And We’re Back With and Into the Silly Season

  And We’re Back With and Into the Silly Season ….

It’s that time of the year again where the world of sports comes into something of a lull. The NBA has seen their NBA Playoffs and postseason come to an end and a new champion has been crowned with the Toronto Raptors (4-2) having overcome the Golden State Warriors (2-4) to win their very first NBA title. Raptors’ player Kawhi Leonard won his second title of his career and along with it his second Finals’ MVP Award . Now if the rumors are to be believed , Leonard will decline the player option of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent , which is likely to trigger a plethora of teams likely to be interested in his services . Kawhi Leonard will likely join players such as Kyrie Irving , Al Horford and several others on the NBA free agents’ market. At this point last season , the list of players who had declined their player option was quite staggering also .

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The common belief also is that the Los Angeles Lakers having made a big splash with their acquisition of Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Lonzo Ball , Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram . How this trade will play out and impact the Lakers and their other needs remains to be seen , as their cap base is not what GM Rob Pelinka might deem fit at this present moment in time. The fans of the Lakers may well feel the acquisition of Davis now makes them a legitimate contender , but in reality they still remain no better than the fifth best team in the Western Conference and hardly likely to challenge their top-tier contenders within their division much less the conference .

The NBA Draft itself proved to be an eventful one with several teams looking to fulfill their needs from among the crop of prospects who’d declared themselves eligible for the Draft. Zion Williamson was taken was the number one overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans and it remains to be seen how this revamped roster will seek to make itself competitive for the upcoming NBA season. The Los Angeles Lakers for their part sought to fill the holes where needed on the roster, but as alluded to before , this is a franchise which I believe is still a long way off from where they need to be and I certainly don’t believe that their new Head Coach Frank Vogel and his staff will be bringing anything new to the table. Vogel’s career with the Indiana Pacers can be best described as being moderately successful . Moderately successful will not cut it for the Lakers’ fans who are long-starved of success , considering their last NBA triumph of the franchise winning an NBA title took place more than a decade ago. Since then the pickings for the Lakers have been mundane.

Having been dethroned as two-time NBA champions , it could be said that the off-season for the Golden State Warriors could be a troubling one , with several players becoming free agents and their being the likelihood at least one or two stars from the roster leaving. Fans watching the Finals , witnessed the recurrence of the injury suffered by Kevin Durant and then in game six , after a spectacular performance , Klay Thompson had to withdraw from the contest , having suffered a leg injury. If nothing else, what was proven to the fans, the bench of the Warriors was not as strong as many believed it to be. Head Coach Steve Kerr and team general manager Bob Myers will be figuring out a way to bolster the roster ,by way of the Draft as well as through free agency and perhaps re-signing one or two of their free agents.

This past weekend within the world of Major League Baseball , there were several games of interest for the fans. The series between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees proved to be an eventful one and once again the fans got to see the Astros’ young phenom Yordan Alvarez prove that his introduction as a rookie on the team’s roster was no fluke. Alvarez through twelve games for the for Astros has powered his way to some spectacular statistics , something not seen in the game for several decades. While the Astros look to maintain their position at the top of the AL West , it will be interesting to see how they fare over the rest of the month of June in the lead-up to the MLB All Star Game.

The next game up for Yordan Alvarez and his teammates will see the Astros face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates at home on Monday, 24th June , 2019. Meanwhile, for the New York Yankees their next scheduled game will see them face the Toronto Blue Jays at home in an AL East divisional match-up . On the mound for the Yankees will be their veteran starting pitcher CC Sabathia as he takes on Aaron Sanchez of the Blue Jays . The team with the best record over their last ten games just happens to be the New York Yankees who also share a similar mark of 8-2 with the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Dodgers .

With so much at stake at this point of the season , speculation has begun to arise that a number of teams will be movers and shakers in the lead-up to the trade deadline and once again it looks as if the New York Yankees will be players in that scenario. It is widely known that GM Brian Cashman is looking to bolster the team’s roster with a starting pitcher, to create more depth among the pitching lineup. Two names said to be at the top Cashman’s desired list , are Max Scherzer , currently with the Washington Nationals and Madison Bumgarner with the San Francisco Giants . Cashman and the Yankees’ managing partner , Hal Steinbrenner are not averse to pushing the team’s payroll, well above the current mark of roughly $218 million . Either way, no matter who they obtain , it is becoming increasingly clear that the front office and managerial staff of the Yankees , believe that the team’s strength will be their pitching , rather than relying on their offense .

Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers is just one of a handful of players in the Majors this season who could be on route to hit at least fifty home runs for the year. Yelich along with Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be the runaway leaders for the NL League MVP . It could prove to be an interesting second half to this season if both players are able to keep their current pace. With both teams riding high within their respective divisions , the second half of this season could prove to be very competitive.

If the Baltimore Orioles continue at their present pace the ball-club could end up winning less than fifty games for the season. The team has been less than competitive and it’s hard to see how the managerial staff of Brandon Hyde cannot be blamed for the Orioles’ woes this season. Poor play all-round has been the one evident thing from the players and it’s telling that even with the idiocy of the MLB hierarchy believing every ball-club should have at least one representative on the All Star Ballot. It’s hard to justify any player from the Orioles be included , based on the mediocre play seen this season. The team will be in action today when they face the San Diego Padres at home in a game between two ball-clubs struggling to find some semblance of success this season. Opposing pitchers in this contest are Logan Allen of the Padres against Jimmy Yacabonis of the Orioles.

We know the NFL season , by way of its news’ cycle ; it tends to be year-round and in the aftermath of another tremendous season which saw the New England Patriots triumph on their way to a historical sixth Superbowl victory; the most in NFL history by a modern-day franchise. Coming off that season , the Patriots will now seek to regroup, make their customary off-season acquisitions , re-signings where necessary and also make themselves a cap-friendly franchise within the league.

Patriots’ Head Coach Bill Belichick and his staff , along with team GM Nick Caserio will certainly be synced on the direction of the franchise will proceed in. Tom Brady still remains pivotal to the team’s success and many of the players on the roster are keenly aware of the position. Brady for his part has made it clear that he wants to player for at least another three years, but it’s clear that the front office must be weary that a contingency plan has to be in place with their being a back-up for veteran star. It will be interesting to see how the New England Patriots proceed and which of Brady’s understudies are seen as his possible successor. Jarrett Stidham and Danny Etling are the players in that somewhat unenviable position. Brian Hoyer the holdover from the roster of a year ago, is seen as the primary backup to Tom Brady and his experience will be an invaluable asset to Stidham and Etling, as well as the franchise overall. New England will invariably begin their preseason schedule as befitting the reigning Superbowl champions. The Patriots’ preseason opener will see them face the Detroit Lions in a road game. Their regular season opener , will be a match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough Massachusetts on the 8th September , 2019 .

The NFL player I believe with the biggest mountain to climb and prove that he remains among the elite at his position, Then a case can be made for Atlanta Falcons’ starting quarterback Matt Ryan . The player whose guaranteed money will be among the highest in the league for the upcoming season has to prove that the money he’s being paid is more than justified. . Ryan’s lone Superbowl appearance for the Falcons saw the team succumb to the New England Patriots , in a game where the Falcons had the upper hand for much of the contest. His inexperience and that of his teammates , led to their demise .

It will be interesting to see how Matt Ryan fares this upcoming season where the Atlanta Falcons’ regular season schedule is an undoubted tough one.

What if anything, do you hope to see in the upcoming weeks within the world of sports by way of a good story ?

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Tophatal ………


NBA news …..


MLB news …

MLB three day schedule at a glance (25th June)

MLB standings division …


NFL news ….

2019 NFL preseason schedule …

2019 NFL regular season schedule …
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Picture gallery. Simply click unto an individual image in order to read the narrative attached.

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

67 thoughts on “And We’re Back With and Into the Silly Season”

  1. Tophat,
    What is your take on the Rays splitting their schedule with Montreal? The first half in weather-friendly Tampa and second half in a cooler Montreal. Of course, new domeless stadiums would be built.

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    1. Ronbets

      I’ll give the Tampa Bay Rays their due , as they’ve been playing some great baseball , with their pitching staff being among the best in baseball throughout much of the season. As to their games on the road , well I think more than anything else it goes with the territory . There have been several players on the team’s roster who’ve stood out this season, none more so than Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows . The problem still remains however , the lack of support for the ball-club and the reluctance of the front office to pay their players in line with what’s comparable to other teams. Small market or not the Rays are still one of the major recipients of money through the league hierarchy’s luxury tax scheme, We saw what it allowed the Kansas City Royals to do , before their front office capitulated and sent players elsewhere , rather than seek to be competitive and try to make a successful defense of the World Series’ title they won just a few years ago .

      What were your thoughts on the NBA Finals and how good the Toronto Raptors were in defeating the Golden State Warriors in six games ? Injuries asides, I do believe the Warriors simply became complacent , with their bench not really turning up with the only worthwhile performances coming from Klay Thompson and Steph Curry .

      I still don’t believe with the addition of Anthony Davis the Los Angeles Lakers can be considered a serious contender for the NBA title. Other than LeBron James , even with Davis’ productivity , this roster is no better than average. Personally , I don’t believe their new Head Coach Frank Vogel , much less any member of his coaching staff have what it takes to make the Lakers a truly competitive organization . The window of opportunity for LeBron is quickly closing real fast and that is an undeniable fact.

      Tophatal ………………………

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      1. Tophat,
        Watching Kawhi Leonard while he was San Diego St. was a treat. But hey, playing in the Mt. West Conference is no indication of superior talent going forward. I can honestly say, he is one of the few hoopsters I’ve seen elevate their game to such an extent at the next level. Word around NBA for years is players prefer the States over Canada for a variety of obvious reasons. I don’t expect him back there.
        The finals gave us a big breakthrough for PSiakam and underrated Coach Nurse. However, things fell just right for the Raptors. Draymond played hard and Curry was Jekyll and Hyde. No doubt in my mind there would’ve been a different result if KD was healthy.

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        1. Ronbets

          Kawhi Leonard has proven that he’s an exceptional talent and the best two-way player in the league (NBA) , certainly on par with LeBron James , if not better. Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka proved that this Toronto Raptors’ team was not to be underestimated. They dealt with the Milwaukee Bucks with ease and they certainly proved that they were by far the best all round team in the Eastern Conference . It will be interesting to see if President of Basketball Operations de-facto GM Masai Ujiri can persuade Leonard to remain with the team
          and
          pay him the type of contract many might well feel he deserves. Inasmuch, as the Los Angeles Lakers feel that he would be a prized possession for me , it comes down to the fact the Lakers’ coaching staff under Frank Vogel is a joke .

          Of course if the players on the Golden State Warriors had been healthy , the end result of the NBA Finals would have been far more competitive , with quite possibly a different end result.

          This whole off-season within the NBA will become a real crazy one , with players being paid ridiculous sums and the cap being at it’s highest in years . Last year’s transactions and the cap and salaries proved that to be the case.

          Your thoughts on the Houston Astros’ rookie sensation Yordan Alvarez and what he’s been doing in his rookie season , in the Majors as well as in the Minors ? How about the play also of both Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich ?

          Tophatal ………..

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  2. There will be several games of interest on today’s MLB schedule . It will be interesting to see how the Seattle Mariners will fare in their next game when they face the Milwaukee Brewers . The league’s divisional standings have begun to take shape over the last two weeks and month at least.

    Also on schedule for today , the New York Yankees will have a vested interested in widening their divisional lead over the Tampa Bay Rays , when they face the Toronto Blue Jays .

    I’ve never been one to put much faith in a team’s gargantuan lead over a divisional rival , especially when that team just happens to be the Los Angeles Dodgers . Over the past eight years when it has mattered the most , during the MLB Postseason , the Dodgers have somehow found a way to scuttle-bug their chances at just about every opportunity imaginable . If they fail to secure them at least an appearance in the NLCS , then there will be questions asked of Dave Roberts managerial staff as well as many of the high priced players on the roster. The team will be scheduled to face the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field , in Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday evening .

    It looks as if the Washington Nationals might well seek to shed some players from their roster , with their season spiraling out of control . The Nationals’ longest win streak of this season has been no more than five games. It will be interesting to see what route if any is taken by the front office , with their listening to various offers for a number of their front-line players. For now the team will will have their work cut out for them when they face the Miami Marlins on the road .

    MLB news …..

    MLB standings (divisional) ..

    Tophatal ……………….

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  3. With Chris Paul wanting out of Houston , his departure from the Houston Rockets now seems assured. However, there’s no clear sign that there will be major takers for a veteran point guard , whose best years are now behind him and with Paul also being injury prone . While Chris Paul might well be able to add some veteran leadership for a team ,. There can be no denying the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages . His demands for a trade will be looked upon favorably by Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey . As to whether not Paul would be among the top priorities of the free agents destined to hit the market remains to be seen. It is widely assumed of the current crop of free agent point guards , the common thought is that Jimmy Butler currently with the Philadelphia 76ers might be the most desired of them all . He is coming off another productive season where he excelled for the Sixers during their regular season and Playoff run .

    Courtesy of the New York Post

    How Rockets are planning to make run at Jimmy Butler

    By Ted Holmlund , New York Post

    It doesn’t look like the Houston Rockets are looking to break up James Harden and Chris Paul, but will rather try to give the duo some help.

    The Rockets are planning to recruit Jimmy Butler to prod the 76ers for a sign-and-trade deal that would bring the Philadelphia All-Star to Houston, according to an ESPN report on Tuesday. The Rockets may see an opening to become the premier team in the Western Conference now that the Warriors’ future is uncertain due to Kevin Durant’s Achilles injury and free-agent status.

    The NBA free agency period begins on Sunday.

    For the Rockets to make this deal many moving parts would have to fall into place, according to the report. Houston doesn’t have the salary-cap space to sign Butler and need the 76ers to feel the threat they could lose the veteran for nothing which would motivate them to make a trade.

    Houston potentially may have to make this a multi-team deal to satisfy the rules of base-year compensation that would cover Butler’s outgoing salary. Plus, league sources tell ESPN that Philadelphia is planning to make a strong push to sign Butler to a new deal, which could top any Rockets’ offer with a five-year, $190 million offer when free agency begins.

    There is also a possibility the 76ers could offer Butler — who averaged 18.2 points per game in 55 games with Philadelphia after being acquired in a trade with the Timberwolves early in the season — a four-year, $146.5 million deal.

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    It will be interesting to see which of the two players , Chris Paul or Jimmy Butler , lands with a team which would be considered a real contender for a title within the NBA .

    NBA news ….

    Tophatal ………………..

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  4. It goes without saying , in the NFL if there isn’t good news about the Dallas Cowboys then the fans around the league are just like docile elephants waiting for something else to drop. The Cowboys might well be the most valuable franchise in the league as well as one of it’s most profitable . Yet beyond that it has been over decade since they made their last appearance in NFC championship game. During that time they franchise has simply given their fans little if anything of note. Tony Romo has come and gone along with a postseason record which left a great deal to be desired. Dallas’ Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach did have the temerity to state that Romo was good enough to lead the franchise to Superbowl victory. Well, it didn’t happen and team owner , de-facto GM Jerry Jones is still in search of another Lombard Trophy victory. Since Dallas’ last Superbowl triumph , Jones has witnessed the New England Patriots win six Superbowls , thus becoming shall we say America’s Real NFL team and dare I say it the team everyone loves to hate as well envy ?

    Jason Garett remains the Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys , but there’s widening belief the patience of Jerry Jones might well be running short. Jason Witten has come out of retirement and will be suiting up on a roster which has changed significantly over the past four years.

    With their preseason likely to be fairly competitive one , it will be interesting to see how the Dallas Cowboys will fare during their schedule. Starting quarterback Dak Prescott will have something to prove , if he’s to justify the Cowboys’ faith in him, as too will the rookies on the team’s roster. Their opening preseason game will see the Cowboys face the San Francisco 49ers on the road. In their regular season opener the Dallas Cowboys will be taking on the New York Giants , divisional rivals within the NFC East .

    NFL news …

    Dallas Cowboys news

    Tophatal …………

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  5. Their careers have been varied with one having been enshrined in Cooperstown , New York in Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Randy Johnson’s pursuit of excellence saw his enshrinement , whereas Curt Schilling still awaits the moment. He’s been often critical of those have made it into the Hall, since he believes that he has been slighted by the BBWAA . Johnson and Schilling as teammates , led the Arizona Diamondbacks to their lone World Series title in a momentous victory over the New York Yankees .

    This season the Arizona Diamondbacks have been playing some great baseball while seeking to challenge the dominance of the Los Angeles Dodgers within the NL West . Arizona’s managerial staff led by Torey Lovullo will lead his team in a game against the San Francisco Giants on the road between these two NL teams . Alex Young of the Dbacks will be on the mound as he faces the Giants’ Tyler Beede . From there the Dbacks will continue their weekend schedule with three more games against the Giants as part of their regular season schedule. Two of the most productive players on Arizona’s roster this season have been Robby Ray and Ketel Marte .

    Arizona Diamondbacks news …

    Tophatal ……………

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  6. The New York Yankees have a sizable lead within the AL East with their closest rival being the Tampa Bay Rays . Giancarlo Stanton the highest paid player on the team’s roster has merely played a handful of games for the team this season. Productivity wise, the players are putting on a very good show , but it belies the fact that they will have to play at a higher level if this team is to make another postseason run . With the month of June is almost at an end the Yankees will fill out that schedule with several games of vital importance . The Yankees will be in action as of the 29th June when they face the Boston Red Sox , in a series of games which will culminate on the 4th July , 2019.

    With the MLB All Star Game coming up , there are likely to be several players from the New York Yankees’ starting lineup on the AL roster. Aaron Boone will certainly be looking for a great second half of the season .

    MLB news ….

    MLB schedule 27th June …

    MLB schedule 28th June (three days at a glance)

    Tophatal ………………

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  7. So Jack Del Rio former Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars as well as the Oakland Raiders made the revelation that he was unaware that the Jaguars would draft Blaine Gabbert during the NFL Draft of the 2011, when he was taken as a quarterback of that year. Gabbert’s career with Jaguars was never impressive during his time with the franchise.

    This past season the Jacksonville Jaguars failed miserably during the year with them once again falling short within the AFC South . Team Head Coach , Doug Marrone will have to prove that this season the team will be ready to play , capable of beating the best that the AFC will have to offer. Marrone saw the draft , with the rookies taken likely to prove themselves as well as the new acquisitions . Blaine Gabbert no longer part of the roster , the Jaguars’ starting quarterback for the season is likely to be Nick Foles . The player brings along a wealth of experience along with having won a Superbowl MVP Award with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017.

    Nick Foles and his teammates will have a fairly easy preseason schedule before embarking on the regular season , with a week one contest against the Kansas City Chiefs .

    Teams will soon have their players heading for training camp with OTA’s beginning by mid-July at the earliest .

    NFL news

    NFL transactions …

    Tophatal ………….

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  8. From having what would be deemed successful years of Buck Showalter as the manager of the Baltimore Orioles , the ball-club has now fallen on hard times even with Peter Angelos presiding over the ownership for several years. Brandon Hyde is the current manager of the team , one which has been playing some atrocious baseball to start the season . The Orioles have fallen so far off the map , that their record this season could see them with one of the worst records in recent baseball history and for the franchise.

    Brandon Hyde and his team are currently in the midst of a series which will see them face the Cleveland Indians at home as part of their regular season series . Today’s game will feature starting pitchers , Mike Clevinger of the Indians against John Means of the Orioles.

    So the long-running and often historic series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will take on a new shape when the two teams will meet in London , England for their current schedule and part of their regular season series. There will be a two-game set , beginning Saturday at the London Stadium , with the Red Sox being viewed as the home team. Masahiro Tanaka will face Rick Porcello in game one of this two-set series. In game-two the opposing pitchers will feature Eduardo Rodriguez of the Red Sox against a Yankees’ pitcher to be named later .

    MLB news ….

    Tophatal

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    1. Beating Thailand 13-0 was impressive. However, the choreographed dances after the big lead were total classless bullshit. An apology was needed but the little girls doubled down on the rub-in. I’m not a fan. Sportsmanship was lacking throughout the tourney. How’bout the tea gesture to the UK?

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      1. Ronbets

        So both Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods simultaneously missed the cut in a Grand Slam Major on the PGA Tour . This was the first time this has happened in over two decades that the duo have been on The Tour. Shane Lowery of Ireland was never seriously in trouble during The British Open held at Port Rush in Northern Ireland. Brooks Koepka might just be the best player on the PGA Tour at present as he has another top twenty-five finish in another Grand Slam Major . Given his status right now , he should be sitting at the top of the Official Golf World Rankings .

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  9. It should be an interesting lead-up to the All Star Game this season within Major League Baseball . With this weekend there are several games scheduled. Today , Saturday 30th June should prove to be very effective . The Los Angeles Dodgers will be in action with the team facing the Colorado Rockies on the road in a game being played at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado ,.

    While the Los Angeles Dodgers are riding high the lamentable woes of the Miami Marlins continue with the Marlins’ GM Michael Hill now stating that he has the blessing of Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman to trade several of the team’s front-line starters . For Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly , he can no longer consider his position safe as I believe he’s likely to be one of several managers likely to be dismissed at the end of the season. Don Mattigly and his team have a weekend series at home against the Philadelphia Phillies . In Friday’s match-up the Marlins defeated their divisional rivals by the score of 6-2 . In today’s contest we will get to see if Bryce Harper can improve his performances against NL teams this season .

    The best team in the AL record-wise just happens to be the Minnesota Twins who have a sizable lead within the AL Central

    Tophatal ……………..

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  10. The big reveal this past weekend within the world of sports was the announcement made by Kevin Durant that he would be leaving the Golden State Warriors to join the Brooklyn Nets within the Eastern Conference of the NBA . Also joining Durant in Brooklyn will be point guard Kyrie Irving . The Nets’ front office will see this as a big win for the franchise , likely leading to real mayhem within the New York Knicks’ organization and the apparent lack of hindsight by their front office led by Steve Mills to offer Durant a deal .

    Kyrie Irving’s departure from the Boston Celtics had led to Celtics’ front office executive Danny Ainge making a play for Charlotte Hornets’ point guard Kemba Walker. In doing so , it’s leading many to believe that Hornets’ owner Michael Jordan , and his fellow front office executives have no real desire to succeed.

    Al Horford , has also left the Boston Celtics, choosing to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers in a four-year $96 million deal .

    NBA news ……..

    NBA transactions …

    Tophatal ……………….

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  11. This past weekend in baseball saw a full slew of games , with the Boston Red Sox playing the New York Yankees in a series of two games in London , England at the famed Wembley Stadium. There was an offensive onslaught in both games , with Saturday’s contest proving to be highly competitive and entertaining . Sunday’s rematch proved to be just as compelling with balls being hit out of ballpark once again. Both teams will return to active play this week before heading into the All Star Game weekend of festivities .

    MLB news

    Tophatal …………………

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  12. Francis Ngannou literally pummeled Junior Dos Santos to defeat , to move himself up as the possible next challenger for Daniel Cormier’s UFC Heavyweight Title Belt. Ngannou simply destroyed his opponent with ease at UFC Fight Night , leaving UFC President Dana White with little option but lining up a bout which is certainly going to bring in a lot of viewers.

    The next major event on the UFC schedule will be UFC 239 , which will provide the fans with two major title fights .

    UFC news ….

    Tophatal …………

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  13. With Kawhi Leonard coming off a triumphant season with the Toronto Raptors having captured the NBA title . The player has opted for free agency and now it seems he’s turned up on the radar of the Los Angeles Lakers who have already acquired Anthony Davis via a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans . All signs appear to be that the Lakers and GM Rob Pelinka will offer Leonard a max contract befitting a player of his stature. From my own perspective his acquisition would place the Lakers among the favorites within the Western Conference for the upcoming season , but with Frank Vogel as the team’s Head Coach , it wouldn’t make them a certainty for any real success by way of a championship.

    NBA news ….

    Tophatal …………..

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  14. Some interesting games took place within Major League Baseball on Monday afternoon and in late evening play . The Pittsburgh Pirates destroyed the Chicago Cubs on their way to an eighteen run onslaught , winning the contest , 18-5 . It was by far the Cubs’ most lopsided loss of the season to date. Next up for both the Pirates and Cubs will be the renewal of their series’ rivalry for the season with the Chicago Cubs looking to regain the top spot within the NL Central .

    The Atlanta Braves now have a 5 1/2 game lead within the NL East and many believe if this team continues to play at their current pace there’s very much the belief that they could be making another return to the MLB postseason . Brian Snitker has seen his players perform consistently concerning their all round game. The Atlanta Braves will be in action today against the Philadelphia Phillies at home . What is certain , both teams will have a great team in this game and their regular season series , with Bryce Harper of the Phillies having a great deal to prove.

    There’s no denying that the Houston Astros could very well be on their way to another terrific season if their pitching continues to stay apace . Houston will be in action today with their schedule in the lead-up to the All Star Game should be very interesting. Houston will face off against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado . Astros’ starting pitcher Justin Verlander who is having another excellent season will not be on the mound today and their starting pitcher will be Jose Urquidy who was brought up from their Minor League System this past month . .

    Tophatal …………

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  15. With the retirement of Dwyane Wade with the player having played much of his career with the Miami Heat , the Eastern Conference franchise sought to elsewhere to fill the gap that will undoubtedly be left by the multiple time All Star and future Hall of Fame bound player. Team Head Coach Erik Spoelstra , his coaching staff and the front office led by Pat Riley had to ensure that the right type of player would be acquired. The Heat came off a disappointing season where they were a non-factor within their division as well as the conference. Wade put up fairly decent numbers for the team , but not enough to make the Heat a real factor .

    As this off-season has progressed with the 2019 NBA Draft having taken place , the Miami Heat has sought to bolster their roster through the Draft as well as through free agency . The Heat were never going to be a major player for the likes of the premiere free agents who were on the market as their cap space wouldn’t have availed them such a luxury . They did however sign point guard Jimmy Butler , formerly with the Philadelphia 76ers .

    NBA news …

    Miami Heat news …..

    Tophatal …………..

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  16. We’re entering into the end straits in the lead-up to the 2019 MLB All Star Game and the divisional standings within baseball are now beginning to shape up . At this point last season the teams had been playing some consistent baseball. Several of yesterday’s games proved to be entertaining , The Miami Marlins were in action against divisional NL East rivals the Washington Nationals with both teams struggling this season within the NL . Miami faltered once again losing to the Nationals by the score of 3-2 . These two teams will be back in action today with Sandy Alcantara of the Marlins taking on Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals as the opposing pitchers in the contest.

    Also on tap for today , the New York Yankees having come off their two game series against the Boston Red Sox , they will be facing the New York Mets on the road for a Subway Series , as part of their regular season match-ups .

    MLB news ….

    MLB schedule three days at a glance …

    MLB standings (divisional) …

    Tophatal …………..

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  17. There are two or three quarterbacks within the NFL who will have a great deal to prove this upcoming season within the league. Matt Stafford , Eli Manning and Carson Wentz will definitely have to show they’re capable of leading their respective teams to some semblance of success in 2019. From my own perspective , given the failure of the Detroit Lions in recent years , their having not performed up to par. The chances are , these might be waning days for Matt Stafford to prove himself . Last season the Lions were barely capable of competing with the rest of the league .

    The NFL Draft for the Detroit Lions was one that the front office will hope it meets their expectations. Detroit’s preseason will consist of four games where their rookies and free agent acquisitions are likely to get some playing time . Week one of the preseason will see the Lions face the New England Patriots . The Detroit Lions’ regular season opener will have them face the Arizona Cardinals .

    A great regular season for the Philadelphia Eagles was one of great salvation for the franchise. Carson Wentz has been given a lucrative contract extension which sees the quarterback being rewarded with a multi-year , $128 million deal . Wentz and his teammates will begin their preseason schedule with a game against the Tennessee Titans . In their season opener for 2019 they will meet the Washington Redskins .

    It has been almost four years since Eli Manning last guided the New York Giants into an NFL postseason appearance . That was a game against the Green Bay Packers . In the intervening three years , the Giants and Manning in particular have been very mundane to say the least. Within the NFC East last season the New York Giants performed abysmally . A great deal more will be expected of this team in 2019 , their rookies and free agent acquisitions now on board . The team’s coaching staff will certainly be looking to get the best of the team , especially with the drafting of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones , presumably the heir-apparent to Eli Manning.

    The first four games of the New York Giants’ regular season should prove to be very interesting . Eli Manning is certainly expected to be the starter for week one as the Giants get their season underway with a game against Dallas Cowboys .

    NFL news …

    Tophatal ………………..

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  18. So the NBA was set alight when it was revealed that two-time NBA Defensive Player of The Year and also a two-time Finals MVP , Kawhi Leonard revealed that he would be leaving the Toronto Raptors to join the Los Angeles Clippers . Also joining the Western Conference based franchise would be Paul George , who decided to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder . Inasmuch as the news was a surprise , the bigger surprise was the fact that Leonard eschewed the idea of joining the Los Angeles Lakers , where he would be playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis . From my own perspective , I believe Kawhi Leonard sought the real challenge of playing on a team where there wouldn’t be a clash of egos and where the coaching staff was one of proven ability . The same cannot be said of the Lakers’ coaching staff under Frank Vogel . As to this idiotic idea, that LeBron James could take over the coaching strategy when on the court , well let’s just say that really is something of a non-starter unless James is surrounded by a roster of proven ability. Other than Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma , there isn’t a great deal to their current playing staff in spite of the additions made.

    Clippers’ Head Coach Doc Rivers and the front office under GM Lawrence Frank sought to rebuild the roster into a competitive one and with the additions of both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George it’s clear that the franchise seeks to be a competitive force while also challenging for an NBA title . It seems unlikely that the Los Angeles Clippers will make any more moves during the off-season , given their cap issues and that of how Lawrence Frank will seek to move forward along with the roster’s rookies .

    NBA news …..

    NBA transactions ….

    Tophatal …………………

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  19. So at some point there has to be a decision made concerning the future of Marcus Mariota and what he’s said to mean to the Tennessee Titans as a franchise . Mariota was the second overall draft pick from the 2015 NFL Draft by the Titans . During that time the player has sought to prove himself as worthy successor to many of his predecessors . This past season for the Tennessee Titans was an extremely tough one for the players and most notably for the quarterback for himself . Within the AFC South the Titans would finish with a 9-7 record , missing the NFL postseason . Coming of that disappointing year , the coaching staff and front office sought to bolster the roster by way of the Draft and trade acquisitions . A number of the team’s free agents were allowed to move on while others were not re-signed.

    For the upcoming season the Tennessee Titans will have a tough schedule ahead for the team and it will be interesting to see how the team will fare against their opponents . Their preseason schedule will be an interesting one , with Marcus Mariota hoping to show himself to be adequate as the team’s starter. Week one of their exhibition opener will see the Titans face the Philadelphia Eagles in an intra-conference match-up between the two teams. Mariota’s own record against the Phillies should be a gauge of what we could expect. The team’s regular season opener will most likely pit Marcus Mariota against the Cleveland Browns . One of the reasons behind the team’s issues this past season was the defense and offense failing to adequately show their resolve.

    Courtesy of Tenn Truth

    Tennessee Titans: Failed NFL QB calls out Marcus Mariota

    Clint Stoerner is the most recent “analyst” to come after Marcus Mariota. Stoerner ripped Mariota in his breakdown of the Texans 2019 schedule.
    Marcus Mariota has underperformed the past couple of years, and part of that is due to injuries. If Mariota was able to stay healthy for an entire season, he may a top-five quarterback in the NFL, but injuries have prevented that.

    Clint Stoerner, on the other hand, was much worse in the NFL. After throwing for over 7,000 yards at Arkansas, Stoerner spent two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. He played just five games in those two seasons and averaged only 73 yards per game.

    I have been critical of Mariota recently, but I think it’s a reach to say that no one in the NFL is scared of Mariota. If he can get things going early in the season, the Titans could be a dark horse to win the AFC South early.

    I guess you could say it takes one to know when you’re talking about failed quarterbacks, but Mariota is far from failing in the NFL. Or maybe Stoerner was referring to himself when he said in his breakdown that Mariota “scares no one.”

    If Stoerner would have had even a semi-successful NFL career or thrown for 100 yards in more than one game, I think it would be fine for him to be critical of an NFL quarterback.

    Stoerner didn’t have what it took to be successful in the NFL so he can’t call out other quarterbacks and say they don’t have what it takes either. His resume proves he doesn’t know what it takes to be successful.

    And to say no one is scared of Mariota is an understatement. I don’t think people are overly scared of Mariota either nor do they consider their matchup with the Titans an automatic loss because of Mariota

    By Colt Pickard

    For Marcus Mariota and his contract this season , will see Mariota being paid just under $21 million for 2019 . If Mariota isn’t able to get off to a fast start for the Titans then the back-up would be Ryan Tannehill , with Logan Woodside being third on the team’s depth chart. Week two of the team’s regular season schedule will pit the Titans against the Indianapolis Colts .

    NFL news ……..

    Tophatal ……………………..

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  20. If the rumors are to be believed then the end of an era will come to a close. Sam Presti , general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder has revealed that the front office is now prepared to listen to serious offers for the team’s starting point guard Russell Westbrook . If proven to be true and Westbrook is allowed to leave in a trade , it would mean that in the last six years the franchise would have allowed the departure of their three best players in the club’s history. There’s no denying what James Harden , Kevin Durant and Westbrook have meant to his franchise , with all three having been named League MVP at some point during their respective careers. With Billy Donovan as the Head Coach of the Thunder for the last few years, the franchise has struggled when it came to the postseason and their inevitable demise during the NBA Playoffs. Oklahoma City has only made one appearance in the NBA Finals and their loss to the Miami Heat came by way of a lopsided 4-1 series’ defeat .

    Russell Westbrook is not due to become a free agent until 2023 . He is still owed a staggering $170 million from an existing five-year deal signed with the franchise just last year. The team did make the NBA Playoffs where they fell to the Portland Trailblazers in the opening round , 4-1 . Sam Presti and Billy Donovan knew heading into the NBA Draft the coaching staff would need to be judicious when it came to their picks as they sought to bolster the roster.

    Courtesy of CBS Sports …

    Russell Westbrook trade update: Thunder listening to offers; All-Star guard, Heat have mutual interest in deal, per reports
    In addition to the Heat, the Pistons and Rockets are showing interest in Westbrook

    By Chris Bengel , Jack Maloney & Michael Kaskey-Blomain

    It appears as though Russell Westbrook could be on his way out of Oklahoma City.

    After reportedly meeting with Westbrook and his agent, the Thunder are now receptive to trade calls for the former MVP, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Charania points out that while the Thunder may be open to moving Westbrook, the timing is tough at this point in the summer due to salaries being frozen across the NBA from free-agent deals.

    Due to his inflated annual salary and aggressive style of play, not every team would be interested in acquiring Westbrook, but he would have some suitors. According to a report from Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat and Houston Rockets would all potentially be interested in adding Westbrook via trade. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski added that Westbrook would be open to playing in Miami.

    From The Athletic:

    And while the mountains of money owed to Westbrook are known to have scared quite a few general managers away, sources say that Detroit and Miami are very real possibilities as potential landing spots for the 30-year-old eight-time All-Star.

    Rival executives have also pinpointed the Houston Rockets as a likely suitor, which would come as no surprise considering the way general manager Daryl Morey has prioritized the pursuit of stars during his entire career (not to mention the possible reunion between Westbrook and his old Thunder teammate James Harden). The notion of Westbrook sharing the floor with two other ball-dominant guards is unorthodox, to say the least, but Morey has long held the belief that landing as many elite players as possible is the path to championship glory.

    The Thunder shocked the NBA world when they traded Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers very early on Saturday morning, and now the ripple effects are being felt. According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there was another scenario where George could have been on his way to Toronto to team up with Kawhi Leonard.

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    Click on link to read in full.
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    With the Miami Heat having acquired Jimmy Butler from the Philadelphia 76ers with Butler having left the Sixers by way of free agency , it is rumored that Heat front office executive , Pat Riley would be willing to add Russell Westbrook to the team’s current lineup , possibly giving up one two players , draft picks and cash alternatives. The addition of Westbrook for the lineup would put the Heat in a competitive position not just within the East , but across the entire league. Both players are highly productive and among the best within the league at the point guard position .

    Oklahoma City Thunder news ….

    Tophatal ………………

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  21. So Pete Alonzo came through with flying colors having won the Home Run Derby . With tonight being the All Star Game , it will be interesting to see what arises from the contest between the teams from the AL and NL. Hy Jin-Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers will be the starting pitcher for the NL as he faces Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros in the opposing role .

    The MLB schedule for what’s seen as the second half of the season will begin on Friday, 12th July . Given the recent struggles of the Chicago Cubs and their underlying issues , there’s a belief that if Joe Maddon can’t get this team back on track , Jed Hoyer and Head of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein might be willing to pull the trigger and fire Maddon from his role as the manager. The Cubs will be in action this Friday when they face the Pittsburgh Pirates at home , with Yu Darvish on the mound for the home team .

    The Los Angeles Dodgers currently have the best record in the NL as they look to chase down another record winning season for the ball-club. The team currently managed by Dave Roberts will resume the second half of their regular season schedule with a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox on the road . The first game of that series with the opposing pitchers not yet decided should make for a great event.

    Of the AL teams battling for real supremacy the New York Yankees might be in the best position to get this team rolling and back to a deep postseason run . Masahiro Tanaka might well be the most effective player on the team for the Yankees this season . Yet DJ LeMahieu has been the player whose offense has been astounding for the ball-club. For the Yankees the second half to their schedule will like the rest of the teams in the Majors , they will resume on the 12th July as part of a weekend series with them facing the Toronto Blue Jays .

    It seems staggering with DJ LeMahieu being among a throng of All Stars on the New Yankees’ roster , with the player being among the lowest paid on the team’s roster.

    MLB news …..

    MLB schedule three days at a glance (12th July)

    Tophatal ………………….

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  22. So last night in the Ninetieth Edition of the MLB All Star Game held at Progressive Field in Cleveland , Ohio , the AL All Stars triumphed over their NL counterparts winning the game by the score of 4-3 . The All Star MVPM for the game was Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians a home town favorite of this ball-club .

    Shane Bieber and his teammates will be back in action , this Friday as they take on the Minnesota Twins , their AL Central division rivals , for a three-game series.

    Tophatal …………..

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  23. This upcoming season will be another one where I believe that the Oakland Raiders , coached by Jon Gruden will be hard pressed to get this team into the NFL Postseason . As good as many might well believe Derek Carr to be , the player hasn’t been able to lead this franchise into a deep postseason run. Last season the Raiders performed poorly in several aspects of their game . During the off-season , the Raiders made use of the NFL Draft to bolster the team’s roster along with some off-season moves via trades.

    It has been a number of years since the Oakland Raiders were last in the postseason and for Jon Gruden, this is his chance to prove that he is a good coach . With the team’s preseason schedule less than three weeks away , with the first game being against the Los Angeles Rams , this should prove to be a very interesting game for the team’s rookies and veterans. Derek Carr and his teammates will begin their regular season foray with a match-up against the Denver Broncos at home in a conference game . Oakland’s front office has made some changes within the past year , with Reggie McKenzie having been relieved of his duties. Mike Maycock has succeeded Reggie McKenzie as the team’s general manager and it remains to be seen if he can reignite the franchise into being a competitive one.

    Oakland Raiders news ….

    Tophatal …………………….

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  24. Magic Johnson ,currently a senior executive within the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office and former Head of Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers , is now ecstatic that the Lakers are now building a roster filled with stars. Granted, with the acquisition of Anthony Davis to play alongside LeBron James , things have become immediately better. Yet it should come as no surprise , while the Lakers were making their moves, they were being outshone by the Los Angeles Clippers with their acquisition of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George . Comparatively by way of the salary cap , these two rosters are clearly looking to pursue an NBA championship .

    NBA news ……..

    Tophatal ……………

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  25. Tophat,
    Care to chime in with your Cy Young and MVP MLB selections? Here are mine just prior to the start of the 2019 second half.
    Cy Young NL
    #1 Ryu
    #2 Scherzer
    #3 Castillo

    Cy Young AL
    #1 Morton
    #2 Verlander
    #3 Lynn

    MVP NL
    #1 Bellinger
    #2 Bell
    #3 Yellich

    MVPAL
    Trout with LeMahieu as a distant longshot.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Ronbets

    In terms of the MLB Awards for this season based on what I’ve seen . Within the AL for the Cy Young , I’d have to go with Justin Verlander . He’s been outstanding through much of the season . That’s not taking into account what the Astros have done over the past eighteen months , which historically has been among the best in league history. The ALMVP , I still believe that Mike Trout remains a favorite, but I have been impressed with DJ LeMahieu of the New York Yankees .

    Hy Jin-Ryu of the Dodgers and Max Scherzer of the Nationals are the clear favorites within the NL for the Cy Young , but I’d have to give the edge to Ryu simply because of what he’s done for the Dodgers this season. Their pitching staff remains among the best in baseball by a wide margin for 2019. The NLMVP race is a tight one between Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger . I think that Bellinger will take it , simply because of his on base and slugging percentage . Yet you never can tell what’s likely to happen during the second half of the season.

    The most interesting race for me will be for the Rookie of The Year within the AL and NL . Yordan Alvarez through his first twelve games in the Majors was hitting the hide of the ball for the Astros. In the NL it’s likely to be Pete Alonso of the Mets winning the award after his record breaking rookie season for the team.

    What are your thoughts about the Los Angeles Clippers picking up both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George via free agency ? The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t and weren’t even in with a chance of picking up either of the two players. Now Magic Johnson is going on as if the current Lakers’ roster is actually good enough to win it all.

    Tophatal ……………………

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    1. Tophat,
      It’s too early for a handicap on the Clippers or NBA. Waiting for training camp to see if chemistry exists with some of these blockbuster signings.
      Just Verlander’s all-star quote about the baseballs being juiced? LOL, this is a self-serving declaration since he leads the major leagues in serving up home runs. The commish vehemently denies a juiced ball.

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      1. Ronbets

        I think that the Los Angeles Clippers might have a slight edge of the Los Angeles Lakers in terms of their roster. Most definitely believe that Doc Rivers’ coaching staff at present is better than the unit led by Frank Vogel .

        Justin Verlander is still a great performer , but his comments are just a sign of his frustrations . Rob Manfred should be more concerned with the fact that the Players’ Union (MLBPA) are ready to take on the MLB hierarchy , once again with their being another stoppage on the line if they can’t come to conclusion for their upcoming CBA (collective bargaining agreement).

        Tophatal ………

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        1. Tophat,
          Russ and CP3 are both off-the-charts competitors. The plain fact is CP3 is in the twilight of his career. The determination is still there, but the body is too often injured. Westbrook can play either as a distributor or shooter. He won’t tolerate any of those 1 for 17 three-point disasters from Harden. Part Deaux from these guys will propel the Rockets deep into the playoffs. Maturity and experience.

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          1. I can’t see Chris Paul wanting to play in Oklahoma City and he’ll want to end up playing for a contender. From my own viewpoint , he can provide veteran leadership to a team that acquires him , but he’s no longer a game changer , much less a productive player at a high level . His statistics over the last three years alone are proof of that fact.

            Russell Westbrook will certainly amp up the offense on the roster given their current group of players and it will definitely be an upgrade over last season’s squad . I certainly believe that Westbrook and James Harden can coexist as teammates , if their statistics are anything to go by based on last season , during the playoffs and regular season.

            Tophatal …………….

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            1. Tophat,
              It’s hard to compare a Russell Wilson to a Mathew Stafford. I can understand Tate’s praising of Stafford considering the touches he got from the Detroit QB. Wilson gave him less than half as much attention. I will say that his new QB(Eli) won’t change his opinion.

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  27. It’s that time of the year again within Major League Baseball and the Trade Deadline is fast approaching. With the Miami Marlins having another horrible season , it might well be time for the coaching staff and front office to think about the franchise’s long-term future and look to trade away several players from the current roster . This season , it has to be said that this team has been truly disappointing , with their being very few bright spots to be pleased about . The Marlins had only Sandy Alcantara among the All Stars for his season’s NL roster . Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly , himself might have the resilience to last the rest of the season , but it becoming increasingly clear that the patience of Derek Jeter , Michael Hill and managing partner Bruce Sherman are at their wit’s end. Martin Prado , Starling Castro and Sergio Romo might be among the most prized assets on the roster , but a player like Sandy Alcantara could be seen as a desirable piece for a team .

    With a weekend series beginning as of Friday , the Miami Marlins will start that set against the New York Mets as part of their regular season series for the year. On the mound for the Marlins will be Caleb Smith as the takes on Jason Vargas of the Mets.

    In the AL, we have several teams vying for that top spot in the league . The New York Yankees and Houston Astros are vying for the best record within the league at this point of the season. Both teams are in action over the course of this weekend with the Yankees in action against the Toronto Blue Jays at home . The Houston Astros will be facing the Texas Rangers on the road as part of their regular season series. It will be interesting to see which of the the players on the Astros’ roster will be stepping up to the plate over the remainder of the season .

    MLB news ….

    Tophatal ……….

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    1. Tophat,
      Don’t sell this Miami team short just yet. They have some good young arms that are worth developing. Yes, Alcantara and also Gallen, Yamamota, and my favorite is Caleb Smith. I’d get rid of Sergio Romo before his value reaches rock bottom……….and it’s almost there.

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  28. Another blockbuster trade takes place within the NBA as the Oklahoma City Thunder agrees in principle to send point guard Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in exchange for their disgruntled and aging veteran point guard Chris Paul . It became abundantly clear that Thunder GM Sam Presti had little choice given the team’s short foray during the NBA Playoffs where they exited in the first round. Westbrook will join James Harden in a lineup that’s likely to see even more changes in the coming weeks . For Chris Paul he gets the chance to resume his career on a team
    where his leadership is likely to be his biggest facet , with his declining productivity and being unable to play a full season , as exhibited over the last few years. As to what this means within the NBA , but specifically within the Western Conference , the power struggle will continue , as we get to see which of the franchise will be able to step up and show themselves as being a dominant force.

    Courtesy of NBA.com

    Report: Russell Westbrook traded to Rockets for Chris Paul
    Two picks, two swaps also going to Thunder as they build formidable draft stockpile
    From NBA Twitter reports

    Jul 11, 2019 8:29 PM ET

    The makeover in Oklahoma City continues. And so does the Western Conference’s seemingly never-ending game of “Can you top this?”

    Just one day after sending Paul George to the LA Clippers for an unprecedented haul of draft picks, the Oklahoma City Thunder have reportedly shipped 2017 Kia MVP Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. Westbrook would reunite with former Thunder teammate James Harden, the 2018 MVP.

    Chris Paul and a package of first-round picks will be headed back to Oklahoma City, per a Thursday report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Royce Young.

    Wojnarowski added that the picks would be first-rounders in 2024 and 2026, along with pick swaps in 2021 and 2025. The deal was reportedly completed with Westbrook’s blessing as Thunder GM Sam Presti worked with the eight-time All-NBA point guard and his agent, Thad Foucher. Wojnarowski later clarified Houston attempted to direct Paul to a preferred third team, but couldn’t connect the dot.

    Shams Charania of The Athletic subsequently broke down the protections:

    Sources: Pick protections in Thunder/Rockets, Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul trade:
    2024 first round pick, protected 1-4
    2026 first round pick, protected 1-4
    2025 swap, 1-20 protected
    2021 swap, protected 1-4 — OKC can swap Clippers pick or Heat pick.

    Westbrook, the only remaining player from the Thunder’s first season in Oklahoma City after the franchise moved from Seattle in 2008, earned All-NBA Third Team recognition after logging his third consecutive season averaging a triple-double (this time: 22.9 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 10.7 apg). The 11-year veteran struggled with his shooting throughout, connecting on just 29.8 percent of his 3-point attempts and 42.8% overall, along with a career-worst 65.6 percent from the line.

    Given Westbrook’s usage has soared in the years since Kevin Durant’s departure to Golden State, the fit next to Harden will force both players to adjust. Harden’s historic 2018-19 campaign included an exhilarating 32-game streak of 30-point games and the league’s highest scoring average (36.1 ppg) since Michael Jordan put up 37.1 in 1986-87. The two players each ranked among the league’s top four in touches per game and time of possession, as well as top 10 marks in average seconds per touch.

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    Click on link to read in full.
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    Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach , Billy Donovan now has assess a roster that will be quite diverse in terms of it’s makeup. What will be interesting is to show the Thunder will take shape with their rookies and veterans being able to coexist .

    One of the staggering this about this deal , has been to see how these trades have shaped the league. Both Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook are owed staggering amounts on their current contracts .

    NBA news ….

    NBA transactions

    Tophatal ………………..

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  29. I’m far from impressed in believing that the Washington Redskins are good enough to win the NFC East this upcoming season , with Jay Gruden still at the helm as the Head Coach of this team . In 2018 the Redskins played effectively but their play symbolized many of the issues the Redskins had during this past season . They failed to make the postseason and labored to a 9-7 record within the NFC .

    This upcoming season the Washington Redskins will be relying on the quarterback play of Alex Smith to lead this starting lineup for the 2019 season . The team’s preseason schedule will begin with a week-one game against the Cleveland Browns . If Smith can prove himself to be the player Redskins desire , this should prove to be an interesting season ahead for the quarterback and his teammates. Jay Gruden and his players will have their regular season opener with match-up against the Philadelphia Eagles in a conference and divisional contest. Smith’s record against the Eagles is not an enviable one of 3-4. Alex Smith for his part isn’t playing for his livelihood but there is a great deal riding on the season for him and Jay Gruden. Smith isn’t due to become a free agent until 2023 .

    This should also be a very interesting season for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys as the quarterback will be seeking to up his contract with the organization. Prescott is only being paid a paltry $2 million for this season and it’s clear that the quarterback and his agent believe he’s worth a great deal more . Todd France of CAA Sports is the person entrusted to work on deal that will likely provide Dak Prescott with a deal comparable to Carson Wentz of the Eagles. Wentz’s deal is four-year , $128 million contract recently signed with the franchise.

    NFL news ……..

    Tophatal …………………

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  30. There’ll be a great schedule of weekend games within Major League Baseball and it be interesting to show how the teams fare through the first first five or six games after the mid-season All Star Break . With the trade deadline also imminent , it will be interesting to see which teams will be movers and players in the market . At this point last season there were numerous moves made , as ball clubs looked to bolster their rosters.

    It’s going to be an interesting couple of months for the San Francisco Giants , as team manager Bruce Bochy and the front office will have to assess the roster and their long-term needs . As the team continues to spin out of control , pressure will be brought to as Bochy will have to make a decision concerning the team’s starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner and whether or not he is now a worthy asset who’s deemed trade-worthy by the franchise. Bumgarner has been on the Giants’ disabled list for much of the season . There’s no imminent return and the pitching staff of the team will have to make do without him for at least another month and half , if not longer.

    Bruce Bochy’s players will be in action this weekend as they face the Milwaukee Brewers on the road for a three game series . Friday’s game will pit starting pitchers Shaun Anderson of the Giants against Chase Anderson of the Brewers .

    Although it’s yet to be confirmed , New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman is gauging his options and the chance to acquire Madison Bumgarner from the San Francisco Giants . Having missed out on Dallas Kuechel , it will be interesting to see who the Yankees will add to their depth chart of starting pitchers on the current roster .

    MLB news …..

    MLB schedule three days at a glance (12th-14th July) …

    MLB standings ….

    MLB transactions ….

    Tophatal ………………………..

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  31. Not much really changed over the weekend in the world of baseball as the teams took to the field . The Oakland A’s are seeking to play their way into divisional contention and quite possibly be viewed as a wildcard entrant for the postseason . Within the AL West the managerial staff of A’s manager Bob Melvin will be seeking to move this team forward over the remainder of their season . Over their last ten games the A’s are 8-2 , among the best in the Majors over that time frame. The team will be an action today when they face the Seattle Mariners as part of a two-game series which is ensuing of their regular season series. On the mound for the A’s Monday evening’s contest will be starting pitchers , Marco Gonzales of the Mariners as he faces Oakland’s Daniel Mengden .

    While the Oakland A’s are seeking another postseason foray , it has to be said , with the Los Angels Dodgers laying waste to many of their opponents this season , the only thing this team cannot afford to do , is to fall short again during the postseason. Manager Dave Roberts has been able to get his players performing at a high level this season. The Dodgers will be in action when they take on the Philadelphia Phillies for a three-game set . Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers and Bryce Harper of the Phillies are on the diamond as both sluggers will be looking to prove their worth for their respective teams.

    MLB news …..

    Tophatal …………..

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  32. Not much longer before the end of the MLB season. And the teams are now vying for their place in the standings divisional-wise and within the respective leagues . It has been six years since the team’s last appearance within the MLB Postseason with their losing out to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2013 Postseason . The roster from that season had the players performing above expectations for the year . The lineup has since changed drastically over the ensuing years , but the one standing figure has been Freddie Freeman whose play could guarantee him a Hall of Fame accolade for the ball-club, if his career remains ongoing with the Braves.

    Over the coming days the Atlanta Braves will having several interesting games . Freddie Freeman and his teammates are in action today (Tuesday) , when the Braves take on the Milwaukee Brewers in an NL league match-up. On the mound for the Braves will be Bryse Wilson as he takes on Brandon Woodruff of the Brewers . This will also part of an ongoing season series between these two teams . For the Brewers’ Christian Yelich it will be interesting to see if the player can continue with his outstanding season to date.

    MLB news …..

    Tophatal …………..

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  33. Over their last ten games the Boston Red Sox’s Achilles’ Heel might well appear to be their pitching as the team struggles to make inroads within the AL East where the two current leading contenders are the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays . During that ten game stretch the Red Sox have gone 6-4 against their opponents . In the coming weeks the Red Sox will face a number of their divisional rivals . Starting pitchers , Chris Sale and Rick Porcello are among a number of pitchers on the roster for this season who failed to meet expectations.

    Up next for the Boston Red Sox as they continue through the month of July there will be several interesting games for the team. Manager Alex Cora will expect to see the best out of his players over this stretch . Boston will face the Toronto Blue Jays at home on Wednesday afternoon , with the starting pitcher for this game being Eduardo Rodriguez as he faces Aaron Sanchez of the Blue Jays.

    There is the consensus that the front office might seek to trade for a starting pitcher to add to their roster , rather than bring up someone from their farm system. One player that could possibly fit the mold that the Red Sox desire could be Washington Nationals’ starting pitcher Max Scherzer . It’s clear that the Nationals might well seek to rebuild rather than see Scherzer leave as a free agent. He would be a fine addition to the Red Sox’s roster given his abilities over the years .

    With the MLB salary cap currently set at roughly $206 million and the luxury tax proving to be a hindrance with teams having to lose draft picks when going over that cap figure , It will be interesting to see what moves are made by teams in the run-up to the trade deadline.

    The New York Mets and Washington Nationals have failed miserably this season and their respective records are a reflection of that very fact. New Yorks’ acquisition of Robinson Cano was meant to be a great boost to the lineup , but it has proven to be one of the biggest blunders in the Mets’ entire history as a franchise. Cano has spent more time on the disabled list than he has on the field . From a productivity standpoint it’s there for all to see and the team has suffered due to his lack of offense and their now being encumbered with the remainder of his existing contract . Mets GM Brodie Van Wanegen clearly made a monumental mistake with this trade for Robinson Cano and it’s plain to see there are bound to be questions asked within the front office and why the managerial staff was also agreeable to this trade.

    The New York Mets will round out the month of July with several intriguing games as they look to play themselves back above . 500 . Their next game will see the Mets facing the Minnesota Twins on the road . I certainly don’t believe that the New York Mets will be able to play themselves into contention for a wildcard berth at this stage of the season , not based on their play to date.

    MLB news …

    Tophatal ……………….

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  34. Far be it for me to suggest , but if the New York Knicks believe that the signing of Reggie Bullock puts them in the wheelhouse of being a dominant franchise within the Eastern Conference of the NBA , then the front office led by team owner James L Dolan and GM Steve Mills have a great deal to answer for . This team during the first half and latter half of the regular season were an abomination to watch (17-65) . New York’s coaching staff led by David Fizdale were completely out of touch with the rest of the league with the players performing abysmally.

    With the NBA Draft having taken place and the team selecting players they deemed worthy , it will be interesting to see how those players will fare during the NBA Summer League Schedule . Rookies RJ Barrett and Kyle Guy might not get that much playing time during the preseason but they will be expected to contribute once the regular season gets underway.

    From my own personal standpoint, the New York Knicks need to be sold by team owner James L Dolan, because nothing done during his tenure has seen this franchise be even remotely competitive . It has been nothing more than the lynch pin for an entertainment conglomerate and that has been it. In spite of the franchise’s profitability and the being one of the most profitable and valuable franchises in the NBA , there has been little of note concerning the New York Knicks .

    New York Knicks news ….

    Tophatal ………………..

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  35. With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving now choosing to make their home with the Brooklyn Nets , does this now make this particular franchise within the Eastern Conference the favorites for the conference title as well as being a legitimate contender for the NBA title . This franchise hasn’t been seen as a competitive force, since they were coached by Byron Scott and made it to two consecutive Finals under his coaching tenure. Last season with Kenny Atkinson as the team Head Coach and leading the roster under the play of D’Angelo Russell , where the Nets made it into the Playoffs and then fall in the first round to the Philadelphia 76ers . Russell was allowed to leave the team during this off-season , joining the Golden State Warriors .

    Miikhail Prokorov remains the primary owner of the Brooklyn Nets , although there were rumblings that the Russian billionaire might have been willing his majority stake in the franchise. The NBA Draft itself proved to be fruitful for the Nets with their having picks which also facilitated some draft day trades . Where the Brooklyn Nets now go from here will be predicated upon the play seen with the team during the upcoming season . Yet it is clear they will be counting upon Kyrie Irving to lead them in the absence of Kevin Durant , while Durant recuperates from surgery . The risk to reward ratio might favor the franchise in the long run, given the economic equations involved .

    Brooklyn Nets news ….

    Tophatal ………..

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  36. This will be a decisive weekend within the world of Major League Baseball , where several teams will either see their fortunes rise or quite possibly come to an abrupt end. Today however , there will be several games in play . For some reason the Chicago Cubs can’t seem to completely separate themselves from the Milwaukee Brewers within the NL Central which might well be tightest divisional race in all of baseball , with only 2 1/2 games separating the two teams. If the season were to end today , both teams would find themselves in the MLB Postseason . Yet the race isn’t yet over with several scenarios still in play.

    The Chicago Cubs will be in action on Friday , 19th July , with the team facing the San Diego Padres at home in an NL match-up . Chicago”s divisional counterparts will face the Arizona Diamondbacks on the road .

    Within the AL there will be an interesting double header taking place , as the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays renew their rivalry for the season .

    MLB standings (divisional) …

    MLB schedule , 18th July ..

    Tophatal

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  37. Not long before we have the opening games of the NFL preseason with a number of teams having acquired new players as well having made their intentions plain through the NFL Draft . With all of the new rookies having been signed to their deals. Kyler Murray will no doubt be looking to prove himself having been picked number one overall in the NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals . He will be looking to help this team get off to a great start during the preseason and undoubtedly look to improve over last year in their divisional , conference and league standing .

    Murray and his teammates will begin their preseason, with their opening game being against the Los Angeles Chargers where the Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers will likely be the starter for this game. Rivers enters his sixteenth year in the NFL having not tasted a deep run in the postseason as a player.

    NFL news ……

    Tophatal

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  38. With the NBA off season being in complete disarray , it seems only natural with several teams looking to bolster their roster, chances are there are likely to be several free agents moving to join a contender. JR Smith a veteran within the NBA having won a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers is now on the market looking for a new franchise. Smith is one of several guards on the free agency market . The interest in the veteran might well be interesting in the coming weeks.

    The Boston Celtics having failed miserably during the NBA Playoffs fell way short of the expectations of the front office led by Danny Ainge . The Celtics would fall to the Milwaukee Bucks , with Kyrie Irving in particular , failing to show up for the team during the playoffs . With Irving having departed , joining the Brooklyn Nets to play alongside Kevin Durant , the roster will see a major shakeup from last season .

    Brad Stevens Boston’s Head Coach will now have to reassess the roster of in wake of the obvious economic issues they’re likely to have . With Kemba Walker having been signed by the Celticsm , it will be interesting to see if Walker can coexist alongside his new teammates.

    NBA news ……..

    NBA free agents …

    NBA salary cap (teams) …

    Tophatal ………..

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  39. Paul Goldschmidt of the St Louis Cardinals made a name for himself as an All Star with his former team the Arizona Diamondbacks . However. as a member of the Cardinals , Goldschmidt has excelled for the team this season . St Louis will begin a weekend schedule this Friday , with a three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds on the road . Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals will be on the mound against the Reds’ Tyler Mahle . This will be an interesting match-up for these two NL Central ball-clubs .

    MLB news …

    MLB schedule three days at glance (19th-21st July) ..

    Tophatal ………………

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  40. Ronbets

    The behavior exhibited by the US WANT at the FIFA World Cup was indeed classless and lacked maturity. That being said it’s what is constantly by the majority of pprofessional sports team and amateur teams when they’re in competition abroad representing the country. That’s especially when it comes to the Summer Olympics.

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    1. Ronbets

      The members of the USWNT at the FIFA World Cup may well feel scorned because they’re not making as much as their male counterparts . Yet when it’s all said and done it comes down to how and whom the sport is being marketed to . The men who participated in the last FIFA World Cup appearance got $500K apiece whereas the men got $100,000 apiece and they won the damn tournament just held.

      Tophatal …………..

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  41. Enough , we all know that the Miami Marlins are now heading nowhere and their loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers is just another sign as to how bad things have now become for the franchise. It is becoming abundantly clear that part owner Derek Jeter will once again precipitate another fire sale of the players on the roster . At present, I believe all players on the team’s roster are available for the right price .

    The Miami Marlins have a few more games scheduled for the month of July, before entering August looking for a bump in their play. Today the team will be in action when they face the Chicago White Sox on the road . It will be Trevor Richards of the Marlins facing Ivan Nova of the White Sox in today’s contest.

    The New York Yankees have now opened up a nine-game divisional lead over the Tampa Bay Rays , leaving there little to be decided concerning how this race might well turn out in the AL East . Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone will be hoping his team can play out the remainder of the season , playing at a high level . Next up for the Yankees will be a game against the Minnesota Twins with the team taking their show on the road to face the Twins.

    MLB news …..

    MLB schedule 22nd July …

    MLB standings (divisional) …

    MLB free agents …

    Tophatal …………..

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  42. In 2009 the NFL Draft was an interesting one by way the quarterbacks taken that year of the Draft. Sam Bradford was taken as number one overall by the St Louis Rams now known as the Los Angeles Rams . Bradford has now had something of a storied career becoming a journeyman around the NFL . The player is currently a free agent and might likely find himself as a veteran on a team being paid the veterans’ minimum .

    One of Sam Bradford’s former teams is the Minnesota Vikings whom many believe if they play up to their potential this season could be good enough to win the NFC North . The team this season is expected to contend , with the front office and coaching staff having been very very diligent with regard to the recent draft and their acquisition of free agents . Mike Zimmer as the Vikings’ Head Coach will have to assess the team over the course of the course of their preseason . Helming the lineup at the quarterback position will be Kirk Cousins and it will be interesting to see what this veteran can supply the Minnesota Vikings with by way of his overall play.

    Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings will have a four-game preseason schedule with their opener in week one being against the New Orleans Saints . The team’s regular season opener will see them lock horns with the Atlanta Falcons in an all conference match-up . Cousins’ record against NFC teams and the Saints is an admirable one .

    NFL news …….

    Tophatal ………………………….

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