My observations for what their worth …

My observations for what their worth … Flights of fancy being what they are this is the time of the year, which gives thoughts to what will happen next in the sporting world. I have still not engratiated myself with the goings on within NASCAR, as I believe it to be a second-tier sport, filled robotic characters and a lone female said to represent the best that the sport has to offer. Personally, I believe the best Danica Patrick has to offer, is less of her inside a car and more of her, without her fire retardant suit, naked lying on a Persian rug, suggesting something provocative she would like for her male partner to come up wit a sexual act showing a great deal of initiative in performing that said ” act “ . That’s my take and I will stick with it ! However, I can understand the selling point of NASCAR, but to my mind having the most prestigious race on your schedule , the Dayton 500 begin your year of racing makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, especially when the thrill and excitement of the race easily forgotten, to make up for a mundane series, building up to a pape- weight crescendo of the final event at Homestead , Florida, and that is without delving into the format that decides the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Champion .

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Slideshow.

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Baring all, for her art form or is she not as talented as many claim her to be ? NASCAR driver Danica Patrick.

This year within NASCAR their fans will get to witness the good , the bad and the downright ugly side of the sport and I believe it is the one thing that keeps them so engrossed in a sport now struggling to maintain its presence on the sporting landscape from a television viewership standpoint and struggle to go beyond its current demographics.

So Tiger Woods is back to struggling on the PGA Tour ? And I was under the impression with his recent signing of a multi-year , multi-million dollar endorsement deal , things were back on track as this era’s once most dominant golfer had righted the ship and he was ready to make a spirited attempt to increase his tally (fourteen) of Grand Slam Majors’ wins , as he seeks to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ tally of eighteen career Grand Slam victories. The less consistency shown by Woods , the less likely it will be for him to pass his idol and add to his own legacy . That asides, it certainly doesn’t help that Woods has shown himself to be now , a mere mortal , rather than the most intimidating golfer on the PGA Tour . His ranking has taken a tumble while Irishman, Rory McIlroy has become the ” new wunderkind” on the PGA Tour as well as the number one ranked golfer in the world , a ranking that I believe will not be regaining anytime soon ! Such has been the dominance of McIlroy not just on the Tour, but also worldwide, where he is now challenging Woods in terms popularity, visibility and earnings on and away from the course , albeit , McIlroy still has a long way to go, before he can match Woods’ sexual avarice and wealth.. Do the two go hand in hand , might I ask ?

If there is nothing else to be said for Tiger Woods, it has been that he has kept us all constantly entertained throughout his almost two decades as a professional within the PGA ranks. Hard to believe in that time the headlines concerning the players has reached the highest of highs and then sank to the lowest of lows . Other than the indignities suffered by Mike Tyson , Lance Armstrong , Alex Rodriguez and O J Simpson , I can think of no other athlete whose own self inflicted wounds and utter stupidity has led to such a rapid decline with not only their character coming into question but also their ability to perform at the highest level possible. Simpson’s incarceration lets him off the hook to perform having already retired at the time of his alleged criminal offense , but I cannot help but wonder , how proficient was he in the kitchen with a paring or carving knife and what role did Al Cowling play in that infamous homicide ? The question was never really broached or answered by anyone much less come under the investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department , Homicide Division . I guess crime dramas on television do get it right some times, but in reality, the justice system becomes blind where the alleged assailant just happens to be a high-profiled athlete or celebrity. Simply go ahead and pick your poison.

The ” No Fun League ” , not sorry about the intended pun ! With the NFL having ended its regular and postseason in something of a spectacular fashion , that this league and sport continues unabashed , with the year-round volley of stories , covering all of the teams and the ensuing drama as it unfolds , then fed to the fans and public alike.

How will the new Superbowl champions fare during the off-season as the coaching staff of Bill Belichick and GM Nick Caserio assess the current roster deciding which players are likely to be kept and the players thought to be superfluous to their needs will simply be jettisoned .

This much we do know , as long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady continue as a coaching quarterback tandem, the England Patriots’ continued strive for ” Five “ will
continue
to be reality . You cannot deny those facts when placed in-front of you and that even after the stupidity of Spy-gate and now ” Deflate-Gate ” and the cries of foul. Does anyone truly believe the New England Patriots are the only NFL team to have practiced such antics in light of the claims being made ? Check all of the anger, acts of surprise at the door , show some damn intelligence and maturity of for once. There have been maneuvers in this league to get ahead and an edge, ever since this game came into being and only an idiot would try and contend otherwise .

This is certainly not the NFL so many of us grew up on anymore , as some have repeatedly stated , this league has become a business and it is in the business first and foremost to make money, , where winning affords those the privileges of wealth , notoriety , great deal of acclaim. Some of it will either be positive or a great deal of it negative. If you want the uncensored truth , then be prepared to handle it, welcoming or not , just don’t cry off , to bitch and whine continuously like a petulant child , perhaps out of jealousy, because things are not to your liking.

There are now so many plot-lines unfolding of which the biggest might be the decision likely to be made by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as they prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft as the franchise has the first pick in the first round of this draft. The consensus appears to be, the top two players in this NFL Draft are Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston , the last two recipients of the Heisman Trophy . Whether or not Buccaneers’ GM Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith concur on their choice in taking one of the two quarterbacks mentioned , will be now be a matter of great deal of conjecture and debate . Mariota might well have been the best quarterback in College Football this past season , but his showing in the national championship game belied those claims . Winston for his part, remains an individual lacking maturity , discipline and leadership , without delving into the issues of character , honesty and whether not the Seminoles’ quarterback (Winston) has the aptitude to play at the next level or lead a team with any degree of authority.

If there were any doubts in the minds of the fans of Peyton Manning this past season might well have been the last played by him in the NFL, then they were firmly put to rest with the four-time League MVP informing the front office of the Denver Broncos that he would be indeed back for his eighteenth season in the league. Longevity asides , Manning is a likely first ballot Hall of Fame player beyond all of his accomplishments on and off the field of play.

Manning’s return was of the utmost importance to the Broncos’ plans this off-season , as it would provide them with the guarantee they sought to proceed with any major plans to revamp their roster . Any thoughts that the quarterback might well have been willing to forgo his $2,500,000 million roster bonus , to walk off and simply retire , might well have been valid, but it appears pride amongst other things has been the driving force behind this decision. For two successive postseasons , Peyton Manning’s performances have been lackluster by even his own lofty standards. The loss to the Indianapolis Colts during this past postseason was not only stunning in its manner , but also by the margin of victory over the Broncos, as it further emphasized why the Colts’ fans are now extremely happy with Manning’s successor , Andrew Luck .

It will be strange entering into this off-season , watching how the Denver Broncos now proceed in going about things , as this franchise , within the space of two years, has literally fallen from being a contender , to a team now in transition with a new head coach , Gary Kubiak and a veteran quarterback in the twilight of his career , looking for that one last glimmer hope to add to his already astonishing career and legacy. John Elway as Head of Football Operations for the franchise will undoubtedly be mulling over a number of moves likely to be made. What we do know for sure , as the lead executive in charge of the franchise’s personnel operations . his reprieve was the return of Peyton Manning, as anything short of that would have been viewed as disastrous .

In the past eighteen months, we have witnessed the travesty of a sport having grown in popularity , now floundering in its own ineptitude , brought on by an executive who has become egotistical , self-absorbed in the belief the sport he presides over remains his brainchild for him brandish to the rest of the sports’ world . UFC President Dana White , who governs the sport of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) like an Emperor wielding a scepter waiting for everyone to do his bidding. Dictatorial in nature, would not even come close to describing White in recent months , with his criticism of fighters , opposing promotional entities and even the sport of boxing , which has been bedeviled by its own incompetence and lack clear direction for the past decade. With recent return to the octagon by former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva , the stage had been set for the return of MMA’s most honored and recognized champion . His two losses to current champion Chris Wiedman have been the only recent blemishes on an astonishing career. Silva’s clash with Nick Diaz at UFC 183 was something of a one-sided and uninteresting contest, between the braggadocios talent of Diaz against the wily veteran skills the Brazilian , Anderson Silva.

The former champion came away with the victory , but in the aftermath of it all, the victor tested positive for an illicit banned substance prohibited by UFC. Silva declared his innocence , stating he did not take any substance banned his sport , but his explanation seems to be a little condescending and hard to believe. White for his part, has not leveled any type of criticism this time around, after haranguing Anderson Silva once before, knowing that another slight could possibly lead to one of the biggest draws in the sport walking away for good .

With the UFC Welterweight Division awry and no charismatic athlete within the division there is now a void that is sorely missed with the long-term sabbatical of Georges St Pierre . Having vacated the title he once held, St-Pierre and fans of the sport have seen that title exchange hands in two successive and uninteresting bouts between Johnny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler , the current champion within the division. Add in the fact , White misjudged the backlash with his non-too believable excuse after Jon Jones tested positive for cocaine use , prior to his most recent title defense , for which the UFC President has yet to explain how and why the Light Heavyweight title bout was allowed to proceed , in light of the UFC having been made aware of the positive test, prior to Jones’ defense of his tile against Daniel Cormier at UFC 182.

Money may well have been the determining factor behind White’s decision to go ahead with the bout, as it was the marquee contest on the PPV broadcast, which had been a sellout reaping several million dollars for UFC ,as a major financial windfall. By all estimates, the overseas’ rights to UFC 182 , netted the sport’s governing body an estimated $45 million, though those figures are on the conservative side. UFC as the governing body , rarely discloses final sales’ figures for many of their scheduled events, unless they feel it is necessary to do so . Consider the fact however, the UFC brand is now a billion dollar ($1,000,000,000) behemoth , where its gross revenues for 2013, exceeded $1.45 billion worldwide . That figure is likely to be surpassed in 2015, if their projections are met, given the pace of their schedules and proposed fights being lined up by the UFC’s promotional arm, , affiliates and through their well oiled sales and associated business concerns.

Dana White has a great deal to answer for at present and none of it, can be said to be viewed, in a positive light.

As a fan of the Atlanta Braves, to suggest I was extremely disappointed with their lackluster showing during last season would be an understatement ! Team manager Fredi Gonzalez and his managerial staff were as complacent as the players they managed over the course of 2014. The fact that this team barely challenged the Washington Nationals for divisional supremacy within the NL East , leads me to believe there was a great deal more than complacency being exhibited by the players. Fredi Gonzalez’s approach was never to demand more from his team , instead being reliant on the fact they would be able play themselves out of trouble which clearly was never the case , as seen by a number of their results.

Missing the MLB Postseason was nothing short of disastrous and the fact Fredi Gonzalez managed retain his position, might well have been the biggest surprise of all , with the Braves entering the the start of the season as a legitimate favorite to win the NL East. Braves’ GM John Hart and team President John Scheurholz have set about revamping the roster , leading to the departures of Jason Heyward and Justin Upton . If this was meant to be a money-saving exercise or simply the front office looking to save face, then the fans might now be asking, what is likely to happen next ? It remains to be seen which player currently on the playing staff, will be seen to take up the slack after two of the more prominent and productive players on the Braves’ roster from last season have been traded elsewhere.

Members of the Braves’ managerial staff and the front office might well believe that the reashaping of the team , was the .best way to move forward , but my question would be at what cost to the long and short-term future of this franchise ? The loss of both Jason Heyward and Justin Upton could prove to be devastating in the long run, if players such as Freddie Freeman , Evan Gattis , Chris Johnson , Andrelton Simmons and BJ Upton are not able to produce this upcoming season .

Chances are , management will place enough faith in these players , along with the likely promotion of a number of youngsters from within their farm system to get the job done alongside a number of the veterans now part of the roster. The team’s Spring Training schedule could go a long way in determining how good the Braves are likely to be , before they begin their regular season slog of one hundred and sixty-two games , with their opener against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark, Miami Florida , as part of a three-game road trip beginning on the 6th April , 2015. All thirty teams within MLB (Major League Baseball) will have begun their regular season sojourn as of that date.

When the NBA resumes its schedule the two dominant teams from within the Eastern and Western Conference will be the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks . Few could have foreseen that either the Hawks or Warriors would be playing such great basketball, while fearing no one at home or on the road . Such has been the dominance of these two teams , there now seems to a great deal of talk as to the legitimacy of a potential NBA Finals’ match-up between the two franchises . Personally, I do not place a great deal of credibility in such a premise , not when there is the entire second-half of the season still be played, where injuries could factor into a teams’ final standings and overall play heading into the NBA Playoffs.

With a slew of games taking place on the 20th February , with the previous night’s opening soiree’ as a precursor , teams will have to up their game and presence with play having resumed. For James Harden and the Houston Rockets their season has been extremely good , with Harden now seen as a legitimate candidate for League MVP after a stellar first half to the season, where he has been the leading scorer in the NBA.

The Houston Rockets will get the chance to further legitimize their League MVP candidate’s credentials when they take on the take on their instate and conference rivals the Dallas Mavericks on Friday evening at the American Airlines Center in Dallas , Texas,.

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Picture gallery.

Though 2015 is still in its infancy, what are you most looking forward to on the sporting calendar this year ? Also , which stories do you feel as a carry-over from last year, will still be ongoing throughout this sports’ season ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you feel to be relevant to the subject matter.

🙂

Tophatal ….

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below.

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(1) Jeff Gordon celebrates after posting the fastest time to win the pole position during qualifying for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. Gordon a four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion will retire after the 2015 season , leaving one of the most impressive racing resumes` in the modern era of the sport. However, he will still be involved with NASCAR with the day-to-day operations of Hendrick Motorsports where he is a minority stakeholder in the racing outfit as well as the joint-owner o teammate’s Jimmie Johnson race vehicle. AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Stephen M. Dowell

(2) Carl Edwards , right, talks with Ricky Stenhouse Jr . before qualifying for the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in Daytona Beach, Fla. AP Photo/Terry Renna

(3) Danica Patrick talks about how unpredictable the Daytona 500 will be and how she’s prepared for the 2015 season. Patrick has yet to win a race at the highest level of NASCAR’s elite racing series. AP Photo / Terry Renna

(4) Racing celebrity, Danica Patrick poses along a Florida beach for the Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit 2008 issue. Courtesy of SI .

(5) LA JOLLA, CA – FEBRUARY 05 : Tiger Woods walks off the course after withdrawing from the Farmers Insurance Open due to injury at Torrey Pines Golf Course on February 5, 2015 in La Jolla, California. Wood issued a public statement , stating he would be taking a long leave of absence from the PGA Tour to recuperate from his latest bout of ill-health and to work on his golf game. i Donald Miralle/Getty Images/AFP

(6) Denver Broncos’ owner , Pat Bowlen (left), is seen here alongside the team’s quarterback Peyton Manning and Head of Football Operations , himself a former player with the Broncos, John Elway . Manning made the decision to return for an eighteenth season in the NFL, the last three with the AFC West based franchise . A disappointing postseason in 2014 played a part in the decision, but the loss in Superbowl 48 to the Seattle Sehawks left an indelible mark on Manning’s playoff legacy, where his one Superbowl victory with the Indianapolis Colts has been his lone success in the postseason. Getty Images North America / Martin Walker

(7) UFC President Dana White is seen here at the podium while he addresses the media as UFC Heavyweight Champion , Cain Velazquez seated, listens as the executive speaks concerning the upcoming bout between Velazquez and Junior Dos-Santos at UFC . Courtesy of MMA Inc .

(8) Atlanta Braves’ GM John Hart , left , team President John Scheurholz , former team manager and Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Cox . In an off-season of upheaval , several players have left the franchise via trades initiated by Hart and Schuerholz . Jason Heyward and Justin Upton were two of the most high-profiled and visible players who were traded during the off-season to the St Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres, respectively. AP Photo / Mark Shaw

(9) Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, left, looks to make the defensive play against point guard Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks . These two teams currently have the best two records in the entire NBA with Eastern based Hawks firmly seated atop of the Eastern Conference with Warriors holding the same position in the Western Conference. A potential NBA Finals series’ match-up is now being discussed in some circles, because of the dominance shown this season by both teams. Curry and Teague are just two of the primary reasons by behind their respective teams’ success this season . Getty Images / Paul Morris

(10) James Harden and his Houston Rockets’ teammate Dwight Howard are seen here during an NBA game in the first half of the season. Rockets’ head coach Kevin McHale has his team playing an up-tempo style, giving the Rockets one of the best records in the NBA . AP Photo / Chris Moore

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MLB

MLB news

MLB schedule important dates

MLB transactions (February 2015)

M LB Postseason picture and postseason play (by round )

2014 MLB World Series

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NFL and news

2015 NFL Draft and combine news NFL transactions (February)

NFL free agents

NFL team caps (projected 2015)
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PGA Tour and news

PGA Tour schedule 2015

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NBA

NBA news

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA standings playoff picture and playoff picture (games remaining )

NBA stats offense

NBA stats (defense)

NBA seasonal leaders (PTS)

NBA Rookies’ stats

NBA league lineup 5 man starting rotation best records

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UFC

UFC news and archived stories

UFC Fighter news

UFC schedule

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From left to right , Jon Jones , Anderson Silva and Georges ‘Rush’ St-Pierre .

Thanks For The Memories …………. But No Thanks !

Thanks For The Memories …………. But No Thanks !

Can answer be found for the utter stupidity now being shown by both the NFL , the owners and that of the NFLPA . It now appears the line that couldn’t be crossed has been as Commissioner Roger Goodell , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and the union’s executive committee seems to be now at a point where no one seems to be making any sense. Both sides claim that they want there to be a 2011-12 season but it’s becoming abundantly clear that scenario isn’t about to happen anytime soon. An NFL imposed lockout and labor stoppage will lead to a cataclysmic problem for the NFL from a financial standpoint and that of their major corporate sponsors. It has been estimated that each week of the regular season schedule of the NFL brings in an estimated $ 300 million in gross revenues for the league . And less we forget the postseason reaps an even bigger bonanza for all concerned .

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Slide show for your perusal .

What might now be a cause for concern will be the fate of the unrestricted free agents that will come to the market in the offseason. Any lockout leaves those players in limbo without an existing contract and as such without a team . And while we know that the NFL Draft will still take place the contention of the league is that process goes ahead without any hindrance. At what point does the idiocy stop with regard to the demeanor of the league’s hierarchy and the union itself. Both parties seem to be self serving and completely oblivious to the image created for the fans . Each side has seen fit to produce their own ads portraying their situation from their own standpoints but in reality the discerning NFL fan out there isn’t concerned with what they want or think. All the fans want to know is that there will be an NFL season to be played rather than a league imposed lockout. And while the House Oversight Committee watches from afar you simply get the feeling that they’d like to wade into this issue and leave their own mark on it all.

Courtesy of ESPN

Roger Goodell: Latest talks ‘beneficial’

ESPN.com news service

Dallas — Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Drew Brees were among the star players who attended a negotiating session between the NFL and players’ union Saturday, league sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

While it is not unusual for players to occasionally sit in on negotiations, the presence of Manning was a surprise and is an early indication that the union is successfully getting the support of its superstar quarterbacks. During the 1987 players strike and subsequent labor strife, several of the league’s star passers broke union ranks by signing licensing rights with the NFL which weakened the union revenue pool.

Manning was also joined at Saturday’s meeting by Brees, who has been an activist as the team’s player representative. Sources did not reveal if any players spoke during the negotiating session but their presence was considered symbolic, at the very least. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was named the NFL’s MVP on Sunday for the 2010 season, also has been an outspoken pro-union player rep.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the two-hour meeting with the players’ union was “beneficial.”

“It’s always a positive when both parties are talking,” Goodell said.

“My focus is on the next three or four weeks,” Goodell said. “I’ve often said, our agreement expires on March 4th. We have to use that period of time to reach an agreement that’s fair for the players, fair for the clubs, and allows our great game to grow for our fans.”

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that aired the morning of the Super Bowl, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labor talks. Goodell also addressed the NFL’s labor issues on Sunday in an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning”.

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Given Smith’s background and the fact that he worked in DC with the litigation firm Patton Boggs LLC , I’d say that the union’s Executive Director’s circle of friends within Washington could very well be in his corner . The NFL not to be outdone have their own supporters up on Capitol Hill and the very fact that they’ve their body of lobbyists pleading their case there within Congress and the Senate has me believing that the NFL’s hierarchy is in this for the long haul even with the financial mayhem that’s bound to follow. Words fail me at this juncture as to how the two sides can’t seem to find their way to come to an amicable resolution when a $9 billion a year industry is at risk ?

The broadcast networks ABC/ESPN , Fox , CBS and NBC aren’t going to be entirely happy with this outcome should the two sides not be able to come to an amicable solution. From their standpoint they clearly won’t be happy to the fact of the loss tv viewership ad revenue . And let’s not forget the NFL stadiums around the league that will stay empty around the NFL should there be a lockout ? And what might be even more telling would be the loss in terms of the economic impact each week brings to the cities concerned when an NFL game takes place. This situation has become so acute that it’s hard not see there not being a fallout on such a seismic scale that it won’t undercut the economic impact on those communities.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft , Jerry Jones and Woody Johnson of the New York Jets had all provided the public with statements stating they believed that a compromise could be reached . But obviously the league had forgotten to make the owners aware that their private thoughts and their public stance weren’t in line with this triumvirate. In terms of open transparency the NFL is not unlike of that of MLB , NASCAR , the NBA , NHL and MLS in the fact that they never choose to open their finances up for public scrutiny. And with each of these having been given antitrust exemption courtesy of Congress it’s clear to see why the league would rather not let that happen.

The league has sought concessions from the NFLPA requesting a give back initially of $1 billion annually from off the top of the gross revenues over the next seven years . But that’s just the topping for many of the other concessions sought by the owners and Goodell. And it’s easy to see why the union led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae have been averse to these and many of the other concessions sought by the NFL hierarchy. The league states one thing while the union has another idea as to what the NFL really wants and that’s specifically to add to their coffers while not acquiescing to any additional financial rewards sought by the players.

Courtesy of The Nation

DeMaurice Smith: On an NFL Lockout and Inspiration from Egypt

By Dave Zirin

There is no form of entertainment in this country more popular than football, and there is no one, save Barack Obama, being scrutinized more closely these days than DeMaurice Smith . Smith heads the National Football League’s Players Association—a union that’s being threatened with being locked out unless players give back substantial amounts in wages and agree to lengthen the season to 18 games. NFL players make large sums of money but risk a lifetime of physical debilitation and the average career lasts only 3.5 years. Owners are banking on the fact that players, with their short window to make money, will cave to every demand. Smith is banking on something bigger: a sense of history, sacrifice, and community that’s bigger than sports.

I spoke with Smith last Friday, the day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked away from the table during negotiations. I asked Smith, on a scale of one to ten, whether he felt there would be a lockout. “On a scale of one to ten, it’s still 14,” he said. “We’re preparing our guys for the worst, we’re hoping for the best. I’m going to keep negotiating. We’ve got our guys on standby right now to be virtually anywhere in the country whenever they want to talk. That’s the way we’re going to roll. I’ve told them that we’re going to negotiate day and night until we get it done, but it takes two.”

Smith is negotiating with—or trying to negotiate with—some of the most powerful, politically connected corporate actors in the United States. Their reach truly inspires awe. When the NFLPA produced a television ad in an effort to garner fan support, the networks first agreed and then refused to air it, presumably after pressure exerted by the league. DeMaurice Smith deemed the censorship “stunning.”

You might think, faced with such power, this would make him pessimistic about the prospects for players, but Smith finds himself inspired by events far removed from the world of football.

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If the NFL isn’t prepared to look at their own financial template on a regular basis then how will they be able to recognize the fact that along the way there has to adjustments made that can be dealt with by the interested parties in a manner befitting of each where they actually have trust in one another. And that’s clearly not the case here between the NFL and the NFLPA ! Neither side at this juncture have shown that they can either be trusted much less the fact that they can be openly honest with one another. Each side seeks the public’s empathy and I think that as of now the fans and general public aren’t overly interested in what either side has to say ….. other than perhaps them stating that there won’t be a lockout or labor stoppage .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Now as an avid fan of the NFL I’ll say this, a lockout would to my mind be a mistake that won’t be of any help to either side . The goodwill that the league and union felt that they had amongst the fans is now hanging tenuously by a single thread . Their mistake is that they’re of the fans believe that they really care ………… the fact of the matter is the vast majority of the fans simply no longer care ! The league and the unions continue shoot themselves in the foot and will continue to do so now for the foreseeable future. The March 4th deadline for both sides to get a deal done before the current collective bargaining expires is not that far off but at the same time both Goodell and Smith act as if they have all the time in the world at their disposal , but it could in reality time is of the essence given the fact that the two sides only met for the second time twice in the last three months trying to work out a deal.

Should there be a lockout within the NFL what thoughts if any do you have and how do you envision this whole scenario panning out ? Simply proffer up your thoughts on the matter .

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has until March 3 to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association and executive director DeMaurice Smith.
AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt …….

(2) NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith speaks during the NFL Players Association press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 3, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Scott Halleran / Getty Images North America ……….

(3) National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor and human resources in the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Major League Baseball, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, Michael Weiner, general counsel for the Major League Baseball Players Association, Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Gabriel Feldman, associate professor of law and director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane University Law School, and Jeffrey Standen, professor of law at the Willamette University College of Law (L-R), testify on Capitol Hill on November 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on doping in professional sports. Getty Images North America / Brendan Hoffman ………..

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Alan aka tophatal ……………………………

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Eye candy ……….. Rosa Acosta . Doesn’t she make a slice of watermelon look ever so enticing ?

Rosa Acosta 1

What’s not to like about this side of Rosa Acosta ?

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Bones Thugs-N-Harmony …………… “First of The Month”

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Intriguing Questions That Need To Be Asked And Answered In The World of Sports ………….

Intriguing Questions That Need To Be Asked And Answered In The World of Sports ………….

If LeBron James as he’s now stating , having been interviewed by that elder statesman of menial tv journalism, Larry King . Wherein , James stated that the Cavaliers’ organization stands a better than even chance that he’ll remain with the team . The question I for one would like to ask did his mother force him to make such a statement , bearing in mind that it’s been alleged that she (Gloria James) has been having a sexual relationship with James’ teammate Delonte’ West . Could it be that Gloria James will miss Cleveland more than LeBron will ? And two, what does that say about the players of some of the potential teams that are said to be interested in luring James to their organizations ?

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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

In the Bible we’re led to believe that it took God six days to create the Earth and on the seventh day he rested . The question I’d like to ask if it can the “Supreme Being” such a short time to create this world . Then how is it that it has now taken the NCAA in “excess of three years” to conduct their investigation into the basketball and football program of USC ? I mean with all of the evidence that has come to light and the fact that the likes of Reggie Bush , Matt Leinart , O J Mayo , Pete Carroll , Tim Floyd and the US Trojans’ AD Mike Garrett have been less than forthright in answering any questions as to any transgressions concerning the program. Is it a matter of mere perception and we’re completely misjudging what has gone on within the school’s athletics program ? I guess that $1,000-00 paid to Mayo by Floyd , was a mere oversight at the time ? And the fact that Bush’s parents were living in a residence that at the time was way beyond their means was a mere faux-pas and nothing untoward was happening between Bush and an interloper acting on his behalf at the time.

Well the 2010 NBA Finals are upon us and the series commences on the 3rd June , 2010 . The game’s two most storied franchises are set to meet for the the eleventh time in the game’s showcase event. Between them the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have won 32 NBA titles and have made a combined 51 appearances in the NBA Finals. It’d be remiss to suggest that it does make the other teams within the NBA irrelevant because that’s most certainly not the case. But in this era where we’re always being told that there’s parity in sports . The dominance of the Celtics and Lakers of the NBA does make the case for that argument seem somewhat mute. But in reality when either of these two teams are making an appearance in the finals , then it augurs well for the viewing figures for the event and it most definitely brings a smile to the face of David Stern and the entire NBA hierarchy .

As a more than avid fan of the NBA I just hope to see a very entertaining series. But above all I’m hoping that the officials don’t interject themselves into each and every game and event when there’s a tinge of controversy. More than often than not the real reason why a series can be bad or becomes bad isn’t necessarily because of the poor play. But more so, it has to do with the poor officiating. I know that David Stern says that he trusts these officials implicitly . But would he actually trust them with his life or perhaps to be in the accompaniment of his wife or daughters ? I mean if he trusts them that much then he shouldn’t have a problem with a referee spending a night with his wife I would’ve thought ! Squash that , Tim Donaghy suddenly springs to mind .

Apart from seeing future Hall of Famers , in , Kobe Bryant , Ray Allen , Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett . We’ll also get to see the burgeoning talents of such young players as Rajon Rondo, Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar . As to whether or not the careers of these players will aspire to be as great as that of their peers mentioned , it remains to be seen over the course of time.

Ben Roethlisberger has returned to the fold and is now allowed once again allowed to undertake team activities with the Pittsburgh Steelers . I for one still feel that the player got off lightly ! But given the fact that he’s said to be on a tight leash and he’s still under a six game suspension that can be lowered to four games should NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell see fit. The scrutiny under which Roethlisberger will be followed will most certainly make him feel as if he’s rat on a wheel undergoing a watchful social behavorial experiment. I just hope that the player understands the implications should he screw up again . There have been players within the NFL who haven’t been afforded a second chance that has been given Roethlisberger. So the slightest inappropriate act on or off the field and he can essentially kiss his career goodbye.

My buddy Sportschump suggested that many of the problems that came to the fore under Goodell’s watch were inherited after his assuming the position of his predecessor Paul Tagliabue . But that was most certainly not the case. From the Plaxico Burress affair , to Donte’ Stallworth to Ben Roethlisberger . All of this has happened under Goodell’s watch and the commissioner hasn’t necessarily always been proactive in his handling of these matters. He at times placates the situation by saying that many of the cases in question should be dealt with after legal ramifications are sorted out. However , under the collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA , he has the power to suspend a player for conduct detrimental to the sport and that includes any matter that might also tarnish the image of the NFL.

My question to Goodell and Sportschump , should “Big Ben” be caught once again, whereby a 20 year old female college co-ed should suddenly find her lips around a certain part of the player’s genitalia. Can we believe Ben if he states ……………” she tripped and fell and her mouth suddenly found itself around my member ” ? More to the point how is it that it is always the fault of the other person in the incident ? Isn’t Roethlisberger mature enough to be now held accountable for his own actions ? Or is this what a football college scholarship now gets you at Miami of Ohio ?

Still no word as of yet but with Terrell Owens seeing his buddy , Chad Ochocinco appear on Dancing With The Stars . Is there now a possibility that “TO” will lean more towards retirement as he remains an unsigned free agent within the NFL ? That’s not to say that his agent Drew Rosenhaus won’t be making overtures on the player’s behalf to see if he can be signed by none other than the Minnesota Vikings. That way the organization and the the team can then have “two of the biggest and most self absorbed narcissists” ever to have set foot within the NFL. Don’t forget now boys and girls , Brett Favre still hasn’t made us privy to the impending decision as to his NFL future and that perceived comeback , “yet again” !

If you think it not audacious situation for Rosenhaus to approach Brad Childress and his coaching staff to quite possibly gauge their interest in the veteran wide receiver. Not so long ago the thinking was that Favre would be the player to put the team over the top and guide them to a Superbpowl . Well one year on and one year older and the Vikings were about as close to the Superbpowl as Sen. John McCain (R-Az) was, in gaining entrance into the White House as the 44th President of the United States. C’mon now , please don’t use the excuse that Brett got ’em to the NFC championship game. Brett also cost ’em an appearance in the Superbowl with his capricious play in the closing stretch of the loss to the eventual Superbowl champions __ New Orleans Saints .

So what do you think is there a remote possibility that we could see that Favre Owens’ tandem gracing us within the NFL as part of the Vikings’ team looking to be not only dominant within the NFC North but also within the entire NFL ? Or will me merely see the return of Favre to the Vikings with Owens toiling away elsewhere within the NFL with some none descript team ?

Well now that we’ve more than got a quarter of the way through the baseball season . A number of teams are trying to jockey themselves into position for the mid-stretch of the season. To my mind this is the one part of the season that will go a long way in telling us the resolve and determination of a team. You simply have to look at the standings to see which teams can be taken for real and which cannot. Sorry Baltimore and Houston but there’s always next year I hope !

I can’t for the life of me understand how two teams such as the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers of the AL Central tend to under achieve. As good as both teams appear to be on paper , up close and personal once they begin to play it’s like looking at an abstract painting and trying to understand what the subject matter is all about. The White Sox are simply are simply an embarrassment and for Jim Leyland and Tigers , I’m not about to suggest that the team is spiraling out of control. But were they an airplane, I’d be looking for the nearest emergency exit just as a precaution.

GM’s Dave Dombrowski of the Tigers and Kenny Williams of the White Sox know that in Leyland and Ozzie Guillen they have two very good managers. But the problems now facing both managers are that their respective teams either aren’t listening as to what they and the coaching staff are trying to instill. Or quite possibly the teams just aren’t as good as first thought. By my way of thinking it has to be the latter but if things don’t change as to both teams’ fortunes . Then quite possibly before at the culmination of the season both managers could very well be fired by their respective organizations. I’m not about to suggest that they should both be deserving of such a fate. But as a last resort that’s always how the executives and owners tend to alleviate the problem to quieten the angst of the fans.

I’m not a big NASCAR or IRL fan but I’ve got to admit that I made the rare peek to watch snippets of the Coca Cola 600 and parts of the Indy 500 . The latter race I’ve been led to believe is said to be “the best auto race in the world” . Someone must be friggin’ kidding if they’ve never witnessed the Monaco Grand Prix from Monte Carlo and the nuance of F1 Grand Prix Racing. OK , so Indy Car has female drivers Danica Patrick and Milka Duno . But unless they’re about to let those ladies race in nothing more than two piece bathing suit , then quite frankly I’m simply not interested ! However, with Dario Franchitti happening to be the victor of the Indy 500 , we all got to see that rather “hot wife” of his Ashley Judd . But good God almighty, was it me but what the hell was she wearing ? I thought it was Franchitti’s mother at first until the cameras drew in for a close up shot . Then I realized she still looks as hot as ever ! ‘nough said !

Ashley Judd please don’t give the legions of male fans around the world such a scare again ! We all love it when you look exceedingly hot and chique`. We’d prefer for you to not to look so dowdy as it belies your sensational looks . As to Franchitti , I can only surmise that once he and his wife returned home all bets were off as to how they’d end up celebrating his second victory of America’s most prestigious race. A great deal of intimacy was no doubt called for I’d dare say ! So we know that Ashley Judd is hot but can someone answer me this, when will Danica Patrick win her next race ? And two, are we ever liable to see her adorning a stripper’s pole ? Because by my way of thinking the circus has but left town with regard to her alleged ambitions within both NASCAR and IRL. Making excuses for Danica Patrick now is very much in a similar vein in excusing why it is that Dale Earnhardt Jr can’t find the winner’s podium but yet he’s being paid an exorbitant amount of money for merely being average at best. Can I get an amen here ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Well these are but a few of the questions that I think in some ways we can find amusing and in some cases serious in the world of sports. What questions if any would you want to pose concerning a certain are of the sporting landscape. It doesn’t necessarily have to be serious at all. So feel free to chime on in with a question and perhaps we can all debate it in the appropriate manner ? Thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………………

David Bowie ……………..“Heroes”

You Know It’s Been A Bad Sport’s Weekend When …..Insert An Answer of Your Choice ………….

You Know It’s Been A Bad Sport’s Weekend When …..Insert An Answer of Your Choice ………….

Not wanting to rain anyone’s parade but this sports weekend has been about as enthralling as have a barium meal enema ! I mean when NBC is still trying to regale us with the importance of these Winter Games and it has carried with it about as emotional drama as the facial characteristics of David Caruso in his role as ‘Horatio Cane’ on the CBS crime drama , ‘CSI Miami’ ! Then you know things have gotten pretty bad concerning NBC’s coverage and the actual events themselves. They’ve been hyping up the ‘drama’ on such athletes as Lindsay Vonn, Appolo Anton Ohno , Evan Lysacek and the US men’s hockey team , almost as if it were our duty to watch and support the athletes. Though I can well understand the network’s reasoning for doing this . NBC is on its last legs as a network , not just merely from its existence as a network but also from a viable financial standpoint as a stand alone company. Parent company GE can now, no longer stand to keep pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a bottomless pit and seeing nothing in return for its endeavors. Hence the reason for their divesting themselves of the troubled network.

Bode Miller wins gold at the Winter Olympics in the Super G event.

The idiocy of Dick Ebersol (head of NBC Sports) notwithstanding , why in fu_k’s name would you out-bid your nearest rival by tens of millions of dollars for an event where over the past few years , viewership has been on the decline ? The Winter Olympics while somewhat exciting pales into comparison when measured against its Summer counterpart. Never mind the fact the network stands to lose in excess of $450 million for the coverage of the games in Vancover, British Columbia. Who’s minding the shop for NBC ? It can’t be the US Treasury , Dept of Heath and Human Services and the US Department of Defense , can it ? I mean those three federal agencies alone , accounts for up to 66 % of the Federal budget. And what have we seen in return, for their so called expertize ? Much less what has NBC been trying to do recently with their programming overhaul at the network ? How many times can one throw ‘shi*t up against a wall’ to see how it sticks ?

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Danica  Patrick seen  here  at   Fontana International   Speedway,  Fontana ,  California.
Danica Patrick seen here at Fontana International Speedway, Fontana , California. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Alex Gallard

NASCAR still continues its love-fest with Danica Patrick . And once again she didn’t fail to disappoint. I mean when will people simply get it , that this is merely nothing more than a publicity stunt ? Her experience at both disciplines of auto racing , has shown she doesn’t have the temperament to remain a viable competitor within either format. But the press continue bring forth the asinine notion that this will be something tremendous within NASCAR. By finishing 31 st (thirty first) in the Stater Bros. 300 at Fontana Motor Speedway , Fontana , California. Never mind that she twice race out of the pit lane and had to be advised by her crew chief that she was exceeding the speed limit allowed . Where upon she acted as if she wasn’t aware that this was a rule within NASCAR ? Well considering that within IRL, this is also mandated in order cut down the risk of a crash in the pit lanes. I've got think Patrick just isn't as smart as people are trying to make her out to be ? She's still damn fine to look at ! And ‘uncle Al’ certainly wouldn’t have a problem nailin’ her ass like Tiger has been known to ‘nail’ his harem of skanks ! But that asides NASCAR will make Danica the focus of their attention to the detriment of drivers such as Tony Stewart , Jimmie Johnson , Mark Martin and others. And this is a sport that now is in the midst of a crisis, that even its own top executives have still to get a handle on. And based on last weeks fiasco at the Daytona 500, I still don’t believe that these idiots simply get it, as of yet ! Thanks Brian France and Mike Helton , for the lack of intelligence shown by you both and the rest of NASCAR’s top executives !

College basketball and its tops-turvy world at present ,continues unabated. The season so far, has seen its comings and goings of those aspirants who we ought to think of as being the ‘top team’ in the men’s game. Unashamedly, in the women’s game it’s U Conn and then everyone else. Geno Auriemma has the women ‘Huskies’ once again on the national championship trail, while seemingly running off 68 consecutive wins as if they were in their sleep. Now if U. Conn should go on to surpass John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins’ feat of 88 consecutive wins, then how should we view the feat of Auriemma and that of the U. Conn women ? I mean it’s a record isn’t ? Be it in men’s or women’s sports and it ought to be respected , no matter by whom it’s broken by !

John Calipari coach of the Kentucky men’s basketball team. Here he speaks about his team and in particular his star player , John Wall .

On the men’s side of that equation there isn’t such a dominant team at present and you’d be hard pressed at this juncture on clearly deciding which is the best team in the men’s game at present. The rankings simply don’t bear this out at present . And that’s despite Kansas (Jayhawks) and Kentucky (Wildcats) being quite evenly matched and sitting atop of the rankings at numbers 1 and 2. That asides , as either team has hit their rough patch , cases are now being made for Villanova and Purdue . My own opinion is , that it’ll all come out in the wash , once the NCAA National Championships starts to unfold. That’s when the ‘men’, will be separated from the ‘boys’ ! Need one say anymore on the matter ?

Ah, the rarefied air of the NBA ! When all is right then things are said to be great ? Now forgive me for saying this but for all sense and purpose , unless Knicks’ GM Donnie Walsh has pictures of LeBron James in a compromising position with a farm animal. Then there’s absolutely no way in hell that I can see the Cavaliers’ player ending up in New York , as a member of the New York Knicks. My buddy, sportschump is trying to convince me that because the Knicks will have up to $30 million worth of cap space , then they’ll be able to take their pick of the pre-eminent free agents that will come to the market, at the end of the 2010 season. James along with Dywane Wade , Chris Bosh and Amar’e Stoudemire will be amongst the most desired names of the players in question.

The Knicks got off to something of a start with the newly acquired and sardonic Tracy McGrady . Watching ‘T-Mac’ over the years, has been like watching a spoiled child, bitch and moan around the league , merely because nothing has ever gone his way. At every stop of his professional career, he has simply found a way to alienate the fans , his teammates and the organizations where’s he’s played. At times it’s like watching a malignant tumor just spread across a cancerous body. Fortunately, for the Knicks their form of cancer came in the vestige of Isiah Thomas and his antics when he was in charge of the regime . And that was before McGrady came into the fray . Now they still continue that sort of mindset to this day , with Donnie Walsh. This isn’t just karma with the Knicks but now a way of life ! This organization now makes the likes of the Pittsburgh Pirates , Kansas City Royals, Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Clippers seem respectful. And by my way of thinking, that takes a hell of a lot to achieve such a feat !

McGrady and his $23 million contract in tow, has become the league’s newest vagabond and troubadour. He alongside Allen Iverson , are the things that have epitomized the good and the bad about the NBA and its players . Now as things play out within the Eastern Conference . All that the Knicks have left to play for is there self respect , what little there is left , mind you.

I seem to remember Rafi’ Palmeiro said something of a similar vein with regard to his steroid use. And therein, lies Tiger’s illusions that he wasn’t being attacked by his wife . Tiger just shut the f_ck up and tell the truth, you ass-hole ! And if you can’t state the nature of your ailment publicly , then you’re nowhere near facing your underlying issues.

Much was made of the Tiger Woods’ convened press conference from the TPC Sawgrass Course at Ponte Vedra Beach , Florida- on Friday morning. Now pardon me for saying this , but there was simply nothing there to suggest that Woods being contrite. The words coming out of his mouth were probably not his and more likely than not, they were written by someone at Woods’ behest. It was all to well scripted and the fact that Woods and his agent Mark Steinberg of IMG were unwilling to take questions from the convened press , indicates to me how much of a white-wash this all was ! His act of contrition and the press conference rang hollow ! I think it was best summed up several members of the public who stated the following “…as a parent ……. Woods represents all that is despicable in a person who believes themselves to be entitled but at the same isn’t willing to be held accountable for their actions when the truth initially becomes known’ . Could it have been put anymore succinctly than that ?

These are but a few of my observations of the weekend. Anything in particular that you feel that might be a worthwhile topic of discussion ? I look forward to reading your comments as and when ready. Thanks for the continued support !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………

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Guy performing ‘Groove Me’ (Geffen Records circa @ 1988)

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As a treat to the guys who take time to look at the pics of the chicks and not just read the words. Here are Meagan Good and Lauren London . Do enjoy. Click on the ‘pics’ from the gallery in order to view in full size.

I’ve Got A Pot To Pi_s In And My First Task Would Be To Pour It In The Direction of The Following …….

I’ve Got A Pot To Pi_s In And My First Task Would Be To Pour It In The Direction of The Following …….

I don’t know about you but I found this past weekend to be something of an uneventful one sports-wise. OK, so it was Valentine’s Day weekend and the girlfriend brought me a puppy as a gift. I’ve decided to name him ‘Buster’. And hopefully he can get me some ‘play’ when she’s out of town away on business or visiting her family on the West Coast ! And the one thing that Buster had better be is domesticated, in the fact that he won’t be urinating all over the home. That’ll be an ongoing thing no doubt. !

As I stated , I found the weekend’s noted sport’s activities to be one big monotonous bore ! And my interest in the Winter Olympics rates up there somewhere alongside my interest in Sarah Palin’s thoughts on the economy. Her knowledge of it, when matched against that of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers is essentially like measuring the difference between night and day. She ought to stick with what she knows best and that’s placing lipstick on a pig and making a complete ass of herself . Any other utterances out of her mouth just isn’t worth a damn !


The NBA All Star Weekend was the personification of exuberance and ostentatiousness . And even thought the events were staged at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington , Texas. One had the feel that everything about the event was superficial and lacking in real substance. There, you had Mark Cuban as host of the event , as the game was meant to be originally set at the Dallas Mavericks’ home venue. But what better way for David Stern , Jerry Jones and Cuban , himself , to show off everything that’s meant to truly gaudy, while still at the same time trying to appease the fans of the NBA ? And it wouldn’t at all surprise us to know that each of the trio has never been known to shy away from the prying eyes of the media. As each craves the press almost as much as a junkie craves a hit of their next fix. They’ll essentially whore themselves out to the highest bidder if it gets them the print or tv coverage that they desire.

Dallas -February  15th ,2010. New Dallas Mavericks player <strong>Caron Butler </strong>(l) and Mavericks' head coach Rick Carlisle appear at a news conference at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. photo appears  courtesy  of  NBAE/Getty  Images/  Glenn James  .........
Dallas -February 15th ,2010. New Dallas Mavericks player Caron Butler (l) and Mavericks' head coach Rick Carlisle appear at a news conference at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Glenn James .........

Well, what was meant to be ‘NASCAR’s showcase event’ of the season , their ‘Superbowl’ , essentially became a comedy of errors. And no one other than NASCAR is to blame for the events that took place at Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500 . And though the race was won by Jamie McMurray with Dale Earnhardt Jr finishing a close second. One can’t help but feel that the race and the events in the midst and subsequently surrounding it made it all more of an afterthought. And no amount of PR hoopla that was forthcoming could actually stave off the warranted criticism of the event and of the officials presiding over Daytona , itself. ISC , the holding company and umbrella operation of NASCAR , which owns the track, doesn’t even have the decency to apologize to the fans for the debacle. But then again what would one come to expect of a a hierarchy that has literally lost touch with its fan-base over the years. Brian France as CEO and Chairman of NASCAR alongside Mike Helton , NASCAR’s President , have about as much insight and intelligence as that of a mentally challenged child. But the belief is that as custodians of the sport they have it now going in the right direction. With the loss of several major corporate sponsors and the still acute situation of the domestic auto industry. These are still some very acute times for the sport in general and financially as well as competitively it is becoming extremely tough to remain competitive as well as financially viable. A number of the smaller teams operating within the upper echelons of the sport will either cease operations , scale back or leave the sport altogether . It’s not just the economy that’s playing a factor in this but the mere fact that the rules within the sport isn’t consistent and is forever changing. Hardly an emphatic endorsement for a sport that is meant to be fan friendly.

Team owner Chip Ganassi, left, and NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray are interviewed after winning the Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.  photo appears  courtesy of  Associated  Press/ John  Raoux .......
Team owner Chip Ganassi, left, and NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray are interviewed after winning the Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ John Raoux .......

Much of the pre-hype leading up to the race itself was the official baptism of fire Danica Patrick. She will now drive in the sport but in the lower level of the Nationwide Series for the Jr Motorsports team, co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr and Rick Hendrick . Now considering the hype over Patrick , who has but one win in the Indy Series . I find it somewhat asinine the attention that she’s now getting, when in Jimmie Johnson , the sport has its first four time consecutive NASCAR champion. The PR that NASCAR has used their champion for, borders on being insulting. It has been minimal at best and on a national scale the print media hasn’t shown little evidence of supporting the NASCAR champion. But that’s something that’s best left for their erstwhile fans to discuss. I mean if Jimmie Johnson’s feats aren’t worth discussing then why the f_ck are they falling over themselves concerning Danica Patrick ? When last l looked she wasn’t racing stark naked , nor was she adorning the front of her vehicle scantly clad. So why all the hype ?

 Jamie McMurray, driver of the (#1) Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  photo appears courtesy  of Getty Images/  NASCAR/ Jason  Smith ..................
Jamie McMurray, driver of the (#1) Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ NASCAR/ Jason Smith ..................

Can the travails of the New York Knicks get any worse at the moment ? Here you have a team that is so inept and lacking in overall talent. That one has to wonder why they’re simply not playing in the developmental league of the NBA . That way the alleged players on this ‘so called Mike D’Antoni coached team’ can hone their talents. Having posted a 19-32 record within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . It’s hard to see what direction that D’Antoni is trying to lead the team in. Young and naive at heart this team doesn’t even possess the natural ability to play as a cohesive unit. But yet I’m being told that they have some rather good young players on their roster.

 Nate Robinson (#2) of the New York Knicks celebrates his third dunk title during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night as part of the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at the American Airlines Center on February 13, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy  of NBAE/Getty Images/  Nathaniel  S.  Butler ...................
Nate Robinson (#2) of the New York Knicks celebrates his third dunk title during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night as part of the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at the American Airlines Center on February 13, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Nathaniel S. Butler ...................


Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Knicks in serious talks for McGrady

By Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears , Yahoo Sports Writers

The New York Knicks are getting closer to reaching the Houston Rockets’ demands for Tracy McGrady(notes) and his $23 million expiring contract, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Knicks and Rockets have designed the framework of a deal that would unload New York’s Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill and either Al Harrington or Larry Hughes for McGrady, Joey Dorsey and Brian Cook.

As talks stood on Monday, the price of dumping the burdensome contract of Jeffries – who is owed $6.9 million next season – comes with the Knicks and Rockets exchanging 2011 first-round picks and the Knicks’ 2012 first-round choice going to Houston. New York also might include a 2010 second-round pick.

The Utah Jazz own the Knicks’ first-round pick in 2010.

The discussion on potential draft picks changing hands remains fluid.

The completion of the deal isn’t imminent, but sources involved in the discussions are increasingly confident that after months of back and forth, which intensified over All-Star weekend, an agreement is within reach. TNT’s David Aldridge first reported that talks between the teams had picked up.

One of the hang-ups in the deal, sources said, could be the Knicks’ inclusion of either Harrington or Hughes. There are slight variations of the trade that would change depending on which of the two veteran Knicks’ expiring contracts are included. With Harrington over Hughes in the deal, the Rockets wouldn’t need to include Cook.

For the Knicks, the trade would accomplish two important things: First, it would get Jeffries’ salary cleared out, something general manager Donnie Walsh has tried to do since taking the job. This would give the Knicks even more flexibility to be a major player in this summer’s free-agent market. Also, the Knicks want to take a good look at McGrady and let him play as much of a role as he can handle the rest of the season. They may consider re-signing him for next season, based on his performance.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey would get Hill, the untested eighth pick in the 2009 draft, and first-round picks that could prove valuable. This will get the Rockets a significant measure of value for McGrady, who they exiled in December. McGrady, sources said, is excited about the possibility of joining the Knicks.

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And when the claim to fame of your so called best player is that he’s a three time NBA Slam Dunk champion that doesn’t exactly set the opposition running for cover. But that’s what we see as the evidence in watching Nate Robinson play. For all of his posturing, I seriously doubt that he’d even make it on the bench of the New Jersey Nets the one team in the conference that is considerably worse than the Knicks ! And for my buddy the sportschump , who simply lives to breathe and gush over anything that’s worthy of mentioning, concerning a Florida Gator athlete. I won’t disappoint him, by saying that although David Lee is having a solid year for the Knicks. On any other team he might well be a backup. But for the New York Knicks , he’s the lone star on this seemingly dysfunctional team !


Were the playoffs to start today the New York Knicks would miss that scenario entirely. In fact being some 5 1/2 games behind the 8th placed Chicago Bulls (25-16) in the seedings, indicates how dire the situation is at present for the organization. And with the conference actually now showing signs of competitiveness. It comes as something of a surprise to find the top eight teams playing .500 ball . As to whether or not that will be the situation at season’s end remains to be seen. But raises hopes that within the Eastern Conference there’s signs of life beyond the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics , Orlando Magic and the surprisingly resilient Atlanta Hawks. Never mind the fact that the Charlotte Bobcats might just now be the ‘surprise team’ within the Eastern Conference.


Knicks’ Vice President and Head of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh has his work cut out for him in the off-season. It certainly doesn’t make sense for him at present to enter into the fray in terms of acquiring a player before the trade deadline. And even if it amounts to a salary dump in order to clear the way for a full fledged assault on landing LeBron James , as part of the ‘free agency’ sweepstakes that may well take place in the off-season. What will Walsh be surrounding the player with, in the terms of a complementary roster to begin with ? It’s not as if any of the parts of this current team is moderately good to begin with ! This has been a team assembled from ill fitting pieces that essentially hasn’t understood what it takes to play as a cohesive unit and win as a team. And all this, coming from the tutelage of Mike D’Antoni, whose effective communicative skills when it comes to basketball , borders on that on that of a mute !

Now if the rumors now sweeping NBA circles are true , then the impending departure of the Rockets’ guard , Tracy McGrady to the Knicks would come as a great surprise to many. Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey would like nothing better than to rid himself of the player , who of late has become nothing more than a whining prima-donna. And who if anything, his best days as a once ‘elite player’ is no longer visible on the courts, in terms of his play or his desire to win for that matter ! The thoughts of McGrady being on a Knicks’ team while not necessarily enthralling, brings about as much desire, as being forced to see Rosie O’Donnell naked and her acting provocatively, while enticing you to have sex with her . Not a pleasant sight at all ! And for the devoted Knicks’ fans out there who immediately think that the addition of McGrady will automatically make them a legitimate contender within the Eastern Conference. Think again , as nothing could be further from the truth. Having McGrady on board is essentially like, having Sarah Palin being added to John McCain’s Presidential ‘election race ticket’. On appearance, it was thought to be quite attractive and a winnable prospect. But when the evidence arose that Palin was nothing more than an unintelligent buffoon. Then all bets were off and it’ll be the same scenario with Tracy McGrady and the New York Knicks ! He’ll bring absolutely nothing to the table other than a player with a declining skills and an attitude that still borders on being narcissistic. And any aspirations that the Knicks might still possess with regards to obtaining a playoff spot are somewhat remote at this juncture.

Did I miss something during the college football season ? Can someone help me out please ? Unless , I’m mistaken Notre Dame had a woefully inept season and their coach Charlie Weis was abruptly fired after four lackluster years of sheer ineptitude . Why the school’s AD, Jack Swarbrick didn’t possess the ‘balls’ to do this sooner , is still beyond me ! But given the fact that NBC is by far in a way, the school’s biggest donor in terms of their tie-ins with the establishment and the ongoing relationship between NBC’s Head of Sports Programming, Dick Ebersol . This may well have been one of the primary reasons that it took Swarbrick so damn long to come to a decision. Ebersole as a graduate of the school, has shown far too much obeyance and partiality to the establishment. But when one considers how poor the station has been doing as of late, as a producer of quality programming. It’s easy to understand the reason why they continue to pin their hopes on crap such as ‘Notre Dame football’ and their continuous coverage of the Winter and Summer Olympics . Is there anyone actually still showing a keen interest in either ? With their coverage of the Vancouver Games said to be bringing the station losses estimated that will be in excess of $300-$400 million. One wonders who the hell has the common sense to be over bidding for the so called privilege of covering the games ? Only an idiot, without the business acumen would continue to wonder down this path while continuing to see the mounting losses and diminishing viewership for the spectacle to begin with ! But NBC is no longer being ran by sane people , more like it’s being ran by a bunch of brainless, moronic zombies !

Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly talks to reporters after his press conference about prospective student-athletes who have signed and submitted their letter of intent to Notre Dame on national signing day, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 in South Bend, Ind.  photo  appears courtesy  of  Associated  Press/ Joe Raymond ......
Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly talks to reporters after his press conference about prospective student-athletes who have signed and submitted their letter of intent to Notre Dame on national signing day, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 in South Bend, Ind. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Joe Raymond ......

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports -Blog ( Shutdown Corner)

Combine Watch List : Quarterbacks

By Doug Farrar , Yahoo Sports


With the 2010 Scouting Combine coming up next week, it’s time to take a look at the potential stars at every position in this year’s draft class. Yours truly will be in Indianapolis to cover the event (it will be my fourth), and we’ll start with the five quarterbacks who will be on most minds.

Sam Bradford (Oklahoma): Bradford might have been the first overall pick had he declared for the draft after the 2008 season, but he stayed to see if he could win a national championship with the Sooners. The departure of four offensive linemen from what had been the NCAA’s best line showed its effects in the 2009 season opener against BYU, when Bradford was slammed to the turf and suffered a shoulder injury. Another injury against Texas ended his season. Bradford has the arm strength and accuracy to make any NFL scout drool, but there are questions about his durability at 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds, his ability to adapt to pro-style offenses. Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen (pictured) is now seen by most to be the most pro-ready quarterback. Bradford, however, is the pick with the most potential over time. Scouts already know about his arm, but it will be good for Bradford to prove that it’s all still there and ready to go.

Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame): Clausen declared for the draft after the firing of head coach Charlie Weis — he had gone to Notre Dame specifically to learn under a coach who had NFL experience. He doesn’t have a rocket arm, but in a slightly depressed class at the position, Clausen’s probably the most interesting to those teams who need a franchise quarterback now. He’s the one draft-eligible quarterback with specific NFL-ready tools, extended experience in the kinds of offenses he’ll work at the next level, and the kind of intangibles that will endear him to his new teammates. As such, he’s a good bet to go first among the quarterbacks, especially if he does well in the throwing drills.

Colt McCoy (Texas): He fell short of a BCS Championship after a shoulder injury took him out against Alabama, but McCoy is an interesting prospect for certain kinds of teams. His high efficiency and favorable touchdown-to-interception ratios tell a story of an offense predetermined to shorter throws, but the Saints just won the Super Bowl with a 70 percent completion rate and a lot of screens and quick outs. McCoy’s toughness and intelligence aren’t questioned, but like Bradford, he’ll do well to answer questions about his shoulder with his throwing session.

Tim Tebow (Florida): No draft prospect causes more division among scouts, analysts and columnists than Tebow. There are those who believe that if the NFL can’t find a place for him, it’s the NFL’s problem. And there are those who believe that Tebow will never make it in the NFL as a quarterback. His experience in option offenses and super-slow delivery are precedents which seem to relegate him to the NFL scrap heap as a quarterback, but his intangibles have some willing to take draft chances they probably shouldn’t. No player will benefit more from a great session on the turf of Lucas Oil Stadium — if Tebow shows a buggy-whip release and an ability to zing 30-yard post-corner routes, he’ll have a lot of draft boards scrambling. Still, he’d probably be wise to catch passes with the tight end group as well…

Tony Pike (Cincinnati): Another guy with size and injury concerns (6-6, 212), Pike blew it up for the Bearcats in 2009 and really impressed during Senior Bowl practices. But he missed three games during 2009 with an injured (non-throwing) forearm, a year after a six-inch plate was inserted in that same arm. Pike met with Ben Roethlisberger before the Senior Bowl to get some tips on the next level, but he’ll certainly want to avoid Big Ben’s tendency to attract sacks.

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Irish QB Jimmy Clausen has never seen the type of attitude in Notre Dame's players that they are showing at this year's spring practice.
Irish QB Jimmy Clausen has never seen the type of attitude in Notre Dame's players that they are showing at this year's spring practice. photo appears courtesy of Getty Imges/ Christian Petersen ............

If the machinations of ESPN’s NFL Draft guru, Mel Kiper Jr, is anything to go by . Then it’s likely that the Irish’s quarterback Jimmy Clausen may well be taken as the first quarterback picked in the upcoming NFL Draft in April. He’s viewed by many as the best NFL ready college quarterback available in this upcoming draft. Now don’t get me wrong it’s Kiper’s and others’ own assessment of Clausen and their belief in the player’s worth. And while I admire what it is that Kiper does. Let’s just say his idea of blowing smoke up everyone’s ass, differs from mine, in the assessment of Jimmy Clausen as a player and most definitely as one of the better college quarterbacks on display last season and for his entire college career. He’s a solid player but he’s nowhere near the player that Kiper and others are making him out to be ! At best he’ll be a mid first round or early second round pick for an NFL team in need of a quarterback . When judged against the body of work and the abilities amongst his peers such as , Sam Bradford , Colt McCoy and Tony Pike, Clausen does leave a great deal to be desired. But then again, I get the feeling that when the likes of Kiper and Kirk Herbstreit assess the talents of Jimmy Claussen. I somehow get the impression that they’re swooning over a busty young female while they’re seemingly enjoying their respective erections ? Oh damn , both Herbstreit and Kiper have both shot their wads at the same time. Talk about premature ejaculation ? These guys are stark staring mad !

Golden Tate #23 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs the ball past Blake Carter #1 of the Navy Midshipmen on November 15, 2008 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Notre Dame defeated Navy 27-21.
Golden Tate (#23) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs the ball past Blake Carter (#1 ) of the Navy Midshipmen on November 15, 2008 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Notre Dame defeated Navy 27-21. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images North America/ Jim McIsaac ................

The sole reason why Clausen looked so good may well have been the fact that he had Golden Tate as a receiver on his team, while he was Notre Dame. If Tate couldn’t catch it, then it couldn’t be caught by anyone else within college football. Because of his sheer athleticism ,Tate was able to make the impossible happen when it came the passes of Clausen. And it wasn’t as if Clausen was all that accurate a passer to begin with. Never mind as a player he lacks leadership skills and his character at times has come into question. The great quarterbacks within the NFL possess a number of these traits , and those are leadership, accuracy , being able to adapt under pressure but most of all being able to lead by example. And that’s something, Clausen clearly hasn’t exhibited over the course of his college career. And I’m to believe that an NFL team will be prepared to invest anywhere between $45million-$60 million in his abilities as a player ? Can someone please throw this pot of pi_s I’ve got at both Herbstreit and Kiper, before I do ? These two buffoons are about as insightful on the college game , as Pat Robertson is on the tenets of the bible and Christianity. And given Robertson’s asinine outbursts and his denigration of the Haitian people , I’m inclined to believe that fuc_ing racial bigot wouldn’t know his ass from his elbow, much less what time of the friggin’ day it is !

There you have it guy my pot of pi_s and who I’d now be squarely aiming it at. Is there anyone or any team that you’d be directing a pot of pi_s towards because the sheer stupidity that they’re said to be showing ? By all means vent by leaving a comment on this particular subject matter. I look forward to reading and then responding to each of your comments accordingly. Thanks as always for the continued support. It’s most definitely appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………

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The Family Stand gives you ‘Ghetto Heaven’. Feel the beat , it’s a great deal better than a lot of the crap that’s been espoused as good music nowadays !

And for the young guys out there who’ve never heard of or even appreciated what Rosie Perez was about . Then sit back and watch as she lays it out all on the line. The ‘original ‘Fly Girl’ who created and choreographed the dance troupe that appeared on the Fox satirical comedy show ‘In Living Color’ . Appreciate also Public Enemy’s socially conscious track ‘Fight The Power’ . This is the theme to the Spike Lee joint ‘Do The Right Thing’ . On a side-note , this is where Jennifer Lopez first came to our attention, as she was an original ‘Fly Girl’ .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pardon Me For Saying This But What Happened And Who The Hell Cares ? I Might ! But Then Again I Might Not !

Pardon Me For Saying This But What Happened And Who The Hell Cares ? I Might ! But Then Again I Might Not !

It’s hard not to pick up the newspaper read and a heart rendering or somewhat disturbing story and not at times be concerned. But then again the sobering thought of gleaning through the sport’s pages tends to bring me back down to earth with some alarming jocular humor and respite.

Oakland Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, left scrambles past Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons for a first down in the fourth quarter of the NFL football game in Pittsburgh,  Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009. The Raiders came from behind to win 27-24.  picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/Keith Srakocic  ......
Oakland Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, left scrambles past Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons for a first down in the fourth quarter of the NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009. The Raiders came from behind to win 27-24. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Keith Srakocic ......

So it’d appear that the Oakland Raiders have found themselves a quarterback who can perhaps win with regularity , more so than the chimes of a cuckoo clock ? Who knew ? Pardon me but where was Bruce Gradkowski all this time ? And how is that Raiders’ coach, Tom Cable continued to show blind and implicit faith in a completely mentally retarded oaf like, JaMarcus Russell ? The Raiders, starter’s IQ, must be somewhere, way below the MENSA national average ? And to think that the likes of ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr , Todd McShay and Chris Mortensen talked this kid up, prior to him entering the NFL Draft, as if he were ‘the hot chick’ that everyone seemingly gushes over. When last I looked, Russell possessed absolutely nothing that’d make you say, Wow ! Strong arm is one thing but having a football IQ far outweighs that and that’s something that Russell simply just doesn’t possess.

Charlotte, NC- December 6th :  Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drops back to pass against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Streeter  Lecka .......
Charlotte, NC- December 6th : Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drops back to pass against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Streeter Lecka .......

And this’d be the one and the same Bruce Gradkowski, that many within the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization simply had no faith in ? But then again I digress , as the present fate of the Buccaneers seems as hopeful at present, as the fate of John McCain simply wishing for a ‘do-over’ of the Presidential elections. Plainly put, neither scenario is about to happen anytime soon ! The Buccaneers for all of their resourcefulness and the unwavering belief of the Glazer family , that in not spending money to obtain the right talent will make the Buccaneers a better team ? Well, it’s plain to see, that they’d now prefer to blow smoke up everyone’s ass in the Tampa Bay area. And it’s further plain to see that those mindless buffoons of the Pewter Report would rather cow-tow in step with whatever happens to be the mindset of the organization, at present. Their nightly radio sport’s talk show in the local area market elicits about as much intelligence and excitement, as that of a member of the US Congress talking about the failures of the US economy. What they think they know, is about as much they’d like to think they know, as to how the populace of the country now feels at present. In other words,they’re absolutely clueless ! And so too, are the players on the Buccaneers’ team who appear on the show nightly on a regular basis. To hear them talk about their travails during an NFL game, is actually comedic ! ‘We tried hard to make the play but it just didn’t happen at all’ . Well my thoughts on it all. Fu_k you , try harder ! You’re being paid to play, not to whine as an afterthought, as to what might have been, you a_sholes !

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Freeman’s mistakes help Panthers beat Bucs 16-6

By Mike Cranston, AP Sports Writer

Charlotte, N.C. (AP)—Josh Freeman kept guiding Tampa Bay inside the 20-yard line and Carolina kept taking the ball away, no matter how improbable it all seemed.

Five turnovers later, the Buccaneers’ rookie quarterback was stunned and their miserable season took another ugly twist.

In a matchup of inexperienced quarterbacks entering with a combined seven career starts, Matt Moore(notes) and the Panthers (5-7) won despite being outgained 469-309.

The difference: Tampa Bay (1-11) was inside the Carolina 30 eight times and scored six points.

“That’s just completely unacceptable,” said Freeman, the first-round pick from Kansas State who took over as the starter a month ago. “I want to play in this league a long time. Guys that throw a lot of picks usually don’t last.”

It was a role reversal with Carolina’s struggling QB Jake Delhomme sidelined with a broken finger after throwing 18 interceptions in 11 games.

Moore made his fourth start and his first since the end of the 2007 season. He threw for 161 yards and one interception, but connected on a 66-yard pass to Steve Smith that set up John Kasay’s third field goal with 7:12 left that put it away.

“I had to come into this thing and I had to be right,” Moore said. “Not perfect, but I had to be right.”

That allowed the defense to win the game. Jon Beason had two interceptions during a stretch where Tampa Bay had four trips inside the 20 and didn’t score.

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Click on the inset link to read Mike Cranston’s article in its entirety
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Given the fact that, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are (1-11) within the NFC South and is no closer to winning or being competitive. In comparison that’d be like saying, that one day Oprah Winfrey will be able to look all svelte, with a size 6 figure and a body that we guys, would like to ‘ride all night long’. Now, we all know that with Oprah’s yo-yo weight losses and gains, there’ll never be a time when we could ever say that, we were all able to witness that. And it’s the same with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at this present moment in time and perhaps for the foreseeable future. Who knows and who the hell cares at this juncture ? It’s not as if the Glazer family actually cares and they’re the god-damn owners of this team. It’s like the ghost of Hugh Culverhouse had returned to the organization and things are back to what they once were ! And one can well remember the mediocrity of those days , all too eerily can’t one ? What a damn nightmare those days had to have been ? And now for all sense and purpose the fans are having to endure and relive that all over again. Thanks , but no thanks !

Pardon me for saying this but who knew that Sebastian Telfair was still playing in the NBA ? And if anyone can guess what team he’s now actually playing for. Well, you would indeed be smarter than a fifth grader. Well, if in fact you were able to guess that he’s now playing for the Los Angeles Clippers, then bully for you ! Unfortunately, I’m unable to give out a prize,as there wasn’t one to begin with. My bad ! LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

Los Angeles - December 8th 2009: Sebastian Telfair (#3) of the Los Angeles Clippers goes up for a shot against J.J. Redick #7 of the Orlando Magic at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  picture  appears courtesy of NBAE/ getty images/ Noah  Graham  .............
Los Angeles - December 8th 2009: Sebastian Telfair (#3) of the Los Angeles Clippers goes up for a shot against J.J. Redick #7 of the Orlando Magic at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ getty images/ Noah Graham .............

What a comedown in the world for the young Telfair ! Seemingly this once ‘young phenom’ was set to set the NBA alight with his flare for the spectacular, his alleged prodigious athleticism and ball-handling skills. Well, that has been about as omnipresent as a sighting of Lindsay Lohan without a drink in her hand. Which one can surmise that with Lindsay continually falling ‘off the wagon’ and her love life said to be in disarray. Telfair’s seeming transition from blacktop legend to erstwhile NBA star, has been about as interesting as watching paint dry. This kid has yet to fully learn the nuances of the NBA game , much less show that he’s got the temperament to become a legitimate star within the league. And people wonder why we’re drawn to Chris Paul, instead of Telfair ? That’s like comparing a Picasso to a painting by a five year old. OK,so some of Picasso’s work may well look as if it had been painted by a five year old ! But look at this way, with people willing to spend in excess of $60 to $100 million for one of his pieces of art. What the hell ! At least, someone’s willing to buy it, Telfair being a star in the NBA ? Well, that’s not about to happen anytime soon !

In my erstwhile forays around the blogo-sphere where I’d written within Fox’s blog community, also at Lanaslines.com ,the basketballoracle.com and now here within a site within tophatal.wordpress.com. I’ve come to appreciate the nuances and the art of writing , making my points with due diligence and relevancy, as with regard the nature of the topic. That way, I hope to elicit meaningful responses and commentary from the reader or readers of my pieces. And hopefully the content of the work is comprehended and appreciated.

My experiences at Fox, while great , I felt that the community there had become ‘staid and stale’ ! Not only that ,it’d become more a place for stifling ‘free speech’ and effective communication. And even though it still had numerous followers and contributors. Its reputation , let’s just say has gone way down in my estimation and expectations as to what a sport’s blog domain site ought to be really about !

With that in mind and the fact that we’re as such I’m opining on the nature of Sebastian Telfair’s presence in the NBA. Herein, I’ll provide you to link of an earlier piece that I’d written about the player. You’ll note that a comment there concerning the player’s stature and the fact that he supposedly had a decent year with the Minnesota Timberwolves would suggest that he was a star on the rise. Well, given the fact that Telfair is no longer with the Timberwolves would suggest that his game hadn’t progressed as much as this one particular reader believed it might. Whether or not he was a fervent supporter of the player or just the mere fact
that he didn’t know what he was talking about . I’ll leave that for you to decide. Click here to read and then perhaps comment on the piece and then return here, to further respond on this article.

J.J. Redick (#7) of the Orlando Magic drives past Sebastian Telfair (#3) of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 8, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.   picture appears  courtesy of  NBAE/ getty images / Noah  Graham  .........
J.J. Redick (#7) of the Orlando Magic drives past Sebastian Telfair (#3) of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 8, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ getty images / Noah Graham .........

As good as some thought Telfair might be , his game has simply not progressed to where it needs to be, in order for us to call him a bona-fide star within the NBA. He’s merely become just ‘your average run of the mill player’ , who just happened to have the words ‘star’ and ‘great’ assigned to him, more as a wish. Rather than it being attained by Telfair, as he builds a reputation within the NBA. That being said, he is playing for the Clippers , so that should tell you all you need to know as to where his impending future may now lay. Sorry Sebastian, but you’ve still got a hell of a long way to go before you can be mentioned in the same breath as Deron Williams, Tony Parker , Chris Paul and even Steve Nash, for that matter. Alas, you’ll just have to make do playing for those woefully inconsistent Los Angeles Clippers. And if their present (9-12) record in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference is anything to go by. Then their long sojourn as being the butt of the NBA jokes will continue for a long time into the future. So sad, too bad !

When is a gimmick not meant to be a gimmick at all ? Well, when it comes in the guise of the NASCAR’s impending announcement that IRL’s Danica Patrick will be making ‘her grand’ entrance into that particular form of automotive racing. And the mere fact that the now publicity starved genre needs all the fervent PR that it can get. Albeit, that she’ll be racing in the lower echelons of the Nationwide Series of the NASCAR discipline. Well the welcoming thought of seeing Danica go up against the wily guys of NASCAR ought to provide the purists of the sport some comfort. As for how ‘Billy Bob’ and ‘Bubba’ might feel, who knows ? Suffice to say , that unless Danica isn’t dressed in a fire retardant suit, then I’ll be watching. If she is, then all bets are off ! I’d rather see Danica dressed in nothing but a two piece bathing suit racing against the guys in the Nationwide Series ! I think that would bring a great many more viewers to the sport and most certainly larger audiences at the tracks. If nothing else, for the first time observer and the more curious amongst us that type of scenario ought to provide a great deal of joy. Well, it will for the testosterone driven males amongst us.

CORRECTS TO DEBUT TO ARCA RACE, NOT NATIONWIDE RACE   IndyCar driver Danica Patrick checks out her new GoDaddy.com No. 7 JR Motorsports stock car during an event announcing her intention to make her stock car racing debut in an ARCA race Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009, in Phoenix. Patrick has signed with JR Motorsports team, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick, and intends to start in her first in an ARCA Series race on Feb. 6 at Daytona International Speedway. picture  appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Ross D.  Franklin .....
CORRECTS TO DEBUT TO ARCA RACE, NOT NATIONWIDE RACE IndyCar driver Danica Patrick checks out her new GoDaddy.com No. 7 JR Motorsports stock car during an event announcing her intention to make her stock car racing debut in an ARCA race Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009, in Phoenix. Patrick has signed with JR Motorsports team, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick, and intends to start in her first in an ARCA Series race on Feb. 6 at Daytona International Speedway. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ross D. Franklin .....

NASCAR and the competitive automotive circuit has been hit harder than most. What with it’s preponderance upon the patronage of the ‘Big Three’ domestic automotive manufacturers and their continuing problems. We can surmise, that both NASCAR and IRL have had to make tight budgetary constraints. And this has not been lost to the teams within each of these various disciplines. They’ve seen many of their major corporate sponsors withdraw from the sport. Teams have also either folded or merged with either larger teams or one of similar size. All this has been done in order to save millions of dollars and stave off the imminence of bankruptcy and financial failure. And the bloodletting still continues.
It’s not like either of the domestic manufacturers are out of the woods yet.

GM is now flying by the seat of its pants and Chrysler even with the intervention of the Federal government and then its merger with Fiat , still isn’t out of the woods as of yet. And though Ford has shown signs of improvement on certain fronts. Without the government’s rebate policy , one sincerely doubts that a profit would’ve been shown for the last quarter. Much of that was derived from its restructuring, in terms of layoffs, the shutting down of plants and sales of certain subsidiaries. Whatever profit gained was minimal at best but they’d have you believe that it all met with the board’s and Wall Street’s expectations. What , no slight of hand trick ?

Patrick’s 2009 SI Swimsuit model shoot. What’s not to like about it all ?

With Patrick having agreed in principle and signing with Dale Earnhardt Jrs’ J R Motorsports, a company that he co-owns with his elder sister Kelly Earnhardt and Rick Hendrick of Hendrick Motorsports. Any high profiled publicity that the sport can receive at this juncture is certainly more than welcomed. Having crowned its four time Sprint Cup Champion, in Jimmie Johnson. The lack of positivity from the fans in general, has been met with an almost deafening silence and glumness. It’s as if Johnson, himself, had become persona-non-grata for merely achieving the feat of having won the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship four consecutive years running. If that’s not something that the sport and in particular the sport’s hierarchy can use to its benefit. Then I guess, having Patrick in part, race half naked would definitely be their next best option ? Not that I’d mind to begin with ! It’s just that more often than not, I find far too many of their races monotonous and way too repetitive , in terms of on again off again racing !

My thoughts and my take on ….”Pardon Me For Saying This But What Happened And Who The Hell Cares ? I Might ! But Then Again I Might Not ” ! What do you think about it all ?

Apathy Comes To NASCAR …………….

Apathy Comes To NASCAR …………..

I’ve never really an ardent fan of the sport but for the life of me I cannot understand the apathy of the NASCAR fans. They’ve witnessed greatness in front of their very eyes. But yet the accomplishments of the now four timeNASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Jimmie Johnson is treated with such disdain that it has become downright disgusting. It were as if Johnson has become public enemy # 1 and persona non grata. But then again here’s a sport that’s allegedly built upon tradition and the legacy of its forefathers. Names such as Dale Earnhardt, Davey Allison, Darrell Waltrip,Bill Elliott, Richard Petty and other greats of the sport.

New York November 24th 2009,  Jimmie Johnson 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion poses for a photo at the top of the Empire State Building on November 24, 2009 in New York City. Jimmie Johnson is celebrating after winning his forth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.   picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/NASCAR/  Mike Stobe ....................
New York November 24th 2009, Jimmie Johnson 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion poses for a photo at the top of the Empire State Building on November 24, 2009 in New York City. Jimmie Johnson is celebrating after winning his forth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/NASCAR/ Mike Stobe ....................

The post modern era has brought us Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch , Joey Logano, Juan Pablo Montoya and the still performing elder statesman Mark Martin. Jimmie Johnson has achieved a feat not accomplished by any of his peers or predecessors as champion and that is repeat as champion for four consecutive years. The feat has been embraced by fans of Johnson and those who wholehearted fans of Hendricks Motorsports. But amongst the widespread NASCAR fan, it’s as if this is much ado about noting. While, I won’t rebuke the fans of the sport I do find it somewhat incredulous that for a sport that’s said to embrace its traditional core values and which has now reached its zenith in terms of popularity and audience participation – which is now on the decline. If this is the fans’ idea of showing support for the sport. Then, ahead lies a wasteland of discontent and abandonment. If they’re not prepared to embrace the accomplishments of such a feat. Then what the hell are they actually prepared to do when things start to go downhill ?

OK , so the season itself became something of an anti-climax once Johnson led the Sprint Cup standings. It was felt that once ahead it would be difficult for anyone to erase the lead and come out on top over Johnson. And even though Mark Martin gave a spirited effort at the end of the day he fell short in his quest. But even that was something of a misnomer because everyone it’d appear is a fan of Dale Earnhardt Jr, or a close follower of his travails within the Sprint Cup Series. And that’s well and good but for Dale Jr, his presence on the Sprint Cup circuit this season, has resonated about as much as a ripple in the ocean. His failures have been magnified by the success of his teammates within Hendricks Motorsports . But yet his fans will continue to make the most asinine excuses for his continuing failures. I recently had a fan of his explain to me the success that Dale has had within NASCAR and the fact that in total he’s won over thirty races. Thirty races ? Who the hell cares when little more than half of those races have been in the lower echelons of NASCAR. After-all isn’t it the races in the Sprint Cup that matters ? What he was suggesting is akin to stating that given the choice of taking Halle Berry or Rosie O’Donnell to the prom as his date, he’d have been stupid enough to have taken O’Donnell. But then again I think it was merely naiveté on this individual’s part !

Homestead ,Fl ,.  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the (48) Lowe's Chevrolet, poses with all four of his championship trophies after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2009 in Homestead, Florida. Johnson becomes the first driver in the history of NASCAR to win four consecutive championships since the sports inception in 1949. picture appears courtesy of  Getty Images/ Sam Greenwood ....................
Homestead ,Fl ,. Jimmie Johnson, driver of the (48) Lowe's Chevrolet, poses with all four of his championship trophies after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2009 in Homestead, Florida. Johnson becomes the first driver in the history of NASCAR to win four consecutive championships since the sports inception in 1949. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Sam Greenwood ....................

As to the season itself, well it was one filled with a great many firsts, With Johnson’s feat of repeating as champion to Joey Logano becoming the youngest race winner in NASCAR’s top echelon to the sport having witnessed the breakout success of Juan Pablo Montoya. And Montoya along the way has had his share of fans as well as enemies and detractors. He may now be as unpopular as Kyle Busch . The latter who fashions himself the sport’s bad boy and anti-hero. Busch like Montoya, holds nothing back on the track , nor does he , when he chooses to be critical of a fellow competitor. But the sport tends to create the scenario of the hero and the villain for its theatrics. And though it doesn’t possess the orchestration and choreography of the WWE. NASCAR may well be the closest thing that there is on the North American sports landscape and that’s with no disrespect to the guys of MLS.

As I alluded to earlier though I’m no great admirer of the sport I have to admit that when it comes to admiring greatness from afar. What I’ve seen from Jimmie Johnson over the past four years has to rank up there alongside the feats accomplished by Red Auerbach’sBoston Celtics , John Wooden’s amazingly successful run with the UCLA Bruins, Phil Jackson’s Chicago Bulls’ 6 titles in 8 years, the New York Yankees’ run of five consecutive World Series’ triumphs (1949-53).Somehow, the NASCAR fan is either unappreciative greatness when it’s thrust upon them and placed within their presence. Or merely the fact that view Jimmie Johnson as too vanilla , clean cut and not what they really want ? And as asinine as concept appears to be that may well be the primary reason why the Californian doesn’t seem to resonate with the vast majority of NASCAR fans.

The 2009 season for NASCAR an eventful one but in many ways it went through the upheavals that many of the high profiled sports having been going through from the NFL,MLB,NHL, NBAand MLS . Attendance has been down, viewer-ship down but even more troubling for NASCAR has been the fact that many of their major corporate sponsors have either been withdrawing from the sport or lessening their commercial sponsorship due to budgetary constraints and uncertainty of the economic climate. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the each of three domestic auto manufacturers have had their problems, uncreative designs, over dependency on gas guzzlers, vehicles with low mileage economy, lowering auto sales to the overall mismanagement of the respective companies by its executives.

Then we have the government bailout, of which we the taxpayers have seen in excess of $ 85 billion dollars given to GM and Chrysler. And less we forget, Ford has seen fit to leverage itself to hilt, whereby has borrowed in excess of $ 35 billion in order steer itself through the current economic crisis. But don’t be fooled by the fact that it recently turned a profit of close to $ 1 billion for the last quarter. Though much of it came via government’s clash for clunkers’ deal. A great deal of that came via the cutbacks , union concessions , closure of plants and loss tens of thousands from Ford’s employment workforce. Needless to say a balance sheet never really gives you the true picture of the health of a company. But yet industry analysts would have you believe that all is well with Ford, GM and Chrysler. In reality all three are literally clinging by the tips of their nails for sheer life. If you doubt my word then look at the sales pitch being made by each.

Little Falls , NJ -  Four-time Nascar champion Jimmie Johnson presents a model of his #48 Lowe's Chevrolet to  Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra at a tour of the Yogi Berra Museum and and Learning Center on November 23, 2009 in Little Falls, New Jersey.  picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/ Jeff  Zelevansky  .....................
Little Falls , NJ - Four-time Nascar champion Jimmie Johnson presents a model of his #48 Lowe's Chevrolet to Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra at a tour of the Yogi Berra Museum and and Learning Center on November 23, 2009 in Little Falls, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Jeff Zelevansky .....................

NASCAR has its problems and it’d appear that it goes way beyond not just the apathy of the fans but also that of the sport’s governing body . NASCAR has been slow to realize the changing climate and even less proactive in dealing with the issues that it now faces with a dwindling attendances for its events and viewership as a whole. Television viewership is down by over 8% on year on year basis for the last four years and attendance for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup schedule is down by 15 % for the last two years alone.

So as of now, one can only attest to the fact that what we’re seeing within the sport from many of its fans and how they view Johnson and his feat with just apoplexy. Somehow I’m not so sure if the sport can survive in its present state. Not with this sort of apathy being shown by the fans ! What are your thoughts on the matter ?

Final NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings 2009

RANK +/- DRIVER POINTS BEHIND STARTS POLES WINS TOP 5 TOP 10 WINNINGS
1 — Jimmie Johnson 6652 Leader 36 4 7 16 24 7,339,630
2 — Mark Martin 6511 -141 36 7 5 14 21 5,279,000
3 — Jeff Gordon 6473 -179 36 1 1 16 25 6,476,460
4 — Kurt Busch 6446 -206 36 0 2 10 21 4,991,480
5 +3 Denny Hamlin 6335 -317 36 1 4 15 20 5,478,040
6 -1 Tony Stewart 6309 -343 36 0 4 15 23 6,836,150
7 — Greg Biffle 6292 -360 36 0 0 10 16 4,811,510
8 -2 Juan Montoya 6252 -400 36 2 0 7 18 5,274,190
9 — Ryan Newman 6175 -477 36 2 0 5 15 5,010,310
10 — Kasey Kahne 6128 -524 36 0 2 7 14 5,760,140
11 — Carl Edwards 6118 -534 36 0 0 7 14 5,607,550
12 — Brian Vickers 5929 -723 36 6 1 4 13 4,731,590

To view in its entirety click here ………

Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free !

Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free !

Exuberance or just sheer stupidity on the part of the London Stock Exchange and that of the UK Takeover Panel. It could well be that they’ve not been made fully aware, as to the financial maneuvers of many of the prospective bidders for English Premiership League clubs ? And over the last five years there has been a swath of purchases made by prominent US businessman. Many of them viewed their purchases as a safe investment or just as a way of hiding taxable assets away from the prying eyes of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Disgraced financier Bernie Madoff is seen here arriving at US Federal District Court in Manhattan. Madoff pled guilty and was duly sentenced to 150 years in prison for his Ponzi scheme which is said to have defrauded his clients to the tune of $50 billion ($50,000,000,000).

One hundred and fifty years seems too small a price to pay, considering the financial havoc reaped upon families and financial institutions across the globe. But then again, how is that the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) could be so unaware as to the extent of this massive financial fraud ? Especially when on numerous occasions it had been brought to their attention that something was indeed wrong with many of Madoff’s financial dealings in the markets. But it’s as I’ve always alluded to, when you have no one with any common sense or a comprehensive understanding of the financial market and its vagaries. Then the abuses and fraudulent acts will continue to be commissioned unabated !

Christopher Cox who at the time of the Madoff saga, as well as the Enron escapade , was the Chairman of the SEC.Cox seen here, addressing members of the Senate Banking Committee up on Capitol Hill,Washington D.C. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Martin Pressman ……..

And it certainly hasn’t elicited the public’s trust when you continually hear the excuse behind the SEC’s mishandling of this all came down to the fact that they were under undue pressure just to look at small transactions to see if anything was awry. But what also is even more preposterous is the excuse that they were under staffed. We can spend billions sending rockets into space but we can’t hire several financial accountants and corporate tax attorneys to the benefit ot this one particular government agency to safeguard the public’s financial health and interests ? If that isn’t asinine, then pardon me for saying this,but the SEC is deserving of the ridicule and the attention that it received .

And while I’m for the free movement of capital and the creation of jobs in order to strengthen an economy. What I’m dead set against are the creation of tax shelters and financial maneuverings that take place in order to circumvent the sovereign laws of the land. Time and time again I here many out there complaining about the government raising their taxes. But I hear, not one complaint when the likes of Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, Bernie Ebbers or Andrew Fastow and Kenneth Lay. All have essentially wreaked just as much havoc, if not more on the lives of millions of people. All that bellyaching, as if the government are the only fu_king bunch of crooks out there ? When essentially,you’ve got major corporate boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies littered with ne’r do wells and fraudsters up and down the country doing more harm than any apparent good. And it would now appear that many of them are moving out of the boardrooms and unto the playing fields of nation and beyond.

The NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA , NASCAR, MLS and indeed the English Premiership League (EPL) in Britain, have fairly rigorous financial criteria that has to be met before a prospective buyer can purchase a team. Thereafter, once they’ve met that criteria and the board of governors is in agreement with the prospective sale of the team. Then the purchaser essentially becomes the new owner of a sports franchise. And it now becomes in some respects, nothing more than a petty bauble that they’ll show off to their like minded wealthy colleagues and social acquaintances.

In the United Kingdom (UK) , many of the soccer clubs in the Premiership are actually publicly listed companies. And the directors of those clubs have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to safeguard and act in their best interests. Something that’s not always been done by several of the owners in recent memory. And in order for a team that’s publicly listed to be taken over. The prospective bidder for those shares of the team, has to be in compliance with the act of the Takeover Panel. Wherein,upon purchasing 30% of the shares of a club they have to make the panel and the LSE fully aware, as to their intentions.

I bring this particular topic to the foreground , in light of the fact that a number of teams across a widening array of sports now seem to have found themselves in a severe financial crisis. Much of it brought about by themselves and in some cases, it has merely come down to the fact that the world is in an economic downturn. Which will affect how one spends their discretionary disposable income. It has began to hit home for a number of team in all sectors of the sports world. The NBA and many of it franchises face a severe financial crisis. Albeit, that the league’s commissioner, David Stern would have you believe otherwise. And that the health of the game has never been better in terms of its brand and marketing. That may well be all well and good. But the bottom line for many of the franchises of the NBA isn’t as healthy as they once were. Declining revenues by away smaller attendances for game and less money being spent on concessions and memorabilia at their games. And you have something of a ‘perfect storm’ within your midst.

If you thought that the NBA was only the sport where this was happening, then think again. In the case of NASCAR, supposedly the most fan and media friendly sport in North America. Attendance is down across the board by over 8% and the viewership on a year to year basis, has declined in excess of 23 % over the last four years alone. The NBA has had to delve into the capital markets to the tune of $250 million in the last fiscal year in order to ensure the financial well being of several of their franchises. And the extent of the situation is becoming even more acute by the minute.

Uber-agent Scott Boras  , seated left and  perhaps  his most  high profiled   major league client ,  Alex Rodriguez.  Over  the  course  of  his  career  Boras  negotiated  contracts  said  to  be  worth  in  excess  of  $ 4.8 billion .  And  he was at the  center  of the  most  acquisitions made by  the  Yankees in that  of Mark Teixiera  and  A J Burnett ,  two  more of his  clients.   Of the  ten highest  paid  players  in the  game ,  six of those are   clients  of  Scott Boras.     picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Hugh MacIntosh  ..............................................

Uber-agent Scott Boras, seated left and perhaps his most high profiled major league client, Alex Rodriguez. Over the course of his career Boras negotiated contracts said to be worth in excess of $ 4.8 billion. And he was at the center of the most recent acquisitions made by the New York Yankees ,in that of Mark Teixiera and A. J. Burnett, two more of his clients. Of the ten highest paid players in the game , six of those are clients of Scott Boras. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Hugh MacIntosh ………

Bud Selig and Major League Baseball suffer from the misbelief that because the New York Yankees lifted this year’s World Series crown, then the game of baseball happens to be in a healthy state ? What Selig still fails to get , is that the teams in the mid to smaller markets have to scrimp and save every last red cent, merely to make ends meet. Much less survive the ordeal of having to play a 162 game regular season schedule. Hey Bud, So Zach Greinke wins the AL Cy Young Award ? What’s the bet, two years from now he’s gone from the Kansas City Royals ? If not sooner ? Simply put, because of your intransigence and that vulture, Scott Boras. The game of baseball is in a quagmire and in the true sense of the word until you and your hierarchy sits down with the players and resolve the issue concerning the escalating salaries. Then there’ll continue to be distrust amongst the two vested parties. Never mind the fact that the fans of the game can’t trust you or anyone within the MLBPA, to begin with. You keep on blowing smoke up some people’s ass and clearly you and Scott Boras are out of touch with the harsh economic realities of the present. But just you keep on going as you are and you’ll be in for a very rude awakening !

In the UK, where the pre-eminent sport played , is that of soccer. The clubs now are slowly waking up to stark a reality and that essentially applies clubs within the Premiership (EPL). Giants such as Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have suddenly began to realize that you can no longer buy way your way to success. Especially when your revenues are declining because of economic and inflationary fears. Teams are now having to be frugal with regard to their budgets.

Tom Hicks (right) and  to his  business partner George Gillett Jr , owners  of the  Premiership  soccer club  Liverpool FC. The  co-owners  are  now  said  to be  feeling  the  brunt  of the  anger  from  Liverpool's  fans  as they're  said  to  be  considering  selling  the  team's best  player , Fernando Torres.  Much  to  the  chagrin  of the  team's   coach, Rafael  Benitez.  The coach  has let it  be  known  that  should  the  team  sell  Torres.  Then  he  too  will   quit  the  club  immediately.   Much  of this problem  has  been  created  by  the  financial  maneuvering  of the  owners  as   they've  laden  the  club  with  an  excessive  amount  of   debt.     picture  appears  courtesy  of  dailymail.co.uk/ Andrew Fogarty  ..................
Tom Hicks (right) and to his business partner George Gillett Jr , owners of the Premiership soccer club Liverpool FC. The co-owners are now said to be feeling the brunt of the anger from Liverpool's fans as they're said to be considering selling the team's best player , Fernando Torres. Much to the chagrin of the team's coach, Rafael Benitez. The coach has let it be known that should the team sell Torres. Then he too will quit the club immediately. Much of this problem has been created by the financial maneuvering of the owners as they've laden the club with an excessive amount of debt. picture appears courtesy of dailymail.co.uk/ Andrew Fogarty ..................

As I’d alluded to earlier a number of teams have seen their fortunes change for the better. While many others have not been as fortunate in that endeavor. Teams such as Arsenal, Chelsea , Manchester United and Liverpool to name but a few,have had a change in ownership over the past five years. They’ve either been bought outright , or used as an investment vehicle for their new owners. However, the financial maneuvers that led to a great many of those deal are now coming into question. And nowhere now is this more apparent now,than with what is transpiring in the hallways and boardrooms of both Liverpool and Manchester United.And the case of Liverpool it is now creating an impasse between the team’s coach, Rafael Benitez and the ownership group of Texas businessmen, George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

Fernando Torres  and   Liverpool  coach  Rafael  Benitez (right)  seen  here  at   Anfield  ,  home   of Liverpool FC  .  picture  appears courtesy   dailymail.co.uk/  Ian  Hodgson  ..............
Fernando Torres and Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez (right) seen here at Anfield , home of Liverpool FC . picture appears courtesy dailymail.co.uk/ Ian Hodgson ..............

The relationship between coach and owner has become strained as there have been rumblings that the owners who are desperately in need of cash to meet financial obligations to their financiers (bankers) – are seeking to sell one team’s best players in,Fernando Torres. And this has come much to the dismay of Benitez as well as the loyal fans of the team. But what is also becoming more apparent is the financial stability and viability of the club. It has been laden with a great deal of debt and even though Gillett and Hicks bought the club for in excess $900 million. Much of that money was raised through leveraging the assets of the team with a minimal cash infusion by Gillett and Hicks. Payments on that debt has to be made on time and invariably the owners haven’t been forthcoming as to the balance sheet of the club and its present status.

There are no sobering thought processes here, as to the financial mismanagement of a sports franchise. But invariably,whenever there’s said to be a problem. The fans are always the last to know and the first to find out, how much it may well invariably end up costing them.And it is no different,with the situation facing the Manchester United and that of its owners the Glazer family, headed by their patriarch, Malcolm Glazer. The family also owns the NFL franchise, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Though the legacy of success with the soccer club hasn’t abated. For the NFL franchise , success has been few and far between. At present they may well be the worse ran and possibly the worst team in the NFL. Their futility alone this year, has many reminiscing about the early years of the franchise when they were woefully inept. And mere mention of the Buccaneers’ name more often than not was greeted with laughter.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik discuss the Buccaneers first round selection in the draft room at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday, April 25, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik discuss the Buccaneers first round selection in the draft room at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday, April 25, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers had seen a great deal of upheaval in the offseason, with the firing of former coach, Jon Gruden and General Manager, Bruce Allen. Installed to replace them were first year coach, Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik, as the new general manager. And the inexperience has shown with the duo Dominik and Morris, by way of the blunders made with the team’s roster , lack of experience,both on and off the field . And the mere fact that there’s no team leadership forthcoming from anyone on the team. And that includes such seasoned veterans as Ronde Barber and Kellen Winslow.

Patriarch  Malcolm  Glaze (center)  and   two of his  sons Joel  (right) and  Brian  , far  left  , seen here  attending   a  Premiership  league  game   at Old  Trafford ,   Manchester  United's  home   venue .   picture appears  courtesy  of    dailytelegraph.uk.co/ Anthony  Hodgins  .................
Patriarch, Malcolm Glaze (center) and two of his sons Joel (right) and Brian , far left , seen here attending a Premiership league game at Old Trafford , Manchester United's home venue . picture appears courtesy of dailytelegraph.uk.co/ Anthony Hodgins .................

When the family first bought the Premiership club , it was felt it would be of benefit to both organizations. The universal appeal of United , who are seen as the soccer world’s answer to the New York Yankees. As the success of both franchises is unrivaled and unparalleled . However , what has gone down within the inner workings of both franchise borders on either stupidity, or the mere fact that this is all being done with some sort of greater objective in mind. Manchester United having been bought for $1.5 billion dollars, though much of it was in the form of a leveraged buyout (LBO). It is still saddled with a debt of over $1.15 billion dollars, bearing in mind that there’s accruing interest and the slow amortization of the debt. The family has seen fit to act with a great deal of secrecy that when questioned on their financial situation. The answers have been either fleeting or mono-syllabic.

Things may very well change as UEFA,the governing body of soccer throughout Europe seeks to enact a strong set of rules governing the operational and financial viability of a team. But this will only pertain to teams participating or who in the future seek to participate in any of its club competitions. This may well change the face of soccer not only domestically in the UK but also across the continent of Europe.

As contrived as it might appear to be , I do feel that a number of franchise owners merely treat their teams as a bauble to be paraded as a way of showing off their wealth and ostentatiousness. Never mind the fact that if the franchises are part of a community, then its citizens ought not to feel shutout when they tend to show some interest in the team beyond the field of play. It’s as if some of these sports franchise owners are no different from many of the corporate wheelers and dealers that’ve brought the country to its knees. Almost as if it is crawling on all fours, begging like a homeless vagrant for a morsel of food.

Trust me I’m a doctor and the owners are merely all about the money and the chicks are just free !

Dire Straits’ ‘Money For Nothing’ also featuring Sting. Lyrics by Mark Knopfler.

Likes And Dislikes When It Comes To Sports …………….

Some sports I could watch to my heart’s content ! Whilst others , I just can’t stand in any shape or form . Much as I can’t stand the NHL ,as seemingly the action all gets caught up in the fact that the players in essence are either out there at times,trying to decapitate each other. Or they’re ready start a fight at the drop of a hat. Penalty minutes and all of the so called brouhaha that’s associated with the sport. I simply, just don’t get it !

Alexander  Ovechkin (#8) of the  Washington  Capitals  often  described  as  the  best player  in the  NHL battles  for  the  puck  against  the  Columbus Blue Jackets'  Jason Chimer  (#25) in  game   played the  Verizon  Center  in  Washington  DC.    picture  appears courtesy  of   getty images/ Greg  Fiume  ..............

Alexander Ovechkin (#8)of the Washington Capitals battles the Columbus Blue Jackets Jason Chimera (#25) for the puck in a game played at the Verizon Center in Washington DC. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Greg Fiume ……..

But also, is it me ? A game goes into overtime after both teams are tied at the end of the regulation period and both teams attain a point because of that ? What sort of incentive is that for a team anyway ? Nonetheless there are fans out there who eat ,breathe and live for the sport of hockey. Not I , said the fly ! As physical as the game is , I still believe that when compared the game of rugby , it fall short in terms of the real physical aggression and the imposing of your will on an opponent. And besides the guys playing wear nowhere near as much protection as the guys playing professional hockey. What’s more the rugby players are just as physically imposing as the hockey players of the NHL, if not more so.

The Lowes' Chevrolet (#48)  of  points'  leader  Jimmie Johnson  pits  during  the  NASCAR Sprint  Cup  event   Amp  Energy  500  from  Talladega  Superspeedway , in Alabama ,.     picture  appears  courtesy of getty images/ Chris  Graythern  .............

The Lowes’ Chevrolet (#48) points’ leader Jimmie Johnson pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup race , the AMP Energy 500 from Talladega Superspeedway , in Alabama. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Chris Graythern ………..

For all of the vagaries of the sport of NASCAR and the throngs of fans that are entirely devoted to watching these monstrous metallic beasts encircle an oval track repeatedly. Unless, I’m mistaken there’s something inherently awry with the sport. Granted , it’s a grand spectacle, if watching a race live at the venue , then it becomes a scintillating exercise to be a part of. Especially when these vehicles are traveling in excess of 200 mph down a straightway before having to make a right turn and brake hard with the precision of a locomotive having to come to an almost immediate stop. The adrenalin rush that it creates for the driver and the fans , can be quite exhilarating . Never mind the fact that it’s said to the crash that draws the fans to such an event. And for the super fast tracks such as, Daytona and Talladega Super Speedway . Well, these are the tracks where the most excitement can be obtained and in essence more bang for your buck . Pardon that , but there’s meant to be no pun intended.

I feel compelled to watch some of the races but honestly , I’m not a big devotee of the sport ! I can tell you the names of several of the drivers within the top ranks of the sport , which happens to be the Sprint Cup Series . And along with the very fact that for much of the time many of the races seem unendurably long and tedious. More often than not , that’s because for some needless reason there tends to be one pile up after another with ever increasing regularity. And when in essence it’s merely 43 high powered vehicles repeatedly making left turn , left turn , one after another. Let’s just say , that the momentum from the perceived excitement, just isn’t there. It’s simply akin to watching grains of sand fall through an hourglass. Tedious or what ?

Formula 1 World  Champion  Jenson Button  celebrates  his  third  place  finish    at the  Abu  Dhabi  Grand  Prix  as the  Yas  Marina  Circuit  in Abu  Dhabi     .       Button   is   a  first  time  winner  of  the  world championship   and  has become  the  second  consecutive  British   driver  to win  the  championship  in the  last  two  years.   He succeeds  Lewis   Hamilton  who  became  the  first  black  driver to  win  the   prestigious   title.       picture  appears   courtesy  of  reuters/  Steve  Crisp  .........

Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button celebrates his third place finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi,. Button is a first time winner of the championship and has become the second consecutive British driver to win the championship in the last two years. He succeeds Lewis Hamilton who became the first black driver to win the prestigious title in 2008. picture appears courtesy of reuters/ Steve Crisp ……..

For myself , the thrill of watching motorsports came from watching the races on the Formula 1 Grand Prix Circuit . And even though the races there are favored road course events. The prerequisite skills required by the drivers are very much in a similar vein to that of their counterparts within NASCAR. And with the sport’s governing body Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) being of the a disposition to make their events much more popular and internationally relevant. This is the primary reason why I tend to veer towards the races that take place within this genre of racing. It’s fast , it’s exciting and most of all the races aren’t always convoluted with the spectacle of repeated crashes or stoppages for cautions from pieces of debris falling from a race car. That’s something that tends to be the norm within the realms of NASCAR, more often than not.

Pele`  seen  here  as    member of    the  New  York  Cosmos   of the  NASL

Pele`seen here as a member of the New York Cosmos of the NASL. The league at its inception in 1968 lasted for 17 years. But then folded in 1985, with its last champions being the Chicago Sting in 1984. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/archive/soccer ….

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Love it ,or hate it, soccer is the predominant sport played on the planet. That being said, I have to ask myself what is it that makes the vast number of US sports’ fans so oblivious to the sport of soccer ? I understand America’s proclivity for wanting to be competitive and be dominant in every international sporting event that it participates in. But given the fact , that its desires upon the sport stems from the fact that if they’re not dominant in it. Then, it bears no interest to them or to the social graces that comes with being an ardent fan of the sport. Perhaps , much of this stems from the very fact that at the height of the seventies , when a number of international soccer stars were lured stateside for vast amounts of money. Well , the game and what it represented , the U.S was place to be seen. And at the height of the euphoria surrounding the game here in North America. The venue to be seen at was at the home venue of the New York Cosmos , with its litany of world class international superstars. At that time, no star was more widely known than that, of Brazil’s Pele’ . In many people’s eyes, the greatest soccer player the world has ever seen, or will ever see.

The  New  York  Cosmos  line up  prior  to an  NASL  match  held at  Giants  Stadium  , East Rutherford ,  New  Jersey .   At  the  time  Pele'  was  one  14 international   players on  the  Cosmos  roster.   There  weren't   any  rules  in   place   limiting  the  number  of  international  players  a  team  could  have  at  its  disposal   for  a  game.    picture appears  courtesy  afp/  Paul  Wright  ...........

Pele’ seen here the sixth player from the left is lined up alongside his New York Cosmos teammates prior to an NASL match played at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of afp/Paul Wright …..

With the inception of the North American Soccer League (NASL) and the governing board’s proclivity for wanting the brightest and the best that the game had to offer by way of international talent. No stone was left unturned in terms of money to lure the likes of Pele` , Giorgio Chinaglia , Franz Beckenbauer , Johann Cryuff , Graeme Souness, Hugo Sanchez, Gerd Muller , Rodney Marsh , Marinho` and a slew of other world class , who all inked their name on the dotted line. And the financial rewards for the top stars ? Well it was immense .

Fast forward to today and with the demise of the NASL . We now have the MLS and its sundry of players , primarily native born . But amongst them also are a number of international stars and some nationalized citizens, who’ve made the US their home. But nowhere is there the dearth of world class stars that once graced soccer here, as of now. OK , so fan favorite David Beckham of the Los Angeles Galaxy was lured here to try and make the sport relevant amongst a certain type of male demographic. But as of yet that hasn’t really been parlayed into anything of significance. Granted , at first the curiosity factor was there. And inspite of it all , the Galaxy have still struggled to fully live up to expectations. As too has Beckham to some extent. But now with the team in the MLS playoffs, great things are expected of them.

The Los  Angeles  Galaxy  team  seen  here   prior  to the  MLS Western  Conference  Semi-finals  match  against  Chivas  USA  in  game   played at the  Home Depot  Center  in  Carson,   California,.   The  game  would  end  in a  2-2 tie  .   picture appears  courtesy  of  getty images/  Victor Decolongon  ..................

The Los Angeles Galaxy team seen here prior to their MLS Western Conference Semi-final match against Chivas USA in a game played The Home Depot Center in Carson, California . Also in picture is David Beckham in the back , first player on the left. In the front row is Landon Donovan, 2nd player from the left. The game would end in a 2-2 tie. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Victor Decolongon …..

For the sport to really make its presence felt . Much of that success will not only stem from the league’s chance to resonate with its fans. But also much of that success will also be predicated by the amount of success that can be attained by the men’s national squad. Inasmuch, as the women attained a great deal of success at the international level and then sought to follow that up with the creation of its own professional domestic league. The success there was only fleeting and much of that was derived from the fact that they took far too long in setting up a league in the first place.

For MLS and its hierarchy under the guidance of Commissioner Don Garber. . He’s entrusted with seeing that the game flourishes around the league through its franchises. And at the same he also seeks the maturation of such homegrown talent in Jozy Altidore , Landon Donovan , Marvell Wynne and a slew of up and coming players with the wherewithall to make their presence felt at the domestic level. And then all the way at the international level, if the game is to truly resonate with the fans here. And then, and only then, can the game consider to have been a success domestically as well as at the international level. Albeit, that the quality domestically doesn’t rival that of their European counterpart. The rise of US soccer has been incremental. And it is to the credit of template set by MLS and USA Soccer !

In parting , the thoughts made here within this piece are purely my own as to my likes and dislikes, when it comes to sports. If as such, there are certain sports that you consider to be mundane , either in part because they’re too monotonous to watch. Or perhaps in your eyes they just don’t elicit enough fervor and excitement . Then by all means, feel free to pass judgment by leaving a comment.