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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Picture gallery. Click on an individual frame for a brief narrative.

92 thoughts on “Save It ….

  1. Colin Kaepernick remains an unsigned free agent quarterback , while Tony Romo is said to be mulling retirement from the NFL to take up a position with a broadcast network as an NFL analyst. Romo over the course of his career , has earned a considerable sum , with an estimated wealth exceeding $65 million . Meanwhile , Kaepernick is still being vilified in the press , as well as by a bunch of clueless fans , whose IQ’s would not be considered worthy of mention, much less considered standard requirement for a MENSA aptitude test.

    NFL news

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  2. Chris Humpherys ( Sports Chump)

    If Colin Kaepernick is still in this league five years from now , having been able to resume his career and have some semblance of success. Then I feel he will be looked on favorably ! Look at Ray Rice , as someone who did far worse than the quarterback and though he’s still to restart his career , he was not vilified on the same level as Colin Kaepernick . An @sshole such as former Pats’ safety Rodney Harrion (pictured below) , with his stupidity , even suggested the player wasn’t black and had no idea about black suffrage or what it is like to be black , not realizing Kaepernick was biracial . That’s the sort of bull$hit racist remark I would expect to hear from a redneck bigot from the South .

    Rodney Harrison .

    Tophatal ………..

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  3. The NBA Playoffs are just over a week away and with the games remaining being so meaningful , a number of the divisional races and conference standings have become very suspenseful and thrilling.

    Things have now become precarious for several teams , most notably for the Miami Heat , with several of their starters now missing from the lineup in recent games. At 38-40 by virtue of their divisional record the Heat have the eighth seed within the Eastern Conference . In their most recent game the Miami Heat faced the Charlotte Hornets , defeating their conference rivals 112-99 . Next up for the Heat will be a contest against the Toronto Raptors on the road this upcoming Friday .

    NBA news and NBA results 5th April

    NBA players’ stats (efficiency) , players’ stats (points)

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  4. We’re barely a week into the MLB season and already fans and analysts alike are trying to over-analyze what has taken place and the results . Teams are not likely to find their rhythm until at least the end of April of or by mid-May . I am inclined to go along with that scenario with the season still in its infancy. For the moment there has been team which has began to separate itself from the rest of the pack.

    For Friday’s schedule and there are a full slate of games which will make up the weekend series taking place. One of the games on the schedule will be the Miami Marlins taking on the New York Mets at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York . On the mound will be Wei Yin Chen of the Marlins as he faces the Mets’ Zack Wheeler . With the sale of the Miami Marlins falling through there continues to be mounting speculation and quite possibly wishful thinking former New York Yankees’ star Derek Jeter might well be leading a consortium of prospective bidders willing to buy the NL East based franchise . This should be a particularly interesting game given the unraveling scenarios now taking place with Jeter’s interest in buying the Miami Marlins , while the New York Mets for their part . simply wanting to prove they’re ready to take on all-comers .

    Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

    Derek Jeter, Jeb Bush may be interested in buying Marlins

    By Chris Qwik

    Two men known for losing in Florida may have interest in buying the Miami Marlins. Former New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter and presidential candidate Jeb Bush are reportedly part of two different groups interested in bidding on the franchise, according to Fox Business.

    There are allegedly three groups serious about making an offer for the Marlins, according to the report. One is led by Jeter, one is led by Bush and the other is cryptically made up of “a number of businessmen.”

    It’s been rumored for months that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is willing to sell the team. In December, Loria was reportedly asking for $1.7 billion, which was far above where Forbes valued the franchise.

    That figure isn’t looking so outlandish now, according to the Fox Business report. It mentions a “multibillion-dollar bidding war,” though later notes that the bidding “could range anywhere between $800 million and $1.6 billion.”

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    Click on link to read this article in full
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    From my own standpoint , I think it would be a wonderful idea to have Derek Jeter be a prospective owner of an MLB franchise as they are not too many former players who have been involved in baseball team ownership , though there are several former players now in the role as managers or as general managers . Current Marlins team owner Jeffrey Loria has done little to ingratiate himself with the fans in South Florida over the last eight seasons , with the ownership simply lacking a real prospective in wanting to achieve any real semblance of success. Playing in a fairly new stadium which has yet to be filled to capacity for any of their home games during that time. Yet, Loria somehow believes it was still prudent to offer All Star Giancarlo Stanton a multi-year deal , which will pay the player $325 million over the life of his contract. Were Stanton traded , either the Marlins or Stanton’s new team would still be obligated to honor the deal . This all spells a recipe for disaster , no matter which way you try to look at the situation. Other than the New York Yankees , Los Angeles Dodgers or the Boston Red Sox , there are very few teams in baseball capable of paying a player in excess of $25 million a year.

    MLB news

    MLB results

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    MLB standings (divisional)

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  5. There’s crazy and then there’s crazy as hell . It has to be the case, if as is being widely reported the Seattle Seahawks are prepared to trade their Pro Bowl caliber corner-back Richard Sherman . The player has played a large part in the resurgence of the franchise , while also seeing them win their first Superbowl title in the franchise’s history. Other than Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson , I doubt that the majority of fans can name another player on the current roster much less another player in the last six seasons who has contributed as much to the Seahawks. I am not so sure this possible trade has the blessing of head coach Pete Carroll , but this all might come down to the fact team owner Paul Allen and senior executives within the front office might not be willing to meet the demands of having to resign the player when he is due to become a free agent in 2019 .

    Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (left) and Richard Sherman .

    Pete Carroll still has a very good team and though they fell short of their own expected goals of last season , there can be no denying they are still one of the best teams in the NFC and most certainly among the very best in the NFL. If the Seattle Seahawks were to trade Richard Sherman in the lead-up to the NFL Draft , I do not believe they are likely to be well compensated in return for a player of his status.

    NFL news

    Seattle Seahawks news

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  6. The first two rounds of The Masters have been completed and now the suspense begins as the players in contention will have to show their determination . There is a four-way tie atop of the leader-board , with Charley Hoffman joined there by Sergio Garcia , Rickie Fowler and Thomas Pieters at four under par (-4) . Round three of The Masters gets underway today with these top four players expected to solidify their standing in the tournament .

    PGA Tour news

    The Masters …….

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  7. These last four games in the NBA have not been for the feint of heart with the season now on the line for a number of teams. Friday’s games were interesting in a number of ways . The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to show a great deal of weakness as they drop another game losing to conference rivals the Atlanta Hawks by the score of 100-114 . Elsewhere , the Miami Heat seem intent on blowing their chances of a playoff berth as they threw in the towel against the Toronto Raptors . For Russell Westbrook having tied the record for the most triple doubles in a regular season , the player was unable to go one better , failing to make that mark in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s loss to the Phoenix Suns .

    NBA news

    NBA results and Sunday’s schedule

    NBA Playoff projections …..

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  8. There’s a very good AL game on the schedule today as the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers resume their series. Detroit will be at home, Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan with Jordan Zimmerman on the mound for the Tigers as he faces Eduardo Rodriguez of the Red Sox .

    It would not be too soon to suggest that the Tampa Bay Rays are dead in the water , but merely because they were able to take down the New York Yankees , would be no reason to state they are read to take on the best within their division , much less their league . The Rays have a divisional game scheduled today when they face the Toronto Blue Jays in a contest beginning at 6:10 pm this evening. Aaron Sanchez of the Blue Jays will be facing Chris Archer of the Rays.

    MLB news

    MLB schedule and probable starters

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  9. Some parents of college athletes , should be seen and not heard. With each passing moment, it would appear that the father of basketball prodigy Lonzo Ball , has either been critical of NBA star LeBron James or making asinine comparisons concerning his son’s talent and that of James’ career while also using some racial epithets . Remarkable and somewhat idiotic when you consider Lonzo Ball’s father is married to a Caucasian female . La Var Ball should simply shut the hell up , because he is not doing his son any favors of that of his prospective standing among the group of eligible players for the upcoming NBA Draft . Lonzo Ball is an exceptional talent , but I do not believe he is among the top ten players at the Collegiate Level and I certainly don’t believe he will be as impact-ful as some might believe .

    I can only believe LaVar Ball is seeking to hype up his son’s talent in seeking a major payday , through the expected endorsements and rookie contract from the team that happens to draft the UCLA star.

    Courtesy of ESPN

    LaVar Ball says ‘white guys’ comment was misunderstood: ‘I love those guys’

    LaVar Ball, the father of former UCLA star Lonzo Ball, said comments he made about his son’s white teammates were misunderstood.

    “I love those guys,” LaVar Ball said Friday.

    Ball was quoted Thursday by the Southern California News Group as saying the Bruins lost to Kentucky in the NCAA tournament because his son injured his hamstring during the game and “realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow.”

    Ball attempted to clarify those comments Friday during an interview with ESPNLA 710. “I am not saying I don’t like the white guys and we lost because of them. No — that’s how they twisted it up,” he said.

    Ball’s comments appeared to be a reference to UCLA starters TJ Leaf, Thomas Welsh and Bryce Alford, the son of coach Steve Alford.

    “I love Bryce because he’s Alford’s son and he’s always been nice to me,” Ball said. “TJ Leaf — Zo’s friend, always nice and respectful. Thomas Welsh — one of their most intelligent players, very nice, respectful.

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    Click on link to read this article in full.
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    La Var Ball is seen here standing next to his wife Tina Ball and their three sons.

    The UCLA Bruins had an interesting ride in the NCAA Tournament losing to Kentucky (Wildcats) in the loss of their game , having made it to the Sweet Sixteen . Lonzo Ball’s draft stock should place him as a top-ten pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.

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  10. The Miami Heat and Washington Wizards are among the teams still in a tight race for one of the remaining playoff berths within the Eastern Conference . The Washington Wizards currently hold the fourth seed within the conference while the Miami Heat hold the ninth, just behind the Chicago Bulls (39-41) , due to conference record . If the season were to end tomorrow , then the first round match-ups would see the Bulls face the Cleveland Cavaliers while the Wizards would be in a series against the Atlanta Hawks .

    Of the games played on Saturday evening , perhaps the most competitive of them all was the contest between the Miami Heat and the Washington Wizards. Elsewhere , Damian Lillard scored fifty-nine points in the Portland Trailblazers’ impressive win over the Utah Jazz . In another all conference clash, Gregg Popovich decided to give rest a number of his starters on the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup as they faced the Los Angeles Clippers . Having assured themselves of the second seed in the West , San Antonio would likely face the seventh seeds the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA Playoffs based on current projections.

    Sunday will provide the fans with several games as the season begins to wind down . On the court for the seven contests due to take place , we have the New York Knicks (30-50) facing the the Toronto Raptors , also the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves in an all Western Conference clash.

    NBA news

    NBA results and schedule 9th April

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  11. In what was meant to be a banner night in the UFC with the main card being the Daniel Cormier’s defense of his Light Heavyweight Title at UFC 210. The fans were given the privilege of seeing a very good bout along with an outstanding under-card of of supporting bout, Cormier faced top-ranked contender Anthony ‘ Rumble’ Johnson in the main event of the UFC 210 fight-card . The bout ended in a knockout (TKO) , a minute and twenty-seconds into the second round as the challenger was knocked down by the champion. It was something of a surprising end to a title match, where it was felt Anthony Johnson was the fighter with the power, while Daniel Cormier was the better all-round practitioner. For Cormier this defense adds to his legacy and a proposed title defense against former champion Jon Bones Jones , now seems a guaranteed certainty.

    A Daniel Cormier bout against Jon Jones would certainly garner a large Pay-Per-View audience and a large enough attendance between arguably the two best fighters within the Light Heavyweight Division. There is a great deal of ‘bad blood’ between these two fighters after Jones was stripped of the title when he defended it against Daniel Cormier. Jon Jones’ mandatory test results , showed that the fighter had cocaine and other opiates in his system and this led to a great deal of controversy, as it was felt , with the pre-fight testing . those opiates should and would have shown up in the testing. However, UFC President Dana White chose to go ahead with the fight purely because of the economical aspects of it all with their being so much at stake with this title bout at the time.

    UFC news and results from UFC 210

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  12. The NCAA was a very sloppy basketball game. Yet in the end UNC pulled it out with good defense and stopping the Zags. The NBA who cares. NFL is a dud. The NFL is on the way down. TC ratings have slipped this past year.

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  13. Over the last eight years I feel that the Los Angeles Angels have been one of the most disappointing teams in all of baseball ! They certainly have the best player in the game with a two-time AL MVP outfielder Mike Trout , but unfortunately , Trout cannot do it all by himself in spite of his talent and heroics . The Angels have a solid start to the season , thought it’s early days yet. Mike Trout was instrumental in his team defeating the Seattle Mariners in a very competitive and tight game on Saturday afternoon with the Angels winning 5-4 . These two teams will resume their current series when they take to the field on Sunday afternoon.

    On year removed from another disastrous season the Atlanta Braves have set about looking to rebound , trying to see if they can win a divisional title for the first time in five years . The Atlanta Braves would go to the postseason in 2013 , only to fall at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the = NLDS of that season .

    Brian Snitker and the managerial staff of the Atlanta Braves will be hard-pressed to get this team playing competitively , while also getting the better of their opponents. On Sunday afternoon the Braves will be facing Andrew McCutchen and the Pittsburgh Pirates in a game being played at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania .

    MLB news

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  14. Sergio Garcia might be the most talented golfer to come out of Spain since Seve Ballasteros . Ballasteros alongside Jose Maria-Olazabal have been the players to put the Balearic country on the golfing map. Garcia has often been described as the most talented player never to have won a Grand Slam Major . Currently in The Masters , the Spaniard has the chance to make that dream come true by landing his first Grand Slam title and were he to do so , the feat could be considered by many golf purists as long overdue .

    Jose Maria-Olazabal (left) and the late Severiano ‘Seve’ Ballasteros , the only two Spaniards ever to have won Grand Slam Major Tournament.

    When the fourth round of The Masters gets underway Sergio Garcia will be lined up alongside Justin Rose , first round leader Charlie Hoffman and Rickie Fowler . However, lurking in the midst two strokes behind the leaders is Jordan Spieth (-4) and Spieth will be looking to win his third Grand Slam title of his career, having won The Masters and US Open in 2015 .

    Whoever wins The Masters will see their listing move up the World Golf Rankings , as well as seeing a significant payday in terms of the endorsements coming their way , at a minimum , a guaranteed $10 million this year alone.

    Sergio Garcia (left) and Jordan Spieth.

    PGA Tour news

    The Masters (Leaderboard )

    Career prize money on the PGA Tour (leaders)

    PGA Tour career wins and Grand Slam Major wins

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  15. This is the last Sunday of the NBA regular season with teams having less than three games to play before the finale . Almost a full slate of games are scheduled today , many of whom should provide some interesting scenarios by way off their divisional and playoff implications . The Toronto Raptors will be taking on the New York Knicks , seeking to end the Knicks’ season with continued misery.

    Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder having assured themselves a playoff berth will also be looking to close out their remaining games with a winning streak. Today provides them with that chance by seeking a victory over the Denver Nuggets . Westbrook having almost certainly won this year’s scoring title will have to be considered the front-runner and prohibitive favorite for League MVP . A likely travesty if the award is given to someone else. The NBA will not have seen such an egregious error , since Karl Malone was awarded the prize as a token gesture, when Allen Iverson and Shaquille O’Neal had far better seasons than Malone.

    Also tipping-off today will be the Dallas Mavericks facing the Phoenix Suns in all Western Conference clash. Far be it for me to suggest , but the game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers is unlikely to be one of the highlight contests of the day !

    NBA schedule 9th April

    This month in NBA history and on this date

    Tophatal …………..

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  16. The woes of the New York Mets are already there for everyone to see. David Wright once thought of as the face of the franchise , has become an injury-prone misfit , while Yoenis Cespedes for all of his productivity , is not yet the leader the franchise seeks. In the aftermath of the New York Mets’ lopsided 8-1 loss to the Miami Marlins , Mets’ manager Terry Collins has to be deeply disturbed with with what he has seen from his team . These two teams will resume the finale of their current series being played at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York . On the mound for the Mets’ in today’s game will be Noah Syndergaard against Edinson Volquez of the Marlins . In reality , the real issues concerning the Mets stems from their offense being so totally reliable on Yoenis Cespedes , when there is no one else on the roster capable producing across the board offensively .

    With the season still in its infancy , I really don’t expect to see the teams begin to hit their stride until mid May and by then , many of them will be well into their schedule including the New York Mets .

    On Monday , with their series over against the Miami Marlins the New York Mets will prepare to face Philadelphia Phillies with Jerad Eickhoff on the mound for the Phillies against Jacob deGrom of the Mets . Early days in the NL East standings , but if both the Mets and Philles are to have any success this season , then these are the type of games they will have to win.

    New York Mets news

    🙂

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  17. Fantastic achievement by Sergio Garcia in defeating Justin Rose to win his first Grand Slam title , The Masters at the Augusta Country Club , in Augusta , . With it comes the almost $2 ,000,000 first-place prize and ranking points likely to put him inside the top-ten of the World Golf Rankings . Garcia’s next appearance could be the RBC Heritage Classic at Hilton Head GC, Hilton Head , South Carolina or he could seek to make an appearance on the European Tour at their next scheduled event , The Trophee’ Hassan II at The Royal Golf Dar Es Salaam , in Rabat , Morocco, . I am inclined to believe Sergio Garcia will take a well deserved rest before coming to a decision as to his next official appearance.

    Courtesy of The New York Times

    Masters 2017: Sergio García Finally Wins First Major Title

    By Karen Crouse

    Sergio García after making a birdie putt on the first extra hole Sunday to win the Masters, his first victory in 74 starts at a major. García and Justin Rose each finished regulation at nine under par. Credit Tannen Maury/European Pressphoto Agency

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — The Arnold Palmer of Europe was Seve Ballesteros, who was very, very good when he hit his drives straight and even better when they went crooked. In 1980, three months after Sergio García was born, Ballesteros won the first of his two Masters titles.

    Like generations of American players who loved Palmer, García grew up wanting to be like the swashbuckling Ballesteros, whose influence on García’s golf and his life was immense. Nearly six years after Ballesteros died of brain cancer, on what would have been his 60th birthday, García conquered Justin Rose, Augusta National Golf Club and his demons — not necessarily in that order — to win the 81st Masters.

    It was García’s first major title in his 74th start, and perhaps fittingly, he had to go an extra hole to secure it after missing a seven-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole that would have ended the tournament in regulation. When his ball steered clear of the hole, it might have conjured memories of the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie, where García also had a putt for victory at the 72nd hole, missed it and then lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington.

    But García’s mind was uncluttered as he and Rose signed for their closing three-under 69s to finish 72 holes at nine under, then headed to the 18th hole for the playoff.
    Continue reading the main story

    Maybe it was because he had felt Ballesteros’s presence all week, but García, 37, said he felt serene.

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    Click on link to read this article in full.
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    Sergio Garcia’s career in golf spans twenty years , having turned pro in 1999 and during that time he has graced the game with dignity charisma and a great deal of personality which cannot be said for a great many of his American counterparts on the PGA Tour .

    Tophatal …………….

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  18. As the reigning World Series champions a great deal is expected of the Chicago Cubs this season , and most notably from Jayson Heyward who had quite a postseason for the team in 2016 , as they rounded out their play with an exhilarating series’ victory over the Cleveland Indians . . Pitching was indeed the forte for the Cubs with their front-line starters leading the charge. Heyward has shown himself to be a leader on the team for the Cubs this season .

    Chicago Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon and his managerial staff certainly have a group of players capable of repeating as World Series champions. The team has belief in itself and their start to the season has been a credible one. The team will be in action today when they face the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Chicago , Illinois on Monday evening . Jon Lester will be on the mound as the Cubs’ starter while in opposition there will be Alex Wood of the Dodgers .

    The Chicago Cubs’ crosstown rivals the Chicago White Sox have struggled to remain relevant as a force within the AL for several years . White Sox manager Robin Ventura’s managerial staff will be hard-pressed to get the team playing with a great deal of determination over the course of the season . It certainly will be interesting to see which of the Chicago White Sox’s players will step to the plate and make the grade this season. It has been interesting to how the White Sox have fared through their first few games this season. In their last contest Chicago faced the Minnesota Twins at US Cellular Field in Chicago losing the game 4-1 . The Chicago White Sox will be back on the field tomorrow in a game where their opponents will be the Cleveland Indians . James Shields of the White Sox will face Carlos Carrasco of the Indians in what should prove to be a very good pitching duel between the two AL starting pitchers.

    Any hopes of a possible World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox would have the odds-makers in Las Vegas extremely happy in taking the bets from all of the most voracious gamblers out there. Such a scenario would also create some very interesting story-lines along the way for the respective fans of both teams .

    MLB news

    MLB schedule and probable pitchers

    MLB standings

    This week in baseball history

    —–

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  19. With just one game to go in the NBA season the divisional standings are assured , but the playoff races are from being assured .

    For the idiots out there . who seem to have some type of argument to try and not justify the season of Russell Westbrook , why can’t you just simply look at the facts borne out by the player’s overall contributions to the season ? If there is one thing I do know , it is that fans of professional sports in North America tend to deal in generalities rather than reality and have no damn idea what they’re talking about a great deal of the time.

    Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan has been lucky enough to have two glorious seasons coaching one of the best teams in the league.

    Over the last month , the Oklahoma City Thunder have been consistent and persistent . In their most recent game the Thunder faced the Denver Nuggets coming away with the victory . In their final two games , Russell Westbrook and his teammates will face the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets to end their season.

    NBA news and results

    NBA players’ stats (leaders pts avg)

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  20. The final days of the NBA season are now at hand and just like last season there still seems to be a great deal to play for in terms of the conference standings and what’s said to be at stake in terms of a playoff berth. Scheduled games for today will see five games on the schedule for today and fourteen scheduled for Wednesday to close out the season.

    The most intriguing of today’s games will pit the Los Angeles Lakers against the New Orleans Pelicans in an all Western Conference clash. Also in play are the Phoenix Suns against the Sacramento Kings .

    Don’t look now but with the Boston Celtics (52-29) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (51-30) are still fighting to see who will be the top-seed in the Eastern Conference . Both of these teams will be in action tomorrow and it will be interesting to see the outcome of their final games of the regular season schedule. The Cleveland Cavaliers will face the Toronto Raptors in their final regular season game, while the Boston Celtics will face the Milwaukee Bucks .

    NBA news

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  21. It could be said, that this past season we saw a great deal of style over substance when it came to the AFC South and the play within the division and outside the division. The Indianapolis Colts never managed to find consistency during the season and their play was simply mediocre . Andrew Luck had a downturn to his season while his teammates followed suit in a similar vein. Failing to make the postseason along with their abysmal play summed how bad things were for head coach Chuck Pagano and his coaching staff . GM Ryan Grigson failed to bolster the roster by way of significant trades or through the NFL Draft .

    Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck (12) , left , is seen here with team head coach Chuck Pagano.

    Ryan Grigson will have a great deal on his plate to handle , concerning free agents , the health of the current roster as well the team’s payroll for the upcoming season . Weaknesses on defense and the lack of a great running attack added the Colts’ woes this past season. The Colts ranked in the bottom-half of both categories .

    Ryan Grigson and team owner Jim Irsay have made a monumental mess of things < concerning the Indianapolis Colts as a franchise over the past two seasons . Chuck Pagano for his part. has done all that he can with the players provided , but clearly it hasn’t been enough. This upcoming NFL Draft should provide the Colts’ fans with a clue as to the direction the franchise hopes to be heading in .

    For Andrew Luck the opportunity to take this team to a Superbowl appearance and victory remains his top priority . Whether or not he can do that within the next three years remains to be seen Barring any serious injuries , I do believe Luck is quite capable of taking the Indianapolis Colts to the postseason , but it will predicated upon his remaining healthy and the quality of the roster he has around him if they are to ever win a Superbowl .

    Courtesy of NFL.com

    Andrew Luck’s uncertain status; Richard Sherman landing spots

    By Gregg Rosenthal , NFL Senior Writer

    Andrew Luck is coming off major shoulder surgery, and no one is talking about it. In this era of excess coverage of all things NFL, the mysterious recovery of one of the sport’s most indispensable players oddly has attracted little attention.

    The January surgery on Luck’s throwing shoulder came as a surprise, with details initially scarce. It wasn’t until late March at the Annual League Meeting that Colts owner Jim Irsay told Fox59 in Indianapolis that Luck had a “slightly torn” labrum, a regrettable phrase that sounds like calling your wife slightly pregnant.

    There is no timeline for Luck to hit the field again. Reading between the lines of comments from Irsay and coach Chuck Pagano, it will be a major surprise if Luck is on the field during OTAs or minicamp season. Irsay told Fox59 Luck should be “pretty close to being ready” by training camp, also implying the 27-year-old QB could be brought along slowly. Placing Luck on the PUP list to start camp would not be a surprise.

    The news is not all as bleak as a windy winter walk to St. Elmo’s. Luck played through this injury for nearly two full seasons, missing a lot of practice time in 2016. He could come out the other side improved. But during an offseason in which Cam Newton’s shoulder surgery caused great consternation, his AFC counterpart’s recovery has flown under the radar.

    “I would be lying if I said it wasn’t [unsettling]. I can’t lie to you,” coach Chuck Pagano said at the Annual League Meeting. “We’ve got to adapt. That’s what great teams and great organizations have to do.”

    The Colts haven’t been a great team since losing the 2014 AFC Championship. Even back then, they were a flawed roster propped up by a franchise quarterback capable of transcendence. They’ve lost 16 games and a general manager in the two seasons since. Pagano knows he’s the next man out if Luck has trouble recovering his fastball, which is one more reason why Luck’s rehab should get more attention as the season draws closer.

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    Click on link to read in full .


    It would also be interesting to see if the Indianapolis Colts , in particular Ryan Grigson might be interested in landing Seattle Seahawks’ > corner-back Richard Sherman , as it is rumored the Seahawks are willing to listen to offers for the Pro Bowl defensive player. Such a price might well be steep , but I believe it would be of benefit to the team , given Sherman’s qualities as a leader , both and off the field of play .

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  22. The NBA fans this season had the privilege of seeing eighty-two games being played . Wednesday night, was the last night of regular season play with their being fourteen games on the schedule. The divisional champions for this season are now known , as too are the eight teams from each conference who have made it to the NBA Playoffs . In the Eastern Conference the most surprising result , was to the see the Boston Celtics (53-29) not only win their division , but also end up being the number one seed within the conference, beating out reigning NBA champions the Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31) .

    The Boston Celtics rounded out their season with a victory , defeating the Milwaukee Bucks , for head Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens first divisional title of his professional coaching career. Elsewhere within the conference what turned out to be a tight race for the final seed within the East , saw hopes and glories , downed in sorrow for the Miami Heat (41-41) as they were edged out for that final berth by the Chicago Bulls (41-41) .

    Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics will meet the Chicago Bulls in the first round of this season’s NBA Playoffs begin on Saturday , 15th April . The opening game of the series will take place on Sunday, 16th April at the TD Banknorth Gardens in Boston , Massachusetts.

    NBA news

    NBA results 12th April

    NBA standings divisional

    NBA Playoffs

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  23. One week into the MLB season and the fans have seen some excellent games as teams are slowly beginning to find a rhythm . Currently , the Cincinnati Reds (7-2) have the best record in baseball as they lead the NL Central by a slight margin . The Cincinnati Reds will be in action today when they face the Milwaukee Brewers , fellow divisional rivals at home in a game being played at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati , Ohio. The two opposing staring pitchers in the contest will be Jimmy Nelson of the Brewers against Bronson Arroyo of the Reds.

    The Atlanta Braves might just be the worst team in all of baseball given their record last season and at the start of this season on how things have fared for the team. Manager Brian Snitker and his managerial staff appear to be way out of their depth. Having defeated the Miami Marlins on the road , the Braves will begin a weekend schedule against the San Diego Padres at Sun Trust Park in Atlanta , Georgia on Friday 14th April , 2017 . On the pitchers’ mound for that game will be Jhoulys Chacin of the Padres as he faces Julio Teheran of the Braves .

    MLB news and press releases

    MLB schedule and probable pitchers and results for the 12th April

    MLB divisional standings

    This week in baseball history and on this day MLB history


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  24. The NFL has lost one of his its most influential respected and revered franchise owners with the death of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ patriarchal owner Dan Rooney . The well known owner died at the age of eighty-four , but he was that ever-present and steadying rock behind one of the most successful franchise’s in NFL history . The Steelers’ six wins of the Superbowl is still a record and the consistency of the franchise over the four decades is almost unparalleled .

    Dan Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers holds aloft the Lombardi Trophy (Superbowl) .

    Dan Rooney’s death will not bring about any major changes to the structural lineup of the Steelers’ front office , other than the promotion the promotion of his son Art Rooney II , to the position of Chairman of the franchise. The Rooney family have been the primary owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers since its founder Art Rooney created the team . It has been this lone family presiding over the success achieved since its existence came into being. There have been very few team owners within the NFL who have been as influential as the Rooney’s down the years. The Steelers as a franchise . remain the epitome of class as well as being a well-ran organization. At present the franchise is valued at $2 billion , meager in comparison to the reputed $4 billion valuation of the Dallas Cowboys .

    This upcoming season will likely be dedicated to Dan Rooney by team and the entire organization . It will be interesting to see how the roster will fare throughout the 2017 season and what type of effect his passing will have on the the players as well as the entire coaching staff . Dan Rooney was extremely close to head coach Mike Tomlin and was influential in his becoming the first African-American head coach of the franchise.

    Pittsburgh Steelers news

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  25. Thursday’s results in Major League Baseball and now the divisional standings now look through the first ten days of the season. The weekend schedule of games will begin on Friday 14th April . One of the more interesting series will feature the Boston Red Sox playing host to the Tampa Bay Rays in an all AL East clash. The starting pitchers in Friday’s contest will be Chris Archer of the Rays against Rick Porcello of the Red Sox .

    The New York Yankees might not have the biggest payroll in baseball, but the expectations remain the same , to win the World Series , something they have not done in several years . Off to an inauspicious start the Yankees are expected to find some consistency when they open their weekend series against the St Louis Cardinals . It will be Michael Wacha of the Cardinals facing Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees in the opening game of this three-game series .

    MLB news and results for 13th April

    MLB schedule 14th April

    MLB standings ( divisional)

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  26. The NBA’s Postseason will begin today with the first round of the 2017 Playoffs . In the Western Conference there will be several games of real intrigue. If the games seen during the regular season within the conference were anything to go by , then these series could be very fascinating and intriguing. The Golden State Warriors as conference champions of last season will be looking to go one step further , win a second NBA Title in the last three seasons .

    Step Curry and his teammates will be going up against the Portland Trailblazers in game-one of their best of seven-game series in round one of the playoffs. This match-up between the two teams , should provide the fans with one of the best series in the playoffs. Steph Curry in opposition to Damian Lillard is another reason why this first round series should be very exciting. I believe the Warriors will get by the Traiblazers in the conference quarter-finals.

    Within the Eastern Conference the Boston Celtics proved themselves to be the best team in the conference having outshone the Cleveland Cavaliers within the league this season. Anyone believing there isn’t a disconnect , obviously cannot see , as good as the Cavaliers are said to be , they do have some serious problems heading into the NBA Playoffs.

    The Boston Celtics will begin with a playoff series against the Chicago Bulls , while the Cleveland Cavaliers will be meeting the Indiana Pacers .

    NBA news

    NBA schedule 15th April for the 16th April

    NBA players stats (playoffs)

    NBA team stats (playoffs)

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  27. Saturday’s games in Major League Baseball led to some very good games and not unreasonably surprising results. . The divisional standings have yet to take any real shape after almost two weeks of play . Leading the way with the best record in baseball are the Baltimore Orioles (7-3) in the AL, while the Cincinnati Reds (8-4) have the best mark in the NL. Both teams will be in action on Sunday, 16th April . The Cincinnati Reds will be facing the Milwaukee Brewers at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio. Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter and his managerial staff will prepare the team to play the final game of their current series against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Center in Toronto, Ontario,.

    MLB news

    MLB schedule and probable pitchers and results for 15th April

    Tophatal …………………… 2017/04/16 12:47 am

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  28. Demetrius Johnson has now joined Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre to become the most successful fighters in UFC history by way of the number consecutive title defenses made. Having won the UFC Flyweight Title , Johnson has made ten successful defenses , winning in a variety of ways.

    On Saturday night Demetrious Johnson took care of Wilson Reis without breaking much sweat and adding to his legacy of being the best fighter of his generation within his weight class and certainly the best-ever within the Flyweight category. Demetrious Johnson is now seeking a bigger pay day and it would certainly make sense for him to move up to the Lightweight category and challenge Conor McGregor for his his title , rather than the idiocy of McGregor and his claim of wanting to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr . Already a non-starter and this being about two self-absorbed publicity seeking athletes looking to remain in the spotlight .

    Courtesy of ESPN

    Demetrious Johnson ties UFC mark with 10th straight title defense

    By Brett Okamoto , ESPN Staff Writer

    UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has officially tied one of the most prestigious records in combat sports: Anderson Silva’s mark of 10 consecutive UFC title defenses.


    Demetrious Johson (right) and Wilson Reis

    Johnson (26-2-1) tied Silva’s record at UFC Fight Night on Saturday by submitting Wilson Reis (22-7) via armbar at 4:49 of the third round. The 125-pound championship fight headlined the event at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

    The finish was merciful; it was obvious that Reis had no chance of dethroning the champ. Johnson outlanded Reis in total strikes 135 to 18, according to Fightmetric.

    After the victory, Johnson declared himself the greatest of all time.

    “I think the crowd recognizes it,” Johnson said as Kansas City cheered him on. “[Georges] St-Pierre, Anderson Silva — they were great champions. But I’m the best champion to ever stand in this Octagon.”

    When asked if he wanted to break the record or move up in weight next, Johnson stated that he intends to move up only if the price is right, something he has stated for years.

    “I already told [UFC president] Dana White I need seven figures [to move up],” Johnson said. “I need that million-dollar payday.”

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    Click on link to read this article in full.
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    Floyd Mayweather having retired from the boxing and earning in excess of $600 million over the course of his career , he has nothing left to prove as an unbeaten champion. Already assured of his place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame , a fight against Conor McGregor would be seen as nothing more than a publicity stunt. Demetrious Johnson and Conor McGregor would split what could be the highest ever payday between two fighters in UFC history , with both fighters likely to be guaranteed no less than $ 1.5 million apiece .

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  29. Last season in the first-round of the NBA Playoffs the series were very exciting . We can certainly hope this season in the playoffs we are likely to witness the same.

    The biggest surprise so far with the opening games of the first-round series was the Milwaukee Bucks'(1-0) surprise victory over the Toronto Raptors (0-1) . The Raptors failed to show any resilience , on their home-court which led to their loss in game one.

    NBA news

    NBA results (playoffs) and schedule for 16th April

    NBA player stats (playoffs)

    This month in NBA history and on this day . ………

    Tophatal ………..

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  30. Less than eleven days before the NFL Draft and it would appear that the Cleveland Browns’ front office and entire coaching staff are unsure as to who their top-overall pick will be and in essence the number one pick in this Draft will be. Head coach Hue Jackson is said to be unsure as to the choices available to him as the franchise is most certainly in need of a quarterback . Considered to be the consensus top pick was Clemson’s championship winning quarterback DeShaun Watson . Jackson is said to be torn between Watson, Myles Garrett , Mitch Trubisky and Seth Russell . It’s at times like this , I no longer have to wonder why the franchise was so bad during last season. Robert Griffin III proved to be an unmitigated disaster and the alternatives at the position were equally abysmal .

    Browns’ head coach Hue Jackson

    I am not so sure the Browns’ front office staff are entirely sure how to proceed moving forward. If they have no idea fundamentally as to what is needed to put this team back on the map then they never will. That comes down to not only Hue Jackson but also GM Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta . Team owner Jimmy Haslam , we know to be bereft common sense as well as an ounce of intelligence. His business dealings somehow leave a lot to be desired and even with his company having been found guilty of defrauding clients out tens of millions of dollars , while under investigation , team owners around the NFL as well as Roger Goodell still found him fit to be an owner of a league franchise.

    Browns’ front office executives Paul DePodesta (left) and Sashi Brown.

    This upcoming season I cannot see the Cleveland Browns winning more than six games at best , even with marginal talent , because there is no leadership or players of a game-changing caliber on the roster.

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  31. The results from this weekend’s games in Major League Baseball were not too surprising . While it’s still early days yet in the infancy of the season , teams are beginning to find some consistency and fluidity in their play .

    The Tampa Bay Rays will find it extremely difficult this season trying to be the equal of their divisional counterparts within the AL East . Coming off a two-game losing streak to the Boston Red Sox , the two teams will meet again this Monday to end their current series . The opposing pitchers in today’s game will be Steven Wright of the Red Sox against Blake Snell of the Rays.

    On Tuesday the Tampa Bay Rays will meet the Detroit Tigers in a game being played at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan. Michael Fulmer of the Tigers will be on the mound to face Matt Andriese of the Rays.

    Ichiro Suzuki will be making a welcome return to Seattle Mariners when the Miami Marlins play the AL West based Mariners today. The future Hall of Fame bound player made his professional debut with Seattle , winning both the AL Rookie of The Year as well as the AL MVP Award in his rookie season . Ichiro’s sixteen-year career in the Big League’s has been one of the very best over the time-span in question.

    The Miami Marlins will be on the road on Monday when they meet the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington. Tom Koehler of the Marlins will face the Mariners’ Ariel Miranda , in a game between these two young starting pitchers .

    MLB news

    MLB schedule and probable pitchers

    Results for 16th April

    MLB standings (divisional) and wildcard standings

    This week in baseball and on this day the following events took place

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  32. During the first round of the NBA Playoffs , there might not be a more competitive and physical series than the one between the Golden State Warriors (1-0) and Portland Trailblazers (0-1) . The two opposing point guards , Steph Curry of the Warriors and Damian Lillard of the Blazers are two of the best at the position. Golden State took game-one in their usual fashion , with a high-caliber performance from several players in their starting lineup.

    Game two of this series between the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trailblazers will take place at the Oracle Arena in Oakland , California on Wednesday evening. It will be interesting to see if the Blazers can even the series at one game apiece (1-1) .

    In game one of the series between the Boston Celtics (0-1) and the Chicago Bulls ( 1-0) , it was the visiting team coming away with the victory , leaving the Celtics somewhat shell-shocked and exasperated . I doubt this was what the top-seeded Boston Celtics had in mind when they faced the Chicago Bulls in their home opener to start their playoff schedule.

    NBA news

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  33. So as the NBA Playoffs continue with Monday night’s scheduled games off the court, some fans seem to be more concerned with the idiocy of jersey sales and the issue of Ben Simmons’ jersey is among the top-selling of current NBA players. This might bode well for Simmons, but consider the fact, the new rookie spent the season sidelined due to injury , as the Philadelphia 76ers (28-54) had another miserable season , barely competing within their division , conference or the league overall .

    Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers .

    Courtesy of CBS Sports

    Sixers rookie Ben Simmons’ jersey is already a top-10 seller

    By Ananth Pandian

    Drafting him with the No. 1 overall pick in June’s NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers believe that Ben Simmons is a potential superstar in waiting. Simmons definitely has the talent and potential to be a great player but that of course remains to be seen as he has yet to play to an actual game. However, that hasn’t stopped Sixers fans and Simmons’ fans from literally buying into the hype.

    Despite the season still more than a month away from starting, Simmons’ jerseys are already a top-10 seller, according to Fanatics.com. From Philly.com:

    Since draft night, Fanatics.com is reporting that in terms of merchandise sales, Simmons is the 10th-best seller among National Basketball Association players. He’s the highest-selling Philadelphia athlete in all sports across the Fanatics platform of hundreds of e-commerce sites, which includes SixersShop.com – the Sixers’ official team store.

    Fanatics.com ranked the top 10 NBA player sales from June 23 to Aug. 31. In this order, they were: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Russell Westbrook, and Simmons

    Simmons is from Australia so his fellow country men and women may be aiding in sales of his jersey. But Sixers fans are desperate for their team to get back on to a winning tradition and just based on his jersey sales, it seems like they have a ton of faith in Simmons.



    Click on article to read in full.
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    No Lottery Pick this time around for the Philadelphia 76ers , but it should be noted team owner , Joshua Harris does seem to be more concerned with acquiring non-core assets than he is with the competitiveness of the franchise . As for Ben Simmons, in a season where the only visibility seen came by way of the preseason , I am not so sure the Australian-born player will really have that much to offer this upcoming regular season.

    During this off-season the front office of the Philadelphia 76ers should be more concerned which of their free agents they would like to re-sign , the free agents on the open market they would like to acquire and off course which rookie will succeed Ben Simmons as their top pick in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft .

    Philadelphia 76ers news

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  34. The Cleveland Cavaliers have now taken a 2-0 lead over the Indiana Pacers after last night’s victory over their conference rivals in their quarter-finals’ series . The match-up between LeBron James and Paul George has been everything one might have expected it to be, with both players leading their respective teams with a great deal of intensity.

    Game three of the series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers will now revert to the Bankers Fieldhouse in Indianapolis , Indiana , with that scheduled game due to take place on Thursday , 20th April .

    The San Antonio Spurs (2-0) seem to be handling the Memphis Grizzlies (0-2) with a great deal of ease . San Antonio’s victory on Monday night was achieved with the team playing efficiently , with few errors being witnessed during the game . Defensively , the Grizzlies were no match for the Spurs .

    Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs is once again having an excellent postseason and series for his team .

    Victory in game three would certainly put the San Antonio Spurs in the driver’s seat as they look to make it to the conference semi-finals . Head coach Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff are well aware of the pitfalls of facing a dangerous opponent such as the Memphis Grizzlies , who will be looking to fight their way back into this series .

    NBA news

    NBA Playoff Brackets

    NBA results 17th April

    NBA schedule

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  35. Some very good games on the schedule for today in Major League Baseball (MLB) . The teams are slowly getting into sync , Still early days yet to start making predictions , but injuries do appear to be a cause for concern with several of the ball-clubs at present.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers the team with the biggest payroll in the game are playing sub-par baseball while trying to stay abreast with their divisional rivals . Los Angeles will be in action when they face the Colorado Rockies , with Kyle Freeland of the home-team Rockies facing Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers. Dave Roberts , manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the moment has to be pleased by what he has seen from the team . but from my own perspective . I do believe they are capable of showing a great deal more than what we have witnessed so far !

    Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees are faced with an unenviable task this season. They have seen each of their rivals within the AL East solidify their lineups in the lead-up to the start of this season . With the exception of the Tampa Bay Rays who I do not expect to be at all competitive over the course of the season. I believe the Yankees will face their sternest tests when they take on the likes of the Baltimore Orioles , Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays . The New York Yankees will be in action today when they play the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx , New York . Luis Severino will be on the mound for the home team Yankees , as he faces the White Sox’s Miguel Gonzalez . This should prove to be a very interesting game based on the outcome of their past meetings over the last five years . If the Yankees can win at last ninety-two games , I believe that figure will be enough to guarantee them the AL East divisional title and a postseason berth this season .

    Matt Holliday a recent acquisition for the New York Yankees will be seeking to provide the team with some much-needed offense , This season to date , it is Aaron Judge who has been the Yankees’ most productive player . However, if they are to prevail then the pitching will have to be highly effective on all counts . Matt Holliday’s salary with the Yankees is is small by comparison to his teammates for this season . As the Yankees’ DH , it will be interesting to see how effective Holliday can be during 2017.

    Matt Holliday of the New York Yankees.

    If Matt Holliday is able to reproduce the form seen with the St Louis Cardinals , then the acquisition could very well be seen as a bargain for the New York Yankees.

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  36. Tuesday’s games in the NBA and how things now stand in the playoffs . The Boston Celtics (0-2) now find themselves in an unenviable position , having lost game two of their current series to the Chicago Bulls (2-0) , while looking far from being composed . Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens will have to demand more accountability from his players , while Al Horford and Isiah Thomas will have to prove their regular season play was no mere fluke .

    Game three of this series between the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls will take place at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois on Friday 21st April ,. one of three games taking place on the day.

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    🙂

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  37. So here we go again another Big League Star is caught in a lie , as well as having contravened the league’s banned substance policy. Starling Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates might just have cost the team their season and any realistic chance of an appearance in the postseason let alone the World Series itself. Under the MLB’s rules Marte now faces an eighty-game suspension beginning immediately , under which he has no right to appeal . This leaves a big hole in the Pirates’ offense as well as on their defense . One should also bear in mind the alternatives at the position are not necessarily to the team’s advantage.

    Starling Marte of the Pirates

    Courtesy of The Chicago Tribune & The Washington Post

    Analysis: Starling Marte’s suspension is a truly devastating blow to the Pirates

    By Dave Sheinin

    It is rare for an all-star-level player to get busted for performance-enhancing drug use in baseball. Whether because they have more to lose or — as a cynic might say — because they have, by virtue of their higher salaries, access to better scientists, there are few Rafael Palmeiro or Alex Rodriguez among the steady stream of names nabbed by baseball’s drug-testing program.

    But Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte, who was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball on Tuesday for steroid use, qualifies as a high-shock-value name. A two-time Gold Glove winner and a first-time all-star last season, Marte, 28, is in the prime of his career and signed a six-year $31 million contract extension in March 2014. Had the Pirates followed through with plans this winter to trade Andrew McCutchen — whom they moved out of center field this year in part because Marte is better — Marte might have been considered the face of the franchise this year.

    He is the biggest name nailed for PED use since Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, at the time the reigning National League batting champ, a year ago this month.

    He is the biggest name nailed for PED use since Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, at the time the reigning National League batting champ, a year ago this month.

    In his statement released through the players’ union, Marte attributed his positive test to “neglect and lack of knowledge,” though that is a dubious claim given the long history of nandrolone, a popular drug during the “steroids era” of the 2000s, when it frequently went by the brand name Deca Durabolin.

    “With much embarrassment and helplessness,” Marte’s statement read, “I ask for forgiveness for unintentionally disrespecting so many people who have trusted in my work and have supported me so much.”


    Click on link to read article in full.


    The NL Central where the Pittsburgh Pirates play remains a very competitive division and it will be interesting to see how this team will fare over the next six months. Andrew McCutchen as he as always done will simply lead the Pirates with the intensity seen from the All Star since he entered the league in his rookie season of 2009 .

    This season to date the Pittsburgh Pirates have struggled and the team will be action today when they face the St Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri on Tuesday afternoon.

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  38. There’s a very interesting article in the Wednesday edition of USA Today which centers on the relocation of two NFL franchises . The decision made by the Spanos family to move the San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles , while the St Louis Rams to the very same city , centers on the claims that the franchises were having hard times in terms of their revenues . With the Chargers now to be known as the Los Angeles Chargers , while the Rams will once again become the Los Angeles Rams . I have to ask myself what is it that the reporters are clearly failing to acknowledge ? That is the fact these teams are profitable and should be noted NFL teams make up some of the most valuable professional sports’ teams on the planet.

    With the Oakland Raiders now almost certain to move by no later than 2019 , abandoning the city of Oakland and the fans which have supported this particular franchise for the decade and a half. I feel the NFL owners no longer have any loyalty to the fans or consumers alike. It has become strictly business , in spite of the claims being made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , whose own duplicitous actions , have always come into question. Mark Davis as the owner of the Oakland Raiders has a agreed in principal to move the franchise to the city of Las Vegas and with only the blessing of the league hierarchy to make this move complete , the fans now have to ask which NFL franchise down the line will begin to plead poverty as a way seeking the chance to relocate ?

    Courtesy of USA Today

    Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas expected to be approved on Monday

    By Tom Pelissero USA Today

    PHOENIX – A vote on the Raiders’ application to relocate to Las Vegas could come before lunch here Monday. And there was a strong sense as the NFL’s annual meetings opened that they’ll get the 24 of 32 votes they need, perhaps comfortably.

    Mark Davis , owner of the Oakland Raiders

    “It sounds like it’s going to happen,” one influential owner told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday. “There’s no legitimate option on the table in Oakland.”


    Angry Raiders’ fans

    Said another owner, who estimated a vote count in the range of 28-4: “It’s a done deal.”

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell writes letter to Oakland mayor: Thanks, but no thanks

    Those people and others spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter won’t go to the floor for discussion until after the Raiders, NFL officials and relevant committees present Monday morning. Until that discussion and Q&A happen, nobody can truly be certain how other owners feel or how they’ll vote.

    However, as another top team executive said: “I don’t see a lot of people fighting” to keep Raiders owner Mark Davis from taking advantage of $750 million in public funding (plus another $200 million for maintenance over 30 years) towards the nearly $2 billion stadium project in downtown Las Vegas.


    Click on link to read article in full .


    While the NFL continues to see a rise in revenues , different revenue streams and business opportunities arise , claims of poverty and decreasing profits are something of a fallacy . If teams are losing money , then it comes from financial mismanagement and not from being in a small market of attendance levels decreasing .

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  39. Former NFL star and tight-end Aaron Hernandez was found dead hanging in his jail cell , awaiting jury sentencing from his most recent trial. Hernandez had already been found guilty in the death of his former-friend Odin Lloyd . Sentenced to twenty-five years in the death of Lloyd , along with his fellow co-conspirators , it could be said his death though surprising in some circles might be seen as justified. The fact his passing is now being mourned by some within the NFL fraternity , might be all the more surprising , given the circumstances behind his original crimes and the heinousness of his actions.

    Aaron Hernandez’s passing is not the end in a sorry chapter of the NFL , because over the last decade , this league has seen its fair share horrendous acts by the players , with the league hierarchy and union seemingly doing little to curb the actions or even seek to educate the players about responsible behavior within the public eye. Instead , this has become a league (NFL) purely about the economics of the business , how much money can be made and little if any of a responsible social footprint across the moral landscape. NFL journalists and in particular op-ed writers such as Nancy Armour and Christine Brennan tend to report rather mundane stories , while on air pariahs such as Mel Kiper and Phil Simms offer up little of note , just sycophantic rants .

    Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez.

    Courtesy of The New York Times

    Aaron Hernandez Hanged Himself in Prison, Officials Say

    By Victor Mather & Christopher Mele

    Aaron Hernandez, the former star tight end with the New England Patriots who was convicted of first-degree murder in 2015, hanged himself in prison on Wednesday, the authorities said.

    He was discovered in his cell by corrections officers at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass., around 3 a.m., the Massachusetts Department of Correction said in a statement.

    Lifesaving techniques were attempted, and he was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m., the department said.

    “Mr. Hernandez hanged himself using a bedsheet that he attached to his cell window,” the statement said. “Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items.”

    Continue reading the main story
    RELATED COVERAGE

    Aaron Hernandez Is Found Not Guilty of 2012 Double Murder APRIL 14, 2017

    Aaron Hernandez Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder APRIL 15, 2015

    Aaron Hernandez Shed Tackles, but Not His Past APRIL 15, 2015

    Mr. Hernandez was housed in a single cell in the general prison population, the statement said. The assistant deputy commissioner of communications, Christopher Fallon, told The Associated Press that officials had not been concerned that Mr. Hernandez was a suicide risk. He also said no suicide note had been found. The case will be investigated by the state police.

    Mr. Hernandez’s suicide came on the day some of his former teammates would be visiting the White House to celebrate their recent Super Bowl victory.

    Mr. Hernandez, 27, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Odin L. Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Mr. Hernandez’s fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins. He had appealed the verdict.


    Click on link to read this article in full.


    With Aaron Hernandez’s death , his trial will now come to an end. However, questions will arise , as to how and why did he take his life ? Personally, I felt stories concerning the player’s behavior in college as well as at the professional level was always glossed over by his closest associates and the league itself. The asinine claims made by Robert Kraft as to his not eing made aware of the player’s conduct in college and the asinine claims by his former college coach Urban Meyer , who coached Hernandez at Florida , was simply another pointer as to the tendency we see regularly within Collegiate Athletics and the professional ranks of male dominated sports.

    Misogyny, sexism and wantoned acts of violence exists for a reason in a male dominated arena , where society has no qualms about the male athletes’ behavior , because it mirrors society in general and nowhere has this more prescient than with the behavior Donald Trump whose Presidential campaign was littered with outrageous sexist behavior and disgraceful comments about women . Needless to say, in light of the firing of Bill O’Reilly from Fox News . It is one more reason to understand , it’s not just about male athletes, but also male figures in the public eye.

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  40. So now it looks as if former Florida governor Jeb Bush will team up with former New York Yankees’ star to buy the Miami Marlins . No word as of yet on the expected sale price for the beleaguered franchise. Yet. it is well-known team owner Jeffrey Loria is seeking sell the team for no less than $1.5 billion , though it was stated after a private bank audit, Loria was informed a more realistic figure would be in the region of $2 billion . The Marlins play in a middling market and they have never been a perennial contender for the NL Pennant much less the World Series , even though they have won baseball’s biggest team title ward twice over the course of their history. The Miami Marlins remain poorly supported and it has been that way for the last fifteen years at least. Playing in Marlins Ballpark a structure which has never been filled to capacity since opened and about the only time the stadium is filled , takes place when there just happens to be a concert .

    Courtesy of the Miami Herald

    Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter join forces for Miami Marlins bid, sources say

    By Douglas Hanks , Miami Herald

    Jeb Bush may be getting some big-league help from Derek Jeter in his bid to buy the Miami Marlins.

    The former Florida governor and retired New York Yankees star are teaming up to try and purchase the Major League Baseball franchise, according to two sources familiar with the talks.

    Jeb Bush (left) and Derek Jeter.

    The alliance would pair two rivals in the chase to acquire the Marlins from current owner Jeffrey Loria. Both Bush and Jeter were publicly identified as competing Marlins bidders earlier this month, and Fox Business reported the duo decided to join forces within the last week.

    Representatives for the Marlins, Bush and Jeter did not respond to interview requests. The team hasn’t confirmed any would-be suitors, but names have leaked in recent months as Loria began entertaining offers. A new suitor surfaced Wednesday: Wayne Rothbaum, a New York biotech investor who heads Quogue Capital.

    Bids for the Marlins were due last week and offers range from $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion, according to Bloomberg.

    The emergence of Bush and Jeter as allies in pursuit of the Marlins would combine one of Miami’s most prominent political celebrities (the former presidential candidate lives in Coral Gables) with baseball royalty (Jeter recorded more hits than any Yankee in history).

    With Loria preparing to sell his top asset after 15 years owning the team, the buyer derby may come down to who is able to offer the longtime art dealer the richest offer. Even so, Major League owners must approve team sales, giving the league’s front office influence in who Loria picks to take over the Marlins.

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


    It will be interesting to see if a consortium / syndicate led by Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter are successful in a bid to buy the Miami Marlins. Such a sale would likely have the blessing of the league hierarchy , as Jeffrey Loria’s time as an owner of the franchise has brought about a great deal of controversy and claims of graft , where former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was said to have played a part in the actions of Marlins’ ownership seeking to coerce members of the Miami City Council and the Miami Dade Board of Commissioners concerning the financing of a stadium. A so called investigation by the FBI was never fully conducted and no charges were ever brought by the US Justice Department. Yet it should be noted , the city of Miami stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars , should the Marlins seek to relocate within the next five years.

    This season Miami Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly has seen the team . perform rather sedately . Miami and the New York Mets are currently in second-place within the NL East , where the Washington Nationals have the best record and are considered to be the best team within the division by a wide consensus. On Wednesday the Marlins were in action against the Seattle Mariners , in a game which was played at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington. On the mound in this intra-divison match-up were Edinson Volquez of the Marlins against Felix Hernandez of the Mariners.

    Today the Miami Marlins will be back on the field when they face the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park in San Diego , California , with Adam Conley of the Marlins facing off against Trevor Cahill , in what should prove to be a very good pitcher’s duel .

    Miami Marlins

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  41. All of the bitching , whining and griping by a number of NBA coaches will not stop the fact that during the NBA postseason there will continue to be a number of erroneous decisions made by referees during the games witnessed this postseason . Memphis Grizzlies’ head coach David Fizdale is the latest such coach to voice his concerns of the poor officiating taking place this postseason . His Memphis Grizzlies (0-2) find themselves in an 0-2 hole against the San Antonio Spurs (2-0) in a series which is completely getting away from the Grizzlies altogether.

    David Fizdale has since been fined $30,000 by the league hierarchy for comments made concerning the officiating during the series between the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies. Fizdale knows that if his team are able to turn things around , then they will have to outperform their opponents in the next three games which will be played at the Fedex Forum in Memphis , Tennessee , beginning with game three on Thursday 20th April , 2017 .

    For Thursday night there will be three scheduled games , with the home teams each looking to either square their series or lessen the deficit they currently face.

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  42. There was a reason why Chris Sale and David Price were acquired by the Boston Red Sox during the off-season. With both being paid handsomely for their services this season , it’s easy to understand why John Farrell and the managerial staff have high expectations from both players during 2017. A return to the postseason , alongside winning the AL East would fall in line with the expectations of the front office . The team is good enough to win it all and based on projections they are capable of winning at least eighty-five games this season.

    With David Price currently on the DL (disabled list) , this places even greater pressure on the Red Sox pitching staff with the starting lineup and relievers having to come into their own. At 10-6 the Red Sox find themselves in a comfortable position within the AL East, as they enter today with a game against the Toronto Blue Jays . On the mound for the for the visiting Boston Red Sox will be Chris Sale against Marco Estrada of the Blue Jays. The Red Sox are set to begin a weekend series starting on Friday against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland. Drew Pomeranz will be the starting pitcher in this game against a yet to be named opponent.

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  43. There are several game-three’s still either in session or having ended , leaving fans with something of a clearer picture of the first-round of the NBA Playoffs . The Cleveland Cavaliers (3-0) upped the ante by taking down the Indiana Pacers (0-3) in their game-three of the first-round series , leaving the Pacers having to win game-four which takes place on Sunday night at Bankers Fieldhouse in Indiana , Indianapolis. For Pacers’ Head of Basketball Operations Larry Bird , this will be a non-too willing way to end Indiana’s season possibly being swept in the first round. Yet for all sense and purpose , this Pacers’ team may well have fought valiantly , but they were never really the equal of the Cavaliers at any point during this series.

    Another of the Thursday night games pitted San Antonio Spurs (2-1) against the Memphis Grizzlies (1-2) winning game-three on their way to an eleven-point victory . For Grizzlies’ head coach David Fizdale this might well place his faith back into the officiating taking place in this particular series. . Fizdale has been extremely critical of the officials and their inconsistency through the first two games played of this first round series , between the Grizzlies and Spurs. From my own perspective , I feel there has always been inconsistencies with the officiating, not just in the regular season , but also throughout the NBA Playoffs and this has been an ongoing problem for years which the NBA hierarchy has continually failed to address. .

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  44. How far off were the Miami Dolphins from actually achieving something last season ? Well, let’s just say with our without Ryan Tannehill , this was a team that was completely overrated and stood little chance of making their presence felt in the postseason. It was clear enough when they capsized in the wildcard round , falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a completely lopsided game , 30-12 . There were very few positive aspects to the Dolphins’ loss to the Steelers, which might have been their most lopsided in franchise history to Pittsburgh and in the postseason .

    During this off-sesason Adam Gase and the Miami Dolphins’ coaching staff as well as the front office will have to assess the roster , seeking to re-sign several of their free agents and acquire some veterans as well as delving into the opportunities that the NFL Draft is likely to provide.

    Adam Gase knows if the Miami Dolphins are to challenge the dominance of the New England Patriots , then his team will have to be far more competitive and resilient than seen last season. The embarrassment of the loss was not lost on team owner Stephen Ross who in spite of his billions has not seen the franchise get off to a winning start in the postseason since acquiring the Dolphins.

    Stephen Ross , owner of the Miami Dolphins .

    The spotlight on the Miami Dolphins could very well change in the next six months, especially if the proposed sale of the Miami Marlins takes place and the ownership group of Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter are in place. Given the popularity of Jeter and his wish to see the Marlins succeed, I would dare say this might not be such a bad thing for the Dolphins to feel someone else taking the limelight away from them , as they seek to undergo some changes.

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  45. Joe Mauer has become something of an afterthought in the world of baseball. He may well remain face of the franchise for the Minnesota Twins. Yet, over the last decade both Mauer and the Twins have remained in the shadows with only two appearances in the MLB postseason . The Twins’ regular season record has seen them without a divisional title since 2010 and needless to say, their start to this season has been another mediocre one.

    If the Minnesota Twins continue to play as they are with a sub.500 record , it is unlikely they will make an appearance in the postseason. This season Joe Mauer is batting .165 and this is just one of the indicators why this Twins’ team has been struggling . Yesterday , the Minnesota Twins were in action against the Cleveland Indians their divisional rivals at Targe Field in Minneapolis , Minnesota . On the mound for the Twins was their veteran pitcher Erwin Santana who was up against Trevor Bauer of the Indians.

    Joe Mauer and the $$$

    By Doug Lier

    It’s common knowledge Joe Mauer and his $23 million price tag is about as cost effective as buying a Commodore 64 for $3,000. It may have been worth it when you you bought it. But it sure isn’t now. That’s the situation with Joe. We arent’ getting the productivity you’d paid for.

    Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins.

    I’ll be honest and fair. When the contract was signed in 2011 the Twins didn’t have much of a choice. He was 28 and as has been well documented the best value catcher, face of the franchise etc. I won’t waste time revisiting how the Twins got to the point of paying $23 million this year and next for a weak hitting first baseman.

    But last night listening to the Twins on KFGO Corey and Dazzle were talking about the young players in the clubhouse making 1/20th the pay and producing 2x what Mauer is doing. Discussing how this effects the team morale.

    I wasn’t taking notes, but the tone alluded to “…the players are okay with his salary because of what Joe means to the team and clubhouse…”

    Really? It doesn’t matter what he is or isn’t doing on the field?

    I don’t buy that one bit. I don’t. Spin it all you want. “Joe’s a team player” is floated in conversations. Is he? It’s not my place to judge. I can ask a question.

    If Joe was a team player would he have restructured his contract to bring in more leverage for the Twins to sign beyond a “b list” catcher this off season?

    Before asking me, ” if I would” or telling me pro-sports is different. Let me remind you in MLB it has been done for the better of the team. Chipper Jones did that for the Braves. In the NFL it’s more common to help the team win vs just collecting your pay check to the detriment of the team.

    I also don’t buy it because work is work is work. It is.

    Click on link shown to read this article in full.


    The Minnesota Twins would be on the losing end in the contest , falling to the Indians 6-2 . Minnesota will begin a weekend schedule against the Detroit Tigers today with the starting pitchers being Justin Verlander of the Tigers against Hector Santiago of the Twins. This could prove to be one of the more interesting games of their regular season series for 2017.

    The Minnesota Twins continue to pare down the payroll of this team and it has been this way for the past eight years . Joe Mauer is the highest paid player on the Twins’ roster and while the front office may well it is justified to reward the Mauer for his loyalty and service , I can’t help but wonder if that money might not have been better spent on bolstering the lineup down the years. This season the Twins’ payroll will be among the lowest in all of baseball and deemed a small-market team this is just one of the vagaries the ball-club will continue to face.

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  46. The Tampa Bay Rays are likely to post another losing record this season . For several years now the Rays have struggled to remain relevant , albeit , that under Joe Maddon the ball-club had some semblance of success. A World Series’ appearance left the Rays on the losing end , with a lopsided loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 , to a 4-1 series’ defeat .

    Joe Maddon’s departure from the Tampa Bay Rays to become the manager of Chicago Cubs has left both ball-clubs heading in different directions . Chicago won the 2016 World Series , while the Rays have labored under the misguidance of a front office being completely out of touch with reality. Brian Auld , Stuart Sternberg and Matthew Silverman remain as clueless as ever , spending more time lambasting municipal agencies in not spending millions to build them a stadium that will never be filled to capacity for a home game .

    Evan Longoria (left) and Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays.

    Kevin Cash has succeeded Joe Maddon as the manager of the Tampa Bays Rays , inheriting a team which has seen some changes in the last two years. The roster for this season has a payroll which is among the lowest in the Majors . Competitiveness asides, it is extremely difficult to see how the Rays can compete against the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers , Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees from a financial standpoint , let alone being on the field of play . This weekend the Rays will begin a three-game series against the Houston Astros at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida , with the first of those three games set to take place on Friday evening . On the mound for the Rays in that game will be Alex Cobb against Mike Fiers of the Astros . It will be interesting to see if Tampa can improve upon their recent record against the Astros .

    Chris Archer and Evan Longoria are considered to be the two best players on the Tampa Bay Rays’ staff and if the ball-club is to achieve any semblance of success, then both of these players will have to be at their very best throughout the course of this season.

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    This week in Major League Baseball (MLB) and on this day in baseball .

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  47. The official release of the 2017 NFL schedule has been made public and it provides an intriguing look for the regular season schedule of games to be played. Defending Superbowl champions the New England Patriots will begin the defense of their title when they face the Kansas City Chiefs in week one , 7th September , 2017 . This will be a Thursday Night Game , which will officially open the regular season. There will then be a slew of games on Sunday afternoon and then the customary Monday Night Game which will feature the New Orleans Saints at the Minnesota Vikings , while the second game featured for that night will be the Los Angeles Chargers facing the Denver Broncos .

    As with last season the opening games of the regular season isn’t always a reflection of how the year will progress over the course of the schedule .

    With teams still assessing their draft needs as well as the free agents still on the market , it will be interesting to see how the franchises acquit themselves. The NFL Draft of last season brought about some interesting decisions as the teams sought to bolster their rosters through the Draft as well as via several trades .

    With their now being several prominent free agents yet to be signed as teams mull over their salary cap obligations it will be interesting to see where Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick could possibly end up playing. There remains a bone of contention that Kaepernick is unlikely to be signed , simply because of his actions during last season . No denying there is a great deal of hypocrisy within a league (NFL) which looks the other way at misogynists , sexual abusers , racists and homo-phobes , but somehow there is a great deal of contempt by team owners and general managers against a player who speaks out on a social injustice . Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick lead a heightened class of free agent quarterbacks for 2017 .

    If Colin Kaepernick’s career is at an end , then it will might seen as one of the most spectacular downfall of a player in recent league history. John Lynch , general manager of the San Francisco 49ers still remains hopeful that Kaepernick can and will be re-signed by the franchise . Yet , to date , no decision has been made by either Lynch or the Niners’ CEO Jed York concerning the impending future of quarterback. The Forty Niners will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Carolina Panthers .

    For those who feel Colin Kapernick was to blame for woes of the San Francisco 49ers last season , these individuals have quickly forgotten much of the team’s malaise rests squarely on the shoulders of Chip Kelly and his coaching staff , who if anything proved that they were completely out of their depth. It was also rather idiotic of Kelly who believed that Blaine Gabbert would be the savior of the Forty Niners’ as the team’s starting quarterback for much of 2016. Gabbert’s failures were there for all to bare witness to , alongside the shortcomings of Kaepernick. San Francisco’s defense was atrocious and they were not much better on offense in spite of the claims that Chip Kelly was an offensive wizard. His record as an NFL coach belies this altogether in spite of a postseason appearance with the Philadelphia Eagles .

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  48. This is now a pivotal point in the first round of the NBA Playoffs , with most teams having played three games into their best seven-game series. The Boston Celtics (0-2) find themselves in a deep hole needing to win game three of their series to be in with a chance of resurrecting their playoff foray. In allowing the Chicago Bulls to win the first two games at their home has proven to be a monumental disaster for this Brad Stevens’ coached team . The Celtics are the top seeds in the East , but their play has been anything but that . In fact the Boston Celtics have been absolutely mediocre up to this point in their first round series. Game four of the series between the two Eastern Conference combatants will take place on Sunday 23rd April at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois , as the Chicago Bulls will play host to the Boston Celtics .

    One of the most fascinating series of this first round pits the regular season’s two best players against each other as James Harden of the Houston Rockets (2-1) goes up against Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2) . All season long these two players have lit up the scoreboard during the regular season. Westbrook even managed to average a triple-double through the regular season schedule. Something last achieved by Hall of Fame point guard Oscar Robertson over five decades ago .

    In the third game of their best of seven series the Oklahoma City Thunder played host to the Houston Rockets , as the Thunder looked to claw their way back into their quarter-final series , having lost the first two games.

    It seems only fitting that Russell Westbrook should win this season’s League MVP after one of the most historic individual seasons in NBA history . Only an idiot would seek to question what has been achieved by Westbrook over the course of this regular season . Russell Westbrook led the Thunder to an emphatic game-three victory , scoring a triple-double along the way , but the win was more of an all-round effort by Thunder players . Westbrook and his teammates will be looking to even the series at two games apiece (2-2) when they meet in game four on Sunday afternoon.

    NBA news

    NBA results 21st April

    NBA Playoffs (2017)

    🙂

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  49. Over the last eight years the one constant with regard to the Washington Nationals has been the ownership , with billionaire owner , Ted Lerner keeping something of a tight rein on the operations of the ball-club. Success has been fleeting for the Nationals with postseason appearances being something of a rarity along with NL Pennants and divisional titles . The ball-club has seen a change in managers , general managers and off-course a turnover of the playing staff during that time-frame.

    Dusty Baker has been brought in to manage the team which is littered with several All Stars at a number of positions on the current roster. Among the more high-profiled players currently with the Nationals we have Stephen Strasburg and a former NLMVP and outfielder Bryce Harper , who could very well become the first Major League player to sign a long-term contract worth in excess of $400 million .

    The Washington Nationals are thought to be good enough to win the NL East this season , but a great deal of that will be dependent upon the health of several of their front-line starters .

    Dusty Baker’s managerial career has been one of close calls , with his never having won a World Series’ title as a manager. If he is able to get the best out of his players then the sky might well be the limit. Series’ wins over divisional rivals such as the New York Mets , Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies will go a long way in making that a reality as well as taking down the big guns of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs .

    This weekend the Nationals have a series against the New York Mets . This began with Friday’s game which resulted in a 4-3 win for Washington. Saturday and once again these two teams will meet for the second of the three games of this current series . Starting pitchers for today’s game will be Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals against Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets.

    Washington Nationals news

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  50. Barry Bonds’ greatest career successes might well have been as a player with the San Francisco Giants , though he started his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates . Yet , the infamy of the allegations surrounding his career , steroid use , has long stained what has been an astonishing tenure in Major League Baseball. Having retired from the game of baseball as the career home-runs’ leader , Bonds had a short-lived foray as a hitting instructor with the Miami Marlins last season . His tenure with the Marlins was abruptly cut short . after it was revealed his relationship with team manager Don Mattingly had soured , was further exacerbated by Bonds’ fractured relationship with the players.

    Courtesy of The Mercury News

    Could Barry Bonds have still dominated without ever swinging the bat?

    By Jim Durkin , Bay Area News Group

    It’s a ridiculous concept. Could Barry Bonds have remained a dominant offensive force even if he never swung the bat?

    Not a chance, right? Well…

    Barry Bonds seen here hitting a home run during a game . Bonds holds the record for career home runs (762) .

    SB Nation’s Jon Bois tackled the subject in an entertaining YouTube video posted on Tuesday.
    The question Bois poises is “What if Barry Bonds had played baseball without a bat?” and attempts to simulate his ridiculous 2004 season when he set a major league record for OPS at 1.422. The premise requires that pitchers don’t know that Bonds doesn’t have the ability to swing and thus are still making the same pitches to him they otherwise would. (Yes, it’s unrealistic, but we’re having fun here.)

    The question starts by factoring his 191 plate appearances in which he actually didn’t take a swing. He struck out looking twice, so that gave him a .990 on-base percentage for those trips to the plate.

    Bois then simulated each of Bonds’ walks that season. Since there’s no possible way for the batless Bonds to foul off a pitch, a solution needed to be found. PITCHf/x data didn’t become available until 2006, so that couldn’t be used. Instead, Bois used Bonds’ FanGraphs rate that showed 80.9 percent of the pitches he swung at were strikes and applied some random generation using that percentage to shave six walks off Bonds’ major league record 232 he drew that season.

    Then it came time to examine his 41 strikeouts. When forced to randomly generate the outcome of foul balls during those strikeouts, Bois was left with some at-bats that needed more pitches. For those pitches he needed to add in, Bois used the friendlier rate that showed 58.7 percent of pitches to Bonds were outside the strike zone and was able to add seven walks back to Bonds’ ledger. At that point, he had a solid .392 on-base percentage.

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

    There seems to be no signs that Barry Bonds will ever be lured into the broadcast booth to provide his insights or analysis on the game of baseball . Bonds is also a legitimate nominee for the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York , but it seems unlikely that he will ever be voted in by the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) . Bonds’ last season in the Big Leagues came in 2003 after a seventeen-year career . His seven wins of the NLMVP remains a league record , unlikely to be surpassed by a player.

    With Barry Bonds now completely away from the game of baseball , he can watch from afar as both the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants seek to be competitive this season. Under current manager Bruce Bochy , the Giants have been lucky enough to have won three World Series in the last eight years. The Pirates for their part have been resurgent , though not yet reaching the plateau of being a legitimate contender for NL Central division or an NL Pennant . Both teams are in action this weekend with the Pirates in a series against the New York Yankees , while the Giants will be facing the Colorado Rockies . I expect both of these games to be very competitive and entertaining .

    MLB news

    MLB schedule 22nd April and schedule for 23rd April

    MLB standings (divisional)

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  51. The time has come for Bill O’Brien and the coaching staff of the Houston Texans to make a decision . That decision is whether or not to draft a quarterback or actually sign highly controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick who would be a far better choice than acquiring another notable free agent Jay Cutler . The failure of Brock Osweiler to lead or be productive was evident for everyone to see , even though the Texans made the postseason , only to fall in the wildcard round of the playoffs. That should tell you all you need to know as to how overrated the Texans were and still remain after a season of sheer failure and ineptitude.

    Robert McNair and the Texans’ front office will have to come to a decision before the NFL Draft , rather than wait until Draft Day. The urgency is that clear, because the alternatives at the position on the team’s depth chart is absolutely bleak. Bill O’Brien gambled on Brock Osweiler and failed miserably with the decision and it is not something the head coach can afford to do again. If the Texans are to compete against the likes of their divisional rivals as well as the rest of the NFL , then it is clear their offense will have to be a great deal better in particular their passing game .

    Through their first six games of the season the Houston Texans had a record of 4-2 , while going a somewhat pedantic 3-2 over their final five games of the regular season.

    This upcoming season the Houston Texans will have a difficult schedule facing their usual divisional combatants the Indianapolis Colts , Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans . Houston will have their customary preseason schedule , but they will begin their regular season with a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on the 10th September , 2017.

    Houston Texans news

    Houston Texans depth chart and roster

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  52. Adrian Peterson has visited with the New England Patriots , as the free agent running back goes around the league looking to offer his services to a team very much in need of a veteran running back. Peterson has yet to be signed and though the Patriots were well-served this past season by LeGarrette Blount , Dion Lewis and James White , you get the feeling that Bill Belichick and the coaching staff would like nothing more than to add to the offensive arsenal of the team .

    With Adrian Peterson, the Patriots would get one of the league’s most versatile and productive rushers over the past ten seasons. Peterson for his part would like nothing better than to add a Superbowl ring to his list of accomplishments over the course of his career. Likely a future Hall of Fame inductee , Adrian Peterson still remains effective in the NFL . If he is signed by a team, then expect to see this player really produce at a highly consistent level , as he has done , ever since he was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings during the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft . Peterson has been extremely productive against many of the opponents faced during the regular and postseason . There is also said to be varying degrees of interest in Adrian Peterson from the Dallas Cowboys , Philadelphia Eagles , New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills .

    Adrian Peterson could be signed to a veteran’s minimum or a one or two-year deal by any of the teams without having to ” break the bank ” in terms of a salary . This off-season should provide the fans with another unique insight into the deal making which is about to take place in the lead-up to the 2017 NFL Draft . While there are a number of talented running backs on the Draft Board , I am not so sure there will be that many who will be able to be as impact-ful as Adrian Peterson has been over the course of his NFL career.

    NFL news , NFL free agents , restricted and unrestricted

    2017 NFL cap

    NFL Draft (2017) NFL transactions

    NFL transactions (April 2016)

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    NFL news

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  53. Saturday’s results in Major League Baseball and the divisional standings at present. Several of the games were every entertaining and provided some outstanding displays. Perhaps the most compelling game of the day , saw the Washington Nationals proving why they are likely to be the team to beat in the NL East as they got by the New York Mets . These two teams will meet again on Sunday afternoon when they get together for the final time of their current three-game series .

    Elsewhere among the games played we had the Arizona Diamondbacks completely destroy a suspect pitching staff of the Los Angeles Dodgers on their way to a resounding 11-5 victory over their NL West divisional rivals . The Diamondbacks will be looking to follow up with that win , when they face the Dodgers at Chase Field , in Phoenix , Arizona , this afternoon .

    The Toronto Blue Jays (4-13) based on record alone might just be the worst team in all of baseball. Nothing seems to be going right for the Blue Jays at all. Their pitching has been atrocious and the team’s offense hasn’t been that much better . Yesterday , the Toronto Blue Jays faced the Los Angeles Angels on the road in an AL contest , where the visitors simply gave up midway through the contest . The Angels came away with a 5-4 victory as part of their weekend series played at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim , California . The final game of the series takes place today.

    MLB news and results

    MLB schedule and MLB probable pitchers

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  54. The games played so far as the NBA Playoffs have gotten underway seem to be following a pattern . Within the Western Conference the San Antonio Spurs (2-2) now find themselves in a highly combative series against the Memphis Grizzlies (2-2) , having now allowed the Grizzlies to win the last two games , with San Antonio not putting up much of a fight in either of the two games played on the road . Last night’s game was indicative of what appears to be wrong with the San Antonio Spurs and their not being as defensively adept as seen through the regular season . If they continue along their current path then this series against the Memphis Grizzlies will prove to be the biggest surprise of the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

    Game five of the series between the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies will take place on Monday 25th April at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas . If San Antonio
    Spurs are to win to win the series , then they cannot allow the Grizzlies to dictate the pace of the remaining games . For their part , there has to be something more coming from the Spurs’ players over the remainder of this first round match-up against their opponent .

    NBA news

    San Antonio Spurs news

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