Long Time Coming ….

Long Time Coming

In the aftermath of another gun tragedy , we have the President making a complete @ss of himself once again. One year removed from the Pulse Nightclub Shooting , Donald Trump and his minions were once again looking to place the blame at the doors of a terrorist cell in the responsibility for the Mandalay Bay Resort shooting in Las Vegas , Nevada , without their being any evidence to substantiate his thoughts. Bear in mind his recent criticism of the Mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico smacked of a petulant child , who doesn’t wish to told of their bad behavior. It seems that the President would rather make comments without first taking in all of the facts and it has led to justified criticism of not only himself but also members of his Cabinet and inner circle of advisers .

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Away from the daily bind of national news , the NFL is still in a state of discord as the impasse has been widened by Donald Trump’s comments about the players as well as his calling for players who fail to stand when the national anthem is being played, he states that they ought to be fired . Clearly , for a failed former owner of an AFL (American Football League) franchise , a league which is now defunct, there is a great deal that the President simply doesn’t understand about the NFL and how it conducts business. Perhaps he also needs to be reminded , the US Congress allows the league (NFL) to remain tax-exempt due to their antitrust status ? As for the NFL itself, perhaps due to indifference, lack of quality games or just the fact , fans are sick and tired of sports now being embroiled in politics, viewership is down for the games televised. Comparisons with regard to game attendance can be measured in a number of ways . If things carry on as they are , I believe the NFL will be able to weather the storm. In reality however, the attention and memory span of the fans remains exceedingly short in terms of history and acts of social activism when it comes to athletes.

We’re now four games into the NFL season and several teams have failed to meet expectations , including the reigning Superbowl champions the New England Patriots (2-2) . Sixteen and 0 (16-0) won’t be ion the cards for this season as I believe the team will be no better than 11-5 or 12-4 . Quarterback Tom Brady isn’t his customary self , but what might be more worrying is the fact the Patriots’ defense has become so complacent and lackluster. Bill Belichick and the team will be back on the field this weekend for their week-five contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night , 5th October, a game being played at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida.

Through one hundred and sixty-two games, we saw a great deal of inconsistency as well as mediocrity from baseball’s teams. Divisions were up for grabs and there were no real major surprises when it came to the divisional honors . Teams making the wildcard berths were something of a surprise , with the New York Yankees perhaps being the biggest surprise of them all. Personally, I didn’t feel the team was up to the task of challenging within the AL East , as I felt their pitching was so vulnerable. However, a glorious season from Aaron Judge who led the AL in home runs , as he was ably abetted by teammates Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorious .

Having made the MLB Postseason the New York Yankees will find themselves up against the Minnesota Twins in a single-game eliminator , with the winner moving on the Divisional Round of the postseason. The NL Wildcard game will see the Colorado Rockies taking on the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday 4th October .

There is no doubt in my mind the two favorites within the NL , the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are on a collision course meeting in the NLCS , but first , both will have to get past their respective opponents in the divisional round of the postseason. They have been by far the two best teams within the NL and that is with due respect to the Washington Nationals , but at the end of the day , these two big-market teams seem destined to meet in this championship series.

A giant shadow has been cast over the entire Atlanta Braves’ organization with the abrupt resignation of GM John Coppolella . The ball-club was under investigation by baseball’s league hierarchy after it was revealed that Coppolella might well have been making illegal payments to procure players through the international market-place . If the league’s investigations substantiate these allegations , then there could very well be some serious ramifications for the Atlanta Braves. They could be severely punished for Coppolella’s actions, something which I find to be completely idiotic and asinine. Atlanta’s season was simply underwhelming , with the players rarely showing any competitiveness during 2017. Over their last ten games of the regular season the Atlanta Braves were a paltry 3-7 in those contests . Brian Snitker might well be shown the door as the Braves’ manager after such a disastrous season, where Sun Trust Park was sparsely attended in the ball-club’s first year of usage of the venue. While there seems to be a great deal of praise for the Braves’ farm system , considered to be one of the top-five farm systems in all of baseball. Even if John Coppolella was the principal architect of the system , it begs the question what has he done to acquire those players and others over the past three years ? This is something which baseball needs answers to and I don’t believe that Atlanta is the only organization operating under such a guise . They just happen to be the first ball club caught by the league.

Never let it be said that Derek Jeter will always seek to be a popular owner . In what will be his first role as one of the lead partners which purchased the Miami Marlins . Jeter is promising to make what will be the first of some very unpopular decisions . The former New York Yankees captain and star has let be known things are going to change , with the likelihood , several players on the current roster are likely to be traded. Atop of that list could very well be Giancarlo Stanton , the team’s highest paid , best and most popular player. Stanton still has ten years remaining on his current contract which pays him an average of $25 million a year. Details show that the slugger will be paid in excess of $28 million in 2018 if he remains on the team’s roster.

The Miami Marlins remain an unprofitable franchise, while also being among baseball’s least supported teams , when looking at the attendance figures for this and last season . From my own standpoint , I believe the $1.26 billion purchase price paid was far too much. Outgoing owner Jeffrey Loria will walk away with more than a pocket filled with cash., as he laughs all the way to the bank. Baseball fans are left scratching their heads, as another deceitful owner dupes the league hierarchy into stupidity. Rob Manfred remains as gullible and as out of touch as his predecessor , Bud Selig .

First and foremost Derek Jeter and his partners have an obligation to turn things around off the field as well as on the field. If it means stop the hemorrhaging of red ink by slashing payroll , then so be it , even if it means the for the sake of not being competitive for a couple of years.

Someone is going to be mighty upset this season within the world of basketball . The NBA off-season has been littered with trades sending players to new destinations . For some teams , they will be on the rise , while others will be at a standstill or simply regress. Take my word for it , neither the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks will be winning more than thirty games this season. Their respective rosters are lightweight and will become insignificant by mid-season, just as they were last season . LaVar Ball might be singing the praises of his son, Lonzo Ball who was drafted by the Lakers. In some circles the young rookie is seen as the second coming of Magic Johnson . Tall praise indeed , but the team is nowhere as good as some might believe them to be. This will be a learning experience for Lonzo Ball and his teammates over the course of the regular season and at the same time , I am not so sure how Luke Walton will acquit himself. It was all well and good , being on a championship winning team with the Golden State Warriors., but when you take a step backwards and down, simply because , the heralded name of the Los Angeles Lakers is meant to mean something. You just have to remember it has been almost a decade since the Lakers made their presence felt around the league. The team would defeat the Boston Celtics (4-3) during the 2009-10 NBA Finals .

Even if the Los Angeles Lakers are waiting for LeBron James to bring his considerable talents to the City of Angels, I for one don’t believe the four-time League MVP will be coming to a team that is sparse on talent in so many areas of its game. Beyond Lonzo Ball , there  isn”t one player who one might suggest is a real game-changer by any stretch of the imagination . Granted all of the hype concerning Ball has more do with one or two games in the Summer League than his appearances for the Lakers in the preseason to date . Front office executives Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka will be under a microscope this season. The Lakers have three more preseason games to find their groove before hitting the ground running, to begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Los Angeles Clippers in their home season opener .

Well, we had the hype , then the gripe and now the retirement. Floyd Mayweather (50-0) made light work of his opponent Conor McGregor (0-1) , with both fighters bringing home a six-figure payday from a fight which was short on excitement and thrills. The fact that UFC President Dana White chose to make refunds to fans who felt they had been misled and cheated with this alleged extravaganza . McGregor’s debut as a boxer was basically a sham , with the Mixed Martial Artist barely showing any boxing skills whatsoever. It was this type of incessant hype and bravado brought to the spectacle , which caused the fans to feel that they had been cheated. This fight was a frigging farce from start to finish and it should be seen as nothing more than that .

So let me get this straight , Adalaide Byrd , wife of a senior executive within the WBA was allowed to be a ringside judge at a world title fight between Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘ Canelo’ Alvarez ? This bout was well on its way to being one of the fights of the year , but the official result was somehow concluded to be a draw. Golovkin  clearly won the fight , but Byrd’s scorecard suggested the fight in her eyes was a ‘draw’ . Pardon me for saying this , but what the fuck is going on in the world of boxing ? Overpaid and over-hyped fighters and now this , a fucking judge , who on her best day couldn’t differentiate a dog’s ass from a hole in the ground.

Saul Alvarez and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya are clamoring for a rematch and somehow while I think it is a possibility , I do hope that the proposed rematch is not staged in Las Vegas or anywhere in the state of Nevada ! The city and state may well be the Mecca of the boxing world , but it is also one of the most corrupt places on the planet , bar none. It’s not just the sport but just about everything the state represents along with the State Athletic Commission .

Andre Ward was a world champion in two weight divisions and he retired as an unbeaten champion. His decisive win over Sergei Kovalev for the World Light Heavyweight title was enough to seal his legacy . Ward was certainly one of the best boxers of his generation, but sadly, with his lacking the charisma and his bringing his religious faith with him into the ring. It did not provide for a great spectacle for the ordinary boxing fan. However, were we to only discuss his professional career, then we would have something to genuinely talk about. Andre Ward had a promising professional start in the world boxing , being a successful amateur and as well as a > former Olympic competitor. How Ward will be judged by boxing historians as well as the fans will be open to a great deal of debate and conjecture .

Jon Jones has twice climbed to the top of the Mixed Martial Arts’ world, having twice won the UFC Light Heavyweight Title , but as with his career, he is now open to the question . ‘ Are you a cheater Jon Jones ‘ ? Jones in his most recent bout challenged former champion Daniel Cormier , won the bout decisively with a technical knockout (TKO) , only to then to told, he tested positive for a banned substance. A second mandatory test nullified the first test result , but the USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) recommended to the UFC and California State Athletic Commission that the right result be stricken from the record and be shown as a no contest.

Jon Jones (right) is seen here prior to his second fight against Daniel Cormier for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title. Jones won the fight , only for it to be later revealed that he failed a drug test . This has been the second time the MMA fighter has failed a test under the UFC . A second test sample however came back negative but the damage had already been done to Jones’ reputation. He was stripped of his belt the bout was declared a no contest and he now faces a second suspension. Many of his contemporaries are calling for him to receive a lifetime ban by the UFC. If that were to happen the sport and in particular the UFC would lose one of its biggest attractions and stars

While Dana White has not recommended Jones be suspended , many of his contemporaries and former UFC stars are calling for a lifetime ban for the two-time former champion. Having won the belt in the octagon , Jon Jones has been stripped of the title and Daniel Cormier has regained the Light Heavyweight Title belt by default .

The UFC is now in a state of disarray , as two of its biggest stars at decisive points of their respective careers. Conor McGregor needs to remain in the UFC and away from the world of professional boxing, while Jon Jones has to rethink his whole professional mindset and whether or not he continues his professional career as an MMA fighter under the UFC banner.

Picture gallery. Click on an individual frame to view that picture along with the accompanying narrative.

Which current or most recent sports’ story do you believe has been the most important, where there is substance to it all along the way ?

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Bang the drum loudly …

Bang the drum loudly ……..

The second half of the MLB season will get underway with several teams now seeking to make inroads in terms of the divisional races , while at the same time wildcard berths will be up for grabs within the AL and NL . Through the first half of the season, there were no great surprises ,but the Oakland Athletics were proving why they remain one of the best regular season teams in baseball over the past four years. Unfortunately, the regular season is nothing more than the precursor to baseball’s Fall Classic , the World Series ,but also the postseason itself. It would be safe to say, the A’s have seen their share of ups and downs in recent postseason forays. Bob Melvin and his managerial staff will almost certainly be looking to make a better showing for this postseason as they continue to dominate the AL West , without being seriously challenged by any of their divisional rivals .

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Oakland will resume their schedule with a home game on Friday against the Baltimore Orioles, with Jeff Samadzija on the mound for the home team as he faces Chris Tillman of the Orioles. The O Coliseum is likely to be packed, as the game’s best team embarks on proving their legitimacy as the AL’s top-ranked ball-club at this point of the season. With Yoenis Cespedes coming off another exceptional performance in the MLB All Star Home Run Derby contest where he successfully defended his title. The A’s slugger is perhaps the team’s best offensive player and is certainly proving his worth for the ball-club this season , while being considered a likely candidate for the AL MVP .

Baseball’s mid-season showcase event, the MLB All Star Game played at Target Field in Minneapolis , Minnesota, where we witnessed the AL triumph over their NL counterparts to gain themselves home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels signified his status as the heir-apparent to Derek Jeter in becoming the face of baseball for the next decade. Anyone who might a doubt to the claim, might want review the player’s heroics during the All Star Game on Tuesday night.

Trout and the Los Angeles Angels are in the hunt within the AL West, sitting 1 ½ games behind the Oakland Athletics with the Seattle Mariners in third place, followed by the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers bringing up the rear within the division. . It would be fair to say, Angels’ manager Mike Sciocsia and his staff are under a great deal of pressure to succeed this season. An All Star cast in terms of three high-profiled players , led by Mike Trout , Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton have failed to ignite the expectations sought by team owner , Arte Moreno and the front office led by GM Jerry Dipoto . In fact, the Angels’ fans must be wondering if the money spent on Pujols and Hamilton can be justified when the returns have been so meager by way of their output over the last two seasons.

Coming into the All Stat break the Los Angeles Angles were 9-1 in their last ten games, a league leading best among the teams in baseball. The approach of the team and Sciocsia’s staff, has been to play hard, with an emphasis on both offense , pitching and defense . . While I believe Mike Sciocsia’s position as the manager of the Los Angeles Angels remains in jeopardy, the team’s ongoing miscues could lead to Jerry Dipoto making the decision to relieve him of his managerial duties. Trout and his teammates will resume their season with a weekend series starting on Friday, when the Angels play the Seattle Mariners at Angels’ Ballpark in Anaheim , California . Taking the mound for the Mariners will be Hisashi Iwakuma against Jered Weaver of the Angels. . A pitching match-up I believe will bring out the best in these two AL pitchers as both seek to strengthen the presence of their respective teams as the second half of the season begins.

Two decades of witnessing the very best that Derek Jeter has to offer the game of baseball does seem to be something of a privilege for fans of America’s pastime. For the New York Yankees’ captain, this final season has been something of a milestone as he does the rounds being applauded by his peers and fans alike. A five-time winning World Series champion, Jeter and his teammates would like nothing better than to add another title to his list of achievements as well to that of the fabled ball-club. .However, if he and the team are to achieve that goal, then they will most certainly have to raise the level of their play entering the second half of the season . One of two wildcard berths within the AL may well be the best that the Yankees can achieve but I believe they will have set their sights higher and make a bold attempt at winning the AL East division, because the American League has been very competitive this season. Several teams are vying for the two wildcard berths, while the division now appears to be a three-horse race between the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees.

The Yankees have fared well against their divisional rivals this season, but their issues remain ever-present and the loss of their best pitcher in 2014 has been felt by the starting rotation . Masahiro Tanaka remains on the fifteen day DL , along with a number of teammates familiar in their starting roles for the Yankees’ lineup this season. Yankees Stadium will be packed over the next three days as the team plays host to the Cincinnati Reds in a three-game series beginning on Friday , 18th July. David Phelps of the Yankees will square off against Mike Leake of the Reds in this pitching duel.

Hal Steinbrenner and GM Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman have come a long way since the death of George Steinbrenner , but the fact remains the ball-club’s wish to be seen as being financially expedient has fallen on deaf ears within the organization. Other than the Los Angeles Dodgers , the New York Yankees are the only other team in Major League Baseball with a payroll above $200 million for this season. Hal Steinbrenner promised and failed in the attempt to lower the figure in 2013 and it seems for this year even in falling behind the Dodgers in the payroll sweepstakes , financial expediency no longer seems to be a major concern for the front office.

While the New York Yankees will not have to worry about a financial commitment to now disgraced star Alex Rodriguez for this season , the issue remains theirs is one of bloated salaries where a number of their players are among the highest paid in all of baseball, with the scenario unlikely to change . There will come a point where Hal Steinbrenner will have to show financial restraint, rather than showing the pretext of saying one thing and doing the complete opposite.

A postseason match-up between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers would be something that all of baseball would definitely relish. The two most storied franchises in the game meeting in World Series would be a considerable boost for MLB , given baseball’s inept handling of a litany of issues over the past decade. Unfortunately, such a scenario would allow Bud Selig to ride out on a psychological high with his taking credit for the creation of such a showcase . The Dodgers for their part having caught and now past the San Francisco Giants within the NL West are now proving why they are best team within the division and one of the best in the National League.

If ever there was a time for Don Mattingly to prove himself as a manager, then now would be it. Having won the NL West crown in 2013 with a great deal of ease the Dodgers being dismantled in the NLCS by the St Louis Cardinals showed why having a team of stars lacking in leadership was a sure way of being completely embarrassed. There was a great deal of complacency among the players , managerial staff as well as within the front office as senior partner Magic Johnson was simply making promises that his team would never keep. Disappointment and abject failure, pretty much summed up the NLCS series for the Dodgers against Mike Matheny’s Cardinals.

The maturation of Yasiel Puig remains a work in progress with the young player making a name for himself among his peers and the opposition faced this season. Puig like his teammates, are among the most explosive teams from an offensive standpoint within the game, but not to be left out of the equation, has to be the pitching of the Los Angeles Dodgers , with both Clayton Kershaw and Josh Beckett this season, having thrown no hitters for the team . The Los Angeles Dodgers have played with a great deal of presence and dominance against their opposition.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and St Louis Cardinals will renew their acquaintance when these two teams meet at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri in a three-game series , starting on Friday, through until Sunday . Dan Haren of the Dodgers, will be on the mound when he takes on Lance Lynn in what is sure to be a great game between these two teams. . I believe the Dodgers are capable of winning the NL Pennant for this season , but the issue to my mind remains , who can anyone point to as being the vocal leader on this team? There are seasoned veterans such as Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp , Carl Crawford , Dan Haren, Paul Malholm and Brian Wilson , but when it comes crunch time, are any of the players in question likely to step up to the plate? There was no evidence there to suggest they are capable doing so especially in light of the failures of last season in the NLCS series against the St Louis Cardinals. The Dodgers are simply a safe bet during the regular season but they have been ’ fool’s gold’ during the postseason in recent years.

If someone had suggested to me Oakland Athletics’ starting pitcher Scott Kazmir would be among the best pitchers in baseball this season while leading the A’s starting rotation in wins and ERA(earned run average), I would have stated they are out of their mind ! Yet lo and behold Kazmir seems to have resurrected his career and found the form that saw him once spearhead the Tampa Bay Rays . Scott Kazmir’s former team are having their own issues this season, much of it of their own making and the mistaken belief among the Rays’ fans baseball analysts alike , they would be among the favorites to win the AL East and AL Pennant this season. Nothing could be further from the truth at this juncture, in spite of the ongoing optimism of Joe Maddon who believes the division still remains a wide open race.

Oakland has a slight lead (1 1/2 games) over the Los Angeles Angels within the AL West, with both teams scheduled to resume their respective schedules today. Bob Melvin will lead his team against the Baltimore Orioles when they meet at the O Coliseum in Oakland, California. Chris Tillman will be on the mound for the Orioles as they take on the division leading A’s, with Jeff Samardzija being the opposing pitcher . Contests between these two teams tend not to be close affairs, but I believe with both ball-clubs now riding high and their being so much at stake we are likely to see a competitive game and series .

Mike Trout I believe to be the most dominant force in the game today as an offensive player and granted , many are likely to view the reigning two-time AL MVP Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera set about trying to prove which of the duo just happens to be the most dominant player. Within the NL I certainly do not believe there is a player the equal of either Cabrera or Trout in terms of productivity over the past two years . The singular awards for this season are up for grabs and I believe the races for those crowns will carry on until the end of the season. As to who those winners are likely to be, will be dependent upon the play of the presumptive frontrunners.

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Picture gallery .

Through the first half of the MLB season which teams or players do you believe have provided the best highlights ? As baseball resumes play, how do you see the rest of the schedule playing out and which ball-club is likely to be the most dominant and be seen as a firm favorite to win the World Series ?

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(1) Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin ,left, is seen here with the team’s general manager Billy Beane . The duo have seen the A’s become the leading frontrunners within the AL for the AL Pennant but their greatest wish has to be, bringing back a World Series’ title to the state of California and to their loyal fans . AP Photo / Mark Edmonds …

(2) Jeff Samardzija of the Oakland A’s has been one of the main reasons the team has been consistent within the AL West this season . Getty Images / Chris Jones …

(3) Jul 15, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; American League infielder Derek Jeter (second from right) of the New York Yankees greets all star teammates Robinson Cano (22) of the Seattle Mariners and Mike Trout (27) of the Los Angeles Angels before the 2014 MLB All Star Game at Target Field . Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports …

(4) Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly is seen here with All Star player Yasiel Puig ,left . Getty Images / Hector Gonzalez …

(5)The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp chats with Magic Johnson before Game 2 of the 2013 National League Division Series in Atlanta. With almost one-quarter of a billion dollars ($250,000,000) invested in the team’s payroll for the 2014 season, Johnson hopes the fortunes of the Dodgers will be far more fruitful than during the 2013 MLB postseason. Getty Images / Christina Martin ….

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That’s a slight of hand trick , I definitely like !

One more reason to love Scarlett Johansson

The ugly side to sports is no different from its image in general , still goddamn ugly

The ugly side to sports is no different from its image in general , still goddamn ugly

For the past few weeks I have been intently assisting a friend get his newly established and relocated business off the ground. He and his family moved across the county to reestablish his Caribbean styled family restaurant here in the small rural town of Dundee, Florida . Like everything else that involves the reshaping of a business , along with it comes a great deal of bureaucracy, in dealing with a new municipality as well as with a state governmental agency . Top-heavy , with way too much bureaucracy and with their being no intelligence in sight . The same could be said for the state of play in the world of professional and collegiate sports, where leadership is definitely lacking but the sheer ineptitude and apathy of the fans would have you believe that there is some integrity and leadership within the hierarchies of the NFL, NBA , NCAA , MLB , NHL and FIFA . With the latter being a prime example of how the world’s most popular sport while not lacking appeal is still mired in controversy , along with ongoing corruption at the highest levels.

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My friend’s restaurant is off to a flying start but his issues remain, in dealing with the town and the state for varying reasons, as to the degree of difficulty. The sign that adorns the restaurant is not visible to the passing vehicular traffic, because of the trees that border the pedestrian sidewalk. The trees were planted by the town , with a grant provided by the state, but it remains the municipality’s duty to have those trees properly maintained. Yet, when having made a request to the town manager, we were informed because the shrubbery is along a state highway, the responsibility in seeking any changes would have to come with state approval. It would not be so asinine , were it not for the fact the town received the grant from the state for the beautification project, with the planting of the trees. Go figure, a municipality that defers to the state, because they cannot make pertinent decision that actually affects the town more than the state.

The NFL continues the hyping of its off-season, with the meaningless news of rookies who are told are now said to be setting their training camps alight with their understanding of the playbook and their acknowledgment of their more experienced peers. Far be it for me to suggest, but the preseason is nothing more than a parade , with the regular season being the true test of the rookies’ character and skills. Jadeveon Clowney of the Houston Texans will have a great deal to prove in his rookie season , along with the considerable hype that also followed Johnny Manziel , who was a first round pick of the Cleveland Browns . For the Browns this might be a season where the disasters of 2013 are likely to be revisited. Mike Pettine and his staff have a great deal to prove, as do the players under his tutelage.

Given the Browns’ on and off the field issues in recent seasons, I personally do not see the team making any inroads within their division or the AFC once the season gets underway . Cleveland will begin their season with an away game against divisional AFC North rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers in a contest to be played at Heinz Field , in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ,on the opening weekend of the 2014 week one regular season schedule . Pettine and his team are likely to have a season of ups and downs but nothing that would suggest they are likely to seen as a major contender within the AFC this season.

If the NFL cannot find a way to keep itself out of the spotlight, you can rest assured that it will be left to either Roger Goodell or one of the league’s team owners to make a complete ass of themselves. The NFL Commissioner continues to wax on lyrically as to the ever increasing profits of the NFL, but his continued failure to discuss the most acute issues that the NFL continues to face is another reason why the league continues to have ongoing problems. Goodell lacks leadership grit and the owners remain selfless self-serving bastards. It would be idiotic to try to suggest otherwise now.

Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins continue to be on the wrong side of an argument and debate that neither he or the franchise can win. No matter what type of magnanimous gesture is made by the Redskins’ owner , it will never be enough to appease the Native American Indians across the country. While I believe there to be a great deal of hypocrisy on both sides of the debate concerning, using the word ‘ Redskins’ as it relates to the franchise’s name. The fact that the United States Patent Office has seen fit not to renew the Redskins’ trademark of the name, smacks of government interference in a matter that should be either dealt with in the courts or through an amicable settlement between the parties concerned.

The US Trade & Patent Office stated that their why not renewing the Washington Redskins’ trademark agreement stemmed from the fact, they believed the term “ Redskins” was a derogatory use the word that denigrates the Native American Indians. Perhaps that governmental agency needs to take a look at what the Department of the Interior is presently doing as it relates to the tribes across the country to truly comprehend the meaning of the word ” denigrate ” and the meaning also of the word derogatory . Native American Indians may well be and their lands are deemed sovereign, but their treatment by the federal government remains reprehensible and often scandalous . Simply consider the lack of proper education in spite of the statistics continually spewed by the governmental agency in question , with their also being a prolific rise in drug use and crime but yet they feel the using of the word Redskins to be derogatory in this day age. If things were not so fucked up I would take less in delight in lambasting not only Department of the Interior , but also a Congress and Administration that remains clueless on so many fucking issues , that it should be viewed as criminal and extremely calculated .

Away from that specific issue for the Washington Redskins , they will embark on a new season with the new head coach and coaching staff in tow. Jay Gruden will now be given the task of turning things around for the team after a year of lackluster results and performances , with many questioning the leadership and playing ability of Robert Griffin III. Add in the fact, Griffin’s teammate Kirk Cousins sought to extricate himself from an organization that simply had lost a sense of direction. Snyder remained in the background while Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan ran amok , with team GM Bruce Allen showing no sense of urgency in seeking to calm the maelstrom within his sight. I have always felt that the four teams within the NFC East were overrated along just about every element of the teams’ play within the division. As to the season by Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles , does anyone really believe that he will be able to replicate those performances in 2014? Add in the fact the Eagles saw fit to rid themselves of their best offensive weapon last season when they allowed DeSean Jackson to leave as a free agent. Safe to say, that the Eagles’ loss will be the Washington Redskins’ gain.

This past NBA postseason showed once again why the NBA remains suckers’ game if you are always willing to bet on what you believe to be a sure thing. As to the idiocy of those, whose only explanation to favor the Miami Heat was because of the presence of LeBron James on the Heat’s roster . Last I looked James was yet to make the ascent where he can thought of as being on the same plateau as his idol Michael Jordan , whose postseason exploits have been well chronicled. Miami’s decisive 4-1 series loss was enough to suggest how overrated the Heat were said to be without having to witness LeBron James’ labor in these Finals without very little aid coming from his teammates. As to this asinine notion, that their Big Three should remain together , the real issue should be with an aging Dwyane Wade offering a mere measure of the player he was six years ago , the inconsistency of Chris Bosh and a bench whose only apparent virtue appears to be as a band of cheerleaders for their four-time League MVP winning teammate. Rashard Lewis has aged faster than an octogenarian with the early onset of Alzheimer’s and Ray Allen’s shooting can now be placed on the same level as Dick Cheney on a pheasant hunt, not likely to be the target he’s aiming for , but he is liable to hit something near.

James’ decision to opt out of his contract now creates a feeding frenzy within the NBA, with general managers around the NBA scurrying to make salary cap space available , as they seek to land one of the big fishes among the list of ” highly prized “ free agents currently on the market. Joining LeBron James , is his close confidante Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks and the possibility seems remote that the pairing could now land on the same team making that franchise a legitimate title contender.

So now for the second time in six years, the fans will be placed in the midst of this drama, as James serves notice, that he believes himself bigger than the game. It would not be so bad, if the first merry-go-round of this circus were not staged , with ESPN journalist Jim Gray , all but licking James’ sphincter and testes, while asking some of the most asinine questions posed to an athlete concerning their future. As to James and his posse of clown advisers, stating that the player’s fee, for that now infamous diatribe and garbage went to a needy cause , of the Boys & Girls Club of America. For a player who was one of the league’s highest paid players and with a reputed $40 million annually in off-court earnings. I believe the $250,000 paid out by ESPN would have been a small price to pay, had James simply donated that money to the charity himself, rather than Gray making the statement and interview had a measure of journalistic integrity to it all. That would be suggesting that the plot-line for a thirty minute porn flick, does have a measure of artistic integrity in terms of the portrayals on-screen. Everyone knows how to fuck and I guess faking an orgasm does come easy (pardon the pun) when you have practiced the art several times over. James and Gray were not very versed and the interview itself, was simply one more reason why ESPN can no longer be taken seriously as sports’ programming network .

LeBron James will be seen as a very poor version of what the NBA seeks in the second coming of Michael Jordan. The league hierarchy , still yearns for someone to carry that mantle, but unfortunately since Jordan’s retirement the players seeking to fill those shoes have repeatedly come up short. The Miami Heat player can now toy with the emotions of the Miami Heat and in particular with the fans and Pat Riley . However, should he seek to bolt from a franchise for a second time , his legacy will not only be further tarnished, but I do believe the fans around the league will not be so forgiving the second time around.

Unless I am mistaken, the season in which baseball yearned to see some great play from some of the game’s best teams , has in essence provided us with something of a letdown. The defending World Series’ champions the Boston Red Sox have performed nothing like what you would come to expect of a ball-club seeking to make a successful defense of their title. It is becoming hard to explain why John Farrell’s players have performed so badly, as we come to closing out the first half of this baseball season. The always competitive AL East remains a two-horse race at present with the Toronto Blue Jays leading the Baltimore Orioles followed by the big spending coffers of the New York Yankees . Rounding out the division we have the Red Sox followed by the last placed Tampa Bay Rays .

The Rays have proven to be pitiful and no amount of idiotic excuses can be made for the poor play from the team . Winning a series for this franchise, has become about as customary as witnessing a solar eclipse of Halley’s Comet crossing the sky at high-speed. Far be it for me to suggest , but now might be the time for fans in the Tampa Bay area to look elsewhere for their excitement this Fall ,as this franchise is unlikely to be playing any part in the Fall Classic.

Rays’ manager Joe Maddon known for serving up a great deal of rhetoric, has rarely called out his players even when they have performed poorly. Leadership is certainly lacking among the Rays and with seasoned veterans on the roster such as David Price, James Loney, Jose Molina , Evan Longoria and Erik Bedard , it is becoming extremely difficult by the second to suggest that there are any signs of a positive note to be witnessed from this team. Coming off three consecutive losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, the Rays will now hope for more luck on the road when they are due to face the Baltimore Orioles in a four-game series to be played at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland. That series will tell us a great deal about the temperament of the Tampa Bay Rays and the direction that they are said to be heading in. The first of the quartet of games will begin on Friday 27th June ,2014 with Alex Colome taking to the mound for the Rays against a yet to be named opposing pitcher.

The longer Mark Emmert remains as the NCAA President the less credibility he continues to have. His change of tone, concerning the issue of collegiate athletes being paid is another reason why the NCAA cannot be taken seriously when it comes to addressing this matter. Whether or not, if he is being pressured by major conference commissioners or by the university presidents, it is becoming abundantly clear that Emmert’s lack of leadership and communicative skills will ultimately lead to his own undoing. Collegiate Athletics’ governing body now finds itself as a major defendant in a class action lawsuit in which one of the leading plaintiffs is former UCLA (Bruins) basketball star Ed O’Bannon . The Bruins’ star and his joint plaintiffs claim that their likeness was being used without their permission and whereby the NCAA and the colleges have profited greatly from using their images, in selling a wide assortment of sports’ paraphernalia. With the billions of dollars reaped and the claims made by the NCAA and the collegiate establishments that these funds are used for the benefit of the student athlete .That case is becoming hard to prove, when neither the NCAA or many top-tiered sports’ programs are willing to open up their books for public scrutiny. In spite of the outcry from the public , the NCAA has been able to harness their lobbying power to make sure that Congressional leaders and members are quick to avert their eyes and ears, in seeking to make changes in the antitrust exemption status granted to collegiate athletics’ governing body as well as the four major professional sports’ governing bodies.

The world’s most popular sport of soccer and the sport’s international governing body staging the World Cup in Brazil, in this quadrennial tournament being seen as a grand stage to raise the profile of South America’s most powerful economy. Staged at a cost of over $12 billion , the country is also facing a great deal internal strife ,with their being a great deal of opposition in the staging of the World Cup while there is a growing chasm between the rich and the poor within the country. Needless to say , the government states that those issues will be fully addressed once the tournament is over but for the moment soccer is now being played on the grandest of stages with the host nation being viewed as a consensus favorite.

FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter , no stranger to controversy , having faced allegations of graft and corruption without his ever being indicted for any of the charges lodged against him. Others have somehow fallen on the sword, willing to take the blame for an executive who continues to point an accusing finger at the press for making the false accusations concerning his actions during his tenure as FIFA’s highest ranking executive.

This tournament has not been without controversy and the biggest of them all deals with the unsportsmanlike conduct of Uruguayan international Luis Suarez as he bit an Italian defender during a game between the two teams. With his team having qualified for the second round phase of the World Cup , fans now wait to see what punishment will be meted out against the player. This disgusting act was missed by the game’s officials but picked up by the cameras televising the game. Blatter and the FIFA Committee on Player Conduct will reexamine the incident, but it is s already becoming clear that the punishment levied against Luis Suarez is likely to be severe. The Uruguayan contingent have until Thursday midnight, to come up with an explanation as to the player’s behavior and the reasons behind his actions. Suarez has brushed aside this latest mea-culpa,but with his past behavior and having fined twice before for similar actions, FIFA can ill afford to have the player be let off the hook. Personally, I believe that Suarez should be suspended for the rest of the tournament, but I also find it rather bewildering that the Uruguayan delegation has not seen fit to offer a public apology for their player’s wanton misconduct.

Officiating at the World Cup has been very inconsistent with a number of on-field mistakes being made during the games , many of them proving to be costly for several of the teams on the wrong end of a decision. Reigning champions, Spain have fallen from grace and their exit in the first round stage has been a complete shock. Meanwhile, host country, Brazil , has found a consistent rhythm, after a somewhat indifferent start to the tournament. Their best player, Neymar Jr , is certainly justifying the raves reviews received, as he and the team go on their quest for a fifth World Cup title. Jose Felipe Scolari , as Brazil’s head coach is under a great deal of pressure to deliver a long-awaited title, but all roads will have to go through either Germany or the Netherlands , as both European teams have been among the most impressive of the participants playing in the tournament.

England’s failure comes as no great surprise with the team’s efforts having been ridiculed in the press back in the UK. Roy Hodgson’s tenure as the team’s head coach is likely to come to an abrupt end with his resignation being sought or being fired. Let’s just say the high expectations as one of the favorites is a thing of the past and will remain so for the foreseeable future as the country no longer produces the talent necessary to be seen as a legitimate World Cup contender.

For Jürgen Klinsmann and Team USA, the team’s pivotal final game in the first round on Thursday night is a make or break contest for both teams. Although a tie would benefit both teams , with each qualifying as the top two within their group standings. I believe it would be suicidal were both to rest on their laurels and simply play for the draw , as their opponent in the knockout stages is likely to be team that neither can afford to take lightly. As to this contest, it could very well be one where we get to see the best of this USA team , with Klinsmann missing one of the team’s best offensive players in Jozy Altidore. Whatever the outcome of the contest, it must be said that team has exceeded the expectations of their fans and I believe the majority of analysts in general covering the game for ESPN.

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Picture gallery .

In light of the recent news’ stories what do you believe to be the most interesting thing that is now happening in the sports’ world ? With team USA’s upcoming match against Germany, are they likely to be triumphant? Last but not least, what are you views on LeBron James choosing to opt out of his contract and what part is it likely to make on the decisions to be made by the NBA’s general managers ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) Seen here are the Orville Mongol restaurant owner and Dundee town Mayor Sam Pennant . The recently opened restaurant has become a downtown attraction and the center for numerous activities among the residents in the town.

(2) Jamaican Style Grill & Lounge DBA Golden Tropical Bar & Grill . The restaurant offering Jamaican styled cuisine is located in the downtown center of Dundee, located in Eastern Polk County , Florida . Seen here, pictured from left to right , Chef Donovan, Mayor Sam Pennant , Town Commissioner Bertram ‘Bert’ Goddard, Dorothy Mongol, Commissioner Steve Glenn (background) and restaurant owner Orville Mongol . The restaurant offers of a variety of Jamaican dishes featuring delicacies known among the West Indian community . Also served are vegetarian meals for those who prefer a health conscious diet , but in general patrons can find something on the menu that will be to their liking .

(3) Pictured are Jadeveon Clowney (above) and Johnny Manziel . Both players were part of the 2014 NFL Draft class of this year . Clowney and Manziel are hoping to productive contributors for their respective teams this upcoming season . AP Photo/Gerry Mason …

(4) Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III is seen here with team owner Dan Snyder on the sidelines during a game in 2013 played at FedEx Field in Landover Maryland . After an indifferent season last year the Redskins hope to bounce back with a new attitude and coaching staff led by Jay Gruden who succeeds fired former head coach Mike Shanahan . Dan Snyder faces mounting criticism from Native American Indians as well as the US Patent & Trademark Office , with the franchise’s refusal in changing the name of the team. The owner has routinely sought the input from Native Americans on the issue but a great deal of the negotiations between the two parties have become highly animated . Getty Images / Paul Ross …

(5) LeBron James is seen here with Miami Heat Team President and part owner , Pat Riley . With James opting out of his existing contract , it has led to a feeding frenzy among the NBA’s general managers as they seek to make available cap space , in quite possibly making a play to lure the Heat player. LeBron James , a four-time League MVP and two-time Finals MVP has yet to make a decision on his immediate future beyond the decision but most are of the opinion he will remain with the Miami Heat. Although were he to leave the franchise , there would be a great deal of disdain for a player, who now seems to make this type of a maneuver a routine occurrence when things are not to his satisfaction. AP Photo/ Mary-Ann Phillips ….

(6) Pitcher David Price (14) of the Tampa Bay Rays is taken off the mound by manager Joe Maddon (70)of the Tampa Bay Rays after walking J.J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles to load the bases during the seventh inning of a game on May 8, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. There now seems to be mounting speculation that the Rays will seek to trade the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner at or prior to the trade deadline , with the team at present floundering within the AL East . Getty Images North America/ Brian Blanco …

(7) Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon is seen here talking to the convened press to discuss his civil suit against the NCAA . O’Bannon whose brief career in the NBA was understated lodged his suit in US Federal Court seeking punitive and unspecified damages for what he says, was the unauthorized use of image to sell merchandize by the collegiate athletics’ governing body . The NCAA has reaped billions of dollars annually from merchandize sales but there seems to be no figures indicating how much is plowed back into the college programs nationally . NCAA President Mark Emmert who suggested that he believes that student athletes should be paid a monthly stipend has since shied away from that stance stating that the rules in place are satisfactory for the NCAA and the educational institutions.

(8) NATAL, BRAZIL – JUNE 23: Luis Suarez of Uruguay looks on during press conference at the Dunas Arena in Natal on June 23, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. It remains to be seen what form of punishment will be rendered against the player after an unsavory incident that took place between Uruguay and Italy during their group match . Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images …

(9) MANAUS, BRAZIL – JUNE 22: Clint Dempsey of the United States walks out to the pitch prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil in the Group G match between USA and Portugal at Arena Amazonia on June 22, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. Photo by Stuart Franklin – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images ……

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The what if premise and what could or would, actually happen …

The what if premise and what could or would, actually happen …

By tophatal ………..

A friend and I, were recently discussing the state of the economy and as we know, figures normally offered up by so many of the federal agencies ( Commerce Department) tend to overstate , rather than giving a truly exact figure. Done more so to impress , more than anything else, while the politicians themselves ,seek to take credit for initiatives that they believe , they originally set into motion. Given that, individuals, such as House members Paul Ryan, Senator Rand Paul , Senator Mitch McConnell , John Boehner , Sen Charles E Schumer , Sen Robert Menendez , Harry Reid, Sen Ted Cruz and Pete Olsen , show a propensity for never-ending stupidity , as it relates to economic matters and that , they tend to now work under the premise of what ifs . I wonder, how they might feel , if the public were allowed to use the same premise, by suggesting, what if the US Congress were actually paid on performances by way of productivity and legislative measures passed , that actually prove to be of benefit , by actually truly creating growth in the economy ?

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Slideshow .

Far too many idiots , are under the mistaken belief, that the private sector alone can be the biggest producers of jobs and investment within the economy . Consider the following, US companies are now sitting on a cash-pile of over $3.26 trillion ($3,260,000,000,000) , representing over 20% of the nation’s GDP (gross domestic product) , yet , when pressed to broach this subject, about why these corporations are not investing in jobs , infrastructure , much less capital investments , those who espouse a “conservative” opinion , are hard pressed to offer up a concise answer about the reasons why these companies are not investing. They may well point to the buoyancy of the stock market , with their being voluminous activity , by way either major business takeovers or increased profits , but that in of-itself, is not always considered to be a real indicator of a vibrant economy . Apathy on the part of the electorate and the very fact, that the members of the US Congress are not always clear speaking, when addressing the nuances and vagaries of macroeconomics , much less any type of governmental policy, be it, domestic or foreign, in nature. If you were informed, that for every dollar spent within the US economy, forty cents of that, was derived from government spending , one wonders how that might be addressed by those who seek to have massive reduction of spending without being able to suggest where they believe cuts should be made , other than to social welfare programs ?

Unfortunately, the country also possesses a leader , who has become something of a “dead weight” , not only in terms of a policy stance , but the indication is now here, to show that Barack Obama, flits from each issue, like a bee pollinating a flower , while in the hope, that the pollination will be a real success. His initiatives have been very much like that, without him being readily willing to admit to any failure during his tenure . With the mid-term elections now less than six months away , the nation is about to be “sold a bill of goods” , with each side pointing to the danger of electing or re-electing an opponent. It’s pretty much safe to say, no matter who gets elected or reelected , things are unlikely to change , as the status quo within both legislative chambers is likely to remain the same. The only thing, that actually separates a “Liberal” from a Conservative “ , just happens to be the depth of their deceit and corruptible practices . Altruism, simply goes out the door, once these officials have been elected to both chambers of the congress !

The NFL’s not so quiet off-season, has led to a stream of player movement , with veterans well as second and third year players, now finding a new home to display their skill-set. Granted, the contracts are not as steep, but , there have been cases, where some players have remained with their teams, having signed a contract extension . The Chicago Bears having rid themselves of Julius Peppers , somehow then saw fit to offer their veteran quarterback , Jay Cutler a seven-year $126 million contract , therein making Cutler the highest paid player in the NFL. Now take into account, that Jay Cutler’s playoff record has been far from stellar . In two playoff appearances, during the Bears 2010 playoff run , the player bears a 1-1 record, for which those performances, can best be described as being downright mediocre. GM Phil Emery and the Bears’ front office , were either of the opinion, that they can rally behind Cutler, with regard to the franchise’s future , with his being their best option to lead them to their goal of a Superbowl victory. Or they may well have felt that the player might well have been inclined to seek a trade ,with their being growing disillusionment among the fans of his not being able to lead the team deep into the postseason. A necessary trait that is desired, with any quarterback, seeking to lead a team to a Superbowl victory and Cutler, is no different from any of his peers within the game today.

The Chicago Bears, were far from convincing in 2013, having finished the season with an 8-8 record within the NFC North under head coach Marc Trestman . Many of their travails, stemmed from the inconsistency of the offense and their lackadaisical approach on defense . Yet, for those who remain stoic believers in Jay Cutler’s skill-set , I would suggest that at this stage of the eight year veteran’s career in the NFL, they begin to review the premise that he is indeed one of the better quarterbacks in the league.

Trestman I believe, will be able to correct the issues concerning his team, but with the off-season moves made by the organization, make the necessary room available via cap space available, to lure free agents and at the same time, be in preparation for the upcoming NFL Draft. Chicago’s wants, are likely to encompass the need for a pass rusher, and one or two , defensive linemen. Yet, at the end of the day, that is by no means a certainty of where Marc Trestman, the coaching staff and front office are likely to discuss their primary focus in terms of the team’s requirements.

Last season’s dismal performance in the Superbowl , still looms large over not only Peyton Manning , but also over the remaining cast of teammates, still on the roster . The Broncos’ lopsided loss to the rampaging Seattle Seahawks, led by sophomore quarterback Russell Wilson , sent a somber reminder that just because, you are viewed as one of the all-time greats , it does not make you invincible . The fact that the two combatants in last season’s NFL finale, were deemed to be the two best teams , not solely based on their records alone , but also statistically, in terms of defense and offense. What the viewing fans were subjected to, via the live television broadcast , with tens of millions watching nationally and estimated 1.3 billion watching worldwide , might well have been the biggest ” black eye “ that the NFL has suffered in recent years , if it was the intention of the league hierarchy to sell that particular game as branded product” . If anything, it was simply an eyesore of unquantifiable magnitude . Suffice to say, Manning may well have given one of his worst postseason performances ever, but the action served up by his teammates was equally inept in terms of measure and substance . John Fox and his coaching staff may well need to look at the team’s secondary and assess the numerous areas, where they allowed the Seahawks tear through many of their flaws , warts and all.

The 2014 NFL season may well provide the fans of the league, the very last chance, to see the best both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, as they make one more tilt at adding to their respective postseason and Superbowl legacies . I do believe, that they are both capable of taking their teams back to the postseason, but the question remains, will they each, have enough in the tank, to actually get the job done ?

It does not pain me to say this, but there is a great deal of bull#hit, to be found within the blogging world , especially when it comes to the area of sports, and the very fact that many of the opinions being put down, are either half-baked, without merit or any common sense whatsoever ! With the recent acquisitions of wide receiver Eric Decker and running back Chris Johnson, one blogging contributor tried to suggest that overnight the New York Jets would immediately become a credible favorite to win the AFC East , because of the offensive firepower provided by both players. Now while I believe both Decker and Johnson, to be very good players at their respective positions, but I think that the contributor simply overlooked the fact about the Jets’ quarterback just happened to be last season. Anyone of the belief , that rookie Geno Smith had a very good year and was among the best of the rookie quarterbacks who saw action during 2013 , must be sadly mistaken, if they were under the impression that the AFC East signal caller was among the best of the rookies in question . Learning from one’s mistakes, actually shows signs of growth, but there was none to be seen from Smith over the course of the season.

Rex Ryan as head coach of the New York Jets, went through a tumultuous season in 2013, bedeviled by the fact, he had to deal with the issues of Mark Sanchez, .who has since departed from the Jets’ organization . Ryan failed to curtailed the exuberance and lack of understanding by his incumbent starting quarterback , and it was clear that beyond his own future being in jeopardy, along with that of his entire coaching staff , in particular quarterbacks’ coach David Lee , whose obvious tutelage of Smith left a great deal to be desired. How this all could be overlooked by the blogger who was seeking to show that the Jets’ quarterback was growing stature , leads me to believe that he simply lacked an original idea , much less the intelligence to see the obvious. Smith may have had a great college career, being among the very best, during his final year at West Virginia (Mountaineers) . But that in of-itself, has not been enough to remotely suggest that there is likely to be an improvement in his play during this upcoming season.

It would be fair to suggest, that since their appearance in the Superbowl in 2003 , with Bill Callahan , then as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders . In the aftermath of that loss, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, things have simply spiraled out of control for the once venerable and well-respected franchise. The coaching turnovers instigated by then owner Al Davis , his later death, with the passing of ownership to his son, Mark Davis . Yet, things continue to be as mediocre as it has ever been on all fronts , within the front office , to the personnel decisions being as it relates the draft and their ongoing acquisitions. The era of Carson Palmer, came and went without anyone actually noticing a damn thing ! As to the belief that All Pro Defensive player Nnamdi Asomugha was to be that game-changer that Raiders’ fans claimed him to be, well, let us just say, that Asmougha’s retirement from the game after something of a lackluster career, can only be highlighted by the fact, he is now married to one of Hollywood’s hottest actresses , in Kerry Washington.

In 2013, Raiders’ head coach Dennis Allen struggled to get his team playing with any measure of competitiveness , never-mind, that within the AFC West , with the now resurgent Kansas City Chiefs , San Diego Chargers to go alongside the dominant Denver Broncos made things all the more difficult within the division , for the beleaguered franchise. Defensively, the Raiders were nonplussed, performing with the modicum of mediocrity, one would come to expect of a franchise that has become one of the “major laughing stocks” of the NFL over the past decade . Not to be left out of the equation, was the absurdity of seeing the Raiders’ offense in motion. Coming off, a 4-12 season , it is easy to understand why the Oakland Raiders have continued to struggle over the past decade . There has been no form of leadership on the roster or from anyone on the coaching staff , along with the hyperbole over players such as Darren McFadden , Terrelle Pryor , Marcel Reese , Denarius Moore, Jeron Mastrud , Jason Hunter, LaMarr Houston , Nick Roach , Tracy Porter , Mike Jenkins and veteran Charles Woodson , whose best years are now behind him, that his best view , would come by use of rear view mirror !

For the hyperbole surrounding Terrelle Pryor, during his collegiate career at Ohio State (Buckeyes) , under the now disgraced former head coach , Jim Tressel . There is no denying the fact , that while the player is immensely talented , his lack of maturity and integrity , sullied his reputation and chance of being a high draft pick , had he declared for the NFL Draft under the usual circumstances. Instead , the quarterback was taken in the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft by the Oakland Raiders , with the thought that he would hone his craft , become a productive player in the NFL . If nothing else, there have been glimpses of brilliance from the player , but rarely anything, to really suggest that he is capable of leading a team at the highest level. Now after merely two years in the league, Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis, have made the decision that the Terrelle Pryor reign in Oakland , must now come to an immediate end. Pryor for his part, has landed on his feet, having been picked up by Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks, where in all likelihood, Pryor is likely to be the third on the team’s depth chart behind Russell Wilson and Tarvaris Jackson . One cannot help but wonder, about what might have been, had Terrelle Pryor simply shown the promise seen at the collegiate level during his time with the Buckeyes. Instead, another overrated quarterback, falls by the wayside , though not yet on the scrap-heap , littered with passers, we have seen come and go over the past ten years within the NFL.

There has been a great deal written , in the lead-up the NFL Draft, as to whom , the prospective number one overall draft pick is likely to be. Now to my mind, in spite of the prestige that comes with such a choice for the team, said to be privileged with making that decision. The choice itself, does have its pratfalls, because a great deal , is not only made of that decision, but also of the financial outlay that is likely to be costly for a franchise, albeit, that there is now a rookie salary scale, now in place within the NFL , unlike from earlier years , past. In 2007, JaMarcus Russell , then the number one pick by the Oakland Raiders in the draft of that year , was afforded a rookie contract, that was nothing short of astonishing , as Al Davis made the decision to give the former LSU Tigers’ quarterback, a six-year $61 million deal , with $32 million in guaranteed money . Russell’s career began in a bluster and simply fizzled during the later years , with his offering nothing of substance during his stay in the NFL . Once again, the Raiders go out on a flier , taking a high risk player , without obtaining anything tangible in return, for the fruits of their labor. Due diligence and intelligence, is not something that is likely to be found in abundance within the Raiders’ organization and certainly not during the latter years of Al Davis’ reign or during that of his son , working with Reggie McKenzie.

The agents for Johnny Manziel , Jadeveon Clowney , Blake Bortles , Greg Robinson and Khalil Mack , are likely to be working frantically, to have their client be viewed as that desired number one pick , as well as being, the type of player, that a franchise can build around. Rarely, is that the case, with a number one pick in the NFL Draft, but there is always the exception to the rule. A case can be made that, Eli Manning in 2004 and Andrew Luck in 2012 , were the last two number one picks in the NFL Draft who can be looked upon as being picks, that have paid off hugely in terms of the dividends returned for their respective teams in the past eight years . Though this past season , Eli Manning and the New York Giants were an immense disappointment within the NFC East and the conference in its entirety . The thought, that the front office is now said to be considering demoting their two-time Superbowl winning quarterback and their drafting his heir-apparent, does seem nonsensical , when you consider the woes of the team were not solely Manning’s alone .

Nine years after the fallout, from Eli Manning’s refusal to go the San Diego Chargers, it does seem somewhat fortuitous , how the paths of Manning and Philip Rivers have remained intertwined , for right and wrong reasons, but one could also point to the fact, that their paths have also been exemplary , in terms of the success attained and the productivity of their respective careers .

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Picture gallery .

What do you expect to see during this off-season in the lead-up to the NFL Draft and do you believe that a number one pick is a likely guarantee of success for an NFL franchise ? Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be relevant to the topic, as you see fit?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) From left to right , Congress members , Sen Lamar Alexander , Eric Cantor , House Majority Leader , John Boehner , Sen Charles Schumer , Nancy Pelosi and Sen Harry Reid . Bilateral agreements now seem to be a thing of the past in Congress, but most certainly, a photo opportunity can never be missed by the members of the House and Senate . Getty Images North America/ Phil Thatcher …..

(2) Two of the NFL’s leading pass rushers and defensive linemen , left Julius Peppers , formerly of the Chicago Bears and now a member of the Green Bay Packers . Pictured with Peppers is Jared Allen (69) , whose departure from the Minnesota Vikings to remain in the NFC North , having signed with the Bears. The rivalry between these two players will continue as both seek to climb up the ladder , as each seeks to make a dent in the active sacks’ mark , where the all-time record is held by Hall of Famer …. Bruce Smith with 200 sacks . AP Photo/ Kevin Freeman ….

(3) Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler (6) is seen here on the sidelines during a game played against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania on the 22nd December , 2013. Also pictured is head coach Marc Trestman , whose team would suffer their biggest loss of the season , suffering a humiliating 54-11 defeat at the hands of the Chip Kelly coached Eagles. AP Photo / Phil Matthews …

(4) Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks is congratulated by his opposite number , Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos, after the Seahawks’ surprisingly easy triumph in defeating the Broncos 48-3 in Superbowl 48 played at the MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey on the 2nd February , 2014 ., Manning had one his worst postseason performances of his illustrious NFL career. A shakeup has already began within the Broncos’ roster, with a number of notable departures during the off-season , led by Eric Decker and Champ Bailey , both seasoned veterans with the franchise. AP Photo / Chris Hall ……

(5) New York Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith is seen here with head coach Rex Ryan after the two celebrate a home victory during 2013 in a a game played at MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford, New Jersey,. The player was somewhat unflattering with his displays , during the season , blowing hot and cold , where there was a preponderance throw interceptions at the most inopportune of moments , while leading the team to rather sub-par record within the AFC East . Excuses are now being made for the rookie quarterback , although he was said to be one of the most efficient passers entering the NFL Draft last season. Somehow that all seemed to be lost on his proponents, who continue to show their apathy . Smith’s play rarely improved during the latter half of the season , leading the franchise to now acquiring veteran Michael Vick as his backup for the upcoming season. Getty Images / Tom Clarke …..

(6) Terrelle Pryor (2) of the Oakland Raiders is seen here being congratulated by head coach Dennis Allen after a ninety-yard . twelve-play drive during the game played against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the O Coliseum in Oakland , California , last season . Pryor was traded by the franchise , having acquired Matt Schaub as a free agent during the off-season . Allen was said to be openly critical of Pryor’s agent, Jerome Stanley , who criticized the organization, for what he believes to be the mistreatment of his client, by the Oakland Raiders . Terrelle Pryor and Stanley , have since parted ways, without their said to being any acrimony between the player and his former agent. AP Photo / Rusty Shaw ……….

(7) Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants and Philip Rivers (17) of the San Diego Chargers will be forever be joined at the hips after the events that were unfurled during the 2004 NFL Draft , after Manning and his father , Archie Manning refused to join the Chargers . After the hostilities wore off , Manning would join the Giants with Rivers ending up in San Diego. How different things might have been , had the Giants’ quarterback plied his trade in California , remains a bone of continued speculation , with the player having led the franchise to their two most recent Superbowl victories , both over the New England Patriots . AP/REUTERS/ Anthony Shaffer ………….

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The dawn of a new day or back to the trouble and strife that we have seen in recent years ?

The dawn of a new day or back to the trouble and strife that we have seen in recent years ?

Three weeks into the MLB season and several teams around the league are off to promising starts , where, others are simply struggling to find some semblance of consistency and rhythm to their games. Now while the watch is on, as Los Angeles Angels’ slugger and two-time NL MVP , Albert Pujols veers towards hitting his five hundredth home run in Major League Baseball , a feat managed by a select few within it game . It is easy to understand, why this particular achievement is still revered within baseball. Granted, in recent years, with the advent of the steroid era, hitting home runs at a pace not often seen in baseball has actually not only stymied the game but also has the fans now wondering which players are “said to be clean” and which are or can be viewed as “cheats” . Pujols, I believe will be considered to be among the former of the two categories mentioned , but that is not to say, that there have not been doubters out there concerning his achievements , with their being speculation, because of the recent injuries suffered by the player , often viewed in some circles as a precursor in the rampant use of steroids. The player has never tested positive at any point in his career to date and hopefully, he never will.

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If Pujols and his Angels’ teammates are to succeed this season, then the team will have to put up a much more spirited effort, than has been seen over the past two seasons. Mike Scioscia and his staff are under a great deal of pressure to show that they are capable of making it a contest within the AL West in particular , where the Oakland Athletics have been the dominant team within the division over the past two years as the two-time defending champions . For Angels’ team owner, Arte Moreno , these past four years, have been particularly frustrating, unnerving, having spent capriciously in assembling a roster , that simply has not lived up to expectations. Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto , will certainly have to assess the setup within the franchise at the end of this season, starting off with the managerial staff and the player personnel in particular , which has not gelled and played as a cohesive unit.

With a record of 8-8 (.500) as of the 19th April , the Los Angeles Angels currently sit third within the AL West behind divisional leaders the Oakland A’s (11-5) , second placed Texas Rangers (10-7) , beneath them the Seattle Mariners (7-9) and the last placed Houston Astros (5-12) firmly entrenched at the bottom of the divisional standings. I would like to think that the Astros in particular can avoid another sub-par season , but having gone three years of consecutive 100 game losses . It does beg the question , why should this year, be any different from the three of the past , covering 2011 , 2012 and 2013 ?

Coming off an 11-3 loss to the Oakland A’s would suggest that the season will be a long and arduous one for Bo Porter and his Astros’ managerial staff , as they look to overcome their problems of the past. The team , has continued to play poorly and the results, have simply mirrored that fact . Things are unlikely to change, when the two teams meet again on Saturday afternoon at the O Coliseum, in Oakland, California , the second of their triumvirate of contests of this weekend schedule of games in the Majors. In the case of the Los Angeles Angels , they are the guests of the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan , where they will look to follow-up their 11-6 victory over the Tigers in Friday’s game .

Undoubtedly, Albert Pujols’ career will merit, his being inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Seen as one of the most prolific and productive players of his generation , Pujols has not left anyone in doubt that since his entry into the Majors , his talents cannot be doubted. In some circles the belief now seems to be , that mantle has now been passed to the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera , and a case for that can definitely be made. However, Cabrera has yet to reach the plateau of having been a World Series’ winner , unlike his Angels’ compatriot , who has tasted that success twice with the St Louis Cardinals .

Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers, have a great deal to prove this season, after recent postseason failures , had many questioning the toughness of the team. With Jim Leyland having stepped down from his position as manager if the team , his successor, Brad Ausmus has been entrusted by GM Dave Dombrowski and owner , Michael Ilitch to make another attempt at securing a world championship for one of baseball’s most venerable franchises . While I believe the Tigers to be a very good team during the regular season , and Cabrera’s exploits have been well chronicled , about have the exploits also of pitcher Justin Verlander . However, with the recent rise in the profile of Max Scherzer and his winning of the AL Cy Young in 2013 , there seems to be the common belief that the Tigers cannot be discounted this season. That may well be the case, with their dominance of the AL Central , but I believe that Terry Francona and the Cleveland Indians could make that premise all the more interesting this within the division and when these two combatants meet.

The AL East this season , is liable to be as competitive as ever , with the Boston Red Sox looking to make a successful defense of their divisional title that they won with ease in 2013, under newly installed manager John Farrell . The noticeable difference between Farrell and his predecessor Bobby Valentine , was the professionalism and attention to detail, because, with Valentine , the attention to detail , was sorely lacking , with the then incumbent manager, choosing to apportion blame elsewhere for his and that of the team’s failings in 2012 , that led to a last place finish within the division and their missing the postseason altogether.

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington during the off-season, made a number of changes to last season’s team adding and subtracting as he saw fit , while not seeking to over commit the ball-club financially by tying up too much money , solely in one player. That may well have been the primary reason why Cherington saw fit not to re-sign Jacoby Ellsbury to a long-term contract . Granted, Ellsbury was able to secure a deal , by signing with the New York Yankees for what now seems an extraordinarily exuberant contract , that to my mind overvalued a player , who over the past two seasons has spent a great deal of time on the disabled list. One might be able to suggest that Jacoby Ellsbury played a major role in last season’s playoff success for the Red Sox , as they went on to win their third World Series’ title in the past eight years. Yet, the feeling now seems to be, the Yankees’ gain, is not seen as a major loss to the current world champions. That could well prove to come back and haunt the team, should Ellsbury rebound and have a very productive season for his new team . So far, the player is off to a somewhat slow start, but manager Joe Girardi believes that his All Star will be able to provide a great deal of productivity for the team from an offensive and defensive standpoint throughout much of the season.

It is my own personal opinion that Ellsbury was brought in to supply the New York with the leadership sought upon Derek Jeter’s retirement ! That trait, certainly was not shown player by Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, CC Sabathia , Alex Rodriguez and now belatedly by Alfonso Soriano . Granted, Teixeira’s popularity among the fans , makes him a natural, but his repeated bouts on the team’s disabled list in recent years , makes it suspect that he could be an ever-present feature on the team for an entire season ,while remaining productive to that end. Jacoby Ellsbury does possess some of the traits shown by Jeter , but he lacks the all-round appeal, that one believes would have the fans convincingly believe that he can assume the role of leader on this team . GM Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ organization , simply did not prepare for this day , Jeter’s impending retirement and at the same time , it should be noted, that there has been little faith shown by the managerial or front office staff in the farm system in seeking the development of the players at the AAA or AA levels within the organization. Anyone who seeks to state that to be the contrary , should simply look at the makeup of the team’s present roster and their active players .

It remains to be seen how Girardi and his staff handle this season and the expectations from this team, by way of the fans , who undoubtedly are hoping that the Yankees may the postseason and excel , making their way to another World Series’ triumph, which would in fact be their twenty-eighth overall .

I am not so sure that having a $220 million plus payroll , can always place you, in a position, to be an outright success ! Clearly, that was not the case last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers and their manager Don Mattingly. In what was said to be an expectantly dominant season ended with a whimper as they succumbed to the St Louis Cardinals in a rather lopsided and way too uninteresting NLCS Pennant series . The only real excitement provided by the Dodgers in 2013 beyond the play of their now troubled rookie Yasiel Puig , was the team’s mid-season run , where they went 42-8 during a fifty-game stretch , the longest such streak in the Majors last season. One would have expected a great deal more from a team, where almost at every position , there was an All Star caliber player on the Dodgers’ payroll for their everyday lineup ? I believe however , complacency within the front office , became contagious on the field of play , as well as among the managerial staff , which ultimately led to the Dodgers’ eventual demise during the postseason .

In 2014, Mattingly and his staff will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed and should he prove to be unsuccessful , then it is my belief that team President Stan Kasten will likely be given the go ahead by lead owners , Mark Walter , Todd Boehly and Magic Johnson to let go of the team’s likeable and well-respected manager ! This organization is need of success now and winning the World Series remains their ultimate goal, but simply playing at being winners , with certain members of the ownership group making bold statements , that plainly were unattainable , only continues to make the organization , one of ridicule ! . Bear in mind , it has been over twenty-five years since the Dodgers won the last of their World Series , with the intervening years their having failed miserably to add to that legacy . As likeable as Tommy Lasorda remains , his time has come and gone , and simply hanging unto his anecdotes about the Dodgers’ once mighty greatness, means absolutely nothing today , where the attention span of some fans, barely lasts more than five minutes, if that , at all .

A team ERA , of 2.40 and the Atlanta Braves , lead baseball in that specific category , rather surprising, when you consider, there were some suggesting, that the Tampa Bay Rays , St Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers were all said to have better starting rotations. The loss of Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen to what seem to be long-term injuries , has the Braves’ DL looking like a triage unit. However, Braves’ pitching coach Roger McDowell has been able to work miracles , using a patch-work rotation to start the season , much to the surprise of the Braves’ fans and the general onlookers who are keenly interested in the game of baseball . Whether or not, the NL East division leading Atlanta Braves (12-6) can keep up that momentum, with the pitchers leading the way, remains to be seen. Yet, certainly, through the month of April thus far , this team has been the most impressive in the Majors by far in terms of their pitching , and the stats certainly do bear this out in terms of the statistics that really count , Fredi Gonzalez’s pitchers have excelled, while his hitters have been almost as productive .

Having taken two out of three in their recent series , a triumvirate of games played against the New York Mets played at Citi-Field , in Flushing, New York. Fredi Gonzalez and his team had to have been impressed with the performances, in many of the contests in question, as well as in the 4-3 loss to their divisional counterparts. Next up for the Braves , will be a three-game home series at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia , where their opponents will be the Miami Marlins (9-10) , whose season so far can be best described as understated and uninspiring . The first of those games will be played on Monday afternoon , with Tom Koehler taking the mound for the Marlins against Julio Teheran of the Braves , in what is likely to be a very good pitching contest , between these two starting pitchers.

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What do you hope to see unfold, over the coming months of the schedule within baseball? Which teams and players, have impressed you the most, with the season still in its infancy? Leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Albert Pujols (5) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim gets ready to field the ball during the sixth inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 20, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Angels 2-1 . Also pictured , is the Tigers’ Torii Hunter . Pujols sits two home runs away, from reaching the plateau of five hundred career home runs , with a select few players having achieved that milestone. Getty Images North America / Leon Halip ….

(2) Los Angeles’ GM Jerry Dipoto is seen here with team owner Arte Moreno at Angels’ Ballpark , in Anaheim, California . The duo will have a number of decisions to make during the season and offs-season as it relates to the lineup , should the team not be doing well during the season. At the same time , there are likely to be rumblings , as many might now believe it time for the organization to actually dismiss manager , Mike Sciocsia and several members of his managerial staff . AP Photo / Adam Ross ……..

(3) Detroit Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski is seen here with the team’s newly installed manager Brad Ausmus , who succeeded the now retired Jim Leyland . Ausmus takes over a team that has been dominant in the regular season over the past five years , but has failed to win a World Series’ title in spite of two appearances in baseball’s postseason finale over the past six years , first in 2006 and then again in 2012 . AP Photo/ Mark Patterson ……

(4) Seen here from left to right, are the Boston Red Sox’s team President Larry Lucchino , GM Ben Cherington , Bobby Valentine and team owner, John W Henry . Valentine’s tenure with the ball-club lasted merely a year , with the then beleaguered manager apportioning blame elsewhere for his own managerial incompetency and also stating that he was never truly given the backing of the front office to make changes as he saw fit with regard to the team’s lineup in 2012, with the club failing to make the postseason ending up with a last place finish in the AL East , that season. Getty Images North America / Mark Hughes ……

(5) Boston Red Sox manager , John Farrell is seen here with 2013 World Series’ MVP , David Ortiz , having signed a contract extension with the Red Sox, that will the DH now become a fixture with the team over the next several seasons . Ortiz was the ball-club’s top offensive performer in the postseason and was simply explosive in the World Series itself against the St Louis Cardinals . Also pictured far right is GM Ben Cherington . Getty Images North America / Phil Robinson …..

(6) Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers is seen here with team manager Don Mattingly . After a stellar season in 2013 for the team , the manager and organization are hoping that the player can reproduce the productivity shown during the season . AP Photo / Paul Mercer …..

(7) Aaron Harang of the Atlanta Braves who leads the team and the league with season low ERA of < .70 has gotten the the Braves off to a very good start , with the team leading the NL and the Majors with a team low 2.40 ERA . This has been one of the contributing factors in the team having one of the best records in all of baseball at this point of the season . AP Photo/ Ian Mitchell …..

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When is it said to be right, to be politically correct?

When is it said to be right, to be politically correct?

In recent months and weeks there has been an ongoing debate , that quite literally few members of the public are said to be interested in. The NFL franchise , the Washington Redskins have been the center of an ongoing debate concerning the organization’s name, use of the word “Redskins” is seen as an affront to the Native American tribes , that were in fact the first inhabitants of the country.

For team owner , Daniel ‘Dan’ Snyder and specifically the NFL hierarchy , the issue has been rarely broached or addressed in full and become a matter of public debate in any type of forum. The print media, merely seeks to make this, their issue of the moment, as when they see fit and rarely have they sought to discuss , other issues such as the ongoing lack of funding provided to the Department of the Interior , who in fact are directly responsible for dealing with Native Indian issues , nationwide . Bear in mind also , the ongoing rise in crime, lack of employment opportunities, education, collegiate educational opportunities , but overall, actual direct medical care to many of the tribes on many of the reservations nationwide. Yet, here we are, in the midst of an issue using the word Redskins, which is said to be deemed derogatory among Native American Indians ? How insane is that meant to be?

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The Redskins’ franchise, through no fault of their own, have been caught within the midst of this debate with the organization being criticized on all fronts, most notably with former PGA Tour golfer Notah Begay III , becoming a vocal opponent of any type of association with the NFL franchise, albeit, that Snyder, has made every effort to make use of his wealth to aid a number of Native American organizations with charitable donations and directly with programs aimed in educating children from various tribes nationwide. I believe this discussion, to blurred on so many levels, because the league itself , has no wish to be part of this ongoing progress. At the same time , if using the word Redskins is a said to cause Begay , himself a Native American Indian, , such distress. Then why has he not shown similar outrage, with the usage of the word, ” Seminole ” , as it relates to the use of that word in the naming of the Florida State Seminoles ? Granted , with regard to the Seminoles and the use there as it relates to the collegiate program , there also seems to be an ongoing dialog there , that has yet to be fully addressed on a national level, but for the moment , it seems to be overlooked and to be playing no part of the ongoing debate concerning the Washington Redskins.

Courtesy of USA Today

Washington Redskins foundation loses another event sponsor

By Erik Brady, USA Today Sports

Notah Begay/

Notah Begay Associated Press Rick Portnoy

The Notah Begay III Foundation pulled its support from this weekend’s Arizona golf tournament to benefit scholarships for Native American students when it learned the title sponsor was the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.

“I find it underhanded and despicable that the Washington football team would co-opt this event,” Crystal Echo Hawk, NB3 foundation executive director, told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday. “As soon as we found out about their involvement we withdrew our support.”

Begay, a four-time PGA Tour winner and an analyst with the Golf Channel, is Navajo, Isleta Pueblo and San Felipe Pueblo. He is a longtime critic of the Washington team name, which he called “a very clear example of institutionalized degradation” on ESPN last year.

MORE: Nonprofit National Indian Gaming Association pulls support

Echo Hawk, who is Pawnee, said the NB3 Foundation was asked in February to donate silent auction items for a golf tournament to be held in Chandler, Ariz., this month; the foundation donated golf apparel.

When she found out Friday that Saturday’s event was sponsored by the NFL team’s foundation, she called the radio station that asked for the donation. Echo Hawk spoke to Tony Little, general manager of Arizona radio station KTNN, and demanded that NB3’s name be removed from the event officially called the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation (OAF) 1st Annual KTNN Celebrity Golf Tournament.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, has not seen fit to immerse himself in any part of the ongoing dialog concerning the Washington Redskins and the issue of the franchise’s name , albeit it , that the subject, concerns one of the NFL’s most prominent teams, and one which draws a fan-base beyond the greater Maryland area , rather than it simply being close in proximity to the nation’s capital. Personally, I believe that the commissioner tends to be only drawn to battles that he believes that he can win , while his image and that of the league’s remains intact ! Here , it might well be the one real subject , that Roger Goodell may well feel, that no one can actually be victorious in. Yet, without his offering up any type of public comment, either directly from himself or from a spokesperson within his office , we will never know how he views this ongoing debate.

The idiocy here, does appears to be, that while Notah Begay seeks the Washington Redskins to bear some responsibility for what he believes to be some type of slight over the name of a franchise, that has been existence for over seven decades , but yet somehow he has not seen fit to question the lack of opportunities provided to his people by the US government , that comes by way of the Department of the Interior , headed by Sally Jewell . Be it the budgetary constraints placed on Jewell’s agency by the government or the very fact , that there is said to be high levels of corruption within the upper echelons of a number of Native American tribes, with regard to the disbursement of the revenues from the casinos, that were built on tribal lands, of which those profits are meant to be used on welfare programs for per capita , within the Native American population. Somehow, what oversight there is meant to be , by the DOI ,through the National Indian Gaming Commission is either nonexistent , or those heading that specific entity, are in collusion with those behind the ongoing corruption .

If Notah Begay can seemingly overlook that issue, merely to shift the focus from something that is far more acute and prevalent within his race . Then clearly, as a spokesperson for his people, he is doing them a great injustice and disservice with this current stance. Failures by a federal agency, are being overlooked , in order, that a subject, now being broached, albeit, that the echoes of that matter , is now being joined by other tribes, who feel , that now is time for the Redskins’ organization to discuss the issue of a name change. Either, they are completely happy with their treatment, as being meted out by the federal government , while having nothing better to do, than to now seek some type of recourse from a sport’s franchise, which in no way, was it responsible for their plight, as it now stands .

Mike Shanahan’s failures last season as the head coach of the Washington Redskins, were greatly magnified with the team falling apart at the seams and their being no leadership shown on or off the field of play. As to the idiocy, that the team’s quarterback , Robert Griffin III bore a great deal of responsibility for Redskins’ poor season and their 3-13 record within the NFC East , that led to the firing of Shanahan and several members of his coaching staff from last season. Dan Snyder and GM Bruce Allen , simply had enough of the ongoing incompetency of the former Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders’ head coach and the very fact that he sought not to discuss many of the team’s woes during the season. Furthermore, from a defensive and offensive standpoint, the Redskins were found wanting in just about every aspect of their game. That being said, Shanahan’s dismissal , while being viewed as the best thing that could have happened to the Washington Redskins, his successor might not bring on the same sort of exuberance and joy as would be first thought. The hiring of Jay Gruden might well be seen as a positive in some circles , but in reality, it could end up being as big a mistake, as Shanhan’s original hire alongside that of son, Kyle Shanahan as the team’s offensive coordinator. Never mind the fact , that Mike Shanahan was among the highest paid head coaches in the NFL , earning a reputed $7 million a year .

At the time of his firing, Shanahan , was still owed two years on the remainder of his five-year contract. Way too costly a mistake , for the type of incompetency shown by head coach in 2013. What might be even more exacerbating for the Redskins’ fans, was the very fact, that the team was coming off a postseason appearance and a divisional title in 2012 , with a belief that in 2013 , there would be a marked improvement in terms of their on the field performances . Instead, beyond the injuries , regression, lack of leadership and a lack of coaching acumen, all having played a part in the Washington Redskins’ fall from grace.

While Jay Gruden, has proven to be a great coaching assistant, having held several positions around the NFL during the course his career , as well as serving under his brother, now an ESPN analyst and commentator, Jon Gruden . It must be said, his being placed into the cauldron of being the head coach of one of the league’s more high profiled teams will bring about a great deal of scrutiny and with that a great deal of expectation . Jay Gruden, is likely to bring about a more aggressive style of play, with a more pass oriented offense , playing to the strengths of Robert Griffin III. However, with the team’s acquisition of DeSean Jackson, to go alongside incumbents , Alfred Morris, wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan . The running and receiving game of the Redskins should see greater visibility this upcoming season than was witnessed in 2013. Defensively, the team will also have to show great deal more resilience than shown through much of last year , where the secondary left a great deal to be desired. For defensive and offensive coordinators, Jim Haslett and Sean McVay , their assessing the player personnel , will go a long way in determining, how Jay Gruden, is best likely to use his players this upcoming season.

While I have always believed, that NFL a franchise, should have a great backup to the starting quarterback. For the Washington Redskins, they should consider themselves extremely lucky, with the fact that they possess Kirk Cousins in that role. Cousins has proven to be a more than adequate substitute that position, but his ambitions are now, to be that of a starter and not in a secondary role to a player, he may well now be believe that he is now the equal of. Cousins, who was a fourth round draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , a class deemed to be and have been one of the best crop of quarterbacks to have entered the NFL over the past fifteen years. With their now being rumors circulating, that Kirk Cousins is desiring a trade, as the opportunities to be or remain a starter, are likely to be greatly diminished with a return to health of Robert Griffin. It will be interesting to see whether or not this opens up an opportunity for GM Bruce Allen to use the backup as trade bait , to move up the draft ladder, to gain a pick in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft, having forfeited their original number two pick to the St Louis Rams. Certainly, there are likely to be a number of teams around the league, in need of a player with Kirk Cousins’ ability to assist with their pass offense.If Bruce Allen were to get a mid-first round pick in exchange for Kirk Cousins , then I believe, that some team , would be amenable to such an offer !

There may well have been a lot of criticism leveled at Robert Griffin III last season , much of it justified , as the player never fully recovered from his injuries. Yet, there seemed to be no concern by Mike Shanahan or his son , offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan , to have the offensive line actually , protect the quarterback , who just happens to be the team’s most valuable asset and face of the franchise and their long-term future. Granted, RGIII did himself no favors, by trying to be the hero, when all that was being asked of him, was to simply be conservative and play error free football over the course of the season . Looking back , it was plain for all to see that the sophomore quarterback, simply forgot what made him such a blistering talent in 2012 , and during the Redskins’ somewhat short postseason run of that year. If it is, Griffin’s intent to lead the team back to where he believes they belong, under the guidance of Jay Gruden and his staff, then the player will have to definitely raise the level of his play, to position himself as one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. The evidence was there for all to see in 2012 and I seriously doubt, that the former Baylor star would like to see a repeat of last season , once the 2014 Redskins’ season gets underway !

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Picture gallery .

In light of the points raised within this article, what thoughts if any, do you have concerning the stance now being taken by Notah Begay III and do you believe them to be misguided or actually , correct ? Also, how competitive do you think that the Washington Redskins will be, this upcoming season and are they likely to pose a serious threat to the other residents within the NFC East ? Do leave a response on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject and thanks as usual for your continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Native American Indians are seen here protesting in close proximity of Fedex Field in Landover, Maryland, the stadium in which Washington Redskins’ regular season games are played . Over the past five seasons , the strains of more tribes, thronging in support of this issue, has caught the nation’s attention , as well as that of the print and television media . However, the NFL hierarchy , has not issued a statement concerning the matter and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, simply has not discussed the matter at any great length in addressing the fans , press or members of any of the Native American tribes, voicing their concerns . Getty Images North America/ Ian Marks ….

(2) A late night vigil is held outside the Washington Redskins’ training facility in Richmond , Virginia by Native American Indians voicing their disapproval of the word ” Redskins” as the name of the NFL franchise . AP Photo / Isabel Hughes ….

(3) Washington Redskins’ owner , Dan Snyder, left , is seen here alongside the team’s general manager Bruce Allen as the two leave an official NFL function that discussed the scheduling of this past season’s NFL Superbowl staged at the Met-Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey . The tow executives are facing vocal opposition, with regard to the name of the NFL franchise which Native American Indians believe to be derisory and derogatory. Snyder has been very direct, in stating that the seven-decade old franchise will not make a name change, in light of the growing controversy. The NFL hierarchy have failed to discuss this matter directly , leaving it solely as a matter between the Redskins and dissenting Native American tribes. AP Photo / Chris Harper …

(4) Mike Shanahan , and his son , Kyle Shanahan are seen here along sidelines at Fedex Field , in Landover , Maryland during a regular season game last season . The pairing of father and son had a horrible season, as the 2012 defending NFC East champions fell apart , with the team ending their schedule with a 3-13 record in the division , and one of the worst records in the entire league in 2013. Both were dismissed by GM Bruce Allen, with the elder Shanahan still owed on the remainder of his then, existing contract. Kyle Shanahan has since rebounded , having signed on to become the offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns , which is currently coached by first time head coach Mike Pettine . Getty Images / Rob Porter ….

(5) From left to right , PGA Tour golfer , Mike Weir , Notah Begay III , Dr Mathura Santosham , Center Director of American Indians Healthcare Partners in association with Johns Hopkins Hospital , Ventura Lovato , Manager of the Vision Center for Native Americans , Tiger Woods and Camilo Villegas . Begay has been very vocal in his opposition and the use of the word Redskin , as used and depicted by NFL franchise the Washington Redskins . In recent weeks the former PGA Tour golfer, has withdrawn his charitable foundation, NB3 Foundation’s sponsorship of a celebrity pro-am golf tournament, where the franchise’s own foundation was a primary sponsor . The Washington Redskins’ Foundation in years earlier, had been a large donor to the NB3 Foundation as well as a co-sponsor of a number of nationwide health initiatives by Begay’s foundation. Getty Images North America / Rick Maslin ………..

(6) Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is seen here being congratulated by her predecessor , Ken Salazar , as she began her term in 2012 during the second term of President Barack Obama . Jewell’s issues as head of this Federal Agency , has been one of dealing with rising crime on a number of tribal reservations , prolific drug use, among young teens, lack of educational opportunities at the collegiate level and that of widespread corruption within a number of Native American Tribes, as it relates to revenues derived from the gaming casinos. AP/REUTERS/ Max Sellars …….

(7) CLEVELAND OH,. DECEMBER 16th , 2012 . Injured Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) , left, and quarterback Kirk Cousins (12) sit on the bench late in the 4th quarter as the Washington Redskins defeat the Cleveland Browns 38 – 21 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland OH, December 16, 2012 . Cousins , now believes that he is ready to become a starter in the NFL , having substituted for Robert Griffin III during the times that the incumbent, was sidelined by an injury . Both quarterbacks were picks by the Washington Redskins in the 2012 NFL Draft , for which there several players at the position who were seen as top-notch talent . Griffin was the number two quarterback taken behind Andrew Luck, who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts , that year . Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images …..

(8) Wide receiver DeSean Jackson , having been waived by the Philadelphia Eagles , the player signed with divisional rivals the Washington Redskins , a four-year $32 million deal of which $16 million was guaranteed money . Jackson hopes to be productive addition to the Redskins’ offense and a likely target of Robert Griffin in what may well be a pass-oriented attack initiated by new head coach Jay Gruden . AP Photo/ Tom Carter ….

(9) Jay Gruden , head coach of the Washington Redskins is seen here alongside GM Bruce Allen after the much-traveled assistant speaks to the convened press at Fedex Field , in Landover , Maryland , having agreed to succeed Mike Shanahan , who was fired by the organization after a sub-par season in 2013. Gruden an experienced offensive coordinator, hopes to make the Redskins offense more potent , with his being a strong proponent of a pass offense , but that is not to state the effectiveness of Alfred Morris will not be used to add variety to the team’s offense. Gruden inherits a team that struggled throughout much of last season , much to the dissatisfaction of the Redskins fans and the front office , of which team owner , Dan Snyder , demanded that changes be made, after a disastrous 2013 schedule . The dismissal of Mike Shanahan still leaves the Washington Redskins owing the much maligned former head coach about $9.5 million , including incentives . AP Photo / Michael Warren ….

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“Mom said, I’d grow into a D-cup ” .

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” I said I’ll get to it in a moment , just let me pull on this fish for a minute as it’s what I’ll be having for dinner ” !

They’re human as well , but they don’t always show it , seeking to hide behind that veil of whatever

They’re human as well , but they don’t always show it , seeking to hide behind that veil of whatever

It is a quiet time in world of sports , albeit, that the NFL is likely to provide the fans with what is likely to be the most important pair of games of its entire schedule . The league’s AFC and NFC championship games are scheduled for Sunday afternoon , where the Seattle Seahawks will play host to the San Francisco 49ers , their divisional rivals. Whereas, the AFC provides us with just as thrilling a contest , as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots travel to Mile High Stadium in Denver Colorado to meet the Denver Broncos .

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This particular AFC match-up is all the more intriguing, as it pits Tom Brady against .Peyton Manning for the fifteen time of their already historic NFL careers . Along the way, both players have provided the fans with some spectacular performances. This time around , with a Superbowl berth on the line , it would take a soothsayer to predict the outcome of this game. From my own personal standpoint as a die-hard Patriots’ fan , I am simply hoping that Brady and his teammates are able to prevail in this contest ! Anything short of that, and I will be extremely disappointed.

Away from the spectacle of this weekend’s contest, a disturbing trend continues to rear its ugly head within the game and that is the continued apparent misconduct of players off the field of play. If the allegations are to be believed, even in light of his being charged with indecent exposure , lewd and lascivious behavior, while seated in his Cadillac Escalade , where Kellen Winslow Jr was said to have been caught masturbating, in the parking lot of a Target store in New Jersey. No one can deny, that the career of New York Jets’ tight end , has been an extreme disappointment. Having to follow in the footsteps of a famous father, with a Hall of Fame career, is an extremely tough act to follow , without having your patriarch , Kellen Winslow Sr, watch your every move both on and off the field of play.

How this now all pans out for Kellen Winslow Jr , will be dependent upon the course of action sought by the prosecutors and whether they believe there is enough evidence to proceed to trial , with a case. The player suggests that , it was simply case of the witness having been mistaken and that his actions were not unlawful , with his simply stopping in the parking lot to get his bearings as he sought out a local restaurant . If your vehicle a Cadillac Escalade has GPS tracking navigation , then Winslow’s explanation, does seem somewhat dubious to say the very least. Yet somehow, his lawyers, are likely to suggest that this whole incident, is much ado about nothing , with the press and prosecution seeking to make an example of another high-profiled athlete.

As disturbing as Kellen Winslow’s situation might now appear to be , there are now allegations being leveled against NFL Network analyst and former New Orleans Saints’ defensive player Darren Sharper . Sharper has been released on $200,000 bail, on related charges of two alleged sexual assaults that took place within the space of a month. One incident is said to have taken place in December, with the second assault , in early January of this year. Darren Sharper maintains his innocence, but such has been the gravity and seriousness of the allegations made , that the NFL Network has taken action, suspending the analyst without pay .

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy , admittedly , are almost powerless to stop the deal with the behavioral conduct of the players , never-mind the fact that Goodell’s union counterpart DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA and the union’s executive committee do not see this as a serious issue concerning the ongoing conduct of their members. It certainly , has not helped also , by the actual conduct of the players’ legal counsel , when cases such as this arise. More often than not, they are likely to seek to paint the alleged plaintiff or victim , as a money seeker or someone of disrepute. The NFL Commissioner’s powers have become muted and his bark is now worse than his bite. A collective bargaining agreement ratified and voted upon by the union is not worth the paper it is written on , when at every turn the NFPLA seeks to challenge the authority of the league hierarchy in rendering any type of action against a player.

With the ongoing investigation and quite possibly, pending legal action against Darren Sharper. It will be interesting to see the direction this whole matter now takes and what the outcome might possibly be. As to the on-field spectacle and what we ought to expect this postseason , well that will certainly be predicated upon the play of the four remaining teams at this stage of the season.

Well, the idiocy of the Alex Rodriguez saga has now ended , with the New York Yankees’ third basemen abandoning his bid to have his suspension overturned by the US Federal Appellate Court . The fact that Rodriguez sought to go ahead with this façade ,while seeking to maintain his innocence, even when it was suggested originally that he sought to have the two hundred fourteen game suspension meted out by baseball’s hierarchy, be lowered in line with the deal offered to Milwaukee Brewers’ player Ryan Braun . Rodriguez did his co-legal counselors Joe Tacpoina and David Cornwell no favors, in choosing to disparage the MLB arbitrator Fredric Horowitz and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , prior to Horowitz rendering his verdict.

Tacpoina and Cornwell offered no evidence , to suggest that their client was innocent , but maintained that the league’s case , was simply weak and built upon the illegal gathering of evidence , which was used to substantiate their case against Alex Rodriguez . Clearly, Alex Rodriguez could not take the stand during the arbitration hearing , because in all likelihood, he would have perjured himself and provided the league with a legal case against him, were they to choose such a route. The player’s civil suit against MLB and the New York Yankees’ chief medical physician was also abandoned, with Rodriguez issuing a public statement while in Mexico City , that he would now put the whole issue behind him , while seeking to rest and recuperate throughout the entire 2014 baseball season , reassessing the things said to be important to him , before resuming his career in 2015.

The length of Alex Rodriguez’s suspension may have been lowered to one hundred and sixty-two games, with it being the greatest penalty , ever rendered against a player for their involvement with performance enhancing drugs. However, the league still faces an uphill battle to abate the proliferating use of steroids and other illicit substances at the Major League Level , but even more so, at the Minor League Level , where it has reached epidemic proportions , with over 150 players having been ensnared in baseball’s testing protocols in the past three years, alone.

If and when Alex Rodriguez returns to the game of baseball , it is hard to simply to look at his career achievements without questioning just about every aspect of those statistics over the past ten years , if not more . The player was less than candid, concerning his involvement with steroid use , after being repeatedly being questioned by not only members of the press but also by investigators from Major League Baseball, as well as by senior officials and investigators from within the Yankees’ organization . We should also take into account Rodriguez’s actions in 2007 , when questioned on air, by CBS news’ anchor Katie Couric as to his alleged use of steroids. Then, as now , he refuted those allegations , only to do an about-face in February 2009 , finally admitting his use , while offering a less than contrite apology to the New York Yankees , Major League Baseball and to his fans. I am beginning to wonder wholeheartedly , if the fans who came out in support of Alex Rodriguez this time around , have actually forgotten the events of 2009 ? Or are they simply that naïve and stupid enough to believe that the player remains innocent of any wrongdoing , concerning the allegations made against him ? Rodriguez’s pattern of behavior, has been there for all to see and it now begs the question , what else should we continue to believe concerning the player and his new-found persona ?

As the NBA season proceeds , the consensus of opinion of the vast majority of fans , has been , who is likely to mount a serious enough challenge to topple the defending NBA champions from their throne ? The Miami Heat in their last few games may well have had a few hiccups along with the way, with some notable losses against lesser teams . Those series of defeats, are only likely to force LeBron James to show even more resilience , while seeking to lead his teammates to even greater heights .

Coming off a well-deserved victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, Miami will continue with their road schedule , meeting the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night at the Time Warner Center in Charlotte , North Carolina , before ending that schedule with a further away game against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday evening . I get the feeling that as the NBA’s most watched team at present by way of attendance , outgoing commissioner David Stern is seeking to maximize the Miami Heat’s exposure globally , for the sake of the NBA brand , knowing that the league’s biggest selling point is LeBron James . Michael Jordan , may well have retired from with the game , with his accomplishments and legacy unquestioned. A new era, has dawned, with James casting a gigantic shadow over the NBA , seeking to rewrite records and adding his name to list of greats within the NBA’s pantheon of greatest players .

Only time will tell, if LeBron James goes on to surpass the feats of Jordan as well Kareem Abdul Jabbar . Ten years into an astonishing career and James continues to add to his already unbelievable repertoire as a player . It was once felt, that Kobe Bryant might well have been the closest thing we would ever see concerning the skill-set of Michael Jordan. Yet, I now firmly believe that James will surpass anything that Bryant will achieve, as the Los Angeles Lakers player sees his career , begin to wind down . Bryant may well have signed a two-year $48.5 million contract to remain in Los Angeles , but unless the franchise develops talent from within, as well as making several beneficial trades, the player and the Lakers are likely to continue with their struggles .

While Miami continues to flourish within their division and the Eastern Conference , albeit, that the New York Knicks seems to have found something of a rhythm to their game . There now seems to be an issue with the team and whether or not Mike Woodson can get the players to buy into his coaching philosophy. Considering the egos , that make up the current roster and the very fact that beyond Carmelo Anthony and his continued play , there seems to be no real desire by his teammates to follow his example . In what now appears to be a heated altercation, where words were exchanged between JR Smith and Woodson were said to have gone toe-to-toe , as if both were ready have a real pugilistic bout between the pairing .

Smith, having already been suspended, once this season, for what was deemed a transgression of league rules. It now appears that he is creating an environment, where he is likely to be jettisoned by the franchise , rather their having to deal with his continued infantile behavior . The likely outcome, may well be that GM Steve Mills will seek to engineer a trade , rather than keep JR Smith on the roster. Smith for his part , suggests that he is simply an emotional player , who often lets his emotions get the better of him , while also exploding with angry outbursts , directed at those who , he believes are against him. From my viewpoint , it suggests not only a player with anger management issues, but someone who is close to being psychotic and a danger to himself as well as those around him ! It is bad enough that the Knicks have to put up with Smith’s bad behavior , and then you consider the ” poster child ” for such tirades , Metta World Peace , also just happens to be teammate of JR Smith.

A fourteen point loss at home to the Los Angeles Clippers , where the Knicks showed the defensive capability of a group of octogenarians with hemorrhoidal problems as the Clippers simply manhandled their opponent through the entire four quarters of regular play . Yet, somehow, Knicks’ fans truly believe that this team is capable of doing something special this season. If the postseason of 2012 , was anything to go by , the New York Knicks are likely to be brushed aside in the first round of play , much like dust might be swept under the carpet, in order that those with an aversion to cleaning , simply wanting to create the impression that their home is habitable and hospitable. Not unlike the Knicks and their continued aversion to playing defense in any form when it comes to the NBA.

It looks as if former seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong just cannot keep himself out of the news. Having repeatedly lied about his use of banned substances, the now retired cyclist still seeks the public’s empathy and forgiveness. To my mind, the deceit and lies while using an illness (testicular cancer) to simply solicit tens of millions of dollars millions out of corporate and public donors , shows Armstrong to be no better than a snake-oil salesman and that of a common criminal ! While we are it , how is it , that to date, neither the US Justice Department or the US Postal Service has sought to go after Armstrong and recoup the $35 million of funds used to sponsor the cyclist ? Though the Postal Service is meant to be a stand-alone for profit entity , though it comes under the oversight of the federal government and where its debts are guaranteed by the government. In other words, the US taxpayer has the privilege of paying off any debt incurred by the USPS, were they unable to meet their liabilities. Good to know that the US government can be continued to be relied upon to show its continued incompetency while seeking to show that it remains the greatest country in the world . Really? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

Armstrong, remains a pariah and amongst his former peers within cycling, he is looked upon with a great deal of disdain . Yet, it can be said , that the sport of cycling, as overseen by the Swiss based ICU (Union Cycliste International) has done little to truly clean up the sport , including the protocols now in place by the IOC (International Olympic Committee). Cycling’s biggest event , the Tour de France, features prominently on its calendar and is viewed as the doyenne of all the road events throughout the year , including the year when the Summer Olympics are scheduled.

A patron of this site, once suggested that Lance Armstrong’s once renowned charity Livestrong , could continue and be a success without the athlete being its main spokesperson. Well, subsequent to his admission of guilt, the charity has seen donations be impacted to the extent , where they have fallen way below projected estimates . Lance Armstrong had to be removed from the board of directors, with his no longer being associated with the charity under any circumstance . One reaps what they sow, and for Armstrong, the lies and deceit have come back to bite him in the ass , in more ways than one and deservedly so. Now looking for the public’s compassion, Lance Armstrong now seeks to reinvent himself as a humanitarian and goodwill ambassador . If only , he used the intelligence given to him , to genuinely display those traits to begin with , before entering into his delusional world of make belief , while seeking to discredit those who knew of his web of lies and deceit .

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One might believe, that fact, is stranger than fiction , but consider the following, Alex Rodriguez studiously followed the issues of Lance Armstrong and the two stars became close friends . Need one suggest, that in this particular instance , birds of a feather flock together ? Enmity between two of today’s biggest frauds in the world of sports and yet , each has their legions of supporters out there, still believing that neither has done anything wrong. ? Enmity between two of today’s biggest frauds in the world of sports and yet , each has their legions of supporters out there still believing that neither has done anything wrong. It would be remiss to suggest that Lance Armstrong did not bring a slew of new supporters to the sport of cycling with his success , but now knowing it was built on a great deal of fraud , with his own posse of accomplices , I cannot help but wonder why the now disgraced cyclist never felt that his house of lies would never come crashing down , the moment he sought to harangue many of those who were once closest to him at the time! Was he really that conceited and naïve, along with showing a great deal of stupidity on his part? Unfortunately, this is all too often, is lost on the fans and various areas of the public , who continue to show a great deal of apathy when these individuals fall from grace . In light of the points raised within this article do you believe that the hierarchy’s of the various sports act with a great deal of vigilance when dealing with athlete misconduct ? Leave a comment , as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of the site and its content , as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning is in the scrimmage of the team at Sports Authority Field in Denver, CO. Saturday, August 4, 2012 while speaking to head coach John Fox . Manning and Fox will seek a berth in the Superbowl by defeating the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon when the two meet in the AFC championship game . This will be the fifteenth professional contest between Peyton Manning and his New England counterpart Tom Brady . Beyond being two of the most highly visible faces in the NFL , these two quarterbacks lead active passers in a number of passing categories and rank extremely high amongst the career’s list in a number of quarterback statistics. Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post….

(2) Tom Brady of the New England Patriots hands the ball off to running back Stevan Ridley (22) as the rusher makes his way for some decisive yardage during a game. Ridley and LeGarrette Blount have proven to be productive for the Patriots during the regular and postseason . Blount in particular set a franchise record for rushing and yards from scrimmage , eclipsing the mark once held by Curtis Martin . If the duo can reproduce that type of form in rushing yards, then it will certainly add to Brady’s arsenal of weaponry for their game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon. AP Photo/ Harry Thomas ….

(3) MIAMI GARDENS, FL – DECEMBER 29: Kellen Winslow (81) of the New York Jets warms up prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins on December 29, 2013 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 20-7. Winslow , having been charged with indecent exposure , lewd and lascivious behavior stemming from an incident which allegedly took place in the parking lot of a Target Superstore in New Jersey , while the player was parked in a Cadillac Escalade SUV. The female witness is said to have immediately called the police , upon witnessing the Jets’ tight end in the vehicle masturbating , a claim which Kellen Winslow totally denies . Jets’ GM John Idzik is said to have been informed of the allegations and it is believed that the player is l likely to be cut by the franchise , rather than his being retained by the team , albeit that his current contract expires this year . Hal Auerbach/Getty Images ….

(4) New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper is interviewed during a news conference in Miami on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010. The Saints will play the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. Released on his own recognizance on a $200,000 bond , Sharper having been accused of two sexual assaults , now faces new allegations that he assaulted a third female victim. The player and his legal representatives are likely to challenge the foundation of the allegations and the victims themselves . In lieu of a pending trial , the NFL Network where Darren Sharper is employed as NFL analyst, have suspended the former NFL Pro Bowler without pay indefinitely. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …

(5) LeBron James of the Miami Heat and Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks . The two players who were part of the 2003 NBA Draft class , have seen their respective careers diverge into diametrically opposite directions. James, already a NBA Rookie of the Year , four-time League MVP , two-time NBA champion and Finals’ MVP , is seen as currently the best player in the NBA. Carmelo Anthony having begun his career with the Denver Nuggets, now finds himself in New York playing for a consistently under-achieving team over the past five seasons . With the Knicks’ , the player be able to opt out of his contract at the end of this season . There are continuous rumors that he will “test the free agency market” , where the known suitors are likely to be the Dallas Mavericks , Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks, who are likely to make the strongest bid , to retain the star by offering him a max contract, ,likely to be six years $125 million. Getty Images / Bernie Pollack …..

(6) Alex Rodriguez , right , is seen here with one of his two lead attorneys , Joe Tacopina to the player’s right . Rodriguez has now completely abandoned his entire appeals’ process in seeking to have his suspension overturned . While in Mexico City , Mexico , he issued a public statement , with his intent being to rest and recuperate throughout the entire 2014 MLB season , refocusing his energies on making a full return to the game 2015 . Undoubtedly, that career he re-seeks , will be to rejoin the New York Yankees and help them pursue a twenty-eighth World Series’ title , while perhaps also seeking to break the all-time career home runs’ record . Rodriguez currently leads all active players in terms of career home runs and runs batted in (RBI’s) . Getty Images North America . Armando Jiminez …..

(7) A rather pensive Lance Armstrong , having finally admitted his use banned substances to win a record-breaking seven Tour de France titles as well as an Olympic medal , now has time to contemplate his future , while seeking an avenue now to fulfill his life , in terms of some sort of social advocacy group or philanthropic effort. Armstrong was stripped of all seven Tour wins , his Olympic medal victory and several other professional titles won over the course of his professional career. All of the goodwill built up, during his cycling career , were shattered, when the former cycling great admitted his use of steroids as well as several other banned substances . Armstrong now faces several civil suits, where his estimated $100 million fortune is likely be completely eradicated , with many of the plaintiffs seeking monetary damages running into tens of millions of dollars . UPI/REUTERS/ Tom Glennon ….

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Above, a cure for what might ail Kellen Winslow Jr , who was simply exercising his right to “beat his meat”

Same time next year , but this year appears to be no different from last season

Same time next year , but this year appears to be no different from last season

A month into the baseball season and fans are now exhilarated with the play of the teams and their impressive starts in several cases. With that in mind it should be noted , that there are a number of teams that have fallen short in failing to meet early expectations . Injuries have played their part but none more so than per usual . The New York Yankees have Derek Jeter , Alex Rodriguez , Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson still sidelined , in various stages of recovery , but with no timetable actually set as of yet for their return . Consider the fact , that the five players in question , account for more than $83 million of the team’s annual $227 million payroll for 2013 , which currently are not on the playing field for a team that now has posted a 18-13 (.581) record , good enough for third place within the AL East .

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For the Yankees’ fans , I believe that they will continue to rally behind the team , in spite of their off the field issues , as it relates to their still ailing and troubled star Alex Rodriguez . The third baseman is once again embroiled in another sordid affair , in which his name and that of several other Major League players are in engulfed in a further story of illicit banned substances , that have been allegedly supplied to them by a South Florida supplements’ company , Biogenesis , owned by Floridian businessman , Anthony Bosch . The company is at present subject of joint investigation by the DEA , FBI and US Justice Department . Meanwhile, MLB Commissioner , Bud Selig is said to be closely monitoring the ongoing investigation from afar . I liken Selig’s interest in the matter , much as in the same way he monitored the financial misdeeds of Frank McCourt , as he financially ruined the Los Angeles Dodgers , Saul Katz’s and Fred Wilpon’s continued “ idiotic” stewardship of the still financially embarrassed and uncompetitive New York Mets . Need I remind you all, of the ongoing mess that remains the Miami Marlins and the very fact that team owner , Jeffrey Loria still seeks to apportion blame elsewhere for the team’s ineptitude in 2012 , while then seeking to conduct his own “ bargain basement sale “ , in terms of trading away many of the team’s high-priced acquisitions of last season ?

The Miami Marlins, losers of two straight and are 5-5 in their last ten games . It does beg the question , how much more will the fans of this impoverished team continue to tolerate , in spite of the claims by many analysts, that baseball , Major League Baseball , remains a viable option within the state of Florida . Granted , the state does remain a hotbed for excellent talent and the Spring Training (Grapefruit League) home for several teams around the league , as well as their Minor League affiliates . Yet beyond that , for Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays , there has been either a steady decline or sparse attendance for their home games , as well as what appears to be an anemic fan-base .

Having been a one-time supporter of the Miami Marlins , I long shied away in my continued support of the franchise , after the inherent lies perpetrated by the team’s ownership , that has been continually been suborned by Bud Selig and an “ absolutely clueless” hierarchy , that is seemingly supported by the also clueless on air radio and television analysts , and personalities who cover the sport . As to the print media and their idiocy , well let’s just say if those assholes cannot succinctly inform the public of anything worthwhile, as it relates the real underlying issues of baseball . Then under what circumstances, are we to believe that they would be able to explain to us in depth , the reasons behind the continued economic imbalances as well the continued cheating that still runs the gamut of Major League Baseball ?

This season if anything , we have seen a string of great performances from several pitchers within the AL and NL , that has given us a clear indication as to the reason behind the “rise of the pitcher” and less of an emphasis in terms of run productivity . . The Texas Rangers’ starting ace , Yu Darvish came within “ two outs” of pitching what would have been baseball’s twenty fourth “perfect game “ in baseball’s history earlier in this season , in an exemplary display of a controlled pitching performance that was simply scintillating to say the very least . On the receiving end of that 7-0 loss , were the woefully inept Houston Astros (9-24) , whose record this season , is the worst in the Majors , and it is looking increasingly like that this team could very well end up surpassing last season’s mark within MLB for the worst record (55-107) in the game.

Speaking of teams, that are, and will remain inept, beyond the Astros , Miami Marlins. There is a growing belief that the Chicago Cubs , New York Mets and San Diego Padres , simply show no wish to be competitive . The continued excuses , especially amongst the Mets’ fans has become mind numbingly stupid and beyond belief ! No amount of excuses can be made for the ineptitude shown by the front office staff , even after the dismissal of former general manager , Omar Minaya , with the influx of Sandy Alderson and J P Riccardi , to now assume control for all of the executive decisions made , with regard to the acquisition of player personnel , either through the draft or free agency . . The Mets are not even remotely competitive within the NL East this season , and in all likelihood , if Terry Collins and his managerial staff are unable to turn things around . Then, we are likely to see the dismissal of the manager, from his first managerial position within the game .

Wednesday afternoon , the New York Mets will play host to another struggling ball-club , when they take on the Chicago White Sox at Citi-Field , in Flushing , New York . A game , where I expect that the attendance is likely to be somewhat dour , if not anemic ! Taking the mound for the Mets will be Jeremy Hefner (0-3, 4.34 ERA) who faces Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.38 ERA) .. At 12-16 , the Mets are in need of victories , as well as series’ wins , if they are in anyway of having a chance , much less of keeping in close proximity of the division leading Atlanta Braves (19-12) , . who are closely followed by the Washington Nationals , Philadelphia Phillies , followed by the Mets and the barely recognizable Marlins at the foot of the division.

As I alluded to earlier , this season the pitching within the Majors seems to be significantly better than I expected it to be ! In the past few seasons there has been the propensity see a significant rise in home runs and , RBI’s , but one of the more startling statistics that has come to the fore, has been the fluctuation in the number of “walks” from season to season . Either the batters are simply not that good , or the pitching , however cyclical it might well be , is now back at a level where the likes of Yu Darvish , Matt Cain , Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez , Clay Buchholz , Clayton Kershaw and Jordan Zimmerman being dominant this season .

It has been a number of years since the game has seen a player reach one of the pinnacles within the game and that is forty home runs and 40 stolen bases in a season . Seven years in fact , a feat that has only been accomplished four times in the game’s history . Alfonso Soriano , then playing for the Washington Nationals was the last player to achieve that feat in 2006 , which now seems to have become something of a rarity within the game of baseball. Personally , I now find that feat somewhat more enthralling, far more than the single season home run record . Albeit , that the taint and stain now associated with the players that have surpassed Roger Maris’ mark over the past decade and a half , does make the game of baseball all the more tawdry and dare one say , meaningless in terms of Maris’ feat ? It must be said , the “era of steroids “, simply has been a blight , casting a giant shadow over the game today , while the league hierarchy still remains at a loss , how best to address the issue . Meanwhile, the game’s revenues increase exponentially , primarily from the re-negotiation of the television contracts and less from the profitability of the league’s thirty teams.

As to the aspirants , seeking to succeed the reigning World Series’ champions , the San Francisco Giants . It must be said that one of the prohibitive favorites before the season started , might well have been the cash-laden and definitely ambitious Los Angeles Dodgers . Lead managing partners , Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly and Magic Johnson , have simply let it be known “ no expense would be spared “, as the Dodgers seek to bring back a title to the city of Los Angeles and to a ball club simply starved of that success.

It will be a quarter of a century since the Los Angeles Dodgers were triumphant in baseball’s biggest postseason fare. As the 1988 team proved to be successful in defeating their fame instate , rivals the Oakland Athletics 4-1 in a best of seven series finale to the season of that historic finale series . World Series MVP , Orel Hershiser had an “ outstanding series” as mirrored in his stats for several of his electrifying performances for the Dodgers , who were managed by legendary franchise icon Tommy Lasorda .

The Los Angeles Dodgers managed by Don Mattingly is suddenly struggling to get an an injury riddled …. team competent to compete against divisional rivals within the NL West . It`s pretty much safe to say that if Mattingly isn`t able to at least guide the Dodgers deep into the postseason . Then there is the likelihood that GM Ned Colletti will have to consult the front office as to whether or not it would be in the franchise`s best interest to retain Don Mattingly`s services as the team`s manager .

A knock against the was the bravado sown by their fans and owners alike , was in thinking , that merely because of franchise`s monetary resources, backed by a multi-billion dollar television contract and the $125 billion in assets of venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners Inc , parent company of Guggenheim Baseball Properties , owners of the Dodgers` ball-club. With a payroll now exceeding $233.1 million of which , there is now $68.9 million now committed to players on the team`s disabled list . It is easy understand, one of the numerous reasons behind the Dodgers problems this season , specifically as it relates to the team`s play . If there is one thing that we know about this team , it is that from a pitching and from an offensive standpoint the Dodgers are capable mounting a mid-season assault that could very well place them amongst the thick of things within the division as well as the NL overall . From an offensive and pitching standpoint the team does possess the weapons to get the job done , but much of that will be dependent upon the leadership shown by the likes of Matt Kemp , Clayton Kershaw , Adrian Gonzalez , Josh Beckett , Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford , whose combined salaries make up a large part of the financial commitment that the front office has made to the aforementioned players .

Mattingly will lead is players into a three-game series starting on Friday 10th May at home in Dodgers` Ballpark , in Los Angeles California, against the Miami Marlins , led by first-year manager Mike Redmond . This is a series that should tell us a great deal about the apparent directions that the teams are said to be heading in and their overall ambitions over the course of this season.

For the moment the Boston Red Sox (21-13) seem to be riding on the crest of a wave with the best record in the American League . A mark , which they currently share , with the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers , however , to my mind , the team that has been playing the best baseball over last ten games has to be the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers (19-12) , who over their last ten games , have gone an astonishing 9-1 , best in the Majors , and most certainly by far the best in the American League .

Yet , for all of grit and determination shown there is a common belief that the Tigers lack real leadership quality and the very fact that for all sense and purpose , the team`s manager, Jim Leyland appears to be too laid back a coach . I could very well be wrong in my summation of Leyland , but last season`s World Series` loss to the San Francisco Giants , I believe was a damning indictment of what was said to be wrong with the team and organization , from top to bottom . Add in the laissez-faire approach of the managerial staff and what could be further from the truth ?

The Tigers were brushed aside with the utmost of ease , in a rather embarrassing 4-0 series sweep , in what could only be described as one of the more embarrassing series’ defeat MLB postseason history . For Detroit Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski and owner Mike Ilitch , these are trying times for a franchise that has labored for years and who have not won a title since 1984 , when they defeated the San Diego Padres 4-1 for the last of the ball-club’s four titles that they have won over the course of their history. Bittersweet memories , when you consider also , that prior to last season’s appearance against the Giants , Jim Leyland and the Tigers would also come up short in 2006 , when the team fell to the St Louis Cardinals and the heroics of the diminutive David Eckstein , who was named World Series MVP after his heroic performances for the Cardinals .

In spite of their being three legitimate All Stars on the Tigers’ roster . I am inclined to believe that Miguel Cabrera , the game’s most recent Triple Crown winner , along with Cy Young and AL MVP winner , Justin Verlander and the always prolific Prince Fielder are likely to struggle should they make another return the postseason . Last season’s anemic postseason displays were simply endemic of what appears to be an ongoing problem for the franchise, as a whole . The Detroit Tigers appear to be gun-shy and all too afraid of even their own shadow being cast across a baseball diamond . Your thoughts , on my assumption concerning the Tigers?

The consensus coming into this season, was the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays might possess the best pitching staff in the Majors . Last season’s AL Cy Young winner David Price was said to be confident and the fact he was the recipient of a one-year $10.1 million contract was a boost in confidence for the player and presumed leader amongst the Rays’ pitchers . Instead for Price , his season has been one of indifference , and some shoddy pitching from a number of his teammates , thought to be able to provide Joe Maddon with the biggest weapon that the Rays have in their arsenal and bag of tricks .

Amongst the Rays’ pitching staff , it has been Matt Moore (6-0, 2.14 ERA ) off to a surprising 6-0 start that seems to have caught everyone by surprise and placed him among the best pitchers in the AL as well as the league (MLB) as a whole , with the season barely just over a month old .

Coming off a decisive 10-4 victory over a struggling Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup , the Rays will again play host to the team at Tropicana Field on Thursday evening . Taking the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays will be David Price against R A Dickey (2-5, 5.36 ERA) in what should a fascinating match-up the game’s most recent Cy Young Award winners from the AL and NL , respectively.

Given, the season that Dickey had in 2012 with the Mets , where he was the sole reason to watch that impoverished team play . Now the fortunes of the Blue Jays seem to have taken a turn for the worst and it would appear that even in light of their propensity to make a lavish splash in the off-season with a number of high-priced acquisitions . Someone, may well need to remind GM Alex Anthonopolous that a team cannot be made up from ill-fitting parts, that is completely lacking chemistry as well as leadership both on and off the field of play .

Blue Jays’ manager John Gibbons and his staff will be thoroughly tested throughout the course of this season , and it should come as no surprise if once again , this franchise were to have another failed season .

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Picture gallery .

At this point of the MLB season , what if anything, has been the biggest surprise to you as a baseball fan ? And by the All Star Game , do you believe that a number of teams can be ” written off “ as lost causes , in terms of their perceived expectations ? Chime in with a thought on this , and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Juan Nicasio, front, reacts as New York Yankees’ Vernon Wells , rear, rounds the bases on his two-run home run in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. AP Photo/David Zalubowski …

(2) New York Yankees’ Vernon Wells , left, follows the flight of his two-run home run with Colorado Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. AP Photo/David Zalubowski …

(3) Injured Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees looks on from the dugout with teammate Jayson Nix (17) during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium on May 4, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. There does not seem to be a timetable set for the short-stop’s return after complications related to his recuperation , from his leg injury . Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …

(4) Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria and David Sansome seen here at the inaugural opening the 34,500 seat Marlins’ Ballpark in Miami , Florida built at taxpayers’ expense and now having become something of an elephants’ graveyard for the teams’ home games since its opening in April 2012 . Miami Herald / Hector Rodriguez ….

(5) Yu Darvish (11) is seen in a baseball game played against the Astros , in Minute Maid Park , in Houston , Texas , where he was on the cusp of becoming the twenty fifth player to have thrown a perfect game in baseball history . The Houston Astros were able to derail Darvish’s bid for baseball immortality . AP Photo / Sam Parish ……….

(6) Matt Kemp (27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his three run homerun with manager , Don Mattingly(8) during the fifth inning to trail 5-4 to the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on September 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Mattingly’s contract with the Dodgers at the end of this season and it would appear that Stan Kasten , SVP of Baseball Operations appears to be noncommittal with regard to the manager’s future. After thirty-three games into the season and with a plethora of injuries to several All Stars on the team’s roster . The Dodgers are 13-20 , firmly placing them at the bottom of the NL West . Harry How / Getty Images …..

(7) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Moore has gotten off a fast start going 6-0 with a 2.14 ERA , which places Moore in the upper echelons of the AL pitchers in terms wins as well in MLB as a whole . AP Photo/Mike Carlson …..

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MLB related stories :

A’s-Indians tilt takes controversial turn in ninth

Goldy tags two more homers for D-backs sweep

Papi goes 0-for-5 as 27-game hitting streak ends

Moore gets 6th win, Rays beat Blue Jays 10-4

Hit by liner, Happ says ‘I feel really fortunate’

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MLB pieces within this site . Merely click unto the link provided below.

MLB archived articles

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Tophatal …….. 05/8/2013

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MLB news and news from around the league

MLB team injuries

MLB transactions

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule 8th May 2013

MLB probable pitchers

MLB results 7th May 2013

MLB team payrolls 2013

This week in MLB history

This day in MLB history (8th May) and 9th May

MLB World Series overview

World Series champions by franchises

MLB World Series appearances and titles by leagues : American League (AL) & by National League (NL)

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Call me naïve ……

Call me naïve ………..

by tophatal …..

NFL pieces within this site

Well, we are just over week away from the first NFL preseason game before the regular season gets underway on the 5th September , 2012 . Before that as I alluded to , we will have the first of series of games that presents us with the preseason with, the Hall of Fame Game that will pit the Arizona Cardinals against the New Orleans Saints . As we are already aware, the New Orleans Saints have had both their fair share off and on the field issues , which still remain unresolved and are likely to do so for the foreseeable future . The impasse that still remains questions the authority of the commissioner, Roger Goodell.

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Slide show .

With so many individuals now interjecting themselves in the unresolved issue of the Saints’ bounty scandal . It is now my belief that a federally appointed arbitrator will be brought in, to give an arbitrarily binding decision that could very well have far-reaching results beyond the scope of what anyone could have imagined. Let us not forget the sheer naiveté shown by the league hierarchy and that of the NLFPA (union) during their long-winded labor negotiations , that in the end resulted in an agreement that simply was not worth the paper it was written on . Case in point , simply look at the arguments and issues being raised concerning the punishment meted out to the four Saints’ players embroiled in this ongoing scandal. The union itself , having signed away its authority in such matters , merely to get a larger slice of the revenue pie ($7-7.5 billion) .

Anyone of the belief that the union’s executive committee is filled with a number of intelligent individuals who are advised by legal representatives with an ounce of common sense , had better rethink that premise completely. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has shown himself to be a cunning individual , who has the ear of his members but at the same time , you have to believe that his interests and that of the rank-and-file members are on divergent paths .

Saints’ defensive player Jonathan Vilma who has a filed a civil suit in the US Federal Court in the Fifth Circuit based in , New Orleans, Louisiana. The suit filed claims defamation of character , libel and also seeks the player’s reinstatement after the commissioner’s year-long suspension of Vilma . The defendants in the suit are Roger Goodell , NFL et Roger Goodell. Jeff Pash , legal adviser , counsel for the NFL , states that the league will vehemently defend itself and the commissioner in any proposed legal issue by the plaintiff, Jonathan Vilma , and will if necessary , lodge their own legal proceeding against the suspended NFL player . I think we all know what we get , when we have far too many lawyers in one room ? No it is not a group of brilliant legal minds but an absolute cluster-f##k ignorance and stupidity ! Case in point, simply look at the makeup of the two federal legislative chambers that covers the US Congress? How many lawyers are there within the House of Representatives and the US Senate ? Far too many for my liking ! And that is even with the knowledge of working in the area but in the area of corporate law and international finance . Well at least here, the attorneys within the profession tell you to your face, that they will be taking your money .

The NFL preseason will afford us the chance to see the rookies drafted as they look to stake their claim for either a roster spot starting position for their respective teams . Last season’s number one overall pick Cam Newton had a sensational season that would see him take NFL Rookie of the Year Honors in 2011 , while leading the quarterbacks afforded the privilege of playing in all in a number offensive areas statistically . Newton’s contemporaries from the 2012 NFL Draft can only wish to succeed and attain the level of success garnered by the Carolina Panthers’ quarterback last season .

The top two picks from this year’s draft, are both quarterbacks and for Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III , their paths this season could not be divergent different . Luck succeeds a living legend , in Peyton Manning , whose accomplishments speaks for themselves , as the young rookie , Luck , seeks to resurrect the legacy of the Indianapolis Colts .

Robert Griffin III comes to a Washington Redskins’ organization , wherein , they have languished in recent years . The team’s coaching staff led by head coach , Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator , Kyle Shanahan , son of the head coach . RGIII , as he is now commonly known amongst his new-found teammates has on first glance , shown that he just wants to be viewed like any other player on the roster . That will prove difficult to do unless he can erase the memories of the quarterbacks who have preceded him for this beleaguered franchise in recent years. Last year most definitely was no exception as the fans were given the dubious privilege of having to see the exploits of Rex Grossman and John Beck . Needless to say , the fans were not enamored with what they witnessed , and dare one say, neither were the vast majority of the fans across the NFL landscape. For the legions of Redskins’ fans who attended the games at Fedex Field , in DC , as the Redskins’ 2011 sojourn ‘petered’ out like a damp squib , they can only this as a new , as Robert Griffin III sets to write his own chapter for the Washington Redskins and add to the fabled franchise’s legacy.

Griffin’s first chance to show us all, the justification in his being named the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner . The Redskins’ preseason schedule notwithstanding , it will be the regular season where the young quarterback will face his sternest test. Straight out of the gate in week one , the Redskins will face the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans , Louisiana . Given the revamped look of both the Redskins and Saints , this should prove to an interesting match-up history between these two NFC teams . The first home game for the franchise at Fedex Field , comes in week three when they face the Cincinnati Bengals on 23rd September , 2012 .

It remains to be seen whether or not RGIII can handle the limelight that will be thrust upon him playing in close proximity to the nation’s capital but with the daily glowing reports now from his fellow teammates and coaches alike . This could very well be the year, things are turned around for the Washington Redskins but much of that will predicated upon how they handle their divisional and conference rivals over the course of this season .

There was a time when Shawne Merriman was one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL . Nowadays , it might be more pertinent to ask …” whatever happened to Shawne Merriman “ ? Or, is he still playing in the NFL “ ? The answer would be ….. yes he is alive and kicking , and he is now playing with the Buffalo Bills . Yes and that last statement if you can believe it , he is playing for the Bills . What is that old saying about the Buffalo Bills ? “ No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills . Given the franchise’s record over the past few seasons , I would hazard a guess that General George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry , had they encountered the Bills as fellow combatants fighting “ The Sioux Nation” , then the inevitability of the “ Battle of the Little Big Horn” would not have changed one iota ! . I am not saying that the Buffalo Bills have been bad over the last seven or eight years but having to endure their incompetence during that time could be considered a form of torture , cruel and unusual punishment .

Buddy Nix , general manager of the franchise over the past few seasons has sought to draft judiciously but the real issues that Buffalo Bills have had , comes from the lack of consistent play from any of their quarterbacks at the position . Apart from aforementioned trait , has been the very fact that these passers have been unable stay healthy for the entire regular season schedule of sixteen games. Ryan Fitzpatrick will once again be entrusted to lead the offense over the course of this season and it is expected with the team’s off-season moves , that unit should prove to be effect and a considerable improvement over last year , where their rankings defensively and offensively , ranked them among the middle of the pack , in the NFL overall.

Merriman, in conjunction with Fitzpatrick , Nick Barnett , Rian Lindell , Mario Williams and Scott Brian are considered the veterans on the roster , to whom the young rookies will look to , for team leadership. Chan Gailey and his coaching staff are seeking vast strides from this team , as they seek to make themselves credible contenders within the AFC East , with a possibly a view to making the playoffs . It has been a dozen years since the Bills were a playoff participant and their last appearance came in 1999. The team was a wildcard aspirant , who faced off against the Tennessee Titans , with the resultant 22-16 loss for the Bills. In the subsequent years since , the Buffalo Bills’ last winning season came in 2004 , when they recorded a 9-7 mark in the AFC East , where they finished third within the division .

The dominance of the New England Patriots within the AFC East and the considerable success that they have attained while being the dominant franchise within the division . Well , it could very well dampen the hopes of the Buffalo Bills , their ever loyal legion of fans and any aspirations that they might have . The other two occupants within the division ———– Miami Dolphins and New York Jets , are themselves in something of a rebuilding mode by way of the draft as well through free agency acquisitions . And for the respective coaches of these two teams , Joe Philbin of the Dolphins and Rex Ryan of the Jets , this season will become a test of wills for their staffs , as well as the players .

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Picture gallery .

Horses for courses as they say , and the NFL season is one of endurance and the teams playing with consistency over the course of a sixteen game schedule and that of the postseason as well . We the fans , will be asked endure a great over the course the football schedule , from the sublime , to the ridiculous, to the absurd but above all , we should expect to see the very best that the NFL has to offer on the field of play . Off it , well it has now become a matter of conjecture as to what is now taking place in front of our very eyes . I mean , it is not as if either the league hierarchy or the union have been of sound judgment when it comes to numerous issues concerning the game . Your thoughts if any concerning the points raised within this piece ?

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Picture and slide show details, below for your perusal .
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(1) Arizona Cardinals players line up in their Red-White scrimmage during NFL training camp football practice at Northern Arizona University Saturday, July 28, 2012, in Flagstaff, Ariz. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(2) Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt , center, shouts instructions as Rob Housler (84) and Larry Fitzgerald , right, get ready for a play to be called during NFL training camp football practice at Northern Arizona University, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in Flagstaff, Ariz. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(3) New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael , left, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo , right, talk during training camp at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La., Sunday, July 29, 2012. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …..

(4) New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) talks with assistant head coach Joe Vitt during NFL football training camp in Metairie, La., Thursday, July 26, 2012. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert ….

(5) Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton, center, answers questions during a news conference at the NFL team’s football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Monday, July 30, 2012. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ….

(6) Ron Brooks (33) of the Buffalo Bills runs drills during Buffalo Bills Rookie Camp on May 11, 2012 in Orchard Park, New York. Rick Stewart/ Getty Images North America ….

(7) Shawne Merriman of the Buffalo Bills celebrates as he enters the stadium during pregame introductions at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 9, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. Getty Images North America / Brody Wheeler …..

(8) Darren McFadden (20) of the Oakland Raiders is tackled by Nick Barnett (50) and Shawne Merriman (56) of the Buffalo Bills during a game played at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. Getty Images North America / Rick Stewart ………

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Contact tophatal at rapptu@gmail.com

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NFL news

NFL schedule preseason (2012-13)

NFL schedule regular season (2012-13)

Buffalo Bills news

New Orleans Saints news

Washington Redskins news

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Rhian Sugden was unable to compete in a designated event of her choosing at the London Olympics Which event if you were given the choice, to add a designated event would it be for this luscious beauty ? Any thoughts or would you rather keep that to yourself ?

The Way Forward For Broadcast Television In Terms of The News Presentation …..

The Way Forward For Broadcast Television In Terms of The News Presentation …..

I don’t know about you guys but nowadays I find the early evening news’ broadcasts by each of the three major broadcast networks rather mundane and boring. Don’t get me wrong but Brian Williams , Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer are all extremely capable, and exude a great deal of confidence , professionalism as good journalists and anchor-persons. But in terms of the coverage, the appeal of the content , production and presentation. Much of it does leave a great deal to be desired. Granted , broadcast news, their associated content in terms of the news’ magazines programs are by far the most profitable revenue streams for the networks directly. Television programming does make money but the vast majority of the revenues derived, comes off ‘the back end’ , in trerms of syndication and ancillaries , such as DVD sales. That asides, it’s still a lucrative business to be in. Hence the reason why ABC , CBS and NBC take pride in their respective news divisions.

<strong> The rather 'top  heavy' <em>  but still  voluptuous  Denise  Milani . </em>  Can   you imagine  her  working alongside </strong>  Brian  Williams  to  present   NBC  Nightly  News  ?   Wow  , now  wouldn't  that  be  a  sight ?
The rather 'top heavy' but still voluptuous Denise Milani . Can you imagine her working alongside Brian Williams to present NBC Nightly News ? Wow , now wouldn't that be a sight ?

Click here to see a vast array of gallery photos of Denise Miani. I trust that you’ll enjoy the content matter ?

Perhaps something that in particular the innovatively challenged NBC might consider , is to have a female co-anchor to work alongside Brian Williams. Wherein , when the news segues to her, she could as she presents the broadcast start to disrobe as she reads each piece of a news article from the tele-prompter. Certainly my attention would be affixed to the news’ coverage . As too would the vast majority of males across the country. Especially if the female news anchor in question happens to be a voluptuously endowed female. Think something along the lines of well, sportschump’s and my very own favorite female , Denise Milani. If you’ve seen pictures of this particular female. Then you can well understand why it is that ‘we both’ like her immensely. Having someone like Milani co-anchoring the evening news alongside Brian Williams would precipitate a major hike in the ratings for NBC. And what of Couric and Sawyer , I hear you ask ? Well to my mind there’s nothing to stop them from using the same format to present the news for both CBS and ABC , respectively. Again it would provide a much needed boost in the rating for both stations.

Naked News Network’s cable broadcast of the news. Much of the content matter is not only local but aslo international news with some sports thrown in for good measure. Naked News.com http://nakednews.com/ .

One of the reasons why I mockingly suggest this comes along the lines of the fact in Europe there is a French cable outlet, Naked News . Which broadcasts a 24 hours round the clock news. The anchors in question are all females who start the presentation formally dressed. But with each morsel of news that they deliver , they will then begin to disrobe until they are entirely naked. The presenters co-anchors call them what you will , are all highly intelligent , well versed and educated. As if that would actually make a difference to any testosterone driven male who might happen to be watching at the time ? The chances are, that the vast majority of males who may well be watching won’t actually be overly interested in the news content but more so in the females themselves and their gradual state of undress, as they read the news.

Naked News Canada .

Now I’m not stating that Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer would be amenable to trying this for a trial period. But what would it hurt , other than that of the rather pious and over zealous attitude of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). I know that in ‘primetime’ children may very well be watching but with the preponderance of graphic violence , sex , drug use and mild profanity that’s already sweeping the broadcast networks. I hardly think that a few scantly clad females will be cause for concern ! When when I last looked the ‘FCC’ weren’t exactly doing a thoroughly good job to begin with ! They have spent more time deregulating the telecommunications industry and have allowed the phone and cable companies to continually hike up their prices without offering a better service, at all to the consumer. I suppose this is the Federal Government’s ‘ham-fisted way’ of dealing with things intelligently and judiciously ? But then again what agency within the government actually works efficiently to begin with ? If you know the answer then please let us and others know ?

Naked News Greek edition


With outlets now spreading across the globe in such far off places as ,Greece, Korea , Japan and now Canada. Naked News wants to be taken seriously as a a news gathering and reporting organization. And not seemingly just for the titillation experience provided with regard to their female presenters. But as we all know ………. sex does indeed sell , no matter what the product or type of information being purveyed . It’s a simple fact of life and those who chose to eschew it. Well clearly, they aren’t at all on top of their game.

More naked news for your perusal .

Is it all possible that we could envision a US version of Naked News within the 49 continuous states of this country ? Or would “the right” be totally dead set against this idea altogether ? Needless to say, this is a topic of debate that would have it supporters as well as its opposition . But at the end of the day, it all comes down to the dollars and cents and what the consumers want. If there’s a need for such a service then it will thrive within its very own niche.

And for the ‘gamers’ out there, there’s also Naked News updates on the gaming console market and accessories .

Now while many of you may well think why is he bringing this up as a topic of conversation ? Much less even wanting to take it as a serious subject for debate. Bear this is mind , newspaper circulation and its is on the decline. Furthermore, this has now manifested itself within the national news broadcast network market. Less and less people are now watching the national broadcast network news, choosing instead to watch news outlets on cable such as CNN , MSNBC, CNBC , Fox News , Bloomebrg News and the various other coterie of cable news service providers that the cable or satellite subscribers can prescribe to. But even there, the competition is fierce, as the main protagonists try and outdo each other , in gathering and providing the best source of news and information out there. Those cable networks are now finding out that their viewers are becoming even more, discerning as to who and where they get their source of news information from. Naked News even if viewed as novelty or something much more lascivious because of the nature of its presentation. Bear this is mind it’s still providing a news service to the consumer , even with the add tinge of sexual awareness as a means of luring the viewer in. So make of it what you will , as more likely than it is here to stay and won’t be just viewed as a passing fad.

The  <strong> women </strong>  of  Naked  News  Italy  .    Is this   something  <strong><em> that   we're missing  out  on  here  in the  United  States ? </strong></em>  I'll  let   you  be  the   judge of  that  !
The women of Naked News Italy . Is this something that we're missing out on here in the United States ? I'll let you be the judge of that !

So there you have it. What are your own thoughts on the subject matter ? And if that service were to become available to you. Would you at all choose to watch it on a regular basis or just watch once or twice simply out of curiosity ? As and when you’re ready by all means leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter. I’ll look forward to reading and responding to your individual comments in a timely manner. Thanks as always !

The  ladies  of  <strong> Naked  News  South  Korea . <em>  Now  that's a  bit  of  'Asian  flavor' </em>   that   I  would  most  certainly  enjoy  ! </strong>  How  about  yourself  ?   <em> What  no  takers  ? </em>
The ladies of Naked News South Korea . Now that's a bit of 'Asian flavor' that I would most certainly enjoy ! How about yourself ? What no takers ?

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 Auditions   were held  at    a  New  York  venue   for  the  fledgling   start up   of   Naked  News  USA.  (L-R) <strong> Valentina Elizabeth, Kortney Kaiser and Holly Eglinton </strong>, the three finalists in a 'talent search' contest for the Internet's 'Naked News in New York, May 2007. photo  appears  courtesy  of   Associated  Press/Naked Broadcasting  Network ...........................
Auditions were held at a New York venue for the fledgling start up of Naked News USA. (L-R) Valentina Elizabeth, Kortney Kaiser and Holly Eglinton , the three finalists in a 'talent search' contest for the Internet's 'Naked News in New York, May 2007. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/Naked Broadcasting Network ...........................

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Alan Parkins aka tophatal

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NB: By clicking on the the Naked News website you can also view news content directly there also.

<strong> <em>Haitian American  actress </em>  Garcelle  Beauvais-Nilon </strong>   seen  here  in  a  picture  from  a  <strong>   rather  'seductive'  Playboy  pictorial  </strong> done   by  the   actress.
Haitian American actress Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon seen here in a picture from a rather 'seductive' Playboy pictorial done by the actress.