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To read the latest offerings from the Tophatal’s Blog website and the associated content , simply click unto the links shown below. Offering the latest views of the sports’ world from an expat Brit’s perspective. In order to view each article merely click unto the link as shown.

Tophatal’s Blog : https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/imagine-things-getting-really-bad-before-entering-the-2015-nfl-season-its-not-as-far-fetched-as-it-seems

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/bracketsjackets-and-tip-toeing-around-the-patently-obvious

Idiot’s Guide To Sports : https://topsplace.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/a-dog-with-fleas-will-always-remain-a-dog-with-fleas-you-cant-change-the-evidence/

That Man Al’s Blog : https://thatmanal.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/just-the-fact-mam-just-the-facts-thats-all-thats-required

The Oracle Says’ Blog : https://theoraclesays.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/the-road-less-traveled-still-remains-bumpy-divots-ruts-and-simple-stupidity-make-it-that-way

Tophatal’s Blog : https://abritishman.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/it-pays-to-take-one-step-at-a-time

Tophatal1’s Blog : https://tophatal1.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/hits-or-misses/

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Advisory notes

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The always curvacious and effervescent Denise Milani .

Some year, but it was 2012, just like any other year

Some year, but it was 2012, just like any other year

Tophatal

The first week of 2013 will come to an end from a sporting standpoint , we can either seek to relook at 2012 as a successful year in sports or we can simply say “ well it was good but the drama and infamous moments far outstripped the great moments “ .

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Slideshow .

Biggest story, by far, had been the outrage and scandal that engulfed the famed football program of Penn State. And the very fact that the state’s self-absorbed governor ,Tom Corbett now seeks to address a matter that he and his fellow trustee members of school had decided that they would not seek to veto any punishment mandated by the NCAA , in light of the findings of the school’s request of an in-depth investigation carried out former FBI Director , Louis Freeh , in what has been detailed in “The Freeh Report” . With Corbett now seeking to overturn the $60 million monetary penalty that the NCAA rendered as a verdict , the governor’s actions smacks of self-indulgence and the very fact that there seems to be a lack of common sense on his part. Well , I suppose it always came down to greed and not much else as it related to many of those within the hierarchy of the once proud educational establishment . Anyone who backs Corbett’s stance should be ashamed , given Penn State’s now infamous decision to cover up the actions of the disgraced and incarcerated Jerry Sandusky. Suffice to say, Tom Corbett should bury his head in shame, rather than his asinine comments stating that the NCAA , far out-reached their authority. My question for Tom Corbett , as a trustee member , why did you not seek to hold former , university President, Graham Spanier and Tim Curley accountable for their actions ?

I’m sorry, but with Lance Armstrong now stating that he is now prepared to admit his guilt , with the fact that he has lied about his actions in stating , that he had not taken performance enhancing drugs (PED’s). At what point, should the public seek to say simply say to the disgraced athlete , why did you simply not admit from the very beginning you have been lying , instead of hiding behind a pack of lies and a great deal of deceit ? Clearly, with Armstrong all along , it has been the ” financial gain ” , and the reputed $ 100 million fortune , he sought to protect . And for the anally retentive assholes, who jumped in, with their idiotic support of the disgraced cyclist, and the claim that neither USADA (US Anti-doping Agency) or WADA had no jurisdiction or standing in punishing the athlete. Perhaps, those very same idiots should actually review what this non-governmental agency, is asked to do , by way of their work? The USADA at the behest of the USOC (US Olympic Committee) , has a mandate to carry out investigations of what they believe to be suspicious acts of illicit drug use . And though that agency does not have subpoena powers , when they seek to act in conjunction with the US Justice Department , it does carry credence to the work they carry out. It is amazing to actually how damn uneducated a great number of the public seem to be , when they choose to not actually seek out the information for themselves and simply feed off the bile and diatribe that is continually served up within their midst !

Having been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles as well as Olympic gold , Armstrong’s legacy and reputation is now in complete tatters along with that once pristine reputation . But then again, Lance Armstrong’s actions all along in this whole saga all along spoke to his lack of character to begin with ! He was so steadfast as to his innocence that even when his former teammate , Tyler Hamilton , revealed his claims under a signed affidavit and then subpoena, that both he and Armstrong had been facilitated with the use of EPO (erythropoietin) , and stanazolol amongst a slew and battery of illicit and prohibitive substances banned by the IOC as well as by the ICU (International Cycling Union) , the international governing body for the sport of cycling . It has also been the ICU’s own lackluster efforts , that should also come into question throughout this whole episode, that has engulfed not only Lance Armstrong but several world-class riders over the past decade.

In the world of baseball , the San Francisco Giants marched through the postseason with the utmost ease , serving notice to the rest of the baseball world , that they will not be an easy pushover in 2013. As the reigning World Series champions, and twice winners of the title in the past five years , it begs the question , who is capable of stepping up to the plate and stopping the dominance of the Giants within the NL , much less the rest of baseball ? Will it be, the free-wheeling and big spending Los Angeles Dodgers or the newly revamped Los Angeles Angels ?

World Series MVP , Pablo Sandoval , essentially, cemented his legacy with the San Francisco Giants, and now he seeks to be the dominant force on what is now a very good Giants’ team. The front office of this organization has been well led, and prudent in their spending . GM Brian Sabean and lead managing partner, Larry Baer , will be intent on seeing growth with this team , while manager, Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff , will carry on from where they left off from last season.

The Miami Heat , reigning champions of the NBA . Head coach , Erik Spoelstra and team President , Pat Riley have sought to revamp the team’s roster from last season . The additions of Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen , has been fortuitous , adding a mix of veteran experience as well an offensive presence , that should bode well for the team over the course of this season.

Now while the reigning champions seek to find their best lineup , and contend with their conference rivals , one of the major storylines of the season, has been the rise of the New York Knicks. And for the Knicks this season , their All Star forward Carmelo Anthony has simply been playing the best basketball of his career , in leading the team to the second best record in the Eastern Conference , while leading the starting roster to their present position , as the leaders of the Atlantic Division with a mark of 23-10.

With the recent reintroduction of Amar`e Stoudemire back to the roster, it remains to be seen how the forward will be able to acclimatize himself back into playing shape.

I firmly believe, that the Knicks will be in contention for a top five seed within the Eastern Conference at <a season’s end , but for now it is all about seeing how Mike Woodson’s players fare , as they seek rewrite a new chapter in the franchise’s history .

The Heat’s opponents in last season’s finals , the Oklahoma City Thunder are riding high while leading their division (Northwest) and are second in Western Conference. Though the Los Angeles Clippers (27-8) lead the Pacific Division of the Western Conference and like the league as a whole , it would take a fool to suggest that the Clippers are by far the best team in the NBA at present . As good as they have been , there is no real body of work other than this season to go by, whereas the Thunder over the last two seasons have have shown us their merits.

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook , Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison seem to moving along nicely ,as they seek to make a quick return to the NBA Finals.

From last season to this season and the expectations that beckon , the fans are being subjected to some great basketball . However, that may well be taking on a whole new meaning when you consider play of the Charlotte Bobcats (8-24), Cleveland Cavaliers (8-27) and the woefully inept Washington Wizards(4-27). Are there some bad teams in the NBA , or simply bad coaches ?

A brief, and momentary mention for the NHL , yes we know that the Los Angeles Kings are the reigning Stanley Cup champions , here’s a thought, the league hierarchy have reached a tentative agreement with the NHLPA (Players’ Union) to return for a shortened season, after their almost four-month league mandated lockout. I’m sorry, but do you, still consider hockey one of the four main professional team sports? For an industry with revenues of $2.5 billion annually , the NHL hierarchy and the players’ union have completely lost their senses , while obfuscation their responsibilities as the custodians of the sport. As to the idiots, who would suggest that the popularity of the NHL remains as high as ever. Well, that might be true, if you were comparing the sport’s popularity to that of the approval ratings of the US House of Representatives , Senate and the present Presidential US administration. The NHL would be hard-pressed to be even considered as remotely popular, as College Football , College Basketball , much less their peers at the professional level within the , NBA , NFL and Major League Baseball (MLB).

Last season in the NFL, the fans of the league were swept away in the euphoria of witnessing the New York Giants win their second Superbowl in the past five years . The Giants’ scintillating victory over the New England Patriots added a further chapter in Eli Manning’s ongoing career, albeit that the teamfailed to make the postseason in 2012. Now through in the fact that at the culmination of the regular season , seven teams saw fit to fire their head coaches , with the biggest casualties of them all , being Lovie Smith , formerly of the Bears and Andy Reid , with the Eagles .

Andy Reid , having met with the Kansas City Chiefs’ hierarchy , formally accepting the vacant head coach’s position with the franchise. As to how Reid will seek to turn around the fortunes of a team that went 2-14 in 2012. Unfortunately, the problems for Romeo Crennel , Reid’s successor , it all stemmed from the extremely poor quarterback play from Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn . The pairing might just be two of the worst quarterbacks in the league over the course of the season , gives credence as to one of the many reasons why the Chiefs failed so miserably. Kansas City may well seek to address that issue during the off-season, either by obtaining a free agent quarterback or by way of the upcoming NFL Draft (2013).

With two of the wildcard round games having given us results , in which we see Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans , march on to the divisional round of the postseason. Sunday, offers the remaining two scheduled match-ups , with the Baltimore Ravens playing host to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts . Luck, the first quarterback taken in the 2012 NFL Draft , has led the Colts to double-digit wins, in his rookie season , while essentially making believers out of the vast array of NFL fans around the league.

The other game the fans are eager to see , will pit two rookie quarterbacks , who themselves have set the league alight . When the Washington Redskins host the Seattle Seahawks at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland , the opposing quarterbacks will be Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson . And the Seahawks quarterback has been the hottest quarterback in the NFL during the month of December as the team has been on ” tear “ within the league. And with two highly explosive offenses , the Seahawks and Redskins should provide the fans with an exhilarating game.

The College Football season has given us great deal to appreciate, and yes we still yearn for postseason playoff format that isn’t a charade , in spite of what the BCS and major conference commissioners continually insinuate . College Football has now become about those who have and those who do not ! When you have programs bringing in excess of $100 million annually in revenues , while programs not considered members of the major conferences are left “ fighting for the scraps “ left at the table . It begs the question , in whose best interests does the BCS operate ? It is pretty safe to say , it not in the interests of the schools outside of the major conferences.

The BCS national championship game pits number one ranked Notre Dame (12-0) against Nick Saban’s number two ranked Alabama (Crimson Tide) , which will be played on Monday <a href night , at the Sun Life Stadium , in Miami , Florida. Brian Kelly , head coach of Notre Dame, subject of so much speculation with the belief that he will be offered one of the several NFL vacancies that at present remain open. I certainly don’t believe that Kelly will leave the program after merely a year in charge and with the growth of the players under his tutelage . And for freshman quarterback Everett Golson and defensive stalwart , Manti Te’o , this season must have been unimaginable , when one considers the issues with the Fighting Irish , have faced in recent years. A rise back to prominence and all is well , once again at one the most esteemed programs in college football.

If there is one thing that I do know and that it is , you simply do not put much store in the Men’s Basketball rankings too early in the season ! And I certainly don’t put any store with regard to the prognostications of individuals such as Digger Phelps and Dick Vitale . Moreover, if their calls prove to be wrong , it is very rare that you will hear either admit to that fact. At present , the Duke , 14-0 (Blue Devils sit atop of the rankings as they are undefeated . Mike Krzyzewski , perhaps the most respected and revered coaches in the game today , has this program playing with a great deal of passion . Leading the way for the team are Mason Plumlee , Seth Curry , Ryan Kelly and Rasheed Sulaimon . The players are answering the call of Coach “K” as he seeks his fifth national title as a head coach . And the defending champions , the Kentucky (Wildcats) appear to be having something of an indifferent season , it should be noted , John Calipari, as a head coach , has a way of getting his players ready for the NCAA Tournament , at a time when it matters most.

Calipari, for his part, continues to be an individual, that many continue question , as to his integrity and character. From my own personal standpoint , while the Wildcats’ basketball coach can continue to skirt the rules of the game, with the NCAA simply overlooking what on the face of it are violations , then in no way can we consider to take NCAA President , Mark Emmert at his word, when he states that he would like to create an environment within collegiate sports , where there is transparency at all levels within the various programs of collegiate athletics and within the universities themselves. So far, Emmert , the NCAA and college sports are batting way below the Mendoza Line , and then some ! Now many might conclude that the actions of the NCAA in penalizing the Penn State were appropriate , when you take into account the heinousness of Jerry Sandusky’s “ acts of depravity”. However , when also called upon to act with integrity , the NCAA has proven to a rather archaic and an all too pedantic authoritative force .

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Picture gallery

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Picture and slideshow gallery details
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(1) Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett speaks at a news conference following a night of rioting in response to the firing of head football coach Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal on November 10, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Corbett is the former state attorney general who launched the investigation in 2009 that eventually brought criminal charges against three former Penn State officials this week. As governor, Corbett is an ex-officio member of Penn State?s board of trustees . Paterno was fired amid allegations that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse. Corbett has sought to challenge the NCAA’s authority in rendering a $60 million fine against Penn State , in what the governor sees as NCAA President Mark Emmert and the NCAA overstepping their authority . It should be noted that Corbett sat on the board of trustees , who themselves , sought not to originally challenge Emmert’s decision . There now seems to few supporters for Mark Corbett’s actions in light of the heinousness of Jerry Sandusky’s depraved crimes . Getty Images North America / Mario Tama …

(2) Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is now consulting with his legal counsel with the intent of issuing a public statement admitting his use of performance enhancing drugs . The cyclist also faces a legal fight in the UK for $2.5 million for a payment made to the cyclist by a UK media conglomerate and the original suit, in which Armstrong was victorious in a defamation lawsuit . AP Photo / Victor Allen …. .

(3) FILE – In this Oct. 28, 2012 file photo, San Francisco Giants celebrate after the Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers, 4-3 , in Game 4 of baseball’s World Series in Detroit. The Giants won the World Series 4-0 . AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …. (4) 2012 World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval is seen here with his World Series trophy after the Giants 4-0 sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the World Series for the organization’s second triumph in the past five years . Getty Images North America / Jason Riordan …

(5) Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III sits on the bench after a knee injury during an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. The Seahawks defeated the Redskins 24-14 . In Griffin’s first postseason appearance he was somewhat pedantic , with less than stellar figures in the Redskins’ defeat. AP Photo/Evan Vucci …

(6) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson greets Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III after an NFL wild card playoff football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. The Seahawks defeated the Redskins 24-14 . AP Photo/Evan Vucci …

(7) Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly pose with The Coaches’ Trophy during a news conference for the BCS National Championship college football game Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 . AP Photo/ Giles Moor ….

(8) Alabama’s Eddie Lacy interviews Christion Jones during Media Day for the BCS National Championship college football game Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Miami. Alabama faces Notre Dame in Monday’s championship game. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …..

(9) Duke’s Quinn Cook ,right, challenges Wake Forest’s Codi Miller-McIntyre for the loose ball in a game played between Duke and Wake Forest at Cameron Indoor Arena , Durham , North Carolina ,. The Blue Devils would defeat the Demon Deacons 80-62 . @ copyrighted material all rights reserved Washington Post/ Ted Richardson Associated Press …

(10) Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski directs his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wake Forest in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. Duke won 80-62 . AP Photo/Ted Richardson …

(11) Duke’s Seth Curry drives to the basket ahead of Wake Forest’s C.J. Harris , bottom right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. Curry scored 22 points , and Duke won 80-62. AP Photo/Ted Richardson ..

(12) Kentucky head coach John Calipari looks to his bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Eastern Michigan at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. Kentucky won 90-38 . AP Photo/James Crisp …

(13) Eastern Michigan’s Da’Shonte Riley (1) fouls Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. Kentucky won 90-38. AP Photo/James Crisp …

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Last year proved to be an exciting season of sports and although I have not covered areas of boxing or MMA , at a later date I will carry an introspective look at both sports and the events that unfolded over the calendar year. Simply chime in with your thoughts as what you believe were some of the sporting highlights of 2011.

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MLB news

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NFL news

NFL postseason schedule

NFL stats players (postseason)

NFL stats teams (postseason)

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NBA news

NBA schedule
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NCAA Football

NCAA Football & BCS schedule (postseason)

NCAA Football news

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NCAA Basketball men’s results

NCAA men’s basketball news

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The always , sensual , Penelope Cruz , above , and below Scarlett Johansson .

Scarlett Johansson

Stability , spelled , S T A B I #### , Oh hell no !

Stability , spelled , S T A B I #### , Oh hell no !

By Tophatal ….

It’s really been interesting to see the fallout politically, in the aftermath of the Presidential and Congressional elections . With over $2.5 billion spent on television ads , to serve up the usual diatribe , not a goddamn thing changed in terms of the makeup of the Congressional chambers or within with the White House . Yet , we now have the two main political parties haranguing one another, for their lack of inaction , in getting about , and conducting the nation’s business within both chambers . I will look at this way , Rep. John Boehner , as House Leader and his Democratic counterpart in the Senate , Harry Reid , are two self-indulgent and conceited bastards ! . With their bumbling and fudging on so many issues , one has to question why the fuck they’re now acting so concerned over the “fiscal cliff malaise” . The Democrats and Republicans , collectively , have never shown the slightest concern over this issue , until the stakes were raised concerning the expiration of the Bush tax cuts “ . Now that was a man , who knew how to fuck things up , and not be prepared to take responsibility for his actions ! His successor, Barack Obama, having inherited a mess , well, his idea was to surround himself with a bunch of plutocrats and intellectuals whose idea of the real world , has been, to wet their finger , stick it up in the air and use it as a kind of weather vane to test the political climate . Why, they simply didn’t insert their fingers into each others’ ass as a true measure , might well have proven to be more productive for all of the use that it would’ve done . Smells like it shit , but it can’t be shit, because taste is so appealing to these congressmen and women . Guess what ? Shit to a congressman might just be the ” elixir of life “, and their reason to exist and live !

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Adding insult to injury , was a recent interview granted jointly, by Boehner and Reid , to Scott Pelley , the CBS news’ anchor and also one the co-hosts and presenters on the broadcast outlet’s popular prime-time news’ magazine program “60 Minutes” . The two congressional law-makers , suggested that there was a great deal of bilateral unity and that the US Congress has been productive . WTF ! Perhaps , I might have missed the day that they passed the bill , that allowed a statute ,an allotted $2 billion in pork barrel spending for projects such as the beautification of privately owned land in states such as Pennsylvania , Michigan , Wisconsin , California and Montana on a wide variety of unproductive and meaningless studies and alleged workforce related projects . Getting ten guys to dig an even bigger hole than the one they have already dug , only then to fill it in at a later date , is actually counter-productive , unless that hole will be used to dump human waste matter , Well , if that’s the case , then why not corral all 535 Congressional members and simply dump their ass in that hole along , with rest of the human waste ? .

Speaking of things that have not changed , how asinine is the situation now surrounding the New York Mets ? Having signed David Wright , their All Star , third baseman to an exorbitant and extravagant six-year $147 million deal , the cash-strapped financial organization , which last season lost in excess of $40 million , and who were pleading with wealthy New Yorker’s to do their civic and well-meaning duty by purchasing a stake in the cash-starved ball-club, as a way of providing it with some liquidity . This bright idea was initiated by none other than Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon , who along with his father , Fred Wilpon and the team’s senior managing partner, Saul Katz , have presided over this financial morass . Funny, the damn clueless Mets’ fan, overlook the ball-club’s financial woes , but would rather point to the fact that by retaining Wright , and signing him to such a contract , provides the organization with stability. Yes , this is the sort bold-faced idiocy, one should now expect from the fans of the New York Mets . Citi-Field is > now an elephant’s graveyard and will remain that way , as long as the Wilpon family and Saul Katz are allowed to preside and reign of that franchise . Anyone who believes to the contrary , clearly knows nothing , concerning the ongoing mess that has encompassed the ball-club. Ignorance is bliss, and amongst the Mets’ fans, it has also become a way of life ! LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

And while Wright now has that “guaranteed contract” to live up to , the Mets’ Cy Young Award winner , R A Dickey, is left to haggle with the organization over a contract extension . Stability , I ask once again ? Sandy Alderson , Paul Di Podesta and J P Ricciardi do not understand the meaning of the word “ stability”, and of they happened to trip over a sign mentioning that very same word . I would dare say, that their intent would be to ignore it ! All three were brought in to revamp the organization, with regard to its personnel, gauge their prospects and the organization’s farm system . Well, let’s just say eighteen months into their soiree , and the results have added insult to injury

. Uncompetitive , lackluster and genuinely devoid of leadership on and off the field of play , and it is understandable to see why this team has struggled in the way that it has during 2012 .

Next season may not bring much joy or success for the New York Mets , as they will undoubtedly seek room for improvement , as too will their divisional rivals , the Atlanta Braves , Miami Marlins , Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals . The chasm between the Mets , and the divisional winners , Davey Johnson’s Nationals , should prove to be enough an indicator , of how high a mountain , Terry Collins and his managerial staff will have to climb.

I’ll say this, for Magic Johnson and the syndicated partners who purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers for a staggering $2.156 billion , leaving no one in any doubt that the purchase price paid , was merely a sign of things to come . The changeover from the old brigade of Frank McCourt , and CFO Peter Wilhelm , was long overdue . But there have been some holdovers , with Tommy LaSorda and GM Ned Colletti remaining with the organization. LaSorda’s position , is a roving goodwill ambassador special consultant . In other words Tommy still gets to keep that corner office overlooking the parking lot , in order for him to take his mid-afternoon naps and stay the hell out-of-the-way of Don Mattingly and his managerial staff. Colletti, for his part, will have to show his acumen, as it relates to the personnel decisions that will have to be made. Stan Kasten , specifically brought in by Johnson and senior managing partner, Mark L Walters , will be directly over Ned Colletti , in the hierarchy structure of the newly revamped Dodgers organization. As to things begin to take shape , will be predicated upon the inevitable changes that will undoubtedly be ,made and the overall decision-making of the senior executives .

We were able to see for ourselves how gregarious Magic Johnson was said to be , when he initiated the initial overtures to the Boston Red Sox to acquire Nick Punto , Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez , while adding $176 million in future salary commitments for the team. In all four former Red Sox players were acquired in what was a ten-player two team trade . The addition of the aforementioned players was not enough to secure the Dodgers a playoff berth , as the franchise saw the San Francisco Giants not only take the NL West divisional crown , but also the NL pennant , and to top it all , the World Series, itself. The triumph of the San Francisco Giants
will have left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Dodgers’ fans
, as well as the organization as a whole .

The Dodgers have been quick to pull the trigger this off-season quickly releasing players that they felt were superfluous to their needs . Once a mainstay on the Dodgers’ roster , James Loney . recently found himself a new home , signing one year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. That addition will undoubtedly help the Rays and their lackluster offense . As to the Dodgers’ own needs , well it has been one of pitching , and that was plain for all to see by way of the team’s statistics . With that mind , Don Mattingly made an outlandish offer to the 2009 NL Cy Young winner Zach Greinke as the starting pitcher was given a six-year $147 million deal , making Greinke the highest paid pitcher on the team’s staff . With money now being of no option to the Dodgers , with the backing of venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners LLC , the primary owners of the baseball franchise through their sports’ holding unit Guggenheim Sports & Investments LLC . Guggenheim with assets of $180 billion , the company is headed by Mark L Walters and Todd S Boehly , with the venture capital firm having offices around the globe , most notably in some the major international financial capital markets . .

I’ve no doubt that the Los Angeles Dodgers will be competitive for the foreseeable future but the biggest obstacle to that will be the San Francisco Giants . Their meetings over the past five years have proven to be thrilling . It will be interesting to see how Greinke fits in with the existing rotation of the Dodgers, headed by Clayton Kershaw , Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang , Chad Billingsley, Ronnie Belisario and the relief pitching staff .

While the Los Angeles Dodgers look to “become “ the New York Yankees of the NL , the actual AL franchise is now troubled by injuries to key players and with an aging roster , questions are being asked , as to what players are being developed through their farm system , that might be ready for promotion up the ranks . Alex Rodriguez will be sidelined through to the month of June , as he undergoes hip surgery and the recuperation process. The loss of the third-baseman might not be as pressing as some might perceive, given the player’s lack of productivity during the regular and postseason for the team . The Yankees’ foray in the playoffs was short-lived , due to the lack of productivity by the players under Joe Girardi’s command. Curtis Granderson , Mark Teixeira , Nick Swisher , Brett Gardner and Rodriguez failed miserably as the team fell to the Detroit Tigers .

With Alex Rodriguez sidelined , the Yankees’ opened up their pocket-book and offered a one-year $12 million contract , to former Boston Red Sox , first baseman , Kevin Youkilis , acquiring the player as a free agent . Youkilis , if you remember , ran afoul of former Red Sox manager, Bobby Valentine , who engineered the player’s trade to the Chicago White Sox , during the season . If anything, that was a sign of things to come for franchise, as their season fell apart , with it, ultimately leading to Valentine’s dismissal , but not before , other major upheavals amongst the playing staff led to discord amongst the fans and the local media personalities , with their heated criticism of the then , beleaguered, Bobby Valentine, as well as the front office , with much of their heated venom directed at team President , Larry Lucchino and team owner, John Henry . With the firing of Bobby Valentine , GM Ben Cherington has hired , the candidate he originally sought for the managerial position , John Farrell . The newly installed manager , a former pitching coach with the ball-club , is certainly well-liked by a number of players on the roster , especially amongst the current pitching staff. Cherington, hopes that Farrell can engineer an immediate turnaround, that will see the team become a major challenger to the ever-present Yankees , Tampa Bay Rays , as well the reinvigorated Baltimore Orioles, and the middle of the road contender , the Toronto Blue Jays. Baseball’s need for the AL East to be competitive and exciting , year in , and year out , is paramount , if it is to attract the attention of the fans throughout the season.

I’m sorry, but being sent to “ baseball purgatory “ , is nothing to be proud of ! When the Tampa Bay Rays , made the announcement that they would be sending pitchers , Wade Davis and James Shields to the Kansas City Royals . Not only was I surprised , but I kept asking myself , did either of the two players do something to piss off management , much less the ownership group ? That might well be one explanation , but the fact that both now , Davis and Shields , are now said to be excited about playing for the Royals . Well, it leads me to believe , that they may well have been duped ! In return for the trade , Joe Maddon , gets budding prospect , Wil Myers and four other prospects from the Kansas City Royals. Long-term, this trade may well benefit the Rays , but with regard to the team’s needs and its immediacy , this was nothing more than a penny-pinching exercise by GM Andrew Friedman .

Joe Maddon and Friedman , will have a hard time trying to convince the most vocal of Rays’ supporters , of which they are not that many, that the loss of Shields in particular will not be felt . Beyond Shields and David Price , they were few pitchers in the Rays’ starting lineup , that could give the manager some “quality innings ” and starts during 2012 . And with the credible presence of Jeremy Hellickson , I firmly believe that the Rays will regress in terms of their overall pitching this upcoming season ! And predicated upon what we already know to be true, Friedman will not overpay for talent , because of the ball-club’s wish to be financially prudent .

Bearing in mind, that this month the Rays’ sought to make Evan Longoria the highest-paid player in the franchise’s history , by offering him a contract , worth $100 million over six years , effective, in 2016. Granted, Longoria is seen as the “ face of the franchise “, and perhaps , one the most popular players in Rays’ history.One man . on his own , cannot carry the load, that is being asked of Longoria by the organization, and it is incumbent upon Andrew Friedman to place the best roster around a player of Evan Longoria’s skill-set , in order for the Rays to succeed. As of now , I don’t believe the evidence is there to suggest the success sought will come about in a short matter of time. This ball-club has toiled for its success over the past fourteen seasons , but it has only been in the last six years , where the Rays’ peers and their fans have really stood , and taken note of the franchise’s success . True in part , one appearance in the World Series and a series’ defeat , has to be seen as minimal , but for the Rays’ fans who have had to endure those losing seasons , they would rather take that lone appearance , and the recent successes, over the years in the wilderness when this ball-club was being ridiculed every step of the way.

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What opinions if any, do you have that might be on appearance deemed capricious spending by the teams as they sign contracted players to long-term deals or in the case of Zack Greinke , a rather ludicrous and exorbitant contract , that simply makes no sense, given his lack of tangible success since 2009 ? And do you believe that either the New York Mets or Tampa Bay Rays can be truly competitive this upcoming season ? Chime in with your thoughts and anything else you believe warrants interest as it relates to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details .
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(1) President Barack Obama and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shake hands in the Oval Office after their lunch Thursday at the White House. The two met in hope of forming a bilateral approach , in tackling many of the nation’s underlying issues . The former Massachusetts’ governor has promised to aid the President in any way that he can. AP Photo / Mark Hanson …

(2) U.S. President Barack Obama (2R) shakes hands with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as first lady Michelle Obama (L) and Ann Romney look on after the debate at the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University on October 22, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida. The focus for the final presidential debate before Election Day on November 6 is foreign policy. Getty Images North America/ Joe Raedle …

(3) Speaker of the House , John Boehner , left , is seen here alongside President Barack Obama , center, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid . The three have routinely met in recent months , trying avert a “fiscal crisis ” , but in recent months in the lead-up to the automatic “kick in” of tax increases on January 1st , 2013, there have been more frequent meetings and telephone conversations tasking between the President and the Speaker, Boehner as they seek to avert this looming financial crisis . With Congress due to vacate Capitol Hill for their winter break by 20th December , there seems little doubt as to the urgency and delicateness of the matter , but because of the incessant bickering between the “two sides” no common ground has been found . AFP/REUTERS/ Anatoly Litvikov ….

(4) FILE – In this Sept. 27, 2012, file photo, New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey delivers against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning of a baseball game at Citi Field in New York. Dickey and Mets general manager Sandy Alderson can agree on one thing _ they would prefer to have closure before opening day. The Cy Young Award winner can become a free agent after the 2013 season and says he won’t negotiate once it starts, so the Mets probably have to sign him to an extension or trade him to get the best return. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….

(5) New Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke adjusts his cap during a baseball news conference announcing his $147 million, six-year contract, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Dodgers also closed a deal when signing South Korean pitcher, Ryu Hun-Jin , to a six-year $36 million contract . AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes …

(6) Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti , left, and co-owner, Magic Johnson, right, present pitcher Ryu Hyun-Jin , center, of South Korea, during a baseball news conference announcing his $36 million, six-year contract, Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, in Los Angeles. Ryu becomes the first player to go directly from the Korea Baseball Organization to the United States big leagues. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes …

(7)Kansas City Royals pitcher James Shields, center, held up his new jersey, flanked by Royals general manager Dayton Moore, left, and Royals head coach Ned Yost , during a press conference at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. Shields and Wade Davis arrived in Kansas City to undergo physicals and check out the stadium from the home clubhouse for the first time. Shields and Davis became members of the Royals on Sunday in a blockbuster trade that sent top prospect Wil Myers and three other minor leaguers to Tampa Bay. AP Photo/The Kansas City Star, David Eulitt …

(8) Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria , smiles as he answers questions during a news conference after signing a six-year, $100 million, contract extension Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Longoria is signed with the Rays through the 2022 season. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …..)

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US Jamaican native Vanessa Veasley .

Mo-fo’ protect your neck or you’ll get knocked the f#ck out .

Mo-fo’ protect your neck or you’ll get knocked the f#ck out .

By Tophatal

So normally on the weekends when the chance becomes available, I will hit the gym for the two and-a-half workout, mixing in some calisthenics , cardio, and then a minimum forty minutes of some muy-thai (kickboxing) and jujitsu , in the octagon . Boxing as a sport, was once something that apart from being a passion for me , it also became a way of life in my youth, as I boxed while in high school , competing in tournaments as an amateur . Come full circle , and the sport I once loved , I have all but abandoned . In recent years , boxing has become a complete joke and for the long-suffering fans out there , the time has now come to walk away and seek solace elsewhere. A number of my friends , themselves, having served in the military , have been truly loyal and loved the honor of having served their country passionately. As an almost ten-year veteran of the British Royal Marines , I have to admit there’s nothing better than being around fellow military service members and discussing the sports’ environment and the stories to be discussed .

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Now when it comes to sports we’re all passionate about what we like and dislike . We love the NFL , we hate the bad teams currently in the league by way, of their record . We hate boxing , because there are no longer any major title fights that take place , and please do not suggest that what is now said to be taking place within the heavyweight division should ever be taken seriously . There’s more excitement to be found in watching two hours of programming on the Animal Planet , and seeing a female elephant give birth , but as the saying goes , “ it is , what it is “ . Apathy , if you want to accept it , then it’s down to you , but incompetency and the fact that fans are willing to accept that shit , then you’re deserving of what you get.

Call me naïve , but what was the point of Manny Pacquiao meeting Juan Manuel-Marquez for the fourth time ? Far be it for me to suggest, but Pacquiao’s promoter , Bob Arum , has been a constant asshole in recent years, trying to suggest that he has been doing his utmost get that much-anticipated super-fight, with Pacquiao taking his long time antagonist Floyd Mayweather . Over the past three years the two sides have simply been antagonistic , as each camp has looked to belittle each other. Guess what ? No one now gives a fuck whether or not the fight ever took place , especially when both they’re seeking to gouge the fans in asking them to pay anywhere between $49-95 to $59-95 for the privilege to witness two over the hill fighters . Don’t believe that either fighter now just happens to be over the hill ? Simply look at who Mayweather and Pacquiao have fought in their most recent fights over the past four years , and the quality the opponents faced in question ?

Pacquiao and Marquez met for the fourth time , and essentially this was simply a fight meant to place Manny back in the limelight after his loss to Timothy Bradley , and for those who do not believe that Pacquiao lost the bout , simply review that fight and try indicate where the then , titlist (Pacquiao), dictated and overwhelmingly won that fight ? Manny Pacquiao lost the fight because he placed it , in the hands of referees , rather than seeking to knock his opponent out . And let’s not forget which of the two fighters left that bout battered and bruised ? Fight fans ? More like , fans who simply align themselves with a fighter because of name recognition , and not much else beyond that ! Well it was confirmed for us on Saturday night , what many of us believed has been the case for the Filipino , Manny Pacquiao as he went toe to toe with Juan Marquel-Marquez, in what turned out to be not an epic fight , but one in which Pacquaio met his match , as he in the end succumbed to a thunderous knockout punch that sent his world and professional career crashing in the sixth round , of what was meant to be a fight, that would put him back on the map . Well as of now , Pacquaio’s ass is lost inside the “Bermuda Triangle “ and he is not going to find himself back to the world of reality. The $20 million payday for the Filipino fighter may well have been a sweetener , by comparison Marquez comes away $ 5 million richer , and the world his “oyster” in terms of his next professional challenge. A rematch at this juncture with Pacquiao would be a complete waste of time as there are far more potentially lucrative fights to be had , rather than facing an aging , and on the decline Manny Pacquaio. As to what Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum and the fighter’s trainer, Freddie Roach might think about seeing their fighter lying prostrate on the canvas, may well be worth a thousand words . I’ve a few that come to mind , your man got the fuck knocked out , how ’bout them apples motherf#ckers ?

Week fourteen of the NFL schedule , and I am at the point , where the stories this season , have simply been repetitive and nondescript ! How good , is Peyton Manning ? Why the hell ask ? Isn’t his body of work enough of an indicator to tell you , that he’s amongst the best to have ever played the game , especially at the quarterback position ? And this season , Manning has been at his very best , as he has led the Denver Broncos to a spectacular season . With the team having already secured the AFC West with consummate ease , the Broncos now seem intent on chasing down the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots for the second seed in the AFC , as well as obtaining a bye in first round of the postseason.

Having dispatched the Oakland Raiders in their most recent game , everything that we have come to expect from Peyton Manning was on display , during a match-up that the Raiders simply had no answer for Manning’s exhilarating display . The Broncos came away with a victory and the Oakland Raiders , are back to doing what they do best , and that’s to exhibit what is now wrong with the NFL , and what worst teams do with increasing frequency , exhibiting futility . Manning to my mind , is as close a certainty, to be amongst the favorites for this season’s league MVP that you would be hard-pressed to go against the veteran’s quarterback’s candidacy.

Is there anyone now who believes that Andy Reid , can now escape the madness now engulfing the Philadelphia Eagles , and still come out of this all , with his reputation intact , along with retaining the head coach’s position with the team? The Eagles this season , have been indifferent and a complete mess , never-mind that the head coach’s blind-faith in a quarterback, whose displays this season , have been on the decline . Reid has stood by Michael Vick , with a loyalty that in this day and age can cost a head coach his position , especially where a player’s talents are most definitely on the decline . It took an injury , Vick being concussed , before Reid would actually made the decision to make Nick Foles a starter , and the young rookie third round pick by the franchise in the 2012 NFL Draft , has given every indication , that given the chance , he could very well be the franchise’s answer to their long-term problems at the quarterback position. Today , the Eagles face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium, as the both teams seek to resurrect their respective seasons . A loss for the Eagles (3-9) against the Buccaneers (6-6) pretty much seals their fate , as the only thing left for the Eagles’ players to fight for , would be their dignity and self-respect. And dignity and low self-esteem , seems to be rampant and widespread within the Eagles’ organization from top to bottom.

Talking about a season that was said to be filled with promise but now the only thing left , seems to be the charred embers , and you have to wonder what the hell was going on inside of the Detroit Lions’ (4-8) organization . In the space of one season how can a franchise that made the postseason in 2011 , could have fallen so far off a cliff that you would have to question whether or not they were an aberration last year . And with the ongoing issues of Ndamukong Suh , and now the asinine situation that Roger Goodell doesn’t believe that the player was not an imminent danger to others , then either the commissioner , is still blinded by his ongoing stupidity or the fact that he feels that Suh will somehow have learned his lesson . Guess what , Goodell was never that intelligent to begin with , and Ndamukong Suh will remain the asshole we now know him to be !

For Matt Stafford , his season has simply been one of inconsistencies , and the fact that his most reliable target , wide receiver , Calvin Johnson , has been a marked man , as defenses have simply found a way to take him out of a game . The Lions face off , in a divisional game against the Green Bay Packers in the late Sunday night match-up at Lambeau Field , Green Bay, Wisconsin ,. The Packers will be looking for that victory that widens their lead over their divisional rivals within the NFC North , and at this juncture , and I firmly believe that Mike McCarthy and his team will be more than prepared to face their opponents ! The hype over this Lions’ defense just isn’t justified as they been amongst the worst performing secondary’s, not just within the NFC but the league as a whole .

If ever there was a season to rejoice , then 2012 would have to be the year to extol the play of the rookie quarterbacks this season . And leading the way have been rookies, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III . The two players taken #’1 and number two , in the NFL Draft , as both of have excelled and surpassed all expectations . Luck , if anything has made the Colts’ fans wonder what all the fuss was about after the departure of Peyton Manning , as the young rookie has now led his team to an impressive 29-23 win , for their ninth victory of the season , and placing the Indianapolis Colts , firmly in line for a playoff berth this postseason.

For his part , Robert Griffin III , has been by no means a slouch , with his own play as he has been as equally impressive for the Washington Redskins . In what as an exceptionally thrilling game between the Redskins and Baltimore Ravens , the young quarterback led his team with a great deal of aplomb as they got an impressive victory over the Ravens , a franchise thought to be one the franchise whose secondary was thought amongst the most efficient in the NFL . This season however , the Ravens’ defense have been giving up an astonishing 380 yards per game , which ranks the team in the bottom quarter of the NFL’s 32 teams .

OK , did any of you have the pleasure of watching the Arizona Cardinals , and their utterly putrid display against the Seattle Seahawks in a game played at Q West Field in Seattle , Washington ? I’m sorry but the “mercy rule” should be adopted in all NFL games , once a team goes at least three scores up on an opponent . Russell Wilson and the Seahawks ” pounded “ the Cardinals beyond submission , while coming with the team’s biggest victory of season , in defeating their divisional opponent 58-0 . And no , that final score was not a misprint </b , that result e though not the biggest score recorded this season in the NFL , but the margin of victory , certainly was. As to what this might do with regard to immediate future of Cardinals’ head coach , Ken Whisenhunt , this defeat , could very well signal and quicken the head coach’s departure from the franchise . And if you were in any doubt , as to one of the primary reasons for the Cardinals missteps this season , then look no further than the monstrous displays by team’s pair of quarterbacks over the course of their schedule . John Skelton and Kevin Kolb , have simply shown us all that incompetence and ineptitude can be found today in the NFL , and it can be found in the state of Arizona , with the Cardinals’ pair of signal callers . With the upcoming NFL Draft filled with a number of very good quarterbacks , likely atop of the pecking order of the players likely to be taken by Arizona Cardinals , and several other teams in need of a competent player at the position and likely to improve the passing offense of that team.

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In light of Saturday night’s result between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel-Marquez , do you feel that the veteran Filipino fighter , should now retire from the sport that he has graced for well over a decade ? Or do you feel that he should continue with his career ? And of the results and teams during week fourteen in the NFL , which event if anything was the most surprising of all ? Chime with your observations and thoughts, as you see fit .

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Picture gallery and slideshow details .

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(1) Juan Manuel Marquez, left, begins to celebrate as referee Kenny Bayless calls Manny Pacquiao down for the count in the sixth round during a WBO welterweight fight, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, in Las Vegas. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson …

(2) Juan Marquez is seen here alongside promoter , Bob Arum speaks during a press conference after his 6th round knockout victory over Manny Pacquiao, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, at The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. AP Photo/Eric Jamison ….

(3) Juan Manuel Marquez, from Mexico, right, lands a right to the head of Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, during their WBO world welterweight fight Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, in Las Vegas. Marquez won by a knockout. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson …

(4) Juan Manuel Marquez, from Mexico, wears the champion’s belt as his fist is raised by referee Kenny Bayless after his sixth round knockout of Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, in their WBO world welterweight fight Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, in Las Vegas. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson ….

(5) Referee Kenny Bayless, left, calls the fight as Juan Manuel Marquez, from Mexico, right, celebrates after he knocked out Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, lower left, in the sixth round of their WBO world welterweight fight Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, in Las Vegas. AP Photo/Eric Jamison ….

(6) Juan Manuel Marquez, from Mexico, left, celebrates his win over Manny Pacquiao in their WBO world welterweight fight Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, in Las Vegas. AP Photo/Eric Jamison ….

(7) A Filipino boy watches Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao lying on the mat after he was knocked out by Mexican Juan Manual Marquez during a live TV broadcast at a multi-purpose hall in suburban Paranaque, south of Manila, Philippines on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. Many Filipinos were stunned by Pacquiao’s knockout defeat to Marquez, dampening the spirit of a nation battered recently by a powerful typhoon. AP Photo/Aaron Favila

(8) Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant (81) makes a catch of a pass during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ….

(9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) sacks Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

(10) Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, right, consols Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano after the Eagles defeated the Buccaneers 23-21 during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …..

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Bang The Drum Loudly …… The NBA Is … Better Than Ever ?

Bang The Drum Loudly …… The NBA Is … Better Than Ever ?

By tophatal … 06/15/2012 …. 11:45PM (EST)

The NBA postseason is definitely now in full swing , and the league hierarchy under David Stern have to be feeling extremely pleased with themselves . The very fact that two teams contesting the NBA Finals are considered the two best left at this stage of the competition . It pits perhaps the league’s best all round player against its most prolific scorer. The Miami Heat the Eastern Conference representative against the Oklahoma City Thunder , and their team led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook . To counteract the presence of Durant and Westbrook , coach Erik Spoelstra knows that he can rely upon LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to provide his team with the brunt of the offensive productivity sought throughout this series .

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For team franchise owners’ Micky Arison and Clay Bennett have been given the authority and responsibility to be make sure that fans are best entertained by the play exhibited on court . I have no doubt that both Arison and Bennett will imbue their respective head coaches Erik Spoelstra and Scott Brooks as to what is expected during the 2012 NBA Finals . The series is now tied at (1-1) one game apiece after the Heat’s narrow but spirited victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Games three through five , now reverts to the city of Miami where those games will be played at the AA Arena , in Miami , Florida . Sunday , in what is sure to be a sellout crowd in attendance , the resumption of the series is again up and running , with the Heat looking to make sure that the home-court advantage does work in their favor .

If LeBron James and his teammates can attain a victory then most definitely the series tilts in their favor . Beyond the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ of James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh , it would appear that in game two the Miami Heat found themselves a new go-to-guy in Shane Battier . Now whether or not Battier can reproduce the form shown in that game or perhaps another Heat role player can step up to the plate , it remains to be seen .

Scott Brooks knows that his team could have been 2-0 up in these Finals , had his players handled the ball more securely . Game two , exhibited turnovers by Oklahoma City Thunder , something that Brooks will seek to have his players address . And that will most certainly be something that Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook will have to take care of. Moreover , the players cannot afford to start these game off slowly , in allowing the Miami Heat to take an early lead and letting them retain that lead . Thabo Sefalosha , Kendrick Perkins , Serge Ibaka , Derek Fisher and Nick Collison will most certainly have to contribute a great deal more to this series , and when one bears in mind what Durant , Westbrook and James Harden have been able to achieve throughout the NBA Playoffs has been remarkable.

Undoubtedly , 2012 NBA Finals are living up to the “hype “ and a great deal more . However, with comparisons now being made with the apparent era of Durant & James , now we are told has begun . Many NBA writers and analysts are describing this budding rivalry as being similar in its magnitude as to the “ epic battles “ between Hall of Fame players , Larry Bird and Magic Johnson , when the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers had those monumental Finals’ series , as well as those regular season games .

Inasmuch , as I like the attributes that Durant and James bring to the game , it is far too early to make such comparisons , as to a rivalry that is on a similar scale as that Bird and Magic Johnson . Those icons of the game have certainly cemented their legacies and without a doubt one simply cannot deny what they were able to do , that raised the profile of the game at the collegiate level and then within the professional ranks of the NBA . Kevin Durant and LeBron James are a long way off from achieving the accolades and acclaim of the famed duo from perhaps the “ richest era “ of the NBA’s history . Moreover , that is with due credit of the Michael Jordan “ legacy “ and “ era “ within the NBA and the historical achievements with the Chicago Bulls .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything do you anticipate seeing as the NBA Finals now unfolds ? Do leave a comment as you see fit and thank s as always for the continued support of this site .

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(1) Chris Bosh (L) of the Miami Heat is guarded by James Harden (R) of the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Heat won 91-85 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series . AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERTDON EMMERT/AFP/GettyImages ….

(2) Head coach Scott Brooks of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on as he answers questions from the media after the Thunder lost 91-85 against the Miami Heat in Game Three of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images …..

(3) Nick Collison (4) of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes to the basket against Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat in Game Three of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Segar-Pool/Getty Images …

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant gets off a shot against Miami Heat during the NBA Finals game between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder 17 June, 2012 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO/POOL/LARRY SMITH …Larry W Smith/AFP/GettyImages …

(5) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 17: (L-R) Kevin Durant (35) and LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat look on in the second half of Game Three of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

(6) Magic Johnson (left) and Larry Bird seen here as college athletes , whose friendship and rivalry at the collegiate level and within the NBA simply transcended the sport . Today the duo have a life-long friendship that has stood for over three decades . Mike Portmann ….

(7) Bird and Magic square off in the 83-84 NBA Finals in which the Celtics would prevail in the series 4-3 . Reuters/ Arnold Hughes …..
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Game three Oklahoma City … @ … Miami Heat — AA Arena , Miami , Florida

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Nas …. feat’g …. Kanye West …. ” Still Dreaming ”

Big Al’s Gone Big Pimpin’

Big Al’s Gone Big Pimpin’ ……

Well guys for the next few weeks (two at best quite possibly three) I’ll be inundated with work as I’ve been asked to assist and participate in a multi office task . When there’s a call to arms and money to be made then there’s nothing else to be said ! I will however try to still contribute pieces over the ensuing weeks as and when I can . In the meantime as I such I’ll provide you to links of sites where I’ve found the pieces to be insightful and at times thought provoking . The contributors in question are some of the most interesting bloggers around . They’re informative , funny and irreverent when they need to be but at the same time they can be serious as and when needed. So without much ado simply click on the links provided below to read.

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Slide show for your perusal .

The subject matter in question will be varied but more often than not it’s always sports related so do give it a try .

Doin-Work.com http://doin-work.com

Thewifehatessports.com http://thewifehatessports.com

Sportschump.net http://sportschump.net

2oldformaxim.wordpress.com http://2oldformaxim.wordpress.com

bomberbanter.com http://bomberbanter.com

joshqpublic.com http://joshqpublic.com

firstorderhistorians.wordpress.com http://firstorderhistorians.wordpress.com

defutebol.net http://defutebol.net

chrisross91.wordpress.com http://chrisross91.wordpress.com

thejamminjabber.com ….. http://thejamminjabber.com

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Picture gallery for your perusal and by clicking on a gallery image you can view each frame in its original formatted size.

However if there’s any of my work you’d like to review from my other sites then click on any of the following : All are under the tophatal moniker . So check out the different categories and chime in with a comment as you see fit.

tophatal.wordpress.com https://tophatal.wordpress.com

http://abritshman.wordpress.com

http//theoraclesays.wordpress.com

http://tophatal1.wordpress.com

http://thatmanal.wordpress.com

http://topsplace.wordpress.com

😛 _ 🙂

Alan aka tophatal ……………….. 😛 _ 🙂

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Anyone for tennis ? Here’s Ali Milan and I don’t think that she minds whose balls are in court !

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Jay Z ….. feat’g UGK …… ‘Big Pimpin’