One step forward , two steps back ….

–While the NFL world continues to show its idiocy , the sheer bewilderment and utter stupidity of sports’ fans over the stance taken by San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to stand for the national anthem. When one considers the fact many of Kaepernick’s detractors are basing their criticism not only on race , but also their belief the player is a self-absorbed narcissist , speaks volumes as to the impasse which now can be seen in the nation along racial lines in large part, but also among the African-American race , questioning the player’s loyalties. Criticism has also come from current and former NFL players and also from within the political arena. Yet, those with their criticisms somehow seem to have forgotten athletes such as Muhammad Ali , Jim Brown , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Althea Gibson , Jackie Robinson , Bill Russell , Dave Bing , Arthur Ashe , Jack Johnson and several other prominent activists , who also happened to be athletes , questioning the direction of the country as to the ongoing social injustices taking place. Throughout history , athletes have questioned the social ills of this country , but it would appear , given the continued racial divide , its felt better that they be seen and not heard, especially if they just happen to be a minority.

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This story still rages on and somehow, no one questions he behavior of Maine Governor Paul LePage his calling for a race war and the gassing of the Democratic members of his state legislature . Somehow this type of behavior can be overlooked by a leading state executive , but the moment an athlete does something not deemed befitting within his normal parameters he will be questioned as to his loyalty and patriotism. One can consider the sheer and utter stupidity also of former New England Patriots’ safety Rodney Harrison and his claims of Colin Kaepernick not knowing what it is like to be growing up as a young black man in America , but his being from a white privileged background. Unfortunately, this was something of a rather asinine statement from the retired veteran , who had he chosen to do some research into Kaepernick’s background , he would find that the quarterback had been born of a white mother , African-American father and was placed into the adoption system at an early age , because of the criminal activities of both parents. The player would be adopted by a Caucasian family and raised as their own, without his ever being denied his racial ethnicity by his adoptive parents . Harrison has since apologized for his statements and with good reason.

With the beginning of the 2016 NFL regular season less than forty-eight hours away, teams are now settling themselves in for the onslaught for a long and arduous season. Chip Kelly has made the decision to install Blaine Gabbert as the starting quarterback for the team and while the speculation remains Colin Kaepernick will likely be traded or his career in the NFL coming to an abrupt end. I have to question whether or not Kelly will reconsider his position should the team start to lose with alarming regularity to begin their schedule ? Outside pressure is also being brought to bear on the current situation befalling Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers with the Santa Clara Police Department stating they are not prepared to provide safety and security protection for the public for any games at Levi Stadium , home to the Forty-Niners , if the player is in the team lineup . One also has to wonder at this juncture, if the San ta Clara Police Department would be still willing to continue their strike action after it was revealed the Niners’ fullback Bruce Miller attacked a seventy-year old man in a vicious assault. Miller has since been released by the organization

Chip Kelly and his coaching staff will prepare the San Francisco 49ers for the opening game of their regular season schedule when they face the Los Angeles Rams . Blaine Gabbert might well have done enough to convince Kelly he is ready for this game , but Gabbert’s track record in the league is far from desirable . . From my own perspective , I believe the Forty-Niners are likely to struggle this season as I have no confidence in Chip Kelly as a head coach . It was an act of desperation on the part of Trent Baalke and CEO Jed York to hire the embattled head coach after his failures in Philadelphia with the Philadelphia Eagles .

The NFL season will likely be filled with controversy throughout much of its schedule and to my mind given the premise , this league loves controversy and willingly courts it with as avarice as one would expect of a sports’ entity built solely as a profit making behemoth .

In what will be his final year of an already Hall of Fame worthy career Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz will be hoping to leave the game of baseball on a high. Ortiz and the Red Sox are in the midst of a very tight AL wildcard race where absolutely nothing can now be left to chance , with there still be so much left on the line . John Farrell and his managerial staff will prepare the team for their scheduled game on Tuesday afternoon when they face the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park in San Diego , California .

The Boston Red Sox will be looking to make inroads into the divisional lead of the Toronto Blue Jays within the AL East . David Ortiz has been lucky enough to lead a very good Red Sox team which has seen many of their younger players stepping up to the plate. Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr have been ever-present with their play, while Rick Porcello leads the league in wins among starting pitchers in the Majors . Boston could prove to be among the most dangerous teams in the playoff hunt given their recent play , but a great deal of that will now be predicated upon the performances seen over the remainder of their regular season schedule in the month of September. David Ortiz for his part has been showing the form which has made him one of the most feared sluggers in all of baseball over the past ten years . Ortiz is considered to be among the front-runners for the AL MVP Award , an individual award the seasoned veteran has never won. Should the Boston Red Sox make the postseason , then I expect the team to hit a rich vein of form and be among the most competitive of the AL teams. Fans of the game know quite clearly what David Ortiz is capable of doing when he’s playing at the top of his form . As he leads , so the rest (teammates) will follow.

The Chicago Cubs are slowly making g believers out of everyone and that gratitude has to be placed firmly upon the shoulders of team manager Joe Maddon and his managerial staff . Maddon has seen his team run away with the NL Central division, having already secured their place in the postseason.Yet , the goal appears to be with the team , win out and win convincingly over their opponents as they round out their regular season schedule. On Tuesday night the Chicago Cubs were matched up against the Milwaukee Brewers in a game being played at Miller Park , in Milwaukee , Wisconsin. The two most impressive players on the Cubs’ roster this season have been Kris Bryant and Jake Arrieta , but a solid mention should also be given to Jon Lester who has been stellar as the number two starter on Chicago’s pitching rotation .

Joe Maddon and his team will renew their ongoing series with the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday afternoon looking to further increase their lead over a divisional rival. A one-hundred win season doesn’t appear to be beyond the Chicago Cubs , with the ball-club having already notched eighty-nine wins to their credit , with only twenty-four games left on the remainder of their schedule. As recently as 2008 and then again in 2015 , the Cubs came close to achieving that mark only to end up with ninety-seven victories in each of those seasons and also making the postseason . This year the ball-club will be hoping to make it to the Holy Grail with an appearance in the World Series itself and they will be looking to atone for the years of mediocrity since their last appearance in the ‘Fall Classic’. The Chicago Cubs’ highest pinnacle in the game came in 1908 when they claimed the World Series , with a series’ victory over the Detroit Tigers .

Prospects , prospects and even more prospects . At this time of the year with teams failing their passing grades , it becomes the time of the call-ups from the Minor Leagues and into the Majors. All of a sudden after several years of misspending and this season with there being a lack productivity from their offense, the New York Yankees have taken it upon themselves to flip the script and see what their youngsters can provide for this team. From my own perspective , I feel that both Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman have shown little faith in the farm system of the Yankees. Granted , this season , Luis Severino has stepped up to the plate as one of the few bright spots on the team alongside Masahiro Tanaka , Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez . There can be little doubt the New York Yankees are a long way off from where they need to be , in spite of the claims of Girardi the team is still in with a chance of making the postseason. Should they make it , then it will be a short-lived appearance during the early rounds.

Currently 3 ½ games out of a wildcard berth , the New York Yankees would have to pray the five teams ahead of them in the wildcard standings, will have an absolute meltdown over the next three weeks. Of late the Yankees have been playing above average ball, going 6-4 over their last ten games .

Joe Girardi seems extremely optimistic , but I do believe it is the only approach he can take for this team to the postseason, given the resounding disappointment they have been . At the start of the season there was a great deal of hope surrounding the Yankees. Mark Teixiera was thought to be injury-free and Alex Rodriguez after a stellar 2015 , the feeling was both of these All Stars would be producing . Instead, for the better part of this season , Teixeira has been on the DL , while Rodriquez has simply whiffed at everything sent his way over the strike zone. It was not at all surprising the decision was made by front office to release Alex Rodriguez , bringing to an end one of the most controversial careers in baseball over the last decade. Mark Teixeira formally announced that this season would be his last in Major League Baseball and his leaving the game sooner than expected. One could understand the reason why Brian Cashman and members of the Steinbrenner family came to the decision , given the financial commitment to both of these veterans at the start of the season exceeded $40 million .

As the New York Yankees wind down the remaining games on their schedule for the month of September , it is easy to suggest this ball-club is now playing for a sense of pride and self-respect. On Wednesday evening the Yankees will be playing host to the Toronto Blue Jays in a game to be played at Yankee Stadium , in the Bronx, New York . Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays will be on the mound as the starting pitcher against a yet to be named opponent.

Is there anything that the Tampa Bay Rays are able to do competently other than to lose with alarming consistency ? Derek Shelton the team’s hitting instructor was fired and Chad Mottola was promoted from their Minor League System to succeed Shelton. I am not so sure what that will actually achieve for a team which has now lost their best player , Evan Longoria and the productivity he brings to the table for the Rays. Pitcher Chris Archer has only shown fleeting moments of brilliance and somehow in one of the more asinine moves of the season GM Matt Silverman traded Matt Moore to the San Francisco Giants and in the aftermath of the deal, he made the announcement the team was better for the trade , with the acquisition of the players brought in to facilitate the transaction . I have to wonder at the direction this ball-club believes it is heading in , never-mind the ongoing issue of seeking a new stadium , which will come at the taxpayers’ expense.

Kevin Cash and the Rays’ managerial staff have a team which is deeply devoid of talent on many levels . A last place finish within the AL East appears to be on the cards along with possibly the worst record in the AL . Something of which seems to be reminiscent of the old days when this franchise was regular seen as the “laughing stock” around the game of baseball under former owner Vince Naimoli and during the early years of the ownership under Stuart Sternberg . If there was any doubt as to how bad things have been going for the Tampa Bay Rays , then you only have to look at the team’s play over the course of the season their losses and the number of series won.

Kevin Cash and the managerial staff will be preparing the team for today’s game when the Tampa Bay Rays take to the field to face the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida . I expect the contest to follow the current and regular season series between the two teams , with the Rays once again falling to their divisional foe. From hereon-in whatever unfolds for the Tampa Bay Rays will be predicated upon the mindset of the team and managerial staff.


Picture gallery . There is an accompanying narrative to each frame . Simply click unto that picture to view.

While the idiot sports’ fans , general public and media continue to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick it does seem somewhat asinine they have no sense of history and the fact athletes in the past have questioned social injustices taking place throughout the nation’s history , specifically over the last six-plus decades. For a country which professes to take injustices and seeks to address them with reverence , it is becoming abundantly clear this is all nothing more than a fallacy .

As the regular season of baseball comes to a close which teams do you believe will have the most to prove and are likely to viewed as contenders for the World Series ?


Tophatal ….. 2016/09/07

NFL news

Week one of the NFL regular season schedule

MLB news

MLB schedule three days at a glance

MLB standings (divisional) and wildcard standings

Thanksgiving Is Just Around The Corner And What’s The NFL Going To Serve Up ? Not The Detroit Lions……Again

OK I get it , I really do ! Customs are very quaint traditions that one tends to abide by. As it breeds satisfaction and a sense if nothing else , normalcy. Well , try telling that to the NFL this year ,who’ll once again serve up mayhem by providing us with another dollop of the hapless Detroit Lions (1-6-0) on Thanksgiving Day. Now pardon me for saying this, as I’m not from around these parts – I’m English by birth by way of parentage from the Caribbean – Jamaica to be precise. But enough of that – what is it that the NFL and their schedulers are failing to realize by serving up the Lions to us on a silver platter ?

Rams Lions Football
A somewhat downtrodden Lions' coach Jim Schwartz looks up at the scoreboard at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions would go on to lose to the St Louis Rams 17-10 in the game picture appears courtesy of ap/photo / Carlos Osorio ...................

A somewhat downtrodden Lions’ coach , Jim Schwartz , looks up at the scoreboard at Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan. The Lions would go on to lose to the St Louis Rams 17-10 in the game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Carlos Osorio …..

It’s bad enough that as a team this roster is only slightly better than the team went (0-16) last season. Much to the ridicule of the entire league and the fans of the game up down the country. Never mind the fact that the team then became the staple of the late night talk show hosts. Who, if they weren’t lambasting Sen. John McCain (R-Az) or former Governor Sarah Palin (R-Ak). Then the Detroit Lions were deemed to be seen as appropriate cannon fodder also for the butt of their jokes. But like the losers of the Presidential elections of last year the Lions can hold their heads high with dignity. Albeit, at the humor of others. But now it has to be said that enough is enough ! The NFL seriously needs to look at the schedule as it gears around the holiday period and serve up the fans with the best games possible. I know that they feel it’s best to stick with tradition. But by my way of thinking, that’s very much akin to walking with the same old worn out pair shoes for the last five years knowing full well that you can afford to buy a brand new pair of shoes. It may well have felt snug when you first bought them . But over the course of time the heel goes , as does the sole or instep of the shoe. Now would it be right to suggest that the NFL is just being downright ignorant by choosing not to replace Lions with a far better game on the day ? Well I’ve leave that for you to decide. But as you can see from the title of this piece , I’m no fan of the Lions and this team at present.

Barry  Sanders  of  the  Detroit  Lions  seen  here  shredding  the  defense of   the  Green Bay  Packers  as  he   makes  his  towards  the  end-zone .    picture appears  courtesy    of   ap/photo/  David  Rasche   .....................

Former Lions’ running running back seen here shredding the defense of the Green Bay Packers , as he makes his way towards the end-zone. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/David Rasche ……

Well the season at its midway point, the Lions as usual are on the ground looking up at everyone else within the NFC North. Leading the way are the Brett Favre led Minnesota Vikings (7-1), followed by the Green Bay Packers (4-3) and the Chicago Bears (4-3). And for a team with aspirations of improving upon last year. What has taken place under this Jim Schwartz coached Lions is pretty much like watching the movie Titanic over and over again. You know that the script and storyline won’t change. After all the incident was based on fact. But in your heart of hearts you’re inclined to believe that providence will send the Lions some respite. And their overall fate will change. But alas once again you’d be wrong and so too are the NFL hierarchy if they’re of the belief that the Lions will be able to entertain the most errant or erstwhile fan of the NFL this Thanksgiving Day. In essence nothing could be further from the truth.

Once again you’ve guessed it, as is customary on Thanksgiving Day. We will be served up with the Detroit Lions playing the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field in Detroit, Thursday 26th November. I wonder what film will be televised on TNT or HBO for that matter ? It’ll be either that or something intimate with the girlfriend to pass the time away. Pardon the pun here ! But if push comes to shove, I guess , I’ll still have my Thanksgiving Day’s meal and then devote some time to my better half. It’s safe to say that digesting the turkey and washing it down with several glasses of alcohol will safely do the trick in having to avoid watching the Lions play. Mind you that’s not to say that the other game being served up on the day will be any the more enticing. Again the usual staple of the Dallas Cowboys . However , we’ll get to see them play their very first Thanksgiving Day’s game at Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington , Texas , against the always less than dependable Oakland Raiders. No clue as of yet, as to whether or not Raiders’ coach, Tom Cable will still be in a position of employment-given his proclivity for beating up on his ex-spouses or live in lover as the case maybe. A rather disturbing fact , which is just now coming to light concerning the embattled coach.

Rams Lions Football
Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith, right, avoids St. Louis Rams linebacker Paris Lenon to rush for a first down in the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009 in Detroit. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Duane Burleson ...............

Tradition being what it is , I do now believe that it’s time for the NFL hierarchy to plainly take a look at the scheduling of many of their games on Thanksgiving Day. Granted, there are those who’ve become accustomed to seeing both the Cowboys and Lions display their zeal on this festive period. But how much longer must the fans have to contend with the diatribe that’s served up by the Detroit Lions. It’s not as if the team has been relevant over the past decade at all. Heavens , one would have to go back to the days when their Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders held sway over the NFL . Who could forget his every jink or weave as he cut his way and carved up a defense almost at will ? When , I for one think of the Lions , that’s literally brings back memories for me and how great they once were. Especially Sanders, who if anything was right to walk away from the game when he did. He served this team with a great deal of distinction . Only to have it thrown in his face by an ownership that in no way shape or form tried to place a winning team around him.

Former Lions’ great Barry Sanders seen here in a montage , displaying his greatness as a player for the Detroit Lions .

The fans themselves felt betrayed by Sanders’ apparent decision to end his career so soon. But one could well understand Sanders’ situation. Had the Lions sought to trade him , it’d be hard to say that they’d be able to get something in return of equal value for a player of Sanders’ caliber. And if even if they’d built around a premise of obtaining several draft picks in exchange for the trade of Sanders. Who’s to say that those picks would’ve amounted to much ? Needless to say we’ll never know as the situation failed to arise. It’s at times like this I wonder as to the so called business acumen of certain members of the Ford family and in particular the current ownership regime. They’ve shown about as much common sense as a drunk exposing himself in public. And then that same individual act as if this was a normal form of behavior him. But the way some would have them tell it they’re quite well aware as to the underlying problems that the franchise faces.

Did it not occur to Bill Ford Jr. that after almost 6 1/2 years of mayhem and ridicule with Matt Millen at the helm of the franchise as the GM, that something urgent needed to be done ? Or my guess was, that he felt that Millen was still quite capable of pulling the proverbial rabbit out of his hat , if not his own ass ! The chances are that it was more likely than not, it was the latter . God knows even with Matt Millen now behind the desk performing as an NFL analyst for NBC. It’s hard to take anything seriously that he might have to say as it concerns the game in today’s NFL. His assessment in talent borders on the choices made in men by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor . Both of whom have seen better days behind them , rather than ahead of them.

It’ll always be debatable as to who the ‘greatest running back of all-time in the NFL should be. But I honestly believe that you’d have insert Barry Sanders in there, amongst the top 10 ever ! Alongside the names of such NFL legends as Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Jim Brown , O.J. Simpson , Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson . If you’re either in agreement or disagreement with the names mentioned . Then by all means do leave a comment expressing your thoughts on the topic for further discussion. As always your comments are more than welcomed and will be duly given a reply worthy in response !

So now as that fateful day approaches it’s easy to suggest that the NFL could somehow make a change in its scheduling and have another fixture in place, instead of the Lions taking on the Packers . I’d dare say that the majority of the NFL fans watching will want to be entertained. Rather than being put to sleep by seething-less, haphazard and underachieving Detroit Lions. But then again , things could be worse , a fight could break out at the family gathering on Thanksgiving Day . And then where would you be ? Need I ask ?

If there’s one thing I’m now definitely sure of at this juncture , it will be that I won’t be watching the Detroit Lions this Thanksgiving Day. There has to be far better uses for my time on the day. I’m now about to initiate and write a list of the things I could be doing. Needless to say , an act of the carnal kind is atop of the list ! What’s atop of yours, may I ask ?


Top 10 Running Backs in NFL history – statistically by yardage attained.

Rank[1] Player Seasons by team Total carries Total yards gained[2] Overall yards per
carry average[3] Year of induction into
Pro Football Hall of Fame
1 Emmitt Smith Dallas Cowboys (1990–2002)
Arizona Cardinals (2003–2004) 4,409 18,355 4.2 Not eligible[4]
2 Walter Payton Chicago Bears (1975–1987) 3,838 16,726 4.4 1993
3 Barry Sanders Detroit Lions (1989–1998) 3,062 15,269 5.0 2004
4 Curtis Martin New England Patriots (1995–1997)
New York Jets (1998–2006) 3,518 14,101 4.0 Not eligible[4]
5 Jerome Bettis Los Angeles Rams (1993–1995[5])
Pittsburgh Steelers (1996–2005) 3,479 13,662 3.9 Not eligible[4]
6 Eric Dickerson Los Angeles Rams (1983–1987[6])
Indianapolis Colts (1987–1991)
Los Angeles Raiders (1992)
Atlanta Falcons (1993) 2,996 13,259 4.4 1999
7 Tony Dorsett Dallas Cowboys (1977–1987)
Denver Broncos (1988) 2,936 12,739 4.3 1994
8 Jim Brown Cleveland Browns (1957–1965) 2,359 12,312 5.2 1971
9 Marshall Faulk Indianapolis Colts (1994–1998)
St. Louis Rams (1999–2005) 2,836 12,279 4.3 Not eligible[4]
10 Edgerrin James Indianapolis Colts (1999–2005)
Arizona Cardinals (2006– 2008)
Seattle Seahawks (2009–present) 3,028 12,246 4.0 Not eligible[4]


Top 10 Running backs in NFL history statistically-by touchdowns

Rank[1] Player Seasons by team Total rushing
touchdowns[2] Year of induction into
Pro Football Hall of Fame
1 Emmitt Smith Dallas Cowboys (1990–2002)
Arizona Cardinals (2003–2004) 164 Not applicable[3]
2 LaDainian Tomlinson San Diego Chargers (2001–2008) 129 Not applicable[3]
3 Marcus Allen Los Angeles Raiders (1982–1992)
Kansas City Chiefs (1993–1997) 123 2003
4 Walter Payton Chicago Bears (1975–1987) 110 1993
5 Jim Brown Cleveland Browns (1957–1965) 106 1971
6 John Riggins New York Jets (1971–1975)
Washington Redskins (1976–1985) 104 1992
7 (Tie) Shaun Alexander Seattle Seahawks (2000–2007)
Washington Redskins (2008) 100 Not applicable[3]
7 (Tie) Marshall Faulk Indianapolis Colts (1994–1998)
Saint Louis Rams (1999–2005) 100 Not applicable[3]
9 Barry Sanders Detroit Lions (1989–1998) 99 2004
10 (Tie) Jerome Bettis Los Angeles Rams (1993–1995[4])
Pittsburgh Steelers (1996–2005) 91 Not applicable[3]
10 (Tie) Franco Harris Pittsburgh Steelers (1972–1983)
Seattle Seahawks (1984) 91 1990