Ours is not to reason why , it is merely to …………

Ours is not to reason why , it is merely to …………

With NBA season having just begun and with the MLB season all but having reached its climax . It is good to know that the fans still have the NFL season going in earnest , even if the fans and those in attendance have been witness to some terrible performances this season . Speaking as a fan of the New England Patriots (6-2) , my loyalty is not in question , but my willingness to see this team ebb and flow in terms of their play this season has simply kept me wondering why I continue to endure such pain !

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As Bill Belichick continues to tinker with the defense alongside coordinator Matt Patricia , one can understand why even at this juncture things have simply not fared as well as they should ,. because of a lack of leadership within the secondary . The loss of Vince Wilfork cannot be made up by thinking that a number of first and second year players are ready to step into the fray . Never mind the fact that even with the return of Rob Groknowksi , this offense is far from the one witnessed .in 2012. Aaron Hernandez’s ongoing legal problems notwithstanding , the receivers on the team are nowhere the caliber of their counterparts of 2012. Danny Amendola is proving to be as soft as a baby’s backside and any type of innocuous injury has to be a cause of concern for the coaching staff as well as the front office , given financial outlay made to the player .

This upcoming Sunday , New England will play host to the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5) , as they look to make something of what is turning out to be something of a forlorn season . A loss in this game and questions may well be raised concerning the future of a number of players on the roster and quite possibly of the head coach Mike Tomlinson . To my mind , his dismissal would not be in the best interests of the franchise or that of the players . The real issue with the team has been a lack of depth in a number of key areas both on offense as well as defense . And the outcome of this contest may well come down to which team has the desire to win and also by way of time of possession in controlling the clock .

Can a clearer picture now be painted of how bad the Minnesota Vikings (1-6) just happen to be ? The longer the fans have to bear witness to this atrocity , the more one has to ask whether or not both Leslie Frazier and GM Rick Spielman should remain in their current positions. Having gone through their roster of struggling quarterbacks , this has become a team totally devoid of any substance or leadership , with the talents of both Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson being wasted this season . Hard to believe that this is the very same running back who came within a couple of yards of breaking the single season rushing mark of Eric Dickerson .

Now firmly rooted to the bottom of the NFC North the Minnesota Vikings are now playing for pride self-respect at this juncture . And even with the so called light at the end of the tunnel by way of an almost $1.5 billion facility expected to house the franchise for the 2016 NFL season . Does anyone really believe that by then this organization will be able to turn things around based on the current environment within the franchise ?

Leslie Frazier will take his team on Sunday to visit the equally abysmal Dallas Cowboys , a team that has continually underachieved over the past eight seasons , in spite of comedic and outlandish statements made by team owner Jerry Jones . Not far behind that context now appears to be wide receiver Dez Bryant , who recently proclaimed himself just as good a wide receiver as the Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions . Somehow Bryant’s statistics were not the equal of his opponent in the Cowboys’ inexplicable loss , where they led for almost three quarters of that contest . . It would be safe to say , that there will not be a great deal of interest in the contest between the Cowboys and Vikings this upcoming Sunday , other than for the fantasy geeks, seeking to gauge how their players acquitted themselves during the games in question .

The Boston Red Sox were able to pull off the victory (6-1) needed to secure that franchise’s third World Series in the past ten seasons . Manager John Farrell’s influence was clearly seen in the team’s play throughout this series and it was a great sense of achievement after a 2012 season that was filled with the comedic revelry and incompetence provided by Farrell’s predecessor Bobby Valentine > . If there is any justice to this 2013 season by way of the awards given , then Farrell should be a consensus favorite to win the AL Manager of the Year Award .

Game six was simply about the performances of two Red Sox players , most notably their starting pitcher John Lackey and the DH David Ortiz , whose legend with the franchise has now grown to legendary status , simply because of his career with the ball club. Anyone, who now feels that there will be a fall off from this team as next season approaches , his clearly misjudged the mindset within this organization . Farrell and his managerial staff along general manager Ben Cherington will undoubtedly seek to fortify the roster making the changes where necessary , while promoting from within . It is my belief that the Boston Red Sox will start as the clear favorites to retain and make a successful defense of their AL East title . I simply cannot see an aging New York Yankees’ roster or the cash starved Tampa Bay Rays or Baltimore Orioles making any inroads on a team who simply made a mockery of the division along with the rest of the AL , by way of their play and domination of the opposition throughout the season . The postseason pitching and offense of the Red Sox was very resolute and the managerial acumen of John Farrell was unquestionable .

For the St Louis Cardinals who came up short in this series , they can simply take heart from the fact that they acquitted themselves well , but during the six games of this best of seven series they were simply outplayed .

The NBA year tipped off on the 29th October , that for 2013 has begun a little earlier than usual . Yet for all of the nuances sought by David Stern to create an even greater allure for the fans and corporate endorsers alike . The league and its brand can only be sustained by the game’s elite stars and many of the more popular and successful teams . With the Boston Celtics having gone the through a major upheaval during the off-season with the departures of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry as well former head coach Doc Rivers . It remains to be seen as to whether or not Brad Stevens as Rivers’ successor can lead a newly revamped Celtics’ roster to any type of success this season . It may well be a year or two before Rajon Rondo and his teammates can aspire to reach the level of success attained under his former coach .

An opening season 93-87 loss to the Toronto Raptors was not a cause for concern for Boston , but it may will certainly punctuate what it is likely to a season which will be gauged as something of a learning curve for this young and inexperienced team along with Stevens’ coaching assistants . Next up for the Celtics will be a home game against the Milwaukee Bucks as they seek to obtain their first win of the season within the Eastern Conference as well as the Atlantic Division .

So now, there is no chance of the Miami Heat going 82-0 , and I do believe that 81-1 is also unlikely ! As a reminder to ESPN’s contributors Skip Bayless and that proverbial fool Bill Simmons , who are of the opinion that the Heat will march unchallenged to another title . This team led by LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will undoubtedly have a very good season and are likely to be dominant during their regular season schedule . Yet , they cannot and should not be placed in the same pantheons of those great Lakers , Celtics or even the Bulls’ teams that were so dominant during their impressive reigns . Granted , on paper this is a very good team , but beyond the mainstay of their big three and the sharp shooting Ray Allen , is there anyone who feels that there is a really great deal of depth to this roster ?

Out of the gate with a 1-1 record , it should be noted that while there should be no cause for concern as of yet . An opening night victory , against the Chicago Bulls at home, as the defending NBA champions was to be expected. However , what followed in their next game against the Philadelphia 76ers , on the night that Allen Iverson formally announced his retirement from the league , came as a jolt to many , as the Heat put on what can only be seen as a lackluster performance against a Sixers’ franchise that the champions have simply had the better of during their regular season meetings over the past few years . Erik Spoelstra need not be worried , as he is unlikely to lose his job this early in the season and his mentor Pat Riley is likely to see this as only a mere blip on the radar screen, as the team goes about their season . Yet to my own mind, I believe that this defeat came more out of a sense of complacency , more than anything else , with this team , as they were still busy celebrating last season’s triumph . The Heat, will look to rebound from that loss when they take on the Brooklyn Nets at their palatial venue the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York on Friday night . With a combined payroll in excess of $215 million on display , one can only hope that the two teams will offer up something that can be deemed as being a highly competitive and entertaining game .

In the aftermath of the sale of the Sacramento Kings by the Maloof family to tech entrepreneur Vivek Ranadive . It will be interesting to now see where the franchise goes from here . Certainly not the league hierarchy, never mind David Stern’s failure to acknowledge what mismanagement of the franchise by the team’s then primary partners Joe and Gavin Maloof . To my mind , the NBA commissioner in spite of his alleged business acumen , is simply an opportunist, who prefers the glare of the spotlight upon himself and his achievements , rather than seeking to deal with many of the acute issues that currently affect the NBA . Stern was quick to originally back the plan of the sale of the Kings to Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer and venture capitalist billionaire, Chris Hansen , who planned to relocate the Kings to Seattle, Washington , thereby bringing back an NBA franchise to the city , after the hasty and surreptitious departure of the Seattle Supersonics . As if that deal was not underhanded enough, it should be noted that the commissioner promised the city that he would do his utmost hasten the return of NBA team back to the Northwest . Yet in the time, since the Sonics’ departure , very little has been done by the league hierarchy to assist in that venture .

Ballmer and Hansen’s original bid to purchase the Kings was considerably more than with the winning bid of Ranadive’s whose insistence that the franchise would be retained in Sacramento finally won the day with the NBA’s Board of Governors and with the city’s mayor Kevin Johnson , himself a former NBA player . It should be noted also , that Johnson also seeks to use public funds to aid the new ownership in making upgrades to the Kings’ current home , before seeking to finance the building of a new venue for the team. All of this while, his own city has steep financial budgetary concerns and a fiscal deficit , not uncommon across the state of California or at the state level , where Governor Jerry Brown and the State Legislature are at loggerheads as to how best reduce their debt and fiscal anomalies brought on by years of largess and no financial restraint being shown by both legislative chambers and with Brown’s predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger , hardly putting a dent in the deficit and debt crisis that he promised he would be able to deal with , through proper fiscal constraint and the cutting of a number of state ran programs .

Away from this all , the Kings’ first year head coach Michael Malone has to get this team all on the same page , while having to deal with the often mercurial and temperamental talent of DeMarcus Cousins . If the franchise is to have any type of chance at success over the course of this season , then the often criticized center will have to raise the level of his play while leading by example . And if there is one thing we know to be true concerning the player it is that he remains immature and someone who often seeks a confrontation with an official , if things don’t necessarily go his own way on the court of play.

The Kings started off the season with an impressive victory over the Denver Nuggets , where it was an all-round effort by this young team . On Friday , it should be a true test of their mettle where they are due to face conference rivals the Los Angeles Clippers in a contest which should prove to be a very good match-up of teams with postseason aspirations .

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Picture gallery .

At the halfway point of the NFL season , we can now look to a second half where there will be a great deal to play for amongst those seeking to make themselves a serious playoff contender . With the MLB postseason , now having come to an end , the only remaining issues are that of the individual awards and that takes place by way of the legal overtures now in play . A successful season overall ? I believe it only appropriate to let you be the judge of that ! With the NBA schedule in its infancy , I certainly do not believe that the teams will begin to find their rhythm until we are at least three weeks into the year’s calendar of games . By all means do leave a comment as you think fit on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick , right , is seen here with the team’s defensive coordinator Matt Patricia , as they discuss a defensive scheme during a game this season . Off to a 6-2 start after eight games, the team’s defense still remains a work in progress and has proven to be inconsistent . Belichick delved into the market at the trade deadline looking to shore up and fortify a still struggling secondary. AP Photo / Paul Ross …..

(2) Former Catholic High School star Harrison Smith, second from right, stands with Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier, from left, No. 3 overall pick Matt Kalil and general manager Rick Spielman at the Vikings’ facility in Eden Prairie, Minn., on Friday. Smith and Kalil were both taken in the first round on Thursday in the 2012 NFL draft. Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …

(3) World Series’ MVP David Ortiz celebrates , pointing to the appreciative Red Sox fans after the team’s 6-1 rout of the St Louis Cardinals in game six of the World Series . The series’ win would be the franchise’s third in the past ten years and their eighth overall . For manager John Farrell this would be his first title in his first year with the franchise as its manager. Ortiz’s stats were franchise highs in the World Series for the ball-club. MLB.com all rights reserved copyrighted material ….

(4) WALTHAM, MA – JULY 5: New Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens (R) is introduced to the media by President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge July 5, 2013 in Waltham, Massachusetts. Stevens was hired away from Butler University where he led the Bulldogs to two back to back national championship game appearances in 2010 and 2011 . Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images ….

(5) Sacramento Kings’ owner , tech entrepreneur Vivek Ranadive is seen here with the city’s mayor Kevin Johnson . Ranadive and his group bought the Sacramento Kings for an inflated price of $535 million . An apparent higher bid from a consortium led by Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen was turned down by the NBA Board of Governors , who voted against the relocation of the Kings to Seattle after a long-held promise by the commissioner that he would seek to secure the return of an NBA franchise the city in Washington State.
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tophatal ……………… 10/31/2013 .

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Working out with Elle Alexander never looked so good !

Bottoms up , bottoms down

More jiggle and wiggle to make jello seem so proper .

Don’t worry there can never be too much junk in the trunk ! Your thoughts on that ?

Aye Mamacita

Don’t believe the hype ……….

Don’t believe the hype

One of the seminal groups in all of music, but more so rap music, came out with a song that still resonates socially today, as it did two decades ago. Chuck D and Flava Flav , two of the founding members of the rap group Public Enemy are just as respected today, as when they first burst onto the scene over two decades ago with their socially conscious lyrics, which some suggested as being overtly racist . Take that with a pinch of salt, from a group of individuals, who at first thought that Rock-n-Roll was the Devil’s music. The song in question, by the Grammy nominated group was ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’ , delivering strong lyrics of defiance and of being socially relevant. Well today , in the world of sports , that means not being socially relevant , much less being involved. More so today, it is all about creating an image of being family friendly, in order to lure being wielding and deep pocketed corporate sponsors , broadcast networks and their billions of dollars . Nowhere, is that particular message more resonant , than within the NFL , NBA , MLB and Collegiate Athletics .

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This season in the NFL , a great deal of the hype was made over the amazing start of both the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs . Two teams who came flying out of the starting gate, having rolled off seven straight victories apiece . By week seven in the league , the Broncos had fallen back to earth , having slipped up , when Peyton Manning as the ‘prodigal son’ , made his return to Lucas Oil Stadium , home to the Indianapolis Colts , where Manning and his teammates would succumb to his former team in a thoroughly entertaining game , as we witnessed the ongoing maturation process of Andrew Luck , the number one overall pick from the 2012 NFL Draft .

With their now being only one remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, as the 7-0 Kansas City Chiefs seek to keep their quest for a perfect regular season alive . All eyes will on Andy Reid’s rather surprising roster and their seeking to keep that record intact. From my own perspective , I felt with the departure of former general manager Scott Pioli , Matt Cassel , along with a number of players who proved to be unproductive , there was a chance that the Chiefs would be something of a surprise in 2013. Little did I realize, that they would now seen, as perhaps the best team in the NFL . Certainly, the traits were already there from last season , but what was most definitely needed , were the players to execute and coaching staff in place to get the players buying to into a proven message . Pioli’s successor , John Dorsey laid the foundations for that , with the hiring of Andy Reid and the acquisition of quarterback Alex Smith and some very shrewd off-season moves . On Sunday , the Chiefs will seek to further distance themselves from the rest of the AFC West , when they play host the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Missouri , in what should to be a very good AFC match-up .

If to suggest that things could not get any worse for a team now seeking not only redemption but also respectability , then what more can one say, about the now stagnant Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6) , who tonight host the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida ? This team has lost focus , heart , but overall there seems to be no leadership forthcoming from anyone on the roster or coaching staff . Greg Schiano’s demeanor at times has shown a lack of discipline , which seems to have been reflected a great deal in the Buccaneers’ lackluster displays throughout the season. And as usual, the Buccaneers’ fans continue to show more optimism than anything else . A loss tonight , and the franchise can start to think about 2014 and their likely draft status next year , beyond assessing the current roster .

I was never impressed with the hiring of hiring Greg Schiano in 2012 , in spite of his pedigree as a head coach with Rutgers . All of the bally hoo, surrounding the hire and the player acquisitions that came about , with GM Mark Dominik being viewed as a front office genius. Not much, by way of tangible success was borne out of the transactions or the overall play of the team during Schiano’s first year tenure. Take into the account, the idiocy , this preseason concerning what appears to the head coach’s reluctance to play Darrelle Revis during the four exhibition games and you can now understand why the Buccaneers’ season has simply spiraled out of control , with their not being much hope that things are likely to be turned around anytime soon .

As to the week eight schedule in the NFL, there are a number of games that will most definitely carry a great deal of intrigue and hype around them . I will personally leave that to the on air television personalities to discuss , because I am always assured of something inanely stupid being stated by the individuals in question who allegedly are providing the fans with a great deal of insight.

Leave it to the NCAA , to continue to show their utter stupidity and ongoing incompetence. After almost eighteen months of continued buffoonery by the Infractions’ Committee , an announcement was made as to the punishment to be meted out the Miami Hurricanes’ program and their willful violations of the NCAA rules , on a wide variety of transgressions . Bearing in mind , the actual mistakes by the NCAA investigators , the loss of documentary evidence and then their falsification of records . The fact that NCAA President Mark Emmert is said to feel comfortable the findings and the verdict rendered , either shows signs of his own stupidity or the very fact that the NCAA has lost all touch with reality along with its own credibility . I would like to think that the University President Donna Shalala would challenge the findings and the verdict , simply based on the wrongdoings by the NCAA investigators, if nothing else , to show that Collegiate Athletics’ governing body , simply cannot change the rules to meet their needs , after their own misdeeds . Granted, the University of Miami is at fault for its failed oversight in the monitoring of the athletic staff , compliance office and that of the student athletes past and present , embroiled in the scandal that has brought further disrepute upon the program .

As to the belief, that the NCAA has always had the student athletes’ interests at heart. I will liken that premise to the slave master /plantation owner an and his overseer , who grants the slaves on the plantation some time during a hot humid day, a ten minute water break, before they are made to return to their daily chores . As Malcolm X so astutely stated, “ we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock , Plymouth Rock landed on us “ ! The students remain indentured slaves of a corrupt and flawed system , but no one seems to want to acknowledge that fact , but they are prepared to discuss what is said to best adjudge, a fair way of determining a national champion in football at the FBS (Football Subdivision D 1 Level) . Have I actually missed something here , amidst all of this, and the countless billions of dollars reaped annually within collegiate athletics , but no transparency is shown by the NCAA , BCS or the major bowl conferences by way of their finances or business practices, while each of the entities operate under a tax-exempt status ? I guess, that must be overlooked by those who try to seek some sort of justification for the latest pretense being shown by the BCS and conference commissioners ?

As Wil Muschamp and his coaching staff seek to find ways to now resurrect the Florida Gators’ season after the team were routed by the Mizzou Tigers . I can’t help but wonder what must now being going on in the minds of the Gators’ fans statewide as well as nationally ! . Yes, there are fans of the program who actually reside outside the state of Florida . Who would have thought that, but yes, they remain as loyal as ever . For my friend, Chris , who in a recent comment on my site tried to suggest that the Gators have now slipped as low as number three in the state , in terms of football prominence . My response to that , would be , you seemed to have forgotten about the rise in prominence of the centrally (Florida) based UCF Golden Knights (5-1) , a now nationally ranked program in the BCS Poll and who appear to be on route to a major BCS Bowl berth, should their season pan out .

For Wil Muschamp and the Gators, they now have a week in which to prepare before facing the Georgia (Bulldogs) on the 2nd November , during week ten of the College Football season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville , Florida. To say that this game will be of utmost importance as a “make or break” for the season, would be a vast understatement. Nonetheless, it has to be now or never if Florida are to make something of their year.

It may not have been the World Series many had hoped for, with undoubtedly many hoping that the Los Angeles Dodgers would now be staring down the Boston Red Sox in the 109th edition baseball’s postseason finale . The Dodgers simply failed show up in game six of their NLCS game against the St Louis Cardinals , who simply laid waste the Los Angeles franchise’s ambitions for the postseason . And for one of the team’s most prominent owners , Magic Johnson . This will be the season where he can now look back and merely speculate on not only what might have been, and whether not , it is now worthwhile pushing the team’s payroll to beyond $250 million annually , which would be an MLB record in terms of a team’s salary obligations . Not even the now once mighty New York Yankees have ever been bold enough to undertake such a premise. Can someone remind me once again , why it is that Alex Rodriguez remains the highest paid player in the game ? Damned, if I know !

Game one of this year’s World Series was something of a shock as the Boston Red Sox showed their intent , in making the Cardinals pay for their defensive errors on their way to an 8-1 opening series’ game-win . A shell-shocked Mike Matheny and his coaching staff must now be wondering , if after that bombardment they are in for more of the same during game two on Thursday night when the series resumes at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts. I believe that this St Louis’ team has it within them to even the series but it would have to be premised on the Cardinals’ players not repeating the mistakes witnessed in game one .

The more things are said to change, the more they remain the same . That is most certainly true of what might now be the most incompetent administration to hold office political office in this nation . Once again , leave it to Barack Obama to come up with another lame comment as to why he is so upset with the contractors who set up and maintain the website for the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Obama-care) . Upon the website’s debut there were numerous problems that Kathleen Sebelius’ department , the Department of Health and Human Services failed to acknowledge or bring to the attention of the various technicians within that agency or the contracted company providing the maintenance and administration of the site . Now leave it to none other than the House Energy & Commerce Committee who also deal with health matters within the Congress . As they have sought to empanel their committee and request the presence of Kathleen Sebelius and the contractors to answer questions, as to why this site has either repeatedly crashed or the fact that most inquiries to the site would not lead an individual beyond the homepage . Nothing like incompetence, to show what you are not missing, when the government repeatedly screws things up. For months on end , during the initial setup there were numerous issues that cropped up concerning this site (healthcare.gov), but somehow , it is only now , that there seems to be a sense of urgency after the tens of millions of dollars that have spent . Call me naive , but where else can you find this sort of incompetency without anyone being accountable for the sheer magnitude of the ineptitude executed and then somehow deliberately covered up ?

Should I now shed a tear every time Barack Obama is upset or emotionally torn apart by an issue ? I will be damned, if I now give him the time of day , much less anything else ! Is it not enough , that he has made a complete ass of himself , concerning the issue of Syria and the apparent death of 400 children, who were subjected to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian military forces , during what has now become a violent uprising in the Middle Eastern country . Yet, there seems to be no sense of outrage by this President , over the fact that approximately 550 children have been gunned down on the streets of Chicago , Illinois over the past thirty months. A great many of the victims were innocent and mere bystanders to a senseless crime wave , driven by drugs and gang related, as to the territorial rights of the various gangs at the center of this spree . The President, though not a native Chicagoan , his former senatorial seat took in certain parts of the Windy City.

Now come full circle, and with the NBA regular season is due to commence in five days and there seems to be a heightened sense that Chicago Bulls are more concerned with the start of their season , rather than the ongoing crime spree gripping the city . The city’s mayor Rahm Emmanuel , himself a former Chief of Staff to the incumbent President, has already shown his own incompetency since becoming the city’s chief executive . Emmanuel has complained, that he does not have the necessary resources to take a tough enough stance on crime , but has sought to inflame the situation even more so, by systematically cutting resources because of his city’s now burgeoning fiscal crisis. What this has now indicated to me, is that the country has become more uncaring and there is only a pretext displayed as to their being any type want to or need to aid others in distress . I believe that this all has more to do with apathy and a complete lack of understanding by the government itself , as to what is really ailing the nation at present !

No one from within the Bulls’ front office has spoken publicly on the issue of the increased violence within the city . Yet, the franchise has seen fit to air numerous radio and television commercials reminding the fans in the run-up to the start of the preseason and regular season of the return of the team’s star point guard Derrick Rose . I can only surmise that team owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Gar Forman do not believe that there needs to be a shared or civic responsibility as to the communal well-being of the citizens of the city , just as long as they are under the roof of the United Center in Chicago , showing their support for the team.

After an almost eighteen month layoff , a great deal is expected not only of Derrick Rose, but also the team as a whole , where the presence of Joakim Noah is likely to be felt throughout much of this upcoming season . Noah’s growing , maturity , presence and the very fact that his all-round game seems to have improved immensely over the past two seasons , would suggest that he is ready to be seen as one of better center/ power forwards within the NBA at present , especially from a defensive standpoint .

With Chicago starting off their regular season schedule as guests of the reigning NBA champions , the Miami Heat . The added expectations are that both teams will prove to be a serious challenge to each other within the Eastern Conference as well as during the playoffs this upcoming season . A likely match-up between the two, sets up some scintillating possibilities and expectations for both sets of fans , as well the NBA fans in general .

For the Miami Heat , it is not only about making a successful second defense of their NBA crown , but whether not this team can be seen as a legitimate dynasty , with its core element of LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade leading the charge towards for NBA immortality . Seen, as clear-cut favorites, to make that defense more than a reality . The question now becomes, which team within the Eastern Conference will pose a serious enough threat to derail those hopes during the postseason ? It is my belief, that the Miami Heat will gently stroll through the regular season , not necessarily posting the best record within the conference , but they will have certainly will have done enough , to make their qualification for the NBA playoffs a foregone conclusion and from there , they can simply shift into overdrive and lay waste to the opposition within the East and then await their Western Conference counterpart without a great deal of trepidation.

With finances, for any professional sports’ franchise always at the forefront of profitability, it has become increasingly annoying to hear senior basketball executives simply walk around with their head buried in the sand , acting as if the glaring precipice they are close to , does not pose an imminent threat or danger. Not unlike the mind numbing stupidity, shown by the Congress and how they have continually dealt with the fiscal budgetary crisis and the debt ceiling . After a while , there is only so far down the road where you can kick the can , before coming to the conclusion that something drastic has to be done . It is the same within the NBA and the very fact that teams who are being punished, by way of the league’s luxury tax, for exceeding the soft “salary cap” ($58.044 million) , are now looking at ways to implement a much more equitable solution. Far be it for Congress, to actually think of trying such an idea of reining in their spending or even for the members to actually seek cuts their own benefits . Like, that is ever likely to happen ? Voices of dissent, are no now coming from owners such as Micky Arison , James Dolan , Mikhail Prokhorov , Jim Buss , Robert Pera and Ted Leonsis . Yet, with David Stern not wanting to leave a maelstrom for his successor , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver to deal with , it would appear that the NBA Commissioner will seek to calm those voices of dissent, by simply stating , that there is nothing for these owners to worry about. Where have we all heard that before , and then a calamitous event occurs ?

Though voted up upon by the NBA Board of Governors and approved, the league hierarchy’s wish to increase the rate upon which the luxury tax is based , which will rise from $1-00 for every dollar over the mandated soft cap of approximately $58 million to $1-50 for every dollar over the aforementioned figure . One can well understand the outrage of any team owner, who has a payroll in excess seventy-five or one hundred million dollars and the financial forfeiture that will have to be made to satisfy the league (NBA). Yet these are the very same owners who have allowed their general managers to spend so capriciously on players’ salaries and team payrolls. Not unlike the federal government and its idea of sound financial and fiscal restraint .

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What do you now believe to be the biggest myth or hindrance to the sporting landscape today , be it from a financial standpoint or otherwise ? Also what positives do you now believe there to be within sports ? Leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support !

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

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(1) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos meet after the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 39-33 . Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …..

(2) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball during the game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …

(3) Quarterback Alex Smith (11) of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball into the end-zone for a touchdown during the 1st half of the game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squires ….

(4) Wide receiver Eric Page (17) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fumbles a punt return against the Carolina Panthers October 24, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Carolina recovered and won 31 – 13 . Getty Images / Al Messerschmidt ……

(5) Quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) of the Florida Gators is hit by defensive lineman Kony Ealy (47) of the Missouri Tigers during the game at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Columbia, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squires …..

(6) St Louis Cardinals’ pitcher Michael Wacha delivers a pitch during the first inning of game two of the World Series played at Fenway Park , in Boston Massachusetts ,. . St Louis would defeat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 to even the series at one game apiece (1-1) in the best of seven-game series . The series resumes on Saturday evening with game three scheduled at Busch Ball Park in St Louis , Missouri . AP Photo / Matt Slocum …..

(7) Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox breaks his bat hitting a single during game two of the World Series played on Thursday , 24th October , 2013 at Fenway Park against the St Louis Cardinals . Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is well placed to see the incident . AP Photo ? Charlie Riedel ……

(8) Health & Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius is seen here with President Barack Obama at the White House in the Rose Garden , as the Commander-in-Chief addresses the convened press on his healthcare initiative . Sebelius’ department and the secretary , herself, have come in for mounted criticism for the handling of the technical issues concerning the website that provides all of the pertinent information concerning the Affordable Healthcare Act . The issue has been an ongoing problem for several weeks, with patrons of the site not being able access pages beyond the initial homepage . The website is actually administered by an outside government contractor . . A Congressional committee has been empaneled and convened, with both Sebelius and high-ranking personnel within the Health & Human Services’ Department summoned to attend an inquiry to answer questions concerning the still ongoing issues . Also in attendance, will be several executives from CGI Federal Inc . Reuters/ Craig Thompson …..

(9) Derrick Rose , left and Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls are looking place a serious dent in the Miami Heat’s attempt of making a successful defense of the NBA title . The Heat won the title previously in 2006 and then again 2012 and 2013 . The Florida based franchise are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive titles since the Los Angeles Lakers were able to achieve the feat in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Chicago Sun Times/ AP Photo / Mark Richardson ….

(10) From left to right , Mario Chalmers (15) , Lebron James , Chris Bosh , Greg Oden (52) and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat. Oden is the newest member of the franchise and will be seeking to add his presence to what is an experienced roster. Injuries have restricted Oden’s career in the NBA but during the off-season he was signed by the Miami based organization and has began to contribute to the team’s preseason production . Head coach Erik Spoelstra no doubt hopes that the player will be able to replicate that form during the regular season . Miami Herald / AP Photo / Paul Sharpe …..

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tophatal ……………………… 10/24/2013

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Public Enemy ” Don’t believe the hype “

A sprinkling of pixie dust might just do the trick …..

A sprinkling of pixie dust might just do the trick …..

Just when I thought it was safe to dip my toe back in the water and have an enjoyable weekend by way of the sporting events that piqued my interest . Well, wouldn’t you know it, the whole world gets turned upside down . The New England Patriots after an exhilarating victory over the New Orleans Saints in week six , somehow find a way to make that result seem completely irrelevant by then giving one of their most inept performances of the season in a 30-27 loss to their divisional rivals the New York Jets . Far be it for me to suggest that the AFC East is now becoming as malignant a cancer as the NFC East in terms of the play of the teams to be witnessed there also . Yet in reality , this NFL season , I believe has now come down to some truly bad coaching and even worse an abundance of bad performances from players thought to be leaders.

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Slideshow .

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If postseason interviews, are a clear indication as to the mindset of a team and the coaching staff, in particular . Then a Bill Belichick interview, will either have you befuddled or simply irate in seeking an explanation as to the reasons why the team’s performance was so inadequate , and lacking passion . As a fan of the Patriots, I have always felt the head coach to be condescending , if not self-absorbed, as to his own importance. While I do not question his achievements as a coach , I do believe that he lacks humility and at times a great deal of etiquette in dealing with the press and public alike . Sunday, was simply another aspect of what makes up the psyche of Bill Belichick and how he conducts himself with the national media in a post-game interview .

Tom Brady for his part, had one of his less memorable games of the season , but in light of that, the Patriots’ defense remains a work in progress that at times can just as shaky as they can be impressive in a momentary instance . . The loss drops the New England to 5-2 within the AFC East, while sill leading the division over their nearest rivals the New York Jets (4-3) , followed by the Miami Dolphins (3-3) and the Buffalo Bills (3-4) . New England’s next game will be another divisional match-up in week eight where they will play host to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts , on Sunday, 27th October, 2013 . A second successive defeat and it will not matter , how the fans or press alike felt about the return of Rob Gronkowski in week seven , but more to do with the apparent direction that the team is said to heading in at this juncture .

The return of Peyton Manning to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Indiana , home to the Indianapolis Colts and where the revered quarterback had many of his greatest regular season successes . On Sunday , it became the site of where the player and his new team the Denver Broncos would see their unbeaten run to start the season come to an abrupt end . Manning and his successor Andrew Luck , are two players who have met many of the expectations analysts and fans alike expected of these two stars. If there are now any doubters, who believed that the Colts erred in drafting Luck in 2011 , well it now looks as if those doubts have been firmly cast aside . Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano , and his coaching staff , have blended a very young team at its core with some veteran leadership provided in the guise of wide receiver Reggie Wayne . The fact that the Indianapolis Colts now handily lead the AFC South should not come as a surprise in spite of the missteps made of the Houston Texans , a team to my mind that is very good during the regular season , but who tend to fall flat once the postseason comes into view.

A warm welcome was given to Peyton Manning as a “ returning prodigal son ” , but that was about the only act of generosity that was availed to the player on the day , as the Denver Broncos fell the Colts 39-33 , in one of the more exciting games to take place during week seven of the NFL schedule . Manning and Luck combined for over six hundred yards of passing offense , with a another one hundred and eighty-five yards of rushing offense from the two teams combined. . With that Broncos’ defeat , the NFL is now left with one unbeaten team , with the surprising Kansas City Chiefs (7-0) , who handily took care of the Houston Texans , albeit , that the result does not seem reflective of that fact. As to that this now might do for the psyche of Andy Reid’s players and the confidence that this victory has now emboldened the team . I can only surmise, that they will be looking to push that mark to 8-0 when they play host to the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri during week eight , the halfway point of the NFL season .

Hapless performances , with hapless teams , usually lead to coaching dismissals and the jettisoning of players at the end of a season . I think that at this juncture it is pretty much safe to suggest that Greg Schiano and several of the players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ roster are witnessing their season simply spiral further out of control . Schiano lacks discipline , which is simply reflective in the repeatedly abhorrent performances put up this season by the Buccaneers’ defense , never mind the woefully inept of play of the offensive altogether . Many of the patrons of this site , who I know to be ardent fans of this team , simply cannot point to one player , who they believe to be leader , much less the best player on the entire roster . As with everything else, that seems to encapsulate the professional sports’ franchises in the Tampa Bay area , theirs(fans) are lives, based on sheer optimism more than anything else . This season for the Buccaneers, has simply borne that fact out , as they once again succumbed to their sixth successive defeat of the season and pushing their record to 0-6 , leaving them firmly rooted at the bottom of the NFC South , and joining the New York Giants (0-6) as the worst team in the NFC this season.

The fact this latest loss (31-23) by the Buccaneers came at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons , a team with issues on both sides of the ball this season, beyond the injuries sustained. At several points during the contest , Schiano’s players had this game for the taking , but simply could not come up with anything of relevance, in terms of their play. Is that meant to be a damning indictment of Greg Schiano , his coaching staff and of the team in particular ? I will let you be the judge of that and simply ask you to reflect upon the team’s record at this point of the season and where they stood at the exact same point in 2012 . Tampa will not have that much time to regain its focus or composure , as this upcoming Thursday , they face divisional counterparts , the Carolina Panthers , who this season , look as if they are a team playing with a great deal more confidence , with signs of maturity also being shown by the team’s quarterback Cam Newton . Can Tampa overcome the Panthers, to obtain their first win of the season ? The more poignant question to ask, perhaps might be, is this team is simply good enough to break their current drought and play with a great deal more consistency ?

Well, we now know who the World Series’ aspirants will be in 2013 , with the St Louis Cardinals as the NL pennant winners , facing off against the Boston Red Sox in baseball’s showcase finale . Each team will be seeking to add their third World Series’ title in the last decade. An astonishing feat, but nonetheless not surprising, given the pedigrees of the franchises in question . Both managers, Mike Matheny of the Cardinals and John Farrell of the Red Sox , also will seeking their first managerial titles in this contest, and this series could give the fans of baseball the match-up they desire above all else . West Cost bias asides, the fact that the Cardinals made light work of the Los Angeles Dodgers , a team that was being touted as the outright favorites to win it all , was either a sign of disrespect to the other participants this postseason , or it simply came down to aura of the franchise as a whole and its legacy . Never mind the fact , that with a burgeoning $215 million payroll , this team had a great to prove , but it simply was not to be , as they succumbed to St Louis in a rather lopsided series’ defeat (4-2) .

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox is proving to be a man of all seasons , during the regular and postseason play for this baseball franchise . When one considers the great players to have donned the uniform of this ball club over the years , he could very well become one of its most beloved . I certainly believe, that he is one the players to have played for the team over the past ten years . Given his productivity during that time , is there any reason to believe otherwise ? Ortiz was not the only factor , add in Shane Victorino’s heroics in the Red Sox’s dominating display in the ALCS , but he surely was one of the primary reasons why the team overcame the Detroit Tigers and put that series beyond a doubt .

Game one of the best of seven-game series begins on Wednesday at Fenway Park , in Boston Massachusetts , as the series gets underway . With the starting lineups yet to be announced , it will be interesting to see which pitchers will be on the mound to get things rolling in this contest , between these two fabled teams. . If things are projected as I believe they will be, Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright is likely to face off against Clay Buchholz in the opening series’ starter .

When NBA player Jason Collins revealed to the world in a Sports Illustrated article that he was in fact a homosexual athlete in the very machismo and male driven world of the NBA . His public announcement was heartily welcomed from players and executives alike, as he became the first openly gay male athlete to declare his sexuality (preference) in one of the four major team sports . Yet having made that public declaration , the still unsigned free agent center remains in no man’s land , admired because his openness and honesty, but somehow now disavowed by the league and its ongoing hypocrisy. It seemed not so long ago that Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson was being greatly admired for his making the public aware of the fact that he was HIV positive though yet to show full-blown symptoms of the AIDS’ virus . Granted , through his philanthropic foundation has raised tens of millions of dollars for AIDS’ research and education , it should still not hide the fact that both Collins and Johnson o were at first treated as pariahs , in this all male dominated fraternity . Yet in reality , it is unlikely that Collins is the only male player in the NBA that is likely to be homosexual , and it would appear that were there another instance , it is highly unlikely, that player would feel comfortable enough reveal himself to the public. For for all of this homogenized idiocy, that everyone is treated equally , what we now see , is a very clear evidence that the NBA wants to remain a bastion of testosterone driven athleticism , while creating a facade , that all are welcomed within its fraternity of players . It should be noted that after the public announcement , none other than former Utah Jazz and Los Angeles’ Lakers ‘ player Karl Malone showed his intense bigotry and ignorance , in publicly stating that he would not play on a court where Magic Johnson was on the opposing team .

Does anyone truly believe that Jason Collins poses a real threat to the existence of an NBA franchise in terms of the public’s view of the player and their view of that team , itself ? I mean what does it say about us as a society , where bigotry can still rear its ugly head in sports, even when the created perception within society is that there is equality and justice for all ? Furthermore , if players such as Darko Milic , Greg Oden , Hasheem Thabeet and Nazr Mohammed can still find themselves on an NBA roster , with the numbers derived in 2012 , then surely there is something wrong with the game or the NBA is showing its true colors .

It would be correct to suggest that at this stage of his career, Collins would be viewed as a journeyman within the league , and one could attest to the fact that numbers last season were far from stellar . Yet , it should be noted that on a bad …. Washington Wizards’ team anything type of stat put up last season would have to be comically viewed as a positive on an organization that simply seems to devoid of managerial as well coaching acumen .

As to why teams may seem, reluctant to sign Jason Collins , to any type, of an offer-sheet , be it a ten-day contract or a deal for the veterans’ minimum , remains a question that has yet to be answered by coaches , front office executives , team owners , players and the . union alike . No one wants to upset the apple cart , but yet it would appear , that the bigotry and ignorance prevails , albeit , that is being conducted somewhat under-handedly , without any apparent reason being given by the powers that be. David Stern and the league hierarchy but their actions have tended to reflect something totally different , but for all of the pretext , the only issue that has ever mattered to the NBA , is that it remains a league driven by profits , rather than at times seeking to ingratiate itself in dealing with a number of socially relevant issues .

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Picture gallery .

There are stories aplenty around the sports’ world at present , many of them heartwarming , while others are simply filled with a great deal of venal garbage , much of it that the media , in one way or another , will seek to skewer and spin to meet whatever need , they feel best meets the consumers’ appetite . I don’t sprinkle any pixie dust on the articles or news that may well pique my interest . I simply offer up a few pointers and then let you be the judge of the content . Take it or leave it , I am still OK with that , and I won’t whine on like an infant , whose pacifier has been taken away , because of an opposing view . So chime on in with your thoughts and views on anything else you feel may well be pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details’ gallery below .

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(1) Bill Belichick , left , shakes the hand of his opposing number Rex Ryan of the New York Jets after the Patriots’ 30-27 overtime loss to their AFC East divisional rivals . The Patriots’ head coach took responsibility for the team’s loss but failed to point the several coaching errors made by himself and the coaching staff during the closing minutes of the game during regulation . AP Photo / Seth Wenig ……

(2) New York Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith (7) celebrates with teammates Willie Colon (66) and Nick Mangold (74) after scoring a rushing touchdown in his team’s 30-27 overtime victory over the New England Patriots at Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey on Sunday afternoon . AP Photo Seth Wenig ….

(3) Brandon Bolden (38) of the New England Patriots struggles for yardage between DeMario Davis and Quinton Coples (98) of the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on October 20, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images North America / Jeff Zelevansky ….

(4) Harry Douglas (83) of the Atlanta Falcons pulls in this touchdown reception against Johnathan Banks (27) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on October 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox ……

(5) David Ortiz (34) and manager John Farrell (53) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Detroit Tigers in Game Six of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 19, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Tigers 5-2 to clinch the ALCS in six games . Getty Images / Al Bello ….

(6) Adam Wainwright (50) of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the 2013 National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 14, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Stephen Dunne …

(7) NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA player and Courage Award recipient , Jason Collins , center and GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard . GLSEN’s Respect Awards in Manhattan. Collins since his announcement earlier this year has spent a great deal of time speaking at public engagements , college campuses , middle and high schools nationwide by invitation to address individuals who face difficulties in declaring their sexuality . Photo Credit: Mariela Lombard for GLSEN. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …..

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tophatal ………………….

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