

DeMarcus Cousins is now growing into his own as a player , albeit, his stature is not where it should be for a player with a great deal of talent and who has repeatedly failed to show the maturity sought by the Kings’ coaching staff and front office and team owner Vivek Ranadive .

You certainly don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize the New York Knicks are struggling in the NBA this season. Head of Basketball Operations & SVP Phil Jackson was induced to return to the franchise where he made a name for himself as a player and won an NBA title with the franchise . This season the Knicks have been anything but consistent as the team led by Carmelo Anthony seeks to get over their early struggles. A six-point loss , 91-85 to the Atlanta Hawks was the Knicks’ third consecutive defeat suffered by team as they fall to 2-6 within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.

New York cajoled and plead with Carmelo Anthony to remain with the Knicks, on the premise they would build a competitive lineup to complement his talents as a player and the New York Knicks’ leading scorer this season. It is pretty much safe to say the Knicks are failing miserably and thought their year is somewhat of a microcosm of what was witnessed last year doesn’t provide the fans with a great deal of confidence. While attendance at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York remains healthy , you have to wonder at what point these fans are likely voice their displeasure with the team and the coaching staff of Derek Fisher.

The Knicks if they are to succeed, in spite of the belief of their fans that this season could be the year where they are primed to make a deep playoff run in pursuit of their first NBA title in over four decades. Derek Fisher in his first season as a rookie head coach must be wondering if his mentor Phil Jackson ever had these type of struggles at any point during his career. Other than Carmelo Anthony there is not a bona-fide superstar on the Knicks’ roster. Amare’ Stoudemire is on the downside of a rather disappointing career , along with a thirty-seven year old Argentinian guard Pablo Prigioni , JR Smith, Andrea Bargnani and Samuel Dalembert are seen as the mainstays of this Knicks’ team. Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher know there are teething problems concerning the New York Knicks and their next five games will tell us a great deal about the franchise and the inner workings of the organization owned by James Dolan .

With a net worth of over $1.2 billion the New York Knicks remain the most valuable NBA franchise in spite of the exorbitant price of $2 billion paid by Steve Ballmer in his purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers . While Ballmer strives to make the Clippers a more recognized brand around the league, the Knicks have no such worries , with the franchise perhaps one of the most recognizable names in the NBA and one of the most revered sports’ franchises in North America . The Orlando Magic will be the guests of the New York Knicks on Wednesday when the two teams meet in the first of the scheduled meetings this season. Ballmer has seen the Clippers get off to an indifferent start with a 4-3 mark , seated fourth within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference 1 1/2 games behind division leaders the Golden State Warriors (5-1).

In their most recent game the Los Angeles Clippers’ fall to the San Antonio Spurs, where the reigning champions witnessed the trio of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker combine for their five hundredth victory together as teammates. A singular feat , likely to go down in history but not necessarily lauded by the print and television media where even the NBA Network have been slow to laud the feat , but the network’s constant obeisance and ass kissing of the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have become bile inducing beyond anyone’s scope and comprehension. Doc Rivers has his own trio of stars with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan laying swath to their opponents this season, but the real issue, has to be , can the coach get his team playing defense with a great deal more resilience ?

In the aftermath of the Donald Sterling fiasco the Los Angeles Clippers have shown they are ready to move on and put that lamentable chapter behind them . Unfortunately, were it not for the incompetency of the hierarchy’s handling of the issue , this matter might not have been so prolonged and a complete embarrassment to the league. As the Clippers’ ascent continues the fast spiraling descent of the Los Angeles Lakers continues abound.To date , Kobe Bryant has yet to show his anger or direct his angst towards his teammates or front office executives Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak who in recent years have blundered with their acquisition of free agents and through a number of their recent draft classes .

Bryant as a multi- time time All Star has seen the Los Angeles Lakers’ season flounder with the loss of Steve Nash and rookie Julius Randle. Add in the fact head coach Byron Scott and the coaching staff are struggling to find their best lineup much get something from the roster in terms of depth . The Lakers got their first victory of the season with a 102-97 win over the Charlotte Hornets in game where Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin led all scorers for the Lakers in the contest and for the Hornets , Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leading the way for the for the visiting team. I am not so sure Bryant will be able to pull the Lakers out of their current abyss, not with a team that seems to lack a competitive edge and nature . Nonetheless , it will be interesting how they fare over remainder of the month and then throughout December as the NBA season gets into the heart of its schedule.

As the youngest League MVP in NBA history the Chicago Bulls’ (6-2) point guard Derrick Rose has seen his career take a meteoric trajectory . Rose at his very best happens to be one of the most electrifying players in the league and almost certainly among the top-five point guards playing the game today. The issue however, remains keeping Rose healthy where he can play an entire season for this team . Without him the Bulls tend to struggle as does provide the bulk of the team’s offense . Head coach Tom Thibodeau knows Rose remains the one asset , his team can do without and though over the past two postseasons the Bulls had admirable runs , those failures can point to the fact they were without their best player.

Chicago’s 6-2 mark is one of the best in the Eastern Conference and one of the best in the entire league . GM John Paxson was heavily criticized last season with the trading of Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers , but Deng now finds himself as the centerpiece of a revamped Miami Heat roster in the aftermath of the departure of LeBron James. The Bulls do not seemed to have missed a beat and their play this season has been scintillating at times , leading me to believe they might provide the biggest threat to the Cavaliers and James’ quest to bring an NBA title to Cleveland this season , which would be to the delight of team owner Dan Gilbert . James will be looking to add to his legacy and that of the Cleveland Cavaliers .

If there is one sport where the players feel theirs is a right to entitlement, the world of professional basketball would be it. Where else can the players be rewarded so highly , while leaving their peers within the NFL , and hockey its wake ? The demented lunacy that continues to exist within Major League Baseball (MLB) and the imbalances to be seen from a financial aspect , has me wondering how soon before that particular ” House of Cards” begins to fall ?

The NBA hides behind the idiocy of a “soft ” salary cap ($63.1 million) , while David Stern and his successor Adam Silver have repeatedly failed to rein in the expenses of the teams in terms of their payroll . Adam Silver as the NBA Commissioner , is not unlike Bud Selig , in his failing to address and admit his sport, has a major economic problem , even in spite of the countless, millions of dollars in annual revenues . Yes, while the burgeoning television contracts and team revenues continue to escalate , the NBA finds itself within its own personal Utopia . There still remains the question of trying to address declining viewership and in some cases the fall in attendance for teams around the league.

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Mikhail Prokorov and Paul Allen as the owners of the Brooklyn Nets and Portland Trailblazers had their teams entering this season with the highest payrolls in the NBA . Money is obviously of no issue for two of the wealthiest individuals in all of professional sports, with Prokhorov and Allen having a combined net worth exceeding $30 billion . Their teams are likely to become intertwined over the course of this season as both the Nets and Trailblazers seek to make their mark on the year. The first of their regular season meetings come on the 15th November when the Portland Trailblazers will play host to the Brooklyn Nets at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon,.

Portland will be looking to their combo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard to lead the way as they take on Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez of the Nets. Garnett the wily veteran of this Brooklyn team has long felt he can still be productive during the latter stages of his career. He has been as good as his word , giving given this roster some stability where it is needed and the coaching staff of Lionel Hollins have benefited from Kevin Garnett’s experience and leadership. Among active players, Garnett’s statstics weigh up favorably and it has been one of the defining points of his career with his durability and willingness to lead.

There is no denying , playing in a weak Eastern Conference does create the illusion great basketball is alive and well within the conference. In reality , nothing could be further from the truth with their being little to suggest the Eastern Conference is at all competitive . The hyperbole which surrounded the Miami Heat quickly brought a number of analysts and fans back down to earth, because they bought into the idiocy that LeBron James could carry the Heat though the postseason without really being assisted his supporting cast. When you consider the cast in question barely showed up during the NBA Finals , you have to wonder how anyone in their right mind favored the Heat , never mind the fact , they completely underestimated the San Antonio Spurs and their coach Gregg Popovich .

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Picture gallery .

With the NBA season still in its infancy , has there been an event or game which you feel is reflection of why the league remains pedantic ? Also which teams by your estimation are already in danger of seeing their season being flushed down the tubes ? Just leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it is gratefully appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow gallery below .

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(1) From left to right , 2011 Finals’ MVP Dirk Bowitzki is seen alongside teammates, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion after the Dallas Mavericks’ triumph over the Miami Heat in the series to win their first championship in the franchise’s history.. Team owner Mark Cuban has not been afraid to spend money capriciously , but with Nowitzki likely to retire from the game, it will be interesting to see the lengths GM Donnie Nelson will go to , in rebuilding the team. AP Photo / Mike Carpenter …

(2) Mark Cuban left , owner of the Dallas Mavericks is seen here with the team’s head coach Rick Carlisle . The two will have a great deal of pondering to do at the end of this season , should the Dirk Nowitzki make the decision to retire from the game and the franchise where he has spent his entire NBA career . Getty Images North America / Moses Carter ..

(3) Reigning League MVP Kevin Durant shows a great deal of humility and humbleness, as he accepts his MVP Award. Durant is currently missing from the Oklahoma City Thunder lineup due to an injury that will keep him sidelined for at least two months, hampering the team’s chances of making a successful defense of their divisional crown . Head coach Scott Brooks hopes to see Durant back in a Thunder uniform by late December or early January , Also missing from the starting lineup is point guard Russell Westbrook . The duo are two of the league’s most potent offensive players accounting for over 63% of the team’s offense this past season . AP Photo/ Larry Mason …

(4) Phil Jackson now a senior executive within the New York Knicks’ front office has been entrusted with the decision making process for all personnel moves for the franchise. The former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach hired Derek Fisher to coach the team . Off to an inauspicious start Fisher and his coaching staff will have to make good on the wishes of their fans to make the postseason for the first time in three years . At their present rate the projected wins’ total for the Knicks seems to be no more than twenty-eight games . A record , unlikely get them a berth for the NBA Playoffs based on the last two years . AP Photo / Matt Turner …

(5) Former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer is seen here with Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul , (right) at a Los Angeles Kings’ game . Ballmer purchased the Clippers for a record $2 billion , and with that an appreciation in the value of the NBA’s other twenty-nine teams is likely to take place . Getty Images North America …

(6) From left to right , Manu Ginobli, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are seen here on the bench during a game. The combo were part of the team’s lineup during which they won their five-hundredth game together as a trio. Duncan has been part of all five team triumphs in the NBA Finals with his two teammates each winning four titles . The Spurs hope to make it a sixth this upcoming season and they are off to mild start to their schedule . Head coach Gregg Popovich seeks his six title as coach and third NBA Coach of the Year Award during his illustrious career . Peter Holt and GM RC Buford have presided over the franchise’s success over the past eighteen years. AP Photo / Paul Holland ..

(7) Four-time League MVP LeBron James whose return to the Cleveland Cavaliers have seen an increase in the Cavaliers’ attendance at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio . James for his part leads the team in the most pertinent offensive categories this season . Cleveland is seen as the leading contender for the Eastern Conference title this season and James hopes to make that a reality for the franchise. Team owner Dan Gilbert was ecstatic at the return of the player who was drafted by team and as a rookie started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers . AP Photo / Manny Velazquez …

(8) Brooklyn Nets owner , Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with the team’s point guard Deron Williams . Beyond his ownership of the franchise , Prokhorov owns the a majority (85%) stake, which encompasses the Nets’ venue the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York and real estate enterprise surrounding the arena. AP Photo / Barry Marshall …

(9) Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose is seen on the sidelines discussing a play with head coach Tom Thibodeau during a game. The player has missed a significant number of games over thelast two seasons due to injury and already this early into Bulls’ 2014 season, Rose has once again been sidelined due to injury . AP Photo / Anglela Hart …

(10) Luol Deng (9) of the Miami Heat , who in a recent outing for the team scored a season high thirty points against the Dallas Mavericks , which the Heat won with ease against a Mavericks’ team, who showed poor defensive qualities . Deng signed with Heat after being part of a mid-season trade in during the 2013 season which saw him being dealt by the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Signed as a free agent this off-season by the Heat , Deng has become a solid member and performer for the team this season , leading the Miami Heat to one of the best records in the Eastern Conference. Getty Images/ Matt Jones …

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The growing pains of a Major League Baseball team

The growing pains of a Major League Baseball team

With baseball’s off-season now in full swing and the San Francisco Giants rejoicing in their third triumph in the World Series in the past five years. The question now becomes can this franchise build upon the foundations of that success and win several more ? Bruce Bochy has proved himself to be the best manager in baseball and the best of this decade. No one else even remotely comes close to his achievements and the same can said of GM Brian Sabean .
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There was no denying the San Francisco Giants success has been built upon drafting well and making sound decisions when it came to the various trades by the organization over the past three years. It has been Sabean’s success in conjunction with the managerial staff , which has brought about the success by the franchise. This ball club has never been one , which made a big splash by overspending on a marquee free agent. The long-term commitments made to players such as catcher Buster Posey have been worth every penny and Posey has rewarded the Giants with his productivity and skill behind the plate.

Buster Posey and World Series’ MVP, pitcher Madison Bumgarner were not only the mainstays of the Giants during the regular season, but during the postseason, both players were front and center in San Francisco’s success as the postseason built up full steam, leading to their success of being triumphant triumphant over the Kansas City Royals . With a number of players now about to become free agents or in arbitration with the San Francisco Giants , Brian Sabean and the front office will have to use all of their guile in trying to re-sign several of those free agents by offering increased financial rewards or other meaningful incentives.

One of the players the Giants will look to re-sign , has to be their 2012 World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval who this postseason was timely with his hitting, but also offered up a great deal of leadership and intangibles for the Giants. His loss would be seen as part of doing business, when money seems to be driving force in the game. Sandoval and his agents at SPS Sports Group will be looking to negotiate a contract for their client commensurate to his standing and his worth to the team. Six years $140 million might prove to be too be expensive a deal for the Giants to undertake , but at the same time do they really want allow a player of Pablo Sandoval’s ability to leave , while he is still productive? Along with Sandoval among the Giants’ impending free agents are Ryan Vogelsong, Jake Peavy, Sergio Romo , Mike Morse and Tony Abreu , with the feeling Brian Sabean will also look at the players in arbitration before making any major moves during this off-season as the wheeling and dealing begins during the Winter Meetings of the baseball executives.

A thrilling seven-game World Series which was among the most watched postseason series over the past decade, had the nation gripped as the suspense began to unfold. The upstart Kansas City Royals got close to pulling off the improbable, but their postseason inexperience was the only reason for their failure. Ned Yost and his managerial staff had the team playing with a great deal of zeal , but the Giants proved to be the better team in this Fall Classic . Royals’ owner David Glass has long spent his years shying away from spending money on the team . Granted, the Royals played great baseball this season , but consider the fact under the owner’s leadership, during his tenure the franchise failed miserably until this season.

Alex Gordon , Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer have been the focal point of the Royals’ success, proving themselves specialists with the short ball and building the rapport that made them the all too appealing underdogs of the postseason . Dayton Moore the general manager will be asked to convince several of the core members of the Kansas City Royals that it is worth remaining with the ball-club rather than seeking to go elsewhere . Free agency has a way of turning the possible future of a team upside down and it has been the repeated case for this particular franchise over the past eight years.

James Shields , Josh Willingham , Luke Hochevar, Scott Downs and Billy Butler will be among the free agents looking to be paid a king’s ransom this upcoming season, while there will also be those players in arbitration with the Royals whose contracts are likely to be a bone of contention between Moore and the players’ agents.

It will be interesting to see how Dayton Moore seeks to make the Kansas City Royals competitive this upcoming season and whether or they will be keep up the momentum achieved in 2014.

If I’ve said it once I’ll say it again show me an idiot who believes the New York Mets are able to compete and I will show you fan devoid of intelligence ! Repeatedly over the past four seasons this franchise has failed their fans miserably and the excuses continue as where , when and how they are likely to win the NL East , NL Pennant and the World Series. Consider the fact the Mets have not won a pennant in almost decade and their last appearance in the Fall Classic was a forlorn affair in their loss (4-1) to the New York Yankees in 2000. The front office now led by Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi have continued to stumble their way meaningless trades d and draft classes that have not produced a player worth a damn and now there’s talk of a farm system that will likely produce a ready to make an assault on the NL and the rest of the baseball . Matt Harvey the pitcher who spent last season on the team’s disabled list will the player manager Terry Collins hopes can provide a real presence for Mets. This upcoming season is likely to Collins’ last in charge as the manager of the ball-club , because he has not really shown the acumen to lead the New York Mets .

Granted the NL East was a pitiful division in 2014, with the division winner the Washington Nationals being the only team with a record above .500 at the end of the regular season . If that is not an indictment of how bad the play within the division was said to be , then clearly those who believe the Mets have something to offer, are clearly delusional.

David Wright , long seen as the best player the New York Mets’ to have benn on their roster continues to be consistent but unable to lead the franchise to where the fans believe they ought to be. Team owners, Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz , and COO Jeff Wilpon have been negligent not only in their fiduciary duties but also in their executive roles for the organization. Financial institutions may well have come to the Mets’ aid to bail them out of their self-inflicted financial but woes but they are far from being out of danger. Unfortunately, the negligence of baseball’s hierarchy led by Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred have been negligent in their duties of monitoring the actions of the New York Mets after the Bernie Madoff ” fiasco” .

Free agents notwithstanding , the issue for the New York Mets will become how to deal with replenishing their roster for the upcoming season. It is widely believed they will seek reacquire Jose Reyes now with the Toronto Blue Jays but also jettison the players they believe superfluous to their needs.Addition by subtraction, might well be viewed in some circles as the best move forward, but I believe the biggest benefit to the Mets could be the hire of a new manager rather than retaining Terry Collins for another season.

I cannot say, I was surprised by the departure of Andrew Friedman from the Tampa Bay Rays to join the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Head of Baseball Operations has simply shed a light on the continued problems within the game and its financial imbalances . Friedman’s jump to a bigger team was then followed by Joe Maddon as he joined the Chicago Cubs to become the franchise’s new manager. Now comes the hard part for Friedman , can he work in environment where there seems to be more money awash with the Dodgers , than there appears to be common sense within the organization ? A quarter of a billion dollar payroll has been a boondoggle for a baseball club that has failed miserably for the past two seasons, first in 2013 and then this past year. Don Mattingly appears to be in over his head , as he tries to massage the egos of several high-priced and overpaid stars on the Dodgers’ roster.

The best pitcher in baseball in 2013and again in 2014 has become anathema in the postseason. Clayton Kershaw can be mesmerizing during the regular season ,but this postseason showed him to have frailties no one might have envisaged as the Dodgers stumbled . Yet the real struggles for the Dodgers during the postseason wasn’t just the weak pitching but the lack of hitting , where fingers could be pointed up and down the roster. Where the Dodgers now go from here will ultimately be down to the decisions and direction Andrew Friedman makes .

A patron of this site has repeatedly suggested fans of the Tampa Bay Rays are knowledgeable about the team and its flaws, but when pressed to answer questions such as why annually it has been about cost cutting as the Rays have pared down salary in each of the past five seasons. He has not been to succinctly come up with a reason why Stuart Sternberg has not seen fit spend money on the talent needed to make this ball club competitive. Instead , Sternberg has continued to whine as to not being given any assistance in the building of a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays. Stuart Sternberg is no more an astute a businessman as Sarah Palin could be described as a ” voice of reason” when espousing the Conservative view of the world and the domestic issues affecting the country. The Rays’ owner has become conceited arrogant and a complete ass ________ and not far behind are the fans of the organization, who have no idea as to the real issues the ball-club continues to face. Maddon’s departure it is said , continued to circled around the lack of direction and the failure to obtain financing for a new stadium to replace Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida,. The on field talent remains to be a topic of conversation, as the debate will arguably be about , which player the Rays can or cannot afford to retain at the end of this off-season . A definite increase in the Tampa Bay Rays’ payroll has to be sought beyond the fact the organization has yet to hire a new manager , although the interview process has began , with their being an alleged interest in Raul Ibanez , but it remains to be seen whether not Ibanez is keen on the idea of making the move from player to become baseball’s latest manager.

A five-year $25 million deal, has secured Joe Maddon’s financial future but his professional future with the Chicago Cubs under the reins of Cubs’ President of Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer could be less secure. In the four years since the duo became senior executives within the organization we have seen the club struggle relentlessly, as the ” curse of the goat continues. Dale Sveum’s firing could not have come about quick enough as the Cubs’ last place finish (73-89) within the NL Central was a more than a vague reminder why this club remains the laughing stock within Major League Baseball and around the world of sports. One hundred years of infamy , mediocrity and owners who have remained completely clueless. Tom Ricketts and his family are bereft of any intelligence since assuming control of the Cubs, even with the hiring of Theo Epstein. And Epstein might well have inherited a mess , but five years into his tenure there have been few signs of progress concerning the Chicago Cubs and that is a clear reflection of their record this past season .

Starlin Castro remains a tremendous and unbridled talent . In the right environment , he can definitely thrive , but I seriously doubt his remaining with the Chicago Cubs will ultimately lead to success unless , he is surrounded with the talent likely to bring out the best in the player. Castro remains the face of the Cubs’ franchise and in my opinion a multiple All Star for years to come ! He is by far , one of the most exciting young players in the game and one of the most electrifying short-stops in the NL and baseball. If the Cubs are to compete against the likes of the Cincinnati Reds , Milwaukee Brewers , Pittsburgh Pirates and St Louis Cardinals within the NL Central , then Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will have to work more than a few miracles beyond the thought Joe Maddon can best cure what ails the organization. More financial resources as seen with this ball club has been no guarantee of success as seen with their missteps in their trades in recent years and a number of their recent draft classes.

The return of Alex Rodriguez to the game of baseball and specifically to the New York Yankees after the retirement of Derek Jeter and his two-decade career. GM Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi are intent on welcoming Rodriguez back with open arms as the Yankees seek to reinvent themselves and enter a new chapter of their history. The infamous third baseman’s suspension and his well chronicled web of deceit and lies have left Alex Rodriguez’s legacy tarnish and his reputation in tatters. No matter how many philanthropic efforts he now becomes part of , it will never satisfy the wish of fans to have seen him banished from the game permanently . The weakness of the league hierarchy and the all too powerful MLBPA (union) backing a player who has repeatedly lied over the years concerning his use of a banned substance as prohibited by MLB. Last season proved to be a mediocre year for the New York Yankees with their pitching and offensebeing woefully inept. Joe Girardi could not get the best out of an aging and overrated pitching staff without delving into the fact Carlos Beltran , Ichiro Suzuki and CC Sabathia are now well past their prime. Unfortunately, when an organization has no faith in their scouting staff much less the farm system itself , it sends the right and wrong questions about the ball-club and the assumptions we have seen with the Yankees.

In his time with the New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez has achieved some success winning a World Series title in 2009 along with two AL MVP Awards , but one can’t help ask, was this all achieved without the assistance of a banned substance? Rodriguez has been quick to point an accusing fingers at others for his own missteps. Personally, I believe Alex Rodriguez will be unable to regain the “form” which made him one of the most prolific players in baseball over the last decade and a half .Personally, I believe Alex Rodriguez will be unable to regain the “form” which made him one of the most prolific players in baseball over the last decade and a half . Rodriguez will be returning to a ball club looking for some semblance of leadership and he somehow is expected to assume the mantel of Derek Jeter, but those will be a tough pair shoes to fill and footsteps to follow.

Personally, I believe Alex Rodriguez will be unable to regain the “form” which made him one of the most prolific players in baseball over the last decade and a half . Rodriguez will be returning to a ball club looking for some semblance of leadership and he somehow is expected to assume the mantel of Derek Jeter but those will be a tough pair shoes to fill and footsteps to follow.

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Picture gallery .

In what way do you feel baseball was best served with the ascent of Kansas City Royals and how do think it will impact the game this upcoming season ? Which teams in your opinion will have the most to lose without making a bold move in order to be competitive ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) World Series MVP , pitcher Madison Bumgarner is seen here alongside San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy . The two appeared at the press conference after the team’s game seven victory over the Kansas City Royals in this season’s World Series . It was the third victory for Giants in the past five seasons of the Fall Classic . All three series’ victories were managed by Bochy , making him the most successful manager of the past decade and franchise’s most successful manager. AP Photo / Keith Davis …

(2) 2012 World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval who is eligible to become a free agent this off-season and likely to be one of the most sought after players during the off-season. The leading candidate to sign the player appears to be the Boston Red Sox , Sandoval and his agents are not able to renegotiate a new contract with the 2014 World Series’ champion . Getty Images/ Tony Charles …

(3) Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost , right, celebrates with Mike Moustakas after the Royals’ 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels in 11 innings during Game 1 of baseball’s AL Division Series in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Moustakas hit a home rum in the 11th inning. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi … ….

(4)Flushing, New York 9/30/13 Mets Manager Terry Collins talks to media at a press conference as GM Sandy Alderson looks on at Citi Field on Sept. 30, 2013 Paul J. Bereswill …

(5) Teammates , pitcher Matt Harvey and third baseman David Wright are seen here at Citi Field , in Flushing , New York . The two players are All Stars with the franchise , but have failed to lead the ball club into a deep postseason run . Getty Images / Harry How …

(6)Starlin Castro whose season with the Chicago Cubs has been sensational while being the best player on the team’s roster in 2014. AP Photo/ Chris Gordon …

(7) Tampa Bay Rays’ lead managing partner Stuart Sternberg is seen here with members of the press . Sternberg has seen the departure of manager Joe Maddon and general manager Andrew Friedman . Matt Silverman has since succeeded Friedman as general manager , but the organization has yet to hire a manager for the ball club. AP Photo /Chris James …

(8) New York Yankees’ Joe Girardi is seen here with the team’s third baseman Alex Rodriguez who will make his return to the team this upcoming season , where they hope to make a return to the postseason and win their twenty-eighth World Series’ title. AP Photo / Ron Carter …
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They’ve got ninety-nine problems and it’s all about their quarterback …

They’ve got ninety-nine problems and it’s all about their quarterback …

It tells you a great deal about a franchise, when it just happens to be the team owner making many of the personnel decisions , rather than the coaching or front office staff of a team. We have all witnessed the machinations of Al Davis , former owner of the Oakland Raiders and how he continued to ruin the franchise during the latter years of his tenure. Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has still not seen his beloved team win a Superbowl in over a decade . Now, while having the customary setback after their loss to the Arizona Cardinals in week nine , with Tony Romo now on the team’s injury reserve list and their being mounting speculation as to if he will be suited up for the Cowboys’ game in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars . If Romo is unable to play , a game time decision is likely to be made by head coach Jason Garrett but with a great deal of input coming from Jerry Jones. It remains to be seen whether the incumbent starter will be replaced by his backup Brandon Weeden.

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With their defeat the Dallas Cowboys lost their grip on the NFC East , with the Philadelphia Eagles now leading the division over their arch rival . For the Eagles their worries have now manifested with the loss of starting quarterback Nick Foles for as many as three weeks. Foles’ loss will likely provide the opportunity for Mark Sanchez to resurrect his career in the NFL . Sanchez will get the start when the Philadelphia Eagles play host to the Carolina Panthers at Lincoln Financial Field , in Philadelphia, Pennyslvania, in the Monday night game on the 10th November ,2014.

Mark Sanchez will be asked to be conservative in his play, with the likely propensity for Chip Kelly to use the ground game against the Panthers in this all NFC contest . There is no denying the Eagles will need this win, if only maintain their lead over the Dallas Cowboys. These two NFC East adversaries still have to meet in their seasonal match-ups, which will take place during week twelve at AT&Stadium in Arlington, Texas and with the second of the two contests reverting to Philadelphia in week fifteen.

If Jerry Jones is said to have a high opinion of his own managerial acumen, then his peer, Daniel Snyder , owner of the Washington Redskins , who it is believed insisted Robert Griffin III , be given the start in week nine against the Minnesota Vikings. Griffin returning from an injury was less than stellar in the game where the Vikings came away with the victory. Ill-timed pass attempts and failure to connect with a number of his receivers played a part in the Redskins’ defeat and Robert Griffin’s poor play.

With their depth chart simply thin on experienced quarterbacks, Jay Gruden and his coaching staff have brought in Terrell Pryor with a view to assessing the player’s attributes and whether or not he would be a good fit for the Washington Redskins’ team. Pryor’s career in the NFL can be best described as lackluster and very much understated. This could be considered the desperate act of a head coach at his wit’s end , whose faith in the quarterbacks now on the roster, is are less than he expected to see , given the experience of Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III .

The Redskins are now in a dire position and great deal of the blame for their situation can be placed firmly on the shoulders of GM Bruce Allen, Gruden’s predecessor , Mike Shanahan , his former assistant , the team’s former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan . Shanahan and his son, were simply bereft of creativity and the relationship with Daniel Snyder was less then commendable , during the latter part of their tenure with the Washington Redskins.

Ben Roethlisbeger seems to be back at his very best, with the Pittsburgh Steelers now riding high within the AFC North and the two-time winning Superbowl quarterback now showing the poise and play with the performances, likely to put the Steelers back in the postseason for the first time in three years , when their last appearance came in 2011 as a wildcard entrant , where they fell to the Denver Broncos in a narrow six-point loss. The Steelers are winners of four of their last five regular season games, with their last defeat coming in a 31-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns in week six. Roehtlisberger in those five contests, has simply been unbelievable , passing for over 1664 yards , fourteen touchdowns , one interception , with a 112.55 quarterback rating. Rarefied air , but nothing, coach Mike Tomlin hasn’t seen from the player since becoming the head coach.

Pittsburgh, with their lead in a very competitive AFC North, now down to a one-game margin, there remains a great deal to play for, with each of the four teams all in with a shot of claiming the divisional crown , barring any mishaps or major injuries . The Steelers’ passing game has always been based on the efficiency of their quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger has been resplendent in showing his prowess during the season , where he has been among the most successful quarterbacks in the the league up to this point of the NFL schedule. A week ten match-up against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey, will see the Pittsburgh Steelers take on their AFC East conference rivals . To describe the Jets’ seasonas dire would be an understatement , where there has been a convergence of ineptitude witnessed in the poor play of Geno Smith as well as the entire team under head coach Rex Ryan. Many are now wondering, if the head coach can survive the rest of the season or will he simply be allowed to coach the team until the end of their regular season schedule. Jets’ GM John Idzik has not been candid about the coach’s position , with criticism also being leveled at the front office executive for his decision making and handling of the organization.

An eight-game losing streak has seen the New York Jets’ pratfalls take on comical implications for the team and their fans in attendance for their home games. If there was decision to be made about “eating crow” or eating dog crap by the fans of the New York Jets, I get the feeling they would take delight in eating both , and then take aim at Geno Smith and Rex Ryan , showing their displeasure at the duo. If Smith’s backup Michael Vick is made the starter for the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers , I am not so sure the veteran quarterback can lead the team to a victory. Vick still believes he can be productive for an NFL franchise at this stage of his career, but those grandiose ideas should now be placed on a back-burner for a player who has failed to live up to expectations. Geno Smith , Michael Vick and Rex Ryan’s career have now become intertwined and it is extremely difficult to see how the Jets as a franchise, can move forward, with all three still being a part of this organization.

Five straight games of passing for three-hundred yards or more , have placed the credentials of Andrew Luck under even more scrutiny as the top pick from the 2012 NFL Draft has seen his stature rise since he entered the NFL. There were doubts , as to whether or not he could succeed Peyton Manning and then lead the Indianapolis Colts to any semblance of success. Two consecutive postseason appearances have a way of bolstering a young player’s credentials and clearly that has been achieved by Andrew Luck. Now the question becomes, can he lead the franchise to a Superbowl victory ?

Though the Colts have not fallen short short in their last two games . In week eight they were on the wrong side of an entertaining and high-scoring contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, during which Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger combined for over eight-hundred yards of passing offense , nine touchdowns and a single interception . Chuck Pagano must like what he is now seeing from his young quarterback , with his only concern being the number of interceptions thrown by the player. Indiana’s victory over to the New York Giants was a timely booster , wasn’t perplexing , a great deal of which can be put down to the fact the Giants’ defense has performed inconsistently over the course of the season, rather than suggesting Eli Manning is now back at his very best . Manning , his teammates and the coaching staff are still trying figure out the conundrum that has become their season .

A bye-week in week ten, will Chuck Pagano’s players the chance to recuperate , study the playbook and then prepare for their week eleven contest agains the New England Patriots , their quarterback Tom Brady who once again is having an exceptional season.

Confounding critics, who may well have written them off , after their embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Patriots are back on track and raring to go. The second half of the team’s schedule is a daunting one , with several difficult games on their agenda. Their week nine annihilation of the Denver Broncos was clinical , where the highlight , was meant to be the chance to witness another Tom Brady Peyton Manning match-up, didn’t quite live up to expectation, with the Broncos’ defense simply being in tatters after being shredded by Brady. If John Fox is said to have a concern , then it has to be the fact the Denver Broncos’ secondary even with the acquisitions made are no better than their lineup of last season. Struggled as they have, if the Denver Broncos are to rekindle their hopes of making the postseason and and completely eradicate the memories of the loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Superbowl, then their defense will have to be far more efficient , than we have seen this season.

Peyton Manning remains one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history having broken several of league’s most revered records as he certainly goes on to become future inductee to the Hall of Fame. There is no denying the Denver Broncos are only as good as their quarterback is said to be on game-day , and granted, there are likely to be times where Manning will have an exceptional game , but the team will end up losing the contest , but more than not , it tends to be something of a rarity with this high-caliber player

Johnny Manziel might not have been the first quarterback taken in this most recent NFL Draft, even with their being proponents of the player to be taken higher, with many believing him to be a consensus top-five pick , if not the number one overall pick. The Cleveland Browns drafted the former Texas AM quarterback and he has become an integral part of the team , while being offered a number of opportunities to show his skill-set.

For the moment, Brian Hoyer has the starting role for the Browns and with the team being in contention for the AFC North , there can be no justification to have Manzel inserted into the lineup, as the starting quarterback , in spite of the clamor for him to be on the field. Mike Pettine knows there may well come a time at some point in the season where Johnny Manziel will be called on to take the reins , but for the time being I am inclined to believe he will will continue to ride on the ” hot hand ” of his current starting quarterback.

Cleveland’s defeat of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers added to the Buccaneers’ woes and has sparked the belief with the Cleveland Browns’ fans , this could be the season, where they challenge the Pittsburgh Steelers , Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals for divisional supremacy and a postseason berth. The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals will meet in a Thursday night contest at Paul Brown Stadium, in Cincinnati , Ohio,.

A case could be made where the Jacksonville Jaguars’ faith in Blake Bortles might well have been over-reaching with the belief if made a starter , the rookie quarterback could ignite this fading franchise. Hard to believe the last quarterback of note for the organization was Mark Brunell. Considering Brunell’s last game for the Jaguars was during the 2003 NFL season and that his last professional game as a quarterback came in week fourteen of the regular season schedule in 2011 , when he played for the New York Jets as a veteran forty-one year old. The fact that the Jets were on the wrong side of a demoralizing loss suffered at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, should not come as a big surprise.

Gus Bradley and his coaching staff will now seek to guide Bortles through the landmines and trappings of being a rookie quarterback , the front office sought to be the future of the franchise. A 1-8 record is not at all inspiring and though Blake Bortles cannot be blamed for the team’s mediocre statistics , yet it does beg the question , if his baptism of fire can be so bad, what are the alternatives if any for the organization to take at this juncture ?

Jacksonsville will have the Dallas Cowboys as their guests this upcoming Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London, England , where the Cowboys will be hoping for Tony Romo to make his return after being sidelined in week nine due to an injury. Both teams are in need of a victory , but the signs point to a road win for the visiting team , in what is likely to turn out to be a lopsided contest.

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In the age of the quarterback , where NFL has now become systematically about the passing game and defenses being asked to slow down and actually negate that facet of the game. There is no denying the passers in today’s game are seen as the on field generals, with their salaries and contracts being among the highest offered in the league. How do you see the NFL manifesting itself in terms of how the game is perceived and the appreciation of the quarterbacks ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article .

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(1) From left to right , Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett , defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and the team’s quarterback Tony Romo. The trio arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game to be played at Wembley Stadium . AP Photo / Eric Barton …

(2) Brandon Weeden (3) of the Dallas Cowboys passes against the San Diego Chargers during a preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium on August 7, 2014 in San Diego, California. If Tony Romo is declared unfit for the Cowboys’ game against the Jaguars then Weeden is likely to get the start. Getty Images / Stephen Dunn ….

(3) Mark Sanchez (3) of the Philadelphia Eagles is seen here during a game played against the St Louis Rams . With the unavailability of starting quarterback Nick Foles , Sanchez as the backup, will now be inserted into the starting role by head coach Chip Kelly. AP Photo / Howard Jones ..

(4) Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers is congratulated by Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts after Pittsburgh’s 51-34 win at Heinz Field on October 26, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The duo of AFC quarterbacks put on an exhilarating display in providing the fans of the NFL with the highest scoring game of the day during week eight . Getty Images / Stephen Dunn …

(5) Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) looks to make an offensive play on the ground in a game against the Minnesota Vikings . The Redskins lost the game and pretty much any chance of making a legitimate run to win their division or gain a postseason berth. AP Photo/ Michael Parsons

(6) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots and Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos exchange post-game salutations . Brady and the Patriots defeated the Broncos in their AFC clash , which was somewhat , a lopsided affair , ending with New England’s victory over their arch rivals. Getty Images / Andreas Matsos ..

(7) Blake Bortles left , of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns , are two of this season’s NFL rookie quarterbacks looking to gain some playing experience in the NFL this year. The Cleveland Browns are looking to make a serious push to win the AFC North, where they currently sit in a Isecond place tie with the Cincinnati Bengals , one game behind division leaders the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) . AP Photo/ Tracey Atwater …..
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Long walk of shame or it just happened to be that way …


Long walk of shame or it just happened to be that way

Another NFL weekend has almost come to a close, with only the Monday Night Football game still to be played. Nevertheless, there were some rather surprising results along the way and others , which seemed to be foregone conclusion even prior to their start. If there was said to be a major surprise in terms of the results witnessed, then the San Diego Chargers’ embarrassing and lopsided 37-0 loss to the Miami Dolphins(5-3) proved to be the most surprising of them all. Philip Rivers’ season to date has been one of the most impressive of the NFL starting quarterbacks, going into week nine.

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Rivers and his teammates may well look back on the defeat and see it was a way to jar them out their complacency, yet at the same time, I cannot help but wonder if head coach Mike McCoy and his coaching staff had his team prepared for this contest . Whatever this result might suggest, the Chargers and their fans cannot be entirely happy with the performances on the day. With a bye week in week ten , McCoy and his staff will no doubt assess the team injuries as well as the psyche of his players before they head into week eleven where they will face divisional rivals the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium, in San Diego, California. Tony Sparano and the Raiders are still seeking their first win of the season and their 0-8 record now seems a precursor of things s to come , bringing back memories of the Detroit Lions’ win-less season in 2008, where the team was simply abysmal all year long .

Oakland for its part , put up a spirited attempt to defeat the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday in their game played at Century Link Field in Seattle , Washington. Sparano for the moment remains the interim head coach, but sooner or later,GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis will have to make the decision as to whether or not the head coach is the right man to lead this team for the remainder of the season. The longer this prolonged agony continues , the less likely the Raiders are going to see any semblance of success , much less be reinvigorated with some new-found confidence.

After their victory over the San Diego Chargers I have no doubt head coach Joe Philbinand his staff might feel this was the team’s best performance of the season so far. Though there are still eight games left to the regular season, the AFC East division remains something of a tightly contested race. The New England Patriots after their lambasting of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, New England seem to be in the driver’s seat, leading the division with a 7-2 record, where their two-game lead over the Buffalo Bills(5-3) and Dolphins might well be enough for them to take the division with some ease. Given the way the Patriots dealt with Manning and the Broncos , the momentum for Tom Brady and his teammates has now swung their way.

With only the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets (1-8) having more consecutive losses over their last eight games, it is easy to understand why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) have struggled this season . Four consecutive defeats with the latest coming at the hands of the Cleveland Browns (5-3) has to be perplexing for the Buccaneers’ fans just as much as it has to for Lovie Smith and his coaching staff. Not one player on this Buccaneers’ roster can actually justify their salary , yet alone their contract , but somehow Smith suggests he has continued faith in his players , most notably , quarterback Mike Glennon. To try and put into words how abysmal Tampa has been can easily be summed up by sniffing the odor of a canine’s fecal matter or urine and then making a comparison with the Buccaneers’ performances this season. It’s safe to say, shit and urine definitely do stink , but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now in a ” class of their own” , when it comes to stinking up the joint .

Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play host to the equally forlorn Atlanta Falcons (2-6) in a divisional race, where mediocritywithin the NFC South seems to be the norm for this season . All four teams are no better than a .500 record with the New Orleans Saints leading the way with a 4-4 mark. For Saints’ head coach Sean Payton , he knows his team has been uncharacteristic in terms of their overall play . New Orleans’ 28-10 victory over the equally lamentable Carolina Panthers and you get to understand why the NFC South has become an instantaneous joke this season.

To carry on with the comical side of the NFL this season , at what point will the New York Jets’ front office figure out that Rex Ryan , Geno Smith and Michael Vick have a great deal in common ? GM John Idzik and Ryan have formulated a recipe for disaster this season and I doubt that Julia Childs in her kitchen at the peak of her culinary guile could or would have served up such a meal for a dinner guest , let alone what the Jets have served up for their fans this season ! If Geno Smith is said to be a work in progress , then the Jets’ front office should be negotiating with the quarterback’s agents at RocNation Sports for a return of at least 90% of their money back in terms of the player’s contract.

Drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft , Smith is in the process of making Mark Sanchez’s final season with the Jets seem like a masterpiece painted by none other than Pablo Picasso . In reality though, even Picasso at his very worst, with his artistic ingenuity never made his admirers simply want to throw rocks at his work. Sanchez now commonly known for the “butt-fumble fiasco and legacy can take delight, that his successor has become a complete laughing stock around the NFL, with the print and television media and in the tri-state area now continually criticizing Geno Smith for his poor play. Decision making asides , there is now no upside to Smith as a player , let alone the fans seeing Michael Vick on the field as his immediate backup as a starting quarterback. As if to emphasize this point further , I need only point to the Jets’ 24-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs .

The clock is now ticking on Rex Ryan’s tenure with the New York Jets and as their season meanders on, there seems to be no signs the coach and his staff can actually point to any signs of progress, let alone their being confidence among the members of the roster. Dire consequences await should the New York Jets fall to the Pittsburgh Steelers in week ten, when they play host to one of the AFC North’s leading divisional contenders.

A 13-10 loss by the San Francisco 49ers to the St Louis Rams might not yet have created a scene of panic, but given the fact the Rams have not been truly competitive all season long, suggests to me , the Forty Niners were complacent and are extremely overrated this season. The team have begun to rest on their laurels , and Colin Kaepernick seems to be more concerned over his tattooed adorned arms , than he is with the team’s cumbersome play and their nondescript record in the NFC West. Needless to say, the idiocy of the Niners still being capable of winning ten games, seems further adrift than ever before. Should the Forty Niners fail in their quest for the divisional title and a postseason berth , the accusing fingers will certainly be pointed at not only the players , but certainly at head coach Jim Harbaugh .

We’re number one . Oops ! Sorry , we were number one and now the repercussions of the College Football season are now being felt , as the top contenders start to make their push to be part of the final-four playoff format which will be used to determine the next national champion at the FBS Level (D1).

We’re number one . Oops ! Sorry , we were number one and now the repercussions of the College Football season are now being felt , as the top contenders start to make their push to be part of the final-four playoff format which will be used to determine the next national champion at the FBS Level (D1). While Misssissippi State (Bulldogs) 8-0 still hangs unto the top spot , the belief appears to be they will not be around for the final round and seen as the last man standing. The Bulldogs took care of Arkansas in a competitive match-up that could have gone the Razorbacks’ way, , had they taken advantage of the opportunities offered at the time.

For Mississippi State , if they can simply win out then , they will be part of the inaugural playoff format. Granted, with the rapid rise up the rankings of Oregon , Auburn , TCU (Horned Frogs) and Nick Saban’s rampant Alabama (Crimson Tide) laying swath to their opponents , there is a suggestion the SEC’s presence in the final standings will be overwhelming. One program not part of the discussion is the rapidly falling esteem of the Florida Gators , where Wil Muschamp’s tenure appears to be at end with AD Jeremy Foley intent on prolonging the agony of every Gators’ fan nationwide . Alumni of the program are at the point, where they are calls for an effigy to be hung from the rafters of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida , and home to some of Florida’s greatest triumphs.

To understand the Gators’ plight this season , has been very much a chance to witness what it is like to self implode , while those around you remain calm. Two consecutive losses , before a beat-down of the Georgia Bulldogs and still the victory has not been enough to quell the calls for Wil Muschamp’s dismissal .

Florida’s next scheduled game will pit them against conference rivals Vanderbilt in a contest which could a long way in either resurrecting some respectability to their season or simply prolong the agony.

Kevin Durant , ” out” , Julius Randle and Steve Nash , both on the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster out, have their fans witnessing an impromptu and below par start to the NBA season. The Oklahoma City Thunder will be without their League MVP for two months of their starting schedule , but Scott Brooks as optimistic as ever is hoping the player can make an earlier return to the team’s starting lineup . The fact Sebastian Telfair now finds himself on the Thunder’s roster after a less than solid career in the NBA , has me wondering what GM Sam Presti hopes to get out of the veteran guard .

Still early stages in the season . but already , you have to wonder what to make of the Los Angeles Lakers and their poor start to their schedule . Win-less , with Byron Scott now unsure as to what his best starting lineup ought to be . An 0-4 start for the Los Angeles Lakers and the excuses have begun from the lame Lakers’ fans, who are unwilling to admit the roster has no real depth or talent beyond Kobe Bryant. If anyone thinks an aging Carlos Boozer can add to or make this roster more productive, /then clearly , they, Mitch Kupchak , Jim Buss and their forlorn fans are sadly mistaken. . Defensively, the Lakers are an unmitigated disaster and a complete mess, with their being no real sign the coaching staff or the players know when and where their first win of the season is likely to happen . Giving up on 115 points per game and you can easily understand why the Lakers are simply limping and whimpering their way to perhaps another miserable season.

Kobe Bryant will lead his teammates in their next game on Tuesday night when they face the Phoenix Suns at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California. If the contests between these two teams are anything to go by , then we are likely to see either A a high scoring contest , with their being no emphasis on defense or just a game , error prone in just about every facet imaginable. I am not so sure the Los Angeles Lakers are capable of winning their division (Pacific Division) much less able to garner a playoff berth . A year ago today , I doubt the Los Angeles Lakers would have envisaged a season where they would fall from grace even with the franchise having suffered injuries to several players on the roster throughout much of last season.

DeMarcus Cousins remains the troubled player at the professional level, just as much as he was a wayward, but mercurial and talented player at the collegiate level , with the Kentucky Wildcats where he played for one year with the program . Drafted by the Sacramento Kings, Cousins is now seen as the face of the franchiseand its immediate and long-term future. Now with the Kings seeking to make this season a competitive year for the coaching staff of Michael Malone. If the Kings are to succeed and at this stage of the season, where they appear to be the surprise team within the NBA , playing with a great deal of tenacity. Cousins and teammate Rudy Gay will have to be at the forefront of anything being sought by way of success for the Sacramento Kings.

Currently , with a 2-1 mark seated second in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. A surprising 98-92 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers might not have made everyone sit up and take note, until you realize the Clippers were one of the more consistent performers last season having made the NBA Playoffs . The Sacramento Kings were on the outside looking in, as Chris Paul , Blake Griffin and the rest of the Clippers fell short of their goal of winning an NBA title.

A Monday night contest between the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets earned the visiting team a five-point 110-105 victory at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

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The news in the sports’ world isn’t always refreshing, where the main agenda tends to be more about the unsavory sides to sports’ journalism even when the body of the story isn’t sports’ related. Baseball brought us a stirring World Series finale with the success of the San Francisco Giants . In the NFL the schedule has just moved beyond on its halfway point , with several teams now out of the divisional and conference races. No denying, the walk of shame will be an embarrassing one , no matter how it’s spun. The NBA is now seeking to take the gloss off its NFL counterpart and the press following now being garnered as the season is still in its infancy. No doubt the Lakers’ storyline will be one that is closely followed. Flawed or not , not everyone will be satisfied with formula being initiated. Your thoughts on the manner in which teams or athletes have been performing and where you see them at the end of their respective seasons? College Football in its inaugural year, where the new playoff format comes into being .

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(1) Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) of the Miami Dolphins throws during pregame workouts before his team met the San Diego Chargers at Sun Life Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Getty Images / Chris Trotman …

(2) Running back Lamar Miller (26) of the Miami Dolphins scores a second quarter touchdown against the San Diego Chargers during a game at Sun Life Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Upended on the play is tackle Ja’Wuan James(70) of the Dolphins. Getty Images/ Chris Trotman

(3) Running back Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball during the third quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on November 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images /Steve Dykes …

(4) Running back Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with his teammates after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on November 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Steve Dykes …

(5) Tyler Murphy (3) of the Florida Gators dives over Sheldon Dawson (2) of the Georgia Bulldogs for a touchdown during the game at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images /Sam Greenwood …

(6) Head coach Mike Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs (L) speaks with head coach Wil Muschamp of the Florida Gators before the game at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images / Sam Greenwood ….

(7) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Phoenix Suns at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. Oklahoma City won 103-96 . Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman ..

(8) Teammates Julius Randle left and Kobe Bryant are seen here during the official team photo taken at the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo , California ,. Randle drafted in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft . AP Photo / Mason Porter …

(9) Sacramento Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins (15) is seen here looking to make an offensive play as he is being defended by the Los Angeles’ Clipper DeAndre Jordan during a game between the two teams on the 2nd November , 2014. Cousins has been one of the primary reasons Kings are off to a great start this season , albeit , that the NBA schedule is still in its infancy . AP Photo / Mark Dennis … ….

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Fallout , what fallout ?

Fallout, what fallout ?

After one of the most eventful postseasons in recent baseball history MLB has anointed their World Series’ champion for the 2014 season , with the San Francisco Giantswinning their third title in the past five seasons,defeating the Kansas City Royals . For manager Bruce Bochy , his third title and a dynasty in the making , or should we subscribe to the fact the Giants have been the best team in baseball since 2010? When it has mattered most the ball club have shown their resiliency on the road and proven themselves to be one of the greatest franchises in recent postseason history. Where the Giants stand alongside such great and dominant teams of the past will likely ignite a debate of conjecture and a great deal of bias. Baseball has changed immensely over the past three decades and undoubtedly the managerial acumen and play must be taken into account when trying to assess the achievements of the San Francisco Giants.

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Brian Sabean has proven himself to be a general manager with a great deal of acumen assembling a roster which has been competitive all season long. While the Giants may well have failed to win the NL West division , you simply cannot deny they were by far a better team than divisional champion the Los Angeles Dodgers , who once again proved that a quarter billion dollar payroll($250,000,000) counts for absolutely nothing, when there happens to be no team leadership or managerial leadership to be found within the organization. ,

The Dodgers’ front office where there has been a recent upheaval with GM Ned Colletti being given a lateral move or deemed in some circles a demotion , with Andrew Friedman being brought in the franchise’s operations where he will in fact become Head of Baseball Operations . It begs the question , what now becomes of the hierarchical order , where there now seems to be more executives than there are actual real decision-makers among the managerial staff of this team ? Also, how much latitude will now be given to Friedman, if one his main duties will be to hire a new general manager , while given the full authority in making the decisions affecting all personnel moves concerning the playing staff?

First order of business for Andrew Friedman beyond the hire of a new general manager if thought to be necessary , will be the projected lineup of the Dodgers for next season . With several players having performed poorly , a number of them highly overpaid , the feeling has to be a number of the players in questionare likely to be traded. Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez are two of the players I believe will be placed on the trading block along with Carl Crawford. The trio are not the only team members likely to be jettisoned, but it may well be the place to start, as Andrew Friedman looks to pare down the team’s payroll and then assess the talent within the Dodgers’ farm system for players he believes can contribute to future of the Dodgers as they seek competitiveness and consistency.

This off-season will prove to be one , where a number of general managers around the game of baseball will be seeking to make the type of deals likely to make their teams competitive. While the Kansas City Royals proved themselves competitive during the postseason , my own feeling the reasons why they came up short against the San Francisco Giants , had more to do with their lack of postseason experience among the playing staff . All of the momentum shown during the wildcard game , ALDS , ALCS and the World Series could not hide the fact Ned Yost’s acumen could not make up for the lack of playoff experience and veteran leadership needed.

Lawrence Baer and his fellow partners who make up the ownership group of the San Francisco Giants will have been entirely happy with what they have witnessed this season from their team. A series’ victory , appreciation of the Giants’ value , profits and the likely rise in attendance levels going into next season . Brian Sabean will likely make one or two moves to bolster the team’s roster heading into the upcoming season but if he can keep his core group of players intact , there is no reason to believe why the San Francisco Giants cannot be seen as a presumptive favorite to quite possibly repeat as World Series’ champion. If there are said to be any issues for the Giants in their retention of several players , it may well come down to the fact they will have to deal with the contract negotiations of team members in arbitration seeking a substantial pay raise . World Series’ MVP , Madison Bumgarner , Gregor Blanco , Sergio Romo and Pablo Sandoval , I believe should be offered deals commensurate with their talent, but given the wiles of baseball and the economic imbalances that continue within the game, it is hard to envisage how Sabean is likely to retain all of the players in question .

Larry Baer might well seek to increase the team’s payroll in 2015 , seeking to fall in line with a number of their main competitors ,but I am inclined to believe the team owner and their partners will simply follow the template set by their celebrated general manager Brian Sabean. After-all, the executive’s success can be considered the modern-day blueprint as to how to get the best out of the resources at one’s disposal. The proof has been there for all to see in the last five years .

One of the biggest disappointments of the 2014 season was the failure of the Atlanta Braves to compete within the NL East and not making the postseason . The firing of Frank Wren as the Braves’ general manager was not a great surprise but the retention of Fredi Gonzalez might well have been the biggest surprise of all , as I felt Gonzalez was negligent in his managerial duties along with his managerial staff !Hard to believe , that other than the Washington Nationals whose win of the division was made to look extremely easy , with the Nationals being the only ball-club with a record over .500 within the NL East was simply exacerbated by the mediocrity of the within.

Atlanta and the New York Mets (79-83 [.488]) shared the same final mark with their second placed finish and it begs the question how bad the play within the division much less the rest of baseball over the course of last season ? Fredi Gonzalez was extremely lucky he was retained as the Braves’ manager , but I guess team President John Scheurholz and general manager John Hart believed the manager could not be faulted for the team’s failure and poor play during 2014 . The Braves’ $112.9 million payroll was somewhat middling in comparison to many of their National League rivals and the ongoing economic imbalances which still exist.

Jason Heyward and Justin Upton are said to be two of the players the Braves are seeking to “shop around” during the off-season and the Winter Meetings of the executives , is likely generate a great deal of interest in the duo , players who are seen as being very productive at their very best . Another player likely to be seen superfluous to the Braves’ needs could be BJ Upton whose year with the team was very much understated and less than impressive. Upton the elder sibling of Justin Upton has failed to live up to his five-year $72 million contract , since being acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Tampa Bay Rays.As an avowed fan of the Atlanta Braves if there is to be a player moved by the ball-club this off-season , I would prefer to see BJ Upton moved , as I believe it would be far more preferential to keep Jason Heyward and Justin Upton , simply because there is more of an upside to their respective careers , than a faltering veteran such as BJ Upton.

If there is one thing to be said about the New York Mets , it is, that their fans continue to make excuses for the team’s failings over the past six seasons . Team owners , Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , along with COO Jeff Wilpon have continued to show their lack of initiative and for the well-being of the franchise in spite of their financial burden having been lifted . If you consider being bailed out by a number of financial institutions meaningful , because the owners sought to hide behind their willful negligence in their handling of the team’s finances as being prudent. Then I can only imagine , there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of intelligence among the fan-base or within the inner workings of this organization ! Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi are still trying to figure out how to fit a square peg into a round hole, in terms of the make up of the team’s roster. Not so long ago praise was being heaped upon the shoulders of pitcher Matt Harvey , but with his falling back to earth, rather than the earlier promise being shown , the fans and media alike within the city are now throwing their weight behind their crop of young and upcoming players within their farm system .

Harvey spent the entire 2014 season on the sidelines , due to an injury and the pitching staff though passable did not do enough to ignite the team or make them competitive enough within the NL or baseball in general. The real issues with the Mets laid in the fact their offense was simply inept and downright pitiful.

Terry Collins as the manager of the New York Mets may well have been given a reprieve because of the team’s second place finish in a rather mediocre NL East division in 2014. With talks of Sandy Alderson , said to be pursuing a list of marquee free agents as well as possibly reacquiring Jose Reyes , it begs the question beyond also assessing the farm system, what else is the front office executive prepared to do to make this ball-club truly competitive? New York kicks off their regular season schedule with a game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC in the Nationals’ home opener on the 6th April, 2015,.

Fool me once , shame on you , fool me twice , shame on me . A third time and I think we get the picture ! Alex Rodriguez will be allowed that privilege of doing so once again and likely the MLB hierarchy will only be too delighted in proving to be complete imbeciles, allowing the disgraced third baseman to fool the fans of the game once again . With the retirement of Derek Jeter after his two-decade career as a New York Yankees’ player. The game of baseball , specifically the Yankees’ organization are now looking to Rodriguez to pick up the pieces of a team which last season was flawed and in complete disarray. As a player , Alex Rodriguez has never provided the leadership sought on the field of play, let alone away from the field, carrying himself with any type of decorum. Instead, his persona has been one of a conceited individual , hiding behind deceit , lies and blaming others for his own misdeeds and then using his legal representatives to create the facade of his being racially targeted for his using of banned substances as prohibited by Major League Baseball (MLB). The fact that the press sought to ignore this , while Rodriguez’s own supporters and lawyers sought to use this a pretext in his now well-chronicled complaints , defending himself in his arbitration appeal of his suspension, points to his character or lack thereof and a weakened hierarchy and an all too powerful union (MLBPA) who assisted in providing the player with his legal representation.

Baseball under the leadership of Bud Selig has continued to shoot itself in the foot , in its own ass, as well as making complete fools of the fans, while trying to point what they deem to be improvements in the game. The use of modern technology to right the wrongs of umpires who either have no comprehension of the game or the fact they’re overweight , not athletic and archaic monoliths, only points to the fact baseball remains in a damn time-warp of its own choosing. While Bud Selig may well be stepping down in his role as commissioner. his successor Rob Manfred doesn’t exactly exude confidence or seems to be a prudent choice as successor of the now departed Selig. The team owners wanted an ” insider” and as usual, what they sought , they actually got.

The New York Yankees while not being part of the MLB postseason will seek to make a big splash during the off-season , looking to acquire players , while painstakingly eschewing the idea of an organization wanting to be financially prudent. New York was the first baseball franchise to exceed the $200 million barrier in terms of an annual payroll obligations, when they reached the mark for the very first time in 2008 . In the subsequent years the Yankees’ payroll has continued to increase until 2013 when the Los Angeles Dodgers overwhelmed everyone with their gargantuan and all too bloated salary commitments, far outstripping their closest rivals . Alex Rodriguez’s return to the game in 2015, will once again make him the highest paid player in baseball in terms of contract value and base salary , albeit , his almost year-long suspension , saw the player lose in excess of $23.5 million in salary . What Rodriguez is now able to offer the New York Yankees at this stage of his career will be predicated upon whether or not they and the fans believe, he is still capable of hitting of thirty-plus home runs in a season , while maintaining a batting average close to .300 or above . A tall order for a player who hasn’t reached that plateau in quite a while

This upcoming season, I believe the New York Yankees are likely to struggle , simply because at its core this will still remain an aging team , with several of the players now past their prime, with no upside to be seen. Injuries are likely to plague the roster , much as it had done in 2014 , and with their being very little suggest that any of their players at the AAA Level are yet ready to be productive at the Big League Level. It simply suggests the Yankees will revert to ways of old and simply spend their way to success , with GM Brian Cashman leading the charge .

There seems to be this apathy among fans when they try to suggest there are “classy organizations” in baseball. If that were the case , we would actually have the general managers and owners questioning the direction of the league hierarchy and the constant haranguing of baseball’s image because of the players’ misuse of banned substances. Instead , they have chose to remain all too docile, while the players themselves , specifically those are seen as face of baseball , remain all too silent. MLB now has a pathetic image , in spite of a terrific postseason and one of the best World Series in recent history. Unfortunately, those thrilling moments cannot hide the fact, the game is still plagued by steroid cheats ” , and with a union which would rather defend the rights of the players who have knowingly sought to subvert the image of baseball purely for financial gain and acclaim. The pretext offered by the likes of Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro , Curt Schilling , Ryan Braun , Manny Ramirez and Roger Clemens , Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez , has gone a long way in creating a forlorn image and perception for baseball’s fans , while the postseason can be thrilling , one mere suggestion of cheating, simply knocks the game back on its heels , leaving the fans in great dismay. As to what comes next , we will have to wait and see what the 2015 season has to offer.

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Picture gallery .

In the aftermath of a thrilling postseason in baseball, , what do you hope to see this upcoming year from within the game ? Do you also believe MLB can escape any major controversy over the course of the season concerning the conduct of the players ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) World Series MVP Madison Bumgerner of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after the team’s thrilling 3-2 victory in game seven of the World Series to clinch the Giants’ third title in the past five seasons under manager Bruce Bochy . AP Photo / Chris Elliot …

(2) Larry Baer , San Francisco Giants’ senior managing partner is seen here holding the World Series’ Trophy alongside Brian Sabean , right , after the team’s triumph in the 2014 World Series over the Kansas City Royals . Getty Images North America / Paul Mayhew …

(3) Andrew Friedman is seen here alongside Los Angeles Dodgers’ team President Stan Kasten . Friedman, left the Tampa Bay Rays to accept the position as the Dodger’ Head of Baseball Operations where he will oversee all player personnel decisions, being directly answerable to Kasten and other senior executives within the Dodgers’ ownership group. AP Photo/ Matt Turner ….

(4) New York Mets’ manager Terry Collins may well have received a lucky reprieve after the team’s surprising second place finish in a very mediocre NL East division this past season . Division champions the Washington Nationals were the only team to finish with an above . 500 record . Yet they fell in the postseason in the NLDS without putting up much of a fight. AP Photo/ Sarah Miles ….

(5) Alex Rodriguez is seen here in the dugout alongside New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi ,left , as the two discuss team strategy. Rodriguez missed the entire 2014 season having fought to be reinstated after being given a year-long suspension for a violation of baseball’s substance abuse program , a claim which Rodriguez denied. His return to baseball is seen as a the last chance for the player to resurrect his career and a possible chance of enhancing his prospects of being a future Hall of Fame inductee . .AP Photo/Andrew Matthews …

(6) New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Giardi will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed in 2015. The team has not won a World Series title since 2009 and failed to make the postseason in 2014 , finishing a disappointing and distant second in the AL East , twelve games behind division winners the Baltimore Orioles . This season the manager and front office executive will be looking to Alex Rodriguez to provide some semblance of leadership as well leading the offense which was among the weakest in the AL , as well as MLB overall . UPI / Mark Taylor … ….
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tophatal …. 2014/11/01

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