Take it for what it is …

Take it for what it is

Well, we’re now one quarter of the way through the MLB season and it would appear the furor over what was an exceptional start by the New York Mets has all but come to a grinding halt . Terry Collins’ team has not only hit the skids, but thoughts of the NL franchise being seen as a legitimate contender for the NL Pennant now seems to have been derailed by the exploits and stellar play of Bryce Harper and the ascent of the Washington Nationals , as they have taken hold of the NL East . Speaking of which, the never-ending descent of the Philadelphia Phillies continues at a rapid pace.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

—-

Slideshow.

From my own perspective, I believe the Phillies to be a team no longer competitive enough to be of relevance within the National League much less the rest of baseball ! Ryne Sandberg will be hard pressed to get this Phillies’ team playing with the resolve needed to even be in with a chance of winning their division, much less gain a wild-card berth.

The New York Mets for their part might well be good enough to gain a postseason berth this season, but a great deal of that will be predicated on the play of several players on the roster , most notably All Star player David Wright , teammates , Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda , Curtis Granderson and it now appears the ageless Bartolo Colon , who at the age of forty-two seems to be turning back the hands of time . While the Mets are only 5-5 in their last ten games and with a one-game win streak , these results are hardly likely to put the fear into an opponent, given the recent and asinine prognostications concerning the team. Coming off a 9-1 road loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates simply epitomizes how overrated the New York Mets just happen to be , while the excuses will now build up to a crescendo as to what currently ails the team are such an embarrassing defeat.

Next up for Mets will a will be another road game against the Pirates where Bartolo Colon will seek to . improve his record this season and certainly prove himself to be the team’s best starting pitcher on their rotation .

Bryce Harper is certainly looking to prove his doubters wrong. He is a player of prodigious talent , but the continued knock against him remains his lack of maturity , temperament and not being able to show leadership skills when called upon to do so. If the Washington Nationals are to succeed this season, then Matt Williams and his managerial staff will have to curb the over-exuberance of the player and get him to fully apply himself to the task at hand . With the money vested in Harper , now would be the time for him to show the qualities desired, rather than his under-achieving. Forty plus games into the season doesn’t make a career , and that is something fans should not begin to get themselves completely wrapped up in. With his arbitration season due in 2017 , all signs point to the fact the . front office will seek to sign the player to a long-term contract comparable to the deal signed by Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. I do not believe Harper possesses the talent to be deemed as good as his Angeles’ counterpart , who to my mind has been the best player in Major League Baseball over the past three seasons .

A 2-1 victory over the hapless Philadelphia Phillies , has firmly placed the Washington Nationals in the driver’s seat in what is turning out to be a moderate NL East division this season . Nonetheless, the teams there will vie it out over the course of the season, as they seek divisional supremacy.

The ”will to win” , might well be what separates the contenders from the pretenders within the NL this season. Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers along with their bloated $200 million plus payroll are riding high within the NL West this season with the reigning World Series champions the San Francisco Giants in close pursuit . In a division that could become the most interesting of them all , if the San Diego Padres with their revamped roster can finally find some semblance of consistency. With the money spent assembling this lineup where the offensive talent is undeniable , it seems ridiculous Matt Kemp , Justin Upton , James Shields , Wil Myers , Will Middlebrooks , Josh Johnson and Craig Kimbrel are playing sub.500 (21-25) baseball under manager Bud Black .

A 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim , California was another blow to this Padres’ team as they continue to struggle. The Padres need to put together a win streak , fast, one that simply boosts team confidence as well as having the faith of their fans, rather than a situation, where simply cannot be sure what is going to happen from one moment to the next. Bud Back’s players will be back in the saddle once again, when they take on the Los Angles Angels on Tuesday evening , with Odrisamer Despaigne on the mound for the visitors against the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker . This contest should make for an interesting contrast of styles for the opposing teams and managerial staffs.

OK , so you’re going to try and convince me the Houston Astros are among the best teams in baseball , simply because of their position atop of the AL West ? Last I looked , in three of their last five seasons this organization has managed to notch up one hundred game-loss seasons , much to the dismay of their fans. If anyone believes 2015 will bring about another Cinderella Story with the Astros continuing where the Kansas City Royals failed , then they are sadly mistaken. The Royals for their part in spite of their solid start , are still not out of the woods as of yet , because having sneaked up on teams last season , this season many of their opponents are now aware of what they are capable of doing and have sought ways to negate Kansas’ strengths.

Houston are 6-4 in their last ten games and continue to maintain a healthy lead over their divisional rivals , but now comes the hard part for this team and that is to maintain the consistency they seem to have found. A J Hinch might be the early season candidate for AL Manager of The Year , but one ought to remember these awards are not handed out for what has been achieved over a month or two months but for the entire one hundred and sixty-two game regular season schedule.

Houston will be looking to further embarrass what has been an under-achieving season for the Baltimore Orioles, when the Orioles play host to the Astros at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland, where the opposing pitchers will be Scott Feldman taking on Chris Tillman. The Kansas City Royals will continue their series against the New York Yankees, with Jason Vargas of the Royals on the mound against Adam Warren of the Yankees.

Derek Jeter has retired after a twenty-year career with the New York Yankees and this season the team is not only looking for an on-field leader, but also for a ‘ soul’ . Manager Joe Girardi has never been that talented a coach , and has simply been put in a position. where Yankees’ resources have been placed at his disposal , with GM Brian Cashman signing the dotted line in terms of the paychecks for the team roster. Alex Rodriguez has returned from his league mandated suspension , with his intent being to earn the $21 million due to him this season. Granted the added incentives of surpassing several league and team records will not be finding their way into Rodriguez’s pockets, but I am sure the player will not feel hard done by , considering he still remains a pariah to the vast majority of fans within the game.

Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are two of the primary reasons the Yankees are still in play within a very weak AL East division . For the moment the Tampa Bay Rays and Kevin Cash are making hay while the sun shines , but I doubt the Rays’ being perched atop of the division, will be self-sustaining. The Rays are good but they are not great, as reflected in their record at this point of the season .

With two years left on his remaining contract with the New York Yankees, I doubt that Alex Rodriguez will be able to make a serious assault on surpassing the all-time career home runs’ record ! Granted , the most beloved statistic in all of baseball has remained tainted ever since Barry Bonds laid claim to the mark having passed what many fans still believes remains the legitimate record of Hank Aaron ___ seven hundred and fifty-five home runs.

Rodriguez’s career home run mark at present stands at six hundred and sixty-four, with the closest active player being Albert Pujols with five hundred and twenty-eight career home runs and he is likely to be the only player to pass the six hundred career home runs’ plateau within the next four years let alone another player surpassing the benchmark figure of 500 career home runs . Two-time AL MVP , Triple Crown King and Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera having hit four hundred career home runs would rather win a World Series’ title with the Tigers than chase after singular career achievements.

As I alluded to earlier, with the Kansas City Royals’ ascent , Detroit will now have to get themselves on track with Brad Ausmus and his coaching staff having to deal with the upstart Royals and their seeking divisional supremacy within the AL Central. Ausmus has seen his team play rather erratically , with his not yet getting the best out of mainline starting pitchers David Price and Justin Verlander . While Verlander remains on the team’s DL , with no timetable set for his return , it is now left to Price and the rest of the rotation to within close reach of the Kansas City Royals. Complacency led to the Tigers being blanked 4-0 by the Oakland A’s at the O.Coliseum on Monday afternoon. The two teams will meet again on Tuesday afternoon with Detroit looking to even the score.

Sooner rather than later you knew the actions of Ryan Braun would have a way of catching up with him and specifically the Milwaukee Brewers. The 2012 recipient of the NL MVP Award , his denials concerning use of a banned substance and being able to lie about it , while being handsomely rewarded by the Brewers and major corporate sponsors only further emphasizes how weak the league’s steroid policy remains without delving into the constant idiocy of fans longing to see Pete Rose inducted into the Hall of Fame. As far as I am concerned the institution is simply a relic of a bygone age and where an induction has now become meaningless. The list of eligible nominees for the next five years will have several players whose names are closely tied to the ‘ BALCO Scandal’ or where they have been implicated with steroid use, because of their own actions. Yet , here we are, one quarter of the way through the 2015 season and once again players are being given the mandatory suspension required , having contravened the league’s substance abuse policy. Things would not be so bad if the arbitrators presiding over the appeals’ process showed that they have an ounce of common sense.

Rob Manfred as baseball’s highest ranking league executive shows all of the intellect of an invertebrate , which is only marginally more than that of his predecessor Bud Selig. Manfred simply stood pat and did nothing , after Josh Hamilton freely admitted he took cocaine and drank alcohol during his most recent rehab stint. It took the courage of Angels’ owner Arte Moreno to send Hamilton packing , even after the player sought to blame those within the Angels’ hierarchy not giving him any support. Last I looked , Josh Hamilton was being given as much support as was needed having been paid a salary, while putting up mediocre figures for Los Angeles Angels without ever showing any signs of fu#king leadership and for that, he was expecting support from the organization ? It wouldn’t be so bad, were it not for the fact we had fans suggesting Hamilton’s issues were an addiction, rather than the player simply not wanting to be held accountable for his own actions. Come full circle and Josh Hamilton finds himself back with the Texas Rangers , not yet able to play while still being able to pull down a handsome salary.

Ryan Braun is continues to play for the Milwaukee Brewers, the team with the worst record in all of Major League Baseball . How appropriate is it , that these two former MVP’s should find themselves in such a fitting predicament ?

If the Brewers’ woes this season are imperiled then Oakland A’s are not faring much better. It is hard to explain how franchise over the past three season has been the doyenne of the AL West can be so bad at this stage of the season . If things continue to get much worse, I believe Bob Melvin could very well become the second managerial casualty after the Miami Marlins’ firing of Mike Redmond earlier this month. GM Billy Beane has long proven he is one of the best front office executives in all of baseball , but he can only do so much with the resources made available to him by team owner Lew Wolff . That asides, the Oakland A’s remain one of the least supported franchises in all of baseball with game day attendance for the home games at the O.Coliseum being among the lowest in the league. The A’s will need to get back in the saddle by getting a much-needed victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday evening .

Best pitcher in baseball at present ? If I were to tell you based on performances this season the player in question would be Michael Wacha of the St Louis Cardinals . Then it would no doubt come as a pleasant surprise to many , but not to the fans of the Cardinals who have seen Wacha at his best this season. Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny having lost starting ace Adam Wainwright for the season no one within the front office let alone the coaching staff , could have expected they would have a ready-made replacement with Michael Wacha , but fortunes seem to have smiled on this pitching staff and organization, as the pitcher has exceeded everyone’s expectations. If Wacha is able to maintain his current form then there would be no reason to see him as a viable candidate for the NL Cy Young Award . The player will make his next appearance on the mound for the Cardinals when they face the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri , on the 30th May , 2015.

Picture gallery. Clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture alongside an accompanying narrative.

At this same point last season , there was little to suggest how the year would pan out in MLB, other than the fact no one knew the Kansas City Royals would mount an improbable run to the AL Pennant before falling short at the final obstacle when they fell the San Francisco Giants in the World Series . At this juncture I do not believe there is a clear favorite for the ‘ Fall Classic’ . So for now , we can only gauge the play of the teams , but in all certainty we will see the real contenders come into form during the final month of the regular season . What thoughts if any do you have concerning the play of the teams and players as the schedule has progressed ?

o_O

Tophatal ….

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Pinterest.com

🙂

MLB

MLB news

MLB schedule

MLB results 24th May

MLB probable pitchers 26th May , 2015

MLB standings (division)

MLB standings (wildcard)

MLB disabled list

MLB teams’ payroll

MLB schedule important dates

🙂

This week in baseball history .

On this day in MLB history .

Failure is not an option …

Failure is not an option

This weekend within the sports’ world, we witnessed the demise of the Los Angeles Clippers as they fell to the Houston Rockets in a thrilling game seven spectacle between these two teams in the Western Conference Semi-Finals . With the Rockets prevailing with a home victory, where they will now face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. For the Clippers this was an emotional wrought loss , with the Los Angeles’ point guard Chris Paul not only having an exceptional regular season but also an exemplary postseason . Unfortunately , Paul’s heroics, were not enough for the team to prevail in their series against the Rockets.

————–

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


————–

Slideshow.

Doc Rivers and his coaching staff cannot be entirely happy with what he witnessed from his players who squandered repeated chances to seal the series with a win in game seven. As to what this might suggest about this Clippers’ team and their failure , might well be also a pointer to the failings of the players adapt and show a defensive resolve beyond the complacency witnessed in game seven.

Los Angeles Clippers’ owner, Steve Ballmer , having spent $2.1 billion purchasing the franchise , has to be wondering what it is likely to take in order for the team to get over the obstacle and win their very first NBA title . Having bowed out of the NBA Playoffs, questions will likely be asked and will have to be answered concerning the makeup of this roster.

(1)

Shirts are displayed on seats prior to Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Toyota Center for the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 17, 2015 in Houston, Texas. ” Clutch “ just wasn’t apt on the day for the Los Angeles Clippers . Getty Images/ Scott Halleran

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will remain the focal point of the team, but clearly Doc Rivers in his dual capacity as head coach and general manager , will have to assess this team and the likely changes needed if the Clippers are to excel during the postseason. The disappointment of not having advanced further in the NBA Playoffs might well have come as a surprise to many . Both teams shared similar regular season record of 56-26 , with the Houston Rockets ending up with a higher seeding , having won their division and with a better conference record overall. Yet, there the similarities end, with both teams being equally adept on defense as well as offense.

What counted the most during this series , came down to consistency and the willingness to adapt. Kevin McHale and his coaching staff outwitted their counterparts throughout much of this series and it will be interesting to see what sort of strategy , he puts into place when the Houston Rockets face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals . Game one of that series begins on 19th May at the Oracle Arena , in Oakland California ,.

Impending free agents for the Los Angeles Clippers are DeAndre Jordan , Glen Davis , Dahntay Jones , Austin Rivers and veteran swing-man Hedo Turkoglu. I firmly believe next season the only player likely to be re-signed will be will be DeAndre Jordan , because of the player’s offensive prowess as a rebounder and shot-blocker . However, there is the thinking Doc Rivers has to bolster this roster with more of a physical presence on defensive as well obtaining a fourth scoring option behind Blake Griffin , Chris Paul and Jordan. Doc Rivers will be under great deal of pressure to succeed , especially with the ambitions of Steve Ballmer being well-publicized and his wish for the franchise to be seen as best NBA organization in the state of California , after years of being in the shadow of the Los Angeles Lakers. From my own standpoint this has been a disastrous season for all of the California based franchises !

The Chicago Bulls bowed out of the NBA Playoffs , knowing very well they had Cleveland Cavaliers on the ropes , but lacked the killer instinct to get the job done . It is hard to explain how a team with their being given so many opportunities to win their series against the Cavaliers could have failed so abysmally. In the aftermath of this Eastern Conference Semifinals series loss , it looks as if the Chicago Bulls will cut ties with head coach Tom Thibodeau .

(6)

Coach Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls talks to referee Marc Davis in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at United Center on May 14, 2015 in Chicago.

Bulls’ GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson might well have been at odds with their head coach but he cannot be solely to blame for the series’ loss to the the Cleveland Cavaliers. The contests between these two teams , though they stretched to six games , could have ended up with the Bulls having won the series in five games , had they taken the opportunities afforded them. Instead they allowed LeBron James to show why the four-time League MVP remains the most potent offensive player in the NBA this season and since he entered the league in 2003 .

James and the Cavaliers will meet the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals , with the added pressure being placed firmly on the shoulders of the visiting team when the series tips off on the 20th May ,2015 at the Philips Arena , in Atlanta , Georgia,.

For all of the niceties to explain the Chicago Bulls’ regular season and the very fact they were able garner a third seed within Eastern Conference having lost point guard Derrick Rose for much of their regular season schedule. One has to wonder how good the Bulls might have been were it not Rose’s injury. An injury I believe now casts serious doubts as to his long-term future in the NBA ! Derrick Rose has become frail , injury prone and a mere shadow of the player who won the League MVP Award in 2011 .

The Bulls’ front office should they seek to fire Tom Thibodeau , then among the likely front-runners to replace him will be Scott Brooks’ whose firing by the Oklahoma City Thunder still makes no sense . In all but one of his seasons with the franchise , was Brooks unable to lead them to the NBA Playoffs. Sam Presti and the Thunder ownership may well have felt that Brooks was to blame for their woeful season , but you simply cannot expect the team to play at a high level with the loss of Kevin Durant , even if Russell Westbrook lit up the scoreboard as if it were a fireworks’ display on the 4th July. Beyond Westbrook and the absentee of Durant , the Thunder had little by way of a productive offense . For the moment we will just have to wait and see if the Bulls take the steps to fire Tom Thibodeau as the front office has yet to issue a statement concerning the beleaguered head coach.

Two years on from having a disastrous season , with a last place finish in NL East and one of the worst records in baseball during 2012. The Miami Marlins fired then manager Ozzie Guillen and history seems to have again repeated itself , but were are merely six weeks into the season and the Marlins’ front office made Mike Redmond the first managerial casualty , of this still young MLB season.

During the off-season the ball-club made the news with their signing of Giancarlo Stanton to the biggest contract in baseball history , with Stanton signing along the dotted line for the now ludicrous sum of $325 million payable over thirteen years . Averaging $25 million a year , the contract made the player one highest paid athletes in the game as well as one of the highest paid in all of professional sports . One seriously , doubts the figure is likely upset Floyd Mayweather and the reputed $175 million he is said to have earned from his recent title fight against an aging and ‘overrated’ Manny Pacquiao . As to the fight being labeled the “Fight of The Century” , it was not evenly remotely close to being the Fight of The Decade , but such was the hyperbole surrounding the bout that the vast majority of boxing fans have to be disenchanted with a sport, which now has about as much relevance as piece of dried up fecal matter.

Marlins’ owner , Jeffrey Loria , having duped the city of Miami , while being ably aided by former Commissioner Bud Selig , still continues to fleece the fans of the team as well as the game in general . Currently playing sub. 500 baseball , lying in third place in the NL East , it is easy to understand why this team has been an absolute failure this season. And the fact they came within an inning of being no-hit by the Atlanta Braves after an astonishing display by Braves’ pitcher Shelby Miller , only further emphasizes how mediocre the Miami Marlins just happen to be .

The 6-0 drubbing suffered at the hands of the Braves makes the still downward spiral of the Marlins all the more pitiful and self-induced . Starting on Monday the team will begin a four-game home series against the Arizona Diamondbacks to be played at Marlins Ballpark in Miami, Florida , in what is sure to be a less than salutary crowd , likely to be under capacity for the 37,000 seat venue. On the mound for the Diamondbacks will be Rubby De La Rosa a as he faces off against veteran pitcher Dan Haren .

Miami Marlins’ Head of Baseball Operations Michael Hill has yet to name a successor to Mike Redmond. Yet is widely believed Hill will seek to promote from within and all signs seem to be pointing towards the person likely to succeed Redmond , will be Dan Jennings . As to what it suggests about the ball-club, whether it is an act of desperation or a stop-gap measure, can be speculated upon lightheartedly. From my own standpoint , I simply look upon the Marlins and the game of baseball itself, as simply being out touch with reality ! The game’s hierarchy is littered with buffoons , the general managers are simply idiots , and the players have always been self-absorbed and without any real credibility . Issues which continue to plague the game of baseball, are often either glossed over or a Band-Aid is being used to hide the ever festering wounds or scar tissue.

If someone were to tell you the Oakland Athletics at one fourth of the way through the season, would have the worst record in the game as of the 17th May , I doubt anyone would believe it to be true . Yet he we are and the A’s are firmly rooted to the bottom of the AL West . Granted , they have won seven of their last ten games , but even with that sort recent play , it cannot hide the fact there is something wrong, with the lack of urgency being shown by the team in what I view to be the most competitive division in all of baseball ! One could cite injuries as being a contributing factor behind the malaise , but one of the great strengths about the A’s has always been the depth of their roster and players stepping up to the plate and contributing.

While I don’t believe the A’s will flounder , there is the possibility , if they are unable to right this ship then GM Billy Beane will have to reassess this team and managerial staff at some point during the season.

The A’s will have their feet firmly planted on the ground when they face the Houston Astros at the Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas , on Monday evening. Opposing pitchers will be Drew Pomeranz of the A’s against Lance McCullers of the Astros.

With the A’s seeking to get into thick of things within the AL West, one of the none too surprising story-lines of this MLB season, was the return of Josh Hamilton back to the Texas Rangers after Los Angeles Angels’ owner Arte Moreno made the decision he no longer wanted the former AL MVP on the Angels’ team . With very good reason considering Hamilton had once again faltered with his sobriety and then sought to blame Moreno and the organization for not standing by him in support. Pardon me for saying this , but this once again indicates the insipid stupidity to be found within professional sports where athletes feel they should be coddled like a child rather than being treated like an adult ,

For the idiots who also feel Hamilton’s addiction is simply a mental illness then they ought to see what a true malady is actually about. Being a self professed alcoholic and drug abuser , with a weak will even after being given support structure and then repeatedly seeking to lie about your having not abused a substance simply indicates to me , Hamilton has no respect for the game of baseball , much less the for his employer or the fans. His lack of contrition but also seeking to apportion blame elsewhere smacks of narcissism and a great deal of maturity.

Furthermore , with the idiocy MLB’s arbitrary process , I have to ask why it was the player’s suspension was quashed when he freely admitted while in rehab, he used not only alcohol but also cocaine? MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is clearly less enlightened than his predecessor Bud Selig. Which begs the question , are we likely to see the same sort of idiocy from this particular league executive , as exhibited by Selig, himself ?

For Josh Hamilton, his two unproductive years with the Angels were a complete waste of time , other than the fact he was able to sign a lucrative contract with the organization . With the remainder of the deal still to be honored by his former team , it is easy to understand why Hamilton from a financial standpoint remains unperturbed . And for Texas Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels , it is one less club problem for him to worry about , unless Josh Hamilton should seek to get back to his favorite off the field pastime.

At 16-22 , currently lying fourth in the AL West , f 8 ½ games behind the division leading Houston Astros (25-14). It could be said the Texas Rangers will have a lot of catching up to do, with their being no margin for a error at all for the divisional race. A second place finish certainly won’t guarantee a wild-card berth for the divisional round of the MLB postseason and for manager Jeff Banister in his rookie season , this might be the toughest task he’s faced of his managerial career to date. Texas will resume their schedule with a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park , in Boston ,Massachusetts. The first of those contests will be on Tuesday , 19th May, and it is uncertain as to whether or not Hamilton will make his debut for the team , with his still being on the DL (disabled list). The projected earliest return for the player, will likely take place by mid-June , as he looks to recover from shoulder surgery , which took place in February .

The issues of Josh Hamilton have been well chronicled as too have the woes of Alex Rodriguez. A player who like Hamilton has sought to blame everyone but himself for his decision making and repeated bad choices. After one-year league mandated suspension , Rodriguez has returned to the fold for theNew York Yankees , a team in need of productivity and defensive prowess . At this stage of his career , Alex Rodriguez might still be able to provide the Yankees with both. They sit atop the AL East with a slender lead over the Tampa Bay Rays , in a division which I believe has now lost a great deal of its shine and appeal . Granted , the Boston Red Sox and Yankees are still two of the most widely supported teams in all of baseball with their attendance levels being among the highest in the game. Yet , it pales into insignificance when you look at the play of the teams within the division with only New York and the Tampa Bay Rays with a winning record (above .500) within the division.

Rodriguez, in terms of all-round offensive productivity, has been by far the most effective player on the Yankees’ roster. However, the fact remains, it is their pitching which remains their Achilles’ Heel and with CC Sabathia no longer a pitcher able to give the team a solid seven innings a game , it is hard to see how the ball club will be able to get by , even with the depth of the pitching rotation being average at best .

As Alex Rodriguez inches towards some of baseball’s most hallowed and revered records . I cannot help but wonder if the league hierarchy and the Yankees’ organization would not be better off without the veteran , rather than having to be reminded of the shame and their own stupidity of allowing him within their midst ! The ties to his steroid use are not tenuous and Alex Rodriguez’s repeated acts of contrition have become laughable, but he’s still being rewarded for his accomplishments and yet, baseball remains no better off than it was before. MLB lacks authoritative leadership and the owners are simply nothing more than a bunch of greedy miscreants , whose sole purpose has been to make money at the expense of the fans and the integrity of the game. Not that there was ever integrity within baseball to begin with , given its less than reputable history.

(10)

Alex Rodriguez , left , of the New York Yankees and Josh Hamilton , now of the Texas Rangers are two former AL MVP winners looking to make an impact on this season for their respective teams. Hamilton has yet to play a game for the Rangers , whereas Rodriguez has been the most productive offensive player on the Yankees’ roster this season , leading the team in several offensive categories. AP Photo / Adrian White

On Tuesday ,19th May , Nathan Evoldi will be on the mound when the Yankees take on the Washington Nationals at Nationals’ Ballpark in the nation’s capital. It will be interesting to see how productive Alex Rodriguez will be against the NL East based franchise as the New York Yankees seek to increase their lead over their divisional rivals.

——————–


===================

Picture gallery (By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in a reformatted size along with a narrative) .

With the NBA Conference Finals now underway , which two teams do you believe will meet in the NBA Finals ? Baseball’s season is still in infancy, but are you at all surprised by the Miami Marlins’ firing of Mike Redmond and do you believe his firing will be one of several this season or simply a ball-club just dissatisfied with their season so far ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

🙂


Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Twitter.com

🙂

NBA and NBA news

NBA results 17th May

NBA Playoffs

NBA Playoffs standings

NBA players’ postseason statistics

This month in NBA history

This day in NBA history

MLB

MLB news

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB results 17th May

MLB schedule 18th May

MLB probable pitchers

MLB probable pitchers 19th May

This week in MLB history

On this day in MLB history

Legends and legacies are often made, you can choose to be one or both, if not , then , you’re often forgotten

Legends and legacies are often made, you can choose to be one or both, if not , then , you’re often forgotten

The NBA Playoffs are now in full swing with the conference semis now coming to a close. For the Cleveland Cavaliers and their four-time League MVP , All Star forward LeBron James , they have now punched their ticket to be one of the two remaining teams for the Eastern Conference Finals . For the ousted team in the series , the Chicago Bulls, they are now left to ponder what might have been .

==================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


==================

Slideshow.

And for Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau this might well have been the last time he coaches this team , with the likelihood now, GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson will come to the decision of not extending Thibodeau’s contract , seeking to go in another direction with a new head coach helming the team next season. It was widely known, Forman and Paxson had lost faith in the coach , believing he was simply no longer getting capable of getting the team to play with a sense of urgency. This series might now have justified the executives’ thoughts on the matter , altogether.

With the return of Derrick Rose during the playoffs and the play of Jimmy Butler , it was thought the Chicago Bulls would provide the Cleveland Cavaliers the sort of test sought , but when it mattered most , Chicago was simply lacking. Instead, it was left to LeBron James to put on another postseason display often associated with the player from his title winning ways with the Miami Heat.

For Derrick Rose and his teammates , the disappointment of this series’ loss will not be easily forgotten. With Chicago bowing out, the players are now left on the outside looking in , knowing they never really took advantage of the chances which came their way throughout the conference semi-finals.

LeBron James will now advance to his fifth consecutive Eastern Conference Finals’ contest , with Chauncey Billups being the only other player to have accomplished the same feat in recent NBA history. David Blatt and his coaching staff will now seek to get the team prepared for their opponents , the winner of the series between the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards .

The Hawks have been far from convincing in this series with the Wizards belying their seeding , proving to be a more than adequate opponent for Mike Budenholzer’s overrated team . With Atlanta holding a tenuous lead (3-2) and the two teams set to meet tonight at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC. It will certainly be interesting to see how the visiting team acquits itself and whether or not DeMarre Carroll , Paul Millsap and Al Horford will be the players to provide Atlanta with the chance to make their first conference finals’ appearance in franchise history .

Steph Curry has more than justified his winning this season’s League MVP Award and with it , have come the plaudits for being the NBA’s best player this season . The Golden State Warriors for their part have been the league’s best team all season-long , with Steve Kerr claiming the NBA Coach of The Year Award for the Warriors’ regular season success.

Having swept aside their first round opponents with effortless ease , Golden State faced the daunting task of taking on the Memphis Grizzlies , a team capable of giving the Warriors real problems, as evidenced with their regular season series this season. Leading the series 3-2 and with a pivotal game six being played on Friday evening . I firmly believe Golden State would prefer to win tonight’s game rather than the momentum gained by a Grizzlies’ win and then having to play series’ decider at home with all of the pressure being placed upon their shoulders and the expectations of Steph Curry having to lead the way once again. The Warriors should win the series , but as we already know and have witnessed in the NBA Playoffs , nothing is ever a certainty.

Curry and his teammates will have a great deal to prove as the expectations are, Golden State will be one of the two combatants in the Western Conference Finals. Steve Kerr would like nothing better than to lead this franchise to an NBA title and proving the success this season was all about hard work , consistency and teamwork.

Houston you have a problem . And that problem might just be the best power forward in the league, Blake Griffin , whose all-round game has been exceptional this season . While there might well have been a great deal of praise being heaped on the shoulders of the New Orleans’ Pelicans’ phenom Anthony Davis . I truly believe Griffin has been equally invaluable to the Los Angeles Clippers , just as Davis has been for the Pelicans . Unfortunately, for the Pelicans , they ran into a juggernaut when they faced the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs and they were simply swatted away by the Warriors without their having to break sweat. Now the Houston Rockets will have to deal with a Clippers’ team intent on proving the city of Los Angeles has more than one noteworthy NBA franchise .

If the Rockets are to have any chance of bringing down the Clippers , then James Harden and Dwight Howard will have to be at their very best if Houston are to pull off the presumed upset . Rockets’ head coach Kevin McHale and his counterpart in this series Doc Rivers are two former players with with playoff experience as well as being coaches with a great deal of acumen. The series itself. has now become something of a chess match , with the on-court Grand Masters being Chris Paul and Blake Griffin making moves against their opposite numbers James Harden and Dwight Howard .

Tied at three games apiece(3-3) , game seven on Sunday afternoon at the Toyota Center , in Houston , Texas , promises to be a real thriller . Game six if anything, showed us how vulnerable the Clippers might just be , because the home team seen at the Staples Center came unglued at the seams .

=======================


=======================

Picture gallery.

Throughout the NBA Playoffs which team from either conference do you believe appears to be playing the best basketball? Also , given how an injury to a prominent player can play a major part in determining a series , with the loss of John Wall , are the Washington Wizards likely to bow out of the postseason ?

🙂

Tophatal’s Blog

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Twitter.com

Tophatal’s Blog

Tophatal’s Blog on Pinterest.com

🙂

NBA

NBA news

NBA results 14th May, 2015

NBA results 15th May

2015 NBA Playoffs

NBA Standings Playoffs

This month in NBA history

o_O

Editor’s notes

I came to warn Caesar, not to praise him

I came to warn Caesar, not to praise him

Well, the big story in the NFL at present is the league hierarchy’s apparent punishment of the New England Patriots and their Superbowl MVP winning quarterback Tom Brady . The player and the franchise were punished for their apparent actions during the AFC Championship game victory over the Indianapolis Colts . As serious as the claims are said to be, with the league fining the Patriots $1 million , Brady being suspended for four games and having forfeit two future draft picks in the NFL Drafts of 2016 (first round) and 2017 (fourth round) . I am not so sure what this fine will or actually make a dent in the tens of millions of dollars in of revenues reaped annually by the New England Patriots ! If the findings in the Ted Wells’ report are anything to go by , then I believe the punishment should indeed fit the crime . Unfortunately, the scales of Justice within the NFL when meted out under the auspices of Roger Goodell , it often tends to be that of a parent merely scolding a child,by merely spanking them across their backside and then telling them not to do it again.

========================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


========================

Slideshow.

Wells’ report finds that members of the Patriots’ staff were uncooperative and evasive during their investigation and in many instances are said to have refused any of the questions being asked of them by the league’s investigators. To my mind , the NFL now seeking to be arbiters of some form of justice, is somewhat like the investigations conducted by the Roman Catholic Church and the sexual abuse that rocked the church over the past ten years. Simply passing the buck, or obfuscating their own responsibility has become something of a widespread pattern of behavior and stupidity by the NFL.

(3)

GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 01: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the podium following Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24 . Kraft was a main supporter of Roger Goodell succeeding Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner . Roger Goodell has yet to issue a public statement on the findings from the Wells’ Report , leading many to believe he is seeking to distance himself , as a way of seeking to be impartial. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Don’t look now, but some fans still believe this league can overcome this type of bad publicity, while remaining popular. During this past season, the league has found even more ways of shooting itself in the foot , without the apparent aid of anyone else helping them along the way. Goodell , as NFL Commissioner , has even admitted he made mistakes. Well Roger they’re piling up and I seriously doubt we will be seeing the last of your now comic and epic mistakes ! If there were to be an Oscar awarded for the portrayal of stupidity , then the commissioner would have the inside track and be the leading contender for the award.

Tom Brady is likely to challenge his suspension (four-games) with the backing of the NFLPA (union) and the likelihood , he will mount a defense , stating the league’s investigation was not only biased , but lacked credibility . Team owner

From my own standpoint , I find this whole spectacle to be one big charade , with the league simply looking to save face among its fans while seen to be doing the right thing . The media for their part seem intent with the fanning of flames and also showing their ongoing stupidity. Yet, what else would be expect from the cabal of buffoons , who cover the sport in print , on the radio and on television ? There remains a great deal more to this ongoing spectacle as it is likely to played out in the coming weeks , if not months.

For the Indianapolis Colts, in the aftermath of their lopsided loss , there has been nothing of note coming from within the organization by way of public statement . GM Ryan Grigson and team owner Jim Irsay have remained silent . Something of a shock from the Colts’ owner , given his penchant for making rather asinine statements . But I believe Irsay’s silence has more to do with the fact he was one of the more prominent owners who supported the hiring of Roger Goodell to succeed Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner. Best not to show opposition to the beleaguered executive and simply have others outside the game voice their indifference as the league stands behind their man , even as his repeated pratfalls continue to make a mockery of the NFL .

Mandatory rookie camps are not yet officially in session , but already the unthinkable has happened with Jacksonville Jaguars’ draftee and line backer Dante’ Fowler , with the player being lost to the team for entire preseason and regular season . Given the plight of the Jaguars last year, Fowler’s loss will be seen as a disaster. For head coach Gus Bradley and his coaching staff this now provides them with the opportunity to assess their options within the team’s secondary. LaRoy Reynolds will now have to prove himself worthy partner to seasoned veteran, Geno Hayes as the Jaguars seek to bolster a defense which stumbled throughout much of last season.

Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles, this will be the season where will either see the progress in the player’s ability or has often been the case with so many second-year starting passers their regression . Bortles is expected to lead this Jacksonville team with the expectation of their being able to compete in what is likely to be a fairly competitive AFC South division.

Gus Bradley and his players will begin their preseason schedule with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at EverBank Field in Jacksonville , Florida on the 14th August , 2015 . This will be the first of Jaguars’ quartet of contests making up their exhibition season. With the regular season getting underway on 10th August when the Jaguars will have as their guests the NFC South based Carolina Panthers led by Cam Newton . This game should tell us a great deal about both teams , especially with regard to the Panthers , their ascent , while there just happens to be the flagging fortunes of the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. Matt Ryan is proving that his contract and game are more a of a hindrance , with his being unable to lead the Falcons to any type of meaningful win during the postseason. ” Father Time ” has begun to catch up with Drew Brees and his teammates , while Sean Payton looks like a desperatel man searching for answers.

I will say this for Trent Baalke and Jed Yorke , they are certainly putting on a brave face after the departure of Jim Harbaugh to the Michigan Wolverines . Mutual consent or not , the one thing we now realize was the very fact the San Francisco 49ers’ front office had lost all respect for their once revered head coach . A disastrous sojourn around the league in 2014, and the . inconsistency of not only Colin Kaepernick as well as the team , without delving into the off-field antics of several of the players. It led many to believe Harbaugh had lost sight of discipline and respect among the roster. A fractured relationship between the Niners’ head coach and the franchise’s lead front office executives was certainly the “ writing on the wall” and for the imminent departure of Jim Harbaugh . His successor, Jim Tomsula has a tough act to follow ,given his predecessor’s success with the Niners.

A rookie head coach , an organization in transition , upheavals and in recent years their biggest divisional rival has now ascended to become one of the biggest teams in not only the NFC but the entire league . So much of the 49ers’ perceived dominance in recent years with the quick rise of the Seattle Seahawks . Their divisional contests this season should prove to be thoroughly entertaining as Jim Tomsula seeks to match wits with his counterpart Pete Carroll. It will be interesting to see if Colin Kaepernick can rebound after a disastrous season in 2014. If not, then the Forty Niners will be in for a dire time this upcoming season among their rivals and the league enlarge.

San Francisco will kick-off their schedule with a Monday Night contest against the Minnesota Vikings at Levi Strauss Stadium in San Francisco , California , on 14th September , 2015.

If ever there was a franchise in the NFL whose constant scrutiny causes endless debates , then other than the Dallas Cowboys , the organization in question would have to be the Washington Redskins. With due deference to the Oakland Raiders and their lackluster performances over the last ten years. The Redskins have been embroiled in the sort of incompetence not often seen in the league , even with the bankroll of team owner Dan Snyder.

Political correctness asides , issues with the franchise’s logo and name , the question remains when will the Redskins have some semblance of success? . Robert Griffin III leading the team to a divisional title and a postseason appearance in 2012 , only to be followed up by two years of abysmal inconsistency and failure , speaks volumes as to how overrated this franchise remains. Jay Gruden is still trying to find his footing and also having to deal with the egos of Griffin and his immediate backup Kirk Cousins . If that wasn’t enough, throw in the fact Dan Snyder’s ego is as large as FedEx Field itself. In some respects. the Redskins’ owner models himself after Jerry Jones , but without having the responsibilities of being the general manage . A task currently undertaken by Scot McGloughan , whose first draft class with the Redskins is considered to be a success and perhaps the franchise’s best in the past six years.

The main issue facing Washington for the upcoming season, will be how to get the best out of Robert Griffin and an offense which sputtered , while also seeing a great deal of improvement from the team’s secondary, which seemed to give up point and yards at the drop of a hat throughout much of last season. Their regular season will prove to be a tough one , with all four teams within the NFC East looking to gain a competitive edge over a rival. Dallas , the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants will be looking to make point as to their ambitions for the season.

For Washington , if they and Robert Griffin are to have any semblance of success, then their first four games to start the season will have to be a resounding success with at least a minimum of three wins if they are to have any sort of momentum. Their first regular season contest will be against the Miami Dolphins at FedEx Field , Landover , Maryland, on 13th September , 2015. Match-ups between these two teams have proven to be entertaining and it would be the very first time that Robert Griffin has faced the Miami Dolphins in a regular season game . Likewise also , for his opposing number Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins as he looks to prove himself to be one of the better young quarterbacks in the AFC.

It is not difficult to explain the reasons why San Diego Chargers have failed to make a deep postseason run during the NFL Postseason . The franchise has been ill-served by the numerous bad decisions made by a succession of head coaches down the years . From Mike Riley to Marty Schottenheimer , to Norv Turner and down to Mike McCoy, this franchise has simply stumbled from one season to the next. San Diego’s last postseason appearance came in 2013 , ending with a divisional round loss to the Denver Broncos with a 24-17 defeat. For Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers this was another heartbreak in an otherwise stellar playing career in the NFL and with the organization. It is hard to say how history will judge the ten-year veteran who stands second all-time in franchise’s career passing yardage , but who leads Hall of Fame legend Dan Fouts in career wins for the franchise.

With Chargers’ GM Tom Telesco contemplating the trading of Philip Rivers prior to the NFL Draft and with apparently no takers for the veteran . The team will start off their season with Rivers at the helm for the offense, as they begin their preseason exhibition games. Alternatives at the quarterback position for the Chargers are not encouraging, should Rivers come down with an injury. Prospective free agents at the position are there, but I am not so sure they would fit the system Mike McCoy has in place concerning the Chargers’ passing offense. San Diego will have Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions as their guests at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego , California on the 13th September ,2015. Relocation or not the Spanos family may well see this as the last season where Phillip Rivers will be in a position to lead the Chargers to a Superbowl appearance.

====================


====================

Picture gallery .By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in a reformatted size along with a narrative.

Based on the suggested evidence in the Ted Wells’ report do you believe the punishment mandated by the NFL hierarchy is appropriate or is not severe enough given the extent of the charges leveled against the New England Patriots ? Also, with the NFL Draft having taken place which teams benefited the most from the exercise and which teams failed to meet your expectations ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site and the associated content !

🙂

Tophatal …..

——

Tophatal’s Blog

——

NFL news

2015 NFL Draft

This month in NFL history

On date in NFL history

Week one preseason schedule

Week one regular season schedule

——–

Editor’s advisory notes

Build your $hit upon a mound and let the stench take hold …

Build your $hit upon a mound and let the stench take hold …

The travesty of this sports’ weekend was highlighted by the biggest hyped sporting event in recent years . When it was all said and done the welterweight title fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was an immense disappointment , with the Filipino fighter losing a unanimous decision to the Las Vegas based Mayweather . The two fighters would split a reputed $350 million purse , with Floyd Mayweather getting the larger slice of the payday . What this bout suggests about the state of boxing might well be summed by Pacquiao’s post-fight interview , when the states he suffered a shoulder injury prior to the fight and that it prohibited his movement and ability to throw effective punches. Perhaps I might have missed something here , but at what point did having an excuse make up for a mediocre performance coming from the Filipino fighter ? For all of the perceived hype, this fight fell so way short of expectations , it simple does not bode well for the future of the sport.

===========================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


===========================

Slideshow.

As to where this now leaves the sport of boxing , is now open to a great deal of conjecture , speculation and to my mind a great deal of justified pessimism . Manny Pacquiao’s future remains uncertain and a rematch against Floyd Mayweather now seems highly unlikely . Mayweather’s record remains intact and it is my belief he seeks to reach a perfect record of 50-0 , with his now having forty-eight victories (48-0,26 KO’s) . The unbeaten fighter may well take some time off before announcing his next bout , likely to be against a contender for welterweight title and their chance to place a dent in his legacy.

(1)

Floyd Mayweather , left looks to evade a punch from Manny Pacquiao in their welterweight title fight held at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada . The fight was a unanimous decision favoring Mayweather whose record remains intact. Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach are now making excuses for an extremely poor performance with the Filipino fighter claiming a shoulder injury prior to this fight. Getty Images Photo/

If there has been one thing the opening month baseball (Major League Baseball) has proven to me and that it is not worth basing an impressive start as a reason to believe a team will be contender at the end of the season . A case could be made too many people bought into the New York Mets way too soon , only to see the NL East based ball-club fall back to earth in their recent contests . A thirteen-game win streak has now become a boondoggle for the Terry Collins’ managed team , as the Mets’ players now look even more vulnerable than ever.

At 16-10 the New York Mets are 3-7 in their last ten games and it easy to understand why this team is nowhere as good as first advertised, but there you have it , hype up a team for long enough and sooner , rather than later they usually come crashing down back to earth . With no game to be played on Monday , the Mets will next take to the field when they face the Baltimore Oriolesat Citi-Field in Flushing, New York on Tuesday , with Bud Norris of the Orioles on the mound to face seasoned veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon.

There is no denying entering into this season , all eyes would be on New York Yankees’ slugger and perhaps baseball’s most despised player, , Alex Rodriguez, Having recently “clubbed” his six hundred and sixtieth home run the player recently surpassed Willie Mays , as he slowly moves up the game’s all-time career home runs’ list . With the Yankees recently announcing their decision not to fulfill their obligation to pay Rodriguez a $6 million bonus, you have to wonder if there remains any love lost between the player and the franchise. It’s pretty much safe to say, without the player’s performances this season the ball-club would not be leading the AL East , a division I believe to be no longer the most competitive in all of baseball ! Pitching remains a weakness for this team and there remains the likelihood Joe Girardi will seek to improve the pitching staff and roster overall at the trade deadline.

(4)

New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts after flying out to right field during sixth inning MLB baseball action against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto on Monday, May 4 , 2015. Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP

An 8-5 victory over their perennial divisional rivals the Boston Red Sox at this point of the season might not indicate a great deal, but many may well read into it , seeking to imply the Yankees are back to their best . Taking their game on the road, the New York Yankees will be the guests of the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday afternoon when these two teams meet at the Rogers Center in Toronto , Ontario,. A win for the visitors would merely provide them with a morale booster as they seek to reestablish themselves as an elite team within the game of baseball.

So the NFL Draft and all of the idiocy usually seen at this time of the year was once again there for all to witness. All of the suspense was really in essence, nothing more than the league and analysts trying to elicit suspense, when the inevitable was already known. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers never really left the fans in any doubt as they made Jameis Winston the number one overall pick as well as being the top quarterback taken in this draft. Things quickly played out once Winston and Marcus Mariota came off the big board , with the picks coming in rapid succession . Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht were placed under a great deal of pressure and the need to get it right was utmost in their minds. .

(5)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round draft pick Jameis Winston , center, holds his jersey as he stands with general manager Jason Licht , left, and head coach Lovie Smith , right, during a news conference Friday, May 1, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. Winston, a former Florida State quarterback, was the first overall pick. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

With fans and NFL analysts now seeking to assess which teams had the best and the worst draft classes , I firmly believe they are at a loss to come up with any type of succinct assessment of the teams’ choices and how successful they were said to . These players will either be able to play in the NFL or they won’t and should that be the case , then they will be quickly found out.

From my own standpoint , for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the only way is up , after a disastrous season where the team was a league worst 2-14 . This season, I believe they will be no better than 5-11 , 4-12 at their worst , and a case could be made if Winston’s baptism of fire does not tell us about the temperament of the player , then his chances of being a success will be greatly diminished. The failure of Johnny Manziel and his descent into rehab and simply idiocy told a great deal about the Heisman Trophy winner , but even more so about the sheer incompetence of the Cleveland Browns’ front office and their failure to use due diligence before taking Manziel in the NFL Draft of 2014 .

New York Jets’ head coach Todd Bowles must be wondering where he now goes from here. He takes over a team, which was an abomination throughout much of last season. Geno Smith remains an abomination and anyone who still believes he has the ability to play in the NFL they had better watch game film on the Jets’ quarterback. The fact New York Jets sought to take another quarterback in this draft, indicates Smith’s time with the franchise, may well be coming to an abrupt end. .

Bryce Petty was taken in the fourth round and the likelihood appears to be, if Petty beats out Geno Smith and others on the Jets’ depth chart , then the rookie will be the starting quarterback for the upcoming season.

Someone will need to explain to me the idiotic antics of Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly as during the off-season he made the decision to implode the team’s roster . Not content with trading away the starting quarterback from last season, in return he received player whose career has been injury riddled and filled with inept performances . Nick Foles becomes a St Louis Rams’ starter, with Sam Bradford landing in Philadelphia and likely to be as ineffective with the Eagles as he was with the Rams.

It is hard to explain, how Chip Kelly believes the machinations and maneuvers during the off-season will equate with success. Yet, there are supporters of the former Oregon Ducks’ head coach, who believe his coaching style best suits the NFL . My thoughts on it all, if the Eagles are so poor as a defensive unit , how in God’s name does anyone believe he can lead this franchise to a Superbowl victory? At no point during his coaching tenure with the Eagles, has Kelly been able to have the team finish as a top-five defense . As the old adage suggests , “ defense wins championships “ .

The goose that laid the golden egg and is now off to the races with no one really standing in their way. Steph Curry the newly crowned League MVP now have Western Conference NBA Playoffs all to themselves . Of the four remaining teams within the Conference Semi-Finals , this Steve Kerr coached team might just be the most balanced of the quartet. The Warriors could very well end up with a trifecta of NBA seasonal awards , with GM Bob Myers having been named NBA Executive of the Year , to go alongside Curry’s regular season accolade , with the only major award left , to be crowned this season’s NBA champions .

(7)

OAKLAND , CA – MAY 04: Stephen Curry (30) of the Golden State Warriors accepts the Maurice Podoloff Trophy during the 2014-15 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award ceremony at Oakland Convention Center on May 04, 2015 in Oakland, California . If last season’s recipient Kevin Durant’s acceptance speech was emotional then Curry’s acceptance was equally humbling , touching and as rewarding . To listen in its entirety , click unto <a the link shown .Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Golden State made easy work of their first round opponents the New Orleans Pelicans sweeping them aside 4-0 with utmost ease. In the first of the two conference semi-finals’ contests Golden State will square off against the Memphis Grizzlies . Having taken care of game one with a home victory , it would not be out of the realms of possibility to believe the Warriors will be looking to “ sweep” the Grizzlies out of the Playoffs as the conference number one seeds look to complete their second consecutive postseason sweep of the NBA Playoffs.

No denying, the pressure is now bearing down on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers with a great deal expected of this team and their head coach David Blatt. Taking care of the Boston Celtics should have proven to be a morale booster , but the loss of Kevin Love might have well put a damper on those prospects. Now James and his teammates face a daunting second round task when they go up against the Chicago Bulls led by Jimmy Butler and a rejuvenated Derrick Rose .

(9)

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers before Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Chicago Bulls during the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 4, 2015 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Nathaniel S Butler / Getty Images North America

Filled with a great deal of anticipation, game one of the series lived up to the expectations. but the outcome did not go the way of the hosts , with the Cavaliers falling to their guests, the Bulls at the Quicken Loans Arena , in Cleveland, Ohio,. If the unthinkable were to happen , with LeBron James having to relive another nightmare , were the Cavaliers to lose this series , questions would undoubtedly be raised and asked about the mentality of this Cleveland team, and of the four-time League MVP. . I would hate to think how the fans in Cleveland might treat the embarrassment of seeing the “ Prodigal Son” having returned to bestow upon them a promise ___winning a title, only for the team to fail against one of their most noted adversaries .

Coach of the Year for this year and Al Horford one of the league’s unsung heroes , there seems to be a perennial theme going on here , but in the case of the Atlanta Hawks it might be such a good thing. Based on their record, the Hawks were the best team in the Eastern Conference, yet they struggled in their first round series and they have carried on where they left off. If it is the Hawks’ intent to implode during their series against the Washington Wizards , then they are certainly going the right way about it , with their embarrassing home loss to John Wall and his teammates.

During the regular season there was a resiliency to the Atlanta Hawks, but in the NBA Playoffs there has been a vulnerability about the players, that you simply get the impression the dominoes are about to fall, with everything cascading down around their ears. These two teams will meet on Tuesday evening at the Philips Arena in Atlanta , Georgia with the Hawks looking to level the series at one game apiece (1-1), before heading to the nation’s capital for game three .

For Randy Wittman and the Washington Wizards , were they to pull off the upset of a Conference Semi-Finals series’ win , I do not believe it would as big a surprise for many fans. All season long, as good as the Atlanta Hawks were said to be , there was something not quite right concerning the mental toughness of this team. Granted, the Eastern Conference has always been a weak conference , with the play tending to be borderline mediocre and where the coaching is believed to be passable. Yet at the end of the day, there are but a few players within the conference who truly stand out as being game changers , let alone superstars .

=========================


==========================

Picture gallery (By clicking on an individual frame you can view the picture in reformatted size alongside a narrative) .

For the moment , fans are now left to ponder what might be , what has happened and how they can make any real sense of what the rest of the year’s sporting calendar is likely to present us. This past weekend , what if anything do you believe was the single least enjoyable event ? .

🙂

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Twitter.com

Tophatal’s Blog Pinterest.com

🙂

Boxing news (USA Today)

Boxing results 2nd May ,2015

MLB news

MLB schedule

MLB probable pitchers

MLB results 3rd May

MLB standings

MLB standings (wildcard)

MLB free agents

🙂

NBA

NBA news

2015 NBA Playoffs

NBA results 4th May

NBA schedule 5th May

NFL

NFL news

2015 NFL Draft

NFL transactions (April)

—-

Editor’s note

===================================

[youtube.com=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8Cg572dafQ]

Flo-Rida feat’g Sage the Gemini ….. “It’s goin’ down for real “ (GDFR)

Walking a mile in someone’s shoes, isn’t as easy as first thought

Walking a mile in someone’s shoes, isn’t as easy as first thought

With the NBA Playoffs still taking shape , several teams have now made it to the next round with the conference semi-finals set to begin as of Tuesday , 5th May. Yet, the biggest story of the Playoffs has nothing to do at all with the play of the teams, but the rather surprising decision was the firing of Scott Brooks by the Oklahoma City Thunder front office , led by GM Sam Presti. The decision had the blessing of the team’s best player Kevin Durant , who acknowledged Brooks’ contributions to the franchise’s success and his own growth and success as a player and as a draftee by the Thunder.

(2)

Billy Donovan, having formally been introduced as the new head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder , answers questions from the convened press at the Chesapeake Energy Center , Oklahoma City , Oklahoma . Donovan has signed a lucrative five-year deal with the franchise, The main objective for the Thunder will be to secure the services of Kevin Durant signing him to a max contract , building the roster around the reigning League MVP and teammate Russell Westbrook . AP Photo/ Chris Wright

Scott Brooks should not be solely to blame for the team’s missing of the NBA Playoffs , with the loss of Kevin Durant due to a season-ending injury. A loss of this magnitude , would have a profound effect on any team, but somehow this all seems to have been overlooked by the front office as well as the senior partners who make up the ownership group of the Western Conference based franchise.

====================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


====================

Slideshow.

Sam Presti has been quick to hire a successor to Scott Brooks, with the organization formally announcing the hire of Billy Donovan , the two-time NCAA National Tournament championship winning coach of the Florida Gators . If Donovan brings along with him the type of coaching acumen seen with the collegiate program , then the continued success of the Oklahoma City Thunder would seem assured. Kevin Durant for his part , I believe will remain with the franchise , rather than seeking to opt out of the final year of his contract with the franchise !

Of the first round series still in force, perhaps the most competitive and thrilling might happen to be the Western Conference series between the Los Angeles Clippers and the defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs. The series has been encapsulated by the play of two seasoned veterans, point guard Chris Paul of the Clippers and power forward, Tim Duncan of the Spurs.

With their series tied at three games apiece (3-3) the series’ deciding seventh game will be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on 2nd May, 2015 in front of a sellout crowd likely to be cheering on the home team. For Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers the emphasis will be about having his players prepared as they meet the onslaught likely to be thrown at them by Gregg Popovich and this Spurs’ team . These are two evenly matched teams , competitive at almost every position on the court , but it all now comes down to willpower and being able to meet adversity square on , without flinching. History indicates, the team winning game six of a Playoff series’ more often than not , takes with them the advantage going into the deciding contest and it would appear the advantage now lies with the Los Angeles Clippers. Yet, it would take a bold individual to believe the San Antonio Spurs can be counted out of this series altogether.

When Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls went down to what was believed to a season-ending injury , no one believed the former League MVP would be making a return to the team’s lineup during the NBA Playoffs. Rose has been instrumental in getting the Bulls into the position, where they have made it to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals , having destroyed the Milwaukee Bucks in their series (4-2) , with an emphatic game-six win , where the margin of victory, was an astounding fifty-four points with the 120-54 destruction of the Bucks.

Old rivalries will be renewed when the Cleveland Cavaliers play host to the Chicago Bulls in game one of their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals’ Series . Nemesis’ LeBron James and Derrick Rose may well go head to head , but I believe the play of Jimmy Butler will be so pivotal in this series !

The Cavaliers will be without Kevin Love for this series, after the player’s injury, suffered during the series against the Boston Celtics in what appeared to be a provocative and deliberate attempt by the Celtic’ Kelly Olynyk to injure the Cavaliers’ power forward . Olynyk denies the claims, his intent was to injure the player, with the game officials failing to act and the league hierarchy failing to penalize Kelly Olynyk . The NBA Playoffs will once again be questioned, as to ongoing ineptitude of the officiating and the league’s failure to act.

I have never been enamored with the NBA’s referees, as I believe them to be far too willing to be part of the problem, rather than simply showing their acumen and knowledge of the game. Inconsistent officiating, with the ongoing stupidity, first shown by former NBA Commissioner David Stern, to repeatedly back the referees, has simply indicated the NBA remains behind the times and that Stern’s all too autocratic rule, has now led to the ruination of not only the NBA , but also the quality of the game itself.

I was once told, is was not David Stern’s fault for the lackluster quality of the play within the NBA , but almost at every juncture, with regard to the countless rule hanges made over the past fifteen years, Stern’s imprints have been there for everyone to see. Only a complete idiot, would believe the now retired league executive , was not to be faulted.

Fate may well deal someone a blow this season, with regard to a number of the regular season NBA Awards to be handed out . Mike Budenholzer won the NBA Coach of The Year Award . Andrew Wiggins was named NBA Rookie of The Year and Kawhi Leonard beat out Draymond Green for NBA Defensive Player of the Year , but the the league’s most important regular season individual award might well end up being a bone of contention, once the recipient has been announced for the League MVP. Leading contenders for this season’s award, are Steph Curry, James Harden , Russell Westbrook and the four-time League MVP winner, LeBron James .

For LeBron James , I believe this might well be his most crucial season yet in the NBA , where as the two-time Finals’ MVP and the perennial face of the NBA since 2003 , and the pressure will be on the All Star to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title , in what would be the first in the franchise’s history. James’ legacy has been set, wealth accumulated and global icon status few North American born athletes have reached over the past decade , with the exception of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Floyd Mayweather and Kobe Bryant .

It would be remiss to believe that the Cavaliers are likely to have their way with the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals’ Series. With the loss of Kevin Love , I believe this tilts the scales slightly towards the Bulls and the fact, Tom Thibodeau is a vastly more experienced coach than his Cleveland counterpart David Blatt . Cavaliers’ point guard Kyrie Irving will be expected to raise the level of his play in this series if the Cleveland Cavaliers are to prevail.

If LeBron James and his teammates do fail, then the crescendo likely to heard will be deafening, and one of criticism not only of the player (James) , but also the fact the roster was essentially made up of mercenaries acquired to be at the beck and call of James’ self-absorbed ambitions, with his seeking redemption after last season’s NBA Finals’ comedic fiasco against the San Antonio Spurs.

=======================

=======================

Picture gallery. Simply click unto a frame to see it formatted along with a narrative.

As the NBA Playoffs have progressed which player , players , team or teams, have impressed you the most ? Finally, which pairing in the NBA Finals, do you believe will offer a compelling and competitive series ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit.

🙂

Tophatal

Facebook.com : Tophatal’s Blog

Twitter.com : Tophatal’s Blog

Pinterest.com : Tophatal’s Blog

——–

NBA

NBA

NBA news

NBA Playoff Picture

NBA results 30th May,2015

NBA schedule 1st May

NBA Standings Eastern Conference (Playoffs)

NBA Standings Western Conference (Playoffs)

Chicago Bulls news

Los Angeles Clippers news

San Antonio Spurs news

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

——————

Editor’s notes :