All The Kings’ Horses And All The Kings’ Men Couldn’t Put Humpty Dumpty Together Again

All The Kings’ Horses And All The Kings’ Men Couldn’t Put Humpty Dumpty Together Again …

By tophatal ……

Well with baseball’s Winter Meetings now in session in Dallas, Texas , with the league hierarchy , general managers owners , agents , union representatives and a number of players all convening to get the lay of the ground . it has to be said that in light of a highly exhilarating season and postseason these meetings are seeing and taking an interesting turn of events . Nowhere is now more apparent than with the growing speculation as to where perhaps the most prized free agent of the offseason will make his home .


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Albert Pujols coming off another successful season with the St Louis Cardinals and their triumph in the World Series is now an unrestricted free agent . And Pujols’ agent , Dan Lozano now must be the envy of his peers as he looks to guide his client in taking the best deal available , while at the same looking to further impact the player’s success over the course of his future . Courting the player at present are the St Louis Cardinals , Los Angeles Angels , Chicago Cubs and surprisingly enough the Florida Marlins . Cardinals’ GM John Mozelliak may well have had the inside track earlier but given the fact that the player and organization could not come to an agreement during the season on a contract extension that would be mutually beneficial for both parties , it has now opened up the doors for the Cubs and Marlins to intervene, to espouse the virtues of joining their respective organizations .

The continued speculation about Albert Pujols’ immediate future and that of his fellow first baseman compatriot Prince Fielder further makes this offseason something of an interesting one . Money appears to be the catalyst that will see how things pan out for the duo and to what extent and length teams are prepared to sign either of the duo. The two are amongst the very best at the position within the game and I am sure that they would like to be compensated in such a manner ! At the top of the pile amongst first baseman in terms of an annual salary happens to be the New York Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira who earned $22,500,000 as part of that extraordinary contract negotiated by his then agent Scott Boras with team GM Brian Cashman . Suffice to say , that Scott Boras remains the “1,000lb gorilla in the room” as he has simply become the bane of the general managers around the game of baseball . From my own personal standpoint it isn’t necessarily the agent himself , but the total gullibility of the GM’s and owners , whom Boras tends to have eating out of his hands like a kitten who has been given a fresh bowl of milk to drink from . And if that wasn’t bad enough in the eyes of Bud Selig , the agent can seem to do know wrong .

Courtesy of

Marlins seek resolution in Pujols pursuit

If spurned, Miami could set sights on Fielder to upgrade offense

By Joe Frisaro of

DALLAS — Where Albert Pujols will wind up has dominated the discussion the first two days of the Winter Meetings, and it promises to be the topic of the day again on Wednesday.

Negotiations between Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, and the Marlins lasted into the night on Tuesday without any definitive answers.

The Cardinals, antsy not to lose one of the greatest players of any era, reportedly upped their ante to about $220 million over 10 years.

The Marlins have a 10-year offer on the table, said to be more than $200 million, and perhaps in the $220 million range. And then late on Tuesday came word that a “mystery third team” joined the equation. Speculation is the Angels, or possibly the Cubs, are making an end-around pass at Pujols.

nternally, the Marlins have had a quiet confidence that they will land the services of Pujols before the Winter Meetings conclude on Thursday. After all, the team has had numerous talks with Lozano, and a few weeks back, Pujols visited Miami and toured the flashy new ballpark in the Little Havana section of town.

The ball, however, is in the court of the veteran first baseman.

As Pujols weighs his options, the Marlins are seeking a resolution one way or the other. Team owner Jeffrey Loria clearly wants to acquire Pujols, but the Marlins want answers so they can decide their next move in rebuilding the franchise.

If Pujols decides to remain in St. Louis, or join a mystery third team, the Marlins want to still have time to discuss fallback options. One of them would be Prince Fielder.

The Marlins clearly want a more powerful offense, and they will swing for the fences even if their lineup doesn’t include Pujols.

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The Florida Marlins soon to become the Miami Marlins this upcoming season have themselves been busy in the free agency market . Having signed former New York Mets’ short-stop Jose Reyes to an extremely lucrative six year $106 million contract (pending approval & team physical) with added incentives based on the player’s performances over the course of the season . Team owner Jeffrey Loria in light of this latest flurry of activity in conjunction team President Dave Sansom , VP of Operations Larry Beinfest and general manager Michael Hill had also signed closer Heath Bell and engineered the move of Ozzie Guillen from the Chicago White Sox to succeed Jack McKeon as manager of the team .

Miami Marlins’ front office knows that with the advent of their new state of the art ballpark set to open up their 2012 schedule the right type of environment and atmosphere has to be set that will be conducive to the fans and general population within the Miami locale . Built at the cost oof $515 million the 37,000 seat venue situated in downtown Miami on the site of the old Miami Orange Bowl will be MLB’s latest and newest ballpark . Somehow , I get the feeling that with all of the backroom shenanigans , behind the scenes wheeling and dealing , a great deal of money has not only exchanged hands surreptitiously but also the true cost of this all has actually been withheld from the public at large ! Never mind the fact that the city of Miami government and Miami Dade government have “sold their souls ” to the Devil in order to get this venue built . That asides , I find it somewhat unbelievable that in a little of over five years Jeffrey Loria from having pled poverty as to the financial viability of this organization can now make the prospective outlays being exhibited in having signed Jose Reyes to his $105 million deal , that of Heath Bell’s 3 year 27 million contract and still attempt to sign Albert Pujols to almost certainly what will be a contract that is said will be likely in the region of 10 years and approximately between $220 to $250 million , not including other additional incentives ! . All this from an organization that over the years that has been amongst the lowest salaried teams within baseball ? .

While I remain somewhat dubious of the Miami Marlins and the lengths with which much of the dealings in terms of the ball club’s new venue came into being with a bond issue that in some cases has been of great consternation between the party factions of both the city and county governments of Miami Dade . And it certainly has not at all come as a surprise to me that the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission ) is about to conduct an investigation into how the financing for the Marlins’ ballpark came into being . The governmental agency while not having arrest powers does have the wherewithal to subject any party to have been found guilty of financial fraud to levy serious fines and subjecting the executives in question , from not holding an executive position within a public or private company . It seems crazy that the public doesn’t decry the fact that taxpayers’ monies are being repeatedly being lavished upon multi millionaire and billionaire professional sport’s franchises owners under the facade and pretense that it is being done to benefit the community !

Courtesy of Wall St Journal

SEC Examines Marlins Stadium Deal


The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into the public financing deal behind the Miami Marlins’ new ballpark.

SEC officials delivered letters to the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County Thursday, requesting financial records, meeting minutes and communications with the team and officials from Major League Baseball, according to a person familiar with the matter. Miami and county officials have until Jan. 6 to deliver the documents.

The federal regulators will examine nearly $500 million in bonds sold to fund the ballpark and the financial deal struck for stadium parking garages, according to the county and to a statement from the team.

A person involved with the ballpark’s financing said the investigation may revolve around the Marlins’ claims that the team needed public help because it could not afford to pay for a new ballpark.

SEC senior counsel Drew Panahi declined to comment on the case.

In a statement, the Marlins said they were aware of the investigation. “Of course we will fully cooperate with the SEC’s investigation as needed and assist in whatever way possible.”

A Miami-Dade County spokeswoman said the county “will comply with the SEC’s request and provide the documents they’re asking for.”

It is not clear whether MLB has received subpoenas. A spokesman for the league declined to comment.

The financing plan for the 37,000-seat ballpark, which was built on the site of the former Orange Bowl and is expected to open next spring, has been a source of controversy.

Under the plan, city and county are responsible for nearly 80% of the stadium’s overall cost of $634 million, according to the Miami Herald, which first reported the subpoenas.

The Marlins had argued that the team needed public help to shore up its finances. Financial documents published last year by the website Deadspin showed the team had been turning a profit.

After the documents were published, Marlins president David Samson told the Palm Beach Post the team showed a hefty profit in certain years when it was conserving money for its ballpark project.


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Having finagled the both municipalities’ assistance in bringing about the new ballpark I certainly would like to know what part has been played not simply by Jeffrey Loria and the front office but also by Bud Selig at whose urging Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado simply brow-beated his city commissioners to vote for the approval in their bond raising exercise . And when one bears in mind that both the city and county governments are currently running multi million dollar budgetary deficits , it makes you wonder who is about to come out on the better side of these dealings . Certainly , not the citizens of Miami or Miami Dade County that’s for sure given the economic blight that has hit the entire region of South Florida , and in particular the tri county area of Broward County , Miami Dade and West Palm Beach County , which encompasses the fan base for the Miami Marlins .

The city of Miami has been subpoenad to turn over all financial records concerning the bond issue and any other relevant records pertinent to the SEC’s investigation . And that they have until the 6th January to comply with the request before the FBI would be called in with a warranted search at the behest of the Justice Department . It is not yet clear whether or not Bud Selig’s office and that of the league hierarchy is also subject to a subpoena concerning the investigation . But you can bear in mind that the commissioner will most certainly want to fend off any type of incursion or intrusive power that opens up his office to public scrutiny . I mean , it has become the norm for Selig and his mindless acolytes over the years ! No common sense and not one damn ounce of integrity has ever been known to come from the commissioner’s office much less from the man himself ! But yet somehow the team owners seem to march unison behind the bespectacled Pied Piper while he continues to lead them lower into the depths of sheer ineptitude and mediocrity .

As to the possible fate of the now ongoing investigation by the SEC , well let’s just say that my faith in a governmental agency whose own lax methods , excuses for their failure and recognition as to the malfeasance of the high ranking executives with the financial powerhouses of Merrill Lynch , Goldman Sachs , AIG , Countrywide Financial , Bank of America , Citigroup Inc , Morgan Stanley Inc and a slew of other prominent financial concerns who essentially brought about and wreaked havoc upon the financial sector , specifically the mortgage and banking industry , and literally placed the economy in its present state . It now has me wondering, if they (SEC & Justice Dept) have yet to find anyone there guilty of any wrongdoing , when it is abundantly that was what clearly took place , then what now makes them believe that they will be able to indict anyone concerning this particular issue with regard to financing of the Miami Marlins new stadium ? Would anyone like to proffer up an answer at this juncture ? Anyone , anyone at all ? Well I guess not !



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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you would deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support , as it is greatly welcomed ! Thanks once again !


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(1) Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, right, looks over to Jose Reyes during a news conference at the Major League Baseball 2011 Winter Meetings in Dallas, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. The Marlins unveiled the newly signed free-agent shortstop Reyes. AP Photo/LM Otero …

(2) Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, left, and team president David Samson chat as they walk through the lobby of the hotel hosting Major League Baseball’s winter meetings in Dallas, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. AP Photo/LM Otero …

(3) ST. LOUIS, MO – FILE: First baseman Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals waves to the crowd during the World Series victory parade for the franchise’s 11th championship on October 30, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. According to reports December 6, 2011, the Miami Marlins have made Pujols at 10-year contract offer. Photo by Ed Szczepanski/Getty Images ….

(4) The Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria (R) listens as Ozzie Guillen speaks while being introduced as the Marlin’s new manager during a press conference at Sun Life Stadium on September 28, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Mike Ehermann/ Getty Images North America …..

(5) Bud Selig MLB commissioner hasn’t been forthcoming as to whether or not his office has been subpoenad by the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) in light of what are said to be irregularities concerning the financing for the new Miami Marlins’ ballpark . AP Photo / James Rice …..

(6) City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado listens as police Chief Miguel A. Exposito speaks during a press conference to announce “Operation Take Back Our Streets”‘ on August 10, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Miami Police Department launched the operation in response to recent shootings in the Model City and Little Haiti communities of Miami. The city has seen a number of shootings recently using high powered assault weapons. . Joe Raedle / Getty Images North America …..




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I Got The Memo But I Think That There’s Been A Misprint !

I Got The Memo But I Think That There’s Been A Misprint !

Well week four is finally over and the NFL teams and their respective staffs have to deliberate which players will be cut in order for the rosters to have the league mandated 53 members per franchise. As this process takes place at the same time a number of players have been richly rewarded by their respective ball-clubs. Michael Vick has now become the latest member join the tier of those in the $100 million contract fraternity . Few players within the NFL are as athletic as the quarterback or as electrifying, and it appears that the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office feels justified in rewarding the player so handsomely , albeit that $40 million is said to be guaranteed money. That simply won’t matter because the residual effect will be for Vick and his agent to negotiate what’s hoped will be several multi-year multi million dollar endorsement contracts that will leave the Eagles’ player set for life .


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Perhaps I was simply mistaken but the team owners of the NFL simply pled poverty as to their financial plight during the alleged labor stoppage that lasted some 145 days . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , chief legal counsel Jeff Pash and the hierarchy’s chief labor negotiator Adolphus Birch all led the way in the league’s negotiations with the NFLPA and its executive committee . The union’s Executive Director DeMaurice Smith stood firm but only acquiesced after the league gave up several concessions but perhaps the one concession that the fans did not expect was the very fact that during the regular season the league will be allowed to test the players for HGH ( human growth horomone) during regular season . Invasion privacy or not , the union knew that it had to fall into line and not be seen as the sport where their muscle bound specimens might misjudged for all of the wrong reasons . Granted , Major League Baseball still seems to be in denial as it relates to this issue and the fact that the MLBPA (union) has the game’s hierarchy cowering in a corner like a cat with its tail on fire . But in reality the less said about this topic within the realms of the sport it’s simply better abruptly end discussing the matter as neither the league or its players would clearly want to broach this topic.

If there was one thing that was clear Michael Vick simply proved himself last season for the Eagles and the team was simply better for it during the regular season . Now even with the additions made to the roster by way of the draft and off-season moves the Philadelphia Eagles may well be seen as the presumptive favorites within the NFC to make it to the Superbowl . That may well change over the course of the season for Andy Reid and his coaching staff as the team will almost certainly go through its version of highs and lows .

The next quarterback presumed to be joining the ranks of the $100 million club could very well be the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees . No one can deny that Brees at his very best should not be mentioned in the same breath as Peyton Manning , Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers . All Superbowl winning quarterbacks , Superbowl MVP’s and at some after the end of their careers , all may well headed on their way to the Hall of Fame in Canton , Ohio. .

Brees and the Saints’ owner Tom Benson are fully aware as to what each party means to the other. The player is seen as the face of the franchise and the quarterback is beloved by the fans in the Crescent City and that feeling is reciprocated by the player. Sean Payton knows that this will be a testing schedule for his players and that if they are to prevail in what is clearly a very competitive NFC South division , we could very well be in for some very entertaining football from all of the residents there.

Calmer heads prevailed , as Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson got what he wanted , which was an extended contract . Either Bud Adams is that much of an idiot by initially insisting that the player would have to honor his existing contract or he was of the opinion that Johnson would not somehow not make idile of his threat to sit out the entire Titans’ regular season schedule . It is clear that this was the resolution that all parties had hoped for Chris Johnson being handsomely rewarded with a four year contract extenstion worth $53 million of which $30 million is guaranteed . The NFL players’ salaries become all the more baffling as the players and their agents simply are laughing all the way to the bank. I am not so at this juncture it’s still plausible for the team owners or general managers or for that matter Roger Goodell to continue with their original stance ! Nothing says ……… we’re so full of it than to continue to plead poverty while teams are said to be ignorant of that first relayed facade.

With Chris Johnson having received his contract extension now comes the thought that Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson will seek an increase in salary . And as productive as he has been over the past five seasons for the Vikings who can fault the player with whatever demands he may well seek . Certainly the Minnesota Vikings’ front office led by team owner Zygi Wilf may well feel that for all of the pandering and statements forthcoming from the league office , nothing at all has actually changed prior to NFL lockout . The negotiations that took place may well have led to a rookie salary cap and other concessions from both parties but when you get right down to it , we’re back to square one _____ the players chasing after the almighty buck with the league hierarchy still decrying their current fate and looking to apportion blame elsewhere.

With Donovan McNabb newly acquired by the Vikings along with their draft picks it remains to be seen how this team will fare over the course of the upcoming season . In the aftermath of the Brett Favre era with the organization it has to be said has to got to prove that they are capable of being thought of a legitimate contender within the NFC North and the conference as a whole . The preseason for the Vikings has not given us much to go on but it appears that McNabb seems to finding a rhythm with his offense .
Head coach Leslie Frazier and the coaching staff know that the expectations will continue to be high and this season no less will be seen as a determining factor as to how this team will fare .

So next season the Florida Marlins will move into their new ballpark in downtown Miami the site of the old Old Orange Bowl . The team seated at the bottom of the NL East are barely averaging 18,000 fans per home at Land Shark /Sun Life Stadium also home to the Miami Dolphins . Team owner Jeffrey Loria and the entire front office sold the city of Miami a can of goods in leading the city commission to believe that a new purpose venue , capacity of approximately 40,000 would be to the organization’s benefit. The only thing of benefit that is pertinent here is to know that Jeffrey Loria has not had to dip into his multi million dollar fortune in facilitating the building of this new stadium but you’d be hard pressed to believe that when you here the owner gushing about the stadium and what has been the very fact Loria has been less than truthful in his dealings with the city of Miami and other governmental agencies .

The cost of the facility is upwards of $450 million and much of that will be at the taxpayers’ expense though you’d be hard pressed to believe otherwise when the Loria , team President David Sansom and general manager Michael Hill are trying to convince the public otherwise. The team owner like many of his peers within the game seem to be of the opinion that the public’s coffers are there for their expense. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the MLB hierarchy has lobbyists working on their behalf not only at the state level but also at the federal level . This is one of the underbelly’s within the game that even Bud Selig would not care to discuss , along with the league’s stance on the financial solvency of its ball clubs .

While baseball is a multi billion dollar enterprise of which the teams at the top rungs of the financial ladder are immensely profitable , the minnows at the foot of that apparatus are barely able to get by. The Florida Marlins having pared down team salary but it has been Loria’s blatant use of the press to forge ahead with his belief the ball club needs a new stadium while the team owner seeks to benefit from the public’s largesse. Miami city mayor Tomas P. Regalado even with his demeanor and the love of the limelight has seen fit to praise the Marlins during the negotiating process in developing and building the of the new venue. If this franchise can barely fill their present facility, it stands to reason it will be the curiosity value that first brings the fans out but after a while that novelty will surely wear off ! A bad economic climate or not baseball within the state of Florida has always been a hard sell , especially given the attendance woes of the Tampa Bay Rays .

Tropicana Field home to the AL team has struggled even with the advent of the team’s success in recent years , albeit in the first decade years of their existence , this organization was one of abject futility . Team owner Stuart Sternberg along with his partners are vying for state and local governments’ attention in bringing about their own wish for an all purpose venue to be built in either Hillsborough or Pinellas County , in central Florida. And once again the burden in terms of the cost will be placed firmly on the shoulders of the public , the governmental agencies in question will in large part have to finance the building of that facility. Be it through a bond issue at some point there always tend to be , some indirect cost that is added to the public’s expense in terms of the services that they are asked to pay either for their municipal services or increased state services.

It would be remiss to suggest that baseball and football are the only major sports where the fans are asked to bear the burden of up-keeping a sport’s venue but would it be too much to ask if the franchise owners would for once step up to the plate say……” I’m here to do the right thing “ ? Somehow , I seriously doubt that is liable to happen as the franchise owners seeks to keep as much money in their pockets , rather than give the impression that they are able to for once able to fend for themselves without preying on the fans ! Is that too much to ask ?



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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as to your opinion and anything else you believe to be pertinent as it relates to the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……..

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(1) OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 28: Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the Oakland Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …..

(2) Head coach of the New Orleans Saints Sean Payton (L) acknowledges the crowd as he and owner Tom Benson (R) wait for the beginning of a reception for the 2010 National Football League Super Bowl champions in the East Room of the White House August 9, 2010 in Washington, DC. The New Orleans Saints, lead by head coach Sean Payton, finished the 2009-2010 season with a winning record of 13-3 and defeated the Indianapolis Colts to take the championship . Getty Images/ Chris Rodgers ……

(3) FILE – In this file photo taken Sept. 20, 2009, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson runs for a 57-yard touchdown against the Houston Texans in an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn. Johnson, a three-time Pro Bowl running back, signed his four-year contract extension worth $53 million and the $30 million guaranteed he wanted, Friday, Sept. 2, 2011. He agreed to the deal Thursday and flew into Nashville from his Orlando, Fla., home Friday. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …. ……

(4) Owner Bud Adams (R) of the Tennessee Titans greets family members of quarterback Jake Locker (10) before a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at LP Field on August 13, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. …….

(5) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 1: Head coach Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texans and head coach Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings speak after the game on September 1, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Texans 28-0 . Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….. …..

(6) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings throws his hat to fans after the win against the Houston Texans on September 1, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Texans 28-0. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(7) Jose Lopez (11) of the Florida Marlins is congratulated after hitting a solo home run by Emilio Bonifacio (1) during a game against the New York Mets at Sun Life Stadium on September 5, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Marlins would go on to defeat the Mets 9-3 . Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ……

(8) Emilio Bonifacio (1) of the Florida Marlins scores on a wild pitch avoiding Chris Capuano (38) and Josh Thole (30) of the New York Mets during a game at Sun Life Stadium on September 5, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …….

(9) Jack McKeon (25) of the Florida Marlins walks away from Fieldin Culbreth (25) , Crew Chief of the umpires, after losing an argument in the bottom of the third inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 29, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images /Chris Pasiateri ……

(10) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated by Ben Zobrist (18) after his home run against the Texas Rangers during the game at Tropicana Field on September 5, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays would defeat the Rangers 5-1 . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(11) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields , center, reacts with teammates Sam Fuld , left, and David Price (14) after pitching a complete baseball game against the Texas Rangers Monday, Sept. 5, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. the Rays won the game 5-1. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …….


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Had Your Dose Of Sports Over The Weekend ?

Had Your Dose Of Sports Over The Weekend ?

Well for myself the sporting weekend transitioned itself around Rory McIlroy simply decimating a world class field at the US Open at Congressional Golf Club in Bethesda , Maryland . The margin of victory not withstanding a resounding 8 stroke victory by McIlroy over his closest rival Jason Day . Now the whole world will want to know what awaits McIlroy and how would he have fared had Tiger Woods been in the field ? From my own perspective given Woods’ recent run of form I doubt that the result would have been any different ! Suffice to say while Woods remains the yardstick against which the current contemporaries are to be adjudged , in reality the Tiger of old isn’t currently around .


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Things are now beginning to look rather bleak for the Florida Marlins . In the month of June this team has won only one of their last eighteen games and the fact that manager Edwin Rodriguez simply walked away from the organization and team having tendered his resignation simply indicates how dire things had become for the NL East franchise . Now with eighty year old Jack McKeon being asked by GM Larry Beinfest to assume control of this beleaguered team I am not so sure that things can be drastically turned around .

Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress soon have his freedom having been incarcerated at the taxpayers’ expense . And for the player who now looks to resurrect his NFL career it will be interesting to see what teams if any take an open interest in the former Pro Bowl wideout . Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has made it his desire to have Burress become a teammate of his with the Eagles . But I doubt that either team coach Andy Reid or GM Joe Banner are seeking to make another reclamation project out of another troubled NFL player . Vick in spite of his successes last season still has a long way to go to prove to everyone that he’s actually back to his very best as a player but even more so as a leader .

There’s no doubt in my mind that Burress still has something to offer to a team but given the player’s predilection to self implode , if I were a general manager much less an NFL team owner his joining my organization would have to be based upon his demeanor and actual acknowledgement that he has now changed for the better as a human being . Beyond that not much else would really matter other than him being productive on the field of play .

There’s no doubt in my mind that the rules of the NFL are there for a reason especially where it involves the players concerning gambling. It is now being widely reported that as many twenty five NFL players are known to be investors in a gaming concern in Alabama . The owner of the casino Country Crossing —- Ron Gilley is under indictment by the Justice Department along with two lobbyists for offering state legislator millions of dollars in bribes in order to facilitate the approval and building of the casino in Dothan , Alabama .

The NFL’s rules are very clear on this matter wherein it states that current NFL players are barred from being involved in any type of gaming concern from a business standpoint . In doing so it creates the perception that in some way that there could be a conflict of interest and any type of impropriety that a player or players whilst on the field of play could effect the outcome of game . Well given the fact that the league as such welcomes to the actions of gamblers betting on their games I can’t see how they feel that an NFL player hasn’t been wagering on the games where they are already participants ! It would be naïve to think otherwise , albeit that no one has been caught but I think it is pretty safe to say that the players around the NFL have their own proclivities when it comes to games of chance . Tens of millions of dollars are wagered each year on the Superbowl and I am quite sure that there have been a number of players around the NFL that have profited directly or indirectly from placing a bet on the game . The NFL hierarchy if they do decide to conduct an investigation into this matter than the ramifications could well be very serious for the players involved at the center of this drama .

I’ve never been one to get completely enamored over the glare of the limelight or the very fact that some athletes tend to think of themselves as being bigger than the game. But in light of the recent meltdown of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals and the mere fact that the team’s All Star LeBron James has began to chastise the fans for his and his team’s own shortcoming has me now believing more so than ever before that this is the monster that David Stern has created ! Instead of the NBA being a team sport it has now become a heartless ego driven endeavor where upon it is the stars/ marquee players that we are meant to be enthralled by rather than the teams themselves .

If James’ behavior and that of his teammate Dwyane Wade wasn’t enough of an indicator of that then I for one don’t know what is ! ! Self aggrandizement and the mocking of an opponent who at the time was said to be ill shows the lack of class in the two aforementioned players . But yet team President Pat Riley continued to bitch and whine when any criticism was being leveled at the team or his famous duo of stars . In the end nothing could have been much sweeter than seeing the Miami Heat juggernaut being derailed by the Dallas Mavericks and Finals’ MVP Dirk Nowitzki . When all said and done the better and far more deserving team proved to be victorious and laying to rest the myth that having a trio of superstars elicits a win of a title . Teams win titles , where the endeavor is meant to about showing cohesiveness and a genuine will to win and nothing resembling that was ever on display by the Miami Heat throughout the NBA Finals and their series loss to the Dallas Mavericks !

I was never enamored with the NHL and I don’t think I ever will be ! In light of the Boston Bruins having won the Stanley Cup in defeating the Vancouver Canucks . The display by Canucks’ fans in the aftermath of the team’s game seven loss was enough of an indicator that it simply doesn’t matter where the fans are from their baser instincts are always the same ! Act like a Neanderthal and you’ll viewed as such ! The fans went on a postgame riot , looting , burning cars and damaging businesses in the city of Vancouver that in the could run into several million dollars worth of damages . But what might be even more ludicrous may well have been the public statement issued by the city’s police chief , Jim Chu in stating that the incidents and acts of violence resulting in over 100 arrests and 150 people injured were merely the acts of the criminal element with nothing better to do . I wonder if Chu’s mindset would still have been the same had there been far more serious injuries resulting with someone’s death ? Isn’t it bad enough that his city was shown in a thoroughly bad light after these riots , never mind the fact that the game’s image has been tarnished by the events that took place ?

Granted, no sport is ever without its bad elements but the mere fact that Chu chooses to write this off as a criminal element choosing to take advantage of a sporting events smacks of sheer stupidity on his part . If anything it furthermore paints a poor picture of his city and the fact that those involved are nothing more than a marauding bunch of hooligans . That asides , if the hockey fan out there becomes this disgruntled because their team loses in the game’s showcase event then it simply shows another reason why the game continues to flounder in more ways than one from a commercial and professional endeavor .


By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .


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

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal ……

Picture and slide show details below .

(1) U.S. Open golf championship winner Rory McIlroy, or Northern Ireland, right, is handed his U.S. Open trophy by Francois-Henry Bennahmias, left, president and CEO of Audemars Piguet (North America) Inc., during an event at the Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee, Mass., Monday, June 20, 2011. AP Photo/The Cape Cod Times, Merrily Cassidy …

(2) Bethseda, Maryland: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and his father Gerry McIlroy pose with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images …

(3) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks with the media after his eight-stroke during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images …

(4) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks onto the eightenth green before winning the 111th US Open by eight strokes over Jason Day with a record 268 at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON …..

(5) Florida Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, left, talks to reporters as interim manager Jack McKeon looks on during a news conference in Miami, Monday, June 20, 2011. Beinfest announced McKeon’s second term as manager of the Marlins. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields , right, is congratulated by catcher Kelly Shoppach after throwing a four-hitter in the Rays’ 2-1 victory over the Florida Marlins in a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday, June 19, 2011.

(7) Former New York Giants wide receiver, Plaxico Burress is seen holding onto a cup of coffee and wearing a Philadelphia Phillies hat while out in New York City. On June 6th, Burress was released from prison after nearly spending two years behind bars on gun charges. Courtesy of Pacific coast ….

(8) Former NFL wide receiver Plaxico Burress attends a press conference at National Urban League on June 13, 2011 in New York City. Getty Images North America / Joe Corrigan ……

(9) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles takes the field before playing against the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images /Al Bello ….

(10) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles walks of the field after losing to the Green Bay Packers during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles would lose to the Packers 21-16 Getty Images / Al Bello ….

(11) FILE – This June 1, 2011 file photo shows Miami Heat President Pat Riley talking to reporters in Miami. Riley says he will not return to coaching, and says the team has a strong leader in Erik Spoelstra . Riley spoke Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at his annual end-of-season wrap-up and touched on several topics including the disappointment of Miami’s loss in the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks. AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File …

(12) Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, of Germany, fights back tears as fans cheer following his introduction during a celebration following the team’s victory parade, Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks earned their first NBA basketball championship by defeating the Miami Heat. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(13) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 12: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat walks into the interview room to answer questions after the Heat were defeated 105-95 by the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida.

(14) Riot police walk in the street on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team the Vancouver Canucks lost in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images …..

(15) Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron carries the Stanley Cup aloft as he walks through a crowd of onlookers from Tia’s Restaurant in Boston on Thursday, June 16, 2011, one day after the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….

(16) Police on horseback move down a street during a riot following the Vancouver Canucks being defeated by the Boston Bruins in the NHL Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Angry, drunken revelers ran wild Wednesday night after the Vancouver Canucks’ 4-0 loss to Boston in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, setting cars and garbage cans ablaze, smashing windows, showering giant TV screens with beer bottles and dancing atop overturned vehicles. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz ….

(17) Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu seen here speaking with the convened press . copyrighted material @ All rights reserved Post Media News / Ethan Baron ……


My Relationship With Teams I Support …..Ought They To Be As Impactful As Your Relationship With Your Spouse or Partner ? ……………….

My Relationship With Teams I Support …..Ought They To Be As Impactful As Your Relationship With Your Spouse or Partner ? ……………….

On Valentine’s Day the girlfriend bought me a young puppy , a male by the way. Which I decided to name ‘Buster’. Now one of my patrons who regularly chimes in with a comment on some of my blog pieces jokingly suggested that was one the first signs of the relationship getting a great deal more serious. Because first comes that gift of final approval and that ultimate sign of affection and then comes the ring ? Well , considering that our relationship has now ran over the course of seven years and the fact that I distinctly set the tone under which it would work (divorced-once). I think that marriage and kids will be definitely out of the question ! Anyhow, as I live vicariously through my nieces ad nephews as a surrogate parent , albeit that they’re on the other ‘side of the pond’ in the UK. My girlfriend who happens to be of Asian-American ethnicity and is also several years younger than I. She was ‘more the pursuer’ and I was the pursuee’. That being said, we both know the parameters of the relationship and what to expect out it , by means of those parameter set. With that in mind let’s discuss the type of relationship , we as a fan have with our sport’s teams -i.e the ones that we support ?

Now as many of you may already be aware , I’m an ex-pat Brit now residing in Central Florida for the past seventeen years. I was a former member of British armed forces , having served in the Royal Marines for 6 1/2 years. From there I went to work in city of London in the ‘Square Mile’ otherwise known as the financial center of London. I worked primarily in the areas of international banking , investment banking and also an economic analyst. My education was actually paid for by one of my former employers , as this was a way of retaining staff at that time. I graduated with degrees in Economics , International Finance and then pursued an M.B.A ,which I attained from one of London’s more prestigious educational establishments with a design on a business oriented concept of education. That education alongside my stint in the military has served me well and has given me a greater appreciation of life in general.

On to the teams I support and watch when I can , I’ll watch and support them voraciously ! In the NBA ,it is the San Antonio Spurs. For whom, I’m a great admirer of both the team’s coach Gregg Popovich and their almost certain to be ‘Hall of Fame’ bound center and ‘big man’ , Tim Duncan. What these two individuals have achieved within the NBA speaks volumes, as to the respect they both command from their peers and fans alike. And with it has come the well deserved respect and reverence only given to the truly ‘greats of the game’.

As a fan of the Spurs , it’s not always about following in line and not being critical of the team or the organization, as and when necessary. Because it would be none-sense not be openly critical if they were not playing up to par or if there were indeed doing something that’s not of benefit to the organization. Team owner Peter Holt and the team’s General Manager R. C. Burford have kept this vessel afloat, without there being ever a hint of controversy surrounding the team or organization over the years. And that’s not something that can be said about a number of the franchise within the NBA. The Spurs may well be one of ‘the model franchises’ of the NBA and perhaps one of the best ran within the entire NBA ?

This season, the ‘team’ has been quietly finding their rhythm and with the acquisition of Richard Jefferson and the play of ‘rookie’ DeJuan Blair and from off the bench George Hill . There seems to be a resiliency about the team that we’ve not seen in quite a while. But it’d be remiss not to mention also the duo that makes up perhaps one of the best ‘one-two-three punch’ in the entire league , in that of Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker . The two ably assist Duncan in making the Spurs one of the more formidable teams within the Western Conference . They at present sit just a game behind the Dallas Mavericks (33-21) within the Southwest Division, for the lead in the divisional standings.

And quite interestingly enough a fellow blogger was trying to make the case, where he now views the Dallas Mavericks as the ‘second best team’ within the Western Conference, merely because of the addition of Caron Butler to the team , in the recent trade by the Mavericks of the former Wizards’ player. That position currently belongs to the Northwest Division leading Denver Nuggets (36-18) . The team with the best record within the conference belongs to the ‘reigning NBA champions’, the Los Angeles Lakers (42-14). Regrettably,the individual who was trying to make this assertion, either knows nothing about the game of basketball or he has a chemical dependency problem that he’s trying to overcome ? I sometimes wonder what it is that a person observes for them to come up with such asinine notions or claims ?

With ‘Spring Training’ now upon us and with pitchers and some positional players already reporting for duty. It’s a sign that Major League Baseball (MLB) is set to start. And with both the ‘Grapefruit’ and ‘Cactus’ Leagues getting in motion. Baseball’s many fans will congregate within the states of Arizona and Florida to watch their teams throughout the Spring Training season and also gauge their team’s progress. And with things being so uncertain because of the current economic climate , it will be interesting to see what sort crowds are in attendance once the games get underway. That may well give us enough of an indication as to how much of an economic swoon there might be within the game when it comes to overall attendance , once the regular season begins.

These are dire times for the four major professional sports in North America. And the inherent problems that’s now being faced within the NBA , NFL and NHL is now being mirrored within baseball. Albeit, that Commissioner Bud Selig , the game’s hierarchy and some the owners would have you believe different. As to what that would indicate about Bud Selig and his perception of the game and its financial health is enough of an indication to tell you that for him reality is only something of a sense of perception to begin with. If the glass was half-empty, he’d be telling you that he’ll be able to go and find water in the middle of some arid land or in the midst of a dust-bowl. But then again , who thought that Bud Selig was ever intelligent to begin with ?

Because of work and the mere fact that for much of the time, my schedule is tied to what my colleagues are doing on behalf the firm’s clients. I won’t be able to attend as many games as I’d like to, in seeing the Florida Marlins play, during Spring Training. So granted, whilst in the office with any time on my hands that there might be possible. I’ll try to stream the games via my laptop or even listen to them on the radio. Chances are, it’ll be a little bit both . Productivity is the key as they say , when you’re at work.

With the Marlins playing at the Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, during this session. It will be very interesting to see how they acquit themselves during Spring Training and whether or not this will be enough of an indication as to how they will fare in the NL East against the likes of the Atlanta Braves , New York Mets and reigning the divisional champions and pennant holder, the Philadelphia Phillies .

Cautious as I am about the Marlins, I believe that the team is certainly heading in the right direction under their manager, Fredi Gonzalez. And with team ownership headed by billionaire owner and renowned art lover, Jeffrey Loria . The front office , GM Larry Beinfest and all of the vested parties all seem to be heading in unison, as to where they envisage the team needs to be. And it has helped the players and the fans are now beginning to buy into that very fact. Before there was far too much distrust between the ownership and the fans.

And on the political front, it certainly didn’t help that Loria and his front office were often at times somewhat ambivalent, in dealing with the city of Miami , Miami-Dade County and the state, when it came to stadium issue for the baseball team. Communications between the club and the respective government officials were on par with that of the peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israeli’s . It had begun to become an embarrassment for all of the parties concerned. Calmer head did however prevail in the end. But at the expense of the sheer idiocy of Jeffrey Loria and his associates. It is envisioned that a purpose built stadium for the organization will be ready for the team to commence playing in 2012. That will be the very first time that the team will have a venue to call their very own and to derive of the revenues from its existence to facilitate its own operation. That has never been the case, from the team’s inception , even when it was under the ownership of its very first owner, H. D. Wayne Huizenga . One wonders how it is that he was allowed to get away with such a maneuver by the game’s hierarchy ?

On the field of play, the team is led by All Star short-stop , Hanley Ramirez and he’s ably assisted by Dan Uggla , Cameron Maybin , Cody Ross , Jorge Cantu , Wes Helms , Gaby Sanchez and a pitching roster that is steadily growing in confidence. That primarily has been the Achilles’ heel for the team , the inconsistency of their pitching. And most certainly that hasn’t been lost on Fredi Gonzalez and his coaching staff . A good start to Spring Training and a great deal consistency will augur well for the team in the upcoming season. As they seek to challenge the Mets , Phillies and Braves for the supremacy within the AL East .

‘Spygate’ is over and done with but somehow fans simply just won’t let it go. My God, are people of the belief that the New England Patriots were the ‘only team’ doing this in the NFL ? Never mind the fact that the practice still goes on to this very day. It’s only that the NFL’s competition committee under the guidance of Commissioner Roger Goodell arbitrarily seeks out whom they want to punish, where , when and how . And the thinking was that the punishment meted out to Bill Belichick and the Patriots was deemed appropriate and enough of a deterrent ? Oh please , kids have been punished for doing far worse and more severely than the inane edict and fine handed down to the Patriots.

Now as a fan of the team , I felt that Belichick should’ve have been suspended for a year and a fine of not less than $2 million should’ve been levied against the organization !. Some may think that far too steep ? But I was always told ……. “if you want people to think about their actions, then hit ’em in their pockets where the most pain can be felt”. Perhaps then, everyone would’ve sat up and taken note ?

This past season the Patriots posted a regular season record of 10-6 and rode into the playoffs as AFC East divisional champions for a record seventh time. And the feeling was that the team could contend for the Superbowl this season and perhaps win it. But those thoughts were lost on me ! As I felt that ‘the team’ had been far too inconsistent throughout much of the regular season. Having posted a somewhat shoddy 10-6 record even by the Pats’ own lofty standards was to my mind something of a sense of foreboding. The team and its record reflected a unit that had under-achieved and were somewhat lucky to get by. Belichick and his coaching staff became too complacent and nonchalant , as the season wore on. And it would become their own undoing in the post-season.

And in the divisional round of the playoffs the inevitable happened as the Patriots would succumb to the Baltimore Ravens (35-14) . That ‘ungodly ass whupping’ was so severe , that even now, many of the Pats’ players probably still feel the pain to this day and the ignominy of defeat. And for myself , I didn’t relish watching one minute of that entire massacre. The team performed so badly on their home turf at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts , that in large part the home fans began to boo their players and cheer on the Ravens. One can’t but wonder how Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh must’ve felt on the day ? Suffice to say, it had to have been far much better than that of Bill Belichick and the entire Patriots’ organization and the fans. This works with the old adage ‘…nothing ventured nothing gained’. If the team and the organization haven’t learned anything from this loss. Then the next time around , things could get a whole lot starker for the them altogether.

This off-season a number of changes will have to made to the roster structurally. There’s a need for a player who can actually run the ball consistently and for a high average. Rather than just eking out little ‘hinky-dink runs’ of no more than two or three yards at a time. We know that Tom Brady can pass the ball with efficiency and the aerial attack of this team is as potent as they come. Given the fact that Brady has Randy Moss and Wes Welker to assist him in that pursuit. But beyond that the team’s running attack is anemic at best. And something definitely has to be done concerning the lack of willingness to negate the opposing team’s run offense. Far too often throughout much of the regular season and the divisional round playoff game itself , the team was exposed, warts and all. As to what this might suggest by Belichick and team’s lack of preparedness on the day , goes along way in indicating to me that the team and the coaching staff were not only complacent but also conceited ! And when that happens , you tend to have your ass handed to you on a silver platter. As the Patriots found out to their cost.

Now these have been just my thought on my teams and the avowed support that I have for them each. It’s not just about supporting a team but also being able to level criticism upon them when it is all too necessary. Many fans are too subservient and would rather take the easy way out and simply put up with the mediocrity of their teams. Think I’m wrong in my assessment ? Just look at the idiocy that now goes on within the Pirates’ organization , Clippers’ organization and that of their long suffering fans ? Most of them simply put up with the ‘sh_t’, rather than being vocal in calling out their respective organizations.

NB: Click here to read my bio.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………


Birdman ‘Number One Stunna’ feat’g Lil’ Wayne, Turk & Juvenile.


The rather ‘delectable’ Brittany Dailey ‘video vixen’ extraordinaire ! Say what you will but they don’t come any better than this ‘fine young’ “Nubian Princess” ! Click on any of the gallery photos to peruse ‘Brit-Brit’ more closely. You’ve got my permission to do so !