Hits , misses and what the hell was that about ?

Hits , misses and what the hell was that about ?

Well appreciative of the fact, for the first time in twenty-one years , a congratulatory note of applause must be displayed towards the Pittsburgh Pirates and their making the MLB post-season for the first time in that time-span. For Clint Hurdle , his staff , the players and front office , this will be a time to celebrate. Having finished second to the St Louis Cardinals in the NL Central , within that division , the Pirates will be joined by the Cincinnati Reds , for the second of the two wild-card berths within the National League (NL). The celebrations began in earnest after Pittsburgh’s 2-1 victory on Monday evening over the competitively challenged Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field , in Chicago , Illinois. Far be it for to me suggest, but both the Cubs and Chicago White Sox have been two woefully inept teams and an absolute abomination to watch over the course of this season , who have performed with such ineptitude. As to this asinine notion, that Cubs general manager Theo Epstein will be looking towards making the ball-club competitive by no later than 2015 , now seems to be in question after the failure of the team this season.

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Dale Sveum , manager of the Cubs has not been guaranteed that he will be given a contract extension, and it is unlikely that the manager will now return to the organization for the 2014 season , along with a number of members of his current managerial staff . There have been few pluses of note for the Chicago Cubs over the course of their season and for that I believe a great deal of the blame has to fall squarely upon the shoulders of Theo Epstein and what appears to be a clear lack of commitment from the Ricketts’ family , the team’s owners. There has been more money spent on the refurbishing and upgrading of Wrigley Field in recent seasons than one would like to believe. Meanwhile, Tom Ricketts’ commitment seems to be more of treating this ball-club as a bauble, rather to parade it to members of his social circle , than create a competitive professional sports’ franchise and bring back some semblance of respectability to this once esteemed baseball franchise.

For the Pirates, as they wind down their regular season schedule with five games left to play. All eyes, are likely to be placed upon their wild card round game on 1st October against the Cincinnati Reds. Now one could place a great deal of emphasis on the season series between these two teams , but to my mind, a single elimination game will be more about , which is the best prepared to deal with the added pressure .

The race within the AL for the two wild-card berths , now appears to the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians for the losing, as the two teams hold the top two spots in those standings . Yet for all of the drama to be had , this race still seems to be far from over , with the Texas Rangers , Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees , all within four games of a wild-card berth . Of the three teams now vying for that spot, I do believe that the Yankees have essentially played themselves out of contention , albeit , with Joe Girardi and his team due to play the Tampa Bay Rays in a pivotal three game series at Yankee Stadium beginning on Tuesday. It would be fair to suggest that neither team in this series, can afford a slip-up at this juncture.

. Girardi will become a manager without a contract at the end of this season , with their being no guarantee that a contract extension will be forthcoming from GM Brian Cashman or directly from senior managing partner , Hal Steinbrenner . There is the common belief that Girardi is likely to viewed as a managerial candidate for the possible vacant Cubs’ position, if the decision is made fire Dale Sveum. This off-season could be a dramatic one for the franchise, with the retirements of Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera . Compounding this even further, may well be the uncertainty concerning the immediate future of Derek Jeter , whose season was shuttered by the front office , with the short-stop placed on the disabled list . With his skills declining, Jeter only provides leadership and little else, beyond that , albeit, that at times, he can still offer momentary flashes of brilliance in the field .

Three weeks into the NFL season and we already seeing a plethora of really bad performances from a number of teams . Far be it for me to suggest , but those seeking parity in the NFL , are looking for something to hang their hats on . In reality , it is not about parity , but more to do with the caliber of the coaching of the NFL and the quality of the players drafted . Poor performances asides, having witnessed the Denver Broncos’ complete annihilation of the Oakland Raiders on Monday night , to go alongside the Seattle Seahawks’ utter surgical dismantling of the Jacksonville Jaguars , has me believing that this NFL season is likely to be filled with more lows than highs , in comparison to last season.

As Peyton Manning continues to rewrite the record books, with the player already having thrown twelve touchdown passes in the first three weeks of the season. It will be interesting to see whether or not the quarterback can surpass the single season record of fifty touchdowns , a feat managed by Manning’s contemporary , Tom Brady during the 2007 NFL season. Besides the superlatives one could use to describe Peyton Manning’s performances this early in the season , it should be noted that this Broncos’ team seems to have gotten a great deal better on both sides of the ball in comparison to last season. As to where the challenge might well come from within the AFC West and the AFC as a whole , I do believe that there is not a team at present good enough to throw down the gauntlet of meeting that challenge .

Week four , will grant the Philadelphia Eagles the privilege of trying to stop the Broncos’ unbeaten run, when the two teams meet this Sunday at the Sports Authority Stadium , in Denver , Colorado,. The Eagles’ alleged high-octane offense and rather anemic defense , are likely to meet the same fate as the Broncos three previous predecessors . Chip Kelly may well have been an offensive genius at the collegiate level , while coaching the Oregon program , but his introduction to the NFL has been painful to watch , with his ego having been deflated by the team’s two successive defeats. Whether or not, this will be a bounce back game for the Eagles or them simply being bounced all over Mile High, remains to be seen. Yet , given the ineptitude of the Eagles on defense, I am do believe that it will be the latter !

Not one for appearing naive, but I do believe that the NFL’s punishment of Vonn Miller was merely slap on the wrist , being a two-time offender of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The player sought to appeal his original four-game suspension which was upheld , but the league tacked on an additional two games , after it was revealed that Miller compromised his test samples by colluding with a lab technician to substitute another sample , as his own . Miller’s actions not only showed his disdain for the league’s rules, but also for the NFL and bringing a great deal of unwanted attention to the Denver Broncos’ organization , after a successful start to their season. Vonn Miller’s return will not take place until week seven, when the Broncos are hosts of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium , in Indianapolis , Indiana ,. Surely, if a player is willing to go those lengths and be dishonest as well as committing an act of fraud , then should it not be within the league’s right to punish that player with impunity , rather than being soft and appearing soft on that issue ? My question for Commissioner Roger Goodell , who is he really afraid of in such an instance , the union (Players’ Union) or is it, the fans themselves ? Your thoughts , on this all ?

Three months before the NBA regular season kicks off and the biggest story of the off-season , beyond the marriage of LeBron James to his high-school sweetheart Savannah Brinson and the Miami Heat’s re-signing of Michael Beasley . That story, is the fact former NBA center and All Star, Shaquille O’Neal has become a minority stakeholder in the Sacramento Kings. O’Neil , in association , with a business associate, Mark Mastrov , founder of the health-club gym chain, 24 Hour Fitness, have purchased a 5% stake in the NBA franchise . The deal was with the full approval of team owner Vivek Ranadive , who seems to be of the belief , that the best way to bring back some pizzazz to the downtrodden franchise, would be to add some “star power ” to the ownership makeup of the organization. Perplexing as this may seem, it was not that long ago, that O’Neal described the Sacramento Kings as the “Sacramento Queens” . Unless I am mistaken, not much has changed in the subsequent seasons , since the former player made that infamous statement. The Kings have fallen on hard times, being uncompetitive, being financially mismanaged by former owners Joe and Gavin Maloof , and their siblings. Add to this whole menagerie of stupidity, was the over-inflated price paid ($535 million) for a franchise that is amongst the most poorly supported in the NBA. Yet, it has been under this sort of misleading and often surreptitious model that David Stern continues to paint the facade that the league and its teams are in the healthiest of conditions. All well and good, but it simply does not answer the question , as to the continued struggles of a number of small market teams and the financial imbalance created, with the unwillingness of the NBA hierarchy to adopt a hard salary cap.

Consider the fact, that a number of the teams within the NBA , repeatedly each season , seek to go over the league’s soft salary cap ($58.044 million) . At the same time, when posed the question , as to why a number of teams remain unprofitable , the commissioner has been quick to deflect those questions, by simply pointing to the fact of growing revenues for the NBA and an increasing presence in the global market , in terms the growing popularity of the game in Europe and the Far East. All well and good, but it simply does not answer the question , as to the continued struggles of a number of small market teams and the financial imbalance created, with the unwillingness of the NBA hierarchy to adopt a hard salary cap. I would like to think that the reason behind this , is the fact that the league believes that their current business template this all works to their advantage . Yet , I am more inclined to believe , that the union (NBPA) dictates and has the power to simply make the team owners and powers that be , simply cower in a corner , like a mouse about to be devoured by a hungry feline.

It is hard to imagine how a Kings’ team from this past season that finished with a 28-54 record within the Western Conference . A mark which was good enough for thirteenth place within the conference and only fourth place within the Pacific Division , can be considered remotely good enough to compete in the talent and offensive minded environment of the conference in question and where the King themselves were far from efficient in terms of defense . This is a team built around the somewhat mercurial talents and immature behavior of DeMarcus Cousins . Yet, the biggest issue for the Sacramento Kings is the very fact their head coach Michael Malone will be a first-year rookie , whose previous stop was the coach of Loyola Marymount University . Then you can add in the fact, that on the team’s roster itself , beyond Chuck Hayes, Travis Outlaw and John Salmons , no other member on this squad has more than six years’ experience of playing in the NBA as a professional . as an NBA player d with the Sacramento Kings, A fact which was also mirrored during the 2011-2012 NBA season. This upcoming season , what should fans of this franchise, really expect from a roster with such minimal experience?

A great deal is being asked of Michael Malone and his coaching staff for the upcoming season, something I do not believe that they are likely to fulfill , even with the added experience of Chris Mullin as a consultant to the front office led by GM Pete D’Alesandro . His experience alongside that of Mullin and even with the additional input of Shaquille O’Neal , is unlikely to prove fortuitous , immediately. The returns sought , may well come about in two to three years , if the fans can be patient enough, as the front office assesses the entire roster. To my mind , the Sacramento Kings is unlikely to become one of the first places a prized marquee free agent, is likely to seek out, to further their NBA ambitions. That was never the case over the past five seasons, and it is unlikely to be the case now . Destinations, such as, either one of the Los Angeles franchises ( Clippers , Lakers) , Oklahoma City , Miami , Houston , Chicago , Brooklyn , San Antonio , New York or Indiana would prove to be a far more appealing a destination , than the California state capitol to further one’s NBA career. Success has proven to be fleeting for the Sacramento Kings , and will prove to just as elusive now , even with the experience now gathered within the front office and the ownership group .

The NBA regular season will begin on October 29th, 2013 , with a slew of games . Yet for the vast array of fans, the season does not really get started until the Christmas week schedule comes into focus . The Kings will begin their schedule , with a home game against the Denver Nuggets at the Sleep Train Arena , in Sacramento , California. All eyes, will be focused on the Kings , as they embark upon a new chapter and era in their history. As to what the outcome is likely to , that remains to be seen , but for now , the real challenge is simply to savor the moment .

The death of former heavyweight champion boxer , Ken Norton at the age of seventy, brought back a deepening perspective of a bygone age within the sport . There are few champions , let alone great fighters from that era still alive today. Norton’s untimely passing, reminds us what is sorely lacking in the sport of boxing at present , and that is great fighters , willing to take on all-comers, simply to prove their greatness in the ring. Sadly, today’s fight game, it has become about the “ me mentality” and how much money , a fighter can now gross from one mega-title fight and with no respect for the sport itself , never-mind the ongoing incompetence of the ringside officials .

True fight fans can cling to their memories of the great world heavyweight title fights of seventies , eighties and early nineties. Unfortunately, that was not the case for Ken Norton , who some years ago suffered a near fatal crash, which brought severe head trauma and respiratory problems and a speech impediment for this once great fighter. A CAT scan of Norton’s brain , showed atrophy and severe damage to his brain tissue , brought on from years of pounding, taken to his head , undoubtedly brought on from his fight career . An illustrious career , that also saw three classic bouts with Muhammad Ali . Norton went toe to toe with some of the very best during the prime of his career, but his trilogy of bouts with Ali , are what he is best remembered for , and perhaps his now infamous love scene with British actress Susan George in the movie ‘ Mandingo ‘ . Let’s just say, Norton’s best years were definitely in the ring and not on celluloid, in a tawdry tale of slavery and masochistic sex .

Memories , fading over time for both Leon and Michael Spinks , with a rarely seen in public, Muhammad Ali. It is sad , that even with such legends as Larry Holmes and George Foreman still visible within our midst , the sport of boxing is still sinking into a morass of ambiguity and incompetence . Any suggestion that the likes of Oscar de La Hoya and his company, Golden Boy Promotions Inc , has brought back some semblance of dignity to the sport , has to be met with a great deal of ridicule and suspicion. De La Hoya has his own personal issues to deal with, beyond the fact that his company , has been a litigant in several cases , where the accusation of fraud and larceny, have been leveled against the former boxer and his promotion’s company. Needless to say, the promoter pleads innocent, to all of the allegations made against him and scoffs at the suggestion that his company has acted unprofessional.

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Picture gallery .

There were a number of interesting sports’ stories within the sports’ world this past weekend, but which event to your mind proved to be the most interesting in terms of its relevance ? Do leave a comment, as you see fit on this and anything else you believe relevant to the subject matter .

Picture and slideshow gallery details .
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(1) Gaby Sanchez , Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen celebrate the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 8-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs in a game played on Tuesday 24th September , 2013 ,2 at Wrigley Field in Chicago , Illinois . For the first time in just over two decades the Pirates will make their first post-season appearance , having gained one of the two available NL wild-card berths . AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast ….

(2) The Pirates’ Gerrit Cole heads to first , after hitting a two-run single off Chicago Cubs’ starting pitcher Chris Rusin , which in turn scored Gaby Sanchez and Pedro Alvarez during the second inning of the game played between the two NL Central teams on Tuesday 24th September , 2013 . AP Photo / Rex Arbogast …..

(3) Chicago Cubs’ GM Theo Epstein , foreground , is seen here with the team’s owner Tom Ricketts . Epstein who became the general manager of the Cubs in October 2011 , has presided over two years of mediocrity of an organization , that has not made a post-season appearance since 2008 , when the team went do the NLDS. This season the Chicago Cubs underperformed and will finish once again with a sub .500 record for the second consecutive season , of which the last time the ball-club had a winning season came in 2009. Getty Images / Jonathan Greene ……

(4) Players from the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate their shutout of their AL East rivals the New York Yankees , in a game played at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday 24th September , 2013. The victory inched the Rays closer to obtaining one of the two available wild-card berths within the American League (AL) . This victory has in essence placed New York pout of the wild-card race and whatever chance the team had of making the post-season but there remains two more games to be played of the current series between the two teams . In 2013 it has been the Tampa Rays who have had the upper hand in the regular season series between the two teams . It also casts doubt on the strength of this current Yankees’ lineup and heightens their vulnerabilities , showing them now to be a team on the decline. AP Photo / Kathy Willens ………

(5) Eric Decker (87) of the Denver Broncos tries to break the tackle of Brandian Ross (29) of the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High , in a game played on the September 23, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. Getty Images ? Doug Pensinger ….

(6) Left guard Zane Beadles (68) of the Denver Broncos and left tackle Chris Clark (75) of the Denver Broncos prepare to defend the blind side of quarterback Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos as they face the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 23, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 37-21 . Doug Pensinger /Getty Images …

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Shaquille O’Neal holds up a shirt with “Shaqramento” printed on it as he poses with Sacramento Kings majority owners Vivek Ranadive, left, and Mark Mastrov, in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. O’Neal was welcomed as a new minority owner of the Kings and promised to help restore the franchise to its winning ways and mentor to Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(8) Ken Norton , left, seen here facing Muhammad Ali in the third and final fight of their trilogy , which was fought at Yankee Stadium , in the Bronx , New York of September 1976. Norton felt he won the fight but it was given to Ali in a unanimous decision . AP Photo / archives …

(9) Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton exchange blows during their 1973 fight in San Diego, the first of their three bouts against one another. Ali would wind up losing a 12-round decision after Norton broke his jaw early in the fight. Neil Leifer/SI ….

(10) LAS VEGAS, NV – FEBRUARY 18: Former boxer Ken Norton arrives at the Keep Memory Alive foundation’s ‘Power of Love Gala’ celebrating Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena February 18, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event benefits the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Muhammad Ali Center. The former title-holder died earlier this month complications from heart failure and a respiratory condition . AP Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive …..

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tophatal ………. 09/24/2013

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Ah Those Lovable Scoundrels …….. !

Ah Those Lovable Scoundrels …….. !

It seems the depths of ineptitude continue for one of baseball’s great franchises in the Chicago Cubs . The ownership group led by Tom Ricketts sought to fire GM Jim Hendry after his seventeen years loyal service with the organization . Given the history of the players associated (Hall of Famers) with this organization many of whom have been enshrined in Cooperstown , at the Hall of Fame it has to be said that their fall from grace has been absolutely horrendous .

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I would hazard a guess that Tom Ricketts and the members of the family could no longer withstand the ridicule and the mere fact that the long faithful and loyal fans in attendance at Wrigley Field essentially had enough of the lackluster displays and the sheer ineptitude of the team and managerial staff . To say that this team has underachieved this season would be to suggest that Peyton Manning had an off-day at the office but that he’d been doing so repeatedly over the last decade. Highs and lows over the course their history , more lows than highs if anything but it has to be said that the Tom Ricketts had high hopes for the organization . And as we know the postseason hasn’t exactly been kind to the Chicago Cubs . There’s a saying …… “always the bridesmaid never the bride ” . In the case of the Cubs that hasn’t happened in over 100 years for this ballclub laying claim to the World Series .

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Chicago Cubs interim general manager Randy Bush talks to the media before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 21, 2011 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by David Banks/Getty Images …….

It’d be remiss to suggest that Jim Hendry might just be the worse front office executive in the game today but given the slim pickings in terms of the sheer ineptitude shown by the now defunct executive one might hazard a guess that Hendry’s name would be considered a worthy nomination. Cubs’ manager Mike Quade now has to endure a season of speculation as to whether not he’ll retain his job until the end of the year . And at this juncture no one can actually be sure of that , with no successor named to succeed Hendry , and no formal statement coming from the owners .

At this point it’s hard to say what the all consuming Chicago Cubs’ fan ought to expect from this organization . Certainly , ever since Tom Ricketts assumed control of this team having purchased the organization that had been placed into bankruptcy proceedings by then multi billionaire mogul Sam Zell . I am not about to suggest that Zell gave up on this organization by jettisoning the ball-club but you simply get the impression that the “curse of the goat” simply remains in tact. No amount of refurbishment to Wrigley Field can offset the ineptitude shown on the diamond by this team . What glimmer of hope there might have been, has been few , if at all ! Certainly from the future standpoint of the club everything points to the future as the moves made by front office and the draft choices made. The bright spots also are the prospects within the organization and its farm system where there appears to a number of players looking to contribute for the Chicago Cubs .

As we have all come to know injuries will play a part in team’s season and how the players they simply chooses to acquit themselves . There seems to be no real leadership coming from the veterans on this team and for the likes of Alfonso Soriano , Carlos Pena , Geovany Soto , Kerry Wood and Starlin Castro have offered little hope if anything to show the fans there’s imminent hope that things are about to make an immediate turnaround .

There are few teams within the game of baseball that in terms of attendance that can consistently draw in excess of 2,500,000 fans each season and the Chicago Cubs just happens to be one of those teams . Considered a big market team with a storied history , loyal supporters and litany of devoted followers nationwide it is extremely hard to see how a ball-club can seemingly remain in such an abyss of mediocrity. But herein , lies the drama and ever evolving cycle that encapsulates what the Chicago Cubs seems to be about.

The now infamous Steve Bartman ‘incident’ and his confrontation with Moises Alou over a fly ball in a postseason game played between the Cubs and Florida Marlins will go down in Chicago Cubs’ folklore. If ever there were a time to sympathize with the ball-club then that might have been it. Bartman was vilified not only by the fans , the city of Chicago but also the team’s broadcasters who covered the game.

Tom Ricketts may seek to promote from within in terms of a successor to Jim Hendry or they may well seek to go outside that comfortability zone and bring in someone with the experience they seek in terms of a front office executive. The opportunity is there for the right candidate but the speculation remains as to when a decision will be forthcoming from the ownership group.

One of the major fallouts from the whole unsavory episode now surrounding the University of Miami and its now soured athletics program could well be the form of punishment imposed on the school by the NCAA . Mark Emmert as president of collegiate athletics’ governing body that upon the finality of its investigations into the claims made by the now disgraced Canes’ booster Nevin Shapiro , who is now serving a multi year sentence in a federal penitentiary will make a decision as to what punishment he feel is appropriate to be levied against the university. Watching all of this closely will be USC Trojans’ athletics director Pat Haden with the school having been severely punished in light of school’s own problematic program _____ in particular the football program and the allegations surrounding former player Reggie Bush .

Donna Shalala , Shawn Eichorst and David Reed in conjunction with Hurricanes’ football coach Al Golden have all tried to suggest that the school still has a great deal of integrity and that the students have been the embodiment of what character is all about. But such has been the systemic violations and the mere fact that the aforementioned quartet closely aligned themselves with one of the school’s major boosters in Nevin Shapiro , that it is hard to believe any statement uttered by Shalala and her subordinates.

Pat Haden having succeeded Mike Garrett will watch with a great deal of interest as to the form of punishment that is meted out to the university of Miami. Clearly with the sanctions placed upon USC , with the school having to vacate a championship season , multiple student athlete scholarships and postseason appearances _____ anything short of that as a form of action levied against the Canes’ program will be viewed as being biased . What might be even more suspect as this situation unfolds is that Paul Dee a former athletics director of the University of Miami now chairs NCAA’s Infractions Committee . My own opinion , is that Dee will have to recuse himself if a decision has to be made over a program that he was once an administrator of , as by perception alone , the appearance of a conflict of interest comes into being. Haden would have a valid point in appealing any ruling that Paul Dee is a part of , in rendering a decision that imposes any sanction that is viewed to be somewhat light in terms of its severity.

I am not about to suggest that the NCAA isn’t above some type surreptitious activity , given the inconsistency shown in the forms of punishment levied against certain programs. But herein lies my biggest concern , if the NCAA shows its unwillingness to punish the school with impunity then what does that say about that institutional body as a whole ? Mark Emmert and the institution he presides over (NCAA) not only has a credibility problem but also an image problem that certainly needs to be addressed. It’s one thing to suggest changes that he would like to see but at this moment in time the NCAA president has done little to suggest that he is indeed a man of action. Instead he seems to be ready foist upon the public meaningless and asinine sound bytes merely to curry favor with the public at large .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

With the firing of Cubs’ general manager Jim Hendry where do you now see the ownership going in terms of a successor and do you view Mike Quade’s job as still being safe at this juncture ? Also how do you team’s season panning out over the remainder of the year ? Do you also feel that any that Pat Haden will be justified in lodging an appeal should Paul Dee preside over any deliberations as it concerns the punishment that may well be levied against the University of Miami ? Simply leave a comment on the points raised as you deem fit .

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

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Picture and slide show details

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(1) St. Louis Cardinals’ Yadier Molina, left, and Fernando Salas celebrate the Cardinals 6-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs after a baseball game on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/Jim Prisching …..

(2) Chicago Cubs’ catcher Geovany Soto, left, looks on as the St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols celebrates his solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/Jim Prisching ………

(3) Chicago Cubs interim general manager Randy Bush talks to the media before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 21, 2011 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by David Banks/Getty Images …….

(4) Hendry (left) is seen here alongside Tom Ricketts whose family are the primary owners of the Chicago Cubs . Ricketts wealth came from the online stock trading company Ameritrade founded by his father patriarch J. Joseph Ricketts . The company now known as TD Ameritrade Inc. . Ricketts is also the CEO of Chicago financial concern Incapital LLC . He plays an active concern in both companies as well as the day to day operations of the Chicago Cubs of which each of his siblings are also involved with the organization in various capacities . AP Photo/ Matthew Barnhart ……

(5) Hendry ,left is seen here alongside now incumbent manager Mike Quade , center and Tom Ricketts , owner of the Chicago Cubs. There is now mounting speculation as to whether or not Quade will be retained by the club beyond this season . Interim general manager Randy Bush hasn’t indicated what the organization’s plans are other than to suggest the Mike Quade remains the team’s manager for the moment. AP Photo/ Rich Howard ….

(6) Donna Shalala right is seen here alongside former Miami booster and now incarcerated felon Nevin Shapiro (center) . Shalala has tried to distance herself and the school’s athletics department staff from all of the perceived wrongdoings concerning Shapiro and his claims. Courtesy of Miami Herald .

(7) Paul Dee (background-far left) is seen here with Donna Shalala . Dee , now the chairman of the NCAA’s Infractions Committee would have to preside over the hearings concerning the University of Miami’s alleged improprieties . However, in lieu of this Pat Haden the AD of USC is questioning the impartiality that can be shown as Paul Dee once served as the athletics director of the Miami Hurricanes’ program . ……….. AP /Getty Images / Humberto Cruz …..

(8) Pat Haden the current AD of USC having succeeded Mike Garrett . He has been entrusted to clean up the school’s tarnished image in light of the violations and subsequent punishment meted out by the NCAA. The USC Trojans’ AD has made it public that he will be closely scrutinizing actions of the NCAA and how they treat the University of Miami in light of the allegations and any sanctions levied against the school. Also coming into question as broached by Haden will be the fact that Paul Dee as chairman of the Infractions Committee will preside over the hearings concerning the school . One has to bear in mind that Dee served as a former athletics director of the Canes’ program as well as teaching law at the school. AP Photo / Mitch Marshall ……..

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Sports Stories That Simply Aren’t Worth Reporting But Somehow They’re Out There

Sports Stories That Simply Aren’t Worth Reporting But Somehow They’re Out There

Minnesota Timberwolves’ coach Kurt Rambis is said to be aggrieved as to the uncertainty concerning his impending future with the organization. Given his coaching record and the mere fact that the Timberwolves had another miserable season pretty much sums up what the front office’s thoughts may well be on the beleaguered coach . Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn surely know that with the upcoming NBA Draft due to take place on the 23rd June they can ill afford to any type of indecision on their part. They either retain the coach or relieve him of his duties and immediately start a search for his successor. Any indecsiveness on their part hurts the image of the franchise and shows complete ineptitude to the fans and across the NBA landscape in general .

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Things are difficult as it as already for the Minnesota Timberwolves without now further opening up themselves to ridicule concerning their coach and his job status. But then again the mindset within this organization can be easily summed up in two words …” woefully inept “.

Now don’t get me wrong I was happy to see the New York Knicks make the NBA postseason but the mere fact that their sojourn there lasted about as long as Usain Bolt would take to run a 100m race , essentially told you all that you needed to know about this team and such the organization. Team owner James Dolan is looking to extend the contract of GM Donnie Walsh the seventy four year old senior executive within the Knicks’ organization . If the rumors are to be believed Dolan wanted offer Walsh a two year contract extension as they seek to rebuild the basketball team . Donnie Walsh in spite of his undoubted NBA knowledge knows that in many ways he’s not getting any younger and at the same time his job placed him under a great deal of pressure allowing him very little time to be with his family. The general manager has told the owner that he will not be returning to the organization next season , choosing instead to relinquish his duties with the New York Knicks .

I certainly would have thought that the New York Knicks would be better prepared in terms of having a long term plan as to successor by having someone within their front office be tutored by Walsh since his original hiring by the organization. But somehow given the plethora of executives that make up board of the New York Knicks you simply knew that sheer incompetency wouldn’t be far behind in terms of the decision making that the organization has come to be known for. If Hank Ratner or any other of his peers aren’t capable of assuming Walsh’s role , then I would hate to think that Knicks would be idiotic enough to rehire Isiah Thomas to a position he once held within the organization. There is no way in hell that the Knicks would consider rehiring their former VP & Head of Basketball Operations , albeit , that Thomas stated that he has no interest in rejoining the organization but then again we are talking about the New York Knicks .

Cyclist Lance Armstrong the seven time winner of the Tour de France continues to maintain his innocence concerning the latest admissions by Armstrong’s former teammates Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie former teammates members on the Radio Shack team ran team manager by Johan Bruyneel . The ongoing cause-de-celebre concerning concerning Armstrong’s innocence , the fact both Hamilton’s and Hincapie’s evidence was sworn testimony under oath given to law officials of the Justice Department . It would be simply idiotic to think that either cyclist would choose to perjure themselves knowing well that a federal sentence would await them courtesy of the Bureau of Prisons within the federal penitentiary system. In the advent of this all Armstrong seeks an apology from CBS News and in particular from the producers of the broadcast outlets news magazine program ’60 Minutes’. Anyone who witnessed the in depth segment on Tyler Hamilton and in particular his allegations concerning his former teammate would be hard pressed not to believe that allegations made by Hamilton . If nothing else Armstrong who has been adding to defense with a legion of of defense attorneys in pursuant of the Justice Department’s decision to seek the indictment of Armstrong for the illegal use of use steroids in particular EPO and several other known illicit substances .

From my own perspective cycling may well be the most corrupt sport on the landscape and the mere fact that UCI the international governing body for cycling has been literally all too slow in seeking to clean up its sport. L’Equipe which oversees the Tour de France has been less reluctant to actually come forward and say that they have not done enough to make this sport more appealing and its image above reproach . Instead L’Equipe’s greatest wish has been simply to make millions of dollars through the event with the broadcast rights of the Tour across the globe. My own wish would be to see the IOC the governing body of the Summer Olympics to simply suspend the sport from the Olympics until UCI has a strict and comprehensive drug policy in place . It would not be too much to ask but the idiocy within the sport of cycling does leave a great deal to be desired ! It has been all talk and with two of the sport’s most visible faces having been embroiled in drug controversy only a complete idiot would take this sport seriously and think that it has something tangible to offer !

Clearly anyone who believes that the Chicago Cubs’ fortunes are about to change hasn’t been watching this team play at all. I’m not saying that the curse of the goat still looms over Wrigley Field but at this juncture if a tornado were to hit that storied edfice the aftermath in terms of the destruction brought it would be a hell of a lot better than what the Cubs’ fans have been asked to endure since the start of the season . The NL Central where the Cubs reside along with the division leading St Louis Cardinals (33-24) whereas the Chicago Cubs have simply been mediocre . This team is on a three game losing streak and has lost seven of their last ten games during which manager Mike Quade and his coaching staff have tried to to the players playing with a great deal more resolve. GM Jim Hendry along with the ownership group headed by the Ricketts’ family has simply tried to instill a sense of purpose of and an eagerness to win . The long terms of efforts can’t go unrecognized with regard to the refurbishment of Wrigley Field in order to make the venue fan friendly. But that in of itself won’t be enough as the organization seeks its World Series title in over a century . Simply put the years of mediocrity that the fans may well have thought long gone still seem to be alive and present. .

So the so called saga concerning Alex Rodriguez’s stance that he simply abused the league’s steroid policy through sheer naivete` and the fact that he and his cousin Yuri Sucart were simply looking to get an edge no longer seems to make any sense . In the aftermath of his admission and apology to the league hierarchy and the New York Yankees still hasn’t stopped the player from associating with his cousin after Rodriguez having been advised not to associate communicate with Sucart on the Yankees’ property or any baseball facility during the season . It would appear that the requests are lost on Alex Rodriguez with there now being evidence to suggest that the player and Sucart have been seen together at the St Regis Hotel in San Francisco prior to a recent game played against the Oakland Athletics at the A’s ballpark . What might be even more unpalatable is the very fact that Sucart has accompanied Rodriguez to several games this season with the player knowing full well that he has been advised by senior executives within the Yankees’ hierarchy not to associate with his cousin.

If one remembers Rodriguez’s apology suggested that he and Yuri Sucart were merely experimenting with the use of steroids and the regimen followed was he says… so ill disciplined that it’s hard to take the player at his word when it has come to light that his name has come up repeatedly , in conjunction with the indictment of Orlando medical professional Dr Anthony Galea . The doctor is now awaiting trial with regard to the sale and transportation of illicit narcotics and steroids across international borders . The Justice Department having arraigned and indicted Galea ____ they are now seeking assistance from the medical professional in seeking the indictment of other subjects to whom he supplied steroids and other illicit substances. Many of the individuals that Anthony Galea is said to have supplied are a professional athletes in MLB , NBA , NFL and NHL and college athletes . If that isn’t now a cause for concern given the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig is still of the belief that the game now has the strictest testing policy in all professional sports , one has to ask what they will now do in light of these latest allegations concerning Alex Rodriguez. And with the player being less than forthright when asked about his name being associated with Galea and his cousin Yuri Sucart can we really now expect anything form of action by the league ? Rob Manfred a senior league official and Head for VP of Player Relations has spoken directly within the New York Yankees concerning Rodriguez’s association with his cousin. If this is what the league believes to be the appropriate action I firmly believe that the league has no idea as to what it takes to stem the flow of the illicit use of PED’s within the game , with players now flouting clear instructions makes a mockery their edicts . Is it any wonder that Manny Ramirez having failed a second drug test was allowed to walk away without any form of punishment levied against him by the league ? That is the complete asinine stance that MLB has with regard to its stance when players flout the rules . As for MLBPA and their Executive Director Michael Weiner and his response to what is now an acute issue that even the league and union have failed to really address .

In the wake of the Jim Tressel fiasco we are now learning that the quarterback for the football team Terrelle Pryor had been driving on a suspended license . What is now coming to light concerning this also is the very fact that the player who drives a 2011 Nissan 350Z which we have been informed was purchased by his mother Thomasina Pryor as a trade in . In light of that however since Pryor’s entrance to Ohio State he has been driving around in a number of vehicles for which there is no substantive evidence that would suggest he owned the vehicles in question or that they were leased by the player. The longer this saga has gone on the more idiotic both university President E Gordon Gee and the AD Gene Smith appear to be in light of their actions and what we now know Tressel had suppressed from his superiors . As the investigation went on both Gee and Smith stood behind their actions of a mere suspension and monetary fine of the coach knowing full well that were other far more serious allegations that had already come to light. Now with Pryor now subject of the school’s own internal investigation we’re now finding out that the NCAA is prepared to conduct their own separate investigation into the player and these latest allegations. And one wonders how corrupt collegiate sports is now said to be ? Why not simply allow the players to be paid, gamble on their games and have done with it ? It is becoming abundantly clear that collegiate athletics no longer can be taken seriously on any level at all !

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Picture gallery for your approval. By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it is gratefully appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 13: Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Houston Rockets during a game on April 13, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves’ front office is said to be undecided as to whether or the coach will be retained for the upcoming season. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(2) David Kahn seated right alongside Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. Kahn recently assumed the mantel of being the team’s GM as well as Head of Basketball Operations. He’s also keep the title of President of the Timberwolves’ organizational structure. Besides having to deal with the Rubio situation Kahn also will be in search of a new coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Richard Clarke-Patterson ………

(3) GM Donnie Walsh (seated left) is seen here alongside Knicks’ team owner James Dolan . Walsh has declined the team’s offer for a two year contract extension deciding instead to be with his family , retiring from the NBA having been involved in the sport for over four decades. AP Photo/ Chris Young ….

(4) Lance Armstrong of the USA, riding for Team Astana, speaks with Astana team director Johan Bruyneel before the start of stage six of the 2009 Tour Down Under January 25, 2009 in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ….

(5) Tyler Hamilton seen here during his interview with 60 Minutes’ correspondent Scott Pelley reiterates his position that former teammate Lance Armstrong knowingly took EPO amongst other illicit banned substances during competition. Courtesy of CBS News/Getty Images …

(6) Aramis Ramirez (16) of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-RBI double against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 5, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Cubs 3-2 in 10 innings. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

(7) Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry is seen here with Alfonso Soriano as the player is formally introduced to the convened press . AP Photo/ Tonny Todd ….

(8) Cubs’ manager Mike Quade all smiles for the moment but for how long ? His job isn’t yet imperiled but who knows should the <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/team/roster_active.jsp?c_id=chc&quot;. team continue to lose without any real effort on the part of the players ? Getty Images / Keith Stoddart …….

(9) Yuri Sucart , cousin of Yankees’ slugger Alex Rodriguez and whose name has once again been associated with the player in spite of the warnings issued to the player and New York Yankees’ organization. Both Rodriguez and Yucart were seen together in public at the St Regis Hotel and then again at the A’s ballpark . It would appear that the player has failed to heed the requests of MLB as well as the New York Yankees in not associating with his relative . The player who in his admission to the use of steroids stated that he was supplied with the prohibited substances by Yuri Sucart . AP/Getty Images / Rafael T Aguillar ……

(10) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 5: the New York Yankees the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 5, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The Yankees won 5-3 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(11) In this photo taken Monday, May 30, 2011, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives for a players only meeting at the Woody Hayes Complex in Columbus, Ohio. Pryor, the highest profile recruit of former coach Jim Tressel’s 25-year coaching career, is one of five Buckeyes who have already been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for taking money and tattoos from local tattoo-parlor owner Edward Rife, who pleaded guilty last week to federal drug trafficking and money-laundering charges. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam …

(12) Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives in this Nissan 350Z, center, to a players only meeting Monday, May 30, 2011, at the Woody Hayes Complex, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ……..

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Finally An Act of Rationale By MLB And In Particular Bud Selig Who Shows That He Might Indeed Have A Backbone

Finally An Act of Rationale By MLB And In Particular Bud Selig Who Shows That He Might Indeed Have A Backbone

I’ve read with a great deal of glee where the MLB —- hierarchy has now chosen to intervene and take over the day to day running of the operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers and not a moment too soon ! Given the financial situation of the organization and wherein the league hierarchy under MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has sat idly by as Frank McCourt has brought the organization to the brink of bankruptcy . In the last eighteen months two major ballclubs have been placed within the bankruptcy in order that they may have a stay from their creditors while being able to reorganize themselves . First off were the Chicago Cubs whose previous owner billionaire commercial real estate developer Sam Zell placed the team into bankruptcy protection in order to stave off creditors of the Cubs’ parent company (The Tribune Group) at the time going after the team to make the debt payments due. And while this maneuver worked it did cause and cost the company financially a great deal of bad PR that it could have well done without. But what might be even more gave glaring, it gave further credence as to the fact how dire the financial situation was for a number of teams around Major League Baseball .

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Courtesy of MLB.com

Selig to Appoint a rep to oversee Dodgers

By Ken Gurnick , MLB.com

LOS ANGELES — Major League Baseball has taken over operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Commissioner Bud Selig announced Wednesday.

“Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club,” Selig said in a statement.

“I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt’s ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days.

“The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future.”

McCourt issued a brief statement late Wednesday night that read: “Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow. The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines. On this basis, it is hard to understand the Commissioner’s action today.”

In an e-mail message sent to Dodgers employees on Wednesday, McCourt said, “In light of the Commissioner’s announcement today, I ask that you please continue to conduct business as usual with our complete dedication to the game and our loyal fans. Each of you has represented this organization with class, and while this is no doubt a challenging time for all of us, I truly appreciate your efforts.”

McCourt, owner and chairman of the Dodgers, bought the club from News Corp. on Jan. 29, 2004, and the club reached the postseason in four of his seven seasons as owner.

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If one of most renowned teams in baseball has to be forced into bankruptcy through the financial mismanagement of its parent company then what must that forebear for other organizations around the league at the time ? Given the Cubs’ history and perceived financial resources as it was believed to be , this was nothing more than a shot across the bow of the teams who faced much starker situations but who’ve yet to make it known to the public. I’ve heard it said that the hierarchy of the league wouldn’t be prepared to contract teams but that it is utter stupidity by anyone who believes that it can’t , or won’t happen. If it is the league’s wish then it will happen especially in the light of the economic uncertainty and the whole financial mismanagement of teams around the league at present. With the Cubs having been reorganized whilst in bankruptcy protection it was bought by Tom Ricketts and his family (founders of online stock trading company TD Ameritrade) for an unprecedented $ 850 million . Paring down costs to an extent while still trying to remain competitive has been of the highest order for the Ricketts as they seek to make the Chicago Cubs relevant again within the league .

The second such team , with which bankruptcy was forced upon them, were the Texas Rangers who at the time were jointly owned by Texas multi millionaires Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette . Their combined worth an estimated $2.5 billion but somehow they couldn’t make this organization a viable going concern , from a financial or competitive standpoint but yet somehow through their idiocy they managed to offer Alex Rodriguez what was at the time the richest contract in professional sports , a ten year $250 million contract . Rodriguez barely lasted three years with the organization although he managed to win AL MVP award with the Rangers . I can only surmise that Scott Boras as A Rod’s agent at the time , proved what most people may well have known , that in the state of Texas not only are the businessmen dumb but they lack real business acumen also ! Once again through financial mismanagement by an ownership group another team was brought to near extinction and each time MLB Commissioner Bud Selig sat idly by . Having been forced into bankruptcy for failing to meet their financial obligations the team was bought by consortium led by Nolan Ryan and former Rangers’ executive Chuck Greenbeg . A much needed change in fortune has taken place for the Rangers both financially and competitively on and off the field of play but it doesn’t change the fact that the game’s hierarchy and team owners have been less than truthful as to their overall financial plight .

It’s becoming increasingly clear for all who care to take notice that the game isn’t as financially sound as Selig makes it out to be , nor are the owners being financially prudent and fiscally responsible. It’s not just about the economics of the game or the fact of the now overall plight of the economy at but all but the lack of financial oversight and sound business practices that is taking place in almost every aspect of the game. The GM’s around the league have become opulent and ostentatious and it would appear that the owners alike choose not to pare down their expenses but if anything in number of cases pass on those costs to fans through higher priced tickets and in the prices that they pay for concessions and memorabilia . Well now that fans in large part are refusing to meet those demands , it is now becoming clear that the owners and in particular the league hierarchy have seen the light . Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case for Frank McCourt and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office who’ve amassed a debt now close to $1.3 billion collectively and who this past month borrowed in excess of $30 million from the local Fox tv station affiliate in Los Angeles to meet the team’s budgetary expenses for the month. Need one ask what would have happened had the MLB hierarchy chosen not to intervene and bring some sanity back within that organization ? Because clearly the likes of McCourt , GM Ned Colletti and Tommy LaSorda have lost their frigging minds if they think that they can continue to exist in such a way while trying to play down their financial plight !

And although it has been reported that McCourt will seek legal action in US Federal Court to stop the league from intervening and taking over the day to day running of the Los Angeles Dodgers I think that given his recent lack of success in the courtroom and the the financial maelstrom that he has brought within the organization , I find it hard to believe that any presiding judge hearing hearing this case would in fact choose to side with the plaintiff ! If anything the judge might be more likely to side with the defendant in the case given the severe financial problems that McCourt and his fellow executives have placed the organization in.

Now while all of this plays out as a comedic and public spectacle there are also calls for the O’Malley family to once again assume control of the Los Angeles Dodgers . As the previous owners of the ballclub I certainly don’t think that they would want to re-enter the fray of owning the organization once again, on any level, be it for the long term , or short term merely as a custodian ! If anything this situation is best left in the hands of Selig , the hierarchy under his authority . If anything it’d open up his eyes and that of the owners now knowing as such that they could be on the hook for the organization’s debt and mismanagement . One thing I do know, it’s highly unlikely that the Dodgers’ creditors would be liable to write off the vast majority of that cumulative debt as it presently stands as they too have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders and board members . Obviously that’s something that McCourt and his fellow executives didn’t take into account in terms of their own fiduciary responsibilities as it relates to their own consortium of partners in the Dodgers’ ownership. Living big and spending big doesn’t guarantee success if you simply don’t know what the hell you’re doing to begin with !

It’s certainly funny that given the Dodgers’ plight and that of the New York Mets who have their own vast problems from a financial and competitive standpoint but this might be one of the rare times that Bud Selig has chosen to show publicly that he indeed has a backbone ! God knows that this man has cowered his way under pressure and has acted oblivious to many of the problems that he has either created within the game through lax oversight or showing his complete naivete’ ! One only has to look at his handling of the steroid issue and the fact that he was absolutely powerless because he chose to be confrontational not only with the MLBPA but also with the Congress and in particular with two of its most powerful legislative bodies in the House Government & Oversight Reform Committee as Senate Judiciary Committee . You piss off the hand that feeds you in terms of providing you with your sole reason to exist throught antitrust exemption , you often in the end tend to make even more enemies than you actually want or need . Something that not even Selig would now care to openly admit to at this juncture .

Courtesy of The New York Times

Madoff Profits Fueled Mets’ Empire, Lawsuit Says

By Alison Leigh Cowan & Richard Sandomir

A lawsuit brought by the trustee for the victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme contends that the owners of the Mets used the profits from their years of investing with Mr. Madoff to enhance their personal fortunes, enrich a number of family trusts and financially fuel their array of businesses — all in the face of repeated warnings that Mr. Madoff’s investment firm might have been a fraud.

The lawsuit, unsealed in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan on Friday, says the owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , their families and their businesses “made so much easy money from Madoff for so long” that despite the many warnings — from within their own inner circle, and by other investors and financial institutions — they “chose to simply look the other way.”

“There are thousands of victims of Madoff’s massive fraud,” the lawsuit states. “But Saul Katz is not one of them. Neither is Fred Wilpon.”

Since Mr. Madoff’s arrest in December 2008, Mr. Wilpon has portrayed himself as a victim of the fraud, one he conceded was carried out by a man who had been his friend for many years. On Friday, in a personal statement and through their lawyers, Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz decried the trustee’s legal assault.

“The trustee’s lawsuit is an outrageous ‘strong arm’ effort to try to force a settlement by threatening to ruin our reputations and businesses, which we have built for over 50 years,” Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz said.

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If ever there was a cautionary tale to be learned as to the world of sports and how the excess of greed can turn a once beloved spectacle into a crevasse of bungling ineptitude then Major League Baseball would be it. From the cheating , lying and bungling ineptitude of the owners , players , union and the hierarchy itself and their overall unwillingness to act in a proactive manner whenever there is a real problem within their midst. Instead they each tend to act as if there’s nothing wrong at all , until it’s all too late and by then the damage done tend to be irreparable . And when I say damage done it’s not only to the game in terms of its competitiveness , financial stability but also to its very own image and the fact that the vast majority of the fans can and do no longer trust what the game says it stands for or the very people who are entrusted to oversee and maintain its very existence and livelihood .

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Do you feel that the intervention now undertaken by Bud Selig and the league hierarchy will ensure the Los Angeles Dodgers’ long term existence and livelihood. Or do you feel that the Dodgers ought to have been left to their own devices and let them sink or swim dependent upon what they chose to do in order to survive ? And do you believe that in the long term contraction within the game will become more likely in light of the financial problems that are now coming to light concerning a number of teams within the game of baseball ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter and as usual thanks for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) MLB commissioner Bud Selig (left) watches the 81st MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 13, 2010 in Anaheim, California. Getty Images North America / Michael Buckner ……

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt (R) greets Don Newcombe, former Brooklyn Dodgers teammate of Jackie Robinson, before the game with the St. Louis Cardinals as Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Stephen Dunn ……..

(3) Cubs GM Jim Hendry (left) is seen here alongside team owner Tom Ricketts at the team’s headquarters at Wrigley Field , Chicago , Illinois , speaking to the convened press . AP Photo / Tom Scott ….

(4) Nolan Ryan team President & lead managing partner of the Texas Rangers is seen here with Chuck Greenberg a former executive with the Texas Rangers . Greenberg a respected sports attorney and agent abruptly left the Rangers’ organization earlier , this year. Dallas Morning News / Michael Ainsworth ……

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

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Not Quite The Silly Season In Sports But It’s Still Early Days As Of Yet ……………..

We all know how that at the end of the regular season on the PGA Tour , the sport has its anomaly of post-season events . Wherein, the players can supplement their on Tour earnings with even more astronomical sums in terms of unofficial prize money. Never mind the fact that Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has extended the calendar on The Tour , whereby a number of events were move beyond the end of the official regular season but the winnings attained there wouldn’t count on a player’s official prize money earnings. This part of the season is known as the ‘silly season’ . The same is true of for all of the four major sports.

Not Quite The Silly Season In Sports But It’s Still Early Days As Of Yet ……………..

We all know how that at the end of the regular season on the PGA Tour , the sport has its anomaly of post-season events . Wherein, the players can supplement their on Tour earnings with even more astronomical sums in terms of unofficial prize money. Never mind the fact that Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has extended the calendar on The Tour , whereby a number of events were move beyond the end of the official regular season but the winnings attained there wouldn’t count on a player’s official prize money earnings. This part of the season is known as the ‘silly season’ . The same is true of for all of the four major sports.

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s steroids proposal, made to the union last month, calls for a 50-game ban for first offenders, a 100-game penalty for second offenders and a lifetime ban for a third positive test.
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s steroids proposal, made to the union last month, calls for a 50-game ban for first offenders, a 100-game penalty for second offenders and a lifetime ban for a third positive test. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Adam Roundtree .......

Well low and behold , despite the pontificating by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , his asinine and inane attempts to suggest that there were no tried , tested and reliable methods in testing for HGH (human growth hormone) . Somehow , it has come about whereby there is irrefutable evidence that there is a test that is 100 % full-proof. So much for the blithering idiot and the MLB hierarchy that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty first century when it came to adopting an internationally recognized drug testing policy. Is the hierarchy of major league baseball that archaic ? Or is it being ran by a bunch of simpletons ?

Courtesy of The New York Daily News

British professional rugby player Terry Newton tests positive for HGH as MLB on deck for testing

By Michael O’Keeffe and Christian Red , Daily News Sports Writers

The argument by Major League Baseball that no reliable test for human growth hormone exists took a major hit Monday.

Both the United Kingdom Anti-Doping agency (UKAD) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) trumpeted the positive HGH test of British professional rugby player Terry Newton as “proof positive” that the drug can be detected in blood tests. Newton, who was tested in November, did not contest the result and yesterday was banned from the sport for two years by UKAD. Newton’s rugby club, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, also canceled his contract. Newton is believed to be the first case of a professional athlete testing positive for HGH using a blood sample.

Baseball has banned growth hormone since 2005, but there is still no HGH testing. Travis Tygart, USADA’s chief executive, Monday blasted baseball’s argument that an effective HGH test is unavailable.

“All of us who have helped develop a test wouldn’t put it in place if it wasn’t forensically sound and reliable.” Tygart told the Daily News. “Particularly in (Newton’s) case, it’s proof positive the test works.”

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With the ‘positive test’ of British rugby league player , Terry Newton , further proves how far and out of touch major league baseball really is with regard to the ongoing medical advances that there are in the meticulous testing of athletes for prohibitive substances. Not that it would really matter to baseball under Selig’s tenure as commissioner. He still believes to this day, that the sport has the most rigorous and meticulous testing policy in all of professional sports. As well as meting out the stiffest penalties available. If I hadn’t realize that he was being serious, I wouldn’t continue to ridicule this oaf ! His mendacity would suggest that he hasn’t the faintest idea as to what the hell he’s talking about. If anything , the ‘Mitchell Report’ and its finding further clarifies that ! God knows, the game itself , still has its problems but Selig’s handling of the issue and the undue intransigence of the MLBPA (union) has only further exacerbated and compounded an already grave situation.

Well what do you know ? A number of teams around the NFL have begun to either place the ‘franchise tag’ on their unrestricted free agents or in some cases, they’ve actually ‘cut’ players whom they feel are no longer of much use to their organizations. It’s business and the ‘nature of the beast’. Nothing in the game of football is guaranteed , other than a signing bonus and the ancillary incentives reached by a player once they attain those objectives. Could some please remind Jeff Garcia why it was that he and former Buccaneers’ coach Jon Gruden had a parting of the ways ? Honesty seems to be something that Gruden was short on , during his professional career as an NFL coach. But that asides , he got the job done.

Carolina Panthers' Julius Peppers saluting fans as he walks off the field after the Panthers' <strong> 23-10 </strong>win over the New Orleans Saints in an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have decided the price is too steep to keep their all-time sacks leader. It means five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers is about to become one of the top prizes in free agency.  Agent Carl Carey says the Panthers have told him they won't place the restrictive franchise tag on Peppers for a second consecutive year at a cost of more than $20 million.  The move Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010,  comes two days before the tag deadline.  photo appears courtesy  of Associated  Press/ Rick Havner  ......
Carolina Panthers' Julius Peppers saluting fans as he walks off the field after the Panthers' 23-10 win over the New Orleans Saints in an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have decided the price is too steep to keep their all-time sacks leader. It means five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers is about to become one of the top prizes in free agency. Agent Carl Carey says the Panthers have told him they won't place the restrictive franchise tag on Peppers for a second consecutive year at a cost of more than $20 million. The move Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, comes two days before the tag deadline. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Rick Havner ......

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Eagles release RB Westbrook after 8 seasons

By Dan Gelston , AP Sports Writer

Philadelphia (AP)—Brian Westbrook(notes) could break open a game from almost anywhere on the field.

Lined up in the slot, he could run a slant, beat a linebacker and take off with no one able to catch No. 36. His defining moment with the Philadelphia Eagles came on an 84-yard punt return that stunned the New York Giants in 2003.

Out of the backfield, he was a 1,000-yard rusher who always kept defenses guessing—and flailing.

But in his later years, it was injuries that defined Westbrook more than his dynamic offensive skills. His age, salary and lengthy list of beaten body parts led the Eagles to release him Tuesday and save the team $7.5 million due next year.

“I think we all know that Brian is one of the all-time great Philadelphia Eagles,” coach Andy Reid said. “For what we’ve done here over the years, Brian has been just a huge part of building this program to the level that we’re at now. My heart will always be a Brian Westbrook fan as we go forward here.”

A former All-Pro, the 5-foot-10 Westbrook led the league in yards from scrimmage in 2007 with 2,104. He rushed for 1,333 yards and accounted 12 touchdowns that season.

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Chargers’ GM A. J. Smith made the decision to cut their Pro Bowl running back, LaDainian Tomlinson . The same maneuver has since been followed with Philadelphia Eagles’ running back Brian Westbrook being cut by the team’s GM Joe Banner. Do you seen an emerging pattern here ? Once you’re deemed ‘over the hill’, then that’s it ……’you’re out’.

It’s been often said , that once the San Francisco 49ers saw fit to release their ‘storied quarterback’, Joe Montana , the ‘game’ had essentially ‘lost its soul’. Whether or not that it is indeed true, I’ll leave that up to you, to decide ! And though it’s no longer all that disturbing , there’s still something of a tinge of sadness when this all happens to a much beloved and well respected player.

The NFC South’s Carolina Panthers now face a daunting task , as to whether or not it is still prudent to re-sign Julius Peppers. The Pro Bowl defensive end , last season was a franchise tagged player, who was the league’s highest paid player with a salary of $16.9 million for 2009. Coach Jon Fox would no doubt like to retain the player but at what cost to their bottom line ? Never mind the fact that the needs on this Panthers’ roster goes way beyond trying to persuade Peppers to remain with the team but at a lower salary. Somehow , neither Peppers or his agent are liable to acquiesce and listen to such a request from the Panthers' front office and their general manager , Marty Hurney . There’ll no doubt be a number of teams that are liable to show an interest in the player and who will be quite prepared to meet or surpass his asking price.

Courtesy of NFL.com

Sweet home Chicago for Peppers, Kampman? DEs coveted by Bears

By Jason La Canafora of NFL.com

The Chicago Bears are gearing up for a major run at Julius Peppers, a league source said Tuesday, and Aaron Kampman also is an option for a team that’s intent on landing a pass-rushing defensive end this offseason.

Peppers, who will not receive the Carolina Panthers’ franchise tag, is the Bears’ prime target. However, Peppers will not come cheap — he was seeking around $40 million guaranteed from the Panthers. The Bears traditionally are a frugal team, but in this limited free-agent market, they are prepared to jump into the sweepstakes for Peppers, who had 81 sacks in eight seasons with the Panthers.

Kampman, who struggled to switch from end to linebacker in the Green Bay Packers’ new 3-4 defense, also is someone the Bears are high on, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The Bears know Kampman well from their intense NFC North rivalry games against the Packers.

Chicago’s defense ranked 17th in the NFL last season, and coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo need improvement to ease questions about their job security. After mulling whether or not to part with higher-priced defensive veterans such as linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs and tackle Tommie Harris, Bears management has decided to keep that core together and try to add playmakers through free agency.

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Well a number of my blogging buddies , namely, chappy 81 and sportschump , have been telling me, ne’ persuading me , that the likes of the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic are still legitimate contenders for the NBA title. The veracity of a case can still be made for the Magic , as they’re still the reigning Eastern Conference champions within the NBA. With regard to the Mavericks and their stellar play this season under the guidance of coach, Rick Carlisle . For chappy , I mention these words ‘…..does the meaning swoon in June resonate with you at all ? Because for all sense and purpose that is it what we’ve become use to seeing from the Mavericks over the past few seasons. This team led by Dirk Nowitzki is very, very good, during the regular season . But far too often , once the postseason season comes around they become something of a tease. They’ll lure you in with the belief that this is to be their year , whereby they will fully acquit themselves. But it as I’ve suggested all too often , comes that swoon. And then that obligatory tailspin comes into being. Being a passenger on the Titanic might prove to be much more fortuitous than being a fan of the Mavericks.

Mike Dunleavy (#17) of the Indiana Pacers goes up for the lay up against Brendan Haywood (#33) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on February 22, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo  appears  courtesy  of  NBAE/ Getty  Images/  Glenn  James  ...................
Mike Dunleavy (#17) of the Indiana Pacers goes up for the lay up against Brendan Haywood (#33) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on February 22, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Glenn James ...................

And needless to say, the acquisitions of both Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood does make them better. But are they as good as their erstwhile rivals in the Western Conference in the guise of the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets ? State the case , wherein the Mavericks are as good as either team ? Because nothing they’ve done thus far in the season that bears this out. One can surmise that Mavericks’ GM Donnie Walsh sought to bolster the roster in order to make it more resilient with the additions of both Butler and Haywood. But neither player can be considered clutch performers when it matters most and yet there those who trying to tell me that Haywood can be that and a great deal more ? If he wasn’t that much of presence with the Wizards to begin with . Then why all of a sudden will things suddenly take a turn for the better from his standpoint ? He’s a serviceable player , if that’s what the Mavericks are in fact looking for. And the case for Butler that can be made , is that on certain nights he’ll be able to make a contribution for the team. So lets not pretend that overnight , the Mavericks are about to set the NBA world alight and make Mark Cuban a very happy man. You’d better off making the case that Sarah Palin would be a wiser choice as the Republican nominee for President of the United States. And even though that scenario can’t be anymore less stupid than the one being placed that the Mavericks will be able to challenge usurp the supremacy of both the Lakers and Nuggets. But alas, this is now the world that we live in , where anything can be said without much logic being stated as the basis for an argument.

College Football is replete with good and bad coaches. As a matter of fact that broad based statement runs the gamut of collegiate athletics. The troubling fact now within the game is that there are a number of coaches who choose to eschew the rules, in order to seek an advantage for their program. And little do they care as to the consequences of their actions. That has to be the case for both programs of the USC Trojans and the University of Michigan (Wolverines). Both programs are under new head coaches but in the case of all three current and past coaches there’s a case to be made where each has violated the rules of the NCAA . Pete Carroll and now current coach Lane Kiffin has essentially carried on where his predecessor left off , with the Trojans’ program. The athletics’ program at USC has become so ‘tainted’ that it’s hard to make a case why it shouldn’t be suspended altogether, for a period of not less than year to act as a deterrent to others . Both the men’s football and basketball programs have been complicit in some serious transgressions violations of NCAA rules. And one wonders why it has taken so long even with the ongoing investigations that’ve been conducted by the NCAA. But here’s the kicker to it all, the football program is not only a ‘cash cow’ for the NCAA but also for the BCS system. And one wouldn’t want to be seen as biting the hand that feeds it now, would one ?

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, left, and head football coach <strong>Rich Rodriguez</strong>, right, are shown at a news conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010. The NCAA has found that Michigan's storied football program was out of compliance with practice time rules under coach Rodriguez. Incoming athletic director David Brandon disclosed the finding Tuesday. He says there were no surprises in the NCAA findings. He also says Rodriguez remains the coach. Michigan has 90 days to respond and will appear at an NCAA hearing on infractions in August. photo appears courtesy of  Associated Press/ Paul Sancya  ......
University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, left, and head football coach Rich Rodriguez, right, are shown at a news conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010. The NCAA has found that Michigan's storied football program was out of compliance with practice time rules under coach Rodriguez. Incoming athletic director David Brandon disclosed the finding Tuesday. He says there were no surprises in the NCAA findings. He also says Rodriguez remains the coach. Michigan has 90 days to respond and will appear at an NCAA hearing on infractions in August. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Paul Sancya ......

In the case of the Wolverines and their coach, Rich Rodriguez . He has knowingly flouted the rules concerning the amount of time allowable for his players in terms of their preparational training for a game, contravening the strict rules that all programs have to abide by. Rodriguez categorically denies any wrongdoing on his part , even with the statements from current and past players of the football program detailing otherwise. The situation has become so ridiculous, that both the AD David Brandon and University President Mary Sue Coleman have come out in full support of the beleaguered and embattled coach. And one would’ve thought that in both cases the AD’s of both establishments would be looking to enforce the rules and make a formal statement giving the NCAA assurances that they not condone such actions. But in the case of both Brandon and his counterpart Mike Garrett at USC , this most definitely has not been the case !

Los Angeles -January 13th 2010. New head coach of the USC Trojans Lane Kiffin shakes a hand as he makes his way to his press conference at Heritage Hall  in Los Angeles, California.  photo appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/  Harry How .................
Los Angeles -January 13th 2010. New head coach of the USC Trojans Lane Kiffin shakes a hand as he makes his way to his press conference at Heritage Hall in Los Angeles, California. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Harry How .................

Now there’s no chance of either program coming forward and admitting any impropriety on their part. But consider this , when it was first announced that an investigation was about to get underway into the USC athletics’ program. The school’s AD approached the NCAA about imposing their own sanctions on both the basketball and football programs. And we now wonder why Pete Carroll fled USC under the subterfuge that he sought a new challenge in the NFL ranks , to be a coach with the Seattle Seahawks ? For those in the know , wouldn’t that be considered a step down for Pete Carroll ? LOL,LOL, LOL !!! In large part most people view the Trojans’ program as LA’s only true professional football franchise ? And that’s with all due respect to California Redwoods of the UFL (United Football League). Who see themselves as the transitional answer to Los Angeles’ need for a professional football franchise. Redwoods’ owner Paul Pelosi , husband of House Majority Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca), has all but stated that as a fact. As he ultimately foresees the franchise as the ultimate answer for the city’s quest and yearning for a professional football franchise. Whether not that as well as the UFL comes to full fruition remains to be seen. Albeit, that the Redwoods are based in San Jose, some three hundred miles away from the city of Los Angeles. Nothing like ambition to spread bold , asinine statements and ideas to begin with ! Could it be, that both Pelosi’s are intent on ruling their domains, as they view it from the lofty perches of their ivory towers ? Needless to say there’s some love and hatred there for both.

Duke's Jon Scheyer collides with Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, left, during the first half. Scheyer scored 25 points and collected 10 rebounds in the win.
Duke's Jon Scheyer collides with Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, left, during the first half. Scheyer scored 25 points and collected 10 rebounds in the win. The Blue Devils defeated Virginia Tech (Hokies) 67-55 in the game . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Sara Davis .................

Would it be remiss for me to suggest that the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) of men’s basketball ‘stinks to high heaven’ ? Now don’t get me wrong there are still some marginal teams but what the hell has gone wrong there ? Other than Duke , there isn’t another team from the conference in the ‘top 25’ of the national rankings . And even with the Blue Devils ranked at number 5 in the rankings, Mike Krzyzewski’s team hasn’t been exactly setting the world on fire with their play. But one could surmise that they’re waiting to shine in the NCAA national championships ? Roll on ‘March Madness’ , as that’s when the ‘men will be separated from the boys’ .

This’ll be the one time of the year that I’d have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from in-front of the television set when the NCAA men’s national championships are on. To my mind it’s the best of the collegiate championships that takes place during the course of the sporting calendar. And in terms of sheer excitement , it ranks up there alongside the Superbowl , itself ! And the real thrilling part of it all , other than showing support for one’s team. It will be to see the future prospective stars of the NBA. And those may well be the names such of such current stars , as John Wall and his Wildcats’ teammate DeMarcus Cousins . Others who also come to mind are Sherron Collins of the Kansas Jayhawks, Ricky Jackson of the Syracuse Orangemen and a slew other players , far too numerous to mention. But over the course of the NCAA tournament , I guarantee that you’ll get to know who those players are. And you’ll definitely be showing your support for them , if not their teams.

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts speaks to the media Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 at the Chicago Cubs spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears  Assoc. Press/ Matt  York  ....
Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts speaks to the media Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 at the Chicago Cubs spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears Assoc. Press/ Matt York ....

A century plus of continued futility and there’s now said to be a breath of fresh air in the environment, as the new Chicago Cubs’, owner, billionaire, Tom Ricketts , addresses the team as well as the rest of the organization . How much this will resonate with the Cubs’ long suffering fans and those devoted faithful who throng to Wrigley Field religiously to watch the team play, remains to be seen. But rest assured Ricketts’ anecdotes about his fond memories of the Cubs and some of their former halcyon days can only provide a respite for what we may well envisage once again this season.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

New Cubs owner Ricketts addresses team

By Rick Gano , AP Sports Writer

Mesa, Ariz. (AP)—Tom Ricketts once sat in the bleachers at Wrigley Field, cheering for the Chicago Cubs. On Tuesday, with the players gathered around him in the spring training weight room, he addressed the team that his family now owns.

His message was simple: He and his family will be around and do everything possible to help the Cubs win.

“If there is anything we can do better, let us know,” Ricketts said he told the players.

For his part, Ricketts is already taking steps.

There are new upgrades at Wrigley Field, including an improved clubhouse and weight rooms, a new players’ lounge, a new club in the outfield and better restrooms for fans. The Ricketts also raised ticket prices on some seats at the storied stadium.

“Obviously Wrigley needs a lot of love and a lot of help over the next few years,” Ricketts said. “That will be very challenging. Other than that, we feel the pressure to produce on some winning teams and that will be something that is always with us.”

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908.

Ricketts said if the Cubs are in contention around the trade deadline, it’s possible they would spend the money to bring in a player needed to make a playoff push.

Manager Lou Piniella sounded confident that would happen.

“The fact they are going to involved and visible and the fact they want to win and are very competitive, and I’m sure if we get in position during the course of the summer and we need something, there’s a darn good chance they’ll step forward,” Piniella said.

“The Ricketts are going to be good for Chicago and for the Chicago Cubs,” added Piniella, who is in the last year of his contract. “This is not just a one-year or two-year thing. They want to keep this team in their family for a long, long time.”

The $845 million sale of the Cubs, Wrigley Field and other assets from the Tribune Co. to the family of billionaire Joe Ricketts was completed in October, more than 2 1/2 years after the baseball franchise went on the market.

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Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, right, along with coaches Matt Sinatro, middle, and Lester Strode watch pitchers warm up during spring training baseball camp practice Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears courtesy  of  Assoc. Press/  Ross D. Franklin  ...........
Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, right, along with coaches Matt Sinatro, middle, and Lester Strode watch pitchers warm up during spring training baseball camp practice Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears courtesy of Assoc. Press/ Ross D. Franklin ...........

If it wasn’t enough that the Lou Piniella coached Cubs has to contend with the St Louis Cardinals , Milwaukee Brewers , Houston Astros , Cincinnati Reds and less we forget the woefully inept Pittsburgh Pirates >. The NL Central alongside the NL East might just be the two most competitive divisions in the National League. But it’d be enough to suggest that Ricketts is now of the belief that the beleaguered organization is about to turn the corner as its impending fortunes are about to change. Haven’t we all seen this before ? A new owner rides in on his white steed in the hope of regaling the fans and the community at large with the view that they can contend and bring a championship to the city. If only that were the case with the Chicago Cubs . They’ve become more of a tease than a voluptuous scantly clad blond female at a party. She and you both are there but with one thing on both of your mind. But in the end, you’re the one who ends up being disappointed.
It just turns out the blond in question is literally that, nothing more than a damn tease . As are the Chicago Cubs, year in and year out ! Can someone now please slaughter that damn goat and put the Cubs and their long suffering fans out of their misery ? And while you’re at it , call Steve Bartman and tell him , he’s still ‘persona-non-grata’ in the city of Chicago ?

The now infamous ‘Bartman Incident ‘ that happened at Wrigley Field during the NLCS game between the Cubs and Marlins. And the rest say they say ‘……… is history’.

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Bartman had to be escorted out of Wrigley Field , as the Cubs’ hierarchy at the time feared for his safety. On the night was there a more despised person in the city of Chicago ? Or perhaps the state of Illinois ?

The ‘silly season’ in sports will soon be upon us and we’re liable to laugh as much as get upset for one reason or another, as to the stories start to unfold. Personally, I’d rather just laugh my way throughout the season , rather than letting my emotions get the better of me because of another stupid episode during the sporting calendar year. What are your thoughts on the whole thing ?


Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………..

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From the land of my parental birth, Jamaica. Here’s Buju Banton with ‘Champion’ .

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Canadian adult burlesque performer Bianca Beauchamp . Here she is in her wondrous form and self. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the subject and content matter ? To view each picture within the gallery in full, just click unto the individual picture in question.

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