It’s Our Ball , So Let Us Play ….

It’s Our Ball So Let Us Play

It remains the most popular sport in the world and at the international level , there is no more popular quadrennial event than the World Cup . Last held in 2014 , this year’s event is being held in Russia , where President Vladmir Putin hopes to see the host country raise the Jules Rimet Trophy to signify themselves as world champions. In the opening game of the tournament Russia overpowered their opponent , Saudi Arabia , winning the game in a lopsided fashion , 5-0 . Good enough, to set the host country on their way within their group.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slide show.

The top thirty-two teams in the world have gathered together for Soccer’s most prestigious event looking to succeed the current defending champions Germany , who will be looking to make a successful defense of their title. Quite rightly, they remain a firm favorite with an established and world-class team .Germany got off to a really rocky start in the defense of their title with a shocking loss , 1-0 against Mexico in their opening game of their group, Group F . This was one in a line of truly embarrassing results for a number of the favored teams as the opening schedule of games took place.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are considered to be the two best players in the world with each having been named the world’s best player on several occasions . Ronaldo seeks to lead Portugal to the first World Title , while Messi and his Argentinian teammates will be looking to win their third title .

Lionel Messi and his teammates will take to the field on Thursday,21st June to face Croatia . Portugal’s next game in the opening round of group games will see them face Iran . Cristiano Ronaldo has continued to set records at the international level for his country and the player will further seek to establish himself perhaps the best European player in the history of the game.

Well we can’t talk about international soccer without mentioning the name of Brazil and their list of all-time great players. Currently the best player on their roster , is Neymar Jr , perhaps the closest thing they have to matching both Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo on the international soccer stage. Brazil has gotten to a dogged start to this World Cup with a very unimpressive debut game, resulting in a 1-1 tie against Switzerland . With Serbia leading Group E , a group many believed Brazil would have all to themselves , they now have to win their next outing , when they are due to face the group leaders in a game to be played on the 27th June . Failure to win the contest and there is a chance that the Brazilians would face a tough time qualifying from their group.

While the world continues to watch the World Cup unfold, here on the West side of the Atlantic , the biggest story likely to unfold over the next forty-eight hours will be how the NBA Draft unfolds as the top-ten picks of the first round go down. Luka Doncic was thought to be the consensus number one overall pick , but his stock has been dropping faster than the popularity ratings of both Kanye West and Roseanne Barr combined. The knock against the Slovenian player , has been his lack of physicality to his game. It’s something I believe once he’s in the weight room adding on the muscle , his game being what it is , the team who drafts him will get the benefits of what made him a European Player of the Year and a Finals Four MVP in the European Club Championships. Whether or not the front office of the Phoenix Suns will choose to make Doncic that overall number one pick remains to be seen.

If Luka Doncic isn’t the player to be taken at number one , then look for the stocks to rise of players such as Marin Bagley III and DeAndre Ayton . These two players, are thought to be the best of the college declaree’s for this year’s Draft.

Over the past five years , it would appear that Dwight Howard was never going to be able to fulfill the early promise shown at the start of his career . For the second time in the last two years the player finds himself on the move as the Charlotte Hornets traded the veteran center to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Timofey Mozgov and some future picks. Far be it for me to suggest , but the Hornets even with this trade are far from where they need to be. Team owner Michael Jordan and the front office have done little to raise the profile of this franchise , since Jordan took controlling interest , having bought the Hornets from BET founder Robert L Johnson .

The decision to move Dwight Howard might well have a great deal more to do with the fact his relationship with his teammates had soured due to his antics . It was also rumored that Michael Jordan sought to improve the cap space for the team as he sought to lure a marquee free agent to the Hornets.

With the opening round of the NBA Draft set to begin tonight , 21st June and plays out over the next two nights. . It will be interesting to see what transpires , as well as bearing in mind LeBron James has yet to make the world aware of his plans. James is looking to hold the NBA’s franchises hostage and in doing so, it affects how they are likely to proceed.

Soured relationship or not what has taken place this past season between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs should be a lesson for all teams who have superstars who now want to make demands , purely because they can’t get their way. Leonard’s season was curtailed due to injury with his only playing nine regular season games for the Spurs and being unable to participate in the NBA Playoffs where they would be summarily dismissed in the first round by the eventual NBA champions the Golden State Warriors .

Kawhi Leonard has met with Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich and it’s not known what was discussed between Popovich and the player, but it is believed that as a senior front office executive for the franchise in his capacity in that role , he has pulled the plug on any demands that Leonard might have in wanting to be traded. The disruption to the franchise has not yet met a crescendo level , but there’s no doubt in my mind Kawhi Leonard is pushing to be traded. The Spurs for their part will be concentrating on the Draft, but I also believe if the right offer came along, they might well be willing to part ways with their disgruntled star.

Jeff Luhnow , the front office executive who has systematically brought the Houston Astros back to life was given a healthy contract extension by team owner Jim Crane . Having gone from the verge of bankruptcy to their current situation where they are considered the best team in baseball , with a growing fan-base . It would be safe to say the Astros have finally arrived. The managerial staff of AJ Hinch has set this ball-club for success, for a long time come , especially with the core of this roster signed to very good contracts.

The Houston Astros have simply carried on from where they left off during the MLB postseason having won the World Series with a great deal of ease, with their lopsided triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers . Having started out of the gate really fast in 2018, the Astros now have a commanding lead within the AL West and could have the division sewn up by late August if things carry on as they are. Houston will be in action on Friday when they take on the Kansas City Royals in a home game being played at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas,. This will be the first in a three-game home set of a weekend series against the Royals, where I fully expect the Astros to prevail against their AL rivals .

Having become the first team in the Majors this season with fifty wins to their name the Houston Astros are showing why in many respects the AL might be considered a better quality league than that of their NL rivals . That being said , it should not be considered a major knock against those teams.

Highest paid player in the game, by way of his contract and now the naysayers are sitting up and taking note as to what Giancarlo Stanton means to the New York Yankees and the team in general . It’s at times like this , I just wish the idiots would just shut hell up and simply learn something about the game of baseball ! Stanton might not be the best player in the game but he’s certainly in the argument to be considered a top-ten player that’s for sure. Giancarlo Stanton is proving to be a leader both on and off the field and his productivity this season is proof of that fact. Is he ready to assume the mantle of the team captain ? Well that’s an honor not often bestowed upon a Yankees’ player , with the last such person to be given the honor , being Derek Jeter . It has been almost five years since Jeter was last seen in the Yankees’ pinstripes.

Right now it has been the New York Yankees’ offense which has held away for the team as they battle the Boston Red Sox within the AL East . Giancarlo Stanton , Aaron Judge , Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius are the primary reasons why the Yankees are firing on all cylinders . That’s not to say the pitching staff haven’t played a part in the team’s success as it would be remiss to do so. The team’s best pitcher this season to date has been Luis Severino (11-2, 2.24 ERA) and he’s due back on the mound for the Yankees when they face the Philadelphia Phillies on the road on the 26th June. However , before that game takes place the New York Yankees will
begin a weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida. New York’s CC Sabathia will be the starting pitcher on the mound as he faces Ryne Stanek of the Rays in the first of the three encounters beginning on Friday ,22nd June ,2018. I fully expect the Yankees to dominate this series , as they encounter a Rays’ team which remains very inconsistent .

As this month winds down within the world of sports, what are you own expectations of the coming months ? Also, which story within the past few days has been the one which has captured your attention the most ?


Tophatal ……..


FIFA World Cup news & 2018 World Cup teams

FIFA World Cup matches & results

FIFA World Cup Group Standings

FIFA World Cup statistics (players and teams)

NBA news

2018 NBA Draft and Draft Board

NBA transactions


MLB news

MLB schedule three days at a glance

MLB standings

—-


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

Author: tophatal ...........

Brit ex-pat living C Florida . Now working with a consultancy firm in the field of corporate governance on the international front , concerning economic policies . Also covering the area of finance , banking, international banking. An MBA graduate from the (LSE) and UCL (London) , M&A (mergers & acquisitions), economics , risk management & assessment . Martial artist (tae-kwondo, karate, savate , muy-thai) & an vowed sports ' fan , sports' junkie. Served in armed forces British ... Royal Marines . Taught unarmed combat to members of the military and also competed in tournaments prior to joining the Royal Marines . Also an avid motorcycle junkie & free running enthusiast . Tech geek and computer repair technician. Entertainment: Musical tastes _ reggae, r&b, soul, hip-hop, rap , jazz, classical. Film genres , Preferably thrillers , crime dramas Hobbies ..... reading biographies & anything by John Grisham Just a lil' something to make me feel comfortable ! Tophatal

47 thoughts on “It’s Our Ball , So Let Us Play ….”

  1. I’m not saying the Philadelphia 76ers messed up their Draft Class , but given what took place in the first round , this could be one of their biggest drafts bust ever. It would appear also Jerry Colangelo has seen fit to provide Brett Brown with additional responsibility of now becoming the GM & Head of Basketball Operations . This was a Sixers’ team which was impressive during the regular season , but woefully inept during the NBA Playoffs .

    Like

  2. With the games which took place over the weekend within Major League Baseball, several provided some surprising results . The Tampa Bay Rays somehow managed to ‘sweep’ the New York Yankees in a three-game sweep between these AL East rivals . Both teams will return to the field on Monday 25th June as they seek to make inroads within the division as well as within the AL (American League) .

    The New York Yankees will face the Philadelphia Phillies on the road , while the Tampa Bay Rays have a home game against the Washington Nationals .

    MLB news

    MLB schedule 25th June

    Tophatal ……..

    Like

  3. Some moves are likely to be made within the next six days which is likely to shake the NBA to its foundations . It was the same last season as the with the NBA Draft having taken place as teams looked to improve their rosters as well as well as cap availability . The current speculation now surrounds the impending futures of both LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard . James hasn’t yet stated whether or not he intend to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers , while Leonard it is believed has demanded to be traded away from the San Antonio Spurs .

    NBA news

    Tophatal

    Like

  4. It’s now no longer as to how low can they go but when will the sinking stop. The New York Mets would have to be considered among the worse teams in baseball based on their current play and quite possibly their record over their last ten games (3-7) . It’s safe to say this roster under current manager , Micky Callaway , leaves a great deal to be desired. Callaway is of limited experience in his current role and the same can be said of his managerial staff . Injuries asides , the Mets’ players are a moribund bunch of underachievers who are overpaid for their contributions this season.

    It is pretty much safe to say that Sandy Alderson as the de-facto General Manager & Head of Baseball Operations , now seems to be completely out of touch with reality and what needs to be done concerning the long-term future of this Mets’ organization and team.

    The New York Mets are in action today where they are set to face the Pittsburgh Pirates in a home game .

    New York Mets’ news

    Tophatal ……..

    Like

  5. It’s put up or shut up time for Argentina.

    If Messi can’t get his boys to the round of 16, well, dare I say his career on the national team would end on a highly sour note.

    Like

    1. SportsChump (Chris Humpherys)

      Argentina is essentially done because they need to win by at least a four to five-goal margin and then hope that one of their group rivals (Group D) fail in their final round of group games . It’s unfortunate that Lionel Messi has been placed in the situation that he’s in, because from the outset this team actually struggled to qualify for the World Cup itself . Their results in this tournament simply shows that the team and coaching staff are way out of their depth. It has been a pitiful showing all-round from the players themselves .

      Lionel Messi and his teammates will be hard-pressed to get past Nigeria when the two teams face each other today .

      FIFA World Cup news

      Tophatal ………

      Like

  6. So the sweepstakes are about to begin as Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles seems the most likely candidate to be on the move as teams set their sights bolstering their rosters after the All Star Game mid-season break. If Machado is on the move then there’s likely to a deluge of teams interested in acquiring his services . One thing is certain the third baseman could fill a variety roles for any team in need of a productive in-fielder , with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees said to be among the teams said to be interested in the young Orioles’ All Star. Machado first made a name for himself in 2012 when he debuted for Baltimore. Manny Machado is due $16 million for 2018 and becomes a free agent in 2019 . I’ve no doubt in my mind Machado can be productive for any team with postseason ambition .

    By Bob Nightengale , USA Today Sports

    Manny Machado sweepstakes are underway – and Dodgers are favorites to acquire him

    By Bob Nightengale , USA Today Sports

    The Los Angeles Dodgers are playing it coy, acting as if they can’t take on money, won’t give up prized prospects, and aren’t hellbent on returning to the World Series again.

    Don’t be fooled.

    They are poised to land Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado.

    This is the one player on the trade market who can singlehandedly change the playoff landscape, and several Major League Baseball executives and scouts told USA TODAY Sports that the Dodgers have emerged as the clear-front favorites to land Machado.

    The market is just starting to move now, a high-ranking Orioles executive said, and the Orioles have responded by pulling several of their professional scouts away from major-league coverage to spend time in the minor leagues scouting prospects.

    And, yes, they are focusing primarily on the Dodgers’ vaunted system.

    MORE MLB

    Unlikely players who could be All-Stars
    Popper: Mets GM steps away as a winner
    Deadline has fantasy owners looking for this year’s J.D. Martinez
    The Dodgers need to make up for last summer’s blunder when they didn’t acquire Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander. They didn’t want to give up the prospects, or pick up the remaining $56 million in his contract through 2019, despite Verlander’s desire to play in Los Angeles. The Houston Astros, with the Tigers agreeing to pay $8 million of his contract each season, grabbed him instead on Aug. 31 after Verlander cleared waivers.

    The Astros don’t win their first World Series, let alone ever get there, without Verlander.

    The Dodgers’ World Series drought doesn’t extend to 30 years if they pass on Verlander, instead picking up Yu Darvish, who became a free agent at the end of last season.

    This year, prospects and money be damned, they’ve got no choice but to acquire Machado.

    Simply, they’ve come too far, too quickly, not to go for it all now.

    The Dodgers (42-36), who opened the season losing 26 of their first 42 games, have gone 26-10 since May 17, the best mark in the major leagues. They trail the Arizona Diamondbacks, who just so happen to be perhaps the Dodgers’ stiffest competition for Machado, by 2 ½ games in the NL West.

    Click on link to read article in full .

    The Baltimore Orioles will be at home today when they face the Seattle Mariners at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland ,.

    MLB news

    Tophatal ………

    Like

  7. Ben Simmons has provided the Philadelphia 76ers with room for hope and quite possibly a great future after claiming this year’s Rookie of The Year Award within the NBA . Previous winners have gone to illustrious careers while others have not. Simmons’ numbers (15.8 ppg) were very impressive when adjudged against that of his counterparts who were members of the 2017 NBA Draft Rookie Class . While there appears to be mounting speculation that the Sixers will be part of the LeBron James’ free agency sweepstakes , there is no doubt in mind James would improve Philadelphia’s lineup , it would not take them over the top making them a legitimate contender for the NBA title . The roster of the 76ers might be the best young lineup in the entire NBA based on experience.

    Courtesy of ESPN

    Sixers’ Ben Simmons claims NBA’s Rookie of the Year award

    By Ohm Youngmisuk , ESPN Writer

    Santa Monica , California ,. Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons beat out Utah’s Donovan Mitchell for Rookie of the Year.

    In what many felt was a tight contest this season, Simmons took home the honor at the NBA Awards show Monday night as he was chosen top rookie over Mitchell and Boston’s Jayson Tatum.

    “I’d like to thank my family to start out with … family, friends, you know I wouldn’t be here without them,” Simmons said in his acceptance speech. “My teammates of course and my great coach, and the city of Philadelphia for really embracing me and my family, so thank you.”

    After missing his draft year due to injury, Simmons finally made his long-awaited debut this past season and helped lead the Sixers to 52 wins. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, only seven players in NBA history have won Rookie of the Year while helping their team win at least 50 games.

    ………………………………………….
    Click on link to read article in full.
    …………………………………………..

    The front office of the Philadelphia 76ers led by team owner Joshua Harris , Head of Basketball Operations Jerry Colangelo and Head Coach Brett Brown have to be aware that in order to lure LeBron James to the franchise , they will have to persuade him as to their short-term and long-term ambitions. Upgrades will certainly have to be made to the 76ers’ roster , but everything now will certainly evolve around the decision made by LeBron James before the other dominoes are likely to fall .

    Philadelphia 76ers news

    Tophatal ..

    Like

  8. Mike Trout could be on his way to winning another AL MVP , winning the award for the third time since he entered the league and was drafted by Los Angeles Angeles in the 2009 MLB Draft . The player would make his debut in 2011 for the team . That season would not be an eventful one for the Angels, even with Albert Pujols as part of the lineup that year. They would fail to make the postseason , but there’s hope that the team can make it back that position and make a deep run itself under the managerial staff of Mike Scioscia .

    Mike Scioscia and the Los Angeles Angels will be in action today as they look to lessen the lead of the Houston Asros have within the AL West . Mike Trout’s record against the Boston Red Sox whom the Angels face today is should make for an interesting game. If the Angles should fail to make the postseason then Arte Moreno and the front office will most certainly have to consider the future of Mike Scioscia as the manager of the ball-club.

    Once today’s game against the Boston Red Sox comes to its end , the Los Angeles Angels will then begin a weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles on the road , with the first game taking place on Friday , 29th June , 2018.

    Los Angeles Angels news

    Tophatal ……….

    Like

  9. Brought in to provide even more offense to what was already a very good offensive minded team , Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees is proving to be worth everything the Yankees thought he might bring to the roster beyond the near $30 million he will be paid in 2018 , as the highest paid player in baseball by way of his contract. The Yankees and Boston Red Sox are currently in a two-way tussle for the top spot within the AL East . It has been a solid effor from this Aaron Boone managed team as they look to win their eighteenth divisional title . New York’s inconsistency in the postseason since their last World Series’ triumph in 2009 , show that this is a ball-club unwilling to rest on its laurels as it strives for even more success. New York’s front office led by Brian Cashman is uniquely aware of the ball-club’s value in the market-place as well as the value to the fans.

    Giancarlo Stanton and his Yankees’ teammates will be on the mound Friday , as the team begins a weekend series against the Boston Red Sox at home . The series itself will only play a small part concerning the year-long series between these two perennial foes. CC Sabathia will the starting pitcher for the Yankees when he faces the Red Sox’s Eduardo Rodriguez .

    MLB news

    Tophatal ……………

    Like

  10. One more day and everything should begin to fall into place by way of free agent declarees within the NBA . As usual LeBron James will hold sway over the entire NBA , just as he did in 2010 when the whole world was left to where he would end up plying his trade. Do we really need to put up with his bull$hit once again , while the LBJ apologists still bitch and whine about his being better than Michael Jordan . They need to let that $hit rest once and for all , three wins in nine NBA Finals’ appearances will be his, James’ yardstick when compared to Jordan’s six wins from six appearances. Is there anything else which needs to be said at this juncture ?

    If LeBron James does opt-out of the final year of his contract then he can sign a max-deal with his new team of $209 million over five years . This will likely lead to at least six teams vying for his services , based on their needs , but specifically this will also be about cap availability for the teams in question.

    NBA news and declared free agents

    Tophatal …………..

    Like

  11. There’s no credibility left in the world in the world of Boxing as it revealed that the long awaited Heavyweight Title unification bout will not be taking place between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder , the two unbeaten titlists who hold various versions of the title . Once again, it would appear that these two egotistical boxers along with their respective managers and representatives had no intent to put the plans in place to stage the bout. With each fighter guaranteed a payday exceeding in excess of $25 million apiece , it seems somewhat asinine that an agreement could not be reached. Instead it was revealed that Anthony Joshua is set to meet Alexander Povetkin , in defense of his collection of belts .

    Yahoo Sports (Boxing) and rankings

    Tophatal ………….

    Like

  12. Baseball’s weekend series get underway as of today with a full parcel of games scheduled. The Chicago Cubs will be playing host to the Minnesota Twins in the first of their three games . There will be a very good series taking place when the Los Angeles Dodgers face off against the Colorado Rockies in a battle of divisional rivals .

    Kevin Cash , manager of the Tampa Bay Rays will have his team on the road to face the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas,. The first of their their weekend series takes place as of today , as the Rays seek to improve their season series’ mark against the Astros in 2018.

    MLB news and divisional standings

    MLB weekend schedule (29th June to 1st July)

    Tophatal …………

    Like

  13. So there you have it folks , there was no long drawn out drama as LeBron James made his plans known to the public . The four-time League MVP and the three-time Finals MVP , announced that he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second time , signing a four-year $154 million deal , averaging $38.5 million a year , as he seeks to make the Los Angeles Lakers once again a preeminent franchise within the NBA . The franchise now has a marquee star among their midst , but the roster as it now stands even with James in the lineup , cannot be considered a serious challenge to either the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets within the Western Conference. The team will be elevated as perhaps a top-ten caliber franchise , but from thereon-in , unless the Lakers sign another marquee talent, they will still be among the also-ran’s within the conference as well as their division (Pacific) .

    NBA news

    Los Angeles Lakers news

    Tophatal ……..

    Like

  14. As the teams entered into their weekend series within baseball the divisions reflected certain perceived notions as well as the play of the players. The New York Yankees were very dominant in their series against the Boston Red Sox taking the series 2-1 at home . In Sunday’s game the Yankees’ beat the Red Sox , 11-1 , after being hammed 11-0 in Saturday’s game. With the division, AL East now heating up , the Yankees will be back in action today as they face the Atlanta Braves , while the Boston Red Sox will take on the Washington Nationals .

    MLB news and MLB schedule 2nd July

    MLB standings

    Tophatal ……

    Like

  15. Tiger Woods had his best finish the season to date in 2018 ,having finished fourth behind runaway winner Francesco Molinari who went wire-to-wire winning with a 21 under-par to take the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour . Molinari came away with the $1.28 million paycheck and an automatic berth for this month’s British Open which will be held at the Carnoustie Golf Course , Carnoustie , Scotland . This will be the third leg of the Grand Slam Tournament of the 2018 PGA Tour Schedule .

    PGA Tour news

    Tophatal ………….

    Like

  16. Big news or not the fact that LeBron James will be going to the Los Angeles Lakers might well set the bells ringing, but the oddsmakers are clearly idiots if they believe this makes the franchise a bona-fide favorite to win the NBA title . Unless the Lakers are able to obtain at least two marquee free agents they won’t be in with a remote of challenging either Golden Stare Warriors , much less the Houston Rockets this upcoming season . As optimistic as their fans might be , the Lakers are at least two years away from being considered a real favorite for the title.

    NBA transactions

    Tophatal ……..

    Like

  17. The world just sat up and took note, the Golden State Warriors are not going to give up the defense of their title without a fight. Instead of resting on their laurels, with the front office led by Bob Myers just boosted the team’s roster with the signing of DeMarcus Boogie Cousins to a one-year $5 million deal . Myers has proven to be astute in managing the Warriors’ cap as has been the case over the past three seasons.

    NBA news

    Golden State Warriors’ news

    Tophatal ……….

    Like

  18. Several players have been extremely impressive for their teams over their last couple of games within Major League Baseball . The 2016 World Series’ champions , the Chicago Cubs have been on something of a tear of late , having gotten the better of the laboring Minnesota Twins in their most recent game. The Cubs return to the field on Tuesday afternoon when they face the Detroit Tigers in a clash of intra-league teams .

    Over their last ten games the ball-club with the best record have been the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays with each posting an 8-2 record during that time-frame . Both teams are in action today, with
    the Mariners facing the Los Angeles Angels at home while the Rays will take on the Miami Marlins on the road.

    MLB news

    MLB standings (division) and today’s scheduled games .

    Tophatal ……………….

    Like

  19. LeBron James might not be getting the team he wants even in spite of his four year $154 million contract with the Los Angles Lakers , but it’s leading me to believe that several scenarios could very well begin to play themselves out. Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo has signed a one year deal , joining the Lakers’ already stacked roster of guards and point guards. Where this now leaves Isiah Thomas now remains to be seen . I can’t attest to what LaVar Ball might be thinking , but with his son , Lonzo Ball thought to be the future of this franchise moving forward , I can’t be sure that Ball Jr remains part of the Lakers’ future under the auspices of front office executives GM Rob Pelinka and Head of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson .

    NBA news

    Tophatal

    Like

  20. With the trade deadline coming up and there still being a number of issues to be resolved before the All Star Game comes into focus within baseball , it will be interesting to see what transpires between now and the All Star Break . At this point last season things were beginning to shape up for the teams . With a little under a week to go before baseball’s mid season showcase event the teams are in action over the next few days .

    Hard to make what’s now happening with the worst team in the league , other than to suggest the Baltimore Orioles are in for a hard time over the remainder of their regular season schedule. The Orioles will begin a four-game road series against the Minnesota Twins as of the 5th July with Andrew Cashner of the Orioles facing Aaron Slegers of the Twins .

    MLB news

    Tophatal ………

    Like

  21. Things don’t appear to be going so well for Tom Thibodeau , Head of Basketball Operations and Head Coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves . It would seem that Jimmy Butler who was traded to the Timberwolves by the Chicago Bulls this past season , has now become tired of his environment in Minnesota , while the front office made little headway in bolstering the roster via free agency with minimal gains through the most recent NBA Draft .

    Coming off an indifferent season the Minnesota Timberwolves are in need of a serious upgrade , given their issues of last season. Jimmy Butler is not eligible to be a free agent until 2020 , but it would very well me that GM Scott Layden might be willing to listen to offers for their point guard. Butler proved to be one of the Timberwolves’ most productive players during the regular season when on-court. There would likely be several teams interested in gaining a player of Jimmy Butler’s pedigree . With just two years left on his current contract and what he brings to the table , Butler could prove a godsend for a legitimate contender.

    Minnesota Timberwolves news

    Tophatal

    Like

  22. Some great weekend series will begin today within the world of Major League Baseball . The Boston Red Sox have been on a tear as of late , having the best record in baseball as of the 5th July . The team will be in action today when they face the Kansas Royals on the road in the first game of their weekend series. David Price will be on the mound for Boston as he faces Kansas’ Brad Keller in a battle of AL starting pitchers .

    Meanwhile one of the Boston Red Sox’s divisional rivals the Tampa Bay Rays now have some tough decisions to make in the run-up to the All Star Game with their being rumors that the front office might be willing to listen to offers for their All Star catcher Wilson Ramos . It has become a money issue , year in and year out for the Tampa Bay Rays and the fact that the organization continues to flounder barely profitable , but for the largess of the league hierarchy and the salary cap of $180 million . The Rays would barely survive as a ball-club in their current guise.

    The Tampa Bay Rays have a weekend series beginning today when Wilson Ramos and his teammates face the New York Mets , another ball-club now in dire straits of their own . With Ryan Stanek on the mound for the Rays as he faces off against Jacob deGrom , this should be a game that will have the fans intrigued .

    MLB news and weekend schedule

    MLB standings (divisional) and wildcard standings

    MLB impending free agents

    Tophatal ………….

    Like

  23. So history was made over the weekend within the UFC , as Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier defeated UFC Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 , part of a co-main card event. Cormier becomes only the second man in UFC history to hold both titles simultaneously with the last such fighter to do so being , Hall of Famer inductee Randy Couture .

    With Daniel Cormier having easily defeated Stipe Miocic in a first-round , knockout , this continues to show the weakness within the Heavyweight Division and the fact that no champion has been able to make more than two successful defenses of the title during their reign. Dana White current President of the UFC is now said to be lining up a big PPV event where Cormier is likely to make his first defense against former champion Brock Lesnar . Both fighters are guaranteed a six-figure payday from the much-anticipated bout , but it remains to be seen who is likely to get the greater share of the overall anticipated purse for the proposed title bout.

    UFC news and UFC 226 results

    Tophatal ………..

    Like

  24. Great results from the weekend schedule within the world of baseball as the teams now lead into All Star Game festivities which is just under a week away .

    There is a full schedule of games taking place today, Monday 9th July with the most intriguing match-up of teams quite possibly being the Houston Astros facing the Oakland A’s in a home game being played at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas.

    The impoverished New York Mets are now going through a real crisis on all fronts. Mets’ management and the front office will have some serious decisions to make as the team continues to languish within the NL East and within the NL wildcard standings . It is becoming increasingly clear that the front office will have to off-load players not just from an economic standpoint but also to facilitate bringing up players from their farm system who could actually contribute in the second half of the season.

    New York Mets’ manager Micky Callaway will have the team prepared for a game today when they face NL East division leaders the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York .

    MLB news

    MLB schedule 9th July

    MLB transactions

    MLB July transactions (2017) and August

    Tophatal …

    Like


  25. Jose Altuve
    , the 2017 AL MVP is once again having a terrific season for the Houston Astros . Altuve over the past seven and fourteen games fourteen games has been playing at a prodigious level for the Houston and there’s a belief that the slugger could become the ball-club’s first back to back-to-back League MVP. Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros will be in action today when they face the Oakland Athletics . Altuve for his part will be seeking to improve his record against the A’s this season and from a career standpoint .

    Jose Altuve’s counterpart from last season in the NL MVP was Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees and it will be interesting to see who succeeds Stanton for the award in the NL this season. There are several leading candidates for the award among the NL players .

    The New York Yankees are in action and they will be taking on the Baltimore Orioles , with CC Sabathia of the Yankees on the mound against Jimmy Yacabonis of the Orioles .

    Tophatal …………..

    Like

  26. Can anyone stop the juggernaut that has become the Boston Red Sox , winners of fourteen of their last seventeen games , while increasing their divisional lead over the New York Yankees ? If the Red Sox continue with their onslaught as they’re doing , then they are likely to be among the leading favorites for the ALCS Pennant and World Series this season. Boston’s Head of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski might also seek to bolster the team’s roster by possibly acquiring Manny Machado , who’s seen as a likely target in the lead-up to the trade deadline . Boston’s managerial staff led by Alex Cora will have his team prepare for their next series of games as they face the Texas Rangers to close out this current series, before facing divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays .

    Courtesy of MLB.com

    Yanks showing ‘increased interest’ in Machado

    While New York’s greatest need is adding a starter, O’s All-Star would boost an already formidable lineup

    By Manny Randhawa of MLB.com

    The Yankees are showing “increased interest” in Orioles star Manny Machado, according to MLB Network Insider Ken Rosenthal for The Athletic. The shortstop/third baseman has been on the trade market since last offseason, and with Baltimore in last place in the American League East and Machado set to become a free agent at season’s end, it is expected he will be moved prior to the upcoming July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

    Machado is putting together his finest season in the Majors, slashing .309/.379/.555 with 21 home runs entering Tuesday. Though rookie Miguel Andujar has been impressive at the plate this season (.500 slugging percentage with 12 homers through Monday), Machado would be an upgrade both offensively and defensively at third base for New York, having two Gold Glove Awards to his name before moving to shortstop this year.

    • Trade Talk: The latest news and rumors

    Already boasting a powerful right-handed lineup featuring sluggers Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, Machado would add another big right-handed bat to the order, which would be particularly helpful given New York is battling the Red Sox atop the AL East. Boston’s starting rotation features four left-handers in Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz.

    While the Yankees’ greatest need currently appears to be starting pitching, the market for starters who could make a significant impact for a World Series contender is thin, and that factor coupled with the chance to make a great lineup even better (the Yankees didn’t necessarily need a right fielder last offseason but traded for Stanton anyway) could make acquiring Machado an appealing prospect.

    On the pitching front, the Yankees also have shown interest in O’s relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach, as well as right-handed starter Kevin Gausman, according to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun.

    Britton, a lefty, and the righty Brach — popular names on the rumor mill given their late-inning resumes and status as impending free agents — could add to an already loaded Yankees bullpen. The 27-year-old Gausman, however, is under club control through 2020, making it less likely Baltimore would part with a current and future piece of its rotation, as Encina notes.

    Click on link to read this article in full.

    On the mound for the Boston Red Sox today when they face the Texas Rangers will be Hector Velazquez of Boston against Yovanni Gallardo of the Rangers. This should be a very interesting series between these two AL teams .

    There are likely to be several teams in play looking to acquire Manny Machado , given the player’s productive season for the Baltimore Orioles to date. The Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers are all in play for the player’s services and it should come as no surprise these three teams are at the top of the salary scale by way of their respective payrolls .

    This could be the last year for Dave Roberts to prove his worth to the Los Angeles Dodgers as a manger . The team currently finds itself in a tough battle within the NL West and their position by way of the wildcard standings is not that flattering. Failure to make the postseason and the likelihood the ball club could be looking for another manager at the end of the season . Having spent close to $1.6 billion in salaries since the club was purchased jointly by Mark Walter and his partners , the Dodgers’ showing for it all has been minuscule by way of on-field success. The division has now become a four-horse race between the Dodgers , San Francisco Giants , Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies vying for divisional supremacy .

    Dave Roberts’ high-priced team will be in action today when the players face off against the San Diego Padres on the road as part of their regular season series against their divisional rivals.

    MLB news

    MLB probable pitchers

    Tophatal ……………..

    Like

  27. Not being able to lure LeBron James to the Houston Rockets , it would appear that the front office is now seeking to acquire Carmelo Anthony by way of a trade . Bearing in mind we had the idiocy non-confirmed sources that the Philadelphia 76ers were making claims that the front office were close signing James . With LeBron James having signed his four-year , $153.4 million deal , there are still some deals to be made but it all comes down to effective negotiations on the part of the executives around the NBA seeking to bolster their respective team rosters.

    From my own perspective I am not so sure that Carmelo Anthony would be amenable to joining the Houston Rockets , even if it meant his being closer to perhaps winning an NBA title . The Rockets for their part were simply overwhelmed by a Golden State Warriors’ team that was set to repeat as champions while it was clear that Kevin Durant was intent on making a signature statement concerning the NBA Playoffs. Carmelo Anthony’s pursuit on an NBA ring remains but with the player having made the NBA Playoffs , it’s hard to gauge what he might now have to offer a team at this stage of his career.

    With the NBA Summer League having gotten off to a raucous start it will be interesting to see what the rookies will have to offer the league .

    NBA news

    NBA free agents

    NBA transactions

    Tophatal

    Like

  28. Baseball results for Tuesday 10th July , 2018 and the divisions now seem to be settling into something of a consistent setting . With the trade deadline set for 31st July there are no movements to date that would be worthy of a mention .

    At this point last season there had been several noteworthy trades which would ultimately lead to a very interesting MLB postseason .

    MLB news

    MLB schedule 11th July including probable pitchers

    MLB standings

    Tophatal ………….

    Like

  29. The Manny Machado sweepstakes remains in play and while teams have until the 31st July to make a decision. I have to believe that either before or immediately after the All Star Game , one of the major contenders will make an offer to the Baltimore Orioles for the services of Machado . The Orioles are in action as the team has a game against the Philadelphia Phillies being played at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland .

    As competitive as Derek Jeter thought the Miami Marlins , might be , he is now finding out that his team is not as good as first thought. Over their last ten games the Marlins are a mediocre 5-5 over that span . Now with the trade deadline coming up it will be interesting to see what moves Jeter and GM Michael Hill believe should be made.

    Long out of contention for the NL East , the Miami Marlins are now simply playing for pride and not much else. The managerial staff is simply at a loss in how to get the best out of the team leading up to the All Star Game, where the Marlins’ representation among the NL roster is almost threadbare. Miami will be in action on Friday , as they face the Philadelphia Phillies at home as part of their regular season series of games.

    MLB news

    MLB standings

    Tophatal

    Like

  30. So as the Kawhi Leonard watch continues the disgruntled San Antonio Spurs’ guard has become the most prized asset yet to be on the move. At the same time there are rumblings that the Oklahoma City Thunder are prepared to rid themselves of the remaining years left on Carmelo Anthony’s contract with the Thunder. Several teams are said to be interested in acquiring Anthony , among them are the Los Angeles Lakers , Houston Rockets and the Miami Heat , where Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra is trying to convince Pat Riley to make a move for the forward. I am not so sure Riley is willing to add Anthony’s $28 million owed to him to their payroll for the upcoming season .

    Courtesy of CBS Sports

    Kawhi Leonard trade odds: Raptors favorites to land Spurs star before next season, according to oddsmaker

    By Pete Blackburn @PeteBlackburn

    While LeBron James’ free agency period was relatively quick and painless, the NBA has had its fair share of extended drama with the Kawhi Leonard situation in San Antonio.

    Nobody really seems to know what the hell is going on with Leonard and the Spurs, and trade rumors surrounding the forward have been all over the place. Are the Lakers still his preference? How about the Clippers? Could the Celtics make a run at him?! The 76ers have the pieces to get it done!!! You know what … maybe there’s a chance he works things out in San Antonio.

    Honestly, it seems like nobody really knows at this point. But, in the latest development, there’s been some interesting movement on the betting front, as the Toronto Raptors now have the best odds to start next season with the superstar forward on their roster.

    According to online sportsbook MyBookie, the Raptors are now even money to land Kahwi. There’s been some moving and shaking on the odds over the past day or so, as the Raptors jumped up to co-favorites (along with the Spurs at +200) to start next season with Leonard on their roster. But that line shifted even more on Thursday.

    Now the betting site has Toronto at even money while San Antonio has moved to +400 in regards to retaining Leonard.

    Check out the full odds below.

    Updated odds on which team Kawhi Leonard will play for next season (@betmybookie):

    Raptors EVEN
    Spurs +400
    Lakers +500
    Clippers +600
    76ers +800
    Celtics +800
    Bucks +1000
    Knicks +1500
    Cavaliers +2000
    Rockets +2000
    Nets +2500
    Field +500

    — OddsShark (@OddsShark) July 12, 2018
    This obviously begs the question: Why?

    Click on link to read this article in full.

    Carmelo Anthony would clearly be an upgrade to the Miami Heat’s roster after a season
    where their productivity was somewhat lackluster to say the very least . If the Heat are to obtain Carmelo Anthony then it would be very interesting to see the players Pat Riley would be interested in giving up to obtain a former scoring champion and multi-time All Star . For the moment things will pan out while the media continues to speculate about the movements that will take place.

    Kawhi Leonard for his part having become persona non-grata with the coaching staff and front office of the San Antonio Spurs will become all the more intriguing over the next few weeks . The Boston Celtics might also be willing to acquire Leonard as an upgrade to the roster and make them even more competitive

    NBA news

    Tophatal ………..

    Like

  31. Albert Pujols is one of a select group of players in Major League Baseball having reached the plateau of six-hundred career home runs during the course of their career. Yet there’s a strong belief that Pujols as a player with the Los Angeles Angels could hit that magical figure of seven-hundred home runs and still be able to pass the career-record set by the now disgraced Barry Bonds . And Bonds as we know won’t be entering the Hall of Fame anytime soon , along with several of his peers from the era of steroids, namely Roger Clemens , Sammy Sosa , Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire . Pujols in a recent game played for the Angels hit the six-hundred and thirtieth home run of his astonishing career which has seen him win an NL MVP Award to go alongside two World Series’ rings with the St Louis Cardinals. His career with the Angels in the postseason has not been so memorable, with the ball-club having failed to make it to the Fall Classic during his time in Los Angeles in spite of playing alongside the game’s best player Mike Trout .

    The Los Angeles Angels’ managerial staff headed by Mike Sciocsia will be preparing the team for their weekend series against the Los Angles Dodgers on the road . Meetings between the two teams over the last six years have been highly entertaning ,with their last match-up coming on ,the 7th July . When the first of the three game weekend series takes place this Friday , the opposing pitchers will be Felix Pena of the Angels against Walker Buehler of the Dodgers.

    It will be interesting to see what both Albert Pujols and Mike Trout are able to achieve in this series against the Dodgers as the Los Angeles Angels seek to make some strides within the AL West in the lead-up to the All Star Game .

    Los Angeles Angels news

    Tophatal ………

    Like

  32. Back again in rebuilding mode and the front office of the Orlando Magic are no better now than they were two years ago . This past season the Magic failed miserably under the auspices of then Head Coach Steve Clifford . The team’s play was reflective of their season overall (25-57) . The fact that the team was so inept had a great deal to with their overall lack of productivity. Front office executives John Hammond and Jeff Weltman are now having to reassess the roster seeking ways to improve the lineup without having to make overall sacrifices by way of their cap and payroll . The Draft Class of the Magic wasn’t overly impressive and with perhaps Evan Fournier seen as the best player on the roster, it’s hard to envisage where the Magic now goes from here.

    The Orlando Magic’s Summer League affiliate is well on its way to establishing their presence within the league over their schedule to date . No major moves were made by the Magic as the free agency period set in .

    Orlando Magic news

    Tophatal ….

    Like

  33. Friday’s results in baseball and how the divisional standings are . The Chicago Cubs seem to be coming into their own as they seek to gain some distance between themselves and their rivals within the NL Central . Chicago the 2016 World Series’ champions would like nothing better than to make a return to the Fall Classic and win it for the second time in two years. The team has been productive in all areas of play including defensively as Joe Maddon’s staff under the auspices of a bold ownership and front office leadership seek to make this ball-club even more relevant than ever.

    Joe Maddon and his team will be in the midst of a weekend series against the San Diego Padres , a road series against their NL counterpart. Yesterday’s contest against the Padres come away with a 5-4 victory . In today’s game the opposing pitchers on the mound at PETCO Park will be Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs against the Padres’ Luis Perdomo .

    Terry Francona and the Cleveland Indians are looking to make a long-awaited return back among the big time. Prior to their 2016 World Series’ loss to the Chicago Cubs , there had been a considerable gap in the ball-club’s postseason appearances . This season however , Cleveland is fighting hard within the AL Central in the lead-up to the All Star Break .

    Terry Francona and his players will resume the second-leg of their weekend schedule against the New York Yankees at home , Progress Field in Cleveland, Ohio . CC Sabathia of the Yankees will face Mike Clevinger of the Indians . Sunday’s match-up should prove to be just as intriguing as today’s contest.

    Chicago Cubs news

    Tophatal ………..

    Like

  34. The weekend’s results in Major League Baseball provided us with not a big shake-up within the divisional standings . In Sunday’s game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels , it was the Dodgers getting the better of their AL rivals winning the game 5-3 . Elsewhere around the league the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are keeping up the pace within the NL East as the two teams vie for first place within the division. The Phillies have a 1/2 game lead over the Braves as we head into the MLB All Star Break .

    The rosters for the All Star Game is now known and there are no real surprises, though it could be said the snub of Tampa Bay Rays’ starting pitcher Blake Snell has more to do with popularity rather than the player’s record this season , his best since becoming a player for the AL franchise. Snell will likely be a reserve for the AL rather than among the starters for the game.

    This season the struggles for the Tampa Bay Rays have been widespread . There now seems to be a renewed momentum from the front office as they seek financing for a new stadium to replace the now archaic Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida .

    Courtesy of MLB.com

    Rays unveil new rendering for Ballpark in Ybor City

    By Bill Chastain , MLB.com

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays pulled back the curtains on Tuesday afternoon to reveal their plans for a new ballpark in Ybor City, adding excitement to the quest to build a home in Tampa for future generations of baseball fans.

    Principal owner Stu Sternberg highlighted the contingent of dignitaries at The Italian of Tampa that put on display the renderings for a next-generation neighborhood ballpark with all the bells and whistles.

    View Full Game Coverage
    “I’m proud and incredibly excited to present our vision of a ballpark and one that is of, by and for the people of Tampa Bay,” Sternberg said. “I speak for the whole Rays organization and the 20 years we’ve had here today that we expect to be here for generations to come. We believe that baseball can not only survive but thrive in Tampa, in Tampa Bay and the Tampa Bay region.”

    Chief development officer Melanie Lenz said the ballpark would “provide a ballpark experience like no other.”

    Highlights of the ballpark that will have just 28,216 fixed seats — with a total capacity of 30,842 — include a fixed translucent roof, upper decks that extend only as far as the bases and sliding-glass exterior walls to which will allow the outside to be enjoyed inside the building. The playing field will be an artificial surface.


    Click on link to read this article in full.

    If there’s one thing that remains clear and it is that the Tampa Bay Rays has barely supported the game of baseball since the ball-club’s inception, with their attendance levels being among the lowest in the game over the past decade or more . Should the Rays not be able to get the financing needed and bear in mind their lease at Tropicana Field is not due to expire for another decade it seems inconceivable that the franchise will be moving to a new venue unless the ownership is willing to take a financial hit by way of any penalties due .

    MLB news

    Tophatal …

    Like

  35. So the continued shakeout within the NBA free agency scene still has not been completely resolved. Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs still remain at an impasse, with the front office in no great rush to trade the superstar. Leonard hasn’t offically demanded a trade but it seems clear the player wants out from a franchise where he feels that he’s been betrayed. From my own standpoint it’s not been act of betrayal but more so an act of immaturity and Leonard being less than honest with the coaching staff and GM R C Buford concerning the injury he suffered. That being said , there seems to be interest from several teams seeking to acquire the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year . Among those showing notable interest are the Los Angeles Lakers fresh off their triumph of signing LeBron James to a four year deal . Jerry Colangelo who heads the front office of the Philadelphia 76ers has also shown interesting in acquiring Leonard and the Sixers might have more to offer by way of talent than the Lakers given the cap availability issues implied for both teams.

    The San Antonio Spurs played much of the season without Kawhi Leonard , but the team was still able to make it to the NBA Playoffs for the twentieth consecutive season during the reign of Gregg Popovich as Head Coach . The relationship between Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard remains cordial and polite , but I get the feeling, things are likely to come to a head if they’re not sorted out to everyone’s satisfaction. An Eastern Conference team seems to be the most likely destination as I don’t believe Popovich or RC Buford have shown an interest in trading Leonard to a franchise within the Western Conference. All signs now point a team in the East being a destination for the player and clearly the ambitious Danny Ainge would certainly like to bolster the Boston Celtics’ lineup for the upcoming season. Also the Toronto Raptors now starting afresh with a new coaching staff , what better way for the front office to bolster their own ambitions than by acquiring a player of Kawhi Leonard’s stature .

    NBA news

    NBA free agents

    NBA transactions

    Tophatal ………

    Like

  36. This season’s Home Run Event at the MLB All Star Game which takes place today . The presumptive starting pitchers will be Chis Sale of the Boston Red Sox and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals . This game should prove to be very interesting on all fronts . Once the All Star events are over the season will resume as of 19th July when the Chicago Cubs and St Louis Cardinals resume their season-long series of games .

    Aaron Boone and the New York Yankees have a vested interest to get back on track over their next six games as they look to make inroads into the Boston Red Sox’s lead within the AL East . The Yankees and New York Mets will renew their Subway Series rivalry when the two teams head back to the mound this Friday .

    Jose Altuve continues to have a great season within the Houston Astros with the reigning AL MVP back on track seeking to repeat . The Astros currently have a significant lead within the AL West where their nearest rivals happens to be the Seattle Mariners 5 game back of the Astros . Houston will be back in play when they face the Los Angeles Angels on Friday evening .

    MLB news

    MLB schedule 19th-21st July

    Tophatal ………..

    Like

Leave a Reply & notification by e-mail

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.