Walk before you can run ….

Walk before you can run …

You play with zeal or create the environment at least play up to the level of your opponent. It has certainly been the case within the NBA and how the teams have fared. All season long the Golden State Warriors have appeared to be on pace to break the regular season record for wins in a season . Several players on the Warriors’ roster have been weary and it has begun to take its toll on the Golden State with the recent performances of the team. With the best record in the NBA and a three-game lead in the wins’ total over their closest rivals the San Antonio Spurs , has provided us with every indication why why the Western Conference is far superior to the East and the teams, there. As the NBA season now winds down , with less than five games to play, the teams with a chance of a playoff berth are seeking to make that one final push for a postseason berth.

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Steve Kerr and his coaching staff will have to assess the playing staff and how best to deal with the recent lapses seen with the Golden State Warriors over their last eleven games. One thing is very clear, heading into the NBA Playoffs the Golden State Warriors will be seen as the prohibitive favorites to make a successful defense of their title. If there are to be any challenges coming from within their conference , then they will be met head on , as I do not believe Steve Kerr or his players are going to be complacent . With the majority of the teams having played seventy-nine games of the NBA’s arduous eighty-two game schedule , there is still something to play for. In the case of the Golden State Warriors their task is to win the final three remaining games on the schedule and in doing so, they would break the long-standing record of the Chicago Bulls which has stood for two decades. The record has stood since the 1995-96 season was thought to be beyond the reach of so many teams. Chicago’s roster included three Hall of Fame players , with Michael Jordan , Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. Also part of that historic lineup was Steve Kerr the current head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Kerr having won titles with the Bulls , also went on to win titles as a member of the San Antonio Spurs .

The first of the three remaining contests of the Warriors’ schedule will see them facing the Memphis Grizzlies on the road on the 9th April , with their final two games against the San Antonio Spurs and the return engagement with Grizzlies to close out the season and their season series against Memphis. Greatness, as adjudged by their season exploits can then be compared to the Chicago Bulls’ own regular season achievements from the 95-96 season. Yet, if Golden State fails to win the NBA title this, then their season will simply be one which goes down in record books as great , but not outstanding.

If pressure is being brought to bear on any team within the NBA, then a great deal of it has to be on the Cleveland Cavaliers . Last season’s beaten finalists , along with their four-time League MVP and star player LeBron James will have to prove they are now ready to take on the might of not only the Eastern Conference , but also the best to come out of the West , should the Cavaliers make it to the Finals. Cleveland have been the runaway leaders within the Central Division all season-long . The team’s record also can be attributed to the coaching acumen of Tyronn Lue , who succeeded David Blatt , who had been fired by the front office , headed by team owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin . Whether or not LeBron had any real influence in Blatt’s termination will remain subject to a great deal of conjecture and debate. Tyronn Lue and his coaching staff will now prepare the team for their final stretch run to round out the schedule .

A knock against the Cleveland Cavaliers might well be the fact they have not been as dominant as many believed they would be , whereas , last season the team proved themselves overpowering against their conference rivals . The make-up of the roster has changed , but injuries have played a part in the dominance sought , apart from lack of direction with David Blatt. Tyronn Lue’s contract with the franchise ties him the Cavaliers for the next three seasons. Lue and the Cleveland Cavaliers will on the court this weekend as they seek to secure their position as the number one seed in the East. On Saturday evening the Cavaliers will be the guests of their conference rivals the Chicago Bulls at the United Center , Chicago, Illinois.

If the standings remain as they are with the teams maintaining their current positions, then the first round match-ups for the NBA Playoffs should prove to be very interesting . The scenarios would be set, where the Cleveland Cavaliers would meet the Indiana , while in the Western Conference the Golden State Warriors would find themselves in a first round contest against the Utah Jazz . There is every possibility a first round upset could be in the making , but that would be totally dependent on the mindset of the underdogs and whether or not they have the belief to turn things upside down.

Just a few games into the MLB season and already the Tampa Bay Rays are facing difficulties . Not a good sign for a team with hopes of making the postseason after a rather disappointing year in 2015. Kevin Cash and the Rays’ managerial staff expected the team’s offense to be at the top of their game., but to date, they have been an unmitigated disaster. Throw in the fact the pitching remains suspect and I get the feeling the Rays will struggle to contend against their divisional rivals as well as the rest of the league !

Chris Archer is believed to be the best starting pitcher among the pitching rotation , but his season yet to be the standout , whereby he could be possibly thought of as a potential Cy Young Award candidate . Issues asides, the Rays’ ownership group have erred and blundered from pillar to post since the departure of Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman . Blundered trades , being unable to sustain themselves financially and yet we hear the idiocy of clueless fans and analysts within local area talking about the franchise’s profitability . Without the tax-sharing revenues the ball-club would barely turn a profit. Clueless individuals , just as we have seen among the cabal of political candidates seeking the Presidency, we ill continue to hear utterly stupid statements without any basis in fact. We have seen it repeatedly with the Rays’ ownership led by Stuart Sternberg .

In their last scheduled game the Tampa Bay Rays were sent crashing to a 6-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on the 8th April at Camden Yards / Orioles Ballpark , in Baltimore , Maryland . The team will resume the series after a rain delay with the Rays and Orioles taking to the field again on Sunday afternoon. Jake Odorizzi will be the visiting pitcher starting for the Tampa Bay Rays as he faces Vance Worley of the Baltimore Orioles.

With the announcement by Alex Rodriguez , 2017 will bring about the culmination of his well-chronicled and controversial career . The prevailing questions likely to be raised , are can the New York Yankees win another World Series championship and where does Yankees’ slugger stand within the pantheon of the game ? Rodriguez will likely fall short of baseball’s most hallowed record , the all-time career home runs’ total held by Barry Bonds , now a member of the Miami Marlins’ managerial staff. Joe Girardi and his staff must be pondering whether or not this team is capable of winning a World Series , but more so , being competitive enough to beat their divisional rivals . A 3-2 start through their first five games of the season isn’t an indicator as to what to expect from the Yankees, but I believe a much clearer picture will surface by late June .

This will be a trying year for the New York Yankees , where the heart of the roster , this in an aging core among the players taking to the field for the franchise. Last season having made the MLB postseason the Yankees were swept aside with ease by the Houston Astros in the wildcard round . Completely outplayed , the team was never in with a chance to challenge the Astros. It should also be noted , leading into the postseason Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia revealed he had been suffering with alcoholism , though not having undergone treatment. Sabathia also revealed, at no time during his appearances made for the team was he ever a detriment to his teammates. One could either take those statements as a euphemism or see them for what they actually are, a player in complete denial.

The New York Yankees will be on the diamond for their regular season scheduled game on Tuesday 12th April against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Center in Toronto , Ontario. On the mound for the visiting team will be Masahiro Tanaka who will be facing Aaron Sanchez of the Blue Jays. John Gibbons and the and Toronto Blue Jays’ managerial staff will be looking to have his team prepared to the encounter the New York Yankees for not only this game , but also their year-long series of contests at home as well as on the road.

Buck Showalter as the manager of the Baltimore Orioles will be looking to make a serious enough challenge this season within the AL East as well as the league overall . Off to a fast start with an unbeaten record (6-0) the Orioles find themselves sitting atop of their division and they are the only remaining unbeaten team in the league as of the 11th April . Showalter will be looking to players such as Chris Davis and Manny Machado to spearhead the team this season as the Orioles look to make a postseason appearance . Prior to 2012 the last visit made to baseball’s postseason festivities for the Baltimore Orioles came in 1997 , when the ball-club made it to the ALCS where they lost to the Cleveland Indians in six games . In their last contest , during which there was a great deal of controversy to how the game ended , as Baltimore beat the Boston Red Sox 9-7 . Taking the field as their starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles’ game on Tuesday afternoon will be Mike Wright when he takes on Clay Buchholz of the Boston Red Sox .

I believe the Baltimore Orioles are capable of a postseason berth within the AL this season, but the team has to play with a great deal more urgency and consistency over the course of their schedule.

The Arizona Diamondbacks certainly have a great deal invested in Zach Greinke as the franchise made a big splash during the off-season signing the player to an enormous multi-year deal making him one of the highest paid starting pitchers in baseball. With the contract comes a great deal of expectation for a player who last season was among the best pitchers in the game. Greinke after an amazing season with the Los Angeles Dodgers would lose out on the NL Cy Young Award with the Chicago Cubs’ starter Jake Arrietta winning the award in 2015.

Arizona’s front office led by GM Dave Stewart , lead managing partner Ken Kendrick and his associates are seeking to resurrect the fortunes of the Diamondbacks and the signing of Zach Greinke along with several other transactions were a way of letting the fans know the ambitious intentions of the organization.

Chip Hale and his managerial staff have to be extremely optimistic about Arizona Diamondbacks’ chances this season as the team looks to play itself into contention. The NL West will be a ‘tough nut to crack’ as a division and the Los Angeles Dodgers will be looking to continue their recent dominance there. I certainly believe given the Dodgers’ recent lapses during the postseason , while they might well remain the favorites to repeat as the divisional champions , there is a belief their lineup is far from a convincing favorite to make a prolong run during the MLB postseason. Lack of leadership and managerial astuteness have brought about the misfortunes for the Dodgers in recent seasons. The Arizona Diamondbacks should be able to take advantage of the situation. Granted, Dave Roberts in his first season as the Los Angeles Dodgers has been entrusted to lead the team . With a multi-million dollar payroll and players at just about every position deemed to be an All Star or an emerging star. It will be interesting to see how both Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers will fare over the course of this season. Their regular season meetings should prove to be very competitive contests on the road as well as at home. These two teams will be meeting on Tuesday afternoon at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles , California , where the opposing pitchers will be Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks against Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers.

This MLB season is liable to be an interesting one, with several teams out to prove themselves. I certainly believe with the team payrolls having increased over the past five years , top-flight players now > come at a high premium .

The profits and value of the ball-clubs have increased , but so too has the level of uncertainty and sustainability of the teams at the lower end of the economic base , as they continue to struggle . Something the league hierarchy continually fails to address .

What thoughts if any do you have on this NBA season and how do you believe the teams will fare during the NBA Playoffs ?

As the opening week of the MLB season gets underway , which are the teams which you believe will have the most to prove ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit on this and anything else you believe relevant to the subject matter.

Tophatal ….. 2016/04/08 04:59 pm 

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55 thoughts on “Walk before you can run ….

  1. So the NBA season will ended with not so much of a bang but more a fizz as it all came down to the last day of the schedule with teams seeking to play themselves into contention as the calendar for the league comes to an end.

    Baseball has gotten underway and the Baltimore Orioles remain the only unbeaten team in the Majors at this point of the season.

    NBA news

    NBA schedule 13th April

    MLB news

    MLB schedule and probable pitchers

    MLB results 12th April

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  2. With Dorrell Wright having rejoined the Miami Heat , the team will now seek to lay out their sequence of results which makes it a certainty the coaching staff can guide the Heat into making a deep playoff run. Miami’s first round opponent in the first round of this season’s NBA Playoffs will be the Charlotte Hornets . The two teams have met four times this season with their series tied at two games apiece (2-2) . Hornets’ owner , Michael Jordan will no doubt hope that his team can get the better off their opponents in the series once it gets underway.

    Dorrell Wright (1).

    Don Mattingly and and his Miami Marlins’ (3-3) managerial staff headed by Barry Bonds are off to a slow start to their season . In their most recent game the Marlins were able to get the better of the New York Mets with a 2-1 victory over their divisional rivals. Miami and the Mets will resume their current series when the two teams meet again today at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York. Adam Conley of the Mami Marlins will face Logan Verrett of the New York Mets in this NL East match-up.

    Miami Heat news

    Miami Marlins news

    Tophatal …………. 2016/04/13

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  3. This is all you need to know concerning another dire and unremarkable season by the Sacramento Kings (33-48) . Team owner , Vivek Ranadive may well have given his blessing for the team’s general manager Vlad Divac to fire the Kings’ beleaguered head coach George Karl . The head coach’s problems this season were not helped by the petulant behavior shown by the Sacramento’s best player DeMarcus Cousins . The center may well have excelled on the court for the Kings, but he gained just as much notoriety for his displays for unsportsmanlike conduct as he did for the number double-doubles achieved during the season.

    Courtesy of the Washington Post

    Kings reportedly will fire George Karl, and this time they mean it

    By Matt Bonesteel Follow Matt Bonesteel @ Twitter Matt Bonesteel

    ESPN and the Sacramento Bee are reporting that the Sacramento Kings will fire Coach George Karl after Wednesday night’s season finale against the Houston Rockets, ending an ill-matched pairing that lasted a little more than one season.

    Karl apparently was close to losing his job in February, only to be saved after General Manager Vlade Divac persuaded team owner Vivek Ranadive to keep him on. Hired midway through the 2014-15 season, Karl almost immediately begin squabbling with standout DeMarcus Cousins and asked Ranadive to trade him. Ranadive said no and things degenerated to the point where Cousins reportedly was cussing out Karl in the locker room after games. Earlier this year, point guard Rajon Rondo publicly admitted that only three or four players regularly showed up to the team’s option shootarounds.

    Karl went 44-67 overall in Sacramento, which is seven games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference this season. The team couldn’t even lose properly: Sacramento is tied for the league’s eighth-worst record entering Wednesday’s finale against the Rockets (which clinches a playoff berth with a win). Depending on how it fares in the lottery, it could lose its top 10-protected first-round draft pick to the Chicago Bulls because of a 2014 trade involving the Cleveland Cavaliers, leaving the team with zero draft picks this year.

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    Click on link to read this article in full.
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    One of the major reasons for the Sacramento Kings’ poor season was the very fact they were as mediocre at home as they were on the road. Karl cannot be solely to blame for the team’s woes this season and a great deal of responsibility for the poor play has come the lack of depth on roster , as well their being no proven leader of this team.

    The Sacramento Kings will close out their season with a game against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center , in Houston , Texas on Tuesday 13th April , 2016.

    Sacramento’s financial commitment to the players is not among the largest of the NBA’s thirty teams. That specific statistic remains the domain of the Cleveland Cavaliers .

    In essence , it would be best to suggest the Sacramento Kings and the front office in general remain a bunch of clueless individuals who do not know how to put a winning product together, much less have one on a basketball court. It has been several years since the franchise last made a playoff appearance , much less a deep NBA Playoff run .

    Sacramento Kings’ head coach George Karl .

    Kings’ GM Vlad Divac is seen here with team owner Vivak Ranadive (right) .

    Sacramento Kings news

    Tophatal ……..

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  4. Kobe Bryant ended his career on a high note for the Los Angeles Lakers with a sixty-point game for the team . Sadly. it wasn’t enough to stop the mediocrity of the Lakers’ season and their abysmal record attained . The Los Angles Lakers closed out their season with a home< victory over the Utah Jazz on their way to a 101-96 win over their conference rivals .

    Phil Jackson former head coach of the Los Angles Lakers is seen here with Kobe Bryant.

    For Bryant , in ending his career the eighteen-time All Star leaves the game as a League MVP , Finals’ MVP , All Star MVP and third on the career points’ list in NBA history as well as being high on the list of postseason points’ average . However, one of the unfortunate dilemmas which comes out Kobe Bryant’s retirement will be the lack of direction seen with the franchise over the past five seasons. GM Mitch Kupchak , Jim Buss , Jeanie Buss and the entire front office have not shown any foresight in rebuilding the lineup for the long-term. Impending free agents now make it a must for the organization to acquire a marquee free agent as well as drafting diligently during the off-season during the 2016 NBA Draft .

    From left to right , Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak , Julius Randle and Jim Buss.

    With the Los Angeles Lakers having a top-five pick in the upcoming NBA Draft , it will be interesting to see the choice made by the organization in the first round of the draft. Mitch Kupchak has to know the franchise can ill-afford to waste the pick and not have chosen a productive player able to contribute to the Lakers for years to come. Other than Bryant there was no one on the roster who was able to contribute much to the team over the course of their season at large .

    Los Angeles Lakers news

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  5. Games scheduled for today within Major League Baseball (MLB). The Philadelphia Phillies will certainly have to prove themselves this season after several years of laborious and rather inept play. Manager Peter Mackinan is expected to have this team competing with several of the front-line players taking the lead . The Phillies will be on the field today when the team faces the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park . in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , on Thursday afternoon. Philadelphia will begin a three-day weekend schedule against the Washington Nationals starting this Friday
    .

    MLB news

    Philadelphia Phillies news

    Tophatal ……….

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  6. With the NBA Playoffs beginning on Saturday 17th April with the first round of the postseason , it will be interesting to see how the participants fare. There are some intriguing opening round games on the schedule . One of the most of the most fascinating series taking place will happen in the Eastern Conference where the Miami Heat will open up their series against the Charlotte Hornets where we will have two evenly matched teams who shared the same record (48-34) at the end this season .

    NBA news

    2016 NBA Playoffs

    Charlotte Hornets news

    Miami Heat news

    Tophatal ……

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  7. With all due respect to the failings of the Philadelphia 76ers (10-72) and the Los Angels Lakers (17-65) , perhaps no other team was more of a disappointment than the Chicago Bulls (42-40) who failed to make the NBA Playoffs . Head coach Fred Hoiberg in his first season as the head coach of this team saw a great deal of inconsistency and lack of real effort from his players . Derrick Rose seems to have regressed and Jimmy Butler , while having his moments was never able to muster a consistent enough streak where the team was winning games consistently throughout the season.

    Over their last eleven games to end the season the Chicago Bulls were an abysmal 6-5 to round out their schedule.

    Jerry Reinsdorf , Chicago Bulls’ and Chicago White Sox owner .

    Bulls GM Gar Forman . Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson and team owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the front office collectively will have several decisions to make heading into the off-season concerning the long-term future of the roster . Cap availability and the Bulls are likely to be major players in the free agency market .

    The Bulls are one of a select group teams in the NBA with a value exceeding $1.5 billion . With that in mind it has to be troubling for the franchise in the aftermath of the firing of Tom Thibodeau the Bulls are still no better off than they were at this time last season . Having made the NBA Playoffs (2015) , their exit would come in the conference semi-finals at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers in a six-game series’ loss to the Cavaliers.

    Chicago Bulls news

    Tophatal ……………………..

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  8. The AL Central could quite possibly prove to be the toughest division in all of baseball this season . Granted, the reigning World Series champions the Kansas City Royals will be seen as the prohibitive favorites to repeat as the divisional champions. There is every reason to believe they will face a stiff challenge from their rivals within the division led by the Chicago White Sox , Detroit Tigers and quite possibly the Cleveland Indians . With a win-less start to their season the Minnesota Twins (0-9) seem out of the race already.

    From my own perspective , I feel the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox will have the most to prove , given their track record in the postseason within the AL over the past eight seasons. The White Sox’s front office led by team owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the newly promoted GM Rick Hahn the pressure has been on the organization to make a competitive re-entry into the upper echelons of the game since their last World Series’ appearance in 2005 defeating the Houston Astros . An ALDS appearance in 2008 resulted in a series’ loss to the Tampa Bay Rays . In the subsequent years the repeated failures of the White Sox have been well-chronicled through the years .

    Rick Hahn who succeeded Kenny Williams as the general manager of the Chicago White Sox .

    Kenny Williams (left) and Rick Hahn.

    On Thursday evening the Chicago White Sox were on the field where they would face the Minnesota Twins at Target Field St Paul-Minneapolis , Minnesota ,. The White Sox will be back on the mound on Friday where they will take on the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida. This is a game the Rays must win , given their vapid start and lackluster play this season . The starting pitcher for the Rays will be Jake Odorizzi who will be facing Chris Sale of the White Sox in a contest featuring two very good AL starting pitchers .

    MLB standings (divisional)

    MLB starting pitchers

    Three-day schedule at a glance .

    Tophatal …………..

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  9. The NBA Playoffs of last season taught us a great deal about the teams participating in the league’s postseason foray . This postseason will offer the fans a number of surprises and expectations thought to be improbable .

    Postseason play is scheduled to start on Saturday 16th April , with games also taking place the following day . First round contests will span the time-frame of roughly eight days .

    Statistics being what they are it is clear teams whose offensive prowess has been consistent all season will enter the Playoffs with a distinct advantage over their lower seeded opponents . The favored Conference Finals everyone would undoubtedly like to see , would pit the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East against the Toronto Raptors , while in the West , it preview the Golden State Warriors against the San Antonio Spurs . A repeat of last year’s NBA Finals I believe would still favor the Golden State Warriors taking down the Cleveland Cavaliers with some ease !

    Tophatal ………… 04/15/2016 02:20 am

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  10. The NL East will remain as mediocre a division as witnessed last season . Featured games will offer divisional , conference and intra-divisional contests over the entire weekend schedule. Of Friday’s contests the pick of the bunch might well be the game between the New York Yankees taking on the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium in New York City , New York . The contest offers up the chance for Robinson Cano to face his old team. On the mound will be Nathan Karns of the Mariners facing Luis Severino of the Yankees.

    Another game likely to pique everyone’s interest will be the Atlanta Braves facing the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark in Miami , Florida. Both teams coming off disastrous seasons in 2015 will be looking for a bright start to 2016 , while proving to their fans they can remain an attractive draw at their home venues as well as on the road. The Braves will be moving into Sun Trust Stadium in 2017 and this venue built at a cost of $1.1 billion , made up of public and private financing will be the ball-club’s new stadium , replacing Turner Field after two decades of play at the old stadium. On the mound </a. for the Braves in this game will be Williams Perez facing off against Wei-Yin Chen of the Marlins.

    Liberty Media , the media conglomerate owned by Dr John Malone who has a controlling interest in both the media company as well as the Braves , will be looking for the team to be extremely competitive this season.

    John Malone whose net worth of $7.2 billion makes him one of the wealthiest individuals in North American sports . Granted , while Malone’s wealth is commonly attributed to his media holdings , it is substantially larger than any his of his peers within he world of professional sports' franchise ownership in North America with the exception of Stanley Kroenke (estimated net worth $7.9 billion) .

    MLB news and schedule for Friday 15th April

    MLB standings

    MLB team statistics

    Player statistics starting pitching and batting

    This week in baseball history

    On this day in MLB history

    Tophatal ………………. 04/15/2016 06:24 am

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  11. Buck Showalter along with his managerial staff have the Baltimore Orioles (7-2) off to a fast start this season with the team having the third-best record in the Majors at this point of the schedule . Coming off a 6-3 loss to the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark , Arlington , Texas . This was the Orioles’ second defeat suffered by the team this season . Their record has them sharing the same mark with the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals with the Chicago Cubs (8-1) now with the best record in the league . Baltimore’s first loss came in a game played against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston , Massachusetts on 13th April , 2016.

    Buck Showalter and Manny Machado (right) of the Orioles.

    The Baltimore Orioles will resume their schedule with a contest against the Texas Rangers once again as the visiting team .

    The Toronto Blue Jays as a divisional rival of the Baltimore Orioles will also be seeking to challenge the dominance of their rivals . Today’s contest will see Toronto take on the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park . R A Dickey of the Blue Jays will face the Red Sox’s Rick Porcello .

    Blue Jays’ manager John Gibbons has seen the front office spend a considerable amount of cash over the past two seasons seeking to bolster the team’s lineup . Considered to be the two best players on the Jays’ roster Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki will have a great deal to prove this season .

    Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki (right) .

    New York Yankees’ catcher and All Star Brian McCann gave the team something of an injury scare, but it appears McCann will remain part of the lineup as the season progresses . Considered to be the best hitters in the lineup at this stage of the season , the Yankees cannot afford to lose a player of McCann’s stature .

    Brian McCann of the New York Yankees is seen here with the team’s manager Joe Girardi (left) .

    The New York Yankees will be in the midst of their current schedule when they begin a three-game weekend series against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington . The first of those games will begin on Friday , with Nate Karns of the Mariners facing Luis Severino of the Yankees .

    MLB and MLB press releases

    MLB news

    MLB team injuries

    Baltimore Orioles news

    New York Yankees news

    Toronto Blue Jays news

    Tophatal …………

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  12. So today , MLB is simply raising their tributes to Hall of Fame player Jackie Robinson . Yet for all of the praise being heaped on the player who broke the racial barrier with the socially engineered experiment and hypocrisy seen at the time . It begs the question , what has baseball achieved over the last six-plus decades since Robinson made his first appearance for the Brooklyn Dodgers ? In actuality . baseball has failed the fans and minorities in particular with the integration and the their widespread acceptance and integration within the game. Over the past fifteen years the number of African-Americans integrally part of the teams’ lineups have been steadily on the decline. Furthermore , the number of pitchers of an African-American ethnicity is now at an all-time low .

    Jackie Robinson .

    Baseball’s RBI [initiative] (Returning Baseball to The Inner Cities) has been an absolute failure on so many levels . It should be noted, there are less participants and the elementary and high school level now taking up baseball , than at any other time in the sport’s history. Economic constraints asides, when organizations such as the New York Yankees , Los Angels Dodgers , Los Angeles Angels , New York Mets and Miami Marlins spend tens of millions of dollars annually to develop baseball academies abroad (Latin America , Caribbean & Southeast Asia) , but yet a mere pittance is spent domestically to develop the game at the high school and youth level . Granted , baseball is > now a $4.5 billion to $ 6.5 billion dollar industry on an annual basis but yet several of the mid-market to lower level teams struggle to eke out a profit , unless they are aided by the league hierarchy by way of their archaic and idiotic tax-sharing revenue scheme.

    Bud Selig and Rob Manfred (left) .

    With the introduction of the World Baseball Classic , the game of baseball is struggling to find its foothold on the international landscape , while no longer being part of the Summer Olympics . Former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred are now trying to get the sport of baseball reinstated back into the Olympics, but their (MLB) impasse with the IOC Executive Committee and WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) makes it all but impossible, that we will see the sport back as part of the Summer Olympics.

    Tophatal …………………

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  13. A very interesting story was published within the sports’ section of USA Today and it provides further insight as to one of the many reasons why baseball , while it is being ran by a bunch of aging Caucasian males , all over the age of fifty , who remain clueless to the waning popularity of the game and the fact attendance levels with many of the teams have begun to fall dramatically , while clubs continue to push up their general admission and season ticket prices .

    Tampa Bay Rays’ starting pitcher Chris Archer sounded somewhat optimistic with regard to their being growing insertion of young African-American males taking up the game of baseball and actually becoming pitchers. The startling truth over the last five years , has been the fact there has been a fall in the number of young African-American males getting involved in the game of baseball at all levels , from the youth level upwards to the Collegiate Level .

    Courtesy of USA Today

    As MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson, dearth of black pitchers concern many

    By Bob Nightengale , USA Today Sports

    Major League Baseball celebrates the 69th anniversary Friday of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, and while the number of African-American players on teams remain near historic low levels, there’s an alarming trend that mystifies the industry.

    It’s the dearth of African-American pitchers.

    While the African-American population in baseball remains flat at just 8%, according to an examination of opening-day rosters conducted by USA TODAY Sports, the scarcity of black pitchers is staggering.

    Of the 449 pitchers on major league opening-day rosters and the disabled list this year, just 14 were African American.

    Fourteen!
    Seven starters. Seven relievers.

    No team has more than one black pitcher on its major league staff, and four of those starters reside in the American League East: CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees, David Price of the Boston Red Sox, Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays and Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays.

    Remarkably, there is not a single African-American pitcher in the AL Central , and only one – San Diego Padres starter Tyson Ross – in the National League West.

    Granted, there are 19 clubs who opened the season with two or fewer African-Americans on their entire team. The Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels and Colorado Rockies are playing without a single black player.

    Considering the increased emphasis on pitching depth in baseball – with every team employing 12 or 13 pitchers on their 25-man roster when 10 or 11 used to suffice – it’s clear that Major League Baseball’s efforts to diversify the makeup of American-born players will hit a ceiling without a resurgence in the number of black pitchers.

    African Americans comprise just 1.6% of major league pitchers – well below their 7.9% of the general player population. Forty-two of 69 African American major leaguers – 61% – are outfielders. And when teams opt to carry a 12th or 13th pitcher on their roster, it often comes at the expense of an extra outfielder.

    So the cruel reality is that the African-American baseball player – whether prodded to abandon pitching or by their own volition – is being excluded from more than half the jobs in the industry.

    Anecdotally, the immediate future doesn’t look much more promising. The top 100 minor league prospects, according to rankings by MLB.com, include just four African-American pitchers – Dillon Tate, Amir Garrett, Touki Toussaint and Justus Sheffield.

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    Click on link to read this article in full.
    ——————————————————

    Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays .

    There is this constant idiocy among a broad base group of fans and analysts who will continue with their sheer stupidity showing an ever growing lack of intelligence when they come up the lunacy , the game of baseball is heading in the right direction. Growing profits does not reflect popularity , especially when one bears in mind teams as I stated earlier , teams continue to press ahead with price increases of merchandise and ticket sales .

    Basbeball’s hierarchy , along with the front office officials and owners are bereft of intelligence . The and the MLBPA (Players’ Union) remains equally in the dark to creating more of a direct correlation to increase the genuine popularity of the sport across all demographics and ethnic origins .

    For the Tampa Bay Rays (3-6) their season might already be in dire turmoil as the team has yet to find any semblance of consistency at home or on the road .

    In their most recent game the Tampa Bay Rays fell to the Cleveland Indians in a lopsided contest losing 6-0 . The Rays will begin a weekend series against the Chicago White Sox at Tropicana Field with the first the three games starting today . starting pitchers are Chris Sale of the White Sox against Jake Odorizzi of the Rays.

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

    Cam’ron feat’g Kanye West … ” Down & Out ” .

    ———

    Tampa Bay Rays news

    Tophatal ………………..

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  14. As good as Andrew McCutchen has been for the Pittsburgh Pirates over the last six seasons , there is the common belief the front office will have to spend a great deal more money if this team is compete on a more consistent basis chasing honors regularly. Postseason appearances notwithstanding , team owner and lead managing partner Robert ‘Bob’ Nutting must now realize the payroll for the Pirates will have to be increased greatly , though not necessarily on par with the Los Angeles Dodgers whose payroll is by far the highest in all of baseball.

    Robert Nutting .

    The Pittsburgh Pirates’ managerial staff led by Clint Hurdle has been consistent enough where over the past four seasons the team has improved greatly enough, to be now seen as a perennial challenger within the NL Central. This could very well be the year where the Pirates might be good enough to stop the dominance of the St Louis Cardinals within the division.

    Clint Hurdle and Andrew McCutchen (22) .

    With the Chicago Cubs off to a fast start and the best record in all of baseball and Joe Maddon now getting the best out of his playing staff , this is likely to be an enthralling year for all of the NL Central’s divisional participants .

    In their most recent game the Pittsburgh Pirates were on the wrong side of a game defeat suffered at the hands of the Detroit Tigers , losing the contest 7-4 . Pittsburgh would be back on the field today , where their opponents are the Milwaukee Brewers . There are two more games to be played as part of their three-game weekend series at PNC Park , in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania ,.

    Pittsburgh Pirates news

    Tophatal …………… 2016/04/15 09:49 pm

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  15. Straight up dope yo’ ! That is likely to be one of the best contests of this NBA Playoffs for 2016. When the Los Angeles Clippers take to the court to face the Portland Trailblazers in their highly anticipated first game of the Western Conference Quarter Finals series . This first contest should offer a contrast in styles between these two conference rivals.

    Damian Lillard of the Blazers is now the go to guy on the team , as he now becomes the leader of this lineup. On the opposing side , the Clippers will offer up the league’s best point guard with Chris Paul taking the lead for the Los Angeles’ based franchise.

    Chris Paul (3) and Damian Lillard (0) .

    Rajon Rondo might well be the leading point guard in the NBA based solely on his assists this season , but ? his overall game was not on par with Chris Paul. It should also be noted , Rondo was playing on a losing team with the Sacramento Kings , whose firing of head coach George Karl , might well have been the most foolhardy decision made by the Kings’ front office and their general manager Vlad Divac .

    Rajon Rondo of the Sacramento Kings .

    NBA news

    Tophatal ……… 10:56:37 pm 2016/04/15

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  16. Erik Spolestra as the head coach of the Miami Heat will be seeking to do what few coaches in NBA history have done and that is to win three NBA titles all with the same franchise within the span of six years . As the number three seed within the Eastern Conference in the lead-up to the start of the NBA Playoffs , Miami’s first round opponent will be the Charlotte Bobcats , will offer up what could very well be a competitive series .

    Dwyane Wade will lead a Heat roster that will be without center-power forward Chris Bosh , which is likely provide the Bobcats with a possible advantage in the game one match-up .

    Steve Clifford will be looking to match wits with Erik Spoelstra throughout the run of this series and it will be down to Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Bobcats to make it all a reality for his head coach. Walker and his teammates would certainly like to pull off a major upset in this first round contest . These two teams I believe are evenly matched , but the outcome will be predicated on which club has the greater will to win ?

    Erik Spoelstra (foreground) , Miami Heat head coach and Steve Clifford , head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats .

    Dwyane Wade (3) looks to make the defensive play against Kemba Walker (15).

    —-

    Charlotte Bobcats news

    Miami Heat news

    Tophatal …… 12:50 am 2016/05/16

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  17. In what can only be described as a shocking turn of events , Pat Haden , Athletics Director for the USC Trojans has stepped down in his role as the Chief Administrative Officer for the program. Trojans’ President C. L Max Nikias has not issued a formal statement about Haden’s departure , but it is abundantly clear Pat Haden was never able to turn things around as many expected . The ongoing uncertainty of the Trojans’ program , the behavior of former head football coach Steve Sarkisian and the lack of success by the Trojans’ basketball and football programs during Haden’s tenure played a part in what can only be seen as the ongoing downward spiral of USC as a once vaulted program of athletic excellence . Something we now know to have been perpetuated by misdeeds. lies , fraud and surreptitious dealings by former athletes , coaches and administrators.

    Lynn Swann , the new AD for the University of Southern California.

    Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

    Lynn Swann introduced as USC athletic director; outgoing AD Pat Haden skips event

    By Zach Helfand , Contact Reporter

    Moments before Lynn Swann was officially introduced as USC’s new athletic director Thursday, USC officials began lining up in the back of the room.

    Football Coach Clay Helton was among the first there. He stood and shook hands in one corner. Steve Lopes, the longtime USC athletics administrator thought to be under consideration for the job, attended too. Officials from the athletic department and the university milled as USC President C.L. Max Nikias introduced Swann at a news conference at the McKay Center.

    There was one conspicuous absence: Athletic Director Pat Haden, whose tenure runs out at the end of June.

    Nikias revealed later that Haden wasn’t informed of Swann’s hiring until about five minutes before USC announced the move Wednesday.

    “Neither Pat nor any of the members of the Board of Trustees were involved in this search,” Nikias said. “And that was the right thing to do.”

    Haden stayed away to keep the attention on Swann, Nikias said, and did not express displeasure with not being consulted.

    “We discussed it with Pat,” Nikias said. “He just felt, rightly so, that this is Lynn’s moment. If he were to be here that probably would’ve been a distraction.”

    ——————————————
    Click on link to read in full.
    =========================================

    Pat Haden former AD of the USC Trojans .

    Lynn Swann now steps in to succeed Pat Haden and with the responsibility comes the challenge of changing the ongoing perception the USC program remains tainted . A lack of success within the Basketball and Football programs during Haden’s tenure has to be a priority for Swann , as he seeks to address those issues and a great deal more now bedeviling USC.

    From my own perspective , I believe there was a great lack of oversight within the Athletics Dept , with the University President , C L Max Nikias also failing in his duties in his role and making sure things were above board. It certainly doesn’t help that the NCAA will continue sit idly by while programs , officials , administrators and coaches will act egregiously, but the moment a student athlete is thought to violated an NCAA rule they are punished with impunity. Clearly, the governing body of Collegiate Athletics would rather punish the athletes than actually deal with administrators and coaches who are in fact also violating the rules of the NCAA. Mark Emmert as the President of the NCAA has not provided the leadership sought and his only concern remains the increasing of revenues for the body he oversees.

    C L Max Nikias , President of USC .

    USC Trojans official website

    Tophatal ………………

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  18. Games scheduled for today . along with the starting pitchers on the mound for their respective teams . The divisional standings have not yet begun to provide a clear picture for the fans , but several teams are already struggling .

    Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels will be on the mound when the team takes on the Minnesota Twins at Target Field , in Minneapolis , Minnesota on Saturday afternooon. Ricky Nolasco will be the opposing pitcher in this game. Elsewhere, there will be a very good NL contest between the Cincinnati Reds and their NL Central divisional rivals the St Louis Cardinals , with the game being played at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri. Brandon Finnegan of the Reds will face Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals in the contest. Wainwright , I believe is potential leading candidate for this year’s NL Cy Young Award.

    John Farrell having won a World Series’ with the Boston Red Sox in his second season with the franchise was very disappointed with the Red Sox’s play in 2015 and the lack of success sought. Failure to also make the postseason in 2014 forced the Red Sox front office to make some changes to the roster . The departure of Ben Cherington and several other executives over the past two years has led to some major upheavals within the organization. Dave Dombrowski has been brought in to the Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox and Dombrowski has sought to restructure the shape of current roster .

    We know the AL East to be a very competitive division and the Red Sox will have to be at their very best if they are to get the better of their divisional rivals as well as the rest of the league . The Boston Red Sox will be playing at Fenway Park in Boston when they face the Toronto Blue Jays . David Price will be on the mound for the home team as he takes on Marco Estrada of the Blue Jays. Price with his extremely lucrative contract will be looking to justify the Red Sox’s faith in his abilities .

    Reigning NL Pennant winners the New York Mets with their youthful pitching staff will be looking to make this season even better than witnessed in 2015 . The Mets will be facing pretty stern opposition today (Saturday) when they take on the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field , Cleveland , Ohio . Matt Harvey will be the starting pitcher for the Mets when he faces the Indians’ Josh Tomlin .

    MLB news

    MLB schedule 16th April

    Probable pitchers

    MLB standings (divisional)

    MLB standings (one year ago today)

    Results from one year ago

    Tophatal …………….

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  19. Matt Kemp’s departure from the Los Angeles Dodgers to join the San Diego Padres came as something of a surprise with Kemp having been an All Star with the Dodgers as well being seen as vocal leader on the team while there . Yet somehow in the midst of it all , Kemp and then GM Ned Colletti were not on the same page in terms of contractual obligations and where the franchise was heading . The Dodgers’ loss was seen as the Padres’ gain , but since his joining the team , San Diego has failed to be as competitive as the front office and fans had hoped . The Padres’ payroll has increased over the past three seasons and their salary obligations for this season makes it substantially higher than in 2015.

    Padres’ owner Ron Fowler , GM A J Preller and the managerial staff of Andy Green must know this has to be the season where this team has to prove themselves competitive enough within their division (NL West) as well as the rest of the league. San Diego’s last postseason appearance came in 2006 when they lost in the divisional round to the St Louis Cardinals . In the ten years since that appearance the Padres’ record has been abysmal .

    Padres’ GM A J Preller and Matt Kemp (right).

    The San Diego Padres have a three-game weekend schedule against the Arizona Diamondbacks with the second of the trio of games taking place today at Petco Park in San Diego , California .

    San Diego Padres news

    Tophatal .. ……

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  20. Two players who have a great deal to prove this upcoming season are former NL MVP’s and All Stars . For both Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies , these two players are at a crossroads in their respective careers . Both are highly paid , while also being among the highest salaried at their positions. In recent years neither the Brewers or Phillies have been a major impact during the postseason. The Philadelphia Phillies’ last appearance came in 2011 , having won the World Series in 2009 , beating the New York Yankees , 4-2 in the series. For Milwaukee their last appearance also came in 2011.

    Both the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies have scheduled games being played today. Milwaukee will be taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates at Petco Park , in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania ,.

    Ryan Braun (top image) and Ryan Howard , both are former for NLMVP’s.

    Ryan Howard and his Phillies’ teammates , their game will pit them against the Washington Nationals in a home game at Citizens Ballpark, in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania,.

    If these two NL teams are to have any chance of creating some semblance of consistency and success within the National League , their play will have to be at its very best . At this point last season both the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies were still trying to get into sync as the season progressed to its postseason foray .

    Milwaukee Brewers news

    Philadelphia Phillies news

    Tophatal …………..

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    1. SportsChump (Chris Humpheries)

      Isn’t the real acronym of the NBA meant to stand for the ‘No Butt Touching Allowed League’ ? Patrick Beverly wanting to put his hands on Step Curry , probably had more to do with his being unskilled than either homoerotic tendencies and the fact that the Houston Rockets were never going to get the better of the Golden State Warriors under any circumstance. Be prepared for the Rockets to be swept in four games without the Warriors even breaking a sweat . Is it me , but was Dwight Howard nowhere to be seen during game one of this contest ? What use has Howard been to the Rockets all season-long ? Dwight Howard is overpaid for what he’s said to bring to the table as a player !

      Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey (left) is seen here with Dwight Howard.

      From my own perspective , I believe the Rockets’ front office led by GM Daryl Morey should now consider getting rid of Dwight Howard once and for all !

      Houston Rockets news

      Tophatal ………………..

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  21. Round one of the NBA Playoffs and though it’s still early days yet , you have to be impressed with some of the results seen . Paul George and the Indiana Pacers (1-0) were very impressive with their road win over the highly touted Toronto Raptors (0-1) in the opening game of their East Conference Quarter Final Series . The Air Canada Center in Toronto , Ontario , was not the place for the feint of heart as the home team was unable to get into sync against their conference rivals in this game between the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers .

    Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder kicked off their series with a rousing win over the Dallas Mavericks (0-1) . A thirty-eight point loss indicates to me the Mavericks never stood a chance at any point during this contest with their defense being so poor. Mavericks’ head coach Rick Carlisle and the coaching staff must find a way to address this issue before game two of the series .

    Dallas Mavericks news

    Indiana Pacers news

    Oklahoma City Thunder news

    Toronto Raptors news

    Tophatal ………

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  22. Results for Saturday, 16th April posed no major questions for the teams playing with a great deal competitiveness. Josh Hamilton’s career has been well-chronicled and with his return back to the Texas Rangers , it is hoped he can turn things around for himself as well as the franchise. The Rangers were locked were locked in a very tight game on Saturday afternoon when they played the Baltimore Orioles at Globe Lief Park (Rangers Ballpark) , Arlington, Texas,. These two teams will once again be back on the diamond in Sunday’s game where the two opposing pitchers will be Mark Wright of the Orioles against Derek Holland of the Rangers.

    Texas Rangers’ outfielder and slugger Josh Hamilton. and

    Josh Hamilton has to become the spiritual and vocal leader on this Texas Rangers’ team , rather than taking a back seat. It was certainly the case while he was a member of the Los Angeles Angels, often deferring to Albert Pujols and Mike Trout as teammates. Coincidentally , all three players have been winners of League MVP Award either within the AL or NL . Hamilton won the award in 2010 while being a member of the Texas Rangers. The team would make the the postseason that year before falling to the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 World Series .

    A current teammate of teammate of Josh Hamiton is fellow slugger Adrian Beltre and discussions are now coming into play as to whether or not based on his career , is he a Hall of Fame worthy candidate . Beltre was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent in the 1994 MLB Draft and made his debut on June 25th ,1998 for the team in a game against the Los Angeles Angels.

    Texas Rangers’ teammates Josh Hamilton (left) and Adrian Beltre.

    Adrian Beltre has gone to have a productive career in the Majors where his statistics stand favorably among his peers within the game . His current contract is likely to be the last of his distinguished eighteen-year career .

    MLB news

    Texas Rangers news

    Tophatal ……….

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  23. The Colorado Rockies since their inception and first game in the Major League’s , the franchise has been one of the few teams where their popularity has never really waned among their fans. Four of the Rockies’ most revered and beloved players , Dante Bichette , Andres Galarraga , Todd Helton and Larry Walker are atop some of the most hallowed records in Colorado’s history. However, the Colorado Rockies have never proven to be competitive enough to be considered perennial contenders for a divisional title , League Championship Series or the World Series .

    Dante Bichette (left) and Anders Galarraga .

    Larry Walker and Todd Helton (right).

    Managers have come and gone within the Rockies’ organization , with the present managerial staff headed by Walt Weiss , is hoping to turn things around for the ball-club. GM Jeff Bridich seems to have the backing of the front office , with lead managing partners Richard K Monfort , Charles K Monfort and the other members of the ownership group now prepared to back the club financially in terms of their commitment and to the improvement of this team .

    Rockies’ manager Walt Weiss (left) and Carlos Gonzalez.

    Jeff Bridich , general manager of the Colorado Rockies.

    It will be interesting to see how the Colorado Rockies are like to fare within the NL West , where the division will be as competitive as ever. Both the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants with their considerably larger payrolls and business streams will continue to have an advantage over the much smaller Rockies’ organization.

    Carlos Gonzalez is considered to be the best player on the Colorado Rockies’ roster as well as being a prodigious talent . If the Rockies are to be successful this season , while making their first postseason appearance since 2009 , then Gonzalez and his teammates will have to be at their very best . The Colorado Rockies have a crucial game being played today at Wrigley Field, in Chicago , Illinois against the Chicago Cubs . On the mound as the starting pitcher for the Rockies will be Tyler Chatwood , who faces Jon Lester of the Cubs.

    Charles Monfort , co-owner of the Colorado Rockies.

    Richard Monfort.

    Colorado Rockies news

    Tophatal …………….

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  24. The AL West and a division which I believe will be competitive this season and there is a chance and I get the feeling the Oakland Athletics will have something to prove . Once again , Billy Beane and Lewis Wolff will struggle to even make this club remain viable on all economic fronts. At a time when money is said to be front and center for all teams , for the A’s it has become the core of everything needed to make them a success.

    A’s manager Bob Melvin , his managerial staff presides over a team with a payroll which remains among the lowest in all of baseball. With the Los Angeles Angels , Texas Rangers , Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros all looking to make their play within the division this season , it will be very interesting to see how each of the teams acquit themselves this season.

    On Sunday afternoon the Oakland A’s faced the Kansas City Royals in a game played at the O. Coliseum in Oakland, California. The A’s got the better of the Royals eking out a 3-2 victory for the home team. On Monday , Oakland will be back in action to face the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium , where the two opposing pitchers will be Erik Surkamp of the A’s against Michael Pineda of the the Yankees.

    Oakland A’s news

    Tophatal ……………

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  25. Well, with the game ones now in the record books , with the opening rounds of the NBA Playoffs . There is no correlation to indicate how these series are likely to end , yet there were one or two games where the losing teams simply showed no competitiveness at all .

    Monday’s games should prove to be exciting, as the teams who suffered defeat on Saturday will be looking to get back into their respective series.

    NBA news

    Scheduled games for Monday night .

    This month in NBA history.

    On this day in NBA history .

    Tophatal ……………….

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  26. The regular NBA season in essence was nothing more than a preparatory journey for the postseason shenanigans for the participants of the NBA Playoffs . The Golden State Warriors pretty much , annihilated every offensive category imaginable on their way to beating the Chicago Bulls record for regular season wins (72-10) and posting a mark of 73-9 . Now we have idiots seeking to make comparisons to the Bulls’ from the 95-96 season to the present roster of the Warriors where their head coach Steve Kerr was also a member of the championship winning Chicago Bulls’ team coached by Phil Jackson.

    Luke Walton, Steph Curry (left) and in the background Klay Thompson .

    In their opening game of their first round series ,the Golden State Warriors dispatched the Memphis Grizzlies with a great deal of ease and in all likelihood fans in attendance tonight for game two will also witness a similar victory when the two teams meet at the Oracle Arena , in Oakland . California,. Defensively the Grizzlies performed poorly and unless adjustments are made by Dave Joerger and his coaching staff , then this Memphis roster will be in for a tough time against Steph Curry and his marauding band of teammates who have made scoring look so easy , as they have done throughout the regular season on their way to their indelible record. I certainly believe the new mark will go untouched for years to come , but if there is a team capable of surpassing it, then it would likely be this group of players , coached by Steve Kerr.

    Luke Walton , a lead assistant on Kerr’s coaching staff of the Warriors is likely to be considered for one if not at least two likely vacancies which will undoubtedly be in the offing during the off-season. Clearly, the Sacramento Kings are in need of a coach after the firing of George Karl by GM Vlad Divac . Kings’ owner , Vivek Ranadive is proving to as problematical a buffoon and as clueless as the Maloof brothers , who were the previous owners of the franchise. One should also bear in mind the reckless individuals on the board of the City of Sacramento’s Council seemed to be behind the use of public funds for the costly renovations of the Sleep Train Arena , home to the Kings’ franchise.

    Sacramento City Mayor Kevin Johnson , himself , a former NBA star was a proponent of such an expenditure even at a time when the municipality’s own budget was facing a severe shortfall and deficit. Once again , indicating ;politicians are not always the best judge of doing the right thing when called upon to do so.

    The Memphis Grizzlies will be facing a tough task tonight in their game as they seek to negate the potency of the league’s best offense led by Steph Curry . Going down 0-2 in this series would pretty much hand the Warriors their ticket to the Western Conference Semi Finals , placing them one step way from a return visit to the NBA Finals , where they will be looking to make a successful defense of the title won last season.

    Golden State Warriors news

    Memphis Grizzlies news

    Sacramento Kings news

    Tophatal ………………..

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  27. Any doubts that some analysts and fans might well have had concerning Kawhi Leonard can now be firmly laid to rest as the San Antonio Spurs’ player won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in succession . In doing so Leonard joins a select group of players to have won the award twice and repeat the feat . His figures for this season were comparable to 2014 as the Spurs’ own record was equally impressive with the team having the best home record in the league this season.

    Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs .

    Courtesy of NBA.com

    Spurs’ Leonard named Kia Defensive Player of the Year

    Warriors’ Draymond Green, Heat’s Hassan Whiteside finish second and third, respectively, in voting

    NEW YORK — The San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, who helped the team finish with the NBA’s top defense this season, is the recipient of the 2015-16 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, the NBA announced today. Leonard, a 6-7 forward, becomes the first non-center to earn the honor in back-to-back seasons since Dennis Rodman in 1989-90 and 1990-91.

    Leonard received 84 first-place votes and 547 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. He edged the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, who tallied 44 first-place votes and 421 points to finish as runner-up for the second season in a row. The Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside was third with 83 points (two first-place votes). Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

    A first-time NBA All-Star this season, Leonard contributed to a San Antonio defense that led the NBA in points allowed (92.9 ppg) and defensive rating (96.6 points per 100 possessions). The Spurs, a franchise-record 67-15 this season, were even stingier on defense with Leonard in the game: According to NBA.com/Stats, they had a defensive rating of 94.9 when the five-year veteran was on the court and 99.2 when he wasn’t — a difference of 4.3 points per 100 possessions. Leonard also averaged 1.78 steals (12th in the NBA), 5.5 defensive rebounds and a career-high 0.99 blocks to go with career highs on offense of 21.2 points and 2.6 assists.

    =========================================================
    To read this article in full merely click unto the link shown.
    ——————————————————————————–

    In their first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies , the San Antonio Spurs put on an enthralling display completely outplaying their conference rivals while winning by a double-digit margin in game one . Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich and the coaching staff have to be delighted with the confidence of the team as well the all-round contributions of the players during the opening game of the Western Conference Quarter Final Series between the two teams.

    San Antonio Spurs news

    NBA player stats regular season

    Tophatal

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  28. Monday night’s games and the results from the contests which took place . The between the Indiana Pacers (1-1) and the Toronto Raptors (1-1) is now back on an even keel with the Raptors taking game two with a 98-87 victory over the Pacers . The two other games of note took place within the Western Conference . Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors(2-0) now have a 2-0 lead in their series having taken down the Houston Rockets (2-0) beating their opponent 115-106 .

    In the third of the three games played on Monday night , we had the Dallas Mavericks (1-1) coming back to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder (1-1) by the score of 85-84 for the narrowest margin of victory in their series so far. Games set for Tuesday’s schedule will see the resumption of the other first-round series .

    NBA news

    Monday night results and games scheduled for Tuesday , 19th April .

    2016 NBA Playoffs .

    Tophatal …

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  29. Results from games played on Monday within Major League Baseball and the current divisional standings . Tuesday will offer up the following pitchers on the mound for the scheduled contests . At this point last season the teams were still looking to find a rhythm .

    Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs got off to a rousing start this season and the team now seems to be playing with a great deal of resolve as the seek to make a postseason appearance . Last season the Chicago Cubs made it all the way to the NLCS where they would eventually fall to the New York Mets .

    Monday afternoon and the Cubs were in action against the St Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri. On Tuesday afternoon the Chicago Cubs will face the Cardinals once again with Jason Hammel on the mound to face Jaime Garcia of the St Louis Cardinals .

    MLB news

    Tophatal ……

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  30. A collective round-up of the news from around the world of sports and in particular the NBA the world of baseball provides us the of the more relevant news’ items now happening . As the quarter-finals of the NBA Playoffs continue to take place with the Tuesday night games unfolding , we are beginning to see each of the series taking shape .

    MLB’s games on Tuesday night was an added bonus with the season still in its infancy .

    NBA news

    NBA results 19th April

    NBA Playoffs (2016)

    MLB news

    MLB results 19th April

    🙂

    Tophatal …………….. 2016/04/19 11:44:17 PM P

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  31. There are at least five NBA teams whom I believe are certainly in need of a new head coach heading into the upcoming off-season . Most certainly the decisions will have to be made as to who should fill the vacancy of the now head coaching position with the Sacramento Kings , whether or not Kurt Rambis should continue as head coach of the New York Knicks , Byron Scott’s long-term future with the Los Angeles Lakers , the current situation with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Brett Brown with the Philadelphia 76ers . All five teams had disastrous seasons with them failing to make inroads within their respective divisions and conference. Furthermore , they were among the worst teams in the NBA from a defensive standpoint .

    Minnesota Timberwolves’ owner Glen Taylor has seen fit to hire Tom Thibodeau to become the new Head of Basketball Operations for the Timberwolves , with Scott Layden being brought in to become the new general manager. It should be noted , following the death of Flip Saunders , who was a minority owner , head coach & Thibodeau’s and Layden’s predecessor in a dual role within the organization. Saunders was entrusted to lead the franchise in his executive capacity and in doing so he set about rebuilding the roster into what he believed would be a competitive organization. Unfortunately. with the team being young at its core with the exception of Kevin Garnett , the promise of the Timberwolves finally being able to show some resolve never materialized .

    Courtesy of ESPN

    Timberwolves hire Tom Thibodeau as coach/president

    By Marc Stein , ESPN Writer

    The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Wednesday night that Tom Thibodeau is their new coach and president of basketball operations.

    Sources told ESPN.com that the sides spent much of Wednesday finalizing a deal that, with Wolves owner Glen Taylor committing an estimated $10 million annually to completely reshape his organization, sets up Thibodeau with a five-year contract worth about $40 million while also paying new Wolves general manager Scott Layden in the range of $2 million per season.

    “I started my NBA career with the Minnesota Timberwolves and it is an incredible opportunity to rejoin the organization at a time when they have what I believe to be the best young roster in the NBA,” Thibodeau said in a statement. “Together with a great owner in Glen Taylor and a terrific basketball partner in Scott Layden, I look forward to building a winning culture that Minnesota sports fans can be proud of.”

    The Wolves chose Thibodeau, 58, over fellow finalist and ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, who remains a co-favorite alongside former Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scotty Brooks for the Houston Rockets’ coaching vacancy. ESPN.com reported Wednesday afternoon that the Wizards were pressing to try to seal a deal with Brooks before the Rockets are out of the playoffs and formally begin their search. The Wizards’ offer to Brooks is believed to be in the five-year, $35 million range.

    Oft-criticized as indecisive, Taylor moved swiftly to win the race for Thibodeau, who will have full control of basketball operations while relying on Layden to handle day-to-day duties in the front office. Layden was hired away from San Antonio, where he served the past four seasons as an assistant to Spurs president R.C. Buford. He also served previously as GM of the Utah Jazz and New York Knicks.

    =====================================================
    Click on link to read in full.
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    Timberwolves’ Head of Basketball Operations Tom Thibodeau .

    GM Scott Layden.

    Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden with their collective acumen , should be able to gradually make good on Minnesota being competitive again and to be seen as perennial contender. Karl-Anthony Towns and Ricky Rubio are integral to the franchise’s long-term future and the veteran Kevin Garnett will likely have a role to play in some capacity , as his career begins to wind down.

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    Tophatal …………

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  32. Wednesday’s results in MLB (baseball) and how the divisional standings look at present. Games scheduled for Thursday and projected starting pitchers .

    The NBA Playoffs continues with games played on Wednesday night . Series leads either increased or were evened . There will be games scheduled for Thursday evening .

    MLB news

    MLB divisional standings

    MLB probable pitchers and MLB schedule

    —–

    NBA news

    NBA results 20th April

    NBA schedule 21st April

    Tophatal …………. 04/21/2016 03:26:33 am

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  33. Tampa Bay Rays’ starting pitcher Chris Archer has lost his last four consecutive starts for the team as the Rays continue to struggle within the AL East and AL this season . In Archer’s last the Rays fell to the Boston Red in a game played at Fenway Park , in Boston , Massachusetts, on 20th April , 2016. These two teams will resume their series on Thursday afternoon with Jake Odorizzi on the mound for the Rays to face David Price of the Red Sox.

    Another failing season for the Tampa Bay Rays without the franchise not making the postseason and questions will be asked of the team , managerial staff and in particular the front office. Matthew Silverman inherited the position of general manager from his predecessor Andrew Friedman . Silverman has failed in assembling a competitive lineup for this season. The hitting and pitching for the Rays have been moribund .

    Tampa Bay Rays news

    Tophatal ……….

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  34. Jake Arrietta of the Chicago Cubs joined a select group of pitchers in Cubs’ history with a club first by pitching a no-hitter as the NL Central based franchise winning their game on Thursday afternoon in the team’s victory . Chicago annihilated the Cincinnati Reds on their way to a 16-0 victory .

    Jake ArriettA and David Ross (right) .

    The Chicago Cubs were able to obtain eighteen hits, alongside five home runs to go with Arrietta’s performance and that of his teammate David Ross’ own contributions to the Cubs’ defeat of the Reds made this win all the more pleasing for the victors. This victory keeps the Chicago Cubs ahead of the pack within the NL Central and among the front-runners in the NL wildcard standings .

    MLB news

    Chicago Cubs’ news

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  35. The NBA has several games on tap for Friday evening of which a number could very well be series which will very well prove to game changers by way of their destinies.The Cleveland Cavaliers seem to be well on their way to winning their series against the Detroit Pistons and they have taken a 3-0 lead in their first round contest .

    In the West conventional wisdom tells us teams with a lead at this stage of the first round should end up taking their series .

    NBA news

    NBA results 22nd April

    NBA schedule 23rd April and for the 24th April

    NBA news one year ago

    Tophatal …………..

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  36. The MLB schedules played on Friday offered up the following results .

    Desperate to find some form of consistency as the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees will get together for a game on Saturday at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. Blake Snell of the Rays will face his counterpart Masahiro Tanaka , as the two opposing pitchers in the contest. The Rays continue to be one of the most defensively inept teams in the AL by way of the number of runs allowed . Productivity from of the Rays has been inconsistent and sporadic to say the very least. A reflection of this can be seen with the Tampa Bays’ record within the AL East and their current standing as a wildcard team .

    Evan Longoria has long been viewed as the best player to have put on a Rays’ uniform his debut for the franchise and is considered to be the best player in Rays’ history. Longoria is handsomely rewarded by the ball-club and , his contract are a reflection of this all. However, the continued knock against Evan Longoria will be the lack of leadership shown by the All Star .

    Does Evan Longoria (pictured) still have something to offer the Tampa Bay Rays. How much longer can the franchise afford to have him around , while not competing at the highest level on a consistent basis ? Joe Maddon managed the Rays when they made their last postseason appearance as the team made it to the ALDS , during the 2013 playoffs .

    MLB news

    MLB standings

    MLB schedule 23rd April and probable pitchers

    Tophatal ……………… 2016/04/24 02:50:37 am

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  37. So here we are not yet at the culmination point of the first round series in the NBA Playoffs . Both the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs are on the cusp on winning their series, with each team having carved out a 3-0 lead in their respective quarter final series .

    Games slated for Sunday should bring us closer to determining how some of the series and where they now stand.

    NBA news

    NBA schedule 24th April

    NBA player stats and Rookie stats

    NBA team lineups (Playoffs)

    Tophatal …………

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  38. With Saturday’s results having taken place in MLB , Sunday’s schedule should offer the fans some rather interesting games. The divisional standings as they now stand hasn’t yet begun to reflect the play of the teams within the AL or NL . With Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs having pitched a no-hitter for the team in a 16-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds . One now must wonder if this might be the season where the Cubs are finally able to win it all.

    Kenta Maeda of the Los Angeles Dodgers has rewritten the record books for the franchise as well as the league through his first four games pitched as a rookie. Maeda leads the league in ERA and has to be seen as the leading candidate for the NL Cy Young Award .

    Tophatal …….

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  39. Results from Monday and Tuesday in MLB. This led to a shift in the standings among a number of divisions as well as the wildcard within the AL and NL . Scheduled games for Wednesday give the fans the chance to see the following opposing pitchers taking the mound as the starters for their respective teams .

    The New York Yankees (8-11) are having a torrid time and over their last ten games (4-6) the team has performed rather poorly . In their most recent game Joe Girardi’s players fell to the Texas Rangers (11-10) in a lopsided loss , 10-1 . These two teams will meet again at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas with CC Sabathia of the Yankees on the mound to face Martin Perez of the Rangers.

    There will be other games of interest will offer the fans the chance to see a full slate of contests taking place. The San Diego Padres will be the guests of the San Francisco Giants . A high=flying Washington Nationals’ team will face the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Ballpark in Washington, DC. Opposing pitchers in the contest will be Jeremy Hellickson of the Phillies against Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals.

    Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins is use to hitting home runs with astonishing ease , as proven with his latest onslaught this season for the team . Stanton hit another home run in the Marlins’ 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers . During this game the Marlins’ Ichiro Suzuki moved ahead of Hall of Fame player Fran Robinson on the all-time career hits’ list .

    Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins.

    Ichiro Suzuki of the Miami Marlins .

    Frank Robinson .

    MLB news

    Los Angeles Dodgers news

    Miami Marlins news

    MLB schedule 27th April

    MLB probable starting pitchers

    MLB standings and MLB standings (wildcard)

    This week in MLB history .

    On this date in baseball

    Tophatal ……..

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  40. One month almost into the regular season of Major League Baseball and finally teams are beginning to find their rhythm .

    The team with the best record over their last ten games happens to be the New York Mets (13-7) who have won nine of their ten contests. Yet it is the Chicago White Sox (16-6) and their six-game win streak who might be the most impressive of all. Robin Ventura and his managerial staff finally have team which appears to be competitive enough within the AL . The White Sox had a 4-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Center in Toronto , Ontario on Wednesday afternoon.

    In another of the game played on Wednesday afternoon the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres put on all an exhilarating display on their way to a twenty-run extravaganza pounding out a combined twenty-five hits in game at Pac Bell Park (AT&T Park) in San Francisco , California ,.

    MLB news

    MLB results

    MLB schedule & probable starters

    MLB standings and wildcard standings

    This week in baseball history . On this day in MLB history

    Upcoming milestones in baseball

    Tophatal ………..

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  41. The Miami Marlins’ best all-round player Dee Gordon has now been given an eighty-game suspension having tested positive for PED’s (performance enhancing drugs). Somehow the likes of Gordon and others who have been caught don’t appear to have an ounce of common sense. Then again , when looking at the league hierarchy and those in charge of the MLBPA (Players Union) and you can understand the continued baseball downward spiral still finds itself in. There has been formal public statement issued by the Marlins’ front office concerning Gordon’s suspension and it how they will now deal with the issue internally remains to be seen.

    Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins.

    Courtesy of ESPN

    Marlins 2B Dee Gordon suspended 80 games after PEDs violation

    ESPN news service

    Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon has been suspended 80 games without pay, effective immediately, for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy, the league said early Friday.

    The speedy second baseman tested positive for the performance-enhancing substances exogenous testosterone and clostebol, MLB said.

    Gordon, 28, is in his sixth season in the majors. He will lose about $1.65 million in salary during the suspension.
    Gordon, 28, is in his sixth season in the majors. He will lose about $1.65 million in salary during the suspension.

    With the Dodgers losing again and seeing former teammate Dee Gordon suspended, they were just as dour as the Marlins following Thursday night’s news.
    The suspension comes for Gordon after he won the NL batting title in 2015, when he hit .333 with 58 steals and 88 runs scored for the Marlins.

    It also comes in the first season of Barry Bonds’ tenure as Marlins hitting coach. Bonds’ legacy has been tainted by questions of PED use as a player.

    ———————————-
    Click on link to read in full.
    ———————————

    Dee Gordon is proving to be a fool and if nothing else a complete @ss . The Miami Marlins recently got the better of in a road series . The player’s loss to the team will be impact-ful for the Marlins and how Don Mattingly now addresses the matter with changes in the lineup remains to be seen. Gordon’s statement suggesting he unknowingly took this supplement is almost as idiotic as his wanting to tell us he was not aware of baseball’s steroid policy. Once again proving, far too many of today’s professional athletes are nowhere near as intelligent as some would have us believe .

    MLB news

    Miami Marlins news

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  42. The first full month of the baseball regular season is almost at an end and the teams now seem to be playing themselves into sync . There’s a reason why the Atlanta Braves (5-18) and Houston Astros (7-16) currently have the worst records in all of baseball. The reason is simple , both teams are extremely poor in just about every aspect of their game. In games played on Friday , the Braves and Astros were losers against their respective opponents. The Atlanta Braves came up short in defeat , losing 6-1 on the road to the Chicago Cubs . Likewise with the Houston Astros and their game against Oakland A’s dropping their match-upme 7-4 at the O Coliseum in Oakland , California .

    Baseball seems to be the one professional team sport which gets so wrapped with singular achievement than it does with regard to achievement . Nowhere was this more evident than the applause now being reigned down on Trevor Story and the fact he hit his eighth home run faster than any other player in MLB history . Story’s season total now stands at ten home runs , leading the Majors.

    MLB news and scheduled games for Saturday 30th April

    MLB probable pitchers

    Tophatal ……..

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  43. Results from Saturday and Sunday in Major League Baseball has left us with the divisional and wildcard standings of Sunday night. Games on tap for Monday will feature the following starting pitchers .

    The high flying Chicago Cubs will match wits with the Pittsburgh Pirates in a game to be played at PNC Park in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania ,. Another fascinating contest will have Jeremy Hellickson of the Philadelphia Phillies taking on Adam Wainwright of the St Louis Cardinals in a game taking place at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri,.

    Bryce Harper seems to be putting together another phenomenal season as he seeks to win back-to-back NLMVP Awards . The player has the Washington Nationals with a commanding position within the NL East . The Nationals will take to the field when they face the Kansas City Royals at Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri,.

    MLB news

    MLB divisional standings and wildcard standings

    Tophatal ………….

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  44. The Chicago Cubs ace starting pitcher Jake Arrietta pitched the second no hitter of his career, with the team beating the Cincinnati Reds on their way to leading the NL Central . For Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon and the managerial staff this has to be the season’s start the club had to be wishing for. Apart from that staggering victory over the Reds on the 16th April Chicago have simply been a team on a mission beating a number of their opponents with a great deal of ease.

    For the Chicago Cubs the coming months in particular June and July will become truly testing for the team . Chicago has a game scheduled for Tuesday when they face the Pittsburgh Pirates in a road game .

    Tophatal …………….

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