Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and bestow greatness upon those who are deserving of it …

Major League Baseball made their formal announcement for the inductees of the 2016 Hall of Fame class , with Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Piazza leading the list of nominees for the class. Among the list were also, holdovers from 2015 , where the likes of Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds , Mark McGwire , Gary Sheffield and Roger Clemens were the most recognized of the names .

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First time nominees for the 2016 class provided the fans with new names , many of whom like Piazza, Sosa, Bonds , McGwire, Sheffield and Clemens were closely associated with the steroids’ era of the late eighties and through last decade and entering into this decade. While the stoicism of the BBWAA continues to be one where they consider themselves the bastion of all things pure about the game of baseball. What cannot be denied has been the mere fact the Baseball Writers’ Association (BBWAA) has been hypocritical in their addressing and reporting the issues and evidence of the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs within baseball.

While there will be continued claims the players who ran afoul baseball’s archaic rule were not breaking the law, what was paramount once the were rules in place, players simply ignored the rules and a rampant epidemic ensued, with a widespread pandemic use of banned substances at the Minor League Level as well at the Major League Level (MLB) . During Bud Selig’s reign as the Commissioner of baseball , his apathy knew no boundaries as the ball-players eschewed the rules and cheated their way to fame, glory and a great deal of money while defrauding the public and obliterating some of the most hallowed records in the game of baseball. Selig’s successor Ron Manfred appears to be walking the same path as his predecessor and the claims made by Bud Selig , that baseball now has the most stringent testing policy in all of professional sports is as comical as it sounds.

Ken Griffey Jr’s long anticipated Hall of Fame induction was a certainty , as the player’s career and the fact he remained untainted by allegations of steroid use added to the aura which surrounded the long-time Seattle Mariners , Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox standout outfielder and multi-faceted All Star. What seemed inconceivable about Griffey’s balloting, was the fact he failed to garner a unanimous vote with three judges failing to cast a vote in his favor. Only Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver in BBWAA history has garnered more votes, but Griffey leads by way of the percentages received .

Mike Piazza’s career has been well-chronicled and he is considered to be one of the best offensive powered catchers in baseball history. Like Griffey, he was never able to capture that elusive World Series’ ring , though each made postseason appearances at various points of their respective careers. With these modern-day icons entering the Hall of Fame , one now has to ask the pertinent question , at what point will either the BBWAA and baseball”s hierarchy truly seek to address the issue of steroids still being proliferating the game of baseball and when will the Players’ Union (MLBPA) actually seek to themselves address the issue , deal with the underlying problems and educate their members as well as the players at the Minor League Level as to the inherent dangers of misusing steroids and other banned substances? It was never dealt with by former Executive Directors Donald Fehr , the late Michael Weiner or , Wiener’s successor and current union Executive Director Tony Clark .

In 2017, the list of eligible players due to be part of the year’s ballot for induction into the Hall of Fame will once again have the players who failed to obtain the required seventy-five percent of the voted for enshrinement will be once see another crop first-time eligible nominees as well as holdovers . I am inclined to believe those players will not make the cut once again and among the fresh faces on the ballot, it will be difficult to truly suggest a case can be made for several of the players viewed as eligible. The most likely candidates to receive the votes assuring their induction would appear to be Vladimir Guerrero, Jorge Posada , Trevor Hoffman , Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Mussina . Their careers I believe , should assure them of induction, but again, given the pomposity of the BBWAA , nothing is guaranteed or even written in stone.

Far be it for me to suggest the off-season shakeups which took place , with a number of players finding new homes , having declared their free agency and we witnessed the type long-held belief, baseball’s front office executives and owners are nowhere as smart as they believe themselves to be. The Los Angeles Dodgers with their $300 million payroll of last season will enter 2016 , with a newly revamped roster , new managerial staff with Dave Roberts succeeding Don Mattingly as the team’s manager. Less we forget also, Zack Greinke opted for free agency and then signed a six-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks . From my own perspective, while the addition improves the look of their starting pitchers’ rotation, it doesn’t mean the Diamondbacks can be considered legitimate contenders for the NL West. The division I believe remains the Dodgers’ to lose , unless we see the reemergence of the San Francisco Giants , who in 2015 failed miserably in just about every aspect of their game.

This upcoming season in baseball should be an eventful one , with these two divisional powerhouses Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants likely to entertain their fans throughout their seasonal meetings as witnessed last season. These two ball-clubs will begin their regular season schedules with Dave Roberts taking the Los Angeles Dodgers crosstown to meet the Los Angeles Angels in a game to be played at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim, California on 2nd April, 2016. The Arizona Diamondbacks will be play host to the current World Series’ champions the Kansas City Royals , while the San Francisco Giants will play the Oakland A’s at the O.Coliseum , Oakland , California ,.

The talents of Mike Trout are being wasted , while he remains the focal point of the Los Angeles Angels and as good as the Angels were last season , with Trout and his teammate Albert Pujols pounding out hits and home runs with such regularity. You have wonder why Mike Sciocsia and his managerial staff failed to guide the team to the MLB postseason . It was widely felt Mike Sciocsia would have been fired , but instead , it was GM Jerry DiPoto who abruptly left the organization , disillusioned that he was being undermined by the manager as well as not having the total support of Arte Moreno , billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Angels.

Billy Eppler has since succeeded DiPoto as the general manager and the Angels were not major players in the free agency market during the off-season. What we are likely to see from the Angels, are refocused efforts, with an emphasis on youth , with the offense built around Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Personally, I believe the real weakness with the Angels has and will remain their lack of depth among the pitching staff. Their relievers and starters have to be more consistent throughout the season rather than showing a great of inconsistency.

The past two seasons have indicated to us how good the Kansas City Royals just happen to be and their emphatic triumph over the New York Mets was one of the most lopsided World Series played over the last ten years. Terry Collins’ Mets team were never in the running for the NL East based ball-club to win the series. The pitching and hitting for the New York Mets was ineffective and there was never a player on the roster ready to lead by example. In the case of the Royals there was an eagerness about the team and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the greater good , while playing as a team .

Kansas City Royals’ GM Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost will enter this season looking to fortify their position as the best team in baseball. Kansas’ biggest challenge could come from the likes of the New York Yankees , Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers over the course of their schedule in 2015. Having lost Johnny Cueto to free agency with the pitcher joining the San Francisco Giants , thereby strengthening what will be a very good pitching staff. Moore will will undoubtedly seek to bolster the team’s own pitching rotation during the off-season. Pitchers and non-roster invitees will be invited to Spring Training which is just over six weeks away.

Whatever is now happening with the Cincinnati Reds the blame for the team’s woes this past season are firmly being placed at the door of GM Walt Jocketty and his inability to acquire and draft players capable of creating a team which can compete the NL Central much less within the rest of baseball. The Reds have not a made recent postseason appearance in a number of years and the thought of relevance concerning the organization is whether or not Pete Rose will ever be reinstated or ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame. With Rose’s rejection to be reinstated within baseball, it has all but closed his chances of receiving the game’s biggest honor , beyond winning a World Series , is being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Rob Manfred doesn’t believe there has been enough contrition on the part of the former Cincinnati Reds’ manager and player.

As to the Reds’ continued woes , the managerial staff seems beside itself and while Joey Votto remains the focal point of the team, there is a common belief Walt Jocketty is on the verge of having a fire sale, gutting the roster and simply going with players from their farm system as well as retaining players who are inexpensive in terms of their salaries . The payroll for the Reds this upcoming season will be among the lowest in all of baseball .

Bryan Price will enter his first season as manager of the Cincinnati Reds hoping to imbue the team with confidence and the belief they are are capable of competing with the best the game has to offer. The first month of the team’s schedule should tell us a great deal about the team and whether or not Price has the Reds on the right track. Cincinnati will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday 4th April , 2016 at Great American Ballpark , Cincinnati, Ohio,.

Out with the old and in with the new as Don Mattingly comes into town, expected to do great things in resurrecting the fortunes of the Miami Marlins . Mattingly leaves behind a $300 million payroll team of the Los Angeles Dodgers to now steady a capsized vessel known as the Marlins , where the payroll of the team is now a minuscule. Since 2012 , the struggles of the Miami Marlins have been well-chronicled and a year during which former manager Ozzie Guillen led the team into an abyss while portraying himself as a bigoted buffoon , repeatedly exhibiting the type of behavior often associated with someone who shows a great deal of ignorance . A last-placed finish within the NL East forced the hand of the front office leading to his dismissal and the implosion of the roster during off-season of that year. Many of the high-priced acquisitions were sent packing elsewhere and the roster since then has been completely been completely reassembled along with managerial turnover having been equally indecisive.

The biggest news’ splash made by the Miami Marlins was their decision to sign big league slugger and their All Star player Giancarlo Stanton to a multi-year $325 million deal , making the player among the highest paid individuals in baseball. Stanton for his part has been productive for the franchise and perhaps the sole reason to watch the team play, albeit, they have for the moment still been able to retain their NL Rookie of The Year pitcher Jose Fernandez . Yet, it doesn’t mean GM Michael Hill isn’t willing to listen to offers for their young star , in spite of the often mistimed releases from the front office concerning updates regarding Fernandez.

Heading into this season it will be interesting to see what Don Mattingly and his managerial staff will have to offer this Marlins’ team by way of their managerial ingenuity and what the players themselves will seek to do once on the field. Miami’s biggest obstacle to winning the NL East and securing themselves a postseason berth , will undoubtedly come from the newly revamped roster of the Washington Nationals , who have to be seen as the preseason favorites to win the division as well as quite possibly the NL Pennant . With a new manager in tow , Dusty Baker taking over the managerial duties and Bryce Harper now proving himself the best all-round player in the NL , all signs could very well be pointing to an exciting season for both of these two teams.

For Bryce Harper having come into his own last season, showing prodigious talent and maturity , the player will now seek to have another emphatic season , while trying to impress upon Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo he is worth being offered a long-term deal tying him to the Nationals and the organization’s aspirations of winning a World Series. Scott Boras , Bryce Harper’s agent, will undoubtedly seek to make his client the highest paid player in the game and a multi-year $400 million deal will likely be sought by the agent. Mike Rizzo and the Nationals’ owner , Ted Lerner might not be willing to pay a King’s ransom while the ball-club seeks to remain viable and enlarge its fan-base .This could very well be the year where records within the game are set to be broken. but not necessarily for the right reasons.

An exciting year awaits within baseball, if the teams believed to be good enough can meet or exceed the expectations of the fans and analysts alike . The Kansas City Royals will be hoping to hold unto their crown while seeking to fend off all challengers seeking to dethrone them as World Series champions. Which players and teams do you believe will prove to be dominant this upcoming season ?

Tophatal ….

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Being, self-absorbed doesn’t offer dignity, it simply proves you are an ass

Being, self-absorbed doesn’t offer dignity, it simply proves you are an ass

By Tophatal

Well, after a rather meaningless gathering, the less than flattering body of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) more commonly known in my circle as the Baseball Writers Association of A$sholes , came to a decision that the 34 players on the 2013 the Hall of Fame ballot was not worthy of being inductees in this celebratory ceremony . Now as many of you may know, that among the list of candidates were, three of the most prominent players associated with the “steroid era “ of baseball.

Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa were part of that list of players , where the adjudicators would have to make the decision to vote those candidates in , by a margin of no less than 75% of the tallied votes .

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Not wanting to make light of this all , but celebrated columnist and journalist , Bob Nightengale of USA Today , wrote a <a href=”http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/01/07/barry-bonds-roger-clemens-hall-of-fame-fred-mcgriff-steroids-sammy-sosa/1812111/”&gt; column stating why he would in all likelihood vote for all three of the aforementioned players to be enshrined . Nightengale suggests that on pure stats alone , the triumvirate were worthy of that accolade . It should be noted , the writer is also a voting member of the aforementioned BBWAA , a body , which I believe, no longer has any credibility or integrity ! Much of that is based on the non-committed stance of that group when the subject of “rampant steroid use” was prevalent within the game , and the very fact that this journalistic body , essentially chose to obfuscate their responsibilities as journalists , only seeking to write salacious tales or what was at the time , essentially the “ tainted feats “ of Bonds , Sosa and Mark McGwire . Needless , to say , legal actions , subpoenaed testimony in front of a congressional committee has done nothing to lift the credibility of the players involved , or raised the integrity of the BBWAA , altogether .

The BBWAA does not seem to possess the journalistic aptitude to even seek out the stories within the game that resonate with the fans and public at large , never mind the odious and often at times banal pieces that can be found within this forum on the subject matter of the illicit use of PED’s and other prohibitive substances within the game of baseball. However, it is simply not just the print media that should also bear responsibility for this apathy, because the sports’ broadcast outlets and the major television media, have essentially remained quiet on an ever </awide ranging list of topics associated with the </aseamier side of the game. Usually, it is not until a story has started to gather a great deal of steam that we tend to see all parts of the news’ media outlets start to scurry and give their perspective , one that is skewered uninformed and at times poorly written and without any real focal points, to that piece at all ! .

Courtesy of USA Today , Bob Nightengale

Barry Bonds was the first name I checked on my Hall of Fame ballot.

Roger Clemens was the second name I checked.

Sammy Sosa was the third.

There was no hesitation. No moment of wavering. Didn’t even blink.

Bonds, a seven-time MVP, might have been the greatest baseball player since Babe Ruth. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, was one of the most dominant pitchers of the last 50 years. Sosa, the only man to hit 60 or more homers in three seasons, was one of the most prolific home run hitters we’ve ever seen.

Oh, the steroids debate?

None ever failed a drug test after Major League Baseball implemented testing in 2004. They were never suspended by MLB for steroids, human growth hormone, amphetamines or any other performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens was exonerated on perjury charges for lying about steroid use in federal court. Bonds also beat perjury charges and was convicted only on an obstruction-of-justice charge that he’s appealing.

Do I still believe they cheated? Absolutely.

Do I have proof? No.

Do I have strong suspicions that Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell cheated after witnessing their colossal changes in body type and performance? Absolutely.

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Thankfully, Bob Nightengale and his cabal of idiots for once , may well have done the right thing , in not voting anyone in , from among the list of candidate on the 2013 list of prospective inductees. Craig Biggio came the closest , garnering 68.3% of the necessary 75 % of the votes needed for enshrinement into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. However, he may well face an stiffer task in 2014 , when the list of candidates will include among those notables , Greg Maddux , Tom Glavine, Edgar Martinez , Frank Thomas , Mike Mussina , Luis Gonzalez , Kenny Rogers , and Hideo Nomo , among in the category of eligible first time candidates due for induction. And one would be hard pressed to state that neither Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine are not worthy for induction into the Hall of Fame , in Cooperstown, New York .

One of more patronizing side of the BBWAA is that self-righteous belief that is espoused is as such , as knowledgeable historians of the game , their “printed word” is sacrosanct. In all honesty , given the institution to simply sidestep controversy , merely to stay in the good graces of baseball’s hierarchy . I am beginning to wonder , whether or not it would simply be more beneficial to have a body of current and retired players along with managers and front office executive to be arbiters for a players’ induction into the Hall of Fame . Can anyone say that there is any real credence in the way the baseball writers conduct their voting process ? Who better than the players , managers and general managers to make such a decision , rather than a bunch of doe-eyed word and often times gregarious idiots be left to make such a decision. The purists and traditionalists out there may well think otherwise . Yet more often than not those are the very same imbeciles , who will make a case for the argument that the actions of Bonds , Sosa , Clemens , McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro did not do irreparable harm to the game. If they have profited financially from their actions while defrauding the fans and public alike , then off course irreparable damage has been done to the image of baseball . Only, an anally retentive asshole , would seek to suggest otherwise !

Beyond the rhetoric proffered up by baseball’s writers within their own little sphere of influence , and who have never really delved with any great depth into the financial imbalances within the game , other than to report who just happens to be the highest paid player in the game , or to remind us that the New York Yankees still carries the highest team payroll in baseball . It has been the very fact that they feel it obligatory , simply to not fall afoul of Bud Selig and his subordinates. And for the commissioner for his part , with his mind numbingly low IQ , simply offers up such banality , that is now hard to take him seriously as the game’s highest ranking executive . At $25 million a year , as a salary , I would have to say that Selig has done an extremely piss poor job through the majority of his tenure ! His handling of the “ steroid era” notwithstanding , it has been his lack of foresight and insight shown , along with not fully comprehending the malfeasance of Frank McCourt, in almost bringing about the ruination of the Los Angeles Dodgers ,

Needless to say , while Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , fiddle , while the embers are still aglow around the New York Mets , Bud Selig will suggest to us, that there is due diligence and oversight being shown as to the franchise’s ongoing financial difficulties . Albeit , that a patron of my site has pointed out the fact , that the organization has been able to obtain financing from a number of financial institution, and that a glowing report has been written about the Mets’ “ alleged” improving financial status, by none other than Standard & Poors . Suffice to say , the once proud financial markets and investment research firm has about as much credibility as Lindsay Lohan’s acting career. These are the very same ,bumbling buffoons , who with their vast research resources were not able to spot the horrors on the horizon , short-term and long-term , when it came to the major financial institutions’ use of the derivatives’ ,markets to send not only banking sector into a downwards’ tailspin but also the vast majority of the residential mortgage industry as well. Yet because a patron points to a report , I should be assured that the Mets are heading in right direction from a financial standpoint ? This being the same baseball franchise that showed a $41 million loss , and is still projected to lose approximately $65 million for the upcoming fiscal year . But also , do bear in mind , Mets’ GM , Sandy Alderson , recently offered an exorbitant contract to David Wright , an eight-year deal worth approximately , $134 million .

Now I could go on to lambast Sandy Alderson for this apparent idiocy , but what good would it do ? I mean , given the Mets’ dreadful record last season , and their continued propensity for making such outlandish personnel moves , while considerably overpaying for moderate talent . .It is increasingly clear why the franchise has been such an incredible mess . COO & CFO , Jeff Wilpon , has taken to running and ruining the franchise , as if it were a child’s toy , that will soon outlive its’ usefulness !

The New York Mets may well have dodged a bullet when Irving H Picard , the plaintiffs’ lawyer, in a multibillion dollar lawsuit that sought the return of $1.225 billion in monies received by franchise and siphoned through another Wilpon family-controlled and owned business entity , Sterling Equities Inc . These funds were said to be the returns on the investments made, in the now infamous “Madoff Ponzi Scheme” over the past two decades , which saw in excess of 8,000 clients lose $57 billion , through the misdeeds of now incarcerated financier , Bernard “Bernie” Madoff . And for some inexplicable reason Irving Picard, would reach an out of court settlement the defendants , the New York Mets, that would see his clients receive a little over 16 cents on the dollar , netting the plaintiffs , slightly less than $100 million. Far be it , for me to suggest , but if I were one of the plaintiffs , and that agreement were reached , there would be no way in hell, that Irving Picard would still be alive today ! I would be on him “ like white on rice “ , beating his ass , to within an inch of his life ! Lawyers , just as disingenuous as a congressman , with perhaps, slightly less morals? I’ll leave it for you to be the judge of that !

If there were a team in baseball that needed to succeed , rather than being continually be looked upon as an “also ran” , then it would have to be the Los Angeles Angels . Team owner, Arte Moreno and GM , Jerry DiPoto made the “big splash” last season obtaining C J Wilson and Albert Pujols , while paying out the “big bucks” in terms of the contracts offered to both players . Yet , for all of that financial commitment , the “ best player “ on the Angels’ roster over the course of 2012 , was rookie sensation Mike Trout , who literally blew the “ door off its hinges “ , while seeking to keep pace with Miguel Cabrera as the most dominant offensive player in the AL during 2012.

And while from a competitive standpoint within AL West , the Angels simply were not up to scratch . Inconsistent pitching became just one of the many problems that Mike Scocsia and his staff had to face , as the team struggled to find their way throughout much of 2012 . A disappointing third place finish, behind the revelation of the season , the Oakland A’s , surprise winners of the division and a postseason entrant from the AL. This left Jerry DiPoto and Arte Moreno , asking , what else might be needed to bolster the team ? Money , off course was no object , given Moreno’s wealth and a financially viable franchise in the nation’s second largest ad market bodes well for the organization . Yet , having to play “ second fiddle” to the Texas Rangers for divisional supremacy over the last few years has proven to be arduous .

Adding into the frustration for the Angels, was seeing the sudden resurrection of the Los Angeles Dodgers , under the ownership of two financial “ big hitters “ and a Hollywood mogul . Throw in an NBA legend as part of ownership group that paid an astonishing $2.155 billion for beleaguered franchise , and with the ensuing talk by minority stakeholder and “ hype-man” , Magic Johnson “ that money would be of no object , in chasing after success” . And one could well understand why Moreno and company might feel like he is on the outside looking in , on a a party that he had been invited to , but somehow security will not relent , and allow him , to enter the party in question .

As I alluded to earlier , pitching was a problem for the Angels during 2012 , but it should also be noted , that a once potent offense suddenly started spluttering for all of the wrong reasons during the most untimely of situations , at times befuddling Mike Scocsia , drawing his ire. The decision was made to acquire free agent slugger , Josh Hamilton, whose final year with the Texas Rangers was filled with highs and lows through much of the season. Hamilton and his agent, Michael Moye, sought a long-term commitment from GM, Jon Daniels of the Rangers. But, team President, Nolan Ryan did not believe it prudent to acquiesce to the player and his agent’s demands, which is said to be a ten-year $275 million contract. Those demands , clearly, could only be met by a select few teams within baseball. DiPoto , at the behest of Arte Moreno swooped in , and a five-year $125 million offer was made to the slugger. Hamilton , will certainly add to the potency of this Angels’ offense, but the greatest concern , would have to be , Josh Hamilton’s health , but more importantly , his well- known sobriety problems. A recovering drug addict and alcoholic , Hamilton, has repeatedly “fallen off the wagon” , much to the angst of his family , but also drawing a certain level of criticism from the Rangers’ front office. I would certainly like to think that Josh Hamilton can keep his sobriety in check while contributing greatly to the aspirations of the Angels this upcoming season !

The Angels will open their regular season schedule with a three-game series against the Oakland A’s , beginning 9th April, 2013 , at Angel Stadium , in Anaheim , California ,.

The AL West will have a new addition to its stable with the relocation of the Houston Astros from the NL Central to its counterpart within the AL. Somehow, I do believe that Astros will be in for a long and arduous season , and for manager , Bo Porters , 2013 , might just be a year he would rather forget. Simply based on the Astros’ record (55-107) in 2012, this is not a team , that I believe will be able to compete their fellow cohabitants within the AL West , much less the rest of baseball ! Sound off , with your thoughts on this particular point raised.

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Picture gallery .

In light of the decision made by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to not have a 2013 candidate inducted in , for this year’s ceremony , do you believe it to be the right decision made ? Or are you of the opinion , that no matter who the nominee might happen to be , he should be voted in , based on the association’s criteria , whether or not they are tainted by the steroids era ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you feel pertinent to this topic. Do you believe, that the Los Angeles Angels will be able to mountain substantive challenge within the AL West this season ? And finally, do you believe columnist Bob Nightengale’s article , gave you a much clearer picture as to the mindset of the other adjudicators within the BBWAA ?

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) USA Today columnist , Bob Nightengale, seen here being interviewed by veteran sports’ anchor Bob Costas of NBC Sports . Nightengale a featured with the national daily , is the paper’s featured writer on baseball along with Hal Bodley . Bob Nightengale’s most recent column for the paper, gives us his unique opinion , on why , he will vote for Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa to be enshrined from the class of 2013 into Baseball’s Hall of Fame , in Cooperstown , New York .

(2) From left to right , Barry Bonds , Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens . All three were part of the class of 2013 enlistees eligible for the adjudication process for Baseball’s Hall of Fame . The trio having been stained by “steroid era” within the game , failed to obtain the necessary warranted votes (75%) to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. AP Photo / Ellis Parsons ….

(3) MLB Commissioner , Bud Selig , left , is seen here , with now former Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner , Frank McCourt . The beleaguered businessman was forced to take the famed ball-club into bankruptcy proceedings whilst in the midst of an acrimonious divorce from ex-wife, Jamie McCourt. Bud Selig presided over this , but it was widely known that McCourt had been contravening the bye-laws of the game by using the franchise as business collateral for several of his surreptitious business deals . The league hierarchy was forced to send in an outside authority (C Thomas Schiffer) to preside over the ball-club on a day-to-day basis , much to the dislike of the owner , who stated that he was being a scapegoat for baseball’s own deficiencies . The Dodgers were auctioned off in what was said to be a sealed “bidding process” for the sum of $2.156 billion . However , a number of team owners were dissatisfied with the process , especially after it was revealed that Bud Selig interjected himself in the midst of the deliberations , and is said to have favored the winning consortium’s bid , prior to the whole endeavor’s commencement . AP/ Getty Images / Paul M . Metcalf …

(4) (L – R) Saul Katz, CEO of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the Mets pose for a photo during Alderson’s introduction as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images North America / Andrew Burton …

(5) Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno joins free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, right, for photographs at a news conference, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Anaheim, Calif. Hamilton, a five-time All-Star and l2010 AL MVP, joins the Angels MLB team after signing a $125 million, five-year contract . Clockwise from Moreno is his wife Carole, Hamilton’s wife Katie, holding daughter Stella, Hamilton; with daughters Sierra, Michaela, and Julie. AP Photo/Chris Carlson …

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Actress Kerry Washington

You can’t handle the truth !

You can’t handle the truth!

By Tophatal

With the regular season of baseball’s schedule due to end on the 3rd October the final three days of the schedule could prove to be interesting as the divisional races and wildcard standings get somewhat tighter. That being said , this season has been embroiled in way too many controversies that has simply indicated that the MLB league hierarchy has not been able to abate the continued use of PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) by the players at the “Major League” level or the “ Minor League level of the game . It remains a constant and annoying reminder why Bud Selig is an ass ! When this whole drama began, the commissioner and his subordinates chose to look the other way , while the team owners within the game saw that the fans became more rabid as to the exploits of Barry Bonds , Sammy Sosa , Mark McGwire and a litany of other players at the height of this infamy profited financially from this calculated malfeasance . This all became a bountiful “ cash windfall” for the teams that had big league sluggers and pitchers willing to ingest or inject themselves with whatever may well have been the “flavor” of the moment by way of the substances available . As to the idiotic fans who try to excuse the behavior as much ado about nothing , while either directly or indirectly they , themselves have been subject to this all by way of making some financial outlay. Think about what it has actually cost you.

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This season two prominent and high-profiled players have fallen afoul of the league’s steroid policy with a mandated 50 game suspension being meted out to the San Francisco Giants’ slugger Melky Cabrera and pitcher Bartolo Colon of the Oakland A’s . A lesser light in Marlon Byrd has also been suspended but the utility player is now viewed as someone on the downside of an unremarkable career . Now while the commissioner can point to the fact that this policy is working , it simply has not been enough of a deterrent to stop the players from seeking a way to cheat. Consider also , the very fact that at the minor league level the use there amongst the players is still significant and shows no signs of abating even with what we are told is a far more stringent testing protocol by the league . In 2012 , eighty-four players have been netted by baseball as part of that wide-reaching power but yet the fans are to believe that the league hierarchy have things under control . How so , and what guarantees can the league assure the fans that they are dealing with this matter seriously ? .

I will continue to maintain that where we have a commissioner’s whole premise has been to now see the growth in revenues of the game while obfuscation all other responsibility due, then we will continue to see baseball become something of an afterthought amongst its most ardent of fans . And while there has been a great deal to feel excited about with a number of teams playing themselves into contention within the divisional races by way of showing their resilience . It has to be said there have been a number of sub-plotlines that has left the fans what the hell has been going on. Perhaps no story over the course of this season has carried as much weight as the saga that surrounded Washington Nationals’ pitcher Stephen Strasburg and the decision rendered to shut down the player for the season , as the team appears to be on the cusp of making the postseason . The team’s GM Mike Rizzo in conjunction with the coaching staff led by veteran manager , Davey Johnson , made the decision to shutter the player , and in doing so, demeaning the fans and some might say Strasburg’s fellow teammates .

The NL East is now a forgone conclusion in determining a winner as I do not believe that the Atlanta Braves (81-62) can erase the 7 ½ game lead that the Washington Nationals (88-54) currently maintains within the division ! What now seems within the Braves’ grasp is an NL wildcard berth but much of that will be predicated upon the play of the team and their not showing any complacency over the remainder of their schedule . With the Braves having lost the first two legs of a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee , it is incumbent upon Fredi Gonzalez and his staff to get the players back on track when they face the Brewer in the final game of that series tonight . On the mound for the Braves when they face the NL Central team will be Paul Malhom (3-3 , 3.48 ERA) , as he faces off against Yovani Gallardo (14-8 , 3.76 ERA) . A good showing in that game would certainly lift a some weight of the shoulders of the Braves’ players as they seek another playoff berth as being part of baseball postseason showcase. The Braves hold a healthy six game lead over the St Louis Cardinals but the really story lies in the teams seeking the second of the two wildcard playoff berths as the Cardinals , Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates vie for that sole remaining spot.

If nothing else in terms of nothing else , there is one league award that could indeed create a great deal of controversy this season , and that would be for the NL MVP . With Melky Cabrera now sitting out the remainder of the season due to the mandated 50 game suspension , a case is being made that the most credible candidates for the award, are , Andrew McCutchen , Buster Posey , Ryan Braun , Jay Bruce and Matt Holliday . Braun the league MVP in 2011 , came under a cloud of suspicion having won the award after it acknowledged that the player had tested for a banned substance . To further heighten the whole idiocy of this affair and the ramifications afterwards , was the mere fact that baseball’s hierarchy sat on this information for a number of months before making it known to the public. As to what this says about the incompetence of the commissioner’s office and the very fact that they chose not to divulge those details to the BBWAA , who oversees the process in the adjudication the game’s most prestigious individual awards , signifies to me that Bud Selig simply hasn’t a goddamn clue how to conduct the league’s business in an appropriate manner . That being said , whatever credibility that the public believes that the Baseball Writers’ Association (BBWAA) has , in essence has fallen by the wayside, as that archaic and outmoded body simply turned a blind eye as to the malfeasance of the players embroiled in the steroid era but yet many believe them to be carrying out a worthwhile duty in reporting the game . It’s not easy being stupid but the erstwhile baseball fan who still holds this game up on a pedestal , as something pure and above reproach has to meet that criteria ! LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

With Ryan Braun , this season producing statistically a far better year in 2012 than his award-winning season of 2011 , there are a growing number of supporters , seeking the player to become the first back-to-back winner of the NL MVP since Albert Pujols achieved that feat in 2008 and 2009 . Prior to that the last such player to achieve that rare feat , was none other than Barry Bonds who won the award for four straight years , from 2001-2004 , playing for the San Francisco Giants . In all, Bonds won an unprecedented seven NL MVP Awards over his often controversy laden but historic career .

Now the situation is arising that Melky Cabrera’s stats for 2012 (BA -346 [leads the NL in batting average] 11HR’s , 60 RBI’s ] ) will stand while he sits out his current suspension which goes beyond the regular season ending , and validates his being a candidate for the NL MVP . Somehow, this premise cannot sit well with those opposed to Cabrera being seen as a viable MVP candidate . With that in mind , Braun is also in the NL’s top 5 in batting average and in leads in a number of other offensive categories among the NL’s top offensive players . If the 2011 League MVP winner, Ryan Braun is now seen as a legitimate candidate, then it simply does not bode well for this adjudication process. Although Braun’s suspension was overturned by a mediator (Shyam Das) on a technicality, for which the Brewers’ player feels is a vindication of any wrongdoing on his part. What should not be overlooked is that Ryan Braun’s samples tested positive for a banned stimulant and but for the idiocy of the league’s sanctioned testing facility not following the protocols set by MLB , Braun in 2011 , would have sat out a fifty game suspension. Baseball’s hierarchy , one would expect to mandated that Melky Cabrera’s 2012 statistics be removed from the official records but it is clear that any remote intelligence thought to be found within that body is now, nowhere to be seen ! Intelligence is certainly not the biggest inherent trait to be found within the upper echelons of baseball, certainly not among baseball’s governing body , or among the team owners that of the MLBPA (union) led by Executive Director Michael Weiner ! This is merely my opinion on these matters but should you share similar thoughts , then by all means leave a comment as you see fit either in support or in opposition.

So let’s get this straight , Houston Astros’ owner Jim Crane having spent $775 million to purchase the ball-club , and now witnessing the franchise descend into mediocrity over the course of this season , would like to have Roger Clemens on the team’s pitching rotation ? Now, I know that desperate times calls for desperate measures and baseball being geared towards being a family friendly pastime and that it has an aversion to adult entertainment . The thought of Clemens returning to the “Big Leagues” having not pitched in almost five years with his last display being in the 2007 postseason . I get the impression that Crane must admire the showmanship of PT Barnum , if he is said to be seriously contemplating the seven-time Cy Young Award winner , pitch for the Astros once again in regular season game . An aging egotistical as##ole like Clemens would be welcomed back into baseball’s fraternity , primarily as a money-making exercise because that ball-club has no god-damn ambition whatsoever ! Never-mind the fact that the sort of message this would send to the young pitchers within their minor league system of the Astros , seeking that September call-up , were Clemens to be brought into the Astros’ fold . Roger Clemens has tried to state that his only intent with this return is to have some fun but his agent Al Hendricks has been mindful of the fact that the Astros and the Kansas City Royals have shown interest in the veteran pitcher . A s to what this states about the pitching for both of these organizations , I will leave you to be the judge of that !

Far be it for me to suggest that all is not right in New York City, with the New York having problems in trying to make a successful defense of their AL East title . In mid-July (17th July) the Yankees had a 10 game lead over their then closest rivals the Baltimore Orioles (47-44) . In the seven weeks since, that lead has been completely erased with Orioles and Yankees now sharing the lead of AL East with a mark of 79-62 with the Tampa Bay Rays (77-64) a mere two games behind the joint leaders of the division. Joe Girardi and a number of his players are trying to downplay the obvious tension that built up within the clubhouse and within the Yankees’ fandom . The team itself, is 4-6 in their last ten games , having lost their most recent game to one-time nemesis the Boston Red Sox . The 1-0 loss has many wondering whether or not the high-priced roster of players are meeting the expectations of the fans as well as the front office executives. GM Brian Cashman has seen the highs and lows of the organization but here are now looking at a ball-club seeking to weather the storm and right the ship. New York now faces the Red Sox at Fenway Park in a game which now takes on even greater meaning, as the Orioles face off against divisional rivals the Tampa Bay Rays , with series’ implications of their own .

The Yankees’ pitching has been suspect for the majority of the season , and with injuries proliferating much of the rotation , it should come as a surprise that the team has labored under this impediment . I am not about to suggest that the Yankees are about to fall short of making the postseason there will be a number of question asked of Hank Steinbrenner , Managing Partner , Hal Steinbrenner , Managing General Partner , Lonn Trost , COO , and other senior executives of the organization.

Year and year out , it never ceases to amaze me with the consistency of Yankees’ captain and short-stop Derek Jeter , as he leads the Yankees’ offense in that particular category. A five-time World Series’ champion with the only franchise he has ever played for. Jeter has won just about every individual honor available within the game of baseball , in terms of Gold Gloves , multiple All Star appearances , AL MVP and Rookie of the Year . Jeter, now in the twilight of his career , is a certainty, as a first-time ballot and future Hall of Fame inductee . While no one doubts the player’s well known tenacity and leadership qualities, the question remains , can his teammates follow his now “ legendary “ trait ? If the players are unable to do so , then look for this team during the off-season to be revamped once again, with the front office looking to jettison a number of players superfluous to their needs .

Often the butt of so many jokes in recent years it now looks as if the Oakland A’s are about to have the very last laugh . The team now has the second best record in the AL , as they seek to chase down the Texas Rangers for the AL West divisional crown . For Bob Melvin and his coaching staff this season , must be seen as validation and vindication that the organization has been on the right track. GM Billy Beane , if anything has to be viewed the AL Executive of the Year , as he has guided this team within the guile not often seen from a general manager within the game. Shrewd off-season and trade deadline acquisitions , a draft policy that over the years has borne fruit for the organization , along with a farm system that is richly laden with talent .

What is now becoming all the more certain is the dogfight —- within the AL for the wildcard berth has suddenly become all the more interesting with the A’s being part of this whole scenario. For the long-suffering fans that has seen the ball-club mistreated rebuked by Bud Selig , while this idiotic executive has seen fit play a game of charades with the organization in seeking to assist them with their endeavors for a new ballpark. Meanwhile the devious and egregious behavior of two prominent New York Mets’ executives Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon have seen their wishes granted for a near-billion dollar edifice built to house a franchise that has under-achieved this season , merely because the joint-owners and Mayor Michael Bloomberg deemed it necessary . An ignoramus such as Bud Selig, is deemed a smart individual and has been given far and wide-ranging powers but the decisions in recent years made by the commissioner has left a great deal to be desired . It’s certainly not rocket science but how in this day and age the MLB commissioner and his NFL counterpart Roger Goodell are deemed intelligent men , has to now come into question ! . The commissioner championed the Mets’ cause for a new ballpark in the midst of that ball-club’s growing financial problems and their association with disgraced financier Bernard “ Bernie” Madoff , even light of their being growing evidence as to his malfeasance . Blah , blah , blah ! Why the fu#k should anyone care about anything the commissioner has to say about the game, when he simply has failed to address the numerous issues that continues to plague baseball ?

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(1) Barry Bonds, left, and Sammy Sosa, center, can appear on the ballot for the first time, along with Roger Clemens . Mark McGwire, right, has not fared well. Three major stars of the game who at the height of their respective careers became significantly embroiled in the “steroid era” of baseball . Getty Images North America / Jed Jacobsohn …….

(2) Magic Johnson , left , new owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers is seen here alongside Frank McCourt on Opening Day at Petco Park in San Diego , California , prior to the game between the Dodgers and San Diego Padres . McCourt having taken the ball-club into bankruptcy proceedings as part of a messy divorce settlement , would see the franchise be sold to Johnson and his syndicated partnership group for an all cash bid of $2.156 billion . Frank McCourt , however , still maintains the “rights” to the parking at Dodgers’ Ballpark , much to the annoyance of the Dodgers’ fans . AP Photo /Jesse Reid …. Courtesy of USA Today …

(3) (L to R) Baseball Commissioner Allan “Bud” Selig , New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg , Mets Chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon and New York Mets’ mascot Mr. Met attend a press conference at City Hall May 16, 2012 in New York. It was announced that at Citi-Field and New York Mets will host Major League Baseball’s 2013 All-Star Game . Getty Images North America /Allison Joyce ….

(4) Colorado Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario , left, waits for the throw from the outfield as San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence scores on a sacrifice fly hit by Joaquin Arias in the ninth inning of the Giants’ 8-3 victory in a baseball game in Denver on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. AP Photo/David Zalubowski ….

(5) Melky Cabrera (53) of the San Francisco Giants hits an RBI single driving in Ryan Theriot (5) in the fifth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at AT&T Park on July 1, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The Giants’ slugger will forgo the rest of the season having sit out a mandatory 50 game suspension for violating baseball’s banned substance policy . Getty Images Thearon Henderson …..

(6) Ryan Braun (8) of the Milwaukee Brewers prepares to bat against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 5, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Marc Serota / Getty Images …..

(7) HOUSTON,TX – SEPTEMBER 12: J.D. Martinez (14) of the Houston Astros reacts after striking out with bases loaded in the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Minute Maid Park on September 12, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Chicago won 5-1 . Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images …..

(8) Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow (R) and owner Jim Crane (left) chat during batting practice on opening day before the game against the Colorado Rockies at Minute Maid Park on April 6, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Jared Wickerham / Getty Images ….

(9) Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees hits an two-run double in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox during the game on September 11, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. September 10, 2012 – Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America ……

(10) Derek Jeter(2) of the New York Yankees walks off of the field with first base coach Mick Kelleher (50) and manager Joe Girardi (28) after injuring himself on a close play at first base against the Boston Red Sox during the game on September 12, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images …..

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Hot chic pic of the day Jordan Carver . As you like it , a simple quote of Shakespeare .

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Ooh la la ! Simple slice of heaven , that’s Jordan Carver ! Now go get some our your own .

Can’t get enough of Jordan? Click on the link provided for a more intense look at some sultry pictures of this delectable female ! Click here for more of Jordan Carver .

A Simple But Somehow Dangerous Mind …..

A Simple But Somehow Dangerous Mind …..

Perhaps no one should be surprised by this at all but NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens while recuperating from knee surgery has seen fit to proffer up some advice to Philadelphia Eagles’ player DeSean Jackson . The Eagles’ running back is in the midst of a contractual dispute with the organization but he has chosen not to become a holdout but herein lies the caveat with regard to the issue . Owens has stated that he believes the Eagles are demeaning Jackson by not meeting the player’s demands. For Terrell Owens , choosing to intercede in this matter simply stirs up emotions long held by the player who felt he was mistreated by the Philadelphia Eagles. If one recollects , the player had a short tenure with the team that made a Superbowl appearance eventually losing (SBXXXIX) to the New England Patriots in the league’s showcase event.

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Owens has always sought to be the center of attention and it certainly goes without saying even with his eponymous VH1 reality show entitled “The TO Show” . Now sorely missing that center stage and no doubt aggrieved that after last season the Cincinnati Bengals chose not to offer the retain the player for this season . The more Owens offers an opinion on any topic with regard to the NFL , the more of an ingrate he’s thought to be by the fans. And the player himself represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus , who still believes that a roster spot will open up for his client . Somehow , given the gravity of his injury , a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his right and the time needed to recuperate , it remains a remote possibility that Owens would simply be healthy enough to given be available for an NFL team in the need of a productive veteran wide receiver . Owens’ best years are indeed behind him and at this point of his career even though he craves that final bid to obtain that elusive Superbowl ring , one can’t help but feel that his last shot has gone !

From my own perspective I do believe that Terrell Owens simply cannot stand to be left out in the cold , standing on the sidelines watching many of his peers being productive. No longer considered to amongst the elite at the wide receivers in the league , albeit that the hunger is still there does anyone truly now believe that he has anything else left to offer ? It’s now time for Owens to take his show off the road hang up the cleats and perhaps do something else that gets him the attention he craves ! As to what that might be ……… who the hell knows or simply cares ?

Before the NFL season has even started the biggest story of the year has to be the very fact that Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback Peyton Manning while recuperating from neck surgery may well have undergo a further operation that could very well put the player out for team’s lineup for at least three months . Hardly the situation envisaged by the coaching staff or front office of the Colts’ organization with the loss of the four time league MVP .

The Indianapolis Colts have signed Kerry Collins to be the team’s starting quarterback and with good reason as neither of presumed backups to Peyton Manning have proven to at all productive during the Colts’ preseason schedule . Curtis Painter if anything, has proven that he’s simply not yet ready for the rigors of the NFL or to be viewed as the heir apparent to Manning.

With the loss of Peyton Manning, this now throws the AFC South wide open as to the aspirations for the teams within that division. Certainly the Jacksonville Jaguars , Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans all now feel that they can vie for supremacy and usurp the Colts as the division’s new champion this upcoming season . A loss of this magnitude for the Indianapolis Colts cannot simply be quantified but if you really want to deem a player’s value to a team then look no further than what Manning has meant to this team since he entered the NFL . His record start of 227 consecutive games apart from being a four time league MVP and the active leader in TD’s thrown (399) and yardage amassed ( 54,828) and you can well understand his value to this organization. For team owner Jim Irsay and GM Bill Polian this has to be gut wrenching for both executives but no more so than what it must now mean to the
beleaguered Colts’ fans.

One could subscribe to the fact that with all the talk of the rookie quarterbacks taken in the NFL Draft there’s bound to be talk what we should expect from these players this upcoming season . We may well get to learn a great deal about the aspiration of Cam Newton , Andy Dalton , Blaine Gabbert , Christian Ponder and Terrelle Pryor as they seek to make a name for themselves in the NFL .

I don’t know about you , but I feel that of all the federal government agencies within President Barack Obama’s administration have shown clear ineptitude but it has been the sheer idiocy shown by the Justice Department overseen by Attorney General Eric Holder that has me perturbed ! His office presented the government’s case against Barry Bonds that over its elongated time-frame swallowed up some $25 million of taxpayers’ money , countless hours of investigative man-hours all to prove that the player committed perjury and was found guilty in the obstruction of justice . Pardon for saying this , but when the government can burn through $25 million like it’s “Monopoly money” it begs the question ……. what type of idiots are there now seated within highest positions of power not just within this administration but also within the Senate and House of Representatives ?

Having been found guilty and then seeking a US Federal Appellate Court ruling to overturn to his verdict which was denied and Barry Bonds now awaits sentencing by the judge who presided over his case. That phase will take place early next year but it is felt that the player may not face any jail time but he could well be placed on probation .

At what point did Roger Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin deem it appropriate for one of his subordinates to confer with the jurors after the player’s trial , that ended with the judge declaring a mistrial ? It has come to our attention that although reasons behind the judge’s decision stemmed from a US Attorney discussing the case with a congress member on camera , we are now finding out that upon that judicial verdict a an defense attorney/ investigator , part of Hardin’s defense team saw fit to question a juror to discern their thoughts on whether or not they thought Clemens guilty of the charges he faced . Amongst the litany of charges faced by the seven time Cy Young winner faced were the obstruction of justice , perjury in lying to a congress member having been sworn under oath to be tell the truth.

The judicial facade of the Clemens’ case has rested upon the player’s staunch belief that he has done nothing wrong . But with the sworn testimony given to the House Oversight Committee by Roger Clemens as well his former teammate Andy Pettite and personal trainer Brian McNamee —— questions still abound as to the player’s veracity and his claims that both McNamee and Pettite have misconstrued his statements. Brian McNamee whose own integrity and character has come into question and his own claims that he supplied his then client as a personal trainer with steroids including HGH as well as numerous prohibitive substances. That asides , this idiotic episode seems to be far from over as countless thousand of dollars of taxpayers’ money will be wasted on a judicial procedure that has made a mockery of the system which has shown the public that ……… justice as we know it , is not equitable for all !

Though I have felt all along had the hierarchy of Major League Baseball (MLB) had the backbone to stand up to the MLBPA (union) we would not be at a point where we still question the integrity of the game itself and the ongoing accomplishments of the players. Instead we’re now having to listen to Commissioner Bud Selig talk about his initiative in seeking divisional realignment and adding to the premise of the playoff system with two extra teams per league for the wildcard berths . At this point , I would like to pose the question to the commissioner at what point will he pull his finger out of his own ass and address the real issues that the game faces in terms of the teams’ financial stability ? Somehow , I don’t believe that Bud Selig or any senior league executive within the MLB head office would be willing to provide us all with the answers we seek .

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Do you have any thoughts on the points raised within this piece ? By all means do take the time to leave a comment on these and any other that you may well are pertinent to the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) Terrell Owens (81) of the Cincinnati Bengals walks off of the field following the Bengals 23-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 23-17 . Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …….

(2) DeSean Jackson (10) of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up before playing against the Baltimore Ravens during their pre season game on August 11, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …

(3) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 26: Peyton Manning (L) and Kerry Collins #5 of the Indianapolis Colts look on during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(4) Baseball pitching star Roger Clemens put on his jacket as he arrives at the U.S. District Court, on August 30, 2010 in Washington, DC. Clemens was charged with making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified in a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee on his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. Getty Images / Mark Wilson …..

(5) Baseball pitching star Roger Clemens (R), walks with his attorney Rusty Hardin (L) as he arrives at the U.S. District Court for the start of his perjury trial July 12, 2011 in Washington, DC. Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Clemens is on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified in a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs. The proceedings itself would become null and void after the judge declared a mistrial . Getty Images North America / Mark Wilson …….

(6) Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (4th L) leaves the U.S. District Court after the judge declared a mistrial, on July 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. The judge presiding over Clemens’ perjury trial declared a mistrial over statements introduced to the jury by the prosecutor that were not suppose to be heard. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified about steroid use during a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs . Getty Images / Mark Wilson ……….
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Take Two …………. Say What ?

Take Two …………. Say What ?

Former NFL running back Robert Smith who’s now a college game day analyst for ESPN on the network’s show College Game Day was discussing the improprieties surrounding his alma-mater Ohio State . A running back for four years with the school the player excelled with the program before becoming a highly prized and productive player in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings .Now to my mind if there’s anyone who could provide the public with inner workings of that program then it would be Robert Smith . A highly intelligent individual who if he hadn’t become a player in the NFL I have no doubt that he would have become a medical professional , as the player studied medicine at Ohio State with a view to becoming a pediatrician specializing in neo natal medicine.

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Smith in his analysis suggested that as the NCAA is in effect powerless and has no legal powers to to negate the actions of the schools or players and that perhaps the best thing to do would be for the Federal government to be involved with the IRS being given additional powers to investigate any wrong doing where there is monetary gain that’s not reported as income by any students athletes at the collegiate level. He further suggested that state agencies as such could not be truly thought to be impartial in such an endeavor as there would most certainly be a conflict of interest were they placed in a position where they would have to conduct an investigation into a state ran university. Though I don’t fully agree with Smith’s premise I do fully understand that he too like many other fans of collegiate athletics are completely angered and dissatisfied with the malfeasance that is now rampant within collegiate athletics , seemingly at all levels. You have the ongoing situation with Ohio State itself , wherein the actions of Jim Tressel are merely written off as a mere child being caught with his hands in the cookie jar and the punishment exacted upon him by AD Gene Smith at the insistence of university President Dr E Gordon Gee comes across as nothing more than a slap on the wrist .

Another player on the 2010 team is wide receiver Ray Small who in a recent interview went so far as to suggest that a number of Buckeye players had been selling memorabilia and that the coaching staff were fully aware of their actions. However , Small would recant the statement saying that his statement had been in fact been misconstrued by the journalist conducting the interview. Small would state that he and no one else that he knew of had in fact sold their memorabilia for financial gain. I can well understand the change in the player’s statement after his statements had been reported in the college’s own in-house news publication , much to the annoyance of his former teammates . Smalls we would later be advised had failed a drug test and was thrown off the team in late 2010 causing him to make a none appearance in the Buckeyes’ postseason. Insomuch as this is nothing new, what we are finding out is the very fact that the actions of Small is very much widespread. The player himself stated that he knew his actions contravened NCAA rules but he simply didn’t care . And should anyone be surprised by the player’s claims at this juncture ?

My own view is that any form of intervention by the government never serves a real purpose merely because the government cannot be trusted to act with any expediency let alone with any real sign of competence. Be it the Justice Department , IRS or for that matter any a governmental committee which in this could be either the House Oversight Committee or Senate Judiciary Committee . The idiocy of this all however may well be a statement attributed to Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe who suggests that the NCAA and the schools can adequately police themselves but the real problems stems from the actions of sports agents , boosters and other outside influences. Unfortunately Beebe completely ignores the actions of Tressel and the lies he told not only to the faculty but also to journalists and members of the public. And for certain ESPN analysts to suggest that Jim Tressel is still a man of honesty and integrity is akin to suggesting that the late Osama bin Laden would somehow seek a peaceful resolution in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Jim Tressel is no more a man of integrity or honesty as his most actions all along have belied those statements . Tressel’s less than contrite apology and the idiocy of both Smith and Gee in not firing the coach smacks of their own and innate stupidity ! If anything, their actions have been simply about greed and the very fact that because of the financial gain because of the countless million brought into the football program by Tressel because of his notoriety over the course of his tenure and the team’s success derived thereof.

The chances are that we will never see any of the suggestions made by Smith could ever come to fruition merely because both the NCAA , BCS and major college conferences would rather keep the status quo as is !

Am I mistaken here in thinking that the unfortunate injury suffered by San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey in a collision with the Florida Marlins Scott Cousins during the game in which the Marlins would defeat the Giants 7-6 . That in ofitself isn’t the real story but the real issue is now the number of fans who are now stating that they feel that baseball’s hierarchy should be doing more to protect its catchers . Well considering that MLB simply has never done enough to protect the players in lieu of the steroid era . I mean, who here is of the opinion that during that period in which Commissioner Bud Selig the MLBPA knew of the inherent dangers from the abuse of steroids and the health concerns in the aftermath of its abuse . Cardiac problems , neurological disorders and the obvious harm to the reproductive system but somehow this isn’t something that the league hierarchy , union or the team owners would actually care to address. And we now have idiotic fans wanting to protect a catcher because of the inherent dangers posed to him during a game ? Granted the injury to Posey , a broken leg and the fact that he will be lost the team for the rest of the Giants’ season . But there are far more grave dangers that the players face during a game beyond a home plate collision . Anyone yet within baseball’s hierarchy care to address those issues as of yet ? I guess not !

The San Francisco Giants are on a three game losing streak and are 5-5 in their last 10 games but lead the NL West by two games over the Arizona Diamondbacks (25-24). Now it goes without saying that the loss of Posey to the Giants will be a tremendous to this team as he provides a great deal of offense . Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff will most certainly be looking to boost the moral of the team with the loss of their All Star catcher . Curiously enough with the loss of Posey I do feel that the Giants are still capable of winning their division but at the same time it will come down to how prepared they are in terms of their mindset.

The likes of Aubrey Huff and Aaron Rowand as seasoned veterans on the Giants will now have to assume the mantel of being the leaders for this team if they are to really fare well over the course of the season. If they can show the leadership which I believe that they can , then they they can claim the division outright . I certainly don’t believe that the wildcard entrant will come from the NL West or NL Central for that matter ! That scenario more likely than not will arise from the competitiveness within the NL East . That division with teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies viewed as the presumptive winners of the NL pennant as well as the division will be in a tight race with the Florida Marlins and Atlanta Braves is liable to become highly contested three horse race. At present a mere 3 1/2 games separate those three teams atop of the division with the Phillies (31-19) holding a one game lead over the Marlins with the Braves in third place .

The month of June could very tell determine how these teams will fare. It promises to be a very exciting nonetheless.

On much more somber note I found it heartwarming to read that former Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds has made a magnanimous gesture in stating that he’s prepared to meet all future expenses in the education of Giants’ fan Brian Stow’s children. If you remember Stow was the victim of a heinous assault by three assailants at Dodgers Stadium in a game earlier this season between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants . One assailant is now in custody and the LAPD through Police Chief Charlie Beck
has asked for the public’s assistance with any information that will lead to the apprehension of the remaining suspecrs in this ongoing investigation. The three remaining suspects , two men and a female are believed to be of Hispanic origin. The suspect in custody is a known felon to the LAPD who also happens to be a member of one of the most prominent Hispanic gangs within the city of Los Angeles . Giorgio Ramirez a convicted felon has a long and varied arrest record . I’ve no doubt that the city Los Angeles DA’s office will prosecute those responsible to the full extent of the law given the viciousness and barbarity of this crime .

Hopefully, this will be something of a wake up call to the league hierarchy , the team owners and in particular the fans . This sort of violence cannot be tolerated under any circumstance but that in ofitself might not be enough to deter a repeat action of this magnitude. The victim’s family has filed a lawsuit against the Dodgers’ organization seeking compensatory and punitive damages in light of the assault on Brian Stow. As to what course such a legal matter may well take remains to be seen given the present circumstances of the Dodgers and their financial well being. There are some fans in the game who feel that it would be in the team’s best interest to settle the matter out of court rather than there being a trial but as I alluded to earlier we can only speculate as to the outcome of this matter for now .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this matter as you would deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) ESPN College Football analyst Robert Smith seated right discusses the Big 12 with his co-host. ESPN/ABC …..copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

(2) University President E Gordon Gee, Jim Tressel (center) and AD Gene Smith (right) on the podium as they address and take questions from the convened press . It is now being reported that the once embattled coach has since resigned his position as coach of Buckeyes’ football team . AP Photo/Gene J Puskar ….

(3) Former Buckeyes’ wide receiver Ray Small discusses his own improprieties as a players with Ohio State . His interview with ESPN was conducted in conjunction with the network’s magazine program Outside The Lines . Small offered plenty of evidence of misdeeds but would not openly name names as to the cast of characters involved. However in light of an earlier interview given to a school campus journalist it’s hard to know what is in fact the truth and where the lies come into play. courtesy of ABC/ESPN …..

(4) Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe whose opinion it is that the NCAA and major conferences are quite capable of policing themselves without any outside intervention by the federal government or state governmental agency. Somehow Beebe has overlooked the actions Tressel and that of senior executives of the Fiesta Bowl . Political donations that have contravened state federal laws as well as in some cases payments made to a numerous escort agencies that were found to be the committee’s way of payment for the hiring of prostitutes allegedly for entertainment purposes. AP Photo/Chris Carlsson …..

(5) Florida Marlins’ Scott Cousins, top, collides with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) on a fly ball from Emilio Bonifacio during the 12th inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Cousins was safe for the go ahead run and Florida won 7-6. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ….

(6) San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) is carried off the field after a collision with Florida Marlins’ Scott Cousins during the 12th inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Cousins scored the go-ahead run on the play as Florida won 7-6. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ……….

(7) Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks (23) leaps overt San Francisco Giants’ Pat Burrell (5) to turn a double play on a ball hit by Cody Ross during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Milwaukee. AP Photo/Morry Gash …

(8) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Milwaukee. AP Photo/Morry Gash ….. ……….

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A Year In Review , Hits And Misses In Sports Thus Far …………….

Well as 2009 comes to a close , I can’t say that I haven’t been surprised by a number of story and plot lines that’s taken place throughout the year. Put your hands up , if you’d envisaged Tiger Woods being part of some ‘sordid sexual’ intrigue ? Not with just one woman but a ‘baker’s dozen, as in thirteen ? Screw that, Tiger was ‘hittin’ more tail’ off the PGA Tour than he’d been hitting divots on the golf course, throughout much of the Tour’s regular season. Noted, he has been voted AP Athlete of The Decade. No pun intended there ! But he laid more cable than the usual installers for my local cable operated affiliate here in Polk County, Florida.

Chicago , Ill, December 28th, 2009. Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Mark Anderson (#97) of the Chicago Bears as Phil Loadholt (#71) holds Anderson to the ground at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 36-30 in overtime. picture appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ....
Chicago , Ill, December 28th, 2009. Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Mark Anderson (#97) of the Chicago Bears as Phil Loadholt (#71) holds Anderson to the ground at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 36-30 in overtime. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ....

So are you still buying into the fact that Brett Favre can lead the Minnesota Vikings to the promised land of a Superbowl win ? Watching this team succumb to the lowly Chicago Bears last night, was enough to suggest to me that this has been more about hype than anything substantive to begin with. And less we forget, it has been those merry band of idiots within CBS Sports, ESPN and Foxsports that have been leading the charge about Favre. And no doubt those devoted Brett Favre fans have been buying into all of this, as they’ve succumbed to Brett’s wily charms ? Much like Rasputin, Favre is as evil , as he can sometimes look. And perhaps even more so, when he’s not getting his own way like some whining prissy little kid. He talks about being a teammate but I’ve yet to hear one of his former or present teammates actually come out and support the guy wholeheartedly. Am I wrong here , or not ?

In the NBA can we all finally agree , that it’s Kobe’s world and until LeBron James actually wins something of note , other than another endorsement contract. He will continue to play ‘second fiddle’ to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Now with Shaquille O’Neal at his side as a new-found teammate. We’ll see if once again LeBron can get to those lofty heights and actually win an NBA title. Who can forget his infantile and somewhat petulant behavior after the Cavaliers were swept out of the Eastern Conference semi-finals of last season , by the Orlando Magic. Now he equates it with being a momentary lapse and the fact that the team lost. Suck it up you wuss and act like an honorable sportsman but above all, like a man ! You say you want to be a role model to kids but this is how you act ? Is it me but why is that when an athlete falls foul of his own actions , they look to allay that act elsewhere by looking to apportion blame upon someone else ? If you can think of an answer why ,then all by all means leave a comment concerning that very matter.

The Los Angeles Lakers showcase their style in beating the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Game 5 of the NBA Final in 2009.

With the Lakers handily beating the Magic in the best of seven game series 4-1,thereby allowing the Los Angeles Lakers to lift their fifteenth NBA title and Phil Jackson his tenth, as a coach. We can all agree that last season was simply all about the Los Angeles Lakers . Every other NBA story had to be punctuated with a comma. It wasn’t that there weren’t other noteworthy stories throughout the season. But once it became clear that the Lakers would make the NBA Finals. It essentially became about whether or not Kobe would finally win a title without Shaq in tow. Now we know that he can and did, he’s out to prove to us that the team can defend its title successfully. And you’d be hard pressed at this juncture to think that they’re not capable of achieving that feat. Given the fact that they’re now playing as good as any time over the past eighteen months. And Bryant along with Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum are as hungry as ever. The rest of the NBA is on notice, that until you take down the champion , it’s his courtyard that you’re playing in. So whoever is good enough to step up to the plate and do battle , step forward.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has showed us once again that even though the economy is being ravaged. It still lives in its own small little world of make belief. Commissioner Bud Selig tells us that the sky is blue when it in fact there is a thunderous rainstorm, then we’re meant to believe him. I mean he’s the ‘commish’ and what he says, goes. Selig and his former counterpart , Donald Fehr of the MLBPA (Players’ Union)have seen the game slip into the depths of an abyss and without there now being any integrity to the game. It still carries with it that tarnished image and the very fact that two of the game’s most high profiled stars were embroiled in a steroid abuse scandal , only goes to show that there’s still a tremendously long way before there’s some semblance of respectability is brought back to the game. Both Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez now joins the likes of Roger Clemens , Rafeal Palmeiro , Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as being looked upon as ‘cheaters’- never mind a ‘steroid abuser’. But the biggest domino yet to fall , is that of Barry Bonds, whose own saga is being played out within the justice system at the taxpayers’ expense.

But it’d be remiss to think that the ‘steroid issue’ is the only inherent problem that the game now faces. There is the financial stability of the game itself. And the ever widening gap between the haves and have nots of the game. And far be it for me to suggest to Bud Selig that he ought to take his thumb out of his ass and deal those two issues. But it has reached a point where not only is the game’s hierarchy content with this mess but so too, are the players and the owners. And we all know that in the end, it’ll be the fans who’ll end up having to pay for the mess to begin with. If they’re (MLB) not raising the prices of general admission and season tickets. You can bet that the price of the concessions ,parking and memorabilia will rise faster than the rate of inflation.

New York Yankees C.C. Sabathia, left, Alex Rodriguez, second from left, Curtis Granderson, second from right, and manager Joe Girardi attend a press conference at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009, where Granderson was introduced as the newest Yankees player.
New York Yankees C.C. Sabathia, left, Alex Rodriguez, second from left, Curtis Granderson, second from right, and manager Joe Girardi attend a press conference at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009, where Granderson was introduced as the newest Yankees player. picture appears courtewsy od ap/photo/ Seth Wenig ...............

And less we forget, the ever power hungry agents out there will be looking to do their part to make sure that the escalating salaries within the game continues. None more so than the man deemed to be the main culprit behind so much of the escalation in the salaries and that’s none other than Scott Boras. His mendacity and the maneuvers he’s been able to pull off with the complete gullibility of the owners and general managers, gives you the indication that they believe that they’re playing with ‘Monopoly money’ , rather than cold hard cash. And why not , like I said, it’ll be the fans who in the end will pay for those increases. It’s not as if the revenues attained within the game is being equally spread amongst the teams within major league baseball, to begin with. But for all of the image set forth I’ve yet to hear anyone really question the financial plight of the game. Not even such esteemed baseball writers such as Buster Olney or Peter Gammons. Another reason why you can’t take those individuals at their word when it comes to providing any real analysis concerning the health of the game. As they’d rather deal in platitudes and fairy tales.

The season itself was one of excellence wherein we saw once again that the best player the game doesn’t happen to wear the pinstripes of the New York Yankees and whose name happens to be Alex Rodriguez. The person in question, who for all sense and purpose has the fans of the game in awe, is none other than St Louis Cardinals ,first baseman, Albert Pujols. And for the third time in five seasons he was named the NL MVP (2005,2008,2009) . And deservedly so, considering that the dominance that he’s shown within the game. In the AL the recipient there was the Minnesota Twins’ catcher , Joe Mauer. Another model of consistency over the last five years.

The World Series itself, would pit the best in the AL, the New York Yankees against last season’s winners, the Philadelphia Phillies. Two contrasting teams that are only separated by their mindsets as it comes to the game. The Yankees known for their lavish spending in acquiring the best talent that money can buy. Often reviled by the fans solely on this one issue. The Phillies for their part are viewed as the dominant team in the National League. And they’ve been that model of consistency over the last four years. However, this was a series wherein the Yankees were seeking redemption and the chance place themselves back at the top of the baseball world. And for the likes of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. This was the chance to win their fifth World Series together as teammates. The triumvirate being the sole remnants left from that dominant dynasty of the mid to late nineties.

The series itself , would see the Yankees dominance rise to the occasion, with them winning the World Series in six games (4-2) over the Philadelphia Phillies. The heroics however, would be that of Yankees’ slugger and DH , Hideki Matsui, who was named series MVP. And for the New York Yankees’ fans this was a reason to rejoice , as they raised their twenty seventh World Series title. No doubt the fans in the ‘Red Sox Nation’ can’t wait to take a bite out of the ‘Evil Empire’ . And so too no doubt will the rest of major league baseball.

Vitali (left) and Wladimir  Klitschko   of the  Ukraine.   At  present   the  two  brothers   hold  three  of   the  four  major  recognized  heavyweight  title  belts  between  them.     picture appears  courtesy  of  theindependent.uk.co/ Ian  McGregor  ................
Vitali (left) and Wladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine. At present the two brothers hold three of the four major recognized heavyweight title belts between them. picture appears courtesy of theindependent.uk.co/ Ian McGregor ................

What haven’t I said about the state of professional boxing , that I’ve continued to state repeatedly ? It has become ‘a complete farce’ at the heavyweight level ! Wherein, the two best fighters in the category refuse to fight each other , because of a promise given to their mother. Well, that’s what we’ve been told by the respective holders of the recognized belts in , Wladimir Klitschko (IBF,IBO,WBO)and his brother , Vitali Klitschko (WBC). Granted, a promise given to one’s mother is better than no promise at all. But these two brothers were they to fight and create an undisputed champion within the division. Then it would bring back some credence to the sport as well as the division. Not only that but it’d actually create a certain degree of interest within the heavyweight division. Nowadays, watching two boxers within the division fight one another is akin to watching the Animal Planet and seeing a male and female rhinoceros contemplating the mating ritual. It begins to get somewhat hazardous and downright scary for you to watch. They’re looking somewhat cumbersome and at the same time you may well find the act itself, somewhat gross ? Not unlike the vast majority of the heavyweight boxers now with the aspirations of winning the heavyweight championship. And that would also include the various holders of the belts in question. There isn’t that much talent in the division to begin with. But yet the idiots such as Larry Merchant , Joe Tessitore, Teddy Atlas and Jim Lampley claim that there is. Who knew that idiots such as this were paid to offer such asinine comments ? Even Stevie Wonder can tell the difference between a tomato can and ‘a bum’. Whereas, these assholes couldn’t tell you the difference between sh_t and shinola ! Yeah, I said and I damn well mean it , ’cause it’s true.

A male and female rhinoceros mating. It somewhat resembles the farce of witnessing the heavyweight boxing scene at present, wouldn’t you say ?

And unfortunately at the lower levels within boxing , things are decidedly taking a nasty turn for the worse. The so called ‘superfight’ match-up envisaged between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao for the welterweight title, is now looking more like a distant dream, instead of becoming a reality. The acrimony between the Mayweather camp and Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, has become an all-out battle of words, insults and barbs being traded between the two sides. What this actually does for boxing and its image, is about as welcoming as seeing Rosie O’Donnell dressed in nothing but a thong and getting ready to engage in a sexual act. You don’t want to watch but at the same time you’re still enlightened as to what you’ll anticipate that you’re going to see happen ? Pardon me here guys, but Rosie engaging in a sexual act ain’t my cup of tea , nor should it be yours !

Floyd Mayweather Jr. smiles in the ring during his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena September 19, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by unanimous decision.   Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP (Photo credit should read Ethan Miller/AFP/Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. smiles in the ring during his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena September 19, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by unanimous decision. picture appears courtesy of AFP/Getty Images/ Ethan Miller ..........

The other divisions within the sport have their aspirants but none whereby the public would immediately recognize them as being a household name. When one considers that the three dominant promoters within the sport here in the United States are all claiming to bring back respectability to the sport. You have to wonder what steps were being taken by Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions Inc., Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc, and Don King of Don King Promotions Inc.. Last I checked, not one of these guys could be viewed as pillars of the boxing community and bastions for upholding the integrity of the sport. But this indeed the price that one has to pay when the organizations that govern the sport internationally have become an alphabet soup group of bodies, who’ve no one’s best interests but their own when it comes to the custodianship of the sport. Never mind the fact, that they’re induced to carry on with this type of behavior by the very promoters who say that they want the sport to remain competitive and of interest to its most ardent of fans. Those words are beginning to ring ever so hollow at present !

And I’d have something to say about NASCAR and the NHL but the words that come to mind aren’t used to characterize the niceties of both sports. Suffice to say , that while there are fans of both sports out there. I am most definitely not one of them ! There isn’t anything at all that I find either alluring or engrossing about both of these sports. I’ll may well give them a passing glance but when it’s all said and done. It just doesn’t float my boat !

NB: All pictures appears courtesy of either AFP, AP/Photo and Getty Images, respectively