The Life You Lead and the Road Less Traveled

The Life You Lead and The Road Less Traveled ….

With the NFL Postseason having come to an and with it being a glorious celebration with the Kansas City Chiefs wining Superbowl LIV . Patrick Mahomes joined a select group of players to have won the Superbowl MVP and League MVP , though not in the same season within a three-year span of having entered the league. Mahomes excelled during the regular season with his play and he truly stepped up to the plate during the postseason .

Patrick Mahomes and his teammates were truly invigorating in their defeat of the San Francisco 49ers . For Chiefs’ Head Coach Andy Reid , this was a tremendous achievement , after his years of trying to reach the pinnacle of the NFL. Reid has now taken two teams to the Superbowl , won two conference titles and multiple division titles with both the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. From my own perspective , Reid can now take this Chiefs’ franchise to even greater heights than any of his predecessors including the venerable Hank Stram .

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During this off-season , it will be interesting to see how the Kansas City Chiefs’ front office will deal with the free agents on the roster as well as positioning themselves with regard to the upcoming NFL Draft as well as their positioning with the salary cap . Leigh Steinberg , agent for Patrick Mahomes knows that he can negotiate a revamped deal for his budding NFL superstar , with the chance that Mahomes could very well become among
the highest paid players in the league.

There were several teams who failed miserably over the course of the NFL season , with perhaps none more so than the Cincinnati Bengals . Though some might say the Cleveland Browns were equally abysmal with Baker Mayfield proving how over-hyped the quarterback has been , albeit that he could share the same ignominy of Jamies Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with his erratic play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . One thing that is clear , several franchises will be in need of a quarterback for the upcoming season and the likelihood with several veteran free agents on the market , notably Tom Brady , Drew Brees and Philip Rivers , there could be some major changes on the way. Joe Burrow appears to be overall consensus number one overall pick in this upcoming Draft and I seriously doubt that the Bengals’ front office will pass on a player of his caliber , given his play on the national championship winning team of LSU (Tigers) .

In the aftermath of the fallout from the Houston Astros and their spectacular fall from grace , it has to be said that the MLB hierarchy’s handling of the situation was swift and exact . Furthermore , team owner Jim Crane immediately fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow . Crane has moved ahead with the hiring of Dusty Baker to succeed Hinch and the hire of James Click , a former front office executive with the Tampa Bay Rays to succeed Jeff Luhnow . It would appear that the Astros are now in a position to embark on a new chapter within the franchise’s history .

The world of baseball is still in shock , with some of the game’s most prominent players not said to be completely satisfied with the punishment meted out to the Houston Astros’ organization. From my own perspective , I feel that the steps taken by MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred , were more than justified and it sets an example for the rest of the teams within the league as to the dangers of cheating .

If you’ve provided a great deal of success for a team that you have played for ever since your very first game for the franchise , then you would expect to be compensated accordingly. That doesn’t appear to be the case for Mookie Betts , an All Star player for the Boston Red Sox and the ball-club’s most recent recipient of an ALMVP Award . Betts and the Red Sox front office seem to be miles apart in the renegotiation his existing contract which has a year to run and with the player due $27 million for the upcoming 2020 MLB season .

There are said to be at least two interested parties wishing to acquire Mookie Betts , with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres said to be those two leading ball-clubs vying for his services. The Dodgers for their part can offer up several players, while committing themselves to adding Betts’ final year to their already burgeoning payroll and likelihood of committing themselves of being penalized by way of the luxury tax threshold of $200 million if necessary. . It will be interested to see what the Dodgers can achieve with Mookie Betts and David Price , with the news now emanating that the Red Sox have relented and sent these two players westwards to Los Angeles . The Dodgers with these two acquisitions would have to be considered for the NLCS in 2020. with the depth of their roster overall .

With the Opening Day for the MLB season beginning on 26th March , 2020 and it will be interesting to see how the teams will fare through the first month of the season . The Los Angeles Dodgers’ regular season opener will see the team face the San Francisco Giants , their NL West divisional rivals .

It will be hard to suggest which team in the AL can be seen as a viable favorite for the ALCS in 2020. The New York Yankees , Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins were the only three teams to have notched over 100 wins this past season . All three were divisional champions and it will be interesting to see if either can repeat that feat , given the changes made to the respective rosters and payrolls . For the Yankees , their continued to pursuit of a twenty-eighth World Series’ title remains ever present in the minds of their fans as well as the Steinbrenner family as the owners of baseball’s most revered franchise . New York’s last victory in the World Series came by way of the managerial talents of Joe Girardi , as he led them to victory over the Philadelphia Phillies . New York’s manager Aaron Boone and this largely talented team will be looking to guide the franchise to another postseason berth with another title in mind. Their season will begin with a game the Baltimore Orioles , in a contest being played on the road against their AL East divisional rivals.

Aaron Boone will undoubtedly be tested over the course of the season , with the continued impatience among the fans of the New York Yankees. With the team having several All Stars on the roster , these players will have to play to the best of their abilities over the course of this season . The likes of Giancarlo Stanton , among the highest paid player on the team alongside Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge will be looking to have a great season in 2020. Gerrit Cole , the starting pitcher acquired during this off-season will debut for the Yankees , likely leading their starting roster of pitchers. . If Cole is the Opening Day Starter against the Orioles , it will be interesting to see how the player fares against Baltimore .

Is there any chance that Derek Jeter as the newest New York Yankees ‘ Hall of Fame inductee will be able to see the Miami Marlins actually compete this season within the NL East ? It has been several years since the ball-club last played in the postseason and several years since the finished either as a runner-up or division winner within the division.

The Miami Marlins have gone from being franchise with a great farm system to an after-thought and laughing stock around the game of baseball. Not even under the managerial acumen of Don Mattingly and his staff , has the ball-club to achieve anything of note. Suffice to say another sub-par year now awaits the Marlins after their 57-105 record of last season . . This season if nothing else , Jeter and team managing partner , Bruce Sherman will be expecting a great deal out of this team heading into the season. . On assessing the team’s roster and the fact the payroll is among the lowest in the league , something of a trait the ball-club has followed for a number of years . This continues to be the mantra that they’ve followed for several years heading into 2020 . The Marlins’ regular season opener will see the team face the Philadelphia Phillies at home .

We’re heading into the NBA All Star Game which takes place this upcoming week and with the teams having not fared too well at this juncture in the lead-up to this big mid-season event. The Milwaukee Bucks have the best record in the league , and the team is the only franchise to have hit the forty victory mark . Current League MVP and captain of the World Stars , when they face the domestic NBA Stars of the league as Giannis Antetokoumnpou will lead that roster of World Stars . Antetokounmpou once again leads the Brewers in offense and has been the focal point of a franchise once again looking to meet expectations . Milwaukee has a mere handful games before the All Star Break , with their next game being against the Philadelphia 76ers , a team which is clearly over-matched in this contest to my mind with their players being nowhere as talented as the Bucks.

With the aftermath and the death of Kobe Bryant , there has been a giant shadow cast over the NBA and specifically the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise , with the organization as well as the fans players alike in a complete state of shock. For Lakers’ premiere players LeBron James and Anthony Davis , it has been a devastating for both All Stars. While I believe that the franchise can overcome this tragedy , it remains to be seen how the players will acquit themselves in the coming months . They are clearly the best team within the Western Conference by a wide margin , but the regular season being what it is . It’s a playoff run which really determines great champions and the players themselves . LeBron James knows this to be true given his playoff record in the NBA. Over their next ten games , it will be interesting to see how the Lakers will fare in those upcoming contests . Their upcoming game against the Golden State Warriors on the 8th February .

If the Los Angeles Lakers are said to be having problems, then one equate the continued problems of the New York Knicks as one of their very own making over the past ten years at least. . The fact that the franchise’s last appearance in the NBA Playoffs took place during the 2012-13 season should tell you all you need to know about the Knicks and their continued dire straits . The team’s roster as it now stands isn’t overly impressive and when compared to the other franchises in the conference and league overall , there’s the feeling that the front office under GM Scott Perry , team owner James L Dolan and the coaching staff of Mike Miller have completely lost their way . Up next for the New York Knicks will be a game against the Detroit Pistons on the road against an Eastern Conference rival . The New York Knicks remains the most valuable franchise in the NBA and among its most profitable , purely based from the fact they’re in the nation’s largest ad-market . Beyond that, there’s nothing remotely significant about the organization and its current destination at this juncture.

What if anything, would you like to see happen in the coming weeks within the world of sports and which recent stories have held your attention the most ?

Tophatal 02/07/2020………….

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NFL news …

NFL free agents …

NFL Draft …

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NBA news ….

NBA standings division ..

NBA schedule ..

NBA transactions …

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MLB news ….

MLB schedule 26th March Opening Day …

MLB transactions ..

MLB team payrolls (2020) ..

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Picture gallery alongside narrative.

It’s Often Best To Be Seen And Not Heard ……………

It’s Often Best To Be Seen And Not Heard ……………

Well with the ongoing NFL lockout you simply knew that ESPN couldn’t live without getting a sound byte no matter how inane it might be. And you can simply count on ESPN to sink to the lowest common denominator to make sure that scenario arises . Reporter Sal Palantonio  in an interview with the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Lewis had me chuckling when he correlated that the prolonged labor stoppage would lead to a rise in crime because the discerning NFL fan would have nothing to with there being no football. I simply wanted to say …” nig_a shut the fu_k up for God’s sake ” ! Ray Lewis knows about committing a crime and actually getting away with it because of the fact that the legal establishment simply obfuscated their responsibility as they often do , when taking a plea agreement or in this case, Lewis simply got off ” Scott free” in the manslaughter death of a victim in a deadly brawl during which two of Lewis’ accomplices actually committed this heinous act . ==================================================================================

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Slide show for your perusal .

Courtesy of USA Today

Ravens’ Ray Lewis warns of spike in crime if NFL season is lost By Nate Davis , USA Today Ravens star LB Ray Lewis believes if the players and owners don’t soon find a way to resolve the ongoing lockout that people outside the NFL’s family could suffer far more severely than the ones squabbling within it. “We really got to remove pride. Seriously,” he said in an interview with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. “There’s no other reason the issue is going on. That’s why I don’t get into words and all that other stuff, because it takes away from life — itself. Man there are people who’s really struggling — for real. There’s real struggles out there. What we’re going through right now, we’re affecting way more than us. “There’s too many people (that) live through us, people live through us. Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I’m not talking about the people you see all the time.” Lewis goes on to suggest that the livelihoods of many fans and some of the NFL’s subsidiary employees — such as stadium workers — hang in the balance. “Do this research if we don’t have a season,” Lewis says. “Watch how much evil — which we call it crime — watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game. … There’s nothing else to do, Sal.” —————————————————————————————————Click on the link to read this article in its entirety . =================================================================================

Ray Lewis ought to recognize that crime usually goes up primarily because of the harsh realities of an economy goes into the tank ____ it’s now there for all to see. Without a doubt Lewis is either showing his ignorance or he’s merely looking for a way to show that he feels aggrieved because of the league’s actions in initiating the stoppage . And the very fact that the stoppage itself has been legally upheld by a judicial ruling by the 8th District Court of Appeals in Minneapolis , Minnesota he of all people should be concerned with his own union (NFLPA) body has been doing while all of this plays out . The NFLPA has simply been about its own image and self worth while painting the league hierarchy as the villains of the piece . It’s at times like this I’m simply happy that the idiots within the NFL and the NFLPA show that what they lack in common sense is only exhibited by the stupidity that either side has shown in trying to further play to the public’s sympathy by simply looking to blame the other for something that they collectively brought into being .

As respected as Lewis may well be by his peers within the league and some fans across the NFL panacea , I do believe that he could have expressed himself considerably better . Emotional as he may well be about this stoppage , he should remember also that the average fan out there isn’t as lucky to have been attributed with the Lewis’ God given talents and the fact that they would be able to earn a multi million dollar salary each year . And in spite of his image makeover after his legal issues in the aftermath of the trial that took place in the manslaughter death of that male victim by his two accomplices I still believe that Lewis is considerably lucky not to be behind bars ! Were this a mere civilian rather than a high profile athlete the outcome might well have been different. At this juncture there’s not much more that can be really said other than the words I’ve already directed at the Ravens’ player !

We all know the idiocy that has taken place concerning the New York Mets  and the fact that the organization as well two of the team’s most prominent owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon  as defendants are being sued in a Federal Court by the plaintiffs in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal . The plaintiffs are being represented by noted attorney Irving Picard . In light of this Katz and Wilpon have plead their innocence in any wrongdoing and have stated that they are if anything victims of Madoff’s malfeasance rather than being enablers that have profited financially wherein the duo have received in excess of 700 million over the decades that the scheme had been enacted.

Given the grave financial instability of of the New York Mets I found it quite comedic that Fred Wilpon was being critical of several players on this team most notably Jose Reyes , Carlos Beltran and David Wright . Wilpon stated that he felt that Reyes, in the process of seeking a contract extension isn’t good enough to be earning a Carl Crawford type of a contract (7 years / $140 million ) and that Beltran isn’t the same player they signed to a 7 year $119 million contract. Furthermore , he went on to state that the team’s All Star and team captain David Wright isn’t a star in the making or simply good enough to be compared to his cross-town counterpart Derek Jeter  . Strong words indeed for an owner who simply signed the checks on the say so, of then general manager Omar Minaya  . And during Minaya’s tenure it simply wasn’t about attaining players for the sake of it but merely gaining back page coverage in order to compete with the New York Yankees for that coverage on the sports’ pages within the nation’s largest ad market and also on the local television there within the Big Apple. I’ve got to say when you’re that envious, there’s got to be something that you can do better in order to obtain a higher profile rather than spending money so capriciously ! Keeping up with the Joneses ?

This season much like last season it would appear that the New York Mets are simply mediocre and I seriously doubt that things are liable to change anytime soon . And even though the organization sought to bring in Sandy Alderson , J P Riccardi  to head the front office as Exec VP, general manager , assistant EVP general manager it still has me wondering whether or not this will be enough to turn things around for a team that has been engulfed in such an abysmal situation where much of that has been self inflicted by the idiotic personnel decisions made . But it appears even with a new manager Terry Collins and coaching staff in tow it appears that things haven’t changed all that much from his predecessor Jerry Manuel was leading this team. Minaya and Manuel simply took this team to depths of mediocrity and beyond if that’s actually possible . And Minaya simply tried to justify the personnel decisions made that brought this club to where they became somewhat of a laughing stock . Never mind that uber-agent  Scott Boras  and many of his clients made off like thieves in the night as the Mets simply overpaid for mediocre talent .

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Mets owner Fred Wilpon sounds off on his beloved team’s troubles By Tom Verducci , Sports Illustrated New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, as profiled this week in Sports Illustrated, provided a blunt picture of the team’s finances: The team is “bleeding cash” at the rate of a possible $70 million loss this year and his ownership of the team could be jeopardized by the $1 billion lawsuit against him and his Sterling Equities partners. The suit was filed by the trustee of the liquidation of Bernie Madoff’s investments. What does it mean for the baseball operations? In the short term, the Mets likely will cut payroll next year by about 30 percent and give a voice to a new investor that Wilpon expects to introduce in about three weeks — an investor he will treat as a limited partner. Is Wilpon worried that the lawsuit — in which the trustee wants about $300 million in fictitious profits and another $700 million in principal the Sterling partners put into Madoff accounts — could cause him to lose the team? “Not right now, no,” he told SI in an exclusive interview last week. “Because I don’t think anybody thinks that 700 is realistic.” ————————————————————————————————————————-

Click on the link shown to read this article in its entirety .

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At present the New York Mets  6-4 in their last ten games coming off a two game losing streak but they’re already 4 1/2 games behind the division leading Philadelphia Phillies  (28-18) within the NL East . And as spirited a change as many well have thought might have taken place with the Mets this team continues to perform monstrously in the most inexplicably of ways . Injuries or not the explanation being given by Wilpon as to the team’s present woes while in part justifiable it simply doesn’t go anywhere in explaining how it is that he and the front office have simply let things get to where they are at present . Most team owners I would have thought would desire some real effort put forth by its players even in the face of real adversity . Instead all we have seen from this team is an exceptionally inept organization from top to bottom in terms of its performances both and off the field of play.

Now some might say it is still too early to judge Alderson , Riccardi and Collins at present but if things continue to get any worse I can assure you that the fans in attendance at Citi Field for the team’s home games can’t continue to endure the mediocrity that seems to be part of this organization’s current mantra. Er’go it’s akin to the laughable excuses I’ve heard being uttered when some patrons try to state that because a change are in the offing, it solicits that the changes being made even if they are incremental , will be for the better . Since when was the game of baseball not been about what you’re doing now but what you’ll be doing four to five years from now . And that's especially true when teams are struggling not only from a competitive standpoint but also financially as well ! If one is going to delve also into the business of sports at least one should show the acumen to understand that the game simply isn't just about winning but also being a profitable going concern. After all the owners are simply doing this all out of the goodness of their heart but some idiotic fans seem to be under the impression and that making money is the last thing that the team owners simply want to do !

Fred Wilpon and his partners within the Mets’ organization and at his company Sterling Equities of which Katz happens to be a co-founder have a lot to be concerned with given their reluctance to comply with many of the requests of the plantiffs’ attorney Irving Picard with regard to certain financial documents still in their possession concerning monetary movements between the New York Mets and the financial concern under their command. I get the feeling that Wilpon has made this statement simply to deflect the attention he feels that has been unwarranted concerning his actions and Saul Katz’s as it relates to the financial scandal that has engulfed the Mets and their company ! He may well be justified in calling out certain players but he also should be taking a close look at his own actions in all of this , as an owner , he too has a responsibility to voice his concerns but it was clear that was the furthest thing from his mind at the time when he , in conjunction with Minaya and Jerry Manuel decided to make many of the outrageous personnel decisions that have brought the New York Mets to where they presently are.

As this season plays itself out it will be very interesting to see how things pan out for the New York Mets and the steps that might well be taken by the front office come the trade deadline . Win or lose , as of now , the clock is ticking on this organization’s immediate future and the shape that it will ultimately take. The league hierarchy under Bud Selig may well be watching this all with a great deal of close scrutiny because simply put, in the aftermath of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ debacle , their financial woes and the assault of a San Francisco Giants’ fan, Brian Stow , at Dodgers Stadium . The last thing the game now needs is another black eye to further taint its already tarnished image .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And do you believe that the statements attributed to both Lewis and Wilpon in any way are somehow justified ? Chime in with your thoughts as see fit .

Alan aka tophatal …………..

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Lewis seen here in his interview with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio speaks of what he sees as the ramifications of what he sees will embody and impact this lockout with regard to the NFL fan . ESPN/ Mark Gustaffson …….

(2) Linebackers Ray Lewis (52) and Terrell Suggs (55) of the Baltimore Ravens celebrate a play during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on January 9, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images North America / Dilip Vishwanath …..

(3) From left to right Fred Wilpon , GM Sandy Alderson , team manager Terry Collins , Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon  and team President Saul Katz . Collins was being formally introduced to the public and New York press as the team’s new manager after the abrupt firing of his predecessor Jerry Manuel . Getty Images / Chris McGrath ……

(4) Mike Pelfrey (34) of the New York Mets reacts after giving up a first inning home run to Curtis Granderson (14) of the New York Yankees on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets  9-3 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images …..

(5) Chris Dickerson (27) of the New York Yankees hits a double in the seventh inning against the New York Mets on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets 9-3. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

(6) Mike Pelfrey of the New York Mets is pulled in the seventh inning as teammates Daniel Murphy(28) , Willie Harris(22), and manager Terry Collins (10) look on against the New York Yankees on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets 9-3. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……

(7) Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees and Jose Reyes (7) of the New York Mets share a laugh on May 21, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets  7-3 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ….

(8) David Wright(5) of the New York Mets who’s on the team’s DL sits on the bench during the game between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees on May 20, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Mets defeat the Yankees 2-1 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……

(9) Mark Teixeira (25) of the New York Yankees (not pictured) hits a home run just over the leap of Carlos Beltran(15) of the New York Mets in the bottom of the third on May 20, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……..

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