Don’t Be a Zero Be a Hero

Don’t Be a Zero Be a Hero ….

Well the world of sports is still turning and the stories are coming in thick and fast. Tiger Woods is back on the PGA Tour , confident enough , but still
far away from his peak form when he was in his prime . He came
within one shot of taking the Valspar Championship this past weekend , losing to eventual winner Paul Casey of England. Had Woods won the tournament, he would be an automatic qualifier for the first Grand Slam Major of the season, the Masters Tournament , April 5th to 8th held at the Augusta National CC in Augusta, Georgia. Woods as a previous winner of the tournament will be in the field and it will be interesting to see how he fares in the first Major of the season. Next up on the Tour schedule will be the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Bay Hill, a suburb of Orlando.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slide show.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational is one of the most popular tournaments on the Florida swing of the PGA Tour schedule with official prize money of over $8,000,000 with the winner of the event taking home the first prize winner’s check of $1.7 million ($1,700,000). There are also 500 FedEx Cup points going to the winner of the tournament , with the points adding their accrued totals in FedEx Cup points’ standings ,which is currently being led by Justin Thomas with 1573 points , closely followed Patton Kizzire some 259 points drift of Thomas in the FedEx Cup standings.

Tiger Woods for his part , with all of the health issues and personal problems of the past three years , we do know he is not the player he once was. If anything he lacks confidence , while many of his younger contemporaries are playing with such confidence that they’re no longer intimidated by Woods’ once powerful game. As confident as the former world number one golfer might be , I now feel that Tiger Woods’ best days are now behind him and not ahead of him. I could very well be wrong with my assumptions as all it would take for him to get his complete confidence back. Yet given his psyche and lack of confidence in his game prior to and coming off his most recent injuries and personal issues, as I alluded to earlier , Woods remains a long way off from where he needs to be providing a great deal of confidence for the likes of Dustin Johnson , Rory McIlroy , Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

This PGA season should make for a very interesting year in the world of golf.

So Mommy didn’t kiss the boo-boo and you’re still bitching and whining ? Well ,that’s the way it now appears to be at this time of the year within the NFL as the players in free agency seek to get paid , while there are players with a no more than one or two years left on their respective contracts also looking for a larger piece of an ever increasing pie .

With the relationship between Commissioner Roger Goodell and Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones now at an all-time low. There appears to be a great deal of dissension now taking place within the league and the ruling hierarchy . Goodell has set another precedent in terms of his autocratic rule , stating that the Cowboys and in particular the owner (Jones) will be hit with a hefty multi-million fine , believed to be in excess of $2 million for conduct detrimental to the league . Much of this stems from Roger Goodell’s punishment of Dallas’ running back Ezekiel Elliot who had been hit with a multi-game suspension during the regular season for the Dallas Cowboys.

Another troubled player on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster happens to be their wide receiver Dez Bryant . The receiver wants to be paid
like a superstar , but injuries and lack of productivity suggests he is not worth the money he is looking for, in spite of his claims that he is far better than Mike Evans whose contract is up for negotiation with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Evans for his part has proven to be a consistent performer for a franchise which has failed to live up to expectations over the past two seasons at least . It has been almost a decade since the Buccaneers made an appearance in the postseason , with that appearance coming in 2007 with a loss to the New York Giants in the wildcard round within the NFC . . .Say what you will about the Buccaneers , but I don’t believe that they aim to please !!!

The Dallas Cowboys won’t be cash-strapped by the cap , but I certainly don’t believe that Jerry Jones will be willing to overpay for Dez Bryant when there are far better options for him by way of free agency or during the NFL Draft where there will be a glut of wide receivers.

Tyrann Mathieu is out with the Arizona Cardinals after the front office decided to release the defensive back rather than provide
him with a new contract . So too was the veteran running back and Mathieu’s teammate Adrian Peterson who was shown the door by the franchise. It’s pretty much safe to say, the Cardinals are turning over a new leaf , but I don’t believe they’re at all done with their in-house roster changes . I also believe that Carson Palmer’s days with Arizona are numbered . He has never been able to lead the franchise to a deep postseason run while with the Arizona Cardinals . His retirement did not come as a surprise, given the length of his career and what he was able to accomplish during that time, having been a Heisman Trophy winner . With a new coaching staff in place the franchise will be starting afresh with a slew of new faces and expectations.

So while the Seattle Seahawks couldn’t come to a concrete decision concerning corner-back Richard Sherman as to whether or not they would retain him. Somehow within the front office and probably much to the chagrin of Pete Carroll , it was decided he would be allowed to become a free agent. No sooner was that decision made , the San Francisco 49ers swooped in to sign the Pro Bowl player to a very lucrative contract . Immediately , San Francisco becomes better , with a player who’s likely to provide a great deal of leadership and maturity , while also proving to be a legitimate threat within the NFC West this upcoming season. Add in the fact the offense of the Forty Niners was one of the hottest teams in the league over the final five games of the regular season 2017 . There is every reason to believe not only will they become better , but Jimmy Garopollo might just be the best quarterback in the division and certainly one of the top-ten in the league based on that five-game stretch for the team.

It’s getting to that stage where not everything written will make a great deal of commonsense concerning the NBA . If the rumors are to be believed then LeBron James will have played his last season in Cleveland if the Cleveland Cavaliers were to make it to the NBA Playoffs. Such has been the almost near dissolution of his relationship with team owner Dan Gilbert , I am not so James’ personal friend , confidant and also a minority stake holder in the franchise , Usher (Usher Raymond IV) will be able to persuade James to remain with the franchise. The four-time League MVP is the biggest asset on a young roster , but the fourteen-year veteran is at a stage in his career , where it seems his wish to attain further glory at the team level is beyond his reach with the Cavaliers. is support at best can be described as adequate, but in all honesty against the top-five teams in the Western Conference , I seriously doubt this current roster would be able to hold their own in an NBA Finals’ series much less at this point during the regular season.

For the moment the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves in something of a tenuous position within the Central Division and clearly facing an obstacle within the Eastern Conference where they were favored to be dominant at the start of the season. These are now troubling times for the Cavaliers and specifically for the coaching staff as well as the front office . They face a dilemma with not only LeBron James , but also several of the players who are also impending free agents. LeBron can opt-out of the final year of his deal, then either choose to re-sign with Cleveland or opt for a more lucrative contract elsewhere. There would likely be at least eight to ten teams interested in signing the player to a five-year deal paying him on average $30 to $40 million a year.

Over their next ten games I expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to be truly tested as too will LeBron James as he seeks to press his claim for a fifth League MVP Award . Next up for the Cleveland Cavaliers will be a game against the Portland Traiblazers , where James will get to go up against Portland’s Damian Lillard in what should prove to be an intriguing contest.

Reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warrior are on pace to have a sixty-win season, but the loss of Klay Thompson could prove to be worrisome for the team and particular for Steve Kerr and his coaching staff . Thompson is expected to miss the remainder of the Warriors’ regular season schedule and quite possibly the early rounds of the NBA Playoffs. GM Bob Myers might feel it necessary not to risk further injury to their All Star and have him sit out the entire postseason. However, I feel it would be best to have Klay on the sidelines , especially in wake of the recent dominance shown by the Houston Rockets who have proven to be almost unstoppable of their last fifteen games. The Rockets will be back on court when they are due to face the Los Angeles Clippers .

Say what you will , but there will be some major disappointments this upcoming season within the world of baseball. Derek Jeter has already alienated the fans of the Miami Marlins with his imploding of the team’s roster. On Opening Day it will be hard to recognize several of the names donned in a Marlins’ uniform.

As a co-owner of the Miami Marlins Derek Jeter has gutted the roster to such an extent that its payroll barely seems acceptable much less plausible and while I understand the ball-club has been hemorrhaging red ink for the past three seasons. I do believe the sacrifices made are no guarantee of future success. A $70 million payroll in this day and age is not going to cut it when you’re going up against the big boys of Major League Baseball . . It will be interesting to see how the Marlins fare through their first twenty-five games of this upcoming season in baseball. Martin Prado will be asked to lead this Marlins’ team and as quite possibly the best player on the roster it will be down to him to lead by example. Manager Don Mattingly and his managerial staff will have their work cut out for them in 2018 as I don’t expect
the Miami Marlins to be that competitive in what will likely be a very good NL East division. Miami will open their regular season schedule on Opening Day with a game against the Chicago Cubs at Marlins Ballpark in Miami, Florida. .


 


Picture gallery. Click on an individual frame to view that image alongside the accompanying narrative.

Which athletes do you believe in the coming year
will have to prove themselves more than anything else ?

Tophatal ….


PGA Tour news and PGA Tour schedule

World golf rankings


NFL news and NFL transactions


NBA news

NBA standings conference

NBA results last fifteen games

NBA schedule


MLB news

MLB weekend schedule

MLB standings exhibition

Opening Day Regular season (MLB)

MLB team payrolls (2018)

MLB important dates (2018)

Fallout …..

Fallout …

Well , it all came crashing down around the necks of the Oklahoma City Thunder in their game-seven loss to the Golden State Warriors the defending NBA champions . Golden State advances to the Finals where they will meet the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second successive season. For the defeated Thunder, the ramifications are quite devastating with the speculation GM Sam Presti will be forced to break up the entire roster and start afresh. Fans and analysts alike continue to make their own comments known , with many moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, stating Russell Westbrook should be sent packing , because he’s too much of a ball-hog. Or it’s now time for Kevin Durant to move on and for Presti to try to get the best possible offer available with a sign and trade deal of Durant. Each of those options can be deemed valid, but from my own perspective, I believe with the lack of talent now available from the upcoming NBA Draft and the fact there are very few marquee free agents up for grabs this off-season. The only real alternative for front office is to seek to rebuild but keeping their two most prized assets in-tact with the franchise.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

Billy Donovan in his first season as the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder was seeking to guide the franchise to their second appearance in the NBA Finals, but the real issue for the team was its failure to close out the series when the opportunities arose in game’s five and six . That failure was borne out by the fact they allowed the Warriors back into the Western Conference Finals and the inevitable result seen with the series’ deciding game-seven at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California,.

The real issue for Oklahoma City during the regular season and NBA Playoffs was the mere fact beyond Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook was the continued issue there was never much of an offensive presence being provided beyond the duo. Furthermore, from a defensive standpoint , the Thunder failed miserably and were continuously being outperformed in several of the categories which mattered most defensively . These issues were never addressed by Billy Donovan and his coaching staff . The adjustments which were needed on-court to counter the presence of Draymond Green , Klay Thompson and the league’s two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry never ever materialized. So if there is to anyone who needs to be faulted , then all fingers should be pointed towards the coaching staff of Billy Donovan and his players . The idiocy of solely pointing the finger towards Russel Westbrook is simply asinine and without any merit at all !

A second consecutive NBA Finals’ meeting between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will begin and all signs will be pointing to see whether or not LeBron James can lead the Cavaliers to their first NBA title in the franchise’s history . This will be James’ sixth consecutive appearance in the NBA showcase event of the NBA Playoffs. For his many of his teammates , this will provide a chance to avenge last season’s defeat suffered at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. It was as clinical and embarrassing a series’ loss seen in the last ten years . The regular season meetings between these two teams could very well provide us with an indication of how the Finals could very well turn out. Each team’s lineups will also be paramount as to what the fans should expect and I believe game one of the NBA Finals will be a precursor as to what we can expect !

Opposing head coaches Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors and Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers are former NBA players with solid backgrounds and postseason experience. Their contrasting styles will also be a part of what the fans also expect from what could turn out to be a very fascinating series. Steph Curry and LeBron James will also give fans the opportunity to decide for themselves who they believe to be the best player in the NBA. Curry won the League MVP with a unanimous vote , much to the chagrin of James and his most ardent supporters. Less we forget , ESPN analyst Stephen A Smith who is an avowed James’ supporter and apologist for the NBA superstar , will be hoping he is vindicated by the four-time League MVP .

LeBron James’ career ever since his entrance in the league has been encapsulated by the highs and lows seen throughout. From 2003 until now it has been a fun-filled extravaganza during which time the player has amassed a considerable fortune and become the consummate businessman and entrepreneur. James does have a great deal to prove and should he and the Cleveland Cavaliers fail in this series against the Golden State Warriors for the second consecutive season. Then the ramifications for the player and the franchise will be considerable, beyond the likely economic cost . Team owner Dan Gilbert has a great deal invested in the team and specifically James , himself . For LeBron James and his twelve-year career in the NBA , failure here at this moment in time , will be seen as a major disaster. Granted , he won his two titles with the Miami Heat and there was the failure to secure a possible three-peat , when the team fell to the San Antonio Spurs and they were highly favored to succeed. Now he will be judged by this series as never before , and that includes last year’s debacle .

Whereas , the Cleveland Cavaliers have sought to build a team around LeBron James with GM David Griffin delving into free agency signing players to lucrative contracts . The path taken by the Golden State Warriors has been one of a steady course with the front office listening closely to the advice proffered by Jerry West which has been heeded by GM Bob Myers . The only major upheaval with the regard to the franchise once it was acquired jointly by Peter Guber and Joe Lacob was the firing of Mark Jackson . The former head coach’s dismissal was a necessity , given his wish to ignore the requests of team owners Guber and Lacob not to make his personal feelings known concerning homosexuality and the coming out of Jason Collins . Jackson would follow this up with homophobic slurs directed towards the LGBT demographic. Given the image problems faced by the league in recent years, it was something the NBA could do without. Steve Kerr’s arrival was a blessing for the long-suffering Warriors’ fans. The roster in place was one which was already established, but just needed to be tweaked to fit the style sought by Kerr and his coaching staff .

A record-breaking season in 2015 and the Golden State Warriors have affixed themselves firmly within the annals of NBA history. Winning a second successive title would be ‘ icing on the cake’ for the franchise. All that now awaits is the start of the series and then the fans can judge for themselves how great this team is said to be.

Someone will have to remind me why anyone should or would take an interest in the plight of either Los Angles Lakers or New York Knicks ? Over the last three seasons neither franchise has really sought to build for their long-term future . Now while both franchises are among the most profitable within the NBA , this might the only thing of relevance either team has going for it at present. Having made a big splash with Phil Jackson joining the Knicks’ front office as an executive. Jackson has shown why he can never be considered an executive with an eye for talent much, less assembling a competitive roster. This much is certain , failure with the upcoming NBA draft and acquiring a prominent free agent and he might as well head back off into a permanent retirement rather than a Sabbatical . There also appears to be cause for concern with his naming Jeff Hornacek to succeed Kurt Rambis’ tenure as the Knicks’ interim head coach. Hornacek’s coaching career has not been filled with anything remotely considered a success. All the more annoying when one considers there were far more suitable candidates available for the vacant head coach’s position. with the Knicks . Then again one simply has to look at the front office of the franchise , its owner James Dolan and then realize the reason why the New York Knicks remain a failure.

The Buss family continue to ruin the Los Angeles Lakers and in the aftermath of Kobe Bryant’s retirement , it is hard to envisage where the Lakers now go from here. Luke Walton has been hired as the new head coach of the team , after his success this season with the Golden State Warriors. During Steve Kerr’s absence , Walton in his capacity as the assistant head coach led the team an impressive run whereby they set a franchise record for wins in a month, as well as the longest unbeaten run in the Warriors’ history. The coaching acumen shown by Luke Walton was obviously something which caught the eye of Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak . With the Los Angeles Lakers not seeking to extend the coaching contract of Byron Scott , Walton being hired was welcomed within the Lakers’ circle of fans and former players who still have long-standing ties and loyalties to the franchise.

While I believe there is a modicum of talent on the Los Angeles Lakers’ current roster , it is going to take a great deal more than the players present to make this franchise competitive enough to compete and the highest level and be taken as a legitimate contender for a divisional title , conference championship , much less an NBA title . Need we be reminded also the Lakers still have to compete in a conference where there are likely to be no better than the tenth best team in the West. All of the optimism and pragmatism now being shown by their fans as well as by co-owners , Jeanie Buss , Jim Buss and Johnny Buss simply show how out of touch they will continue to be. Cap space availability and the lure of playing in Los Angeles will have to the desire to lure any potential big named free agent to sign with the Lakers.

Picture gallery . Click on an image to view the frame along with a narrative.

What have been your observations concerning the NBA Playoffs and which team do you believe will prevail in the NBA Finals ?

Tophatal ……… 2016/05/31 04:43 am

NBA related articles on this site :https://tophatal.wordpress.com/category/sports/nba/

NBA news

2016 NBA Playoffs (Brackets)

NBA Playoffs team statistics (points differential)

NBA Playoffs Conference Finals (teams’ statistics)

NBA player statistics playoffs

NBA Rookie stats (NBA Playoffs)

NBA champions

2016 NBA free agents

NBA team caps (2016)

NBA team valuations

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history
———————–

‘i’ by Kendrick Lamar

 

So you think you know sports ?

So you think you know sports ?

 

Well, with the Superbowl slowly approaching and the two participants from the AFC and NFC now in preparation for the NFL’s showcase event. Away from these preparations , we have a litany of news surfacing concerning a number of the league’s franchises. Outside , what appears to be an idiotic remark by Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton interjecting the issue race into the mix, with his stating being a ‘ black quarterback’ in the NFL makes him a target for criticism. I beg to differ Cam, what will make you a target for criticism for the NFL and analysts in general , would be the issue of the Panthers performing poorly and the team not winning. The fact of the matter has been , the Carolina Panthers reeled off fourteen consecutive wins during the regular season , with the team’s only loss coming at the hands of their divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

Cam Newton for his part through much of the season played at a consistently high level and had several career firsts during the season as well as career records . Head coach Ron Rivera has to be entirely happy with what he saw from his team as they ended the regular season posting a 15-1 record, best in the NFL. Carolina’s opponent for the Superbowl game on the 7th February will be the Denver Broncos , who will be led by their veteran quarterback Peyton Manning. For those questioning Manning’s ability this season , they should consider the fact for much of the year the player was playing injured , something his critics obviously overlooked with their rather asinine prognostication and claiming Manning player was past his prime and his playing days were in fact over. Peyton Manning simply does what he does best and that is to answer those critics by leading the team into the postseason and unto another Superbowl appearance, the third of his career and the second for the Broncos in the last five seasons .

This game is the match-up the fans and analysts undoubtedly wanted to see, with the two best teams in the league vying for the Lombardi Trophy. Carolina are likely to be viewed as slight favorites in the game by the odds-makers in Las Vegas. Gambling on the’ big game’ should run into several hundred million dollars , if not at least one billion or more.

The fiftieth edition of the Superbowl and this is the game the NFL wants to be seen as the event which takes them into the latter half of the decade , with the fans expecting a great deal more. The league and its’ major corporate sponsors will be looking to this game to be a tremendous success competitively and from a commercial standpoint.

The NFL hierarchy has granted permission to the St Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers to relocate to the greater Los Angeles area. Rams’ owner , billionaire real estate and sports’ mogul Stanley Kroenke having bought a vast track of real estate in the town of Industry , California , will now be looking to both municipalities , Industry and the city of Los Angeles to finance a stadium, which will house a proposed new venue for the NFL franchise . While fans of the Rams rejoice about the return of the NFL to the city of Los Angeles , I seriously doubt they are intelligent enough to realize that ramifications involved , both cities proposing the use of taxpayers’ funds for the building of a new stadium for a billionaire who is among the four hundred richest people in America as well as being among the list of billionaires with a net worth exceeding $5 billion . The cities of Industry and Los Angeles still have their fiscal budgetary woes and the league hierarchy likely pressing both cities to facilitate their financing of a new stadium for the St Louis Rams. Stanley Kroenke has not been totally upfront on his proposals , other than to state stadium and the surrounding area will see an aesthetic use of the land with a mixture of commercial and residential use surrounding the $1 billion stadium.

The Spanos family, owners of the San Diego Chargers have not stated categorically, they will relocate the Chargers’ franchise, but all signs seems to be the pointing to the fact , with their negotiations with the city of San Diego at an impasse , their only alternative would be the move to Los Angeles.

The Oakland Raiders after another unfulfilling season in the league , have now sought to make themselves part of the NFL news’ cycle , with front office having met with officials from the city of Las Vegas to discuss their moving the state of Nevada and the city of Las Vegas. Over the past two-and-a-half decades the Raiders have long felt the city of Los Angeles has been theirs by territorial right, albeit the franchise has remained noncompetitive since 2004 and have not made a postseason appearance since their loss in the Superbowl to the Tamp Bay Buccaneers . In the ensuing years the Raiders have been a joke and through a string of head coaches since Bill Callahan took the team to their last Superbowl appearance.

Mark Davis as the owner of the Oakland Raiders has remained impervious to the criticism leveled at him by the fans and analysts alike and with each passing season of abject failure , there appears to be no real signs of improvement from any member of the team. Derek Carr was seen as something of a savior for the franchise , but in reality , he cannot do it all by himself and as a quarterback , as he has yet to attain the leadership skills sought to lead the Raiders where they need to be. Carr and the Oakland Raiders were not competitive enough to be viewed as a significant contender within the AFC West or AFC throughout much of this past season. Davis’ reasons for wanting to relocate the Raiders stems from greed and the fact the league hierarchy under Roger Goodell , have never looked favorably on his wish to have the sole territorial rights for the greater Los Angeles area , going unchallenged as the sole NFL franchise within Los Angeles. The NFL would have to grant their blessing for a proposed move by the Oakland Raiders and that is unlikely to happen in time for the upcoming 2016-17 season and so in all likelihood, such a move might not take place for at least another two years .

As baseball enters its silly off-season of movers and shakers among the executives , owners and agents negotiating contracts for free agents and players in arbitration , an interesting morsel of baseball historical news was revealed . Trades and free agent acquisitions have taken place at a fairly rapid pace , with several players signing lucrative deals during this off-season. Yet I believe the biggest news to hit the cycle to hit the world of baseball was the announcement that Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Piazza were to be the two players inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame for the class of 2016. Both players I believe were thoroughly deserving of this illustrious privilege , the highest honor possible for a player outside their winning a World Series’ ring. Future Hall of Fame eligible players for 2017 and 2018 are those who have met the eligibility requirements or those from the past, who will be appearing on ballot as a repeat eligible player .

With each passing year baseball seems to find itself dealing with some form of controversy or this never-ending idiocy of either the MLB hierarchy dumb-founded fans talking about Major League Baseball expansion. Were it not for the fact the hierarchy continues to be so damn clueless , along with the vast majority of the game’s fans and their not realizing the vast majority of the teams are barely financially viable , but yet the talk of expansion continues to raise its ugly head. For the Tampa Bay Rays having seen their hopes dashed repeatedly for a chance to build a new stadium within the city of St Petersburg or the greater Tampa area , as the franchise now appears to be on the verge of leaving the state altogether. Clearly the powers that be , among the civic dignitaries for cities of St Petersburg and Tampa cannot justify or explain to their residents, a thoroughly good reason why public funding should be used to build a stadium for a franchise whose attendance levels have continued to sit among the bottom half of baseball’s thirty teams.

At no time during the Rays’ two decade plus existence has the franchise ever seen those figures be ranked among the top-ten clubs within baseball’s attendance levels . The game is barely viable as a sport during the regular season for the two professional teams within the state of Florida , with both the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins struggling to remain competitive as well as seeing an upswing in attendance. The game of baseball is barely viable as a sport during the regular season for the two professional teams within the state of Florida , with both the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins struggling to remain competitive as well as seeing an upswing in attendance.

Baseball only remains relevant within the state of Florida during the Spring Training schedule , because of the abundance of teams who make use of the state for their Spring Training habitat and schedule.

So as the NBA season meanders along we are beginning to see the continued mediocrity of the teams , who are simply fighting to play themselves into contention for a Draft Lottery pick. The Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers continue to vie for the worst record in the entire league and with good reason, given the mediocrity seen with their continued play. The Eastern Conference remains abundant with its ineptitude and far be it for me to suggest , but anyone who still believe the Cleveland Cavaliers are even remotely capable beating the top five teams in the West Conference over a seven-game series , then those fans of the Cavaliers had better think long and hard as to how good they believe Cleveland to be.

LeBron James might not have played a part in David Blatt’s firing, but after it was revealed his relationship with Blatt’s successor Tyronn Lue went beyond a head coach , player relationship , one has to wonder what were the behind the scene maneuvers which led to David Blatt’s downfall and his firing by GM David Griffin . The Cleveland Cavaliers will be back on court when they take on the Detroit Pistons on Friday evening , 29th January , 2016.

I have never been convinced the NBA has ever sought to be truly tough on their players, when it comes to reprehensible behavior ! Granted, David Stern might well point to the fact , Latrell Sprewell was fined and suspended for his now well chronicled altercation with P J Carlessimo and then we have the idiocy of Gilbert Arenas and his former teammate Javaris Crittenton trying to prove their manhood , by drawing their guns in the locker rooms of the Washington Wizards as a way of resolving an argument over a gambling debt. Suffice to say beyond that idiocy , we also have to deal with the widespread homophobia and misogyny constantly at play within the NBA . Need we forget also, the league hierarchy’s poor response to Donald Sterling’s ignorant racial rants which took time for the league to deal with in a timely manner. What else would you expect of a hierarchy ran by a group of predominantly aging Caucasian males who preside over the upper echelons of the NBA ?

There are teams we know in the NBA who are seen as perennial contenders within this league and among them one might consider the Los Angeles Clippers to be among the elite teams . However, in light of the news Blake Griffin will be missing from the team’s lineup for the next five weeks , one has to wonder what the player was thinking when he got into an altercation with Mathias Testa , an equipment manager with the Clippers’ organization. Griffin has since issued an apology on Twitter apologizing to his fans and the Los Angeles Clippers for his conduct. This is not the first time Griffin’s temper has gotten the better of him and the player’s lack of maturity must now come into question and what his loss may well mean to the team in the coming weeks.

Doc Rivers , as the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers appears to be more concerned with the loss of the player . rather than Griffin’s conduct and the fact neither he, the Clippers or the league have seen fit to take action against the player. What this suggests about the NBA and perhaps the Clippers to lesser extent , is the feeling unless a player has committed and charged with a a felony , then he should be treated with ‘kid gloves’ and the presumption of innocence. However, when one takes into account a repeat offender as is the case with Blake Griffin, then you have consider the hypocrisy of the league and the Los Angeles Clippers at this juncture.

With the All Star Game a little over two weeks away it will be interesting to see how the teams position themselves for the second half of the season and their continued ambitions over the remainder of the schedule.

With the first Grand Slam Tournament of ATP Tour and WTA entering its final phase it has been interesting to note the speed with which the ATP hierarchy has shrugged off the claims of their being widespread gambling within the world of Men’s Tennis and that certain players had been paid to “ throw matches” . In a report actually commissioned by Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) which governs the men’s sport , they went on to state that the evidence was inconclusive but they would take it under advisement pending a meeting of their Executive Committee before issuing a formal statement. The fact that sixteen of the world’s top fifty players were named in this report, should be a cause for concern, not only among the fans of the game but also for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) but also the IOC (International Olympic Committee) .

Novak Djokovic the world number one among the Men’s Rankings has seen his name associated with this report and the player has acknowledged the fact that early in his career he had been approached to throw a game , which in the end he refused to do.

The Australian Open has always been the first official Grand Slam Tournament on the tennis schedule for the game’s calendar year. Many of the world’s top-ranked men and women will be competing at the event in Melbourne , Australia , with the Men’s Finals taking place on Sunday and the Women’s Finals on Saturday afternoon. This two-week event takes its toll on the players both mentally and physically because of the humidity and heat which remains constant throughout the tournament . Serena Williams will be looking to make a successful start to the season as she once again looks to possibly rewrite tennis history.

Serbian. Novak Djokovic a five-time champion at the Australian Open will simply be looking to solidify his position atop of the Men’s Rankings and win his sixth title at this particular event. The story itself concerning gambling within the sport of tennis is nothing new , but what might be considered unnerving has been the fact the ATP hierarchy has not taken the claims of the investigation seriously, albeit , in the past , at least three players within the rankings have either been fined or suspended after allegations were proven that they had thrown matches for financial gain , to the benefit of the illegal bookmakers bribing the players in the match fixing.

Tennis alongside , professional soccer on the continent of Europe, has long been a target of not only organized crime and their involvement with gambling on sports , but there are claims now being made , many of these criminal enterprises and syndicates would like to ultimately make their way across the Atlantic, get a firm foothold in North America and a piece of the multi-billion dollar gambling industry which takes place here, covering the entire gamut of sports at the collegiate and professional level. We know from years past, illegal wagering and the shaving of points , have taken place within the world of College Basketball . Within College Football and the NFL , one could make allegations , there too , such activity might well have been widespread , but as we know , it is not something the NCAA or the NFL would like to discuss openly in public.

From my own perspective with their being so much money awash within the world collegiate sports and at the professional level , claims of match fixing . corruption and bribery will always be common place and no matter how much oversight is said to be taking place , somewhere and somehow those involved will always be able to find a way to elude the very people said to be overseeing the sport. Does anyone truly believe the sport of boxing remains clean and is still above reproach given the lack of oversight by the numerous international governing bodies now presiding over the sport ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit on the points raised within this article.

Tophatal ….. 01/29/2016

By clicking on an image viewed below you can view that picture in a reformatted size alongside an accompanying narrative.

NFL news

NFL Superbowl L (SB50)

NFL Superbowl history

This month in NFL history

MLB

MLB news

This week in MLB history

On this date in baseball history

Baseball Hall of Fame

NBA and news from around the NBA

NBA standings (divisional)

NBA standings (conference)

—–

NBA schedule 29th January

NBA results to date

NBA playoff projections

NBA player stats

NBA rookies’ stats

NBA team stats (offense)

NBA stats (defense)
====

ATP World Tour and ATP news

ATP Men’s rankings

WTA Tennis and WTA news

WTA rankings

======

Revenge is a dish, best served cold … Dominance on the other hand, can take shape in different forms and guises, dependent upon one’s view …

Revenge is a dish, best served cold … Dominance, on the other hand, can take shape in different forms and guises, dependent upon one’s view …

Well the NFL season is now over and the fallout from an unbelievable end to the Superbowl (SBLVIX) still has not subsided five days after the event. Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll has staunchly defended offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and has suggested the decision in many respects, was Bevell’s alone and that he agreed with the coordinator’s take and final call. My question remains, if Marshawn Lynch throughout much of the game gave the New England Patriots a great deal more than they could handle, why would the Seahawks seek to change course at such a pivotal moment in the game ? Lynch, during this contest, scored a touchdown on a short yardage gain after a reception, yet this actually escaped both Carroll’s and Bevell’s notice ? Call me naive, but the head coach’s post-game explanation given during his interview, smacks of sheer stupidity and utter nonsense !

New England ascends back to the top of the NFL world, and simply cementing their dominance of this league, as a ” true dynasty, one of the most discussed, if not one of the most alienating also, in the world of professional team sports across the North American landscape over the past twenty-five years.

=====================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=====================================================

Slideshow.

Five months into the NBA season and the talk in recent weeks has been the unbelievable play of the Atlanta Hawks and their ongoing dominance within the NBA. In the month of January, Mike Budenholzer’s vastly improved team went a staggering 17-0 , unbeaten for the entire calendar month of their scheduled games. Consider the fact, the Chicago Bulls’ team of their championship winning season of 1995-96, where they went 72-10, setting an NBA franchise record for wins in a season. The team coached by Phil Jackson was never able to achieve that feat with a roster which boasted Michael Jordan , Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman among the starting lineup , which was also well-served by several role players who contributed greatly to the Bulls’ success of that season.

There is a great deal to be said, for the days of dominance once had by the Chicago Bulls, as for years the franchise was waylaid by the fact the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics held center-stage within the Eastern Conference, while the Los Angeles Lakers were simply extending the glare of the Showtime Lakers’ extravaganza. During that time, the Chicago Bulls grew to overcome their fears and went about beginning their historic run, which rang in a new era and perhaps the most popular reign in NBA history, most certainly from a fan and global standpoint. Michael Jordan reigned supreme, as the most dominant player in the NBA and one of most recognized athletes on the face of the planet . With it, came the wealth and acclaim, few athletes today can match. LeBron James , currently, the best player in the NBA and rightfully so, the latest NBA star, seen as the heir-apparent to Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant’s era of supremacy is slowly winding down and with it, the Los Angeles Lakers’ most recent chapter of NBA dominance. .

As good as the Atlanta Hawks appear to be and what they have achieved has been fascinating . The true test for any NBA franchise can be judged by what they have been able to do during the NBA Playoffs. For Atlanta the type of success sought, has been fleeting for an organization still seeking acceptance as an elite franchise in the NBA. This might be the season, in which the Hawks can finally stake that claim , if they make the NBA Playoffs and then go on a prolonged run, all the way to the NBA Finals.

The Atlanta Hawks’ exceptional month of January has heightened expectations for the month of February, even with the upcoming All Star Game Weekend fast approaching. Between now and then, it will be interesting to see how this team fares as it is being led by Paul Millsap , Al Horford , Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll , Kyle Korver and John Jenkins . Needless to say this has been a collective effort from the Hawks’ players over the course of the season . They have been able to eke out their victories on the road as well as at home against divisional , conference and Western Conference opponents .

Having gone 9-1 in their last ten games the Atlanta Hawks are as sure a bet, as you can get, for them to make the NBA Playoffs, where if things were to remain as they are, their first round opponents would be the Miami Heat , last eat season’s losing NBA Finalists . It would be definitely be an enticing first-round contest to survey , with the Heat seen as an opponent , good enough to cause an upset.

I believe the Atlanta Hawks are good enough to make a solid run through to the end of the season , winning their division outright and making the NBA Playoffs. Where they then go from there, is anyone’s guess, because during the postseason, it then becomes about the teams and their players standing tall , excelling at critical points of a game. Recent signs show the Hawks are not yet at the standard required for them to be seen as a credible contender to win it all .

If ever there was a sign to indicate , Phil Jackson erred in the hiring of Derek Fisher to succeed Mike Woodson as the head coach of the New York Knicks. Then look no further than what has been achieved by Steve Ker, the successor to Mark Jackson as head coach of the Golden State Warriors . The Knicks continue on their season of sheer ineptitude while the Warriors have not only slain the dragon, but chopped off its head. Leading me to believe, Jackson’s ego has gotten the better of him at this stage of his career.

Golden State behind the solid play of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have led the team to the best record the Western Conference and along the way lead the Pacific Division by healthy 7 1/2 game margin over the Los Angeles Clippers. Coming off a fourteen-point victory over the Dallas Mavericks it is becoming hard to envisage any team within the Western Conference actually challenging the dominance of the Warriors over the remainder of this season.

To comprehend how the guile and tenacity shown by Golden State this season, has been such a success, you simply have to look at the margin of victory in their games where they overpower an opponent. Next up for the Warriors will be a cross-conference game against the Atlanta Hawks on the road, where the team has been very good. It’s pretty much safe to suggest, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will be looking have their division and conference sewn up by no later than mid-March . It gives Kerr the opportunity needed, to rest a number of his front-line starters, while assessing what his bench players are able to do before the end of the season on the 15th April, 2015

Defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs have slowly plodded along while the elder statesmen on the team have sought to gain some semblance of consistency to their season. Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker have been the mainstays of the franchise’s successes and one of the reasons why they have been a perennial playoff team and contender for the NBA title. Seventeen straight NBA Playoff appearances and yet when fans, tend to talk about dynasties and dominance, rarely has the name of the San Antonio Spurs been mentioned in the same sentence as the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls or the Motown Bad Boys of Detroit under the coaching acumen of Chuck Daly, as he engineered the success of the Detroit Pistons. I suppose not playing in what is deemed to be a major-market, has a tendency of taking the gloss off a team’s achievements. While many, were surprised the Spurs were able to get past the highly favored Miami Heat in last season’s NBA Finals. It should not have come as any great surprise,if the suggestion was made, LeBron James and his teammates were simply complacent and went into the postseason foray, with the expectation of simply waltzing through through a seven-game series, merely based on having defeated San Antonio in the previous season’s Finals Series.

San Antonio now has a competent lineup beyond their Big Three of Duncan , Ginobli and Parker now joined by last season’s Finals’ MVP of Kawhi Leonard , it must be said the team does have have a formidable lineup , which I believe to be among the best in the NBA for a starting five, without delving into the contributions from the bench. It would also be remiss to not take into account the coaching staff of Gregg Popovich, a staff which includes the NBA’s only lead female assistant, former WNBA player Becky Hammon. As to whether or not this league will ever have its very first female head coach remains to be seen , but I am sure, it is something Hammon will seek to achieve !

With only the Cleveland Cavaliers , Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks over their last ten games having a better record, it indicates at present, how competitive the NBA happens to be. San Antonio’s thirteen-point victory at home over the Miami Heat was indicative of what we know to be the frailties of a weak Eastern Conference as another franchise drops a game to a Western Conference foe. The Spurs’ next game takes them North of the border to face the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. For both teams this should prove to be a fascinating contest as they seek to maintain their momentum in the run-up to the All Star Break .

A ninety million dollar ($90 million) payroll doesn’t appear to have aided the Brooklyn Nets this season as the team struggles to make sense of their failures at this point of the NBA schedule. It would be fair to suggest the Nets have been a major disappointment for their fans and the NBA alike. Personally, I believe the team to be lacking in leadership with Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams being overpaid and offering the franchise absolutely nothing on all levels at this stage of their respective careers.

For Nets’ head coach Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff at a loss for an explanation,while GM Billy King and team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov wondering if changes will have to be made before or at the trade deadline, if the franchise is to make some sense of their season. In their last ten games the Brooklyn Nets are a paltry 5-5 , simply mirroring what they represent as a team, to the NBA fans at large, being average and representing mediocrity !

Saturday night, the Brooklyn Nets will take to the court to face conference rivals the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. This will be game, between two teams of similar ambitions, seeking to make their presence felt within the conference as well their respective divisions could very well make or break their seasons from hereon-in. The All Star festivities to be staged at the Barclays Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets will provide a timely respite for the teams as they take stock and then prepare for the second half of the season. This will be the point where executives and team owners look to make some major deals and naturally shed players for salary cap reasons.

=====================================

====================================

Picture gallery

As the first half of this NBA season comes to a close, which team or teams have been the biggest surprise in your opinion ? During the second half of the schedule which franchise and players will play a decisive role of making a playoff push within each conference ? Also, of the teams in the league (NBA) over the past two decades, which do you believe is the most deserving to be thought of as a dynasty ? Simply leave a comment or comments as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it has always been appreciated ! Thank you !

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below.
========================================

(1) Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks completes a catch against Tyler Gaffney (31) of the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Rob Carr

(2) Marshawn Lynch(24) of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Jamie Squire

(3) John Wall of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the game on February 7, 2015 at Verizon Center in Washington, DC. NBAE/Getty Images/ Ned Dishman

(4) David Lee of the Golden State Warriors goes to the basket against Travis Wear(6) of the New York Knicks on February 7, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Getty Images / Nathaniel S Butler

(5) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans on February 7, 2015 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Getty Images / Mike Hamilton

(6) Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors on February 6, 2015 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Scott Cunningham

(7) Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs shoots against the Miami Heat on February 6, 2015 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Getty Images North America / D. Clarke Evans

(8) Becky Hammon , left , is seen here with San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich . Hammon is the first full-time lead assistant head coach with any franchise in the NBA . The NBA might just be the most progressive of any of the four main professional team sports , with Michele Roberts also recently being named the Executive Director of the NBPA (Players’ Union) . Popovich believes Hammon due to her vast experience as a former WNBA player and now an assistant coach , could become the first female head coach in the NBA . AP Photo /Gary Ross
========================================

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal’s Blog

NBA related articles within this site
——-

NFL

NFL news

This month in NFL history

🙂

NBA

NBA news

NBA schedule important dates

NBA standings (last six games )

NBA standings (divisional)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA standings [(02/04/2015) conference ]

NBA results 4th February 2015

NBA schedule 5th February

NBA schedules covering this weekend beginning 6th February

7th February

8th February

NBA Player stats

This month in NBA history

NBA team cap (2014-15)

NBA teams’ cash commitments (2014-15)

NBA player salary cap (2014)

NBA player salary cap (2015)

NBA free agents

====================================

NBA champions chronologically

——-

A legacy … aspiring to be a legend in baseball

A legacy …… aspiring to be a legend in baseball

With the rash of trade maneuvers which have taken place during the off-season within baseball. One has to wonder how and where the teams in question are able facilitate the deals in terms of their finances . Granted , year in and year out were are repeatedly being told by the league’s hierarchy the game has nothing to worry about with regard to their finances. Yet it is difficult to try and justify how the Los Angeles Dodgers in the last two seasons have spent close to half-a-billion dollars ($500,000,000) in payroll to come up short in the postseason twice in sucession. OK, you could point to the fact the team’s owners are well backed financially, with their being owned outright by Guggenheim Baseball Properties LLC , whose parent company just happens to be one of the nation’s largest venture capital firms with asssets exceeding $125 billion ($125,000,000,000). Guggenheim Partners Inc whose lead executives are Todd Boehly and Mark Walter , joined forces with Magic Johnson and Hollywood media mogul Peter Guber to purchase the Dodgers after the franchise was taken out of bankruptcy proceedings in US Federal Bankruptcy Court .

===========================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


=======================================================

Slideshow .

Now while this whole chapter, may well have been beneficial for the game of baseball. The fact of the matter cannot be denied, the dealings which took place concerning this,was all clouded in a great deal of secrecy , with very little being made known to the public , in spite of the claims of former commissioner Bud Selig , everything was done above reproach. Having Bud Selig make those claims is tantamount to having a fox in a hen-house taking care of the occupants. Selig during his years has simply made sure this game has been presided over by buffoons , while he and the team owners take pride in the fact , apathy remains among the majority of the game’s fans , the print and television media as well as municipal and state agencies. The ongoing imbalances within the baseball beyond the very fact the game is still unable to rid themselves of steroid cheats , has been the fact Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred are either afraid to address the issue or choose not to initiate a hard salary cap which is equitable for all thirty teams within the game .

The Dodgers’ meltdown during this past postseason was enough to suggest Don Mattingly and his managerial staff were ill-prepared, complacent and felt it preordained they would waltz their way through the postseason. Perhaps buoyed by the fact they possessed the best pitcher in baseball during the regular season. Clayton Kershaw was meant to lead the Dodgers through their playoff foray. Unfortunately , for the team , their opponents had other plans and the explanations behind the team’s postseason demise bordered upon being comical to downright ridicule of a group of players, who were simply overconfident and had little respect for their opponents .

Don Mattingly and his team will enter into 2015 with a payroll exceeding $260 million and not exactly in a position to try and justify anyone’s belief they can be considered one of the best teams in the National League this upcoming season. With Andrew Friedman coming to head up the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Baseball Operations , it was believed sweeping changes would be made among the player personnel. Friedman saw a need for the change after the abject failure seen during the past two postseason forays for the Dodgers. It would be foolish to believe the front office would accept these failings and not let their angst be known. Magic Johnson may well be the public face of the Dodgers’ organization from an executive standpoint, but Johnson should not be thought of only in the complexity of being one the NBA’s all-time greats, because he has now become an extremely successful businessman and philanthropist , whose corporation runs a gamut of business entities with revenues exceeding $1.8 billion annually. Profits and success are at the forefront of the Dodgers’ desire within this ownership group by just about any means necessary , but after the vast financial commitment made in 2013 and 2014, it became obvious something was missing from the template engineered by the management staff for the players.

Gone from last season’s roster are Josh Beckett , Matt Kemp, Brian Wilson , Dee Gordon and Dan Haren. The most notable acquisition for the team was short-stop Jimmy Rollins, whose presence could add some stability and leadership , which were sorely lacking and missing from those traits last season. I firmly believe , if Don Mattingly is unable to turn things around for the Dodgers this upcoming season , then the likelihood of his remaining would prove to be a disastrous . This season is likely to prove to be very competitive against baseball’s current World Series’ champions the San Francisco Giants . If the Giants are not seen as prohibitive favorites for the NL Pennant in 2015 , then the dominance seen from this ball-club over the past six seasons can only be viewed as bewildering . Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy will be seeking to replicate the success witnessed last season as the franchise won its third World Series’ crown in the past six years.

There is no denying a ball-club such as the Los Angeles Dodgers with a legacy of such famed stars and Hall of Fame players as as Jim Bunning , Gary Carter , Don Drysdale , Sandy Koufax , Pee Wee Reese , Don Sutton and Jackie Robinson to name but a few . The vestiges of those halcyon days are long-gone with the franchise having not made the World Series in over twenty-five years , it begs the question , if the Dodgers are not able make another serious run in the postseason, will they ever succeed winning another title ? What I believe to be sorely lacking on this current Dodgers’ roster is someone willing to assume the role of a vocal leader both on and off the field of play. If the addition of Jimmy Rollins can provide the trait sought then so be it , but it is astonishing to think with such veterans already on this team as Carl Crawford , Adrian Gonzalez , Juan Uribe , Darwin Barney and AJ Ellis . How is it , that a team with such highly paid stars can continue to fail so miserably ? Is it a lack of managerial acumen from Don Mattingly or quite possibly the simple fact, this ball-club was never that good to begin with ?

An undeniable talent, but either the Miami Marlins are over-stretching in their belief that paying slugger Giancarlo Stanton a whopping $325 million will be a cure for what ails the organization can either be viewed as outrageous or an act pure genius on the part of GM Michael Hill and his fellow front office executives . Stanton’s thirteen-year deal averages out at $25 million annually , but it would still not make him the highest paid player in the game . Yet this is somehow the trait so many front office executives believe they need to exhibit. It’s either pay up, or you are likely to miss the boat . In baseball , few players have been able to live up to those live up to or meet the expectations or even surpass them. Simply ask Alex Rodriguez if he feels ,that his accomplishments within the game have not been tarnished by wantoned misuse of performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) ? I am sure New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman must now be ruing the day he re-signed Rodriguez to the second of his two multimillion dollar deals . Twice in a lifetime , two $250 million deals have been “inked” by Alex Rodriguez and not once was an eyelid raised over those contracts , even in the aftermath of the player’s admission of guilt for the use of a banned substance , which begs the question, why is baseball still filled with such apathy and hypocrisy , not just among the fans , but also within the game’s hierarchy ?

One of the decade’s best players found himself a new home during this off-season when Ichiro Suzuki joined the Miami Marlins signing a one-year deal with the hope his presence will prove to an adequate complement to the team’s roster . Ichiro is likely to maintain the productivity we have come to know over the years. The former AL Rookie of The Year and AL MVP is nearing a career milestone as he approaches the 3,000 career hits’ plateau . A first ballot future Hall of Fame inductee , it will be interesting to see how Ichiro will be feted upon surpassing the mark many hitters aspire to reach , but few are seen as legitimate legends of the game. Ichiro Suzkuki is definitely a legend within the Major Leagues and his career bears this out !

This upcoming season, I believe both the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees will live and die by the accomplishments of Giancarlo Stanton and Alex Rodriguez ! Stanton is lucky enough to still be in the infancy of his career, whereas , there is now nothing Rodriguez can now do to remove either the stain or stench associated with his past or his future . Two futile acts of contrition, cannot hide the fact he remains one of the most despised and hated athletes in all of major professional sports , bar none .

I believe it would be fair to suggest, both Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen offer the best hope for baseball, as the faces of the game and its likely saviors, if the sport is to truly prosper and for its long-term future ! Both have been recipients of the AL and NL MVP’s within their respective leagues. Though postseason heroics have been fleeting for Trout and McCutchen , there is no doubt in my mind at some point in their respective futures both are likely to be recipients of a World Series’ ring or a World Series’ MVP for their exploits. Granted , in the past three seasons neither the Los Angeles Angels or the Pittsburgh Pirates have met the expectations sought by their fans or prominent MLB analysts . Respective team owners Arte Moreno and Bob Nutting having willingly spent millions of dollars over the past few seasons painstakingly seeking a championship, but coming up short at various points of the postseason in recent years. This season, will hopefully promise a great deal and bring out the very best in the Angels and the Pirates. Certainly , that will be what respective managers Mike Scioscia and Clint Hurdle hope to obtain from the Los Angeles Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates as they enter the first month of the 2015 regular season schedule beginning on the 6th April .

A confident start could go a long way in determining how good or great their respective seasons are likely to be. If both Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen can reproduce the form shown during last season, then it could also aid their teams to the desired success of possibly winning a World Series’ crown. The Los Angeles Angels will begin their season with a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim , California , whereas , the Pirates will play the Cincinnati Reds at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati , Ohio , in the Reds’ home opener .

It is way too early to try and define the careers of Andrew McCutchen and Mike Trout ,but if either can remotely live up to a number of their predecessors with either the Pirates or Angels , then there is absolutely no reason not to believe why they cannot go on to have long and distinguished careers within Major League Baseball . In my honest opinion these two great young players are exactly what the game needs , fresh faced and talented individual players who simply excel, while showing a great deal of leadership skills and maturity !

Safe to say , with the ” stain ” associated with the careers of Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez , perhaps the best player in baseball over the past decade might well have been Albert Pujols whose list of career achievements have been well- chronicled . Since being acquired by the Los Angeles Angels his statistics have ebbed and flowed, but at his very best, there was no denying he was one of the most dominating , intimidating and best hitters in the game , while also showing his power as a home-runs’ hitter .

Many of Pujols’ current peers over past eight years have had their fair share misfortune either through their misdeeds or a decline in productivity. Pujols for his part remains an extremely popular player, with a large fan-base , while becoming a highly paid and lucrative marketing tool for a major corporate sponsors. The Angels’ slugger is one of a rare breed within baseball, whose image allows him such privileges in and outside of the game of baseball. Yet, I do not believe this is what defines Albert Pujols as a player or as a human being, because it has been his humanitarianism and philanthropy that has continued to stand out, throughout much of his decade-plus career. As he earnestly strives to win a third World Series’ title and his first World Series’ MVP Award , the sole individual award he has yet to win over the course of his astonishing career.

The common thought remains, if the Angels are to succeed in their goal to win their first World Series since 2002 when Troy Glaus was the hero of the series in their triumph against the San Francisco Giants. Then Albert Pujols , Josh Hamilton , David Freese , Chris Iannetta , Erick Aybar , CJ Wilson , Jered Weaver and Huston Street will certainly have to play a great deal better , while following the lead of Mike Trout, now considered to be the real leader on this team.

This season might well prove to be the last for Mike Scioscia, if the Los Angeles Angels should fail to make the postseason. Inconsistencies over the years have led to gaps in the Angels’ postseason appearances in recent years. Prior to last season’s playoff foray the Angels’ last such appearance came as a participant in the 2009 ALCS where they would fall to the New York Yankees , who would go on to win the 2009 World Series . Heading into this season there are at least six AL teams teams likely to be considered contenders for this year’s ” Fall Classic ” . The Angels are one of those ball-clubs, I believe can make a credible challenge for the AL Pennant , along with the Oakland A’s , Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers , Seattle Mariners and last season’s ” Cinderella Story ” the Kansas City Royals if they can retain a number of last season’s stars and keep their momentum going in 2015.

The four inductees for the 2015 14 Hall of Fame Class were nominees deserving of the accolade. The careers of Craig Biggio , Randy Johnson , John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez not only warranted serious consideration but these four players at one time or another were dominant at certain points during their respective tenures in the game. While there were other eligible candidates for this year’s class , many of those eligible were closely associated with the “steroid era “ of baseball , something Major League Baseball will never entirely escape in spite of the statements attributed to Bud Selig and the very fact the continued misdeeds of the players at the Major League and Minor League Level still has not brought about an abatement of the players’ use of banned substances (PED’s, anabolic steroids , Stanazolol) and a lack of response and a clear line of unison between the league hierarchy and union (MLBPA) leads me to believe, both parties are only prepared to pay the issue mere ” lip service “ as they see fit , when there appears to be outrage on the part of the fans. Not there has been any type of outrage from within the media , covering the game, in particular by the always hypocritical BBWAA (Baseball Writers’ Association of America) .

The years in which Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were laying siege to and obliterating the single season home run record , even when there was possible evidence to suggest, not everything was completely above board , the baseball writers were simply lauding the players’ efforts, as if were actually witnessing history in the making. Now we know Bonds’ 2001 mark was not only dubious but even the seven-time NL MVP still refuses to properly address and explain whether or not at any point during his career he knowingly used a banned substance. To my mind Roger Maris’ mark of sixty-one home runs (61) remains the legitimate record in the baseball annals , along with Hank Aaron’s career home runs’ tally of seven hundred and fifty-five (755). Correct me if I’m wrong , even during the era of segregation and the civil rights’ era , was the sport of baseball ever in such disarray , as it was known to be in this and the past decade ? Answers please ? Or should we continue down the merry road of apathy as constituted and led by Bud Selig and now his successor , Rob Manfred ?

=========================================================


========================================================

Picture gallery .

Spring Training is just around the corner , merely less then six weeks away and the plot-lines within the game of baseball are now being written. Like last season we are likely to see a fair share of controversy being played out both on and off the field of play. So what should the fans expect during the first few months of this upcoming season ? Which players and teams do you believe will be taking away the individual and team honors at the end of this regular and postseason (MLB) schedule ?

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below.

====================================================

(1) Matt Kemp, center, , once considered a mainstay within the Los Angeles Dodgers’ franchise but during the off-season he was traded to fellow NL franchise the San Diego Padres . Kemp is seen here with Padres’ front office executives , left GM A J Preller and manager Bud Black. . AP Photo / Gregory Bull …

(2) Mark Walter lead managing partner in the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Getty Images / Mark Powers

(3) Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins . During the off-season the player signed the largest contract in baseball history , a thirteen-year $325 million deal to remain with the franchise . He will be joined by former AL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP Ichiro Suzuki , who signed a one-year deal with the NL East ball-club. AP Photo / Paul Ross

(4) Andrew McCutchen , left of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels . These two outfielders are considered to be the two best players in Major League Baseball . Few would consider to the contrary, given their list of accomplishments , since entering the Big Leagues . AP Photo / Mike Potter

(5) Ichiro Suzuki seen here in a New York Yankees’ uniform for whom he played last season , but will enter 2015 as a member of the Miami Marlins, with a view to aiding the team from an offensive and defensive standpoint. Getty Images / Mike Thomas

(6) ) Alex Rodriguez , picture inset , is seen here striking out during a game in 2013 for the New York Yankees . The third basemen sat out the 2014 season for the team , having to serve a league-mandated suspension for violation of the league’s steroid policy . Rodriguez hopes to make a successful return to the ball-club in 2015 with the organization in transition after retirement of Derek Jeter and departure of several players , notably Ichiro Suzuki who joins the Marlins in a one-year deal . Rodriguez’s return also will also place once again among the top-twenty earning players in terms of annual salary and a contract , bearing in mind, he is the only player in MLB history to have signed two deals paying in excess of $240 million for each contract . He is also the top-earning player in league history by way of life-time contract earnings. At this stage of his career , it is not hard to suggest how Alex Rodriguez’s career is likely to be remembered . A two-time league substance abuse offender , dubious career statistics , top career-earnings , the public’s disdain and dislike of him as a player. Getty Images / David Hughes

(7) From left to right , Barry Bonds , Sammy Sosa and Mark McWire . For the decade covering the nineties and the early part of this past decade , the trio were part one of the most inglorious eras in baseball’s history , as they laid siege to the single-season home run record . The figure of sixty-one home runs first held by Roger Maris who hit 61 home runs for the New York Yankees during the 1961 season , is still looked upon and revered as the legitimate record in baseball history . though it was surpassed by Bonds in 2001 with seventy-three home runs. The mark is currently recognized by statisticians for MLB , the Hall of Fame , BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) and Elias Stats Bureau . Barry Bonds also holds the record for career home runs , (762) surpassing the total (755) of Hank Aaron , a Hall of Fame inductee in a game for the San Francisco Giants played against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver , Colorado on 5th September , 2007. . The pitcher who gave up the home run was Ubaldo Jiminez . AP Photo / Emmanuel Ortega

(8) ) Roger Maris who alongside teammate and close friend Mickey Mantle set the season alight in 1961 , where along the way Maris would break the single season home run record with a total of sixty-one home runs . In that same season the New York Yankees would go on to win the World Series defeating the Cincinnati Reds and where Whitey Ford would be named World Series’ MVP . UPI Archives

(9) Baseball legend Hank Aaron and his wife, Billye Aaron , smile as they listen to Hall of Famer Willie Mays reminisce during the dedication of the Hank Aaron Childhood Home and Museum April 14, 2010 at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, Ala. Aaron’s childhood home, originally built by his father, was moved to the stadium’s “Gaslight Park” and restored in November 2008. The celebration, which included a ribbon-cutting and private reception, was attended by a star-studded roster of Hall of Famers and baseball dignitaries, including Mays, Reggie Jackson , Ozzie Smith , Bob Feller , Rickey Henderson , and Bruce Setter , along with President of Minor League Baseball Pat O’Conner, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Jeff Idelson , MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , and Hall of Fame senior director of exhibitions Erik Strohl . Hank Aaron, in many circles, is still recognized as the all-time career home-runs’ king , having surpassed the mark achieved by Babe Ruth of seven-hundred and fourteen . Aaron’s tally (755) has since been superseded by Barry Bonds . The Braves’ icon , now successful businessman with a themed style restaurant chain and several auto dealerships in the greater Atlanta area , is now , one member of a consortium close to buying NBA franchise the Atlanta Hawks , currently the best team in the league , record-wise . Apex Media-wire photo by Carmen K. Sisson

=====================================================

🙂

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Baseball related articles within this site

http://wp.me/poxLH-a67

============================

MLB

MLB news

MLB schedule important dates (2015)

MLB Official Opening Day

MLB transactions

This week in MLB History

MLB projected payroll (2015)

Los Angeles Dodgers’ news

Los Angeles Angels’ news

Miami Marlins news

New York Yankees news

Pittsburgh Pirates’ news

Other news’ related articles to this subject : Report: Alex Rodriguez is training with Barry Bonds (Click on link shown to read in its entirety) Courtesy of USA Today

USA Today

—–

2015 MLB Award winners

AL and NL MVP’s

World Series’ MVP’s

World Series champions

Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York

Hall of Fame inductees

Eligible candidates for the Hall of Fame in 2016

🙂

===

===

If at all interested do take time to participate in the above mentioned polls .

==============================

Former MLB Commissioner Allan ‘Bud’ Selig seen on the dais at National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York .

If you want to know how I feel, walk a mile in my shoes ….

If you want to know how I feel, walk a mile in my shoes ….

The NBA season is now in full swing with the often less than memorable Christmas week schedule of games either being of great interest or simply an eyesore . Ongoing stories have evolved around the worsening crisis befalling the New York Knicks (5-28) and the fact this Derek Fisher coached team simply cannot win anywhere , be it on the road or at home. Truth be told , the Knicks simply suck and they are sucking the life-blood out of their season and the league in general. It is a stunning fact one of the NBA’s most renowned franchises is stuck in a morass of its own making. The “quick fix” many felt Phil Jackson might be able to effect has not been a resounding success for a team simply bereftof talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony whose decision to re-sign with the team must now come into question , bearing in mind he signed a max-contract with the understanding Jackson as Head of Basketball Operations would seek to improve the roster.

============================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

============================================

Slideshow .

Essentially, the Knicks’ front office executive has simply shown what I believe to be true and it is the fact, he simply has no idea how to assess talent and is simply a great motivator and coach, when the right pieces are in place. How else can you explain the success of the eleven titles won during his now legendary coaching reign , with players such as Scottie Pippen , Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal as the centerpieces of those championship winning teams ?

New York’s last victory came by way of a win over the Boston Celtics on the 12th December, 2014, whom they beat 101-95 at the TD Banknorth Gardens Center in Boston , Massachusetts, in a game marred by some sloppy play from both teams . Eight successive defeats has a way of indicating the lack of confidence shown by a team , but more indicative, has been the lack of leadership from any of the players, along with Fisher’s coaching staff , led by lead assistant Kurt Rambis. Add to this, the idiocy of some suggesting the assistants are experienced enough to provide Derek Fisher, a rookie head coach in his first season,with the experience needed to bring about some semblance of competitiveness. Well that premise, can be quickly put to rest , along with the belief Fisher’s learning on the job will in the end lead to success. During this run , it has been Carmelo Anthony leading the charge from an offensive standpoint. The Knicks’ continued woes are tied to the fact, they simply do not know how to know how to defend, nor are the players inclined to add the facet to their game.

Alongside Carmelo Anthony on this lightly restructured roster are Amare Stoudemire , Pablo Prigioni , Cole Aldrich , Quincy Acy, Jose Calderon , Samuel Dalembert , Cleanthony Early , Iman Shumpert and JR Smith . Suffice to say, if the rumors circulating are to be believed, with Phil Jackson having asked Carmelo Anthony to consider waiving his no-trade clause, it would suggest the Knicks are quite willing to bail on their season , while looking to build for the future. If that premise were to actually take flight , then it is clear the organization have suddenly come to the realization the team is simply not good enough to compete at the highest levels , much less gain a playoff berth for the NBA’s annual end of the regular season foray.

The New York Knicks’ next scheduled contest will be a road gameon the 31st December , 2014 when they face the Los Angeles Clippers (21-11) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, in what will be the last of the regular season scheduled games of 2014.

It was the move meant to send “shock waves “ across the NBA landscape, but instead LeBron James’ return to Cleveland and the Cleveland Cavaliers (18-12) as the ” Prodigal Son” has fallen well short of expectations . James and the Cavaliers are merely three games above.500, although they sit comfortably, as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and four games behind the division leading Chicago Bulls (22-9) within the Central Division. Yet , for all of the brouhaha made of LeBron James’ departure from the Miami Heat to make a heralded return to the Cavaliers, the fact remains, the four-time League MVP while impressive on the on the court, his teammates have failed to follow his lead.

The top-pick from the 2003 NBA Draft remains a prodigious talent and now the standard bearer and face of the NBA, alongside Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder . This duo, one would hope will create a rivalry which will be long-lasting and appreciated as much as many of the greatest rivalries the league has offered over the course of its history. For the moment however, questions are being asked as to why , LeBron James , Kyrie Irving , Kevin Love and the supporting cast have not been more dominant within the NBA. In their last eight games the Cavaliers 5-3, something of a reflection of the team as a whole and the inconsistency witnessed over the course of the season .

As if to emphasize the issues the Cavaliers continue to face, consider the fact they are coming off a twenty-three point home loss to lowly Detroit Pistons . If that contest was not indicative of why Cleveland cannot be currently considered one of the top teams in the NBA, then someone needs to explain to me why there has been such a hype over this franchise merely because of LeBron’s return to this organization ! From the get-go , there was this rather idiotic rationale James would single-handed, make this team an omnipresent force, but seemingly , everyone who ran with this idiocy, failed to recognize the fact, rookie head coach David Blatt was a novice to the NBA and its coaching style . Blatt , his coaching staff and the team will get the chance to reassert their presence in the Eastern Conference, while also seeking to take the lead (1-1) in their season series against the Atlanta Hawks. With the Hawks having built a solid foundation around a core of Elton Brand , Jeff Teague , Paul Millsap , Al Horford , DeMarre Caroll, Mike Muscala , Kyle Korver and John Jenkins . Tonight’s contest between these two Eastern Conference teams could go a long way in telling us the directions the these franchises may well be heading in .

I certainly believe last season’s NBA Playoffs told us a great deal about the Indiana Pacers . As the number one seeds in the Eastern Conference as the playoffs began, it was felt Frank Vogel and his coaching staff had assembled a team make things tough for the Miami Heat during their postseason foray. Instead, the Pacers capitulated under little duress , albeit, the Pacers capitulated under little duress , albeit, the Pacers played a great deal of the Eastern Conference Finals’ series lacking the offensive firepower to match Miami during the best of seven-game series conference finals’ contest.

Coming into this season the Indiana Pacers remain a flawed team without a backbone and showing very little resilience. In their last five games the Pacers have managed to gain some semblance of consistency winning three of those contests, with their last victory coming in a twenty-five point demolition of the Brooklyn Nets on the 27th December , only to follow up that win with a loss to the Chicago Bulls in what can only be seen as the ongoing weakness of the Pacers as a team. A record of 11-21 is a clear indicator as to where this Frank Vogel coached team should expect to be , with the best player on the roster this season , none other than George Hill, being ably abetted by Roy Hibbert, David West, Rodney Stuckey, Luis Scola , Ian Mahinmi and CJ Watson. Indiana will renew their regular season rivalry when they meet the Miami Heat on Wednesday evening in a highly anticipated game at the Conseco Life Field House Center , Indianapolis , Indiana ,.

Having been the NBA’s youngest League MVP, it is hard to define the career of Derrick Rose. Certainly , on his best days , he can be considered one one of the league’s elite point guards,a facilitator , prolific scorer , stout defensive player and clearly an all-round asset to a team . Yet. for all of those very traits, the question remains, can Rose stay healthy enough to play an entire season, staying injury-free, to aid the Chicago Bulls winning their first NBA title since the era of Michael Jordan being with the franchise ? Tom Thibodeau coaches a tremendous Bulls’ lineup led by Rose , but with the talented shooting guard and small-forward Jimmy Butler coming into his own this season , it would appear the Bulls might now be as talented and with even greater depth than in recent years.

If there remains any doubts about the Chicago Bulls at this juncture, consider where they now stand and then take into account how effective they have been been with the ascent of Jimmy Butler. Derrick Rose and his teammates might be in for a stern test when they face the Brooklyn Nets at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois , on Wednesday night. The Nets are in need of win , while the Bulls simply want to distance themselves from their nearest rivals within their division.

A great offense can undoubtedly aid a team’s effort to come into its own during a season. Nowhere has it been more evident than with the Golden State Warriors (24-5) and Portland Trailblazers (25-7) who continue to blow their opponents away with almost effortless ease . Leading the charge for both teams are Steph Curry and Damian Lillard . These two extraordinary point guards are providing the league with some exhilarating play and perhaps some of the richest evidence to suggest, that in the last five years this has the been richest era of the game, where these positional players have been so dominant and prominent.

Steve Kerr’s easy transition in succeeding Mark Jackson as head coach of the Golden State Warriors has made his task simple and his merely instructing his players to play with gusto has brought them to the point where they are now at, atop of division and the upper echelons of the Western Conference. Trailblazers’ head coach Terry Stotts has simply shown his coaching acumen , while GM Neil Olshey has merely put together a competitive roster ready to play for a well-respected head coach and his coaching staff .

The Warriors’ most game had them playing the woefully inept Philadelphia 76ers (4-26) , a franchise I now believe should be demoted to the NBA’s D League , simply as a matter of common decency and to stop the promulgation of mediocrity exhibited by the Sixers throughout this entire season. The fact this contest ended in a 3 forty-point blowout loss (126-86) for Philadelphia should come as no surprise, but it ought to be for the NBA hierarchy who still try to brand and sell their on-court product, as riveting and of great appeal to the fans . A blind and deaf mute, is likely to find more excitement in their own solitude, than fans of the Sixers, who continue to watch this team while trying to extol the franchise’s virtues of being a worthy diversion within the NBA. It has been these type of issues the hierarchy has refused to address, along with instances of gross misconduct by team owners , until there is known to be public outrage for such antics, but what else would you expect of sports’ entity ran by a bunch of Neanderthal Caucasian middle-aged males, who are from a bygone age .

Stotts and the Traiblazers would likely make for a formidable contender in the NBA Playoffs if they can maintain their current pace. A projected win total of fifty-six or fifty-eight victories could see them land the top seed within the Western Conference , but that would all be based upon supposition and barring any serious injuries to front-line players on the roster. A well-deserved overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors , one of the surprising stories and teams within the Eastern Conference this season is a telling sign as to how well Portland just happen to be doing at present. The Portland Trailblazers’ first game of 2015 will be on the 3rd January when they play the Atlanta Hawks . A fitting way for Portland to begin the New Year than seeking to take down an Eastern Conference foe and further emphasize the fact the East is weak , while the West is extremely competitive among their top-ten teams.

For all of the continued bellyaching by fans of the Los Angeles Lakers , it is always good to know, we are always only moments away from annually seeing the petulant and self-absorbed behavior of Kobe Bryant. I understand his need to win and to be viewed in the eyes of the fans and public alike, that he is indeed this generation’s answer to Michael Jordan . Bryant may well have surpassed the Bulls’ and NBA icon for third all-time on the career points’ list , but that is all all he is likely to achieve in comparison to Jordan. He will not win a sixth NBA ring or title , most definitely not with the Los Angeles Lakers and their current lineup, coached by none other than Byron Scott and his clueless coaching staff !

Double-digit wins, ten (10-22) in total, have been all the Los Angeles Lakers can muster, just over one-third of the way through the NBA’s eighty two game schedule. Begs the question, if the Lakers were supplanted into the WNBA , would they fare any better ? The fact the Lakers have been unable show any type type of consistency putting together only three back-to-back wins should tell you all you need to know about this team and why they are currently one of the major laughing stocks around the NBA and among the game’s fans. Never kick a dog when it’s down, flea-bitten or not, as there is a likelihood for them to jump right up and take a bite out of your @ss. Something this current Lakers’ lineup is incapable of doing . Continuously over much of the season, Byron Scott’s players have sought to play beneath the level of their opponents, rather than above them . I do not believe I can put it anymore succinctly than that !

An eight-point victory victory over the Denver Nuggets , closed out 2014 for the Los Angeles Lakers but their task will not be any easier when they open up 2015 with a game against the Memphis Grizzlies . I believe Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are prepared to provide an outcome the Lakers players and their fans will not be entirely happy with ! Kobe Bryant may well seek to return to the Lakers next season for an eighteenth year in this league, but at what cost to the organization ? A franchise where GM Mitch Kupchak remains at a loss at this stage of his professional career knowing how to assemble a competitive team, while team owner Jim Buss continues to look bemused , non-cognizant of his actual surroundings and what is happening to the organization he presides over .

=======================================


========================================

Picture gallery .

Based upon the evidenced witnessed within the NBA , what do you believe has been the biggest surprise in the infancy of the league schedule and which players , team or teams have proven to be the biggest disappointments ? Your comments are more than welcome , so take a stab at making your thoughts known .

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below.

========================================

(1) John Wall(2) and Rasual Butler (8) of the Washington Wizards guard Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks in the second half of their game at Madison Square Garden on December 25 , 2014 in New York City. Getty Images / Jeff Zelevansky …

(2) Rasual Butler (8) of the Washington Wizards shoots over Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks in the first half of their game at Madison Square Garden on December 25, 2014 in New York City. Getty Images/ Jeff Zelevansky

(3) NEW YORK, USA – MARCH 18TH : New York Knicks introduce Phil Jackson as the new Knicks’ President at a press conference at Madison Square Garden. Also pictured are , far left , team owner James Dolan and GM Steve Mills . Jackson and Mills have seen the team struggle this season and there now seems to be growing speculation the front office will seek to trade their prized and only valuable asset , Carmelo Anthony , with the player being asked to waive his no-trade clause . Anthony is not due to become a free agent until 2019 , having signed contract with the New York Knicks prior to the beginning this regular season. AP Photo by Anthony J. Causi ….

(4) Paul Millsap (4) of the Atlanta Hawks defends against Kevin Love (0) of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena on December 30 , 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C Cox/ Getty Images …..

(5) LeBron James (23) and Kevin Love (0) of the Cleveland Cavaliers react after a play in the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Quicken Loans Arena on December 23, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio . Getty Images / Mike Lawrie …

(6) Jimmy Butler , left , defended by Alan Anderson , was held to eight points during the Nets’ 96-82 blowout win over the Bulls Tuesday night in Chicago at the United Center . AP Photo / Holly Anderson …

(7) Deron Williams (8) of the Brooklyn Nets moves against Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 23 , 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Johnathan Daniel /Getty Images …

(8) (L-R) Damian Lillard (0) , Wesley Matthews , Nicolas Batum and Meyers Leonard of the Portland Trail Blazers wait on the court as a play is reviewed during their game against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on December 22 , 2014 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images North America/ Scott Halleran …

(9) Byron Scott of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks with Kobe Bryant (24) during a time out in the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 14, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lakers defeated the Timberwolves 100-94 . Getty Images/ Hannah Foslien ….

=======================================

😀

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Basketball related pieces within this site
================================

NBA

NBA news

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA results 29th December

NBA results 28th December

NBA schedule 30th December

NBA schedu31st December

NBA schedule 1st January , 2015
—-

NBA player stats

NBA team stats offense

NBA team stats defense

🙂

At this point last season divisional and conference standings in the NBA

🙂

This month in NBA history

=======

From  left to  right ,  Kevin  Durant  ,  LeBron    James  and   Anthony  Davis .
From left to right , Kevin Durant , LeBron James and Anthony Davis .

A funny thing happened on the way to the Land of Oz …

A funny thing happened on the way to the Land of Oz …

Tophatal ….

Baseball’s Winter Meetings have yet to take place, but already the big top has been blown off the tent. The meeting of the league’s top executives , ownersand members of the league hierarchy to discuss the vagaries of the game and then to negotiate deals that will see the movement of several players, many of them likely being rewarded with major contracts will be set into motion.

=============================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

============================================

Slideshow

Over the past five years there can be no denying the Miami Marlinshave been one of the worst performing teams in Major League Baseball (MLB). The very fact that the Marlins have at no time in their history has ever won a divisional title or place higher than second within the NL East should tell you a great deal about the organization, in spite of their having won two NL Pennants and two World Series titles . The last of those postseason series’ coming in 2003 . Since then, things have steadily rolled downhill for the franchise, along with a succession of managers and turnover in front office executives.

The big news’ story of the month within the game of baseball, was the audacious move by the Miami Marlins in signing Mike Stanton to a long-term deal. Stanton signed what is now believed to the largest contract in professional sports’ and quite clearly the biggest in baseball history. Stanton signed a thirteen-year $325 million contract, averaging $25 million a year . Though I do not expect the floodgates to be opened by this deal , it does now place a great deal of pressure on other teams in similar position, looking to sign one of their marquee players. Miami for a number of years has been on the lower end of the payroll scale, albeit in 2013 , they sought to remedy the situation when they splurged on signing some major free agents in an assault on trying to win the NL East that season as well as the World Series title . They failed miserably in both attempts , with then manager Ozzie Guillen providing more entertainment away from the field of play, than was provided by the team during the entire season .

MLB is definitely not known for its financial frugality among its big-market teams and when left idle to their own devices teams in the small-market tend to prove how incompetent they are. The Miami Marlins have become the epitome of that, along with their instate rivals the Tampa Bay Rays and that is with due respect shown to the acumen of former Rays’ general manager Andrew Friedman , whose departure from the franchise to take on the more high-profiled role as a SVP & Head of Baseball Operations with the Los Angeles Dodgers caught just about everyone off-guard including senior executives within the Rays’ organization. With the recent departure of Joe Maddon to become the manager of the Chicago Cubs , Tampa is now left in a quandary. Throw in the departure of their AL Rookie of the Year, pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and you could say it’s back to business as usual for the Rays. Their off-season annual ” fire sale “ is just about to begin.

Now while the Miami Marlins’ fans can only be pleased with the outcome , the signing of Mike Stanton to a long-term deal , the question has to be asked , what type commitment and sacrifices will have to be made by this ball-club? Financial resources for the Marlins are not enormous and we have seen repeatedly the actions of this franchise over the years during their triumphs and letdowns. Jeffrey Loria has proven to be no different from one his predecessors H D Wayne Huizenga, whose ownership the Florida Marlins were well-chronicled. Huizenga’s gutting of the team that won the franchise’s first World Series title left the fans in dismay and utter disgust, has since been repeated by Loria.

As the incumbent owner of the Miami Marlins , I have no real reason to believe Jeffrey Loria will remain a man of his word. Deceit , deception , lies and an un-willingess to show transparency concerning the inner workings of the Marlins along with the alleged brow-beating of the Miami City Council leading to their capitulating , in the ball-club’s wishes to have the city finance the building of Marlins Ballpark , where undue pressure was brought to bear by former commissioner Bud Selig, really does cast a light on how Loria and Major League Baseball likes to conduct its business. Unfortunately, those same character traits are not shared or instinctive with Tampa Bay Rays’ owner Stuart Sternberg who continues to whine like a spoiled brat, because he cannot get his own way. Michael Hill and Mike Redmond will now seek to bolster the Marlins’ roster during this off-season , but they will also have to deal with trying to resign a number of their impending free agents as well players whose arbitration rights they might want to expedite quickly.

Mike Stanton had an excellent season in 2014 , where he was one of the most productive members on his team as well as in the NL and MLB overall. His second place finish to Clayton Kershaw in the NL MVP race was of no great surprise, considering the astonishing regular season by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher, who also added the NL Cy Young Award to his trophy case for the third time in his career. I believe their might be at least two more Cy Young Awards waiting in the wings for Kershaw, who has to be seen as the best pitcher in baseball without a doubt. Granted his postseason forays for the Dodgers left a great deal to be desired. The team’s malaise was nothing new and simply part of their DNA over the past two years. Don Mattingly’s players seem to be great during the regular season, but they become a deer caught in headlights once the postseason comes around , as witnessed in 2013 and then again during baseball’s end of season ritual. Let’s just say this Dodgers’ team cannot even hit or pitch their way out of trouble . even if they were being aided by the mishaps of their opponents during the postseason.

As I alluded to earlier the floodgates may not necessarily open up with players being offered overly large contracts, but the Marlins have now set a precedent where it will prove hard for any team not be able to meet a free agents’ requests. With the likes of high-profiled sports’ agents such as Scott Boras , Sam and Seth Levinson of Aces Inc Baseball , Dan Lozano , corporate entities such as LSW Baseball , CAA , the upstart IMG and sports’ management agency Roc Nation Sports, all vying to make deals on behalf of their clients. It is easy to understand why general managers such as Brian Cashman, Brian Sabean , Dave Dombrowski , Billy Beane , Sandy Alderson , Michael Hill and Jerry Dipoto are never operating from a position of power. They will more often than not overpay for a player , rather than actually showing some real acumen.

Having won their third World Series title in the past five years the San Francisco Giants are now seated among the elite dynasties of the game. Make no mistake, this is a dynasty , albeit a quiet and unglamorous one. Brian Sabean might just be the best general manager in the game today. His guile and an eye for talent , his acumen in the free agency market, have not only made the Giants a success , but they have laid down a blueprint that a number of teams are now likely to follow. Furthermore , Sabean is not one to neglect his farm system and then seek to implode those affiliates , as he sees the lower rungs of the organization as a treasure trove of future talent. In the aftermath of their most recent success this franchise will now seek build upon their most recent achievement.

San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy and his entire managerial staff are likely to return for next season , but opportunities may well arise where one or two of his assistants will be offered the opportunity to interview a vacant managerial position. Beyond that, the question now becomes what are the integral pieces to kept on this roster and can the Giants afford to pay what is deemed to be “fair market value”? The fly in the ointment was the outrageous contract signed by Mike Stanton and offered by a team, that two years began shedding their high priced players like driftwood being cast away, because it was of no further use. Miami remains a small-market team, with grandiose schemes and big-market ambitions. They are a baseball team that rarely sell out their home games in a venue , which remains sparsely attended. The flip side of that coin are the San Francisco Giants and their ravenous fans and fan-base nationwide. They have the success and a legacy which has been quietly built upon over the years.

The Giants’ 2012 World Series MVP infielder Pablo Sandoval will be looking to get paid commensurate to his status and in line with the top active contracts active within the organization . As an impending and unrestricted free agent Sandoval knows he can go elsewhere and quite possibly obtain long-term contract making him financially secure. Yet, the thought remains with the player being such a part the team’s postseason success , it would seem idiotic for the Giants to let him go , knowing he is not only a clubhouse favorite but also a leader on and off the field. Beyond that , take into account his productivity and being able to come up with some clutch hitting , it places Brian Sabean in something of a dilemma .

If Sandoval does return to the Giants in 2015, along with the core elements of last season’s roster, then San Francisco have to be seen as a prohibitive favorite for the NL Pennant this upcoming season. Granted, they are likely to face a stiff challenge from the St Louis Cardinals , Washington Nationals , Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates , Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds .

Alex Rodriguez’s return to New York Yankees and their lineup for 2015 cannot come around fast enough for many of the ball-club’s fans . The player’s last appearance in a Yankees’ uniform was uninspiring and simply confirmation that Rodriguez is now past his prime. The Yankees’ third baseman having spent the entire 2014 Yankees’ schedule under suspension will look to reinvent himself on and off the field of play. With the retirement of Derek Jeter after a two-decade long career with the franchise. One could surmise, Brian Cashman sees Rodriguez as the “face of the Yankees” moving forward. I firmly believe the organization erred in not tearing up Alex Rodriguez’s contractas they were quite within their right to do so. Incompetency, in their repeatedly mishandling of the players transgressions , breaking the league’s substance abuse policy, spoke volumes as to the numerous reasons why baseball’s policy has no real teeth to it and the complete lack of leadership from Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred. Rodriguez’s contract remains intact , albeit , he lost in excess of $23 million, having not played for the New York Yankees this past season .

Joe Girardi and his staff will certainly look to Rodriguez , Mark Teixeira , Jacoby Ellsbury , Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner, Brian Robertsand Brian McCann to give the Yankees’ more ‘pop’ to their offense where the team was found wanting last season. The Yankees’ pitching was left somewhere in between the depths of mediocrity and the ‘bowel’of Hades .

The Yankees’ free agents for this upcoming season include veteran Ichiro Suzuki , unlikely to return next season, with Dave Robertson , Hiroki Kuroda , Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew, Heath Bell and Chase Headley are several of the players Brian Cashman will have to make decision upon their possible return to the New York Yankees. Cashman has shown very little faith in the organization’s farm system and he is unlikely to do so for years to come. With their failure to make the postseason and decidedly ignominious finish in the NL East the pressure will be on the front office to do something drastic to bring this franchise back to some semblance of respectability. Last season the acquisitions of Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Ichiro Suzuki were meant place the team at the forefront of the AL but their play nowhere near good enough to remotely place them in control of their own destiny.

With the 2014 payroll commitment of baseball’s thirty teams topping $3 billion ($3,000,000,000 for the second year in succession. The two teams at the top of the heap, were the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. At a time when the game’s financial disparities so glaring there has been little to suggest baseball has the wherewithal to get its own financial house in order. The team owners and hierarchy have failed miserably in reigning in team expenses and yet owners are either seething because they cannot their own way in trying to deceitfully have municipalities to finance their venues.

Billionaire and millionaire owners unwilling to go out and do what is necessary in showing their real business acumen, to obtain private financing, rather than repeatedly have the public funds being used to finance such endeavors. It will be interesting to see the moves made by teams during this off-season the guile used by agents, seeking to have their clients be rewarded with the best contract possible. The sheer lunacy of MLB and the antics of the players leave a great deal to be desired and it will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future.

.

===============================================


=============================================

Picture gallery .

With the salaries and contracts now on the rise within the game of baseball and no clear sign from the league hierarchy they show any initiative in reining in team expenses or have any idea how to so. What direction do you believe the game is likely to take and can the executives who preside over the game really deal with the issues which adversely effect baseball ?

Picture and slideshow details below.

==============================================
(1) Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is seen here with Mike Stanton . The Marlins’ player signed a thirteen-year $325 million deal which will pay him $25 million annually. The deal is the highest paid contract in North American sports’ history . Loria and Team President Michael Hill believed it incumbent the organization retain the Stanton for their viability and long term future. AP Photo/ Matt Holmes ..

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers’ SVP & Head of Baseball Operations , Andrew Friedman is seen here alongside team President Stan Kasten . Friedman whose departure from the Tampa Bay Rays took just about everyone by surprise, has now moved to an organization where the resources of the baseball franchise far exceeds anything remotely close the Rays have at their disposal. With Friedman’s departure also came Joe Maddon leaving to join the Chicago Cubs as their new manager. Matt Silverman succeeded Andrew Friedman as the Rays’ general manager but the ball-club has to name a successor to Maddon . Getty Images North America / Paul Hughes … …

(3) ATLANTA, UNITED STATES : Florida Marlins manage Jim Leyland (L), general manager Dave Dombrowski (C), and team owner Wayne Huizenga with the National League Championship Series (NLCS) trophy after their 7-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves 14 October in game six of the NLCS at Turner Field in Atlanta, GA. The Marlins advanced to the World Series a with the win. AFP PHOTO/Robert SULLIVAN …

(4) Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout left , winner of the 2014 ALMVP and the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and NLMVP recipient Clayton Kershaw . Both players invariably made the postseason , but their teams failed miserably . Trout and the Angels fell to Kansas City Royals 3-0 in the ALDS . Kershaw and the Dodgers fared no better, losing to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLCS where his postseason performances were miserable with the posting an ERA in excess of 7.50 . AP Photo/ Tim Martin …

(5) Jeremy Hellickson of the Tampa Bay Rays an AL Rookie of the Year for the franchise in 2011 was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. This seems to be a customary ploy with the ball-club on annual basis , further emphasizing the organization’s lack of resources and the emphasis of year-to-year cost cutting . AP Photo / Matthew Donald … …

(6) Scott Boras a prominent MLB sports agent, seen here in front of the facade of his company Scott Boras Corporation. Boras has negotiated contracts worth in excess of $4.7 billion in the last six years . Feared around the league as one of the most fearsome and ruthless agents in all professional sports. Boras puts the characteristic trait down to the fact he works hard for his clients and to their benefit.. AP Photo / Robin Thomas …

(7) CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 05: Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees speaks to the media before the Yankees take on the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 5 , 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Rodriguez was forced to miss the entire 2014 season after league mandated suspension . Rodriguez will return to the Yankees’ lineup in 2015 hoping to make a solid contribution for the team. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(8) Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates who over the past two seasons has been one of the primary factors in the ascent of the Pirates and top-five finishes in each of the last two years of the NL MVP voting. McCutchen hopes to lead the ball-club to another postseason berth in 2015 and deep run in the postseason playoff schedule. as well as the winning of a second NL MVP Award with the Pirates. Getty Images/ Adrian Parker ….

=============================================

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal 11/19/2014

Baseball articles within this site

o_O

MLB news

MLB World Series champions (chronological)

MLB scheduled important upcoming dates

2014 MLB Postseason

2014 World Series

MLB transactions

Projected team payrolls (2015)

MLB team payrolls (2014)

Highest paid players (contract top-twenty)

Highest paid players base salary

Highest paid players average salary

This week in MLB history

On this date in baseball history

MLB hierarchy

———–

Shake it off , shake it up and down .

A few light touches makes the scenery all the more appealing don’t you think ?

Act like you’ve got a pair , …balls that is

Act like you’ve got a pair , balls that is ……..
Strangely enough, hearing a sports’ fans continue to opine on the ills within the game, be it baseball, football, basketball or hockey. My take on it all, if your teams suck , don’t just look at the players , but also the coaches and owners in particular . How they act , will trend to give you a clear idea as to whether or not they know how to handle real adversity. The NBA season remains in its infancy , but we already witnessing several teams struggling to step away from their own ineptitude . There were high hopes for the New York Knicks after Phil Jackson was brought in , to lead their Basketball Operations where GM Steve Mills would be ultimately answerable to Jackson within the Knicks’ hierarchal organization . Owner James Dolan remains the one constant within the organization , whose decision-making continues to come into question. Granted , the franchise remains popular among its fan-base , profitable and still the most valuable team in the NBA.

==================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


==================================================

Slideshow .

Nine games into the regular season and the New York Knicks are 2-7 , just above the win-less Philadelphia 76ers(0-7) within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . For rookie head coach Derek Fisher it would be fair to suggest having seen his team get off to such a sluggish start should be cause for concern. The players themselves have been lackluster with only forward Carmelo Anthony actually showing signs of life .

In their two most recent games the New York Knicks suffered a six-point home loss to the Atlanta Hawks , then followed that up again with another defeat , where their guests, the Orlando Magic inflicted more pain upon what has become a troubling start to the Knicks’ season. Fans of the New Yorks, all too often, tend to point to the positives about their team , one , mainly from an offensive standpoint they can put up points on just about anyone , what they fail to indicate has been the very fact the team simply has no idea how to defend leading their ever increasing issues , which have yet to be addressed by Derek Fisher and his coaching staff

New York came into the season with one of the highest payrolls in the NBA , but nonetheless , Phil Jackson and Steve Mills felt they could live with just as long as the players lived up to expectations . Hard to believe this current roster is no better than the lineup from last season that failed to make the NBA Playoffs . As good as the New York Knicks believe themselves to be , this is not a team currently showing it can compete with the best that the NBA has to offer. Next up for Derek Fisher’s team will be a home game against the Utah Jazz , a contest which will likely tell us a great deal about the mindset of the host.

For two straight years the Chicago Bulls (6-2) have been heavily reliant on Derrick Rose being around for the long haul . In 2012 and again in 2013 , the Bulls’ point guard was felled by an injury . Come full circle and here we are , already wondering about the fitness of Rose after another injury scare. I doubt Tom Thiboadeau wants to head into the next three to six weeks of the Bulls’ schedule without their most prized asset .

In their two defeats the margin of victory for the Bulls’ opponents have been less than seven points in each case. This points to the fact Chicago remains a resilient defensive force , one of the best in conference as well as the entire NBA .

The departures of Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer , two of the Bulls’ best scoring options from last season may well prove to hinder the team’s chances this season, but there is every reason to believe with the addistion of Paul Gasol and the ever-improving play of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson , Joakim Noah , Mike Dunleavy and Aaron Brooks , there is every reason to believe the Chicago Bulls can make a long and spirited run during the NBA Playoffs for this season . Chicago’s next scheduled game will be a match-up with the surprise of the team of the early part of the basketball season, the conference leading Toronto Raptors.

There will come a time when a price has to be paid for the alleged belief the NBA and its idiocy of a soft salary cap has been of benefit to the game. Not unlike the idiocy within baseball (MLB) , where Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred are still mired with their own hierarchical ineptitude . It begs the question, which idiotic fans of professional basketball actually has a clue as to what happened with regard to the economic vagaries of the NBA . Last season the Philadelphia Sixers’ willingly ” tanked “ the final quarter of their schedule , all with the hope gaining a lottery pick from the NBA Draft . Sixers’ owner Joshua Harris has given cart-blanche to ruin the franchise while fans think nothing of the destruction now taking place . Win-less and off to an 0-7 start , there seems to be clear evidence that this team cannot win a game no , matter who the opponent just happens to be .

Sixers’ head coach Brett Brown and his coaching staff have been far from inspiration for this team . Nerlens Noel , Luc MBah a Moute , Jason Richardson , Tony Wroten and Michael Carter-Williams are simply not enough to lure anyone to see the Sixers play . It is pretty much safe to say this season beyond being viewed as an eyesore is far from being desirable for the NBA . Yet , there you have it , with the league hierarchy unwilling to intervene when an organization shows an obvious unwillingness to compete . As to suggesting who the best player on the Sixers’ roster might be , well given what you might see as desirable , I would leave that choice in your hands ! Michael Carter-Williams having been a Rookie of the Year might just be the lone asset on this team .

Two consecutive losses for a combined eighty-five points defines mediocrity in the NBA. Philadelphia’s next game will be on the road when they face the Houston Rockets led by e James Harden and .Dwight Howard . The contest will be a decidedly lopsided affair favoring the home team.. Make no bones about it , the NBA remains a brand is in need of some real coaching talent beyond Gregg Popovich , Erik Spoelstra, Rick Carlisle and Doc Rivers .

Denver Nuggets’ (1-6) head coach Brian Shaw was overlooked when he sought to succeed Phil Jackson as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers . The Nuggets’ record this season reflects how bad this team just happen to be . In the Nuggets’ most recent game the team gave up eighty-four points in the first half of a contest against the Portland Trailblazers . Blazers’ players Damian Lillard , LaMarcus Aldridge and their teammates had a field-day in wiping the court with the Nuggets in their twenty-three point victory over their divisional rivals .

Beyond Kenneth Faried , Ty Lawson and JJ Hickson , there is absolutely nothing to suggest the Nuggets are capable of competing in the NBA . Team owner Stanley Kroenke and GM Tim Connelly have not shown the acumen to suggest they have the best interests of the fans let alone the league , but yet consumers are asked to tolerate this type of ineptitude not just from the Denver Nuggets, but with several teams around the league . Some fans are willing to show their apathy and ignorance by simply pointing to teams who are winning and not the dire consequences which . take place when the franchises are far from being competitive .

When the Nuggets face the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse , in Indianapolis , Indiana the meeting between these two teams should prove to be an caution as to the meaning of ineptitude based on the play of the two clubs this season.

Adam Silver the successor to David Stern as NBA Commissioner, seeks to spread his global brand and professional basketball remains the most popular sports’ brand North America has exported around the globe , far exceeding the reach of MLB , NFL and NHL . Silver has been engaging, while offering little to suggest he is the right person to be leading the NBA. As an executive he has been quick to point out that he believes the federal government should legalize gambling on all professional sports nationwide with their being tight restrictions , due diligence and oversight for the proposed statute. Given the lobbying presence of the hierarchy (NBA) up on Capitol Hill , is anyone actually surprised by Silver’s comments on the issue ? Sorry , but the commissioner is now creating a conflict of interest for his sport because , there are likely to be serious ramifications and misgivings should there be the slightest slightest impropriety within the game by a player coach or executive seeking to decide the outcome of a game by giving a less than forthright effort.

Granted, given the lax play at this point of the season , might I suggest , things might well have gotten off to the start neither Silver the league and the world of sports? College sports specifically football and basketball are aware of the problems encompassing their respective sports and it would be fair to suggest the monitoring by the NCAA under the leadership of Mark Emmert has been less than adequate. Yet , these are some of the issues likely to be faced by the NBA and Adam Silver , has not suggested if the league will seek to monitor the wagering , lines offered on the games and the final results. All well and good in the commissioner’s eyes , but once Pandora’s Box has been opened , the chances of it being closed will be remote .

=================================================


=================================================

Picture gallery .

At this point last season the NBA was still in its infancy but then too., there were signs the league would be in for long and arduous year of rather mediocre play . What if anything has been the most disappointing aspect of the league this year ? By all means simply leave a comment as you see fit on on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article.

o_O

Picture and slideshow details below.

====================================================

(1) New York Knicks’ front office executives from left to right owner James Dolan, Phil Jackson SVP & Head of Basketball Operations and GM Steve Mills . The team is off to a bad start and hindering their chances within the division and Eastern Conference. Derek Fisher and his coaching staff struggled to find any form of consistency from the playing staff this season . AP Photo / Barry Gill …

(2) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls has been limited in his play this season through eight games , having only appeared in four contests for the team at this point of the season. Head coach Tom Thibodeau may well seek lessen the minutes for the point guard over the next month as he seeks to regain full fitness . Bulls’ general John Paxson may add his input advising Thibodeau because of the franchise’s immediate and long-term investment in the player . Getty Images/NBAE/ Clark Jones …

(3) Head coach Brett Brown center is seen here with members of the Philadelphia 76ers’ coaching staff and players . The teams remain win-less and struggling to make leeway this season. Team owner Josh Harris has shown few signs that he seeks for the Sixers to be competitive over the course of this season, much to the dismay of their fans and several former players including Allen Iverson , who has been critical of the organization. AP Photo / Marcus Shaw ….

(4) Denver Nuggets’ head coach Brian Shaw and the team’s point guard Ty Lawson are seen here on the sidelines during a game . The Nuggets are far from being competitive this season and the fans are now voicing their displeasure with the team and play of the Nuggets. AP Photo / Bob Foster ..

(5) Josh Kroenke left , is seen here alongside his father Stanley Kroenke of the Denver Nuggets . The two are senior executives within organization . The elder Kroenke is also the owner the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche as well as Premierleague soccer team Arsenal . Getty Images / Tim Johnson …

(6) (6) Adam Silver commissioner of the NBA has issued the statement he would like to see legalized wagering for all professional sports, as well as at the collegiate level . Silver believes it would be of great benefit to the NBA but in his comments he made has stated little of how he believes the federal government can mandate a statute covering legalized gaming . The NBA has offered very little , by way their team owners, general managers or the players, . leading many to believe this whole scenario was not thoroughly well thought out . Clearly, Silver since being elected commissioner of the NBA , has sought to stamp his authority , identity on the league and creating the type of dialog that places him front and center of what is likely be a controversial debate . Getty Images / Harry How …

(7) Allen Iverson whose retirement from the NBA after a distinguished career winning a League MVP Award and multiple All Star appearances and litany of franchise records for the Sixers . Iverson has been extremely critical of his former team , management and the front office staff concerning their lack of competitive spirit. AP Photo / Matthew Miller … ….

==================================================

🙂

tophatal 11/13/2014

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Related article : https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/whining-gets-you-nowhere-when-you-want-to-feel-good-about-your-team-especially-when-you-realize-theyre-on-the-decline/

😎

o_O

NBA news

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA results 12th November

NBA schedule 13th November

One year ago today : NBA divisional standings and conference standings

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

The growing pains of a Major League Baseball team

The growing pains of a Major League Baseball team

With baseball’s off-season now in full swing and the San Francisco Giants rejoicing in their third triumph in the World Series in the past five years. The question now becomes can this franchise build upon the foundations of that success and win several more ? Bruce Bochy has proved himself to be the best manager in baseball and the best of this decade. No one else even remotely comes close to his achievements and the same can said of GM Brian Sabean .
==================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

==================================

Slideshow.

There was no denying the San Francisco Giants success has been built upon drafting well and making sound decisions when it came to the various trades by the organization over the past three years. It has been Sabean’s success in conjunction with the managerial staff , which has brought about the success by the franchise. This ball club has never been one , which made a big splash by overspending on a marquee free agent. The long-term commitments made to players such as catcher Buster Posey have been worth every penny and Posey has rewarded the Giants with his productivity and skill behind the plate.

Buster Posey and World Series’ MVP, pitcher Madison Bumgarner were not only the mainstays of the Giants during the regular season, but during the postseason, both players were front and center in San Francisco’s success as the postseason built up full steam, leading to their success of being triumphant triumphant over the Kansas City Royals . With a number of players now about to become free agents or in arbitration with the San Francisco Giants , Brian Sabean and the front office will have to use all of their guile in trying to re-sign several of those free agents by offering increased financial rewards or other meaningful incentives.

One of the players the Giants will look to re-sign , has to be their 2012 World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval who this postseason was timely with his hitting, but also offered up a great deal of leadership and intangibles for the Giants. His loss would be seen as part of doing business, when money seems to be driving force in the game. Sandoval and his agents at SPS Sports Group will be looking to negotiate a contract for their client commensurate to his standing and his worth to the team. Six years $140 million might prove to be too be expensive a deal for the Giants to undertake , but at the same time do they really want allow a player of Pablo Sandoval’s ability to leave , while he is still productive? Along with Sandoval among the Giants’ impending free agents are Ryan Vogelsong, Jake Peavy, Sergio Romo , Mike Morse and Tony Abreu , with the feeling Brian Sabean will also look at the players in arbitration before making any major moves during this off-season as the wheeling and dealing begins during the Winter Meetings of the baseball executives.

A thrilling seven-game World Series which was among the most watched postseason series over the past decade, had the nation gripped as the suspense began to unfold. The upstart Kansas City Royals got close to pulling off the improbable, but their postseason inexperience was the only reason for their failure. Ned Yost and his managerial staff had the team playing with a great deal of zeal , but the Giants proved to be the better team in this Fall Classic . Royals’ owner David Glass has long spent his years shying away from spending money on the team . Granted, the Royals played great baseball this season , but consider the fact under the owner’s leadership, during his tenure the franchise failed miserably until this season.

Alex Gordon , Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer have been the focal point of the Royals’ success, proving themselves specialists with the short ball and building the rapport that made them the all too appealing underdogs of the postseason . Dayton Moore the general manager will be asked to convince several of the core members of the Kansas City Royals that it is worth remaining with the ball-club rather than seeking to go elsewhere . Free agency has a way of turning the possible future of a team upside down and it has been the repeated case for this particular franchise over the past eight years.

James Shields , Josh Willingham , Luke Hochevar, Scott Downs and Billy Butler will be among the free agents looking to be paid a king’s ransom this upcoming season, while there will also be those players in arbitration with the Royals whose contracts are likely to be a bone of contention between Moore and the players’ agents.

It will be interesting to see how Dayton Moore seeks to make the Kansas City Royals competitive this upcoming season and whether or they will be keep up the momentum achieved in 2014.

If I’ve said it once I’ll say it again show me an idiot who believes the New York Mets are able to compete and I will show you fan devoid of intelligence ! Repeatedly over the past four seasons this franchise has failed their fans miserably and the excuses continue as where , when and how they are likely to win the NL East , NL Pennant and the World Series. Consider the fact the Mets have not won a pennant in almost decade and their last appearance in the Fall Classic was a forlorn affair in their loss (4-1) to the New York Yankees in 2000. The front office now led by Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi have continued to stumble their way meaningless trades d and draft classes that have not produced a player worth a damn and now there’s talk of a farm system that will likely produce a ready to make an assault on the NL and the rest of the baseball . Matt Harvey the pitcher who spent last season on the team’s disabled list will the player manager Terry Collins hopes can provide a real presence for Mets. This upcoming season is likely to Collins’ last in charge as the manager of the ball-club , because he has not really shown the acumen to lead the New York Mets .

Granted the NL East was a pitiful division in 2014, with the division winner the Washington Nationals being the only team with a record above .500 at the end of the regular season . If that is not an indictment of how bad the play within the division was said to be , then clearly those who believe the Mets have something to offer, are clearly delusional.

David Wright , long seen as the best player the New York Mets’ to have benn on their roster continues to be consistent but unable to lead the franchise to where the fans believe they ought to be. Team owners, Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz , and COO Jeff Wilpon have been negligent not only in their fiduciary duties but also in their executive roles for the organization. Financial institutions may well have come to the Mets’ aid to bail them out of their self-inflicted financial but woes but they are far from being out of danger. Unfortunately, the negligence of baseball’s hierarchy led by Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred have been negligent in their duties of monitoring the actions of the New York Mets after the Bernie Madoff ” fiasco” .

Free agents notwithstanding , the issue for the New York Mets will become how to deal with replenishing their roster for the upcoming season. It is widely believed they will seek reacquire Jose Reyes now with the Toronto Blue Jays but also jettison the players they believe superfluous to their needs.Addition by subtraction, might well be viewed in some circles as the best move forward, but I believe the biggest benefit to the Mets could be the hire of a new manager rather than retaining Terry Collins for another season.

I cannot say, I was surprised by the departure of Andrew Friedman from the Tampa Bay Rays to join the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Head of Baseball Operations has simply shed a light on the continued problems within the game and its financial imbalances . Friedman’s jump to a bigger team was then followed by Joe Maddon as he joined the Chicago Cubs to become the franchise’s new manager. Now comes the hard part for Friedman , can he work in environment where there seems to be more money awash with the Dodgers , than there appears to be common sense within the organization ? A quarter of a billion dollar payroll has been a boondoggle for a baseball club that has failed miserably for the past two seasons, first in 2013 and then this past year. Don Mattingly appears to be in over his head , as he tries to massage the egos of several high-priced and overpaid stars on the Dodgers’ roster.

The best pitcher in baseball in 2013and again in 2014 has become anathema in the postseason. Clayton Kershaw can be mesmerizing during the regular season ,but this postseason showed him to have frailties no one might have envisaged as the Dodgers stumbled . Yet the real struggles for the Dodgers during the postseason wasn’t just the weak pitching but the lack of hitting , where fingers could be pointed up and down the roster. Where the Dodgers now go from here will ultimately be down to the decisions and direction Andrew Friedman makes .

A patron of this site has repeatedly suggested fans of the Tampa Bay Rays are knowledgeable about the team and its flaws, but when pressed to answer questions such as why annually it has been about cost cutting as the Rays have pared down salary in each of the past five seasons. He has not been to succinctly come up with a reason why Stuart Sternberg has not seen fit spend money on the talent needed to make this ball club competitive. Instead , Sternberg has continued to whine as to not being given any assistance in the building of a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays. Stuart Sternberg is no more an astute a businessman as Sarah Palin could be described as a ” voice of reason” when espousing the Conservative view of the world and the domestic issues affecting the country. The Rays’ owner has become conceited arrogant and a complete ass ________ and not far behind are the fans of the organization, who have no idea as to the real issues the ball-club continues to face. Maddon’s departure it is said , continued to circled around the lack of direction and the failure to obtain financing for a new stadium to replace Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida,. The on field talent remains to be a topic of conversation, as the debate will arguably be about , which player the Rays can or cannot afford to retain at the end of this off-season . A definite increase in the Tampa Bay Rays’ payroll has to be sought beyond the fact the organization has yet to hire a new manager , although the interview process has began , with their being an alleged interest in Raul Ibanez , but it remains to be seen whether not Ibanez is keen on the idea of making the move from player to become baseball’s latest manager.

A five-year $25 million deal, has secured Joe Maddon’s financial future but his professional future with the Chicago Cubs under the reins of Cubs’ President of Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer could be less secure. In the four years since the duo became senior executives within the organization we have seen the club struggle relentlessly, as the ” curse of the goat continues. Dale Sveum’s firing could not have come about quick enough as the Cubs’ last place finish (73-89) within the NL Central was a more than a vague reminder why this club remains the laughing stock within Major League Baseball and around the world of sports. One hundred years of infamy , mediocrity and owners who have remained completely clueless. Tom Ricketts and his family are bereft of any intelligence since assuming control of the Cubs, even with the hiring of Theo Epstein. And Epstein might well have inherited a mess , but five years into his tenure there have been few signs of progress concerning the Chicago Cubs and that is a clear reflection of their record this past season .

Starlin Castro remains a tremendous and unbridled talent . In the right environment , he can definitely thrive , but I seriously doubt his remaining with the Chicago Cubs will ultimately lead to success unless , he is surrounded with the talent likely to bring out the best in the player. Castro remains the face of the Cubs’ franchise and in my opinion a multiple All Star for years to come ! He is by far , one of the most exciting young players in the game and one of the most electrifying short-stops in the NL and baseball. If the Cubs are to compete against the likes of the Cincinnati Reds , Milwaukee Brewers , Pittsburgh Pirates and St Louis Cardinals within the NL Central , then Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will have to work more than a few miracles beyond the thought Joe Maddon can best cure what ails the organization. More financial resources as seen with this ball club has been no guarantee of success as seen with their missteps in their trades in recent years and a number of their recent draft classes.

The return of Alex Rodriguez to the game of baseball and specifically to the New York Yankees after the retirement of Derek Jeter and his two-decade career. GM Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi are intent on welcoming Rodriguez back with open arms as the Yankees seek to reinvent themselves and enter a new chapter of their history. The infamous third baseman’s suspension and his well chronicled web of deceit and lies have left Alex Rodriguez’s legacy tarnish and his reputation in tatters. No matter how many philanthropic efforts he now becomes part of , it will never satisfy the wish of fans to have seen him banished from the game permanently . The weakness of the league hierarchy and the all too powerful MLBPA (union) backing a player who has repeatedly lied over the years concerning his use of a banned substance as prohibited by MLB. Last season proved to be a mediocre year for the New York Yankees with their pitching and offensebeing woefully inept. Joe Girardi could not get the best out of an aging and overrated pitching staff without delving into the fact Carlos Beltran , Ichiro Suzuki and CC Sabathia are now well past their prime. Unfortunately, when an organization has no faith in their scouting staff much less the farm system itself , it sends the right and wrong questions about the ball-club and the assumptions we have seen with the Yankees.

In his time with the New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez has achieved some success winning a World Series title in 2009 along with two AL MVP Awards , but one can’t help ask, was this all achieved without the assistance of a banned substance? Rodriguez has been quick to point an accusing fingers at others for his own missteps. Personally, I believe Alex Rodriguez will be unable to regain the “form” which made him one of the most prolific players in baseball over the last decade and a half .Personally, I believe Alex Rodriguez will be unable to regain the “form” which made him one of the most prolific players in baseball over the last decade and a half . Rodriguez will be returning to a ball club looking for some semblance of leadership and he somehow is expected to assume the mantel of Derek Jeter, but those will be a tough pair shoes to fill and footsteps to follow.

Personally, I believe Alex Rodriguez will be unable to regain the “form” which made him one of the most prolific players in baseball over the last decade and a half . Rodriguez will be returning to a ball club looking for some semblance of leadership and he somehow is expected to assume the mantel of Derek Jeter but those will be a tough pair shoes to fill and footsteps to follow.

===================================

==================================

Picture gallery .

In what way do you feel baseball was best served with the ascent of Kansas City Royals and how do think it will impact the game this upcoming season ? Which teams in your opinion will have the most to lose without making a bold move in order to be competitive ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below.

======================================

(1) World Series MVP , pitcher Madison Bumgarner is seen here alongside San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy . The two appeared at the press conference after the team’s game seven victory over the Kansas City Royals in this season’s World Series . It was the third victory for Giants in the past five seasons of the Fall Classic . All three series’ victories were managed by Bochy , making him the most successful manager of the past decade and franchise’s most successful manager. AP Photo / Keith Davis …

(2) 2012 World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval who is eligible to become a free agent this off-season and likely to be one of the most sought after players during the off-season. The leading candidate to sign the player appears to be the Boston Red Sox , Sandoval and his agents are not able to renegotiate a new contract with the 2014 World Series’ champion . Getty Images/ Tony Charles …

(3) Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost , right, celebrates with Mike Moustakas after the Royals’ 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels in 11 innings during Game 1 of baseball’s AL Division Series in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Moustakas hit a home rum in the 11th inning. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi … ….

(4)Flushing, New York 9/30/13 Mets Manager Terry Collins talks to media at a press conference as GM Sandy Alderson looks on at Citi Field on Sept. 30, 2013 Paul J. Bereswill …

(5) Teammates , pitcher Matt Harvey and third baseman David Wright are seen here at Citi Field , in Flushing , New York . The two players are All Stars with the franchise , but have failed to lead the ball club into a deep postseason run . Getty Images / Harry How …

(6)Starlin Castro whose season with the Chicago Cubs has been sensational while being the best player on the team’s roster in 2014. AP Photo/ Chris Gordon …

(7) Tampa Bay Rays’ lead managing partner Stuart Sternberg is seen here with members of the press . Sternberg has seen the departure of manager Joe Maddon and general manager Andrew Friedman . Matt Silverman has since succeeded Friedman as general manager , but the organization has yet to hire a manager for the ball club. AP Photo /Chris James …

(8) New York Yankees’ Joe Girardi is seen here with the team’s third baseman Alex Rodriguez who will make his return to the team this upcoming season , where they hope to make a return to the postseason and win their twenty-eighth World Series’ title. AP Photo / Ron Carter …
=======================================

😎

tophatal ……

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

😉

MLB news and press releases

2014 World Series

Projected team payrolls

2015 MLB free agents

Players in arbitration

Highest paid players’ base salary

This week in MLB history

On November 9

😎

If at all interested, do take time to participate in the above poll.

Perhaps there will come a time when executives realize bigger is not always better and that spending money capriciously doesn’t always solve a problem ..

Perhaps there will come a time when executives realize bigger is not always better and that spending money capriciously doesn’t always solve a problem ..

It seems strange with all of the fallout now encompassing automotive company GM , with their executives having been repeatedly less than economical with the truth . The federal government at the behest of Barack Obama bailed out the company to the tune of some $40 billion of taxpayers’ monies with the promise the investment would be recouped with a sizable profit and much like many of the President’s so called promises , the reality has been GM has failed miserably on both counts . Bear in mind also , the automobile manufacturer has now had over 650 recalls concerning various models in their production line, tallying some 4.5 million vehicles . With Neanderthal idiots within Congress calling on the Justice Department to go after and prosecute GM’s fellow competitor Toyota , for the gross dereliction in not recalling several of their vehicles , specifically the Camry and a number of their SUV’s lines for production defect that led to the death’s 40 victims . It seems naive to think that the legislators in question have not called on the same agency to seek out and take the very same action against GM. For the domestic manufacturer the incidents which have led to the deaths of at least twenty five victims and at injuries to hundreds of others cannot be underscored but somehow this has been lost only not only the executives within GM but also the members of Congress seeking to make this issue a ” political hot potato ” , while seeking to embarrass the industry in general and GM’s main rival globally , Toyota.

========================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===========================================

Slideshow.

Mary Barra , the first female to lead a major US car company in automotive history in the United States, has faced members of the House and Senate Transportation Committee , having to answer what some might deem less than tough questions as to the lax approach by GM in their handling of their problems and the very fact information was withheld from the DOT and NHTSA with their own research concerning the problems which led to the fatalities and the other recalls. It will be interesting to see moving forward how GM proceeds and at the same time whether or not Congress itself will seek to remove the cap which protects domestic automotive companies the damages which can be levied against them. Hypocrisy seems to know no boundaries within Congress and among the automotive business in general and the same can be said within the world of sports and how fans try to justify their views on an issue as it relates how a franchise seeks to spend money in attaining success.

The cataclysmic fallout from this MLB postseason cannot be overlooked , as both the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers fell by the wayside, having been found wanting when facing the Kansas City Royals and St Louis Cardinals in the respective divisional series . It has to be said with both teams winning their respective divisions with a great deal of ease , it should not really have provided us with a precursor of what was about to happen but in many respects there were signs of complacency from both the Angels and Dodgers.

For team managers Mike Scioscia and Don Mattingly to witness their seasons to come to such an abrupt end, cannot sit well with either of these two individuals. At the same time , their respective team owners have to be mulling over the futures of Scioscica and Mattingly. Combined , both the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers committed themselves to almost $400 million in salary obligations in 2014 , and consider the fact the figure was similar in size for 2013 and you have both teams forking out almost $800 million in two years.

Mike Scioscia I believe is likely to be the manager , forced to fall on his own sword , because team owner Arte Moreno is known to have grown impatient with the lack of progress made by the team . The talents of Mike Trout have been wasted this season and it is baffling to think how a team with the likes of Albert Pujols , Josh Hamilton , Howie Kendrick and Jered Weaver could have failed so miserably this postseason.

Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto was reluctant to relieve Sciocsia of his duties last season , but the belief was , with the team having suffered numerous injuries and the absence of Pujols throughout much of 2013, it led to the Angels’ poor play and lack of competitiveness this past year .

Far be it for me to suggest , but with the Los Angeles Angels falling 3-1 to the Kansas City Royals in a series which should have been far more competitive , the question has to be, were the Royals really that good or the Angels simply that bad ?

Where the Angels now go from here will be dependent upon the decisions likely to be made jointly by Jerry Dipoto and Arte Moreno concerning the makeup of this team , its immediate and long-term future . Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton were the two highest-paid players on the Angels’ roster in 2014 and it hard justify their salaries when the returns on that investment were so mediocre . Yet the two players were seen as the lynch pins , who would be the face of the franchise for the future , but in reality the mantel in question, now belongs to Mike Trout , the player who I believe is likely to be named this year’s AL MVP ,if there is any justice to be seen from this game and among the voters !

When Magic Johnson his partners assumed control of the then Chapter 11 reorganized Los Angels Dodgers , it was not very difficult to understand why the franchise ravaged by its then owner Frank McCourt and his now divorced wife , Jamie McCourt. The ball-club was merely a bauble to McCourt and baseball’s hierarchy where Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred ran the entity as if it were a school for wayward delinquents , still do not fully comprehend the avarice , greed and contempt shown by McCourt. Jonathan Mariner , MLB’s CEO (Chief Financial Officer) has about as much knowledge of the game’s finances and economics as a child who finds a hand grenade and considers it a toy to be played with . As to the claims there is parity in baseball , nothing could be further from the truth , as it simply boils down to the acumen shown by the general managers and how the managers are best able to get the utmost available out of the talent made available to them . If there were parity within the game, then the likes of the Houston Astros , Cleveland Indians , San Diego Padres, New York Mets and Miami Marlins would be considered contenders for the World Series title , perennial contenders or not . Neither of the aforementioned teams played any part in the posteason and it has to be said they barely showed up within their divisional races or within their respective leagues . So much for that asinine notion on parity !

Johnson promised the world he would do whatever it took to bring a World Series’ championship back to the Los Angeles area , specifically for his $2 billion franchise . Instead over the last two seasons , the Dodgers have failed miserably , each time against the St Louis Cardinals in scenarios where it mattered most . Who can forget the 2013 NCLS where the team failed to take advantage of the opportunities given and the same scenario materialized again this season in the NLDS and it would appear nothing at all had been learned by the managerial staff or the players themselves .

Having swept through their season season with a great deal of ease winning the NL West going away from their nearest rivals within the division for the Los Angeles Dodgers . Players such as Adrian Gonzalez , Matt Kemp , Carl Crawford , Andre Ethier , Zack Greinke , Josh Beckett , Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig were thought to be the compeititors capable of leading the team this season . They were being handsomely rewarded for their endeavors which GM Ned Colletti and team President Stan Kasten felt were due . A $242 million payroll the highest in Major League Baseball (MLB) this season far outstripped any of the other participants in the playoffs this season .

In their best of five game NLDS contest the Los Angeles Dodgers were only able to eke out a measly win in game two played at Dodgers’ Ballpark in Los Angeles , California , on the 4th October, 2014. The team’s performance in that win was about the only memorable thing during the entire series, as the Cardinals simply laid waste to the aura of the Dodgers and what they were said to stand for this season .

When the ALCS begins on the 10th October , it will be interestng to see how the Kansas City Royals start the first game against the Baltimore Orioles . At the start of the season it would have been hard to envisage that these two teams would be the ones now playing for the AL Pennant . Yet, here we are and Orioles and Royals now have everything to play for , with the loser likely head home still proud of their achievements in 2014 , but it in reality , both seek to place themselves at the pinnacle of the game and to be called World Series’ champions. It is the highest team honor which baseball has and legacies are written during the postseason for the teams in question. A three-decade sojourn in the wilderness has now brought the Kansas City Royals almost back to the top of the heap , with the only mountain left to climb is to turn back the tide of the Orioles , which is no mean feat, given the all-round play of Buck Showalter’s spirited team .

Having won the World Series twice in the past six seasons , it would be fair to suggest the San Francisco Giants will have a distinct advantage in their NLCS contest against the St Louis Cardinals . The Giants will come into the series with several players on their roster with postseason experience as well having Bruce Bochy as the manager, himself having been the winning manager for both of the franchise’s most recent successes in baseball’s showcase finale. On the other side of the equation, the Cardinals have been one of baseball’s most preeminent teams in the game’s history with only the New York Yankees having won more titles in baseball’s history. Mike Matheny has simply been able to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Tony La Russa and in doing so he has added great deal of resilience to this team .

Matheny , if he can lead his team past the Giants , then against their AL opponent in the World Series , he will join select group of managers to have won title within their first four years as a Major League manager . The series between the two teams will begin on the 11th October when St Louis play hosts to the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri on Saturday evening .

============================================

============================================

Picture gallery

Baseball remains a game filled with anomalies where , statistics are predicate and the game itself has become a poor substitute of what it allegedly once represented , but yet when the Fall Classic comes around , fans remained enamored with events as they unfold . Clearly , baseball remains a draw , if only because of the long-held belief , it is a game that tugs at your emotions, non-theless , even when it is mired in controversy and hypocrisy all around. The hierarchy remains aloof, the union remains combative with the owners and the league itself , without taking into consideration how the fans might actually feel about baseball. As to the ever spiraling salaries and team payrolls , leave it to the present leadership and its minions to try and convince us all , they actually know what they’re doing . Much as in the same way this administration tried to convince the the taxpayer they would recoup their investment in GM . To date , the taxpayer is actually facing a $10.5 billion loss without any signs the investment will actually turn a profit , but we can take hope that the administration and Commander In Chief will have a few more promises up their sleeves , much as in the same way Bud Selig and Rob Manfred will try and convince us the game is heading in the right direction under their leadership. Make of it what you will . Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be relevant to the topic is more than welcomed . Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery .
=================================================

(1) Mary Barra , CEO of GM and the first female to hold such a position, the Chief Executive Officer’s with a North American automotive company. Barra has also faced a great deal of criticism by Congress in the company’s handling of their recalls and the deaths arising from the incidents occurring from the exercise in question . A litany of lawsuits are ongoing within the Federal Courts , but with the Congress having capped the monies which can be paid out in liability and punitive damages . It looks as if the company will be let off for their negligence , complacency and in many respects their conceit. . Getty Images / Angel Herrera …

(2) Los Angels Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto , left , is seen here with team owner Arte Moreno as they survey the team at Angeles’ Ballpark in Anaheim , Calirfornia ,. After a disastrous postseason , there is a great deal of speculation concerning the future of team manager Mike Scioscia and his staff . Getty Images / Russell Drew …

(3) From left to right , Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly , Magic Johnson, New York Yankees’ reliever , Mariano Rivera and the Los Angels Dodgers’ lead managing partner , Mark Walter . The Dodgers’ loss to the St Louis Cardinals in this season’s NLDS was very much reminiscent of their loss to the very same team in a lopsided NLCS in 2013 . It would appear that the Los Angeles Dodgers are not the team everyone believed them to be . AP Photo / Ken Thomas ….

(4) Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred , who has the unenviable task of succeeding present MLB Commissioner Bud Selig . MLB.com … (5) MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner whose task it is , to oversee the finances of Major League Baseball , which has become a multi-billion entity but yet somehow the hierarchy and the owners are unable to rein in team expenses by way of an escalating payroll and players’ salaries . UPI / Greg Howe … (6) Baltimore Orioles’ EVP and GM Dan Duquette is seen here with the team’s manager Buck Showalter . This might be the year where the Orioles fulfill the potential the general manager believes his team has in winning the World Series title. Something last achieved by the franchise in 1983 . Baltimore Sun @ all rights reserved …

(7) Mike Matheny , manager of the St Louis Cardinals and his opposite number in the upcoming NLCS Bruce Bochy of the St Francisco Giants . AP Photo / Kevin Davis ..

.
=================================================

🙂

tophatal ………. 2014/10/09

Baseball related pieces within this site : Click on link provided (inset)

Follow Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

===========================

MLB press releases and news

MLB postseason schedule

MLB schedule

MLB probable pitchers

ALCS featuring Baltimore Orioles against the Kansas City Royals

Head to head series this season

NLCS featuring St Louis Cardinals against the San Francisco Giants

Head to head series this season

This week in MLB history

On this day in MLB history

MLB team payrolls (2014)

Top players’ salaries

Top earning MLB players (contracts)

Top earning players (base salary )

No stigma attached here, it’s the NBA and how they continue to do things …

No stigma attached here, it’s the NBA and how they continue to do things …

The NBA finally has a new owner to join their ranks after the league hierarchy’s Board of Governors and owners approved the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft Chairman and billionaire , Steve Ballmer . Sold for the unprecedented sum of $2 billion , Ballmer now acquires a franchise in the need of an immediate makeover . If you thought the end of the league’s own problems concerning franchise stopped there concerning the Clippers and the ongoing litigation process being played out within the legal system. Adam Silver and the league hierarchy are now counter-suing Donald Sterling , former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Sterling Family Trust for unspecified and punitive damages in causing irreparable damage and harm to the league’s image. Unless I am mistaken, the inaction of Silver’s predecessor , David Stern as the then commissioner and his continued failure in severely reprimanding Donald Sterling for his reprehensible behavior , has led the league to its present predicament.

====================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=====================================

Slideshow.

Donald Sterling’s own pending litigation against the NBA will set out to show the league stepped outside their boundaries, in seeking to expel him from the NBA ownership fraternity and show their own actions were against their own bye laws and mandates. In the midst of this all, Adam Silver, the league hierarchy and the union itself, have shown a great deal of hypocrisy, with their pontificating about the misdeeds of Donald Sterling, while excusing the equally reprehensible behavior of other owners and in a number of respects, players themselves. Now we come full circle and the league seeks to place itself above-board and beyond reproach. Unfortunately, the league’s handling of this whole spectacle has been an unmitigated disaster and a complete mess . Speaks so highly of this league being , one said to be image conscious and one capable of dealing with damage control. I think not!

Steve Ballmer, as the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers has promised to do everything possible within his power to provide the organization the means necessary to bring about success for the franchise . No doubt Clippers’ head coach and President of Basketball Operations Doc Rivers will welcome the comments attributed to the team owner. Also, Ballmer, as a way of paying the assistance provided by Rochelle Sterling in the sale of the franchise , has awarded the former owner’s estranged wife with two titles , one said to honorary and the other likely being done for publicity purposes. She will be officially be made the Clippers’ number one fan , as well as holding the position as an Executive Emeritus . Somehow in light of Rochelle Sterling’s lack of action with her husband’s actions from the outset and that he now stands to benefit financially from the sale of the team ,profiting to the tune of $1 billion in Ballmer’s purchase of the franchise. This all might be looked on with a great deal of cynicism, while the league itself still has to look at the fact some remnants of the Clippers’ ownership will still remain with Rochelle Sterling’s association with the franchise.

This upcoming season within the NBA apart of the off-season tumult where the biggest story was LeBron James’ departure from the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers , sent a seismic shift within the Eastern Conference, as well as perhaps now creating the perception the Cavaliers are now the best team in the conference. Pending the acquisition of Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the Cavaliers’ number one draft pick Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett . There might well be some validity to the claims, but I do believe the Chicago Bulls have a great deal more depth than Cleveland and I sincerely doubt that you can still discount the Miami Heat out of the equation. The conference itself continues to remain a boon for the NBA, with the level of play having been on the decline for several years in spite of the talent level on display.

For the Los Angeles Clippers having to play in the shadows of their more famous neighbors and inhabitant at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , might now be a thing of the past, with the all too abrupt decline of the Los Angeles Lakers. The only saving grace for the Lakers might well be the fact Kobe Bryant remains a member of the team, but even that may not be enough to stave off what may well another horrific year for the franchise. Doc Rivers for his part, will look to further emphasize the Clippers’ resurgence and add to the Lakers’ misfortunes. With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan providing the bulk of the Clippers’ offense this past season , the team for this upcoming season will be viewed as one of the better rosters within the Western Conference and competitive enough to be considered a likely contender within the conference.

The meetings between the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers this season should prove to be quite entertaining affairs, with the Pacific Division of the Western Conference being up for grabs , if the Lakers can find some semblance of competitiveness among their players . The first of their scheduled contests between the two teams will take place on the 31st October with the NBA having just entered the first week of its eighty-two game schedule . Kobe Bryant and new head coach Byron Scott along with a revamped roster , will undoubtedly be looking to place the franchise’s woes behind them. Scott having succeeded Mike D’Antoni will be under no illusion what is expected of he and his coaching staff this season. I believe if he can get the best out of his players they are quite capable of being just under a .500 team , winning at best, no more than thirty-five to forty games this season. A great deal of this will be predicated on the health and play of Kobe Bryant , but perhaps even more so when it comes to his teammates , even with a newly revamped roster to complement the All Star.

With all of the hoopla which surrounded LeBron James decision, it should be noted a great deal of the Miami Heat’s failure came from the fact , James was not ably assisted by his teammates during the NBA Finals in their thoroughly lopsided series’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Heat protagonists were so blinded by their own stupidity in not seeking to: look at the innumerable flaws on the team. Heat President Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra could not have seen the inevitable, but the signs were clearly there to be seen, by those who only had to look at the demeanor of LeBron James throughout much of the regular season but in particular during the series against the San Antonio Spurs. The Heat’s demise has led to questions being asked not only of the franchise and organization , but also of LeBron James and his intent. It is pretty much safe to suggest the very first meeting of the season between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat will be filled with drama and intrigue, as many will be seeking to make something out of the contest.

Dan Gilbert as the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers will seek to bury the past and start afresh in terms of his relationship with LeBron James. Certainly, he seems to be going about this in the right way, having brought in a new coaching staff led by David Blatt and the wheeling and dealing in the acquisition of seasoned veterans to complement the current roster , much to the satisfaction of James and teammate Kyrie Irving . Whether or not this will lead to a divisional title , deep postseason run and ultimately an NBA title in his first season as the returning Prodigal Son remains to be seen. The excitement has already began to build within the city of Cleveland, as expectations are indeed high for this franchise over the course of the season. The Cavaliers’ regular season will begin with a home game at the Quicken Loans Arena , in Cleveland, Ohio, against the New York Knicks led by Carmelo Anthony .

I will say this for Phil Jackson , in spite of his ego , he still remains one hell of a coach, albeit, along the way, a great deal of his success can be attributed to the fact he was not asked to assemble the teams in question, where he won his record eleven NBA titles as a head coach. Having the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen already in place with the Chicago Bulls was a great deal of help while providing a certainty of success. Secondly, who can argue with the fact, while with the Los Angeles Lakers having Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal , perhaps among the top ten players in Lakers’ history was not once again further guarantee of multiple titles for the organization. Granted, the final pair of titles won by the Los Angeles Lakers, were won with a make shift team , lacking the renowned center. However, it should not in any way diminish his accomplishments as a head coach. Jackson’s return to the NBA as the Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks has more to do with James Dolan’s wish to no longer be seen as the NBA owner without a clue. The Knicks’ mediocre record of the past ten years , has more to do with Dolan’s lack of continuity within the front office of the organization and a penchant for acquiring head coaches simply lacking the acumen as a head coach. The proof has been there for all to see with the list of coaches to have held the position over the past decade.

Carmelo Anthony’s wish to remain with the New York Knicks and signing a record deal with the franchise secures his long-term financial future and provides the Knicks with sense of continuity. The hiring of Derek Fisher to succeed Mike Woodson brings in someone who is likely to have the respect the players on the team . Fisher’s coaching staff headed by Kurt Rambis . With hindsight, the moves made by the Knicks during the off-season might well seem perplexing, but their acquiring Jose Calderon, Quincy Acy and Samuel Dalembert should prove to be more of a competitive lineup, than the team which made the NBA Playoffs in 2013 . The Knicks’ foray in the postseason would come to an abrupt and decisive end , in their conference semi-finals’ loss to the Indiana Pacers.

This season the Knicks will have to prove they are more than simply an offensive minded team, often seen last season terms of their play. Defensively, they were mindlessly inept , as seen in their results and final divisional standings. It will be interesting to see how the Knicks acclimate themselves through their first fifteen to twenty games under their new head coach Derek Fisher. New York’s first game of the regular season will be a true test of the mettle of this Knicks’ team against the Chicago Bulls, then to be followed by their visit to the Cleveland Cavaliers , where LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will get to test their wills . Strangely enough, the rumors were being circulated it was James’ wish to join up with Anthony as teammates, but alas, it was not to be. Cap issues , would certainly have burdened a team seeking to have the pairing lead their roster.

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder was a deserving winner of the NBA League MVP Award and perhaps one of the most popular winners of the accolade of the past decade. However , with his Durant’s singular success , the fact his team was unable to make another deep run in the NBA Playoffs of this past season, is another reminder why the NBA now has to have teams, with at least a pair or trio of superstars to > lead their rosters. No disrespect to Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook , but his play has to be more consequential and productive all round , if the Thunder are to have any chance of prevailing in the playoffs .

Durant’s recent comments, that his future in Oklahoma is by no means a certainty. will likely be a wake-up call for team GM Sam Presti and the ownership group if it is their wish to keep the franchise’s best and most popular player. His departure would likely lead to decline in the Thunder’s ambitions and play, but these are now the issues a lot of teams face in the NBA, as they seek to keep their stars, particularly those teams thought to be in a small or medium size market. Kevin Durant will become a free agent in 2016 , where he is likely to be the marquee player of free agent class on the market at the time. It is either up the ante and resign the player or simply allow them to go elsewhere as they seek a desired contract and success. Hard to question a player’s desire in such an instance, but at the same time one has to question what one might believe to be loyalty to a franchise.

Scott Brooks as head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder knows this is likely to be the last of the few opportunities, he has left to bring home an NBA title to a fan-base , who believe they are deserving of such an award. Fans of the Thunder are among the most knowledgeable and raucous in the NBA , making the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, one of the most imposing environments in the NBA for an opposing team. If you doubt that fact, then simply look at the Thunder’s attendance record , home results (68-14) of the past two seasons to realize what an opponent has to face as an adversary of the Thunder.

Sam Presti’s off-season acquisitions and the NBA Draft should once again make this Oklahoma City Thunder team one of the prohibitive favorites within the Western Conference, but once again all roads are likely to lead through the San Antonio Spurs as they seek to make a successful defense of their NBA title. The intense rivalry between the two teams over the past four years, will be renewed, with the first of their series’ meetings taking place on Christmas Day at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas,. It may well be the case, where nation’s eyes are averted elsewhere, when the Miami Heat take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, as LeBron James will be making his first return to Miami since the decision was made to leave his former team. Will a warm welcome, await James or will it be sour grapes among the Miami Heat fans?

=========================================

=========================================

Picture gallery .

During this NBA off-season which incident or storyline do you believe might well have had the most adverse effect on the league? Also, which team or player do you believe will be the most exciting to see over the course of the upcoming season?

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

=============================================

(1) Steve Ballmer , left, former Chairman of Microsoft is seen here with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at a Los Angeles Clippers’ game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Ballmer’s $2 billion bid was approved by the NBA Board of Governors , after intense legal wrangling within the California Justice System between Rochelle Sterling , estranged wife of former team owner Donald Sterling . Both will share equally in the sale price proceeds of the deal , which is the largest in NBA history . AP Photo / Chris Miller …

(2) Los Angeles Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers is seen here with the team’s point guard Chris Paul . The pair hope to see the Clippers make a successful defense of their Pacific Division title as well as making a deep playoff run in the postseason. Rivers as the de-facto general manager and Head of Basketball Operations will be hoping the off-season acquisitions and draft class are good enough to make the team a real contender this season . Getty Images / Mary Carpenter …

(3) LeBron James seen here in Hong Kong on a promotional visit , will be hoping to become an immediate success with the Cleveland Cavaliers this upcoming season. Season tickets are being sold at a record-setting pace by the franchise and all signs are, the Cavaliers will be among the top supported teams in the NBA this upcoming season . Something which has not happened since the player’s last season with the franchise in 2009. AP Photo/ Ken Cheung …….

(4) New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher is seen here with Phil Jackson, a SVP & Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise. Fisher in what will be his first season as a head coach will be looking to emulate one his peers Jason Kidd who was able to lead the Brooklyn Nets to the NBA Playoffs in his first season as the head coach of the Brooklyn based NBA franchise. Kidd’s subsequent and untimely departure from the Nets , has led to his taking over as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks . AP Photo / Hank Moss …

(5) Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is seen here with the team’s head coach Scott Brooks . The pair are hoping to make even bigger inroads this upcoming season, where their eyes are on the prize , in the hope of winning the franchise’s first NBA title as the Thunder. Getty Images/ Amy Harper …

(6) Members of San Antonio Spurs celebrate at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas after their crushing game five and series’ deciding win over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals , for the franchise’s fifth NBA title in the past eighteen years. Gregg Popovich has coached the Spurs to each of the titles in question, making him one of the most successful coaches in NBA history. AP Photo / Henry Cusack …. .

==============================================

🙂

tophatal ….

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

————

🙂

NBA news and archived stories

2013-14 NBA standings (division)

2013-14 NBA standings (conference)

2013-14 NBA Playoffs

2013-2014 NBA Finals

Top twenty-five highest paid NBA players by way of contract and by salary (base)

This month in NBA history

On day (13th August) in NBA history

————

If at all interested do take the time to take part in the above mentioned poll.

———————

Perky

Always revealing and then some .

You can only pile the shit up so high before considering having to move it ..


You can only pile the shit up so high before considering having to move it ..

If things were not bad enough in the world of sports I suppose we can be thankful the only arena where there might be continually more incompetence being shown remains within the federal government and the lack of productivity among the legislators up on Capitol Hill in Washington ,DC. President Barack Obama is calling for a cease-fire on the Gaza Strip as well as the West Bank of Israel, but neither this President or the Congress has any idea about underlying causes that are now rampant within the state of Israel. With that being said, I do not believe the US or Secretary of State John Kerry can negotiate a long-lasting peaceful solution to the troubles that bedevil the Middle Eastern nation. Neither the Knesset or Hamas are willing to make any type of concession, to end the turmoil in the country. Likewise, a similar situation is now occurring within the NFL, and the idiotic statements attributed to former head coach Tony Dungy and his thoughts on the drafting of Missouri Tigers’ player Michael Sam . Dungy , an avowed Christian , perhaps is missing one of the traits often espoused by Christians and it is one of tolerance , but yet his statement seems to permeate through what is and will remain a totally bigoted league (NFL) , where there remains a great deal of hypocrisy by its leadership and within the NFLPA (Players’ Union).

==========================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


==========================================

Slideshow .

As if to further emphasize why the NFL remains out of touch, the two-game suspension of Ray Rice by Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to show why a league which has very little respect for women cannot be taken seriously under any circumstance. The actions of Rice , in the battery of his wife , Jenay Rice , was beyond contemptible, but many were seeking to excuse this act somehow, by suggesting the security film seen by the league was in some way a justification for the player’s actions. Any man seeking to lay his hand on a woman should be seen as a coward and insignificant piece of shit ! As if to add further insult to injury ESPN analyst and journalist Stephen A Smith suggests women tend to be far too often the cause of domestic violence because they simply do not understand the pressure a professional athlete is continually placed under. This idiotic statement shows Smith not only to be a damn fool but someone who clearly has no idea about what the hell he is actually talking about Not only has he embarrassed himself but also the broadcast outlet (ESPN) where he is employed as an analyst and co-host. Women are the primary victims of abuse in a family where the incidents of domestic abuse involved two adults . something it seems not to have been a reason with Stephen A Smith’s asinine statement and claims . Who the f#ck is this guy to begin with and what are his qualifications as an alleged journalist ?

Having recanted his statement, the broadcast host has now sought to lessen the impact of his words by issuing an apology over two media platforms in using both Twitter and the sports’ broadcast outlet, to issue what he says is a profound apology. I sometimes wonder if Stephen A Smith actually thinks before he makes a rather ridiculous statement? Or is that type of idiocy not only representative of the media in general and the view of most men within the area of journalism as well as the NFL Misogyny , now seems to be the norm and the Rice story was simply glossed over by the media as well as by the league itself. As for Tony Dungy’s views, well what should we actually expect of someone who in spite of his recent personal misfortunes tends to be so full of himself, in believing he represents what is so right about the NFL? I have yet to hear the former head coach, question the lack of leadership from within the NFL hierarchy and their handling of the mistreatment of veteran players, their lack of receiving benefit wrongfully denied them by the NFL. Dungy , like NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell simply represents what is wrong with the NFL from the grown up to its upper echelons, without having to deal with the continued stupidity of the union.

The NFL will continue to shoot itself in the foot with its lack of leadership , accountability among the players and where DeMaurice Smith holds sway over Roger Goodell , without the duo actually sharing any type of consensus about what are said to be in the best interests of the NFL. Long may the league, reign but in the long run its fall from grace, will be of its own making and conceitedness and lack of moral values.

Adolpho Birch , Assistant Chief Legal Counsel and SVP for the NFL Labor Policy Board, as if to show the ongoing stupidity permeating within the league. suggests the NFL in no way condones the abuse of women or the behavior of the players found guilty of such an act. Unless I am mistaken, Ray Rice was given a pass by the justice system with the only punishment rendered. The player would have to undergo an anger management class., as ordered by the district attorney prosecuting the case, which was upheld by the presiding judge and agreed to , as part of a plea agreement between the player’s attorney and those representing the state of Nevada.

Not to be outdone when it comes to showing sheer stupidity , the NBA remains in a quagmire of its very own filth and garbage. The probate trial , where Donald Sterling and his wife , Rochelle Stein-Sterling contest the ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers now seems to be winding down in the courts. The verdict and outcome will be in the hands of a jury who might well have been bored out of their minds as a billionaire franchise owner and his equally apathetic wife fight over their matrimonial assets of which the basketball franchise is a mere bauble in the estimated $ 3.5 multi-billion fortune of the octogenarian. The longer this battle lasts, the more odious this whole matter remains and a great deal of it came at the league’s own making , with them having failed to reprimand Donald Sterling , sternly and with the severity his actions deserved. Adam Silver and his predecessor David Stern on a good day , are barely able to show any fu#king intelligence , but anal retentive fans are quick to jump and point to one or two positives achieved within the league. In many respects . I liken those actions to an idiot who suggest that while slavery was a bad thing, there were so many positives in subjugating a race to despicable conditions for the greater good. Now today, we can see what the greater good actually means when race relations in the US still remains a fu#king joke , with apathy being shown by so many Caucasians living with the delusion, that great strides have been made. LOL, LOL, LOL! Does that mean Donald Sterling and Rich DeVos are the poster children for the advances made without this asinine believe charitable monetary donations to a specific group makes their behavior all the more acceptable? Are sports’ fans in this country, that fu#king docile and extremely stupid?

If Donald Sterling proves to be successful in overturning the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, then the damage done to the league will be irrevocable and could very well lead to Steve Ballmer dropping his $2 billion bid for the franchise altogether. Where this would leave the NBA as they rush to seek an alternative buyer for the Clippers would definitely cause a great deal of consternation among the NBA’s fraternity and the union (NPBA). Chris Paul as the President of the NBPA and the point guard for the Los Angeles Clippers has stated his willingness to sit out the entire regular season , were Donald Sterling successful in retaining control of the Clippers. The player has voiced his concerns with head coach and Team President Doc Rivers , who has himself repeatedly voiced his concerns with regard to this ongoing issue. From my own standpoint, this whole matter has been poorly handled by the league, where the questionable decisions made by both Adam Silver and David Stern, has repeatedly shown how out of touch this institution just happens to be. Stern’s ignorance in failing to severely reprimand Donald Sterling and other owners for their repeated egregious behavior sends the wrong message, albeit, Adam Silver’s own decision to ban Sterling was met with wide approval, one has to ask why did it take so long for the league to act? In the case where a players’ actions are said to have brought the game into disrepute, the NBA has been all too quick to give punishment they believe to be fitting, yet the likes of Rich DeVos and Donald Sterling were allowed a pass , while fans excused their behavior with apathetic niceties and idiotic excuses.

With a number of high profiled players now suggesting their wish to forestall the start of the regular season if Donald Sterling remains as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. It is not a scenario I believe will actually happen , not with their being so much on the line from a financial standpoint and the league itself as it would stand to lose tens of millions in revenues over a prolonged period of time. The NBPA itself, remains in a quagmire , with no Executive Director to take care of the union’s day to day administrative duties. Former Phoenix Suns’ point guard and current Mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson is known to have shown an interest in succeeding Billy Hunter, who was fired from the position after a vote of “no confidence” in the former union executive. Financial irregularities asides and claims of grand larceny and fraud within the union hierarchy, with the allegations directly for Hunter ,it is clear the union and the league itself are in complete shambles. And simply because, we saw the fall from grace of the overrated Miami Heat this past season , it does mean not mean the regular and postseason were a resounding success for the NBA. In the aftermath of the NBA’s showcase finale, LeBron James has folded his tent, cried off and of his wanting to return home to where his professional NBA started , by returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers . Pat Riley and the Miami Heat are left to start afresh with a team that is likely to be lacking in leadership and in no shape or form are they likely to be viewed as a conference favorite this upcoming season in the league.

LeBron James’ decision might well have been surprising , at least, there was not a bile inducing interview granted , but once again, the story was simply about a player who seeks to be the focal point among his peers, while showing little respect for the game, albeit, that his supporters continue to treat him like a deity. LeBron’s reconnecting with Cleveland I believe had more to do with his dissatisfaction with the Miami Heat organization , the lackluster efforts of Pat Riley to bolster the roster during the run-up to the trade deadline, and their being very little help provided by way of teammates Ray Allen , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade .

The Cleveland Cavaliers with the return of LeBron James to play alongside Kyrie Irving provides a formidable one-two punch for the team as they also remain firm favorites to acquire Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love . Timberwolves’ owner Glen Taylor and Head of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders now have a serious decision to make related to the future of their franchise and Love’s long-term future. There is the growing belief that Love would rather join the Cleveland Cavaliers as it provides him with the best opportunity to win an NBA title now, rather than later. The Chicago Bulls and John Paxson , are likely to make just as desired a push to land the only remaining high-profiled marquee free agent currently on the market. Both teams can make a lucrative offer to the power forward , an offer which would most definitely make his financial future thoroughly secure.

Dan Gilbert and LeBron James may well have buried the hatchet, but the biggest problem could lie in the acumen shown by David Blatt , who as the team’s rookie head coach will be asked to coach the team, bringing along a completely new coaching staff and building a trusted relationship with the franchise’s greatest player in its history . Blatt may well be seen as an upgrade over Mike Brown , but I believe Gilbert and the front office not only erred in the firing of Mike Brown but it also showed how clueless the owner and the organization were said to be and still remain to this day. If James’ return falls short of expectations and an NBA title , then the blame will be squarely placed on the shoulders of the player , LeBron James and the Cavaliers’ owner. Both are extremely conceited, while one could state they are ambitious, yet there has nothing to suggest either cares about anything beyond the limits of the game. James has been packaged of his own choosing by agents and litany of supporters , with a view to reaping millions annually. Whereas , Dan Gilbert wants to be taken as a serious power broker and owner within the NBA, when in reality he is at the bottom of the totem pole seeking more visibility for himself and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As good as I believe the Cleveland Cavaliers are likely to be, they could very well face a tough task getting by the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers . This upcoming season will tell us a great deal about the mindset of a newly revamped Cavaliers’ team but also the direction of the NBA and the path it seeks to navigate under the leadership of Adam Silver. Leadership under David Stern was sporadic and very inconsistent , but repeatedly praise was heaped upon Silver’s predecessor for some of the most asinine of reasons, claiming his tenure was of great benefit to the NBA. The evidence is there to suggest to the contrary, but as usual in a world where money seems to “trump everything” , that was the sole purpose for many to come out in support of David Stern.

This past Saturday, Major League Baseball might well have surpassed itself with perhaps the best induction class over the past ten years, with the enshrinement of six luminaries of the game. The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York had the privilege of adding the names of Greg Maddux , Tom Glavine , Frank Thomas, Tony La Russa , Bobby Cox and Joe Torre to their list of baseball greats. We can only be thankful the likes of Barry Bonds ,Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, while eligible , are unlikely to be inducted unless the idiots within the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) should they have a change of heart, which is something this institution is quite capable of doing, given their lack of integrity to begin with.

Baseball still has a long way to go before it rids itself of the recurring nightmare of widespread steroid use within the game, where it has now reached epidemic proportions at the Minor League Level without being subjecting ourselves to the recent stories concerning both Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez . The departure of Derek Jeter from the game as he enters his last season within baseball, will initially leave a void, but it is hoped Mike Trout will be able to fill that void and succeed the New York Yankees’ captain in becoming the face of the game over the next ten to fifteen years. Trout’s and baseball success is dependent upon that, because no other player currently within the game is more well-liked or has the charisma to draw fans to baseball. Certainly not Evan Longoria , David Wright, Yasiel Puig , Miguel Cabrera , Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols , Clayton Kershaw , Justin Verlander or Bryce Harper for that matter. Baseball is now in dire need of a player to look up to , respect and actually drawn to. Trout now fits the bill , but it remains to be seen whether he is able to have success at the highest levels of the game by way of postseason appearances and winning a World Series’ title with the Los Angeles Angels. Bud Selig has to be wondering what he can do to make it all a reality, but to my mind the game of baseball would be best served if the commissioner were to now step down, with his successor being totally the opposite of the present incumbent .

================================

================================

Picture gallery .

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery details .
=========================================
(1) Former NFL head coach Tony Dungy found himself at the center of a firestorm when he suggested he would not have drafted openly gay player Michael Sam in this year’s NFL Draft because of the adverse publicity it would cause his team . Dungy as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seems to have forgotten the behavior of then Bucs’ defensive player Warren Sapp who on two separate occasions was charged with domestic violence , but was not reprimanded severely by Dungy or the league , only for Sapp to ordered to take an anger management class by the local authorities . Once again hypocrisy arises in the most expected of places within the NFL and among someone who is said to be a devout Christian. AP Photo / Paul Henderson ….

(2) Seen here in the Oval Office are President Barack Obama left , Secretary of State John Kerry and pictured in the background former NSA Adviser Susan Rice . Getty Images North America / Patrick Thomas ……

(3) ESPN NBA analyst and sports’ program host <u< Stephen A Smith who after a rather idiotic and insensitive remark issued a less than forthright and contrite apology concerning his remarks where he stated women often were the cause of spousal abuse by simply bring on such incidents upon themselves. Smith’s fellow on air host Michelle Beadle called out her fellow employee for being callous and lacking any type of understanding as to the violence endured by women after such an incident . Smith suggested his words were misconstrued and he could have better communicated his thoughts by being more concise . More often than not , Stephen A Smith has never been one, to be more thoughtful when it comes to expressing himself , while only seeking to make himself the centerpiece for a great deal of his often idiotic diatribe. ESPN @ all rights reserved ….

(4) Adolpho Birch , Assistant Chief Legal Counsel & SVP of the NFL’s Labor Policy Board has been the only NFL executive to publicly address the suspension of Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice . It begs the question why has Roger Goodell not seen fit to discuss the matter himself , rather than leaving it to a subordinate to make a statement on the NFL’s behalf ? AP Photo / Christina Mathis …

(5) Donald Sterling is seen here with his now estranged wife Rochelle ” Shelley ” Stein-Sterling. The two fought a contentious probate battle in a California District Court which saw the judge siding with the defendant Rochelle Sterling in her battle to regain control of the Los Angeles Clippers and thereby going ahead with the $ 2 billion sale of the franchise to former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer . Donald Sterling for his part has vowed to fight on , stating he will seek to have the verdict overturned in the Appellate Court in the State of California . The NBA hopes to complete the sale of the team by August 15th , with Ballmer taking over the franchise as the NBA’s newest owner . AP Photo / Vic Ford …

(6) The hatchet may well have been buried between Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner , Dan Gilbert left and LeBron James with the player having only signed a two-year $42.10 million contract with the franchise as they pursue an NBA title this upcoming season with new head coach David Blatt .UPI/ Tracey Miller ….

(7) Three of the six Hall of Fame inductees are seen here in Cooperstown New York, where the class of 2014 was headed by Tom Glavine , left, Greg Maddux , far right and Frank Thomas , center , Bobby Cox , Tony La Russa and Joe Torre . The class of 2015 will have several controversial names eligible for induction, but it remains to seen whether or not the BBWAA will stick to their resolve of not voting in a player associated with the steroid era of baseball. Courtesy of MLB Properties LLC …..

=========================================

🙂

tophatal ……..

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

——-

NFL news

NFL transactions (July)

🙂

NBA news

NBA transactions

🙂

MLB news

MLB transactions

MLB standings

MLB schedule

🙂

————

Laura

Ready to heat things up in the bedroom Laura Elisa .

You can fool the people some of the time but the anal retentive just deserve to be fooled and embarrassed all of the time ………..that is why the NFL exists .

You can fool the people some of the time but the anal retentive , just deserve to be fooled and embarrassed all of the time ………..that is why the NFL exists .

The NFL season is over two months away but the preseason begins in earnest in August with the Hall of Fame game between the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants to be played at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park , New York. With that would come and then the induction of the latest batch of NFL greats and their eagerly awaited enshrinement in Canton, Ohio,. Meanwhile , we have NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft , still trying to sell the public on the merits of having a franchise in the city of Los Angeles. Also at some point in the immediate future, it is their wish to see a franchise in the United Kingdom , specifically in London , the financial heartbeat of the nation and one of the world’s financial centers.

===========================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=============================================

Slideshow .

I have always found the NFL to be a behemoth, whose only concern has been to make money, where the owners are nothing more than parasites , the union (NFLPA-Players’ Union) lacking compassion and understanding. Roger Goodell remains a poor choice as the league’s highest ranking executive , but that in part was initiated with his being chosen as the heir-apparent to Paul Tagliabue , with Goodell’s predecessor, rubber-stamping the decision before a final vote was taken by the league hierarchy.

It would seem , neither Roger Goodell or Robert Kraft are concerned with the financial imperilment of the nation’s second largest city and where the officials within Los Angeles seem incapable of making a decision showing financial restraint. Perhaps, it is the main reason why the NFL would like the return of a franchise to the municipality under the ruse of the financial windfall to be claimed in the nation’s second largest advertising market. When broached on the subject, about who will actually finance the building of a venue to house this new or relocated franchise, neither NFL executive has been able to offer up a concise answer. I can only surmise, it is their wish to see the city offer up billions to make such a venue possible. Earlier endeavors to build a stadium venue in the greater Los Angeles area , have either failed , because of political infighting or because the proposers of such a deal did not have the financial backing or show the wherewithal to get the project off the ground.

One of the latest entrants in a bid to get the NFL back within the confines of the city of Los Angeles, just happens to be Magic Johnson , part owner in the Los Angeles Dodgers , whose primary owners, Guggenheim Baseball Properties LLC . The company is backed by the multi-billion dollar assets of venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners Inc , led by Todd S Boehly and Mark Walter. . The company is also reputed to be interested in making an unsolicited bid for AEG Worldwide , the entertainment and sports’ concessions company owns several pieces of prime real estate in the downtown Los Angeles area . Philip Anschutz , owner of AEG , is known to be interested in selling the company ,but not unless the proposed suitor is ready to meet a price believed to be in excess of $9 billion . I would rather see Johnson and his partners concentrate on bringing back a World Series’ title to Los Angeles than their seeking to reestablish the NFL back in the Los Angeles area. Besides professional sports within the city is almost at an all-time low with the NBA bedeviled by the ineptitude of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers’ ongoing incredulity , which has been handled with about as much foresight as a blind man playing with an explosive device. I would say the Los Angeles Kings has brought back a sense of pride to the city having won the Stanley Cup , but the NHL piques about as much interest today as a debate being conducted within the confines of the US Congress.

If the NFL is to return to the city of Los Angeles , then the matter will have to be dealt with as joint partnership between the league and the city. More often than not , such arrangements have been made with the NFL profiting from these type of arrangements , with them giving little in return to these municipalities nationwide . If you wish to see how acute the situation just happens to be , then simply look at the issues now being faced within the cities of Chicago and Detroit as a pointer about how dire things can become. Detroit remains in a state of financial disrepair , albeit, they are now seeking to resolve their financial woes though bankruptcy reorganization . Chicago is now bedeviled by a crime wave not seen since the days of Prohibition and Al Capone , with incumbent city mayor Rahm Emmanuel blaming the increasing gang violence on the perpetrators of the crimes in question , without acknowledging like a number of his recent predecessors , he has cut the budget of the city’s police force to try and solve Chicago’s budgetary woes.

I have read numerous pieces by patrons and contributors within the blogging world who claim the NFL is a for profit business without them actually failing to realize the league itself is set up as a not for profit entity , afforded antitrust status as well as tax exempt status in its dealings. What returns indicated to the IRS will clearly show miniscule profit if there is one to be shown , but their franchises are not afforded such luxuries. How little one knows , when only seeking to proffer up an opinion without ever taking time to do an ounce of research.The NFL leads and their fans will continually follow their lead , by eating up every morsel of garbage they are likely to serve up on a silver platter as an appetizing meal.

As the NFL has gained popularity abroad , you have to wonder why NFL Europe was such a bust . Millions of dollars were lost by the teams who sought to invest in the experiment with nothing tangible being gained in that very first sortie. The second time around through a media blitz and having regular season games scheduled in Europe, a small shift has occurred. Yet for all of the hopes and the dreams of not only Roger Goodell , Bob Kraft and even the rambunctious Jerry Jones , the league has not seen the traction they believed could be obtained . Seventy thousand fans packing Wembley Stadium in London might seem impressive, but consider the fact , the staging of such as game was not done to coincide with a Premierleague game scheduled within one of soccer’s elite leagues in Europe. You can always to try to turn a pig into a sow by dressing it up , but you cannot turn a sow into a pig . The NFL is seeking to do just that and is failing miserably on all counts. Having reached saturation point in terms of marketing the real issues that dogs Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy are the quality of the games, little real understanding of the markets where they are now seeking to reach , as well as the cultural differences they have to face in exposing the NFL to new markets and a new consumer.

Other than being remembered as the most popular NFL Draft in recent NFL history and exploits of sixth round draft pick Michael Sam , there would not have been anything memorable about the NFL’s staging of an event where the fans got to see the latest graduates to the world of professional football. Johnny Manziel had his dreams go up in smoke when he was not the first quarterback taken in this past draft. Perhaps, ” Johnny Football” can now join LeBron James in learning some humility, rather than always seeking to make themselves the centerpiece of a story. Sooner, rather than later, the fans tend to get sick and tired of it all.. I guess the city of Cleveland will now have something to look forward to , as both James and Manziel fight to be the top story on the sports’ pages of the newspapers within the city and state as well as nationwide ? That premise seems also likely as the television sports’ broadcast outlets, now begin to fawn over two, of perhaps the most polarizing figures in professional sports today.

The drafting of Johnny Manziel has provided the Cleveland Browns with some much-needed publicity, but yet team owner Jimmy Haslam remains the one NFL franchise owner whose custodianship of a team does not seem in jeopardy , in spite of the misdeeds of Haslam’s company and their being found guilty of defrauding many of their clients out of hundreds of millions of dollars . The slap on the wrist proffered up by the Justice System is another continued knock a legal system bereft of intelligence at the judiciary level. One should also take into account at the time of the legal undertakings against Haslam , he was in the midst of purchasing the Cleveland Browns and actually received the league’s blessing with their seal of approval. Whether or not the league itself sought a thorough investigation of Jimmy Haslam’s finances, character and acumen to own an NFL franchise is open to great deal of conjecture and debate.

The Browns will enter their season looking to put the era of Brandon Weeden in their rear view mirror. Cleveland’s loss is said to be Dallas Cowboys’ gain as they acquired the free agent quarterback during the off-season. I would like to once again thank Jerry Jones in fortifying my continued belief why he remains a blithering idiot ! Now head coach Jason Garrett can look across at his depth chart at the quarterback position , look to both Weeden and Tony Romo to lift the Cowboys out of their continued doldrums.

Johnny Manziel will have a great deal to prove as he seeks to make his mark in the NFL, but he is not likely to be the Cleveland Browns’ opening day starter in their first regular season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a contest to be played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ,. These two franchises have a great deal of history behind them , with their match-ups tending to be either eventful or a complete letdown. With the AFC North likely to be up for grabs this season it will be interesting to see how things play out for the teams within the division as the season unfolds.

Paying on potential or paying on merit, which is said to be the more prudent thing to do? To try and figure that out one might need to call on a senior member of MENSA because your sure as hell cannot rely on an NFL general manager or an owner to give a you a clear and concise to such a question. During the off-season the Chicago Bears in their infinite wisdom , saw fit to give their veteran quarterback a multi-year deal, that now makes Jay Cutler one of the highest paid players in the NFL in terms of annual salary and contract value ($126 million) . All this for quarterback whose postseason exploits seem envious when compared to those of Tony Romo’s but that is a discussion for another day .Now in light of Cutler’s reward there were those who questioned San Francisco 49ers’ general manager Trent Baalke offering the team’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick a comparable deal in a similar vein to salary pack of the Bears’ quarterback. Kaepernick has twice taken the team to the NFC championship game as well as a Superbowl appearance in his short time in the NFL. Having succeeded Alex Smith , the consensus appeared to be the player did not possess the level of maturity or skill-set needed to lead the Forty Niners. Colin Kaepernick has proved his doubters wrong , now the question remains , can he lead the franchise to their sixth Superbowl title ?

The Forty Niners and their fans would like nothing better than to drown out the ongoing memories of their loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Superbowl 47 , and most definitely overhaul their divisional rivals the Seattle Seahawks as the best team in the NFC West as well as the NFC . Encounters between these two teams over the past three seasons have now taken on epic proportions and with the Seahawks’ annihilation of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in last season’s Superbowl , the stakes have now been raised even higher between the two NFC West franchises.

Both the Forty Niners and Seahawks have made considerable moves to bolster their respective rosters, beyond utilizing the NFL Draft and the free agency market. What their regular season meetings and scheduled games may well come down to , is the determination of Jim Harbaugh and his opposite number Pete Carroll in guiding their teams. We all know how tough it just happens to be for a team to make a successful defense of their Superbowl title and it has been over a decade since the feat was last accomplished. . The meetings between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks in weeks’ thirteen and fifteen , could very well provide us with a precursor concerning who the best team in the NFC and NFL might just be.

=======================================


=========================================

Do you believe the upcoming season in the NFL can surpass the events of last season? Also is it necessary for the NFL to have a franchise in either Los Angeles or London to remain viable in the eyes of their fans? Your comments on this and anything else you believe pertinent to this article is most certainly welcomed.

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below .
=====================================

(1) New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, left, is seen here alongside Roger Goodell as the two answer questions from an array of NFL journalists, having just attended a safety clinic concerning NFL players . Both Goodell and Kraft are asking for a concerted effort to be made to reestablish an NFL franchise in Los Angeles. The NFL Commissioners has repeatedly stated that the city’s council members are amenable for the return of the NFL to the city , but he has failed to show who would bear the brunt of the financial obligation for a new stadium for the franchise. AP Photo / Greg Jones …

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers’ co-owners Mark Walter left and Magic Johnson , having spent $2 billion to buy the baseball franchise, now seem to be intent on either buying an NFL franchise or perhaps seeking to start a new NFL team within the confines of the greater Los Angeles area. a . The duo are also believed to be interested in buying AEG Worldwide and are willing to make an unsolicited bid for the concessions and entertainment company. UPI/ Getty Images / Chris Palmer …

(3) Cleveland Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine , far left, is seen here alongside Justin Gilbert , Johnny Manziel and the Browns’ general manager Ray Farmer . Gilbert and Manziel were part of this season’s draft class for the Browns. AP Photo/ Penny Wilson …

(4) Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears is seen here with his counterpart Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys at the end of game with Bears defeating the Cowboys 34-18 in an NFC contest in 2012. The two quarterbacks have yet to taste a Superbowl victory with only Cutler having appeared in the NFL’s postseason finale which resulted in a lopsided loss for the Bears . Getty Images North America / Rafael Henriques ….

(5) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick , left, talks with head coach Jim Harbaugh during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in San Francisco, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. Having replaced Alex Smith as the starting quarterback Kaepernick cemented himself as the team’s starter and has accomplished a great deal since his first game in the NFL …

======================================

🙂

tophatal ………

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

🙂

============

NFL news

NFL transactions July and all NFL transactions

NFL free agents

2014 NFL Draft

2014 NFL preseason

2014 NFL regular season

2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

On this date in NFL history

Other historical NFL events on this day

=========================================

Two delightful reasons to love Lela Star !

If it is greatness you’re looking for you won’t find it here, as something rotten smells in Denmark and within the NCAA

If it is greatness you’re looking for you won’t find it here, as something rotten smells in Denmark and within the NCAA

I have long-held the contention that the NCAA and just about everything it represents has been a charade and a farce! Furthermore , the apathy of the fans of collegiate sports might be just as asinine as the institution itself , without going into greater detail than suggesting that this charade now underway about a legitimate way of deciding a national champion at the FBS Level for football can be done with the empaneling of publicly respected individuals. It would not be so bad were it not for the fact the panel members sought are in some respects no more versed in collegiate athletics than perhaps a truck driver would be knowledgeable enough in providing you with his thoughts on molecular biology or Sarah Palin’s thoughts on the US economy and the country’s foreign policy.

================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


=================================================

Slideshow .

NCAA President Mark Emmert was summoned to appear at a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC , where he was quizzed by members of the Senate Commerce Committee on the inner workings of the NCAA and the institution’s continued aversion to paying student athletes while in school.. One has to bear in mind, currently, Collegiate Athletics’ governing body is the main defendant in a class action lawsuit now underway in the US Federal Court , where a resulting loss could see the NCAA pay out tens of millions of dollars in damages for the use of the athletes’ likeness to market and sell college merchandize without their permission. This suit was brought by former UCLA and NBA player Ed O’Bannon , for what he says are purely for moral reasons and the fact collegiate athletics remains a complete sham without their being any clear transparency being shown by the NCAA and the major college conference and educational institutions in the way these monies are disbursed within collegiate athletics. I have read some of the most asinine claims and statements by conference commissioners and by fans, suggesting that the system itself is not broken , but the issues that continue to affect college sports, stems from the violations of the athletes themselves. Such a suggestion , is no more valid than making a claim, the NCAA can actually deal with their ongoing issues without any outside oversight. The NCAA failed the victims of the Penn State ‘ scandal ‘ miserably,without the university and the state’s governor Tom Corbett seeking to enact a cover-up, without the supporters of Joe Paterno trying to apportion blame elsewhere for Jerry Sandusky’s heinous actions and the lack foresight shown by the now deceased head football coach. The scandal, still permeates through the school’s campus and it can never be forgotten no matter how many changes are put into place by the Board of Trustees of Penn State.

Mark Emmert remains an enigma and a conundrum all rolled into one, having succeeded the late Myles Brand as the NCAA’s highest ranking official. During his tenure, Emmert has shown that his interpersonal and communicative skills leave a lot to be desired without having to delve into his past administrative history , which seems to be littered with a great deal of controversy and claims of incompetence , graft and corruption. Perhaps, those were the qualifications sought by the executive search firm hired by the NCAA as they sought a successor to Myles Brand ? There can be no other reason for the hire than Emmert’s past actions and therein lies one of the numerous reasons why this institutional body cannot be taken seriously.

Emmert’s appearance in front of the members of the Senate Commerce Committee proved to be embarrassing and equally distasteful with the fawning of the members fawned over not only the NCAA President but also several current and former college athletes who gave testimony to the convened members of the congressional panel. Senator Claire McCaskill in her questioning of Mark Emmert concerning the issue of on campus sexual assaults which has been on the increase over the past decade, of which over seventy-percent (70%) of all sexual campus crimes go unreported , a staggering figure when judged against the national average. Emmert would suggest the NCAA does take the sexual assaults seriously, especially where the majority of the victims are women. Victims of such crimes are always reluctant to come forward and report that they are victims of rapes or an assault because they are not likely to be believed or subjected to further degradation by either law enforcement or the educational institution itself.

The NCAA, an institution primarily presided over by men among its most senior ranks, simply has no idea how to deal with sexual crimes, much less Mark Emmert being able to provide the Senate Commerce Committee with a satisfactory explanation about how the institution now plans to discuss future incidents of campus sex crimes. It should be noted, current Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston still remains a person of interest in a sexual assault claim made by a female victim. The player’s legal representatives first suggested that the claims were false, only to then claim that the sex between the two , was consensual. Tallahassee Police Department came under severe criticism by State Attorney General Pam Bondi for the lackluster and lack of professionalism in the conducting of the original and later investigation for the Florida State player, who has since fallen afoul of the law for his theft of groceries from a well-known grocery store chain within the state of Florida. Winston’s public apology rings hollow, very much like the university’s failure in reprimanding the athlete for his actions.

Winston while remaining in school , can now look forward to a year in which he will look to heighten his value to Florida State, as well as looking to enhance his value as a future first round draft pick in the NFL Draft . Short term memory remains the norm within the NFL, no matter when there is said to be a lack of character among the prospective players looking to make their mark in the NFL. A cautionary tale can be provided with the fall from grace of New England Patriots’ tight-end Aaron Hernandez and his continued legal issues without delving into what were already clearly troubling signs during his collegiate career at the University of Florida . The excuses made by his former head coach, Urban Meyer and by the Patriots’ organization was simply another sign, where the NFL and another collegiate educational establishment simply did not care about a troubled individual with a litany of psychological problems.

The convening of a Congressional Committee and its empaneling can be about as insightful as watching paint dry or watching flies congregate around an elephant’s ass, as it begins to defecate. Which begs the question, why are these committee members there to begin with and how productive are they once in Congress? Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) , a fellow member of the Senate Commerce Committee, spent more time regaling the press , convened members and Mark Emmert about his collegiate career at Stanford as a wide receiver on the school’s football team, than asking any meaningful questions of Mark Emmert about the direction of the institution he presides over and the increase of sexual assaults on college campuses across the country. If that were not enough, Booker would go on to suggest that his college years were difficult, because he and teammates spent far too much time reading play books than studying. .Am I missing something here, but getting a free ride as a student athlete is nowhere as arduous as the congressman was trying suggest ?

Academic fraud on a college campus where a respected coach presides over a college program believed to be among the best in the nation ? Legends were built under Dean Smith , as he cemented a legacy and where fans got to see a young Michael Jordan excel at the collegiate level , garnering a national championship at North Carolina (Tar Heels)before embarking on his now legendary NBA career. Roy Williams, who took over from Smith’s successor Matt Doherty in 2003, was already a well-respected coach before coming to coach the Tar Heels’ program. Williams is now at the center of a scandal that is likely to blow the roof off the program in Chapel Hill as well as the Dean Smith Center where this storied program play their home games. Far be it for me to suggest, but Williams, his assistants and the school’s AD Bubba Cunningham will have a great deal of explaining to do if the allegations are proven to be true. Allegations leveled are of the head coach turning a blind eye to current and former players failing to meet academic requirements and their being widespread cheating, encouraged by members of the coaching staff, is unlikely to sit well with everyone , especially among the diehard Tar Heels’ fans.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & AP (Associated Press)


Dean Smith’s former players backing Roy Williams in wake of North Carolina’s academic scandal

By Pat Forde , Yahoo Sports

Dean Smith is alive but absent, his remarkable mind ravaged by the effects of dementia. While that has caused deep mourning among those who know and love the legendary former North Carolina basketball coach, there is one small sliver of relief regarding his current condition.

He is unaware of the ongoing integrity crisis that has engulfed the program he built into a national model.

“I’m tired of it,” said former Smith-era player Richard Vinroot. “I want it fixed. I want it to end.”

The NCAA recently announced it has re-opened its investigation of an academic scandal at Carolina. That figures to follow the tracks of the school’s ongoing (and latest) investigation of itself. Those investigations follow the drip-drip-drip of allegations of classroom shortcuts – and other embarrassing headlines – at a school that once proudly considered itself the ultimate intersection of competitive excellence and off-court class.

“It pains me greatly,” Vinroot said. “I have such high regard for Coach Smith. I revere him.”

Vinroot is a former mayor of Charlotte and one-time Republican nominee for governor of North Carolina. Smith, a staunch and outspoken Democrat, cited player loyalty over party loyalty when supporting Vinroot’s gubernatorial bid in 2000.

That was Dean Smith, to those who played under him: a mentor and ally for life, extending well past the player/coach relationship. David Chadwick, senior pastor of Forest Hill Church in Charlotte and another former Tar Heel under Smith, wrote a book, “The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith.” The first principle he cited: “The Reciprocal Law of Loyalty.”

“He had an unyielding loyalty to us,” Chadwick said. “That’s why we had that fierce commitment to him, because he had that commitment to us.”

Smith cultivated something of a Camelot aura in Chapel Hill – it was Duke before Duke, and before Duke had the taint of Corey Maggette and Lance Thomas to deal with. The UNC players and coaches were all part of something special, and forever bonded in the making of it. Which is why this disorienting journey from Camelot to crucible has the Carolina old guard dismayed.

=======================================
Click on link to read in full.
========================================

Farcical and downright stupidity can now be the only reason why many the Tar Heels’ former players are jumping to the defense of Roy Williams and the allegations being made. A scandal of this size came into being or compromised the integrity of the program under Dean Smith, but in many respects one should be at all surprised at the claims or allegations now being leveled at Roy Williams. He is simply one of many coaches within collegiate sports, who have conflicted with violating NCAA rules. Accountability and oversight was never the highest priority within collegiate sports and it will continue to be that way even with the NCAA flexing their muscles , but therein lies idiocy of that premise, as Emmert seeks to punish some programs with impunity while excusing others. Let us not forget also, the continued incompetency shown by the investigative arm of the NCAA, where the Infractions’ Committee, who having misplaced evidence in their investigation of the University of Miami program chose to make up and then proceed to lie in how they obtained the very same evidence.

University of Miami President Donna Shalala has requested an appeal of the decision of the NCAA’s probation and other sanctions placed on the Canes’ program , for which she has yet to receive a response from Mark Emmert or from a high-ranking subordinate within the NCAA. Collegiate Athletics’ governing body should have their antitrust and tax exempt status removed by the Congress, but with the lobbying power of the institution and the money spent to curry favor with the members of the House and Senate , the ongoing hypocrisy is likely to continue, while congress members play at the role of being tough legislators. In reality, they are nothing more than money hungry members, simply looking to prolong their stays within both Federal legislative chambers

Judge Claudia Wilken will preside over the case where Ed O’Bannon is the lead plaintiff in a multi-jurisdictional proceeding . While the NCAA will fight the case as a defendant with the legal power at their disposal, I cannot help wonder, if Mark Emmert’s own efforts forestall the obvious, is simply another way of appeasing conference commissioners such as John Swofford, Larry Scott , Mike Slive and many of their peers. They are seeking to ward off this case, while trying to keep the monies pouring into their treasure chests . Billions of dollars are at stake and the chances are even with a loss , the litigation process would be prolonged with an appeal being lodged in the Federal Appellate Court . A loss for the plaintiffs and this all can be put to rest , with the stain and stench of the NCAA still within our midst.

======================================


======================================

Picture gallery.

Are you of the opinion the NCAA represents the best interests of the college athlete? Alternatively, do you feel the institution to be outmoded, with far too much beyond its scope concerning collegiate athletics? Leave comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

🙂

Picture and slideshow details .

=================================================

(1) Jameis Winston of Florida State is seen here with team head coach Jimbo Fisher as the pair celebrate becoming BCS National champions in 2013 . The Seminoles had a tremendous season outplaying their opponents and performing to the highest of standards ending the year ranked number one in the polls . AP Photo/ Matt Mason ..

(2) NCAA President Mark Emmert is seen here addressing members of the Senate Commerce Committee up on Capitol Hill , in Washington , DC . Emmert faced some tough questions from certain members of the committee , but in large part there was a great deal of posturing by the NCAA President and his inquisitors . Getty Images / Mark Hurst …

(3) Sen. Claire McCaskill , D-Mo., asks a question of former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama’s choice for defense secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination. McCaskill relished the opportunity to quiz Hagel on the issue of Israel’s right to defend itself and brought similar determination in her quizzing of Mark Emmert as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee. AP Photo/Susan Walsh

(4) Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee members (L-R) Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) , Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) listen to testimony during a hearing about the future of unmanned aviation in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony about the Federal Aviation Administration’s policy on unmanned aviation systems and about the privacy and freedom issues surrounding their use. Getty Images North America / Chip Smodevilla

(5) Roy Williams head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels is now under siege with claims current and former players receiving monetary and unspecified gifts , as well as their being academic fraud within the basketball program , with certain members of Williams’ coaching being fully aware of the violations being perpetrated. Former Tar Heels’ player Rashad McCants has made a number of clams concerning the allegations without suggesting that he was in fact part of activities taking place . UPI / Chris Hendricks …
=================================================

🙂

tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

For more continent within this site, click on the link provided .

——————–

NCAA

Latest news from within the NCAA

On the mound …..

On the mound …..

We are now two months into the MLB season and things are looking rather perilous for a number of teams within baseball , as their seasons are sitting perilously close to being viewed as disastrous. In the AL , both the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays sit at the bottom of their respective divisions. Tampa as of Sunday evening , stood 10 ½ games behind the division leading Toronto Blue Jays , who sat atop of the AL East . Somewhat surprising when you consider that in 2013 the Blue Jays with all of their acquisitions proved uncompetitive and barely challenged within the division or the AL for that matter. A year later and he we are looking at a team that appears to have all the confidence in the world , with pitcher Mark Buerhle leading the AL in a number of pitching categories beyond his own statistics this season.

===================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===================================

Slideshow .

Far be it for me to suggest, but this continued belief that the small market teams are still able to compete even when their payrolls are said to be nowhere as competitive as the top teams within the league. Last season, the New York Yankees led the way with a team payroll well in excess of $200 million , and the Yankees failed to make the postseason. This year it is their NL West counterparts the Los Angeles Dodgers and their newly bloated commitment of over . $218 million that leads the way within MLB , paying out over $3 billion in salary commitments for the second consecutive year. . And we are to believe, Major League Baseball can remain solvent , with their teams not failing from an economic standpoint, when seven-figure salaries and contracts have now become like confetti (rice) being thrown to celebrate the nuptials of a newly wed couple , without their being any serious future ramifications for the game ?

The Tampa Bay Rays are losers of seven of their last ten games with seven consecutive losses being part of that tally , with their last victory coming against the Boston Red Sox on the 25th May. The struggles of the team beyond their injuries woes simply stem from the fact the Rays are not afforded a situation where they can go out and obtain the best players available , as they are severely restricted by fiscal constraints . It has been left to the ingenuity of GM Andrew Friedman and the managerial acumen of Joe Maddon in determining how the obtain the best players possible without having to pay above market prices , in acquiring the resources needed. Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Miami Marlins , was a further indication , as to where the Rays are now at and how far they have fallen , without delving further into the ambiguity and apathy now being shown by their lackluster fans, who barely come out in support of the team , when their games are played at Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg , Florida. Joe Maddon and his players will once again be the guests of the Miami Marlins when they are scheduled to meet at Marlins Ballpark in Miami , Florida, on Tuesday afternoon . On the mound for the Rays will be Chris Archer for the Rays against the Marlins’ Henderson Alvarez in what should be a very entertaining contest between two of the league’s best young pitchers playing today. As to an outcome , I believe that can be best summed up by simply looking at the between these two teams over the past five seasons to perhaps guessing the likely outcome.

It would be fair to suggest that over the past ten years the Kansas City Royals have perhaps been one of the most inept organizations in all of baseball over the last fifteen years. One simply has to look at their record during that time span and the very fact that the Royals have not made the MLB Postseason in over fifteen years, with their last appearance coming in 1985, when they made the World Series and faced the St Louis Cardinals , with Kansas prevailing in that series 4-3 . In the later years , after that triumph, the years have been lean and not exactly kind to this beleaguered AL Central franchise and their now well chronicled history.

It would also be fair to acknowledge, that team owner , David Glass has failed miserably , in steering this organization with any semblance of urgency or seeking to make the ball-club competitive . Instead, it has been this continual idiocy by their fans and media savants alike in suggesting that the development of their farm system will bring about their long-awaited return to success. This season, that has definitely not been the case and last year was just as demonstrative , in their lack of competitiveness within the division and around the AL overall. A 27-30 record has the Royals now sitting just above the last placed Minnesota Twins and having only won four of their last ten games , you simply have to wonder how likely it is that there would be any type of life seen from this team. Ned Yost and his managerial staff have steered through the calm and the storms of uncertainty during his managerial career with this franchise. Yet, is my belief the Royals will continue to be a ball-club not suited to challenging for a divisional title , pennant , or World Series’ title, while David Glass is unwilling to bolster the team’s payroll . For years, they have remained close to being at the bottom rung of teams by way payroll and that appears unlikely to change for the foreseeable future under Glass’ tenure.

A 6-0 triumph over the St Louis Cardinals in a game played at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri, might well have provided some respite for Yost’s players and that series will continue with a Tuesday afternoon contest that sees James Shields taking the mound for the Royals against Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals . A win for the Kansas City is a necessity rather, than dropping another game and then further endangering their season at this point of their schedule. If nothing else, it would be great to provide a certain amount of positivity for their fans , rather than the constant feeling that the effort shown is simply meaningless .

In 2013 the Texas Rangers’ starting pitcher Yu Darvish was simply spectacular and were it not for a late season injury , I firmly believe that he would have won the AL Cy Young Award , rather than the accolade going to the Detroit Tigers’ pitching ace Max Scherzer. The Tigers’ pitcher for his part, chose to turn down the offer from GM Dave Dombrowski , that would have seen the player be awarded a six-year $144 million contract . I get the feeling that Scherzer’s agent might well be cursing his client for not signing on the bottom line of a deal that would have made him one of the highest paid starting pitchers in the Majors . At the same time, you have to wonder whether Scherzer has made a tremendous mistake in turning down that deal. An injury at this point of the season and the likelihood of his value plummeting as a free agent, beyond his perhaps seeking a more lucrative deal.

Scott Boras , one of the premiere agents within the game of baseball , may well feel that he will be in a suitable position to drive a hard bargain in the off-season with the Tigers’ front office , should Max Scherzer remain healthy over the course of the season , while ending up with a winning record . Yet , we all know that the agent is also likely to start a bidding war for his client’s services , as has often been the case in his negotiating ploys with many of the general managers within the game of baseball. . For the moment Scherzer’s $15 million deal will have to be one where the player feels is justified as he seeks garner something more commensurate with a player of his stature .

Since being acquired by the New York Yankees , their Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (8-1) has been among the best pitchers in the AL , certainly on the Yankees’ pitching staff this season . If nothing else, he could prove to be just as dynamic as his Japanese counterpart Yu Darvish of the Rangers. If there was said to be a weakness with the New York Yankees this season , many believed that it would be their pitching and what many believed to be a sub-par lineup, when measured against the rest of the AL and MLB overall . Tanaka’s seven-year $155 million deal now seems worthwhile, as the team remains in contention within the AL East. Now comes the hard part for the pitcher, can he and his teammates on the pitching rotation , to remain consistent over the course of this season. If they are able to do so, while their offense remains potent , this could all bode well for the New York Yankees as they seek to make a return the postseason and win their first World Series’ title since 2009. Yankees’ short-stop and team captain Derek Jeter would certainly like to end his career on a high note, winning a sixth World Series’ ring , joining distinguish group of players with more than five titles to their name.

The New York in their last game against the Seattle Mariners , in a contest played at Yankees Stadium in New York City , New York , were on the wrong side side of a lopsided 10-2 loss at the hands of Mariners . Losing pitcher David Phelps performed poorly , but the team’s woes went far beyond their pitching , because this loss was a collective one , with the offense nowhere to be seen throughout this entire game. . Joe Girardi’s players can perhaps exorcise that loss, when they take on the Oakland A’s on Tuesday afternoon, with Hiroki Kuroda on the mound to face off against Scott Kazmir of the A’s .

One of the more intriguing pitching contests of the day, pits the Blue Jays’ Drew Hutchinson against Anibal Sanchez of the Tigers , in an AL duel of two of that league’s brightest stars. I would like to think that the Detroit Tigers this season can make up for some weak postseason appearances over the last few years . Certainly , in the aftermath of Jim Leyland’s retirement , the lasting impression I have of the Tigers , is that of their famed former manager placing his teams in a position to win a World Series , but each time , they failed miserably , with many questioning the acumen of Leyland, when in reality, the fault laid with the teams in question .

Brad Ausmus , has now been entrusted with the managerial role of guiding the Tigers to their first World Series’ win since 1984, with this season marking the thirtieth anniversary of that triumph. It will be very interesting to see how this team fares over the remainder of the season , with just about everything on the line including their trying to win the AL Central title , which of late has been the franchise’s personal bauble.

Rare feats within baseball, are things , which excite the fans and MLB analysts alike . A no-hitter , the perfect game , a four home run game , unassisted triple play and hitting for the cycle , are feats which we all enjoy and will continue to applaud , no matter era of the game. Josh Beckett’s, recent chase at perfection, ended with the pitcher capturing the first “no-hitter” of his career. The fact that he achieved that feat against the hapless Philadelphia Phillies should in no way be seen, as the diminishing of that accomplishment achieved at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , was a great day for the player and his Los Angeles Dodgers’ teammates.

Beckett’s later outing was not as relishing as his last , with his losing that particular game to the Pittsburgh Pirates by a narrow margin , with the Pirates eking out a 2-1 victory . The Dodgers’ starting pitcher, was unable to carry out another rarity, with back to back ” no hitters” . With the Dodgers having the biggest payroll in the game and several of their pitchers and players among the highest paid in the game, it is easy to understand why there will be added pressure on the team to succeed, as well as upon the shoulders of Don Mattingly and his managerial staff. The manager has now been given just about every tool at his disposal , with an All Star at almost every position possible ,as they seek to win their first World Series’ crown in over two decades. Say nothing of which ,