Save It ….

Save It …

Not a great deal has been happening within the world of sports , albeit that, there are still some ongoing stories to be played out. NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned, though San Francisco 49ers’ newly installed general manager John Lynch has stated the franchise would not be averse to resigning the player. From by own standpoint , the ongoing hypocrisy of the NFL and the fact as a business entity there leaves a great deal to be desired concerning the claim this league is all-inclusive and has a respect for one’s right to express themselves freely. This league down the years has condoned some of the most heinous actions conceivable by players, without the NFL hierarchy of the NFLPA (union) seeking to address many of those issues. Needless to say, the longer Kaepernick remains unsigned , the more the matter will become open to conjecture and speculation.

The NFL has shown itself to be a hypocritical organization, where front office executives have excused the behavior of players who are known rapists , misogynists , racists , spousal and child abusers , but the moment a player takes a stance on a social rights’ issue and are well within their right do so, owners and general managers take the stance , that Colin Kaepernick is unpatriotic. Well , I guess if Kaepernick has spent in excess of $3 million of his own money to aid the cause of homeless veterans within the greater San Francisco area , as well as setting up a charitable foundation for at risk teenagers , it really does make him unpatriotic and conceited ? This country has short-term memory , lacks the intelligence to understand what is happening under its very nose and seems to forget that athletes such as Muhammad Ali , Jack Johnson , Jesse Owens , Jackie Robinson , John Carlos and Tommie Smith also took a similar stance to Colin Kaepernick , were vilified in some circles , and praised by others. I wonder , if the San Francisco 49ers , had the team won the Superbowl when they faced the Baltimore Ravens , even after the stoppage , which clearly changed the momentum of the game , would the San Francisco quarterback still be persecuted and have become persona non-grata within the league and by numerous fans ? Just a thought , mind you !

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Major League Baseball begins its regular season schedule with a slew of games to be played on Opening Day, 3rd April , 2017. The Chicago Cubs , as the reigning NL Pennant winners and World Series champions will be looking to be the first team since the New York Yankees to make a successful back-to-back defense of their title. The feat was last accomplished in 1998 and 1999 . Chicago’s opening game of their regular season began with a loss to divisional rivals the St Louis Cardinals with a 4-3 defeat . These two teams will meet again on Tuesday afternoon, in a game to be played at Busch Stadium , in St Louis , Missouri,.

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Jack Johnson , the first African-American to hold the Heavyweight Title and whose career in the boxing ring was questioned due to his association and fraternization with white women. Johnson was never able to find acceptance in America and fled to Europe where he gained the respect of fans and boxing promoters alike. Always a vocal opponent of racial and social injustice the boxer was vilified by fans , also by the press (print media) and by members of the US government. Not unlike the same treatment now being meted out against NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick .

Already a World Series’ MVP and among the best of the starting pitchers to be found in all of baseball , the San Francisco Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner continues to mesmerize not just with the ball , but also with his bat . In the Giants’ opening game of the season, Bumgarner became the first pitcher MLB history to hit two-solo home runs in a game. Manager Bruce 

, his managerial staff and the team will be looking to bounce back from that initial loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks when the San Francisco Giants resume their series on Tuesday. Johnny Cueto of Giants will be on the mound to face Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks.

For the past two seasons Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been the highest salaried player in baseball. When Kershaw takes to the mound for the Dodgers’ game against the San Diego Padres , his 2017 salary will be greater than the entire payroll of the opponent he faces on Tuesday afternoon .

Don’t say you weren’t forewarned , but there was a great deal of idiocy, surrounding the future of Klay Thompson as the Golden State Warriors acquired Kevin Durant . For some reason there was this insistence that Thompson and Durant would not be able to co-exist on a team , already with two superstars without adding a third. Klay Thompson has proved to be an invaluable asset alongside Durant and two-time League MVP , Steph Curry . The Golden State Warriors also seem to have rebounded from their NBA Finals’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers and will end up with the best record in the NBA for the second consecutive season . It should also be noted, with the swoon of the Cavaliers and their recent record , LeBron James and his teammates are by no means a certainty to repeat as champions much less win the Eastern Conference title.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers still laboring and possibly a tough match-up coming their way when they face the Orlando Magic and then Eastern Conference leaders the Boston Celtics . The Golden State Warriors under the calming influence of head coach Steve Kerr has guided his team with a great deal of aplomb and not worrying about what critics might have to say . Personally, would rather listen to the insight of Warriors’ special consultant Jerry West than the asinine thoughts of analysts and fans who clearly have no damn idea as to what it takes to build a championship contender much less a winning team ! Jerry West has been able to do that with the Los Angeles Lakers in the run-up to their championships won , when he was the architect of the teams led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal . He would then rebuild the Memphis Grizzlies into a contender before being brought on board of the Golden State Warriors at the request of co-owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber . Looking to round out their season on a high , the Warriors are unlikely to be a seventy-game winner this season. The best the team can hope for is a sixty-eight and fourteen record (68-14) to end their season , winning the five remaining games on their schedule. The first of those games will be against the Minnesota Timberwolves , a game where I expect the Warriors to come through unscathed !

Tiger Woods surprised no one with the announcement that he would skip this season’s first Major on the PGA Tour schedule , The Masters being held at Augusta G & CC , Augusta , Georgia . Woods has made one appearance on the PGA Tour this season and he has very little to show for it overall . Even if fully fit and had he declared himself ready to play, I do not believe Tiger Woods’ game would at his very best. Woods’ confidence is at an all-time low and he is kidding himself, if he still believes he can go shoulder to shoulder with any of the top-five players in the world. From being acclaimed the number one golfer in the world Tigers Woods is now at a crossroads in his career , with only the record of Jack Nicklaus to surpass , in terms of the number of Grand Slam tournaments won. Woods’ fall from grace has been his own undoing , with his well-chronicled sex escapades , lack of honesty , infidelity issues during and after his marriage.

Augusta will be the center of the Golf World when the tournament begins this Thursday and it will be interesting to see of Jordan Spieth can further enhance his career as being the best golfer , America has produced in the past five years.

For all of the ” hype” seen during the Men’s NCAA Tournament . The final game of College Basketball’s season turned out to be a downright “dud” and a truly ugly spectacle. Gonzaga the prohibitive favorites, took on North Carolina (Tar Heels) in a contest that was filled with numerous turnovers , ugly play and not much to redeem either of the two teams. Roy Williams adds another title to his already impressive resume’ , but at the end of the day, that is just about all one could say concerning the game .

Things have become stagnant within the UFC , as the banner organization is now more reliant on aging fighters , than some of its younger stars to raise its profile further. The return of Georges St Pierre is a further indication of that with the former UFC Welterweight Champion coming out of his self-imposed retirement to challenge the current Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping for his title. The fight will offer Bisping the biggest payday of his career and the chance to beat a legend. While the UFC has undergone a change in ownership after the organization was sold for a reputed $4.5 billion to William Morris Endeavor Group , a sports’ management and entertainment company known globally. What we do know , is that UFC President Dana White will remain on board in his current role as the UFC’s lead executive. White for his part, is now changing his stance with regard to the proposed fight between Conor McGregor , currently the biggest star within the organization and his facing multi-titlist , Floyd Mayweather , who is willing to come out of retirement to face McGregor. This is the sort of circus antics needed by both sports , which appears to be seeing something of a downturn in attendance for some of their high-profiled bouts and PPV events (pay per view).

The UFC has a very interesting upcoming event with , UFC 210 taking place this Saturday at the Key Bank Center in Buffalo , New York. Main event on the card will be Daniel Cormier defending his Light Heavyweight title when he faces Anthony “ The Rumble “ Johnson . For Cormier , this might be the most formidable opponent he has faced over the course of his career. Johnson tends to end his fights in spectacular fashion and is an excellent grappler and Ju-Jitsu artist . Cormier’s strengths lay in his wrestling and his power , but don’t be dissuaded by the fact that he doesn’t know how to knock an opponent out. All signs point to what should be a very good fight , while waiting in the wings as a possible future opponent for the winner , is the division’s former champion Jon “ Bones” Jones . For Jones in spite of his issues outside the octagon , there is no denying he’s sorely missed and if things fall into place , his being in line for a title shot would be the best thing that could happen to the sport and in particular for the Light Heavyweight division .

So , here’s the question , can MLS Soccer rise to the point where it can stand on its own , where fans and observers it can be taken seriously enough to challenge the top Soccer Leagues around the globe ? Granted , fan attendance for the league’s games have seen a gradual rise over the last eight years . Yet for all of that, the Men’s National Team has never seen the success attained by the Women at the international level. Furthermore , there has been only one player produced by the country who could ever deemed to be considered world-class , since the sport became something of a household pastime . Tim Howard has to be considered the greatest player in US Soccer history in spite of the idiotic glorification of Landon Donovan

Don Garber , the CEO of MLS Soccer and his national counterpart Sunil Gulati with US Soccer are now working in conjunction to create the traction needed whereby Soccer as a sport , can stand alone and be considered the nation’s fifth national pastime behind the NFL ( Football) , NBA , MLB , the NHL and with all due respect to NASCAR , a sport where athleticism is not actually a real focus , when your machine (car) is simply going around in circles (left turns , averaging 155 mph). No team in MLS Soccer has really risen to prominence at the club level internationally and while DC United and the Los Angeles Galaxy (L A Galaxy) are considered to be best franchises in the league’s history. Were it not for the splash made with the signing of David Beckham , I seriously doubt the game much less these two teams would have been the focus of some of the top stories within the sport over the last decade. David Beckham and his business partners are still struggling to bring a MLS franchise to South Florida, currently in something of a combative mode with MLS Soccer and municipal authorities to finance a stadium for the proposed franchise.

The aura of the Beckham name has already lost its luster from a commercial standpoint with regard to its connection to MLS Soccer, while the former soccer star , believes he and his partners will prevail in the end. There seems to be ever-growing signs of impatience from Don Garber and his fellow executives within MLS Soccer.

With growing revenues now coming from commercial sponsors, the league’s television rights are substantial , but nowhere yet on par with the deals now in place with the NBA , NFL or even MLB. It should also be noted the highest paid player within the sport earns a mere pittance in comparison to his counterparts in the aforementioned sports.

The only way for the MLS to succeed , is for the level of the game to be raised where it is on par with the top leagues around the globe , with more homegrown talent and the success of the Men’s National Team at the international level. Then and only then , will the sport actually capture the hearts and minds of the American public , rather than the belief the World Cup and its quadrennial staging is the sole course to be taken .

Which particular sports’ news story at present has you asking the question , is that it and why is this worth mentioning ?


Tophatal …… 04/03/2017

NFL news

MLB news

MLB schedule and probable pitchers

This week in baseball

NBA news

NBA results 2nd April and schedule for 3rd April

NBA standings overall

NBA standings (conference) and Playoff Projections

PGA Tour news

The Masters (2017)

NCAA Basketball (Men)

NCAA Final Four (Men’s)

UFC news

UFC schedule

MLS Soccer and US Soccer

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92 thoughts on “Save It ….

  1. I read an interesting blog article , which suggested during the off-season the Washington Nationals had an interest in acquiring Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates , but chose instead to sign Adam Eaton to a multi-year deal , bolstering what is already a very good Nationals’ team. That being said , I believe it would have been ludicrous and signaled the death knell for the Pirates , had team owner Robert Nutting agree to such a deal.

    Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Adam Eaton of the Washington Nationals .

    Over the last eight years Andrew McCutchen might be the only reason to actually take an interest in Pittsburgh coming back into the fold and being somewhat competitive. Granted , recent postseason appearances have seen them only advance as far as the wildcard round of the MLB postseason . Yet , it has been a great deal farther than anyone might have expected of this long-struggling franchise . The team itself has finally begun to get into its own , has an identity and the loss of McCutchen would have to be seen as catastrophic on a number of counts.

    This season the Pittsburgh Pirates are off to an inauspicious start , vying for the NL Central division. Pittsburgh’s players are playing with some zeal . This weekend the Pittsburgh Pirates were in action with a three game series against the New York Yankees at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania . The third of three games took place today , with starting pitchers being Iva Nova of the Pirates against Jordan Montgomery of the Yankees . Pittsburgh came away with a 2-1 victory over New York and placed themselves back into the divisional race. Monday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates will be in action when they face the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago , Illinois .

    In terms of value for money , there is great deal of difference in terms of the respective deals for Adam Eaton and Andrew McCutchen . However , if it’s productivity you are looking for , then McCutchen is a far better all-round player by a considerably wide margin.

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  2. Sunday’s results in the NBA as the teams on-court looked to make a decisive point in their respect series .

    The Cleveland Cavaliers (4-0) have swept the Indiana Pacers (0-4) winning game four by a mere four points , but it was enough to seal the victory and series. Cleveland now moves on to the conference semi-finals where they will meet the winners of the series between the Milwaukee Bucks (2-2) and Toronto Raptors (2-2) .

    In another of the games played on Sunday night , the Houston Rockets (3-1) have taken a decisive 3-1 lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder (1-3) , as Houston took control of game four winning the contest decisively . The other two games played on Sunday night , saw the teams pulling off victories to even their respective series at two games apiece . It was Joe Johnson leading the Utah Jazz (2-2) to victory over the Los Angeles Clippers (2-2) , while Isiah Thomas continues his exceptional season leading the Boston Celtics (2-2) to their well-earned win over the Chicago Bulls (2-2) .

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  3. It’s back to the same old story with the New York Mets . they have potential , they have potential , they have potential , but what they do not have is actual leadership or real depth of talent . Granted , claims have been made their pitching staff is said to be the best in baseball. Yet, for all sense and purpose when it mattered the most , neither the pitching or hitting was anywhere to be seen when they faced the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 World Series . Neither facet to the Mets’ game was on display during the entire series.

    New York Mets’ manager Terry Collins simply provides this team with a good talk , but he does not hold his players accountable and if anything , the players themselves are given far too much latitude in terms of their conduct and little to show for their play . Front office executives , Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi have been together for over five years seeking to get the Mets back on track , and though their postseason appearance in 2015 was seen as a highlight , the final outcome had to be viewed as a monumental disaster.

    The NL East this season will likely turn out to be a two-horse race between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals , with both teams having a great deal to prove. Payrolls for the respective rosters are not really that far apart. The Mets are coming off a four-game losing streak and a recent series’ loss to the Washington Nationals . All of which adds to the recent woes of the team. On Tuesday , the New York Mets will be in action as they take on the Atlanta Braves at Citi-Field , in Flushing , New York .

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  4. The Toronto Raptors (2-2) should have been well on their way to securing a conference semi-final berth in this season’s NBA Playoffs . Instead, they find themselves in a combative and competitive series against the Milwaukee Bucks (2-2 ) , with Milwaukee head coach Jason Kidd looking to guide this team to their furthest advancement in recent playoff history for the franchise . Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan the two mainstays for the Raptors have not been able to outplay the Bucks who have been able to counter with the play of rookie , Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greg Monroe , who lead the Bucks in scoring during the series.

    Game five of this series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors will be pivotal and I fully expect the team with the home advantage will gain the victory to place themselves in the driver’s seat for rest of this quarter-final series.

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  5. They’re no longer with the Philadelphia Phillies but the contributions of the Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins have to be acknowledged . These two players were part of the Phillies’ championship winning World Series’ team that triumphed over the Tampa Bay Rays in a very lopsided series .

    This season with the schedule in its infancy the Philadelphia Phillies are struggling somewhat to compete within the NL East. The division itself is likely to be a two-horse race between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals , with the Phillies , Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins vying for last place within the division. Phillies’ manager Peter Mackanin in his second season as the team’s manager will be looking to get the best out of his players . Considered to be the team’s most versatile player on the roster , Cesar Hernandez might well be a the future of the franchise , albeit with seasoned veterans Clay Buchholz , Howie Kendrick and Joaquin Benoit as part of this overall team. It will be interesting to see how the Phillies fare over their next ten to fifteen games .

    Peter Mackanin and the Philadelphia Phillies will be in action on Tuesday , when they face the Miami Marlins at PNC Park in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . I fully expect this game to fall in line with some of their previous regular season contests seen over the last four years.

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  6. At this point last season during the NBA Playoffs , it could be said the teams were getting into a rhythm of consistency . For several of the teams on the court tonight , their games will be pivotal to their respective series . As often is the case in game five of a postseason series , the home team has to be looking to take advantage of the situation presented.

    The San Antonio Spurs (2-2) will be looking to move one step closer to the conference semi-finals when they face the Memphis Grizzlies (2-2) , with their series currently tied at two games apiece (2-2) .

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  7. With three possible bids now on the table and no real timetable set for a proposed sale of the Miami Marlins , these are uncertain times for the franchise. The team is playing well , holding its own within the NL East and NL standings , but they do need to be a great deal more consistent in spite of the productivity . Team manager Don Mattingly and his coaches must know if the Miami Marlins are to be seen as a legitimate contender for the division and winning an NL Pennant , then it has to be about their mindset approaching each game and series throughout the course of this season .

    Monday afternoon the Miami Marlins were not in action , but they do have a game scheduled for Tuesday when they are due to face the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . Wei Yin-Chen of the Marlins will on the mound as he faces Vince Velazquez of the Phillies. This should prove to be a very good contest between the two teams.

    Courtesy of the Miami Herald

    Glavine addresses role in Marlins sale

    By Barry Jackson Miami Herald barryjackson@miamiherald.com

    As Bloomberg reported and a source confirmed, bids to buy the Marlins were recently due and the process is in advanced talks.

    The Marlins asked for bids because they wanted to push the process along and ownership is optimistic a sale will be completed in the coming months, according to the source.

    The three known bidders: New York businessman Wayne Rothbaum; a group including Jeb Bush and potentially Derek Jeter among others; and a group include Tagg Romney (Mitt’s son) and Hall of Famer pitcher Tom Glavine.

    At least two other groups have explored making a bid, and the Marlins still could consider those.

    Glavine, the former Braves standout left-hander, told The Boston Globe that his main responsibility is helping lure investors to the Romney group.

    “It’s been a lengthy process,” Glavine told The Globe’s Nick Cafardo. “I was contacted a couple of years ago by some people to ask whether I’d have an interest in doing something along these lines, and I certainly did. This Marlins situation came about last summer. After casual conversations and kicking tires it became apparent we could put people together and raise money.”

    Glavine said he feels “very good” about the Romney group bid but declined to say if he has any money invested. He also said he would “certainly want” a position with the organization if Loria opts to sell to the Romney group.

    “I’m not going to say I’m the GM, but I know the game pretty well,” Glavine said. “I understand it. There’s a lot on the business side that I don’t understand, so I’m open-minded about what the best role for me would be and what I like to do the most.”

    Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential nominee, is reportedly not involved in his son’s bid.

    Glavine also told The Globe that Loria “wants to get out of” team ownership, as we reported here in December.

    A Marlins source said he would be shocked if the team isn’t sold.

    • Other teams have inquired about left-hander Justin Nicolino, who’s at Triple A, after his strong spring, but Marlins executive Michael Hill said: “We are in no position to trade pitching. This spring, he was closer to the player we traded for. His stuff was markedly better.”

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    Click on link to read this article in full.


    It remains to be seen if current Miami Marlins’ team owner Jeffrey Loria will be able to sell the team at the reputed $1.6 billion he is now seeking after a valuation of $2 billion had been placed on the franchise by an investment bank hired by the owner. With Hall of Fame player Tom Glavine part of one of the consortium’s vying for the purchase of the Miami Marlins , with Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter known to be in another , it will be interesting to see how things pan out as the three groups compete for the sale of the team. Glavine’s consortium has the former Atlanta Braves’ ace joining forces with Tagg Romney , son of former GOP Presidential candidate and former Massachusetts’ governor Mitt Romney . The elder Romney is said to be providing his son with financial advice on the purchase and I have no doubt Mitt Romney’s former business ties to Bain Capital will also be playing a major role in the purchase.

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  8. Two of the NFL’s best running backs over the last ten years could be on their way to new destinations. Marshawn Lynch having retired as a Seattle Seahawks’ player is now said to be mulling a comeback , returning to the NFL and joining the Oakland Raiders . However, there appears to be a stumbling block , as the Raiders would like for Lynch to take less money as part of any new deal while the Seahawks still retain his rights. In the case of free agent running back Adrian Peterson , it has been about finding the right fit for his talents and it would appear that he is close to signing with the New Orleans Saints and providing another option for Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees .

    I feel that if Marshawn Lynch and the Oakland Raiders can come to terms , then they would be a prohibitive favorite for the AFC West divisional crown this season after the uncharacteristic slide of the Denver Broncos. The division could be seen as ” up for grabs” or a two horse race between the Broncos and Raiders. Though it should be noted the Kansas City Chiefs are quite capable of turning things upside down within the division. Either way it will make for a great season , especially when the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders get together for their scheduled divisional games this upcoming season .

    Marshawn Lynch (left) and Adrian Peterson

    Courtesy of Nor Sports.com

    Is Adrian Peterson setting the market value for Marshawn Lynch?

    Marshawn Lynch and the Oakland Raiders likely had very different reactions to Adrian Peterson’s reported contract with the New Orleans Saints.

    By Kevin Boilard

    x

    Adrian Peterson is reportedly close to signing a contract with the New Orleans Saints. What does that mean for Marshawn Lynch, who is contemplating an NFL comeback with the Oakland Raiders?

    The first year of Peterson’s reported deal pays out $3.25 million in 2017. That figure is important, because it sets the value for a 30-plus-year-old running back on the open market — such as Lynch.

    The Oakland Raiders are gearing up for the 2017 NFL Draft. Want the latest on potential targets sent straight to your inbox? – Sign up for our FREE Raiders newsletter now!

    That figure plays right into Oakland’s hand. Lynch, who is currently retired, would be due $9 million in 2017 under the terms of his current contract with the Seattle Seahawks. According to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Raiders are trying to acquire Lynch at one-third that amount, or $3 million, while Lynch isn’t accepting anything less than half, or $4.5 million, in 2017.

    Even if Peterson does sign for $3-4 million in the first year of his reported contract with the Saints, ESPN’s John Clayton doesn’t believe Lynch would sign a “similar deal” with the Raiders.

    We’re talking about a difference of $1.25 between Lynch’s reported asking price and Peterson’s reported deal. That shouldn’t be back-breaking, but every penny matters to Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, who is tasked with signing quarterback Derek Carr, edge defender Khalil Mack and right guard Gabe Jackson to contract extensions this offseason.

    Lynch has a decent argument to be paid roughly 38.5 percent more than Peterson in 2016. He is one year younger than Peterson — and one year healthier than him, too. Peterson is coming off a season-ending knee injury, while Lynch simply spent the season away from the game.

    Lynch, however, has not afforded himself much leverage in negotiations. His comeback was predicated on his desire to play for his hometown team, thus ruling out the possibility of him playing for any team other than the Raiders. There was one stray report about Lynch expressing interest in playing for the New England Patriots, and they seem pretty set at the running back position after adding former Buffalo Bills restricted free agent Mike Gillislee to their deep stable.

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    Click on link to read this article in full.
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    It has to be said if the New Orleans Saints were to be given a grade for last season then it would have to be an E . The team failed on so many levels in spite of another productive season from Drew Brees.

    It seems funny that two seasoned veterans such as Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson are likely to get only a veterans’ minimum for their respective deals ($3 to $4 million), while less productive running backs will be earning a great deal more this upcoming season .

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  9. Something is about to give tonight as several games take place in the NBA as the conference quarter-finals continue . On the evening schedule are three games , all pivotal to the respective series at hand. Game one features the features the Houston Rockets (3-1) taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder (1-3) , with Thunder head coach Billy Donovan having made several inexplicable mistakes concerning the team’s lineup and game-time decision making during the series . The second of the three contests has the San Antonio Spurs (2-2) looking to take a decisive lead in their series against the Memphis Grizzlies (2-2) . Game three has the Utah Jazz (2-2) facing the Los Angeles Clippers (2-2) with the Clippers seeking to make an emphatic statement with a win on their home-court .

    In the case of the series between the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies , San Antonio would like nothing better than to repeat the feat of last season in the NBA Playoffs by getting past the Grizzlies in the conference quarter-finals .

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  10. The NFL Draft in its lead-up seems to be creating a great deal of conjecture and speculation with the Cleveland Browns unsure as to they will take as the number one pick in the Draft. Myles Garrett now seems to be the consensus overall top-pick , considered to be the defensive end in this crop of players. The Browns have several needs at several positions , most notably at the quarterback position where they failed miserably last season . Browns’ head coach Hue Jackson will have a tough time justifying taking a defensive end when there is a need for a quarterback , unless the front office believes they would be benefited by taking a free agent quarterback. If Myles Garrett is taken by the Cleveland Browns then there is the likelihood they will choose to take a quarterback in the latter rounds .

    The Cleveland Browns’ preseason schedule isn’t yet official , but their regular season schedule should prove to be eventful as they seek to be competitive within the AFC North this upcoming season. In week one the Browns will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in a home game open up their season schedule on September 10th , 2017. In week two the Cleveland Browns will quite possibly looking to make it two wins in a row when they go up against the Baltimore Ravens in another divisional game. No real chance of seeing the Cleveland Browns going 3-0 through their first three games of the season , not with Cody Kessler leading the team at the quarterback position .

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  11. MLB games scheduled for Tuesday 25th April ,2017. Still early days in the season , but already we can see some teams beginning to find a rhythm . The Los Angeles Dodgers remain the highest salaried team in baseball and there is no denying there is great deal of pressure on the players to succeed. Since 2012 the Dodgers have spent in excess of $1.26 billion on payroll alone , with the figure , with the figure for this season to well over $200 million .

    Dave Roberts manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the reigning NL Manager of The Year will be preparing his team to face their divisional rivals the San Francisco Giants . The starting pitchers in this contest will be Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers against Ty Blach of the Giants.

    While I believe the Los Angeles Dodgers as a team are good enough to make another MLB postseason appearance , I simply do not think they can win the World Series ! Many of the best players on the roster just appear to be gun-shy and lack the attitude needed for the team to win. It has been abundantly clear with the likes of Clayton Kershaw , Adrian Gonzalez , Andrew Ethier , Yasmani Grandal , Yasiel Puig , Corey Seager and a slew of others on the team. When it comes to the postseason in recent years the Dodgers have performed like a deer caught in headlights .

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  12. So what now for Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder after they bow out of the first round of the NBA Playoffs losing their first-round series to the far more competitive Houston Rockets ? Westbrook was the only member of this Thunder roster who actually showed up for the games played . Oklahoma’s head coach Billy Donovan and the coaching staff were completely outwitted by their counterparts throughout the entire series.

    The disappointment of this postseason has been an immense one for the Oklahoma City Thunder as a great deal was expected of this team by the front office and ownership group .

    Sam Presti general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder knows this team will have to be bolstered through acquisitions and the upcoming NBA Draft this off-season . He will also certainly have to reassess the weaknesses on the roster moving forward .

    Russell Westbrook is insistent that he would like for the core of this team to remain together while the executives seek to bolster the roster. From my own perspective it’s not solely about the roster, but the lack of depth and their being no one else besides Russell Westbrook who was capable of being able to be productive on a consistent basis throughout the regular and postseason.

    Oklahoma City Thunder news

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  13. OK , so slowly the teams in baseball are getting into rhythm . So what’s up with the Kansas City Royals (7-14) who supposedly have one of the most potent offenses in the Majors, but yet they find themselves at the bottom of the AL Central division. The Royals were in action on Wednesday afternoon when they faced the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois. It would be the White Sox coming away with the victory , further adding to their divisional rivals’ woes for the season. The Kansas City Royals will be looking to bounce back on Friday when they face the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Field in Kansas City , Missouri . Kyle Gibson of the Twins will be on the mound to face off against Ian Kennedy of the Royals .

    MLB news

    MLB standings (divisional)

    MLB schedule three days at a glance (including probable pitchers)

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  14. With the signing of Adrian Peterson , the New Orleans Saints are not about to become the ” Eighth Wonder of The World ” , nor will the team in its current guise be a force to be reckoned with this upcoming season in the NFL . Saints’ head coach Sean Payton along with his coaching staff and GM Micky Loomis have not addressed the real underlying issues this team faced last season and heading into this. The roster is an aging one and remains so, even with the addition of Peterson. It seems somewhat ridiculous for idiots out there not to realize this fact , especially when the evidence is there right in-front of them (twenty-sixth in the league) .

    Defensively, the New Orleans Saints were complete train-wreck in 2016 and about the only thing worthwhile was the fact 000 veteran quarterback Drew Brees was productive , amassing yardage as if he were on the field for target practice. Micky Loomis is reluctant to address the “1,000 lb Gorilla In the Room ” , the successor to Drew Brees and how will the front office go about building the roster through free agency and their choices from the 2017 NFL Draft which actually takes place this week , beginning with the first round on Thursday , April 27th . While I expect the Saints to go about their decision-making frugally , there remains cause for concern on how they will address their most important needs. If the decisions made over the past five years are anything to go by, then the franchise could very well be in for a very dry spell over the next few seasons. In week one the New Orleans Saints are set to face the Minnesota Vikings on the road . This conference match-up should prove to be a very interesting contest for both teams. The game will offer Adrian Peterson to renew old acquaintances as he faces his old team.

    The New Orleans Saints’ preseason schedule will offer up the team’s new acquisitions and rookies the opportunity to shine as a precursor to their regular season schedule.

    New Orleans Saints news

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  15. He’s already a two-time Superbowl winner and a likely Hall of Fame inductee once he’s met the requirements. Yet, there ca be no denying the Pittsburgh Steelers’ veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger remains driven as he strives to be the best. He’s on the verge of passing several of the franchise marks of his predecessors . Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin guided the team last season to a postseason appearance where they destroyed the Miami Dolphins in the wildcard round before falling in the conference championship game to the eventual Superbowl winners the New England Patriots .

    Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers .

    Last season the Pittsburgh Steelers were truly tested within their division (AFC North) as well as within their conference. Pittsburgh’s front office headed by GM Kevin Colbert will be looking to bolster the existing roster in the lead-up to the NFL Draft as well as through free agent acquisitions and the assessment of the team’s own free agents. Not impeded by the cap , the Steelers know their best chance of being as competitive as the New England Patriots , they must have have a roster which has depth and is comparable to the Patriots’ own lineup .

    Kevin Colbert will clearly look at his options when it comes to the first round of the NFL Draft and the choices available to him through each round .

    GM Kevin Colbert (right) and head coach Mike Tomlin

    Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers will have an eventful preseason and regular season . As with all of the NFL’s 32 teams , the Steelers’ preseason will consist of four games. Opponents for their preseason will include the New York Giants , Atlanta Falcons , Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers . Their regular season schedule will open up with a game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium in Cleveland , Ohio on the 10th September , 2017.

    Pittsburgh Steelers news

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  16. There can be no denying the death of Detroit Tigers’ owner Michael Ilitch had reverberations for the franchise , the executives , the managerial staff , players , fans and the entire organization in general . Ilitch left an indelible mark on the game of baseball , as he was one of the most revered owners in the game. Michael Ilitch will be replaced by his son Chris Ilitch as he assumes control of this revered ball-club. Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus has been entrusted to manage the team and he brings along a unique awareness of the game. With Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander being two of the main focal points of the playing staff , it will be interesting to see how the Tigers perform over the course of the season.

    Competing within the AL Central the Detroit Tigers are off to a very good start to the season and they will be in action today , when they face the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan . Justin Verlander will be on the mound for the Tigers when comes up against Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners .

    A weekend series for the Detroit Tigers will see them face the Chicago White Sox for a three game set , with the first of those contests taking place on Friday, 28th April . Regular season series’ games between these two AL teams have proven to be very entertaining over the past few years.

    I certainly believe if the Detroit Tigers can corral the facets of their game up to a level where they are competitive enough within the AL , then there’s no reason no to think they are not capable of making a deep postseason run in chase of a World Series championship , something which has eluded the Tigers for over twenty-five years.

    Detroit Tigers news

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  17. So it took them six games , but for last night’s victors , those game-six’s meant a great deal . The San Antonio Spurs (4-2) ‘downed ‘ the Memphis Grizzlies (2-4) on their way to a riveting victory . In the second of the two games played Thursday night it was the Toronto Raptors (4-2) taking their show on the road to end the postseason run of the Milwaukee Bucks (2-4) . It was a gallant effort by the Grizzlies and Bucks in their respective series , but in the end , the better teams won.

    NBA news

    NBA results 27th April

    NBA Playoff Brackets (2017)

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  18. I am not too sure if the Cleveland Browns actually put their fans out of their misery or if they might well have prolonged it with their first-round draft pick in the 2017 NFL Draft . The Browns made their decision and took Myles Garrett the defensive end out of Texas A&M .

    Myles Garrett (center) reacts alongside his mother Audrey (left) and father Lawrence (right) after being selected No. 1 by the Cleveland Browns while at the NFL Players Association’s Myles Garrett Draft Day party at Terra Verde on Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. Brandon Wade / Associated Images for NFLPA

    The second overall pick in the NFL Draft was something of a shock as the Chicago Bears traded up with the San Francisco 49ers to take North Carolina quarterback Mitchell ‘Mitch’ Trubisky , the first passer taken in this Draft.

    Only time will tell if the Cleveland Browns made a mistake , but it is clear , for the remainder of the NFL Draft all eyes will be on the Browns as they seek to bolster their current roster .

    NFL news

    2017 NFL Draft

    NFL transactions

    This month in NFL history

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  19. While the idiocy of the NFL Draft continues with the second of the three-day proceedings taking place today . I can’t help but wonder how the fans and analysts alike will get caught up in the nonsense , while seeking grade the teams on their choices . You can only assess the teams based on the decisions made and not by your expectations and what you believe they will be able to do this upcoming season.

    NFL news from around the league

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  20. For three straight seasons the Houston Astros were one of the worst performing teams in baseball. Between 2011 and 2013 the Astros had three consecutive losing seasons of 100 hundred games or more . In 2014 the team was again close to losing one hundred games , but managed not go over that tally , finishing with a record of 70-92 .

    This season the Houston Astros are hoping to compete within the AL West , division which still remains one of the most overlooked in all of baseball. A J Hinch and the Astros’ managerial staff will be hoping this team is up to the task of taking on all-comers as they seek to win a divisional title for the first time since 2001 , when they made the postseason only to fall in the divisional round of the MLB postseason of that year . Postseason appearances for the Houston Astros since 2001 have been fleeting to say the very least. GM Jeff Luhnow and managing partner Jim Crane have spent more time in recent seasons litigating civil issues with CSN Comcast over their joint ownership of the regional sports’ broadcast outlet.

    The Houston Astros have a weekend schedule with their facing the Oakland A’s at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas , with the first of those games taking place on Friday , 28th April. Starting pitchers in this contest will be Jharel Cotton of the A’s against Charlie Morton of the Astros .

    Houston Astros news

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  21. The second round of the NFL Draft took place on Friday leading up the subsequent rounds , rounds’ three , four , five , six and seven . While this year’s draft has created a great deal of excitement with only the Supplemental Draft yet to take place in the aftermath of the main event itself . All that remains once the event is over , will be the assessment of how the teams fared through the ordeal . Personally, I find it somewhat asinine analysts and fans alike , will seek to grade the teams as an objective rather than looking at this all , subjectively !

    Tophatal ……………………..

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  22. Friday’s results in the NBA saw the Boston Celtics (4-2) secure a victory to make their way to the East Conference Semi-Finals of this season’s NBA Playoffs . Also proceeding to the next round within the conference were the Washington Wizards (4-2) whose sixteen-point victory over the Atlanta Hawks (2-4) was well-deserved . In the Western Conference the Los Angeles Clippers (2-3) managed to stave of elimination by seeing a great performance from point guard Chris Paul , as the Clippers defeated the Utah Jazz (3-2) by the score of 98-93 .

    No games are scheduled for Saturday , but there will be two games played on Sunday, 30th April .

    NBA news and 2017 NBA Playoff Brackets

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  23. The big story in the NBA might not be about the teams advancing to the conference semi-finals , but Larry Bird , stepping down as the President of Basketball Operations of the Indiana Pacers . This will be the third time Bird has made such a move , leaving the franchise he has rebuilt and turned around , but with having fared miserably in their recent playoff appearances. Current Team GM Kevin Pritchard will step up to succeed Bird, while team owner Herb Simon who has fervently remained loyal to Larry Bird , has to be somewhat dismayed at the timing of this decision.

    Paul George (left) and Larry Bird .

    Indiana Pacers’ head coach Nate McMillan and his coaching staff did a credible job this season leading the Indiana Pacers to a postseason berth , with a team which in many ways was never really considered to be among the best within the Eastern Conference. There now begins a great deal of speculation of what could likely happen concerning the roster and in particular the long-term future of Paul George . The player’s own relationship with Larry Bird has been lukewarm over the course of Bird’s tenure and George has been extremely vocal concerning the lack of progress made by the Pacers in recent seasons. Paul George is not set to become a free agent until 2019 .

    Courtesy of ESPN

    Larry Bird stepping down as president of Pacers

    Larry Bird is stepping down as president of the Indiana Pacers, The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears has confirmed. General manager Kevin Pritchard will take over the team.

    The news was first reported by The Vertical.

    Among Bird’s biggest accomplishments with the team was drafting Danny Granger in 2005 and Paul George in 2010. The team also selected Kawhi Leonard in 2011 but traded his draft rights to the Spurs for George Hill.

    Bird leaves the Pacers ahead of a pivotal summer in which the franchise will have to decide what to do with George. He can become a free agent after next season and there is wide speculation that he would prefer to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Pacers will have to decide whether to try to persuade him to stay long term or trade him.

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    Click on link to read this article in full.
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    I firmly believe the Indiana Pacers’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-0) in a first-round exit by the 4-0 series’ defeat , had more to do with the weakness of the Pacers roster and lack of real depth . It has been suggested Paul George who is a California native , would like nothing better than to be traded and it seems possible the front office of the Indiana Pacers might just concede and George his wish. It is common knowledge the shooting guard would like nothing better than to become a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and most certainly Magic Johnson as one of the lead executives within the Lakers’ front office might be willing to facilitate such a deal . However, such a deal would be based upon what the Lakers would be willing to give up for Paul George and the money he would be due .

    NBA news

    Indiana Pacers news

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  24. We’re not yet one month into the MLB season and the teams are seeking to play with some consistency . The Washington Nationals are off to a fast start . The team has a weekend schedule against the New York Mets in a three-game series , which began on Friday. These two teams will resume their current series when they take to the diamond today at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC. On the mound will be Zach Wheeler of the Mets against Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals .

    MLB news

    MLB results 29th April

    Tophatal ……………

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  25. It’s good to the ‘ The King’ and the for the New England Patriots as reigning Superbowl champions, it begins with a reset as the coaching staff and front office set about revamping the roster with their new rookies from the 2017 NFL Draft class as well as their free agent acquisitions . Now while the speculation continues over Jimmy Garoppolo and whether or not he or Jacoby Brissett remain as the backup to Tom Brady . I would like to think both GM Nick Caserio and Bill Belichick see the value in retaining the two young quarterbacks as Brady’s understudy. One of the more unusual stories ow circling within the organization is the possibility the Patriots might be willing to trade the hero of their Superbowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks by listening to offers for Malcolm Butler . To my mind that would be a tremendous mistake on the part of the New England Patriots , in spite of the depth on the current roster . You can never have enough good quality players on a team and this is something which has come to define the Patriots as an organization , beyond the coaching acumen of Bill Belichick and the play-making ability of Tom Brady.

    The New England Patriots should be in a very healthy position from a cap standpoint heading into this upcoming season .

    New England Patriots news

    Tophatal ……………

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  26. There will be a couple of games on today’s schedule for the NBA as the teams competing look to close out their respective series . Both finalists from last season’s NBA Finals are already through to the next round , the conference semi-finals and it will be interesting to see who their opponents will be . Neither the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-0) or the Golden State Warriors (4-0) were really tested by their first-round opponents in the conference quarter-finals . I firmly believe a weakened Eastern Conference makes the Cavaliers appear to be great deal better than they actually are !

    NBA news and playoffs results to date

    NBA schedule 30th April

    Tophatal ……………….

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  27. Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals is off to a red-hot start to the season and it would appear that as a possible Triple Crown candidate , Zimmerman would put himself in a category to win the NLMVP . Yet, for all sense and purpose as good a player as Ryan Zimmerman might be, the pitfalls remain the same for the Washington Nationals. This is a team which needs to be consistent all season long , rather than flurries. If they are incapable of doing that , then there is no chance of them winning the World Series . In recent seasons their failures in the postseason have been plain for everyone to see.

    Leading the NL East with a comfortable lead the Washington Nationals are in the process of winning their current series against the highly overrated New York Mets . The Nationals have already smashed out a season-high twenty hits in the game against the overwhelmed Mets and there seems to no signs, of them ending their offensive onslaught in this game .

    MLB news and results

    MLB schedule 30th April

    MLB standings (divisional)

    On this day in baseball

    This week in MLB history

    Tophatal ………………

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  28. The first of the conference semi-finals’ games are taking place today as the NBA Playoffs enters a crucial stage of the playoffs. Brad Stevens head coach of the Boston Celtics (1-0) took on the Washington Wizards (0-1) in the first game of their conference semi-finals series. Boston came away with an encouraging win over their conference rivals and could be well on their way to winning the series without breaking much of a sweat.

    There is one remaining game left to be played from the first round and it involved the Los Angeles Clippers (3-4) playing host to the Utah Jazz (4-3) . In what can only be termed as a major upset the Jazz got by the Clippers , ending another completely disappointing season for the Los Angles’ based franchise. Clearly , things are not working for the Los Angles Clippers and it is something which will have to be addressed by Doc Rivers in his dual role as head coach as well as Head of Basketball Operations for the Clippers

    NBA news

    NBA results (30th April)

    Tophatal …………….

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