The Long Walk Home or Is It To Nowhere ?

The Long Walk Home or Is It To Nowhere ?

While there appears to be apparent apathy , indifference and now the fomenting of xenophobia in recent weeks either being perpetuated by the media , political candidates as well as on both sides of the political aisle. The fact of the matter remains , with the recent stance being taken by NBA stars after the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers . I have to ask if their actions are not too little , too late , given the fact these atrocities being perpetuated by law enforcement officers. Personally , I believe after the impassioned statement made by actor Jesse Williams , the athletes were shamed once again into taking a stance ! From my own standpoint , I find far too many of today’s athletes are self-indulgent, with their greatest concern being, personal success, how much wealth they can amass, how much money can they earn by way of endorsements and how they are perceived by the public by enlarge.

When you have the likes of Floyd Mayweather bragging about the money he can earn in and outside of the boxing ring ,while still believing himself above the law and then see the ongoing hypocrisy of today’s NBA stars and realize the fact they measure up so poorly in comparison to many of their predecessors when it comes to dealing with and protesting social issues. I have to question their actual motives and whether or not there is genuine altruism on their part !

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The retirement of NBA star Tim Duncan after nineteen-years of unprecedented success with the San Antonio Spurs , brings to an end one of the truly great careers in recent league history. Duncan , a five-time NBA champion , three-time Finals’ MVP , two-time League MVP and fifteen time All Star leaves the NBA and there will definitely a large void left to be filled on the Spurs’ playing staff . The acquisition of Pau Gasol may well go some way in filling Tim Duncan’s shoes , but I get the feeling as good as Gasol just happens to be , he may well never be able to replace a superstar of Duncan’s stature. The Spurs’ power forward who along with Kobe Bryant recently played their last seasons in the NBA have brought about an end to a two-decade span during which both of these players were truly dominant at their respective position and among the best of their generation.

Gregg Popovich who drafted Tim Duncan , has the greatest respect for the player he believes has been the franchise’s greatest asset during his tenure with the San Antonio Spurs .

Over the years , hierarchies behind sports such as baseball , basketball and football have carried a truly poor image when it comes to addressing the issue of social injustice never-mind the issue of race relations. While idiots continue to suggest Barack Obama has done more to create a greater divide in the chasm of race in the country. I have to ask the question , what the hell do those morons think was happening during the Civil Rights’ era and the early twentieth century , when African-Americans were not afforded the right to vote , have equal access to an education , much less be able to use a public restroom without being attacked ? Now within the Justice System many of the alleged advances made by way legislation within Congress and now within the US Supreme Court , are now being repealed or weakened , to make sure the oppressors will always have the upper hand.

MLB will resume the second-half of its schedule and you now have to question if many of the big-spending teams are capable making a genuine run to the postseason, much less be in with a chance of winning their division. Speculation appears to be mounting the New York Yankees will be dumping salary and unproductive players faster than leaves descending from trees during the Fall. Team manager Joe Girardi has seen his players under-perform and having no real chance of winning the AL East . Over their last ten games as of the 14th July the Yankees are 5-5 with their last victory coming against the Cleveland Indians on the 10th July . The New York Yankees will begin a weekend series against divisional rivals the Boston Red Sox where both Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz are having excellent seasons for the Red Sox. Season series between the two teams have become what many of us have expected from two franchises looking to make sense of their season. Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox will be on the mound when he faces Michael Pineda of the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York on Friday evening.

Michael Pineda is thought to be one of the players are willing to trade prior to or at the trade deadline. Desperation has become the new normal within this Yankees’ organization as the front office is steeped in failure with another abysmal season coming into focus. Having made the postseason in 2015, their stay came to an abrupt end suffering a wild-card loss to the Houston Astros . In 2016 there has been no sense of urgency from this Yankees’ team whatsoever and no excuses should be made concerning injuries suffered to any of their front-line starters .

If the New York Yankees are said to be struggling then this season at this point of their schedule has to be seen as one hell of a triumph for both the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers , the two teams with the best records in their respective leagues. San Francisco will be meeting the San Diego Padres in a road game , while the Rangers will be facing the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago , Illinois .

As the saga continues , it might now be time for Tom Brady to bow out gracefully , rather than continue to his futile effort to prove his innocence. Brady’s latest setback in the never-ending episode of Deflate-Gate has taken on every twist and turn. However, with a Federal Appeals Court ruling that his four-game suspension be upheld , the player’s only alternative is to petition the US Supreme Court to hear his case as a final act of binding arbitration . The New England Patriots’ quarterback has been fighting relentlessly to prove a point, while the league hierarchy has simply seen public opinion move further into their corner.

There will not be a great financial loss for Tom Brady , should he decide to sit out the four games mandated by the NFL , as the player renegotiated his contract for this upcoming season which would see him being paid a base salary of $1 million dollars for the upcoming year. Brady’s signing bonus of $13,000,000 would go untouched by the league. Somehow , I believe every scenario which would could have been planned for, was dealt with by the player’s representatives as well as the NFLPA (Players’ Union) .

New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft remains livid as to the latest outcome and I somehow feel his relationship with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will become more strained and great deal more testy. Kraft was among Goodell’s biggest proponents to succeed Paul Tagliabue to the position as the league’s highest ranking executive. Now with the relationship almost untenable , I do not believe there can be any scenario where the two executives can ever be viewed as close confidantes. Head coach Bill Belichick will now seek to have Jimmy Garoppolo ready for the season with the backup quarterback being given a lot of reps during training camp , the preseason and of-course through the first four games of the Patriots’ regular season schedule . If the team can go at worst 2-2 , then it can be considered a success to the start of their season.

Tom Brady’s likely return would come in week five when the New England Patriots are due to meet the Cleveland Browns led by their new quarterback Robert Griffin III , in a game to be played at First Energy Stadium (Paul Brown) in Cleveland , Ohio on October 9th , 2016,.

Through two rounds of the British Open , Phil Mickelson has a one-shot lead at the Royal Troon Golf Course in Troon , Scotland. Mickelson skirted history during the first round of the tournament , when he shot a sixty-two (62) for a nine under-par (-9) , a record for the first round in the Open . Whether or not ‘ Lefty’ as he is lovingly known can win this Grand Slam major , as usually this tournament , considered to be the toughest of all the Majors , tests the wills of the competitors over the final two rounds.

With over $80 million in career prize money , five Grand Slam tournament victories , Phil Mickelson needs only the US Open to notch a career Grand Slam , while also having won forty-two times on the PGA Tour. His career is considered to be one of the best over the past two decades , but the long-held contention that he would prove to be a formidable rival to Tiger Woods has never materialized on the Tour. Granted, Woods’ own career has been in a steady decline over the past three years and while he still remains popular , his is no longer considered to be the best golfer in the world .

The UFC garnered some negative as well as positive coverage over the past ten days. On the negative side UFC President Dana White had to announce for the second time . former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones had been suspended , having tested for a banned substance. The suspension was recommended by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) and a two-year ban was the recommendation of the panel. Jones has the right to appeal the suspension , but the train of thought among many analysts of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is that his career might well be over. Jon Jones and those within his inner circle have vehemently denied any wrongdoing , but his explanation wreaks of inaccuracies . Furthermore , his coming forward with such a tepid excuse of not knowingly taken a banned substance after his first infraction, leaves a lot to be desired. The positive news emanating from the UFC was the sale of the organization for a reputed $4 billion to WME/IMG , making Dana White , Frank Fertitta III and his brother Lorenzo Fertitta extremely wealthy men. All three will still retain a minority stake in the company , with White being retained in his current position. What this now means for the organization and any further expansion remains to be seen, as the new owners survey their latest asset and acquisition.

UFC’s most recent event UFC 200 was not all thrills and spills with the main card , having been decimated after the announcement of Jon Jones’ suspension in the lead-up to his challenging Daniel Cormier for the title he once held. Cormier had to take on Anderson Silva in a non title fight, while the top bout featured Miesha Tate losing her Women’s Bantamweight Title to Amanda Nunes in surprising fashion . Add in the comical return of the overrated Brock Lesnar and you could say the ” circus was back in town ” . Now we have the comical elements of the WWE now entering its ranks , with the organization now pushing more for the idiotic antics often seen in professional wrestling , rather than the UFC seeking to make its mark and inroads into the base once held by boxing .

Floyd Mayweather , gone and so too has Many Pacquiao , with both boxers calling quits , after almost two decades a piece in the sport of boxing . Their super-fight turned out to be a monstrous bore , with fans being overcharged to witness two boxers whose contest came at least five years after both fighters were no longer at the pinnacle of their respective careers. Boxing has now become a lackluster sport , still controlled by major promoters Bob Arum , Don King and Oscar de La Hoya , The latter entered the sport as a promoter after a classic career in the ring. Instead , all de La Hoya seems to be offering the fans are promises which have yet to be fulfilled.

On Saturday night Deontay Wilder will make a defense of the Heavyweight title when he defends his crown for the fourth time when he faces Chris Arreola in defense of his WBC crown . This is not a fight I believe fight fans will be relishing, given the challenger’s lackluster record over his past six fights . Arreola often comes into a bout out of shape and unwilling to fight , in spite of claims he possesses a knockout punch. Wilder will be fighting in his hometown of Birmingham , Alabama at the Legacy Arena , where there will be a sell-out crowd for the defending champion and heavily backed favorite. I expect Deontay Wilder to make another successful defense of the heavyweight title before seeking out a much sterner opponent for his next defense. The thinning of the herd within the division lessens the chance of his meeting a credible challenger . Tyson Fury has his long-awaited rematch coming up as he defends the versions of the titles he now holds , when he meets Wladimir Klitschko . The Ukrainian fighter is hoping to rebound after his astonishing loss to the English-born fighter last year in what was seen as one of the biggest upsets in recent boxing history.

Boxing longs for an undisputed heavyweight champion , something which we have not seen in over a decade and it should also be remembered , currently there are no undisputed champions in any of the weight categories of the sport. We have a litany of alphabet organizations governing the sport and none seem to be in unison , seeking to make boxing more engaging for the fans or competitive with regard to the title fights being staged.

Picture gallery. Simply click unto an image to view that frame alongside the accompanying narrative .

I am being continually told , how far this country has come in the past two-hundred and forty years since its founding and specifically since the end of the American Civil War. The so-called advancements made, have been played out on a battlefield of hate, greed, corruption , cynicism , a great deal of racism and xenophobia . It is certainly being played out in the current political arena on both sides of the political divide. The things which allegedly made America great, are no longer being seen and the country itself , has lost the respect of its closest allies. Only a fool will try to suggest the contrary. The country has to be shamed into doing what is morally right and more often than not has been reactive rather than being proactive. Yet it seeks to be the moral beacon of light for the rest of the world . There is a great deal the country still has to learn and the biggest lesson of them all , has to be the respect of others as well as preserving its own dignity. Something which seems to be lost among its political leaders, athletes and dare one say even among its populace ?

🙂

Tophatal …. 2016/07/15

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30 thoughts on “The Long Walk Home or Is It To Nowhere ?

  1. So Tom Brady will now abandon his plan to seek the rescinding of his four-game suspension by the NFL . Team owner Robert Kraft and the front office executives will now muster every effort they can as they may well seek the ouster of Commissioner Roger Goodell . Personally, I believe the commissioner has been overzealous in seeking to usurp the efforts of the New England Patriots as well as the NFLPA who steadfastly looked to represent the quarterback. I fully expect to be other controversies which Goodell will have to deal with beyond the events we saw unfold concerning the Deflate-Gate saga.

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  2. The fairy tale story of Phil Mickelon’s lead at The Open has come to an end after the American faltered in the third round at Royal Troon , Troon , Scotland . Mickelson now finds himself in second place as we enter the final round of the biggest Grand Slam Major on the PGA Tour schedule of events .

    Sweden’s Henrik Stenson (-12) has a one shot lead over Phil Mickelson and the two will be the final pairing of the day on the fourth day of this prestigious tournament .

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  3. Miami Heat President Pat Riley says he has regrets in not being able to sign Dwyane Wade to another deal with the franchise. It’s simply a pragmatic gesture on the part of the front office executive . Riley knew the Heat would be under a great deal of pressure to lock-up several of their most irresistable free agents , most notably Hassan Whiteseide who was vital to the team’s efforts during the season and the playoffs . The success of their Big Three of Wade , Chris Bosh and LeBron James came to an end, because Riley was unwilling to acquiesce to James’ needs of a roster made up of players complementary to his skills and also there was issue of the salary cap at the end of the 2014 season.

    With Hassan Whiteside signed as well as several other players along with their rookies . It will be interesting to see what Erik Spoesltra and the coaching staff will be able to achieve with this newly constructed roster .

    Chris Bosh’s future remains uncertain with the team and cap impact on the roster will be decisive . With his medical issues far from certain , there is a lingering doubt he will be able to contribute to the Miami Heat in a major way for the upcoming season.

    Dwyane Wade will begin a new chapter in his career as a member of the Chicago Bulls where he will join their current All Star and best player Jimmy Butler .

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  4. Enough already , as if there was a reason for Manny Pacquiao to return to boxing . Now rumors are filling the media the former multiple world champion is mulling a return to the ring after his last fight against Timothy Bradley three months ago. Pacquiao is way past his prime and for all of the boxer’s pretense of wanting to be an active politician in his home country of the Philippines as a state Senator. All that Manny Pacquiao has achieved has been nothing more than notoriety , bringing nothing more than lip service to some social causes without the government having achieved anything credible. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum has long held the contention his fighter’s retirement would be short-lived and it is widely known the boxer is Arum’s meal-ticket and biggest money-earner among his stable of boxers. If there is a proposed return as being hinted in the press , then I would expect the fighter to take on a lightly thought of boxer among either welterweight or light middleweight ranks.

    Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring could take place as soon as mid-September or early October , giving the former champion time enough to get rid of the ring rust . I do not expect him to be making a challenge for a world title , but stranger things have happened. Pacquiao’s return to boxing could also prompt his nemesis Floyd Mayweather Jr (49-0) to reconsider his own retirement , with Mayweather having vaguely hinted , he misses the ring , though his return would likely see welterweight and light middleweight champion seeking to challenge a current titleholder in his return.

    From my own perspective , I feel that the return of either Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao would simply sink the sport even further into the doldrums , where currently the list of world champions lacks credibility and a major breakout-star who would draw the fans back to a sport which has been dying on its knees for the past three years.

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  5. As good as the Miami Marlins appear to be . I do not expect the team to be challenging for divisional honors , though there is a realistic chance the Marlins could contend for > one of the two playoff berths as a wildcard entrant in the NL . Of late Giancarlo Stanton has been a driving force on the team while having one of his best seasons over the past three years.

    Having evened with the St Louis Cardinals in their recent series the Miami Marlins will be looking to keep that momentum going. Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly and his managerial staff will prepare the team for Monday’s scheduled game against the Philadelphia Phillies . These two divisional rivals should provide the fans with a great deal of fireworks in the contest.

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  6. Thanks Phil Mickelson , for supplying us with anticlimactic fourth round to The Open . Only a player known to choke , could have given up a two-shot lead , play yourself back into contention only to falter in a sudden-death loss to Henrik Stenson . Now we have the idiots within the print media making that playoff seem like it was an epic golf moment . This was only done, because US media is simply devoid of knowledge and acumen when it comes to covering the sport, while continually showing their bias .

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  7. Baseball has resumed the second-half of its season and there remains a great deal to play for. Among the leading performers in the league at present are what many believe will be the leading candidates for the regular season MVP Awards within the NL and AL .

    There are several games which will be of interest today but I believe the most interesting will involve the contest between the Boston Red Sox (51-39) taking on the San Francisco Giants (57-36) at Fenway Park in Boston , Massachusetts , on Monday evening. The New York Mets (49-42) will have a very enthralling game when they face the Chicago Cubs ( 55-36) at Wrigley Field in Chicago , Illinois,.

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  8. Dana White now seems to be fanning the flames of his ignorance with his speech at the RNC Conference in Cleveland , Ohio and it could very well create some major fallout among the fighters now tied to the UFC . Personal thoughts or not , a number of fighters with the organization are Hispanic , African-American and though White didn’t touch on the issue of race concerning his comments. It cannot be denied , the Republicans Presidential candidate Donald Trump has used the issue of race , and misogyny as the litmus test in several of his comments and speeches during his campaign.

    White has bigger fish to fry , because it is very clear until the UFC gets a break in the biggest ad market in the country there will be a great deal of pressure for the company to succeed in the state of New York. They have yet to be accorded professional license and status to operate within the state by legislature or by the NYSAC (State Athletic Commission) . With the UFC having been sold for $ 4 billion , Dana White remains in control as the President of the company , but his power might well be changed , with his having less authority to dictate the contractual obligation of the fighters signed to the UFC.

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  9. Two major trades within the NBA seem to be looming and it involves two of the biggest stars in the league . Constant speculation remains the Loss Angeles Clippers are prepared to depart with the services of Blake Griffin allowing the forward to leave in a trade . As to Griffin’s destination , it seems nothing is off-limits . The other seemingly never-ending saga involves disgruntled center and often contentious player DeMarcus Cousins , whose latest outburst was directly aimed at the Sacramento Kings’ organization. The franchise itself has been un-competitive over the last decade , while their apathetic fans and the idiots on the city’s council led by former NBA player Kevin Johnson have sought to use public funds aimed at keeping the franchise within Sacramento , while also wanting to refurbish the Sleep Train Arena at the public’s expense.

    DeMarcus Cousins and Blake Griffin are spectacular players , but it it appears they lack maturity and leadership skills sought to make their respective teams competitive enough within their respective divisions as well as their conference . ;Last season was a clear indication of that fact and though the Los Angeles Clippers made it to the NBA Playoffs , their lack of success was there for all to see.

    For the Sacramento Kings it was another season of sheer incompetence on all levels without delving into the fact the coaching staff and front office continue to show their inability to put a competitive product on a basketball court. Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadive has to be totally unhappy with what he’s had to witness not only from the team this past season , but also from the front office executives led by GM Vlad Divac .

    Doc Rivers as the de-facto Head of Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers has a tough task ahead of him. Does he keep a player of Blake Griffin’s ability or make the decision to let him go , but is unsure of what he is likely to get in return ?

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  10. It must say a great deal for Carmelo Anthony at this time of his career , about the only thing of note the player seems to have any zeal for is the winning of an Olympic gold medal for Team USA . Anthony will join several of his contemporaries made up of established stars coached by Mike Krzyzewski , and a coaching staff of noted NBA head coaches. It would be something of a major shock were this team to come away from Rio de Janero without a gold medal from the Men’s Basketball Tournament . As too are the women from Team USA , who are coached by Geno Auriemma .

    Camelo Anthony remains one of the league’s most prolific players, but he has yet to lead the New York Knicks to a major NBA Playoff run. Granted , over the course of his career , Anthony has established himself as a major star with the Knicks and his prior team the Denver Nuggets . However, this potential Hall of Fame player might well join the likes of Allen Iverson , Charles Barkley and Steve Nash as one of the greatest players of their generation never to have won an NBA title . Carmelo Anthony might well be showing signs of maturity off the court , with his call for a united country , but this is somewhat laughable from a player who not so long ago was advising that police snitches (informants) be dealt with by gang members appropriately and violently .

    Phil Jackson (left) and Camelo Anthony .

    Courtesy of ABC New York

    Carmelo Anthony calls for U.S. ‘to come together’

    Tuesday, July 19, 2016 09:05AM
    LAS VEGAS — Carmelo Anthony wants more than a better U.S. basketball team heading into the Olympics.

    He wants a better U.S.

    Anthony wants an end to the gun violence, the killing of African-Americans and the targeting of police, and right now his quest for that seems bigger than his desire for what would be a record third gold medal.

    “It’s unfortunate, it’s sad,” Anthony said Monday. “You can’t really put into words what’s going on throughout the whole country, throughout the whole world. For us as a country, we have to stand united. We have to come together.”

    The New York Knicks forward has spoken out more and more lately, challenging fellow athletes to do the same. He has taken his message to Instagram and the ESPYS, and if he wants another forum, there aren’t too many bigger spotlights than the Olympics.

    Will he take his message all the way to the medal podium?

    “We always say that the timing could not have been any better for us as a country, having a chance to come together and being united,” Anthony said, “then go over there on the biggest stage you can possibly play on and have that voice and represent something that is bigger than us as players.”

    For now, the U.S. doesn’t plan to wait for Rio. Details are still being finalized, but Anthony, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski have hinted at plans for some kind of community forum in conjunction with the league when the Americans head to Los Angeles following camp to play an exhibition game against China.

    “I think it can be great. When we talk about ‘united,’ that’s what we keep talking about,” forward Draymond Green said. “Obviously we saw a lot of guys speak out about guys getting in front of this thing, and coming together right now with the opportunity to possibly win a gold medal and try to lead the charge with what’s going on in the country. I think it could be really special.”

    Anthony isn’t just a celebrity posting politically correct messages on social media accounts. He marched with protesters in his hometown of Baltimore last year following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody and took part with other NBA players in an ad campaign to stop gun violence.

    And none of that changed anything.

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    During this off-season the Knicks’ front office led by Phil Jackson has sought to assemble a team good enough to be seen as major challengers to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference crown. From my own perspective , while the New York Knicks might well have improved on paper with the addition of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah . I would have to say the jury is still out on the structure of this roster and whether or not they have the ability to over come many of their main rivals in the conference as well as the rest of the league .

    Derrick Rose of the New York Knicks .

    Joakim Noah formerly of the Chicago Bulls and one of the latest additions to the Knicks’ roster .

    Last season the New York Knicks improved significantly over the previous year>, but they still ended up as no better than a . 500 franchise within the NBA. While it is believed both Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose have overcome their injury woes . I am still not convinced we are going to see the best both players have to offer ! Certainly not at this stage of their respective careers , when their best is now in the rear view mirror .

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  11. Not quite two-thirds the way through the MLB schedule , but we’re already beginning to see which teams have struggled as we enter the stretch run of the season. Thursday will feature several games which will be of interest to the fans .

    Bruce Bochy manager of the San Francisco Giants will be looking to bring pressure to bear on their divisional rivals as they seek to increase their lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers . The San Francisco Giants will have an important contest on Friday when they begin a three-game road series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York . Madison Bumgarner will be one the mound for the Giants when he faces the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka .

    For the Los Angeles Dodgers there appears to be mounting speculation the ball-club is prepared to offer Yasiel Puig as a possible trade bait , but there appears to be no real signs the front office would be willing to let go of their All Star outfielder . Puig’s season has not been overly impressive while the Dodgers have not remained consistent throughout much of their schedule for the season. Having the largest payroll in all of baseball continues to create a major dilemma for the ball-club. It is clear the front office cannot continue to spend on such a lavish scale without getting anything tangible in return.

    Courtesy of Fox Sports


    Sources: Dodgers are open to trading struggling Yasiel Puig

    By Ken Rosenthal

    Player Y is one of the game’s least productive right fielders. Yet, he is not the only below-average hitter in his team’s outfield, which ranks last in the majors in batting average and near the bottom in on-base and slugging percentage, too.

    Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers .

    Would it make sense for Player Y’s team to look for a better hitter at his position and more proficient outfielders in general? Of course it would. Which is why Player Y’s team, at the very least, is open to trading him, according to major-league sources.

    Player Y, if you haven’t figured it out, is the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig.

    His defense this season is above-average. His personality seemingly is less of an issue than in the past. He even is hitting better since coming off the disabled list, producing an .831 OPS in 89 plate appearances. But for the season, Puig still has only a .700 OPS, still only seven home runs.

    Perhaps the Dodgers will keep Puig, buying into his latest surge and banking on the fact that he is only 25. Or perhaps they finally are at wit’s end with his performance if not his personality, and will try to sell relatively high, assuming Puig does not regress in the next two weeks.

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    It should prove to be interesting to see if the Los Angeles Dodgers make any drastic moves in the lead-up to the trade deadline

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  12. You simply know when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys , nothing is ever done in half-measures as the front office led by de-facto general manager and owner Jerry Jones decides the franchise is in needs of a new $ 1.5 billion practice facility. It wouldn’t be so bad, if we also remember the Cowboys also play in a gargantuan $1.6 billion monstrosity known as AT&T Stadium (Texas Stadium ) , allegedly financed through private funding as claimed by the Dallas Cowboys’ organization . Now bear in mind coming off another disastrous season , where once again Tony Romo failed to deliver as did the team and you have to wonder if the Cowboys should be genuinely taken seriously as a division contender , much less team capable of a prolonged postseason run.

    Courtesy of USA Today

    Inside The Star: The Cowboys’ new $1.5B headquarters

    By Eric Prisbell, USA Today

    FRISCO, Texas — While contemplating the eventual need for a new team headquarters and practice facility, Dallas Cowboys executives wondered how they could possibly match the standard they set with sparkling state-of-the-art AT&T Stadium.

    With Jerry World, the bar was set high. But when their new team facility, The Star, opens this August — it will replace Valley Ranch, their tradition-rich home since 1985 — its grandeur will eclipse anything their innovative owner Jerry Jones ever envisioned.

    “This just totally has blown me away in terms of what we can do,” Jones says. “This area will be a template and an example far beyond Frisco — all over the country.”

    When fully completed, Jones said The Star will mean as much to him as any of the Cowboys’ three championships since he purchased the team in 1989.

    “It will be right there with the Super Bowls,” Jones told USA TODAY Sports, “because I want it to have that national significance.”

    USA TODAY

    The NFL’s 100 most important people

    The Star will ultimately cover 91 acres, include shopping, dining, athletic and hotel options and cost the Cowboys $1.5 billion. Jones harbors hopes of one day bringing the NFL draft and perhaps the scouting combine here.

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    Frisco , Texas facility and world headquarters for the Dallas Cowboys.

    The Dallas Cowboys last won the NFC East in 2014 where they would make the postseason only to falter in a divisional round loss to the Green Bay Packers . This defeat put to an end another abysmal postseason performance by Tony Romo and further indicates why he remains an overrated player , perhaps the most overrated in franchise history.

    Jerry Jones continues to laud control over the franchise , having not been able to muster a competitive roster in several years. Behind Tony Romo there are few alternatives in terms of the roster’s depth and the very fact the Dallas Cowboys remains a very poor team from both an offensive and defensive standpoint is a further indication as to real underlying and unresolved issues. Head coach Jason Garrett remains in charge of a coaching staff which is completely out of its depth. Yet , Jerry Jones remains loyal to his underachieving protege’ .

    Dallas’ most recent draft was not overly exciting and their delving into free agency did little to impress. The preseason will not underscore the real tough task ahead for the Dallas Cowboys and that is to have this current crop of players ready to play right from the very start of their season. In week one of the regular season the Dallas Cowboys will face a divisional adversary the New York Giants , who themselves are coming off another abysmal season , with quarterback Eli Manning still clinging to the hope he can command another six-figure contract from the Giants.

    Tony Romo (9) and Eli Manning

    I certainly believe both Eli Manning and Tony Romo are at the waning points of their respective careers . While many believe Manning to be a future Hall of Fame player based solely on his exploits in the Giants’ triumphs over the New England Patriots . There is the belief , Eli Manning is simply getting by on the name recognition and due to the exploits of his elder sibling Peyton Manning .

    Dallas Cowboys news

    New York Giants news

    Tophatal …..

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  13. In what has been a startling NBA off-season , it has suddenly got a great deal stranger with the announcement of fifteen-year NBA veteran Manu Ginobli has agreed in principle to join the Philadelphia 76ers , leaving the San Antonio Spurs where he was part of a franchise which won four of the Spurs’ five NBA championships . Ginobli has agreed to a two-year deal with the Sixers where he will renew acquaintance with head coach Brett Brown , who was also a former assistant on the staff current San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich . With the retirement of Tim Duncan , Tony Parker now remains the only player from the original triumvirate who were part of the San Antonio Spurs’ success story. Likely a future Hall of Fame player , Manu Ginobli has achieved just about every possible personal professional goal possible as a player. He was part of the Argentinian team which won the 2004 Olympic medal in the Men’s Tournament . Ginobli is likely to be part of the national roster representing the country at the Rio Olympics starting in two weeks.

    Manu Ginobli .

    Courtesy of Comcast Sports Net Philadelphia

    Report: Sixers made big offer to Spurs guard Manu Ginobili

    By CSN Philly Staff Writer

    Part of having money to spend in free agency is the ability to drive up the price for other teams to keep their own players.

    That was reportedly the case with the Sixers and San Antonio great Manu Ginobili. Per The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers made the 38-year-old Ginobili a lucrative offer before the guard opted to remain with the Spurs on a one-year deal.

    “The Vertical’s Shams Charania reported today that the Spurs had re-signed Manu Ginobili to a one-year, $14 million deal. Sources tell me the reason the Spurs had to go so far financially on that one-year deal was because of a real dogged pursuit by the Philadelphia 76ers, who league sources told me offered a guaranteed deal over two years that would have guaranteed Ginobili in the first year between $16 to $17 million,” Wojnarowski said. “The Spurs’ initial offer for Ginobili was around $3 million.

    “It forced San Antonio to have to raise their offer, and it ultimately helped cost San Antonio Boban Marjanovic, their 7-foot-3 restricted free-agent center who signed an offer sheet in Detroit.”

    ESPN’s Marc Stein later tweeted that the Sixers’ offer to Ginobili was for two years and roughly $30 million, with the second year being partially guaranteed.

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    Click on link to read in full.
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    Manu Ginobli’s career can be summed up with these words , ” he was the consummate professional and team player ” . As to what his loss will mean to the San Antonio Spurs can be best described by the statistics put up by the player and where he stands on list of players to have played for the franchise.

    It is believed San Antonio’s general manager RC Buford offered Manu Ginobli a lucrative deal , but the player felt it best to move on , after the retirement announcement of Tim Duncan. Replacing the Argentinian will not be an easy issue , but it is clear Gregg Popovich and R C Buford know this will be a tremendously loss for the franchise. Tony Parker , LaMarcus Aldridge , Kawhi Leonard and the recently acquired Pau Gasol are currently the best players on the roster . Bold and ambitious , San Antonio were seriously in consideration to sign Kevin Durant during the off-season, but Durant’s decision was to sign with the Golden State Warriors , who were by far the best team in the Western Conference last season , with San Antonio running a close second.

    For Brett Brown and the still woefully inept Philadelphia 76ers , the addition of Manu Ginobli will hopefully provide some much-needed veteran presence on a roster completely devoid of leadership and actual talent. Not one of the players on the Sixers’ team of last season were among any of the top-five in any specific category which mattered the most. The Sixers as their record suggests were by far the worst performing team not just in the Eastern Conference , but also their division as well as the league overall .

    NBA news

    Philadelphia 76ers news

    San Antonio Spurs

    NBA transactions and trades

    Tophatal ……

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  14. Weekend schedule for Major League Baseball with several notable pitching match-ups taking place in Friday’s contests . One of the biggest games on the schedule for today will feature the Cleveland Indians taking on the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland. On the mound for the Indians will be Trevor Bauer against Dylan Bundy of the Orioles in what should prove to be a very interesting game between these two evenly matched AL ball-clubs .

    Another contest likely to be of interest has the Colorado Rockies facing the Atlanta Braves at Coors Field in Denver , Colorado ,. A listless season continues for the Braves whose record remains one of the worst in all of baseball.

    With injuries now becoming so prevalent at this time of the season teams will be delving into the available players likely to put on the market at or prior to the trade deadline . At this time last season the standings reflected the issues of several ball-clubs as they vied to play themselves into contention for a postseason berth .

    MLB news

    Weekend schedule and probable starters (pitchers)

    MLB standings (divisional) and wildcard standings

    MLB transactions

    On this day in baseball . This week in MLB history

    Tophatal ……………….

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    1. SportsChump

      So you’re suggesting two players who over the last two seasons between them have only averaged roughly 35 games, will be able resurrect a team , who were only. 500 last season to even greater things this upcoming season ?

      Do bear in mind their new head coach Jeff Hornacek has never come close to gaining any type of success in his current position with any team where he has coached. Take into consideration also , neither Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah are known as players who play credible defense , something which the New York Knicks are sorely lacking as a team , as seen with their stats last season and the year before. So explain to me how you see the Knicks even competing within their division , much less the conference as a major contender ?

      Stop drinking the Kool-Aid Chris and start to deal in reality . It’s bad enough when you now have Derrick Rose now describing the New York Knicks as a Super-Team when they have yet to achieve anything credible .

      Tophatal …………

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      1. The super team comments may have been a bit premature but I do think this team is good enough to win a playoff series which is more than can be said for the Knicks in the last fifteen seasons.

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        1. SportsChump

          I can’t see it happening ! Certainly not when Jeff Hornacek has no playoff experience as a head coach , let alone the coaching staff now available to him . Bear in mind also , Derrick Rose’s and Joakim Noah’s own postseason experiences haven’t exactly been overwhelming . Personally, if Phil Jackson and his cohorts still continue to believe the Triangle Offense will work in this day and age , then they are sadly mistaken .

          Forty wins might not even get the New York Knicks into the NBA Playoffs , but one can live in hope , but not this upcoming season . Knicks’ fans long for those bygone years of Patrick Ewing and the others from that era .

          The New York Knicks’ last playoff appearance was less than five years ago when they made it to the East Conference Semi-Finals during the 2012-13 NBA Playoffs . The New York Knicks would lose the series to the Indian Pacers who were by far the better team during the semi-finals.

          Tophatal …………….

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          1. I say they win over forty games, Al.

            Let’s place a wager.

            They win forty or more, you write a post saying how I was right. They lose less than that number and I’ll write a post saying I was wrong.

            Deal?

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            1. SportsChump

              Definitely a deal !!!!! I’ll even post your piece here , either way. As good as the New York Knicks look on paper , I have no implicit faith in Jeff Hornacek as a coach or even the coaching staff he’s assembled. It’s not as if he was a success with the Phoenix Suns while he was coaching the franchise. Defensively the Knicks haven’t done a great deal to improve and like I said , with both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah coming off injuries . It will be difficult for this team to play at a consistently high level .

              Your thoughts on the inconsistency of the Tampa Bay Rays over the past thirty days ?

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                1. SportsChump

                  The sad thing about their losing , is that Brian Auld , Stuart Sternberg and the rest of the idiots within the front office still believe the Tampa Bay Rays are still relevant to the area , while hoping that Pinellas County or Hillsborough County will come to their aid in the financing of a new stadium. Clearly they have no idea and the fact , in order to win over your detractors and the consumer by enlarge , there has to be a winning product on the field of play. The team hasn’t had a winning streak of more than five games all season-long. Their schedule for the months of August and September , I cannot see them winning more 40% (forty per-cent) of their games. As a manager , Kevin Cash is way out of his depth , as too are the members of his managerial staff . Granted , needless praise continues to be heaped on the shoulders of Evan Longoria , but to my mind he provides no leadership for the team and is vastly overpaid .

                  Since becoming an Atlanta Braves’ fan in 2013 , I have had to endure nothing but heartache , first under Fredi Gonzalez and now under his successor Brian Snitker as the manager of this Braves’ team which has the worst record in all of baseball.

                  Atlanta’s Team President John Schuerholz has presided over a monumental disaster , with both Frank Wren and John Hart proving to be incompetent general managers for the ball-club. Now with John Copollella in charge , things are still no better. Billionaire team owner , John Malone should think about firing the whole goddamn front office and bring in people of doing the job , rather than their spending almost a $1 billion for the building of their new stadium , Sun-Trust Ballpark on the outskirts of Atlanta .

                  This was an earlier piece I’d written concerning the NBA , let me know what you think as to its overall merits ? It’s entitled Conclusive ………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/conclusive/ . Merely click unto the link shown to read.

                  Tophatal ….

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  15. More ongoing negative publicity for the NFL as well as the Dallas Cowboys with the news that one of the team’s players Ezekiel Elliott has been accused of domestic violence. Considering the negative imagery after the Ray Rice incident , this was hardly the news either the league or the Cowboys wanted within their midst. With the NFL preseason just over ten days away this places an even greater emphasis on how the NFL has been handling such cases. Jerry Jones , owner of the Dallas Cowboys has yet to issue a formal statement concerning the allegations and possible charges to be faced by Ezekiel Elliot. Meanwhile , the player’s father has strongly denied any wrongdoing on his son’s part.


    Cowboys’ rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot .

    Courtesy of Comcast Philadelphia .

    NFL Notes: League to review domestic violence allegations against Ezekiel Elliott

    Associated Press

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The NFL says it is reviewing domestic violence allegations against Dallas Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott.

    A police report says Elliott denied allegations that he assaulted his girlfriend early Friday in Columbus, Ohio, causing bruises and abrasions. The report says he wasn’t arrested because of conflicting versions of what happened.

    Three witnesses told police they didn’t see Elliott assault the 20-year-old woman. Elliott says the woman got the bruises and abrasions in a bar fight.

    The player’s father, Stacy Elliott, said in a statement Friday that the claims are “completely false” and that his son has cooperated with the investigation.

    Ezekiel Elliott is a running back who played at Ohio State. He turned 21 Friday.

    NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says the allegations will be reviewed under the league’s personal conduct policy (see full story).

    Colts: NFL suspends Art Jones for 4 games

    INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Arthur Jones has been suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

    Jones has struggled to stay on the field since signing a five-year, $33 million contract in 2014. He missed seven games in his first season with Indy with an injured right ankle. He missed all of last season with an injured left ankle he sustained during the preseason.

    Jones won’t be eligible to return to the team until Oct. 3 but will be allowed to participate in training camp and preseason games.

    ————————————————
    Click on link to read in full.
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    If the NFL hierarchy spent as much time dealing with and addressing players’ misconduct while also working in conjunction with the union , perhaps the fans and public alike would not have to be repeatedly made aware of such behavior with alarming regularity.

    Ray Rice has yet to be signed by a team and I hardly envisage the opportunity will arise where he finds himself on an NFL franchise roster in the lead-up to the preseason , much less the regular season itself. Rice has promised to donate his salary a women’s groups which supports victims of domestic abuse . Too bad , his dumb @ss wasn’t able to figure out his assault on his then fiance , now wife was one of the most despicable acts ever seen on the internet. With exception of the Rodney King ‘ beating ‘ and the images of the animals abused by Michael Vick , I seriously doubt those images can ever be wiped away from one’s memory !

    Former NFL running back Ray Rice .

    During the off-season Roger Goodell has been intent to carry on his charade of making an example of Tom Brady , while the league’s reputation continues to be tarnished with each passing moment. The NFL team owners back the commissioner vehemently , primarily because the league makes a great deal of money at the expense of the fans , sponsors and through the various broadcast contracts . The lone exception of the owners who might not continue support Goodell would be New England Patriots’ team owner , Robert ‘ Bob’ Kraft , who was once the most high-profiled and staunch backers of Roger Goodell.

    Dallas Cowboys news

    Tophatal …….

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  16. Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Piazza will be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame this year. Both of these players had storied careers and were among the best to have ever played the game at their respective positions. Unfortunately, neither Griffey or Piazza ever won a World Series’ championship though both were participants in the postseason at certain points in their careers.

    Mike Piazza (right) and Ken Griffey Jr .

    Tophatal …………………

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  17. After what now looks to be another less than riveting season , it would appear the New York Yankees are prepared to dump both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira . Given the fact both players combined will be paid in excess of $40 million for this year alone , it is understandable why the front office no longer wish to be attached to the two All Stars given their extremely poor seasons as teammates . Neither Rodriguez or Teixeira have provided the leadership sought since being acquired by the organization and signed to their exorbitant contracts . Though there has yet to be a formal statement issued from the front office , it is becoming abundantly clear GM Brian Cashman and senior managing partner Hal Steinbrenner have become frustrated with the lack of effort shown by both players.

    Mark Teixeira (left) and Alex Rodriguez.

    Offense has not been the only problem for the New York Yankees as the team’s pitching continues to show a great deal of inconsistency. It seems remarkable that the voters sought to choose any player from this roster to even represent the AL at this season’s All Star Game . If anything it was something of a farce that a player was actually thought to be good enough to be a part of the team , albeit that the American League was triumphant in this mid-season match-up between the leagues .

    Over their last fifteen games the New York Yankees are an abysmal 9-6 , while sitting among the lower rungs of the AL East , no chance of winning the division much being in contention for one of the two wildcard berths within the American League.In the midst of their three-game weekend series against the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx , New York on Saturday afternoon . On the mound for the Yankees will be Ivan Nova against the Giants’ Johnny Cueto , in what is sure to be a very exciting game .

    New York Yankees news

    New York Yankees’ existing contracts , payroll for 2016 , future payroll commitments and free agents

    Tophatal …………….

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  18. Saturday’s results within Major League Baseball and the current divisional standings . Sunday’s outings will represent the last games of the weekend schedule which began on Friday.

    The Miami Marlins (53-44) are still trying to pursue their very first divisional title in franchise history . Meanwhile , their veteran outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is on the verge of making history by getting his three-thousandth career hit in Major League Baseball. It will be a significant milestone in Ichiro’s career and for the Japanese player and future Hall of Fame inductee this achievement will add to his already historic legacy.

    Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly and his managerial staff has this team playing with a great deal of zeal and they should be in a position to take advantage of the current issues which have beset the New York Mets.

    The Miami Marlins were in action on Saturday evening when they faced the New York Mets at Marlins Ballpark in Miami , Florida. Giancarlo Stanton added another blast to his home-run tally for the season in the Marlins’ 7-2 victory over their divisional rivals . The win for the Marlins puts them 4 1/2 games behind division leaders the Washington Nationals . Miami and the New York Mets will resume their current series on Sunday afternoon when the opposing pitchers will be Steven Matz of the Mets against Jose Urena of the Miami Marlins.

    Miami Marlins news

    Tophatal ………..

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