Are we not amused ?

Are we not amused ?

Well the sports’ world is now abuzz after it was revealed New England Patriots’ quarterback , four time Superbowl winner and three-time Superbowl MVP , Tom Brady was uncooperative and unwilling to aid the NFL inquiry into Deflate-Gate . Further exacerbating the matter was the fact Brady is said to have destroyed his cellphone , rather than turn it over to the league’s investigators . Personally, I believe Brady to be an ass in such an instance,because surely he must have understood the league would still have been able to access his texts sent to certain individuals said to have involved in this whole sordid affair. His pleading his innocence all along, has fallen on deaf ears , with only his faithful and loyal followers still thronging to his support.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

The Ted Wells’ Report into Brady’s actions covering the events of the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts was said to be very in-depth , leaving no stone unturned as to the player’s actions. There has yet to be a formal statement made by anyone concerning the player’s four-game suspension and his possibility of appealing the suspension either through a tribunal or through Federal District Court of Appeals . The likelihood of that now happening does seem remote, but yet Tom Brady and his legal representation might not be willing to go down without a fight. The evidence against him is not vague and he actually risks a great deal more than his legacy, should be lose in this legal process.

Brady’s own teammates may well still come out in support of the player, but we have yet to hear from the likes of Chandler Jones, Rob Gronkowski , Julian Edelman , Malcolm Butler , Rob Ninkovich , Devin McCourty and the array of other players from the Patriots’ Superbowl winning roster. Bill Belichick, GM Nick Caserio and team owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft will now seek to do some damage control, but it is hard to imagine how this organization can now seek to deflect any of the negative image done to the Patriots , as well as the NFL in general .

For his part, Roger Goodell, might well have come off as an executive finally exuding some intelligence and authority, but it has been his unwillingness to act proactively, which more often than not, has led to the continued negative image and view of the NFL by the fans as well among some of their major corporate sponsors. While the league does remain popular, the off and on the field antics of the players by way of their conduct continues to affect the brand and sport and adversely. Unfortunately, among the players and the leadership of the union (NFLPA), there has been no one willing to take a stance and address player misconduct and the lack of genuine sportsmanship among the fraternity of players. Inasmuch, as the fans continue to point to the popularity of the NFL and Roger Goodell’s insistence that the growing revenues of the league makes the brand more popular than ever , along with the ratings. One has to question the goals of the league and the direction it is said to be now heading in.

With the likelihood of Tom Brady missing the first four games of New England’s regular season schedule, it will be left to Jimmy Garoppolo to lead the team during the preseason and regular season as the second-year quarterback gets to prove his worth to the coaching staff of Bill Belichick. The head coach I believe has implicit faith in Brady’s understudy and it will be interesting to see how the player fares in his first professional in regular season game. His baptism of fire last season was relatively mild , and Garoppolo showed himself to be capable , though not spectacular. If he is unable to prove himself adept enough to lead the team , then problems will arise for the Patriots over the course of the preseason and regular season schedule. With only Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo on the quarterbacks’ depth chart, an injury to the understudy would prove to be alarming and a catastrophe for the team. There is the likelihood, Belichick will seek to secure himself a veteran free agent quarterback as insurance, should that premise arise.

The NFL kicks off the preseason with its annual Hall of Fame game and for 2015, the contestants will be the Pittsburgh Steelers facing the Minnesota Vikings in a game to be played on 9th August, 2015 at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio,. Ensuing games for week one of the preseason schedule will take place on 13th , 14th , 15th and 16th August and 16th August, encapsulating sixteen contests during the first of four consecutive weeks of exhibition games. New England will open its preseason schedule with a contest against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium , Foxboro’, Massachusetts, in what will be Jimmy Garoppolo’s first preseason start of 2015, where his backup will be Matt Flynn , signed during the off-season by the Patriots. Other games on the schedule, will offer fans the chance to see the Detroit Lions playing host to the New York Jets , the Dallas Cowboys on the road against the San Diego Chargers , Washington Redskins facing the AFC’s Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium , in Cleveland Ohio.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees among the players , will be Jerome Bettis , Tim Brown , Charles Haley , Junior Seau, Will Shields and Mick Tingelhoff . Granted, with the death of Seau, this season’s recipients of one of the game’s highest accolades will be tinged with a great deal of sadness.

With the revelation by the Hall of Fame and NFL jointly , whereby they will not allow or grant access to the members of Junior Seau’s family , permitting them to make an acceptance speech on the late player’s behalf, at his posthumous induction. It begs the question what it is that the league hierarchy and the Hall of Fame as an institution are seeking to do or hide? Seau’s death as tragic as the circumstances are known to be, it has been the league’s lack of being forthright in addressing the issue of chronic neurological injuries suffered from playing in the NFL , which has led to the ongoing controversy which surrounds the game. Add in the fact , Tony Dorsett, a Hall of Fame running back is now suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease as well as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and one has to ask,what else is this league (NFL) still willing to hide from the fans at this juncture ?

Will Shields, third from right, and Mick Tingelhoff, second from right, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in August. Other inductees, from left, are running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Tim Brown, defensive end and linebacker Charles Haley and executive Bill Polian . On the right is executive Ron Wolf . Also being inducted is the late Junior Seau, who was represented by son Tyler, center. A family member of Junior Seau will not be granted permission to speak at the late player’s induction into the Hall of Fame , in Canton, Ohio this weekend . Both representatives of the Hall and NFL , state this is policy and should not be viewed in anyway as a distraction or a rebuff of Seau’s family or his accomplishments as a player. Courtesy of the Associated Press .

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , might well now suggest the league is doing more than ever before to address the issue chronic neurological injuries suffered by NFL players and pointing to the fact the league will be breaking ground on a retirement facility in Ocoee, Florida, which will provide and house retired NFL veterans in ailing health. This will be the first of several heath facilities to be built around the country over the next several years , which also have experienced medical staff on call to care for these retired players. These centers will also provide residence for a number of players in poor health and will all be funded by the NFL. As to the league’s appealing a judge’s verdict of their settlement with the plaintiffs (retired players) who sought damages against the NFL for brain injuries suffered during their careers. The $ 1 billion offer by the league , seems something of a mere pittance for a sports’ hierarchy whose revenues exceed $7.8 billion annually and has increased each year over the past decade .

When you’re good , you can be extremely good in the NFL , but if your front office continues to show poor judgment, then you can but only hope there is light at the end of the tunnel. Last season , both the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bays were simply atrocious all season long. With the teams finishing with regular season records of 2-14 , it begs the question how bad was the league this past season ? Suffice to say, the league hierarchy continues to sell the fans a bill of sale on goods and a brand , that from one season to the next swings back and forth like a pendulum. The hype remains utterly ridiculous, while the exploits of rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham might well have been spectacular , the season for the New York Giants was simply a disaster. Eli Manning now appears to be on the downside of a career that seemed destined to be bound for the Hall of Fame.

Two Superbowl victories can add luster one’s career resume’ , but take away those two postseason victories in the big game and what are you actually left with concerning his regular season career ? Eli Manning and the Giants were a train wreck on and off the tracks in 2014. No leadership to be seen from the quarterback and even less from the coaching staff of Tom Coughlin . The off-season has seen some changes in the team’s roster alongside their influx of rookies and free agent acquisitions. Odell Beckham will likely remain a great part of the Giants’ offensive focus , as the sophomore wide receiver will be looking to improve upon last season’s performances. If that is to happen, then Eli Manning will have to be back at his very best if the New York Giants are to be seen as a prohibitive favorite for the NFC East divisional title. The difference remains something of a joke , with only the Dallas Cowboys showing z any real guts and resiliency during this past season.

Coming off a 6-10 season in 2014 it easy to understand why Giants’ fans might well still feel a sense of disappointment with a third place finish within the NFC East. The team lacked confidence , leadership and were simply woefully inept throughout much of last season. I am not so sure we are likely to see enough of an improvement to believe the team will be viewed as contenders within the division much less the conference or even the possibility of winning their fifth Superbowl title. Their preseason is unlikely to prove much of a pointer , as they enter into regular season when they open their schedule with a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium in Arlington, Texas on 13th September, 2015. Eli Manning’s record against Dallas since his entrance into the NFL with the exception of his postseason contests against his divisional rivals. I am not about to suggest this will be Manning’s last season with the Giants, but anything short of a postseason berth and the likelihood, will be the organization must seek to move in another direction without the franchise’s career passing yards’ leader .

,

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

Hackensack, New Jersey 8/28/14 quarterback Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants watches the game from the sidelines after being removed from the game in the first quarter of a preseason football game as head coach Tom Coughlin coaches at MetLife Stadium on August 28 , 2014. Paul J. Bereswill

In light of the reported evidence found by the league’s investigators, do you feel the punishment meted out against Tom Brady is just or do you believe it has been something of a witch-hunt against the player and the New England Patriots because of prior bad acts ? Also what are your expectations for this upcoming season in the NFL ? Feel free to leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

😛

Tophatal …….

Editor’s advisory notes

🙂

NFL

NFL news

NFL photos

NFL transactions

NFL preseason schedule (2015)

NFL regular season schedule (2015)

2014 Regular season standings

This date in NFL history

On this day in NFL history

A fool by any other name, is still a fool

A fool by any other name, is still a fool

It seems strange that barely six months ago the nation enjoyed the spectacle of the Superbowl . witnessing history being made as the New England Patriots triumphed in a thrilling game defeating the Seattle Seahawks , with the franchise winning their fourth Superbowl title. Superbowl MVP and quarterback Tom Brady added to his already growing legacy, but it has since been tarnished with the revelations that the player was embroiled in the Deflate-Gate scandal. As to what this now means for Brady, can be best judged by what his detractors and supporters have continue to say concerning the player’s actions. Further exacerbating the matter is the very fact, Roger Goodell believes he can be the sole arbiter in deciding the fate of Tom Brady. The player will likely challenge any punishment meted out by a hearing, by quite possibly seeking a challenge within the Judicial System , though as of now it would appear, that until a hearing date has been set by the league, this whole chapter will become one of sheer conjecture and speculation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For the New England Patriots, this NFL franchise might now be the most despised in the NFL if not in the entire world of professional sports , perhaps even more hated than either baseball’s New York Yankees and dare I say it , even the Dallas Cowboys, whose owner Jerry Jones might still be the most disliked owner in all of professional sports ?

During the off-season, Bill Belichick and Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft have not seen fit to make too many public statements concerning the allegations made against the franchise’s most popular player in its history.

Tom Brady’s resume’ speaks for itself , but history is now likely to judge him , not just barely on his Superbowl exploits, but also the allegations now encapsulating this latest chapter in New England Patriots’ history. With two such staggering chapters now on appearance viewed as sordid , I can’t help but wonder why the NFL itself continues to act as if the actions of the Patriots have only ever been committed by one franchise in the league’s history .

Sean Payton and Micky Loomis of the New Orleans Saints were in some respects the architects of Bounty-Gate , another sordid chapter of NFL history where Roger Goodell once again continued to show his incompetency. Another of the accomplices in the scandal Greg Williams now an assistant coach with the St Louis Rams , might well have been made a scapegoat in the whole sordid affair, but in reality , the league itself has continued to act as if it is without reproach and still has a great deal of integrity. The players continue to lack any type of character , much less their willingness to adhere to the league’s own rules concerning its drug or conduct policy.

Having won their fourth Superbowl title in the past fifteen years to go along with seven appearances in the NFL’s showcase event. Four victories and now the infamy of having the Patriots’ name now tarnished. Robert Kraft has continued to try and deflect attention away from the franchise but his greatest problem and advantage might well be Roger Goodell. Kraft was implemental in Goodell succeeding Paul Tagliabue as the current NFL Commissioner. For anyone, who believes the commissioner can be impartial in any type arbitrary procedure involving the NFL has to be viewed as a farce.

Tom Brady for his part, during this whole process will likely spend a great deal of his off-time getting in sync, albeit , we are not yet aware as to form of punishment is likely to be meted out against the player by the league. All signs seem to be pointing to the fact Brady will likely face a suspension of no more than four games , as there seems to be no precedent , where the hierarchy can actually suspend the Patriots’ quarterback for anything more than four games , comparative in nature for a first time offender for transgressing the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Should that be the case, I believe Brady will seek the turnover of the ruling either in Federal District Court or by way of a tribunal overseen by the league, with Brady likely to be represented by a high-profiled lawyer as part of his due process and representation.

New England will be looking to make a successful defense of not only their Superbowl title but also the AFC East division, which they won with a great deal of ease last season. Considered to be their biggest rival this season will be the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills , but there is the belief the New York Jets might be able to mount a serious challenge if Geno Smith can find some semblance of consistency to his all-round game. From my own standpoint, I believe Smith to be the worst quarterbacks drafted in the NFL over the past six years with the exception of Tim Tebow , Johnny Manziel and Brandon Weeden ! So make of it what you will at this juncture.

The personification of what has made the Patriots a constant success over the past twelve years has been franchise’s drafting of players , who over time have proven to be productive as well as perennial Pro Bowl mainstays. Granted, the organization has also profited from the acquisition of established players who have fit the mold of an amenable addition to the franchise. The likes of Wes Welker , Randy Moss and Corey Dillon immediately comes to mind and their success with the Patriots has been well-chronicled over the course of New England’s history in the NFL .

As they say , all good things must come to an end and inquiring minds have to be wondering , how long before Tom Brady decides to hang up his cleats ? Granted, there have been several players down the years on the Patriots’ roster who had the chance to supplant the incumbent quarterback in the starting role and Jimmy Garopolo would appear to be no different. He had his baptism of fire in the league with some mop up duty and during the preseason of the year he was drafted by the Patriots. This is unlikely to be the year where his role will be increased or his becoming the full-time starting quarterback for the team. Yet there is now the growing belief he is the heir-apparent to his mentor , Tom Brady. Quarterbacks’ coach and the team’s offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels certainly believes that to be the case and I believe during the preseason Garopolo will certainly see some playing time.

If Brady’s suspension comes into play at the beginning of the regular season with the appeal’s process not yet underway, then there is every reason to believe Jimmy Garopolo could very well start his first regular season game in the presumed role of an NFL starting quarterback.

Time waits for no man and in the NFL once it is believed you are no longer of use to a team, you’re normally sent packing . So it was for several members of the Patriots’ roster from last season with the departure of long-time defensive stalwart Vince Wilfork . The eleven-year veteran signed a two-year deal with the Houston Texans during the off-season and will likely bring some leadership to roster sorely lacking leadership , even with the presence of JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney , said to be lynch pins on an underachieving secondary. It will be very interesting to see what role Wilfork will play on this Texans’ team and how they will fare over the course of the season.

In week fifteen Vince Wilfork will be provided with the opportunity to reacquaint himself with his former teammates when the Texans play host to the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium , in Houston, Texas. For Bill O’Brien it will also be a re-acquaintance of sorts as he was also once a member of the Patriots’ coaching staff under Bill Belichick .

While I believe the New England Patriots are capable of winning the AFC East with ease. A successful defense of the Lombardi Trophy will prove to be difficult and the chances of winning back-to-back Superbowls is extremely tough , with it having been achieved, becoming something of a rarity . Granted , the last such franchise to do so, were the Patriots, but the feat was accomplished over a decade ago. No one has come close to doing so , until the squandered chances of the Seattle Seahawks were seen last season, along with the heroics of Patriots’ defensive player Malcolm Butler , whose timely interception in the waning moments of the game sealed the Seahawks’ fate and led many of us to ask, what the hell was Pete Carroll thinking ?

I believe this upcoming season, the toughest challenges to be faced by the New England Patriots will not come from either of their schedules , but, it will be predicated upon the amount of complacency shown. Too much , with the disdain for an opponent, can and will lead to their demise. One expects there to be a little arrogance and swagger to be involved , after-all, they are the reigning Superbowl champions and with it comes detail of their being viewed as the target with a very large bulls’ eye on their back . with everyone seeing to take aim and hit the target dead center. How the Patriots intend to deal with it all , could mean the difference between success and failure.

Last season for the New England Patriots, I believe the six best players on the roster in no discerning order were , LeGarrett Blount, Julian Edelman , Rob Gronkowski , Devin McCourty, Chandler Jones and Tom Brady. And granted , it was a collective effort during the regular and postseason that ultimately led to their success along Bill Belichick’s coaching acumen. Yet there can be no denying , whatever the thoughts might be how the franchise achieved its place in history , the roller coaster ride the fans were led on was simply amazing.

One might continue with the allegations of “ cheating “ , but the Patriots are not the only team in the NFL willing to bend the rules for their own means. It is not as if the NFL itself has been built on a solid foundation of honesty and integrity to begin with. One simply has to look at the repeated examples of cheating . dishonesty and utter disdain shown for the fans , not just by the league hierarchy , but also by the owners and the NFLPA (union). So for all of the whining and moronic idiots who take issue with the New England Patriots , have the balls also to point an accusing finger at the entire NFL also , rather than showing yourself to be a complete as#hole time and time again .

Tom Brady still has his legion of fans, but in light of this latest scandal , there has been a groundswell of criticism for the former League MVP and Superbowl winner . His once pristine image is not necessary in tatters , but the chinks in his armor have seen large dents and rust begin to show. Helped on by his innocuous and orchestrated interview with Jim Gray, the player failed to answer any of the allegations against him , simply showing his arrogance and deflecting the whole subject matter of the AFC championship game and the events surrounding it as a non-issue. Is anyone really surprised by that at all ?

Among today’s active quarterbacks Tom Brady’s record is one of the best , regular season and postseason wins, percentage wise in both categories. He may no longer be held with the same esteem as his greatest adversary Peyton Manning , but there the comparisons must now end. Manning still has a glowing reputation , pristine image , loved by fans, consumers and major corporate sponsors alike. Both players have held sway in the NFL for over ten years apiece , each having won the highest awards the game has to offer. Now comes the question , how will history seek to treat the legacies of both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning ? I will leave it for you all to now decide , with the caveat being , controversy and there being a villain to hate , makes for a far more interesting drama and that is what the NFL has now actually become . Less about the competitive spectacle on the field of play , but now more to do with the players’ and hierarchy’s antics off it.


Picture gallery. View each individual frame by clicking on the picture and read the accompanying narrative.

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this article ?

🙂

Tophatal …..

Editor’s advisory notes

NFL

NFL news

New England Patriots news

Tom Brady news

NFL preseason schedule (2015)

NFL regular season schedule

NFL teams’ salary cap

This month in NFL history

On this date in NFL history

Champions are made not born .. Can’t knock the hustle

Champions are made not born … Can’t knock the hustle

As the weekend’s events took hold in the world of sports , we witnessed history being made with Novak Djokovic denying Roger Federer his eighth attempt to win a Wimbledon Men’s Singles title. The Swiss born , former world ranked number one tennis player has long reigned supreme atop of the rankings but over the past five years , it has been Djokovic’s rapid rise up the rankings and dominance we have witnessed The Serbian’s slaying of Federer was a clinical display of strong aggressive tennis, with his serve being among the arsenal on display as he would go on to triumph with his third Men’s title and his second in succession, having won the title second year, having defeated his Swiss rival in 2014. This was the fortieth meeting between these two rivals , with their having split their series at twenty wins apiece.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

In the Women’s Singles Finals, Serena Williams proved why she has been the best player of her generation and with her twenty-first Grand Slam singles’ victory she now stands equal to Steffi Graf for Slam victories in the Open Era , but three behind Australia’s Margaret Court. Williams’ victory over Garbine Murguruza in straights sets was as lopsided a victory in a recent Slam tournament. Serena Williams now becomes only the second female player in the modern era also to all four majors at the same time as the reigning champion and with a win in the US Open would look to become again only the third female to have won Grand Slam in the same calendar year, joining only Margaret Court and Steffi Graf to have accomplished the feat. It is hard to envisage where the opposition is likely to come for the American sensation as she seem to be playing her best tennis of the season after her triumph at the All England Club, Wimbledon.

During the ATP and WTA calendar season, both Djokovic and Williams have reigned supreme atop of the rankings while also garnering titles at an astonishing rate. By year’s end I seriously doubt how either of the two will not end atop of the respective world rankings.

Jordan Spieth is having an astonishing season within the PGA and his rapid rise up the world rankings , has the American sitting at number two, with only Ireland’s Rory McIlroy ranked , number one, standing in his way , as he seeks to surpass the Irishman. McIlroy will miss the British Open scheduled to begin on 16th July at St Andrews Golf Club, St Andrews , Scotland. Spieth will likely be the presumptive favorite as he seeks to win his third Major , having already won The Masters and US Open at this stage of his career. The world number two has become only the second American to have won four titles heading into The Open , long seen as the toughest Grand Slam major to win on the PGA Tour schedule.

A promised showdown between Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth was the desired lure of The Open and the very fact Tiger Woods’ play this season has been so erratic , the thought of the former world number one having any type of effect on the tournament seems to be one sheer hope rather than a reality. Woods has been saying all of the right things, but his game has simply been far too inconsistent for him to be seen as a serious contender , much less a threat to Spieth in the tournament. I certainly believe Jordan Spieth’s confidence as well as his game, makes him a legitimate favorite and the possibility of winning the third Grand Slam Major of his young career.

The NBA for its part continues with its own form of the silly season , as free agents either stay put or seek to move on elsewhere . Biggest story to come out of this all , was the decision of DeAndre Jordan to renege on his promise to join the Dallas Mavericks , spurning their contract offer to remain with the Los Angeles Clippers. Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban has remained somewhat mute on the issue, but I would guess with several players on the team’s roster have voiced their displeasure at Jordan and his final decision.

I for one feel the Clippers power forward’s decision was not necessarily about money, but more to do with the fact, I do not feel he would have been comfortable, being the second man in the pecking order on the roster of the Dallas Mavericks. He certainly knew his role with Los Angeles, where he was third in the pecking order behind Chris Paul and Blake Griffin , and even though there was said to be a lukewarm relationship and his Clippers’ teammate Paul was said to have been one of the main reasons Jordan sought to leave the Los Angeles based franchise. In the end calmer heads were said to have prevailed.

If there is now said to be a new-found resolve about the Los Angeles Clippers, then a great deal of that will likely come down to the coaching acumen of Doc Rivers and the sort of vitality shown by the players over the course of the upcoming season.

LeBron James in a recent interview stated, he had begun to have nightmares after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. From my own mindset , I do not believe the result was ever in doubt, even if the Cavaliers had the services of both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love during the series. The Warriors had more depth to their roster and they were better coached, with Steve Kerr proving he was far better than his counterpart David Blatt. James in spite of his heroics during the series, he was not able to pull off a series’ victory which would secured Cleveland their first NBA title.

The Cavaliers will likely be the presumptive favorites within the Eastern Conference for the upcoming season , where their biggest opponents will likely prove to be the Chicago Bulls under new head coach Fred Hoiberg. There is no denying the NBA Finals were an immense disappointment to the front office of the Cleveland Cavaliers, with GM David Griffin having engineered the building of the roster , luring LeBron James back to Cleveland, along with the signing of Kevin Love. The failure however, had more to do with the smugness of the entire franchise and the very fact , there was no clear planned strategy in place, other than the belief James would be Cleveland’s savior , beyond being viewed as the ‘Prodigal Son’. Another rebuilding process will now be underway and once again LeBron James will be key to the Cavaliers’ strategy, with the likelihood his approval will be sought on any move made.

It would be fair to suggest over the past four years, the gloss has faded on the achievements of the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks, with both franchises simply bereft of a dearth of talent. Both Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant are well into their respective careers, both players having a decade-long exposure in the league. Bryant having the most success from a personal and team standpoint. In the case of Carmelo, other than being seen as a prodigious offensive talent, his years with the Knicks have simply been wasted , with last season being of no exception.

Anyone who witnessed the play of the team under their rookie head coach Derek Fisher, either had to be disgusted or simply laughing at their exploits. Knicks’ fans themselves, were delusional, as they still are , hoping in 2016, Phil Jackson will still have a ‘ Master Plan ‘ to turn things around. No logical steps were taken by the front office executive and clearly the hiring of Fisher has proven to be an unmitigated disaster. Jackson has no eye for talent and the only reason behind his hiring by team owner James Dolan was to stop the embarrassment and ridicule of being called one of the NBA’s worst ran franchises. Nothing has really changed , with Jackson proving he is no better than one of his predecessors Isiah Thomas , who at one time had dual roles within the organization , as head coach and President of Basketball Operations.

To even remotely describe those years as being a success , would be akin to suggesting Thomas knew exactly what he was doing. Jackson’s ego and failure to admit his mistakes or weaknesses indicates how much of a struggle this past season has been for the New York Knicks and why they still have a long way to be go before being able to turn things around. Carmelo Anthony is not getting any younger and his best years are now behind him.

I have no real wish to go into depth, to explain why both these franchises , the Knicks and Lakers have remained failures over the past five seasons , as these debates have been well-chronicled and have become utterly boring. Fans of the teams in question have become obnoxious , delusional but above all, truly lacking any real intelligence to acknowledge the fact the owners of both organizations have not got a clue. Beyond that, nothing more needs to be said.

As baseball takes its customary mid-season break to engulf itself with the All Star Game and its surrounding events. It would be easy to suggest the first half of the season has been a resounding success. In some ways it has , but for the most part, teams have been struggling to shown any real semblance of consistency or competitiveness. The fairy tale story that was the Kansas City Royals has some additional chapters written , to add to the success of last season . Leading the AL Central , it would appear the Royals are now intent on making a second successive postseason appearance , something not achieved in several years by the franchise . Needless, to say the chances of the team now running away with the AL Pennant and World Series would be predicated upon one’s belief either in fairy tales , the impossible or just plain reality. Kansas’ success this season has been rewarded with several of their players being named to the AL All Star lineup , the most among AL based teams.

Tuesday night’s contest promises to be a grand gala of the game’s best players , with the showdown , being one with a great deal riding on it.

On the mound for the respective leagues when the game gets underway at the Great American Ballpark , Cincinnati , Ohio will be Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros against Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Over their last eight starts, both Keuchel and Greinke have been stellar for their respective teams. Zack Greinke closed out the first half of the season, with the best ERA among starting pitchers in baseball and could conceivably be seen as the clear favorite for this season’s NL Cy Young Award.

Away from the field of play, Pete Rose will be making an appearance at the venue where a great deal of the player’s most renowned achievements too place, , but yet, his yearning to be given that seal of approval with his reinstatement to the game seems a long way off , in spite of assurances by Rob Manfred concerning the issue of Rose’s banishment from baseball. If he is reinstated it by no means guarantees his automatic consideration for the Hall of Fame. Rose still has his enemies on the BBWAA and the Veteran’s Committee of the institution, who have long memories and who still believe Pete Rose’s actions remains a stain on the game of baseball. As hypocritical as the Baseball Writers’ Association just happens to be, they still believe, they have to stand for something, even when they have failed so miserably to address their own mes-culpa , addressing and reporting on the widespread use of steroids within the game of baseball . Anyone who believes there remains some form of journalistic integrity within the field of journalism, specifically sports’ journalism, is in need of a rectal inspection to be followed by a swift kick to the ass.

When the second half of the season gets underway, it will be interesting to see which teams come flying out of the starting gate hoping to make up for a poor start to the first half of their year.

The news’ cycle is and will always remain an around the clock three hundred and sixty-five days a year meat grind and slog to report any morsel of idiocy to be found in the NFL. In the off-season it becomes somewhat like a political campaign, similar to the current undertaking we are now witnessing as the Presidential candidates from both political parties make themselves known , even with their hypocrisy, jingoism and xenophobia is brought along for everyone to witness.

If Roger Goodell were running for the highest political office in the land, I would dare say he would find his fair share of anal retentive supporters. Goodell as the NFL Commissioner, is still wading through the fecal matter of his own making. Irritable bowel syndrome or not , the diarrhea constantly served up by this particular NFL executive has become too much to bear. Personally, I still cannot understand why he has not been asked to step down as the commissioner of the league. His lack of communicative skills , autocratic rule of law and ongoing incompetence are one of the numerous reasons why the NFL remains a complete laughing stock. For the most part , the owners are simply happy reap the financial rewards, as too are the union and the players themselves. Leaving the fans to wallow in the bullshit of a brand that tends to be so watered down , but yet many try attest it is in fact a competitive brand being placed on the field of play throughout the season. 2.

This upcoming season promises to be an arduous one for several teams who last season fell short of expectations. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will enter their season with renewed vigor ,with their number one overall pick Jameis Winston seeking to place all of the negative aspects of his college career in his rear view mirror. I am so sure Winston possesses the maturity to lead this franchise back to respectability , much less be competitive enough to win their division. The NFC South remains one of the NFL’s garbage canisters, where the carcasses of rotting elephants would find it a conducive place to be laid to rest.

Jameis Winston will be hoping to beat out Mike Glennon for the starting role as the Buccaneers’ quarterback in 2015 and it remains one of the primary areas where this is a cause for concern for the franchise .It is among a litany of woes Lovie Smith and the coaching staff will have to address for this upcoming season. At best , the Buccaneers can carve out a six or eight-game win season over the course of their schedule , where I believe the two teams likely to be the main challengers within the NFC South are likely to be the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints . Ron Rivera and Sean Payton are two very good coaches who will be have their respective teams ready to play once the season begins with their two regular season contests likely to be pivotal within the division.

When is an NFL team not actually a team ? Likely one , that is put together by Dallas Cowboys’ team owner Jerry Jones. Last season the Cowboys came apart at the seams in the postseason like Swiss cheese being shredded by a grater. For all of the pretentiousness of Jones and the Cowboys’ fans imbuing on us , the franchise’s greatness , one only has to look at the Cowboys’ failed attempts to make the postseason over the last seven years to see what a mess they have actually been. Rife with excuses after their loss to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the NFL postseason , once again indicated why Dallas remains a farce.

Entering into the season Cowboys will be without their record breaking running back DeMarco Murray , who Jerry Jones chose not to retain , because many believed wide receiver Dez Bryant was far more of a prized asset for the franchise. Bryant has always been a troubled and self-absorbed individual who flashes of brilliance are then countered by his immaturity and lack of leadership. Another trait he actually shares with his teammate and veteran quarterback Tony Romo. With news now emanating Dez Bryant is not willing to report for the Cowboys’ mandatory preseason OTA’s , unless he is guaranteed a long-term deal , one has to ask how could the franchise’s , front office not see this coming ? There remains a great deal of conceit and narcissism within this franchise and most certainly among many of their high-profiled players, of which their Pro Bowl wide receiver can be considered to fit into the that particular category.

If neither Jason Garrett or Jerry Jones can instill discipline on this team , then why would anyone be of the belief the Dallas Cowboys can win a Superbowl , when there is said to be complete lack of leadership and discipline within the organization ? Teams that tend to be successful and consistent are ones which are said to have leaders, role players and a great coaching staff. I seriously doubt that can actually be said of the Dallas Cowboys at this juncture or at any time over the past six seasons.

Jerry Jones may well be an astute businessman , but as an NFL front office executive , he remains something of an oaf, even if his winning what I felt to be a nonsensical award last season, with his being named NFL Executive of The Year . I hear, up next , Joe The Plumber will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian efforts ,also in recognition of his being an avowed Conservative and a detractor of all things Obama related. Sarah Palin, eat your heart out bit#h , because you can still see Russia while pulling down over $100,000 for a speaking engagement and having absolutely nothing new to offer by way of any type of political dialog.

Playing in a mediocre division has its merits for the Dallas Cowboys and I severely doubt they are likely to be challenged within the NFC South , where the defensively challenged Philadelphia Eagles remains a joke under Chip Kelly , where Jay Gruden will likely spend more time soothing the egos and massaging the penises of Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III . Last but not least , Eli Manning will still be wondering why having won two Superbowls, one more than his elder sibling Peyton Manning , he can’t get no love from anyone and that includes the growing cries of New York Giants’ fans who now feel he’s become more of a liability than an asset.

I certainly don’t believe Jerry Jones will offer Dez Bryant a six-year $90 million or $110 million contract , as these are the figures being banded about by close followers of the scenario now engulfing the Dallas Cowboys and where his agent Roc-Nation Sports , overseen and owned by rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z . The only hard knocks Dez Bryant will likely feeling right about now, won’t be coming from opposing defenders but to his ego, as he seeks to earn his piece of cheddar (American Dream) . A contract deal will likely be reached before the Dallas Cowboys embark on their preseason schedule, but if all else fails Dez Bryant will be in camp prior to the start of the regular season. Penalties levied against the wide receiver missing camp could prove costly and one doubts he wants to see a large chunk being taken out of his $12.8 million salary due to him this season. While I believe Bryant to be a very good player , I do not believe he can be considered one of the NFL’s elite wide receivers let alone a receiver who can be considered the leader of a team ambitious enough to win the Superbowl.

Picture gallery. In order to view an individual frame , simply on that picture to view the image alongside the accompanying narrative.

What do you believe is the one trait needed by an athlete to become a champion ? Also of the weekend’s sporting events , which do you believe was the most exhilarating or special in terms of the feat or feats accomplished ?

😮

Tophatal …..

:).

ATP Tour

Women’s Tennis Association

2015 Wimbledon

😛

PGA Tour

PGA Tour news

😎

NBA

NBA news

😕

MLB

MLB news

🙄

NFL

NFL news

NFL preseason schedule

NFL regular season schedule

NFL transactions

NFL free agents

NFL salary cap (2015)

Highest paid NFL players contract value

Top salaries (base)

Top salaries (average)

Highest paid players guaranteed money

….

[youtube.com=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jZz37BH4cQ]

Can’t knock the hustle’ …. Jay Z & Mary J Blige

Be there or be square …

Be there or be square
We have already reached the half-way point of the MLB season and the league is about to stage the eighty-sixth edition of baseball’s mid-season event staged between teams from the AL and NL. At this point in 2014, the divisions offered no real pointers as to how the regular season would end or the outcome of the postseason for that matter. Granted, fans were excited to witness the exploits of the Kansas City Royals during the postseason, before faltering against the eventual champions the San Francisco Giants.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

The 2015 MLB All Star Game held at the Great American Ballpark , home to the Cincinnati Reds will provide the fans in attendance as well the television viewers the chance to see their favorite players perform in the mid-season classic. For the Kansas City Royals and their league-leading number of players chosen to be among the list of players representing the American League. This provides the franchise with the opportunity to still ride on the crest of the waves provided from last season’s success, albeit they came up short in the World Series. This season the Royals have been on a tear leading the AL Central , leaving the rest of the division in their wake.

I certainly believe the Detroit Tigers have misjudged the competitiveness of their divisional rivals and the zeal being shown by this Ned Yost managed team. Remarkable as things may well appear to be, given the fortunes of the Kansas City Royals prior to last season’s postseason appearance and then their letdown in the World Series . Things might well prove to be going well for the ball-club, but the struggles continue for a franchise that finds it hard to retain players given the financial shackles placed upon them by a front office and owner , David Glass , who has not been always willing to make a big splash of signing a marquee and productive free agent.

For years Glass was seen as something of a cheapskate, not always willing to pay or place a winning product on the field. Needless to say, claims of the Royals’ owner simply wanting to make use of the monies made available by way of the luxury tax, became one of the many reasons why allegations were made concerning the ball-club’s dismal record over the years. However, over the past five seasons the fruits of the organization’s labor has borne fruit with the development of several players from within their farm system. A number of those players were part of last season’s success for the Kansas City Royals and now they are again stepping up to the plate.

The Royals are a dismal 5-5 in their last ten games, their last victory coming with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. They will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday afternoon when they host their AL rivals at Kauffman Stadium , Kansas City , Missouri. Matt Moore will take the mound for the Rays against the Royals’ Chris Young . I believe the contest is likely to be a competitive one, with the Rays looking to make some inroads into the divisional lead of the New York Yankees.

For two straight seasons the Oakland A’s were see as creme-de-la-creme within the AL West having won the division two years in succession and with it came all of the applause of making the postseason. Alas, the appearances in 2012 and 2013 were short-lived and fell short of the expectations of the A’s famed general manager Billy Beane. Countered by the fact the A’s are one of the least supported teams in all of baseball and their finances menial at best , the continued struggles for the franchise to compete has been a hard one for the organization and the ownership group headed by lead partner Lew Wolff and Michael Crowley . The A’s home venue , the O Coliseum is an archaic stadium, no longer seen as conducive to the team’s needs. Losing 2-1 to the Seattle Mariners has put something of an exclamation mark on what has become a dire season for the Oakland A’s , leading many to believe , Billy Beane and team manager Bob Melvin may begin a fire sale purging themselves of their impending free agents and their high-salaried players off the team’s roster.

Oakland has been looking to parlaying its success , building on their momentum to obtain a new venue with participation from the Oakland Alameda County Government . This has been an ongoing task for the franchise for the last eight years , with their being no concrete evidence that the scenario would ever take flight with a new stadium being built for the organization . This has been an ongoing task for the franchise for the last eight years , with their being no concrete evidence that the scenario would ever take flight with a new stadium being built for the organization. If there isn’t winning product on the field of play, then it becomes exceedingly difficult to get the financial backing available to get such a proposition underway and actually becoming a reality. The Oakland A’s will be looking to get back to winning ways when they take on the New York Yankees in an away game when the two teams meet on Tuesday evening. Taking to the mound for the visiting team will be Sonny Gray as he faces the Yankees’ starting pitcher Nathan Evoldi .

No major fallout in the St Louis Cardinals’ hacking scandal, with the Cardinals announcing the termination of scouting director Chris Correa . While there seems to be no suggestion that Correa acted alone , I personally believe he was the sacrificial lamb in this whole debacle ! GM John Mozeliak has been less than forthright in seeking to explain the ball-club’s actions and the obtaining of sensitive information from the Houston Astros . For its part , the MLB hierarchy has issued no public statement concerning the matter and it seems unlikely that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred will take any action against one of baseball’s most esteemed organizations . We can have fans up in arms about the issue of steroid cheats , the nonsensical and irrational behavior of players in the NFL as well as their misogynistic behavior towards women, blatant racism , homophobia, of which the same traits can also be found within the NBA. Yet God forbid , the fact we now have a baseball team now blatantly committing a criminal offense and not a fucking whimper is heard from the anal retentive sports’ fan, let alone their being any great measures being undertaken by the media to actually conduct any type of investigation behind the actions of the St Louis Cardinals.

News’ cycles being what they are , I guess there’s now more interest in a bigot such as Donald Trump , his ambition to become the Republican Presidential candidate , or idiots within the South Carolina State Legislature suggesting the Confederate Flag is a symbol of racism. Last I looked , racism was still alive and well , long before Dylan Roof took it upon himself to slay nine African-Americans, as he sought to single-handed to begin a race war. Oh my God , not another fucked up suburban white kid , with the intelligence of a lump of shit, looking for attention. Was this mother-fucker still sucking on his Mom’s tit before he went on this rampage , having not been able to gain any attention from his buddies in high school ? Or was it the fact, the lure of the KKK was more alluring, than perhaps having his cherry popped or the claims as some have suggested , Roof was angered by the fact his ex-girlfriend had begun a relationship with an African-American male. Hence the saying, “ once you go black, you never go back “ . White boy , ain’t got no lead in his pencil.

The St Louis Cardinals are the runaway locomotives within the NL , leading with the NL Central by a comfortable margin and likely to have their division all sewn up before we reach the month of September . Mike Matheny and his team have been rarely troubled over the course of their season and it begs the question can the Cardinals be seen as the prohibitive favorites for the NL Pennant ? St Louis alongside , the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers are far in a way the best teams within the National League at this point of the season, but as we all know the baseball schedule is one of two halves at the culmination of a one hundred and sixty-two game schedule. Having demolished the Chicago Cubs on Monday afternoon the Cardinals will seek to follow up that victory by looking to inflict further pain upon their NL Central based rivals.

The events surrounding baseball’s mid-season spectacle might well be more entertaining and fan-friendly than can be found with the NBA All Star Game , the NHL All Star Game and that of the NFL’s Pro Bowl . Fans do get the chance to meet with their idols and the players tend to be more appreciative than their counterparts within football , basketball and hockey. Yet for all all the praise and reverence , baseball still finds itself with a dwindling television audience and a marketing strategy that might as well have been thought up by a bunch of drunken fools. The All Star Game itself carries with it, the winning league having home game advantage in the World Series , but even with that as an incentive there doesn’t really seem to be much else that the event really has going for it. Baseball’s Home Run Derby elicits about as much excitement as seeing an eighty-year old wrinkled female up on stage performing a striptease performance , with Vanilla Ice’s hit ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ playing in the background. The efforts of the contestants might well be admired , but in reality, what is it the fans are really getting to witness ? Efforts of real human endeavor ? If that’s meant to be the case with regard to the Home Run Derby , then I would rather watch paint dry or the mating ritual of a pair of elephants. At least there is a sense of realism with what’s being shown on screen , rather the implied implication the contest is something of real physical demand.

Baseball is now at a crossroads , with the career of its greatest ambassador of the last two decades having come to a close last season , there is no Derek Jeter for the fans to follow. The exploits of Mike Trout can provide a great deal of excitement , but he is now playing for a franchise which has consistently under-achieved over the past six seasons. Trout is not to blame, but clearly the Los Angeles Angels are in a state of disarray. In the NL , Bryce Harper is finally fulfilling the potential many of us felt he had , but his lack of maturity and the fact no one on the Washington Nationals’ roster or managerial staff was prepared to hold the player accountable, led to his slow development on all fronts.

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

Are you a fan of the MLB All Star Game and if you could level one criticism of the event, what would it be ? Also , which team do you believe has been the biggest disappointment and which club do you feel has been the biggest surprise ?

🙂

Tophatal …

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Twitter.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Pinterest.com

Editor’s advisory notes

MLB

MLB news

MLB schedule 7th July

MLB results 6th July

MLB probable pitchers

MLB standings

MLB standings (wildcard)

MLB schedule important dates

This week in MLB history

On this date in MLB history

This is the money train right ?

This is the money train right ?

Over the past forty-eight hours the world of the NBA has seen what can happen when teams fail miserably to accomplish anything of note during the free agency period. Much was made of the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks being able to do something of note. Granted, with the league’s revenue stream set to rise on average by thirty-five percent (35 %) in 2016 , teams are likely to have a field day acquiring the marquee free agents that will be up for grabs , knowing those players will be able to garner maximum contract deal paying way above the annual average now available. In the short-term however, for the Lakers and Knicks , this up coming season is likely to bring more of the same as witnessed by their collectively poor efforts of this past season.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

Already, bloggers are seeking to determine who were the winners and losers from the past forty-eight hours of free agency moves seen and which players are likely to make their new teams even better than last year. From my own perspective , it is way too early to be making that call , even if based on the thought of a player still remaining with his old team. Kevin Love it was thought would likely be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers , but instead the power forward signed a lucrative five-year , $110 million deal , making him one of the highest paid players in the league at his position . This will have come as great satisfaction to GM David Griffin as well as the rest of the Cavaliers’ front office .

Love was not the only player on the Cleveland roster to have benefited from the franchise’s largess, with Tristan Thompson also coming to terms and with a lucrative deal. Now all that awaits is the re-signing of a deal by LeBron James , with the team organization moving forward , with their newly revamped roster , rookies and the increasing awareness of David Blatt and his coaching staff as to what will be neededz to beat the best of what the Western Conference has to offer this upcoming season.

Could the Los Angeles Lakers have been any worse over the season than the one witnessed this past NBA year ? I would say yes in a number of ways , beyond the poor coaching job done by Byron Scott and his staff. Furthermore , with Kobe Bryant now in the waning years of his illustrious career and it is hard to suggest how anyone would now wish to take over the mantle of leading the team in its current guise. Beyond Bryant , there is no one currently on the playing staff capable of raising the level of their game and playing at a consistently high level. Kobe Bryant for his part, though the zeal remains , one has to admit, his being able to play anywhere near forty minutes a game over an eighty-two game schedule does now seem remote. Defensively, this past season the Lakers were extremely poor and in terms of offense the team still left a great deal to be desired.

Phil Jackson we know to be a great head coach as his resume’ would suggest, but as a front office executive Jackson has failed the New York Knicks miserably in the role. Yet ,there remains apologists for Phil Jackson’s failings of this past season, as well as the hiring of Derek Fisher as the Knicks’ head coach, along with a staff of assistants who have provided Fisher with little or no help at all in their respective roles. There is a reason why New York ended up with the second worst record in the NBA without making the excuse the loss of Carmelo Anthony for a large chunk of the regular season led to their woes. From the start the team was never really good enough to compete within their division , conference , let alone the league as a whole. Fisher continued to show his inexperience in his role , with team never being able to muster winning streak during the season of more than four games. Makes one wonder how anyone let alone a Knicks’ fan could remain loyal behind a team who played so badly.

Based on potential or simply on achievements the arena of professional sports seems to be one of the few places where the individuals can be guaranteed a reward , even when they are failing miserably. A case can also be made that the executives of a publicly traded company are accorded the same luxuries , but they are then answerable to the stockholders when the company fails to be profitable. Not necessarily the case in the NBA , NFL or even MLB (baseball) . There if the teams fails, then the manager or head coach is shown the door alongside the general manager.

In the past few days we have seen the resignation of Los Angeles Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto from his role within the organization . Team owner Arte Moreno earlier this season made the decision to have Josh Hamilton’s role with the Angels come to an end. With good reason as Hamilton’s off-season issues became more heightened . The Angels for their part have been somewhat lackluster this season as Mike Trout remains the sole reason to take an interest in the team . To further heighten the idiocy behind the Angels’ position they still remain liable for the remainder of Josh Hamilton’s contract with his return to the Texas Rangers . Hamilton has yet to be productive in a game this season for the Rangers as he looks to regain the form that made him a formidable offensive talent and former AL MVP.

If the rumors are to be believed of Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia not being able to work together forming some semblance of cohesion between front office executive and the team manager . It would simply explain a great deal with there said to be some misgivings of by Scioscia wanting to retain the services of Josh Hamilton in spite of his off the field issues. Mike Scioscia and the Angels find themselves five games behind the AL West leading Houston Astros who might be considered the surprise team of this MLB season , while playing some inspired baseball not only within the AL but also right across baseball.

Coming off a 3-1 loss to the New York Yankees , it might be prudent to suggest the Los Angeles Angels cannot continue to lose games at such a frenetic pace , be it at home or on the road over the remainder of their season . The Angels will resume their season with a three-game road series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Stadium in Arlington , Texas with the first of the three games taking place on Friday, 3rd July, 2015. Taking the mound for the Rangers will be Garrett Richards against Chi Chi Gonzalez of the Rangers in what is sure to be an interesting contest between these two divisional rivals.

It is hard to explain the fallout between Mike Scioscia and Jerry Dipoto, but clearly for the sake of the organization the general manager felt the need to go , rather than knowing he failed to have the support of the owner much less the players. For the Angels how this team now fares will likely be predicated on the leadership shown by players such as Mike Trout and Albert Pujols as well as the managerial acumen of Scioscia .

As this season has progressed , it is not hard to understand how some teams will rise to the occasion while others will simply stumble and fall. In the case of the Tampa Bay Rays and their new manager Kevin Cash. It is becoming extremely hard to convince me how this team can be considered a contender for their division much less a wild-card berth in the AL this season . The AL East has become a moribund and overrated division and for the Rays, this is a team which is overrated and has no semblance of being good enough to play at a consistently high level .

Consider the fact, that in their last two games the Rays came close to being no hit twice in successive games . In a series against the Cleveland Indians the Rays were simply mediocre at best in terms of their offense. As to what this might suggest Cash’s team and the belief they can simply have success by way of their pitching , begs the question what happens when the starting rotation begins to struggle ? Who then steps up to the plate on this team to lead by example ? I have heard it repeatedly stated Evan Longoria remains the heart and soul of this team , but to my mind Longoria rarely shows the leadership traits needed to make the team a success much less lead by example. When these two teams resume this current series on Thursday the Rays will be hoping Matt Moore in his first regular season start will be able to take the team off the schneid against the Cleveland Indians in their game to be played at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida ,.

Say what you will , but Ryne Sandberg was never ever going to be able to get the Philadelphia Phillies playing with any great resolve this season. Entering into the year, the Phillies had an aging roster which was overpaid and with no one playing with any type of determination which would have you believe they could be considered to be among the favorites for the NL Pennant or World Series . Sanberg having stepped down as the team’s manager , can now sit back and watch this team continue to stumble while having the worst record in the NL East and within the National League. Losing seven of their last ten games as well being on a three-game losing streak , trying to explain how much worse things can get for the Phillies can be best summed up in two words, they stink . The trade deadline is not yet imminent, but there is now the common belief the front office will begin a fire-sale as they seek to off-load impending free agents as well as a number of high-salaried players thought to be no longer of any use to the organization.

Next up on the Phillies’ plate will be a home game at Citizens Bank Ballpark against the Milwaukee Brewers, where the opposing pitchers will be Matt Garza of the Brewers facing Chad Billingsley for the home team.

Things have to be truly pitiful in the NFL if the only stories to be had at present are an article which features Brett Favre’s thoughts on the league , whether or not he could make a successful return to the league and individuals supposedly jumping into the fray to show their support for Tim Tebow , in light of the recent Supreme Court decision which upheld the rights of same sex marriage and the fact of the criticism leveled at the NFL quarterback for keeping his beliefs to himself, rather than professing his beliefs as a Christian. To my mind, while Tebow was a success as a college player , he was never able prove himself in the league in his first go-around. This time in his second coming , Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly states Tebow and Sam Bradford will contest the starting role for as the team’s quarterback for this upcoming season. This will likely begin with the Eagles’ preseason schedule and their opening game in week one of the preseason schedule.

I am no great admirer of Chip Kelly as a head coach within the NFL, as his teams simply have an aversion to playing defense. He may well have succeeded at the college level , but the PAC-12 was never known as a bastion of defensive football and was simply a conference based on prodigious offensive talent and not much else beyond that. Last season , the Eagles simply proved when all else fails, fold up your tent and play dead , better yet , simply surrender by hoisting the “ White Flag” .

This season I believe the Eagles will be hard pressed to beat out the Dallas Cowboys within the NL East , in a division which has become putrid . It is hard to suggest how bad the the other trio of teams are now said to be , not that the Cowboys are that much better than their divisional rivals. The team that Jerry Jones built for last season was found wanting in more ways than one and was surely seen with their quick exit during the NFL postseason. If as Kelly suggests, the preseason will be a quarterback contest between Bradford Mark Sanchez and Tebow. Then , the likelihood appears to be the job is Sam Bradford’s to lose with Tim Tebow having everything to gain. From my own standpoint , I simply do believe either quarterback has what it takes to lead the franchise deep into the postseason much less win their division outright ! For both of these players, this may well be the last chance either has to prove themselves , even if the financial outlay being made is thought to be minimal at best.

Whether or not this can be seen as publicity gimmick by Kelly and the Eagles’ front office , this could all end up backfiring , should Tebow get the chance to start during the regular season only to falter and once again showing what many believe to be a sad but undeniable truth about the former Heisman Trophy winner and it is , he just doesn’t have what it takes to be a starting quarterback much less as a backup in the role.

Picture gallery. Click on an individual frame to view that picture alongside the accompanying narrative.

Do you believe the NBA off-season has proven to be an eventful one ? And what are your thoughts concerning thoughts there have been winners and losers during the signings which have taken place by the franchises during the free agency period ? Finally, what are your impressions concerning the woes of both the Eagles and Phillies as professional sports’ franchises ?

Sooner rather than later , Kelly is bound to figure it out isn’t he ?

Tophatal

Editor’s advisory notes

🙂

NBA and NBA news

NBA transactions

2016 NBA free agents

This month in NBA history

This date in NBA history

NFL and NFL news

NFL preseason schedule

NFL regular season schedule

NFL transactions

MLB and news

MLB standings

MLB wildcard standings

MLB results 1st July ,2015

MLB probable pitchers (2nd July)

MLB schedule

This week in MLB history

On this date in MLB history