When Push Comes To Shove …… Let ’em Eat Cake ………. !

When Push Comes To Shove …… Let ’em Eat Cake …… !

So the fallout has began in the aftermath of the Boston Red Sox’ s abrupt ending to their season . With that now has come the animus , finger pointing of course the blame game . From the front office on down there is plenty of blame to go around from the executives through to the coaching staff and the gluttony of high priced players on this roster .

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Team President Larry Lucchino and the now departed general manager Theo Epstein had tried to apportion blame solely on former manager Terry Francona rather than the under achieving players such as Josh Beckett , John Lackey , Johnathan Papelbon and David Ortiz . Hints that Francona was going through marital problems , that he’d lost control of the team and the thought that Epstein and Lucchino had to sink to such levels merely to deflect the obvious that plainly put this whole mess was simply caused by their ostentatious spending in acquiring players who simply failed to deliver .

Principal partner John Henry , Tom Werner and their partners now have to deal with general manager search for a successor to Theo Epstein who accepted the offer fill the position vacated by former Chicago Cubs’ GM Jim Henry after he was fired team owner Tom Ricketts . The beleaguered organization having not won a World Series since 1908 and they haven’t won an NL pennant since 1945. That sort of ineptitude and lack of success has sorely embittered the long suffering Chicago Cubs’ fans .

This season was once again one filled with sheer ineptitude on the part of the team and Mike Quade and his coaching staff offered very little by way of their managerial acumen in stemming the tide of mediocrity shown on the field of play. Players such as Alfonso Soriano , Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez simply showed that they had nothing to offer the team . Therein lies the actual absurdity of the organization during Hendry’s tenure as they simply overpaid for the acquired talent .

If Theo Epstein is to prove to be the wunderkind that Tom Ricketts believes him to be then the organization can look forward to some semblance of success though not immediate by any stretch of the imagination . This is a roster that needs to be assessed by the general manager and I would dare say that the coaching staff will be summarily judged by him also ! I certainly don’t believe that Mike Quade has the wherewithal to make this team a serious and perennial contender for an NL pennant or for that matter the World Series ! The team’s prospects and farm system has what we are told is an abundance of talent but in debating as to whether or not patience amongst the fans will be further endured as Theo Epstein seeks to turn things around .

Wrigley Field may well be buzzing with excitement during the offseason as the fans , beat writers and local sports analysts debate and prognosticate what they expect to see in the future from the Chicago Cubs. From my own perspective I say let them do whatever it takes for them to feel at ease , after-all what’s another half a decade of ineptitude worth to this organization to begin with ? I mean it’s not as anyone truly believes that this time next season the Cubs could be part of baseball’s postseason showcase to begin with !

So after what we are now being told the NCAA and their exhaustive investigation of Auburn and their football program have found nothing untoward concerning the school’s recruitment of their Heisman Trophy award winning player Cam Newton . Auburn coach Gene Chizik no doubt relieved by those findings and the fact this season the coach and his staff will be looking to get this team up and going as they embark upon their schedule within the SEC .

I am not about to suggest that the NCAA simply whitewashed this investigation but clearly there seems to be something awry with this all . There’s a saying ………” where there’s smoke there is fire ” . And in the case of the Auburn Tigers as it relates to Cam Newton and the continued allegations as to how the player was seemingly recruited by the school has brought into question how a number of programs go about recruiting student athletes. Allegations being what they are when it has been widely reported that Newton’s father Cecil Newton sought to sell ….. his son’s talents to the highest bidder . The elder Newton , pastor of a church , was reticent in explaining the allegations when first raised, as to his actions concerning Cam Newton being shopped around like an illicit weapon on the “black market”.

Auburn’s AD Jay Jacobs after the NCAA’s findings states that he’s completely happy with there were no major transgressions by the program. As crazy as this may seem , if the athletics director believes that minor transgressions are good for the school then what should that indicate about Auburn as a place of academic and sporting excellence ?

If the school moves on from this episode then what I would like to know is how the NCAA handles the next such incident concerning the recruitment of a visibly high profiled athlete. Mark Emmert as the NCAA president has repeatedly seen the body he presided over severely criticized for their lack of authority , real transparency and even the credence to actually be impartial . I will continue to maintain the the institution is archaic , bureaucratically top heavy and seemingly at time out of touch with reality . If the Infractions Committee of the NCAA a de-facto agency of the institution can come up with this finding given the supposed facts and their own apparent in depth investigation I would like to know how it is this very same unit can be so out of touch with the events that are taking place across the entire collegiate athletics landscape . At some point in the future I am wondering what their findings will be concerning the University of Miami and the school’s football program . University president Donna Shalala and school AD Shawn Eichorst have continued to deflect their actions and association with now incarcerated felon Nev Shapiro and the very that the former Canes’ booster had simply flouted his association with the players and paying them surreptitiously . At this juncture should we now expect anything else from the NCAA concerning another charade about to be perpetrated by them ?

Image is everything and then it can mean absolutely but that clearly now seems to be the case for NBA Commissioner David Stern . The league hierarchy is now locked into a really contentious battle of wills with the NBPA (Players’ Association [union]). Stern and his union counterpart Billy Hunter the executive director of the union are at logger-heads in trying to reach an accord that would be beneficial to both parties .

Derek Fisher the union’s president and vice president Roger Mason Jr have been adamant that their union is not about to acquiesce to any of the demands from the league hierarchy and team owners for an equitable share in the league’s revenues . If neither party can come to a compromise then in all probability both sides will have to present their case to federal mediator . If that is to be the case and a court appointed mediator presides over a hearing , which now seems to be a certainty , then any sort of binding agreement could very well be to the detriment of both sides .

If NBA and NBPA seek jointly to present their case to the the FMCS (Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services ) before a mediator where the judgment would doesn’t necessarily have to be arbitrarily binding rather than going through litigation within the US Federal Courts then things could very well be to both parties’ liking . I am not so sure that anything at this juncture by way of any compromise will be truly vested in by either side. David Stern’s intransigence and the very fact that a number of franchise owners have not been entirely happy with his handling of these deliberations gives further credence that it may well be time for him to step down . With almost two decades plus as the league’s commissioner he seen the NBA’s revenues grow exponentially from being a minor blip on the sport’s landscape to where it now ranks second in revenues ($4.5 billion annually) attained of the four major professional sports.

The NBA would like to see an equitable share in revenues rather than the existing ratio of 53/47 in favor of the union . From the outset a case could be made that the owners wanted this all to be dealt with expeditiously but with the teams now said to be on course to lose approximately $ 30 million a month for each month that the league is inactive. Dan Gilbert , Rich DeVos , . Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Gavin_Maloof , Peter Holt , Mickey Arison and James Dolan over the course of time may well feel that the current situation as it now stands cannot go on in its present format . Clearly not when the very viability of the league and a number of franchises are clearly at risk . Some semblance of common sense and sanity now has to come into play at some point during this whole facade if there is to be a regular to season within the NBA .

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Of the points raised within this topic which do you believe to be the most pertinent ? And what thoughts if any do you feel about the NCAA’s findings concerning Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona pauses as he speaks to the media during a press conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. The Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ….

(2) General manager Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox sits in the dugout before game two of the ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays during the at Tropicana Field on October 10, 2008 in St. Petersburg, Florida. According to reports October 12, 2011, Epstein, who has one-year left on his contract with the Red Sox, has agreed with the Chicago Cubs to a five-year $15 million contract to join their front office, but compensation for the deal has not been reached between the two teams. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …..

(3) Theo Epstein is seen here alongside Terry Francona at Fenway Park , Boston , Massachusetts , home to the fabled ballclub . Getty Images / Matthew Sharpe …..

(4) Red Sox owners Tom Werner (left) and John Henry held up the 2007 World Series trophy for the fans who lined up outside Fenway Park . Boston Globe /Matthew J Lee ……

(5) Carlos Marmol (49) of the Chicago Cubs, right, is congratulated by Koyie Hill (55) after getting the final out during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 27, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Cubs won 6-2 . Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images ……

(6) First baseman Carlos Pena (22) of the Chicago Cubs catches the ball as Jeremy Hermida (47) of the San Diego Padres dives back to the base during the game against at Petco Park on September 26, 2011 in San Diego, California. Photo by Kent C. Horner/Getty Images …..

(7) Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry (left) is seen here with the team’s manager Mike Quade (center) and club owner Tom Ricketts. Hendry was relieved of his position as general manager by Ricketts in what as seen as an upheaval within team’s front office . Chicago Tribune/ Mark Salter ….

(8) Auburn coach Gene Chizik walks the sidelines during the first half of the NCAA college football game with Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. Auburn would go on to lose the game to the Razorbacks 38-14 . AP Photo/Danny Johnston ……

(9) CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson (R) and head coach Gene Chizik look on as quarterback Cam Newton (2) of the Auburn Tigers accepts the MVP trophy after their 56-17 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2010 SEC Championship at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images /Kevin C . Cox ……

(10) Auburn head coach Gene Chizik is seen here the school’s athletics director Jay Jacobs at Chizik’s formal introduction as the new head coach of the football team. An outspoken opponent of Gene Chizik’s hiring at the time was none other than Auburn alum Charles Barkley . AP Photo / Jamie Martin …….

(11) Derek Fisher , president of the NBA players union, talks with reporters, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the basketball season after players and owners were unable to reach a new labor deal to end the lockout. AP Photo/David Karp …….

(12) NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, and his Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver leave an NBA labor talk meeting, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Stern canceled the first two weeks of the basketball season after players and owners were unable to reach a new labor deal to end the lockout. Opening night was scheduled for Nov. 1. AP Photo/David Karp ……

(13) Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA players union, arrives for labor talks, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Facing a Monday deadline to reach a deal or have regular-season games canceled, NBA owners and players have resumed talks toward ending the lockout. AP Photo/Louis Lanzano ……

(14) San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt arrives for labor talks, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Facing a Monday deadline to reach a deal or have regular-season games canceled, NBA owners and players have resumed talks toward ending the lockout. AP Photo/Louis Lanzano …….

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MLB results 13rd October 2011

Game 5 ALCS

Texas Rangers Tigers —- @ —- Detroit Tigers

Starting pitchers —- C J Wilson — & — Justin Verlander

Game 4 NLCS

Milwaukee Brewers —- @ —- St Louis Cardinals

Starting pitchers Randy Wolf — & — Kyle Lohse

Scheduled game 14th October 2011

Milwaukee Brewers —- @ —- St Louis Cardinals

Schedule starters

Zach Greinke —– & —– Jaime Garcia

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Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil ……….

Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil …….

No angst here , considering that the NBA lockout now shows no signs of abating and the team owners still solidly behind David Stern in their support I’m wondering how this mess will all be sorted out ? NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and the members of the executive committee remain steadfast in not acquiescing to the demands of the league hierarchy and owners .
The longer this impasse remains the more tarnished the image of the NBA certainly becomes .

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Players are now seeking to ply their trade elsewhere it now seems more likely that there won’t be an NBA season to be had which will be to the lament of the fans who simply love the game. Economic strife or not this morass was simply one of the NBA’s own making and David Stern , the owners and general managers are reluctant to admit that very fact. It appears somewhat idiotic that while the league pleads poverty the teams themselves simply haven’t the temerity to rein in their spending especially in terms of the salaries . A soft salary cap of $57 million in place but somehow this all seems lost on those very same teams as they seek the game’s highest prize , an NBA title.

At this juncture with neither side reaching any type of accord it would appear that the union will seek to de-certify and file a legal action against the NBA hierarchy in the US Federal Court system . Mediation is also an option for both parties with a federally appointed judge to oversee those hearing under the auspices of the Federal Mediation & Conciliary Service , a governmental agency within the Department of Labor . The judge’s arbitrary decision would be binding but I seriously doubt that this would be the path that either the league or union will follow.

David Stern like his NFL counterpart Roger Goodell may well have misjudged the tenacity of the union’s demands and the voracity of Billy Hunter’s wish to see his members prevail. The claims of the owners and league appear to be overstated but at the same one has to question how it its that the claims are being made those very same team owners have spent capriciously , merely showing little by way of anything tangible in return.

If there’s a lesson to be learned then it is that the NBA hierarchy can take a lead from the NFL and look to reach a quick accord with the NBPA . David Stern and the union can ill afford to have this dispute be prolonged to the point where the season is irretrievably lost or that there’s a shortened season . In doing so it simply it devalue the game and in particular any type of schedule agreed upon . At some point we could well see one if not three or four of the more prominent owners of the NBA seeking to force the commissioner to take a more conciliatory stance with the union . Certainly team owner Mark Cuban , James Dolan , Jerry Buss , Mikhail Prokhorov, Peter Holt and Glen Taylor would like nothing more than to see this episode ended , much to everyone’s satisfaction. Whether or not that will be the case remains to be seen at this juncture .

With the NFL preseason now upon us , we are about to embark on three of the schedule , we can see that a number of teams have spluttered out of the gates. If there’s one team that I will be watching closely, it will be the Buffalo Bills and the coaching staff of Chan Gailey . Given the problems of this team last season and the inconsistency shown this could very well be the last chance for the coach to really prove his worth .

The moves made by the front office led by EVP& GM Buddy Nix and the draft picks made it’s clear that the Bills are seeking to make themselves heard this season within the AFC East . For and the members of this Bills’ team this will be a test of wills as I firmly believe that many of the veterans on the roster are playing for their very livelihoods and long term security !

Certainly given last season’s results and the final divisional standing for the Buffalo Bills , the fans are expecting something better from the organization as a whole . A 4-12 record was indeed a reflection as to how bad this team actually was and the poor effort shown by the players all-round. Much of the malaise from the team came from the fact that the defense simply didn’t stack up whereby they were in the bottom half amongst the franchises of the NFL . And a more stark contrast in terms of a statistic were the points allowed per game (26.6 ppg) which placed the Buffalo Bills sixth in the entire league . A clear indicator as to the real problems on this team , apart from the ineffectiveness of the offense overall.

Buddy Nix and the coaching staff have certainly made sure that the off-season moves as well the players are drafted will offer a sign of things to come in terms of the all-round improvement sought. Marcell Dareus , Aaron Williams , Kelvin Sheppard , Da’Norris Searcy , Chris Hairston , Johnny White , Chris White , Justin Rogers and Michael Jasper are all looking to acquit themselves during the preseason , as a way of proving to this organization that their faith in them has been justified. The team’s first two preseason games have resulted in losses to the Chicago Bears 10-3 and Denver Broncos 24-10 .

For the Buffalo Bills as an organization , these are simply growing pains as the core of this roster is exceptionally young . The veteran leadership will have to come from the likes of Brian Moorman , Nick Barnett , Andra Davis , Drayton Florence , David Martin and Ryan Fitzpatrick . It may well be Fitzpatrick who holds the key to this all, as the starting quarterback on the team. His play has to improve and be of a consistently high level if the team is to have any real chance of mounting a serious challenge within the AFC East against the likes of the Miami Dolphins , New York Jets and the New England Patriots . If he fails to do so then the problems for the Buffalo Bills over the course of this season could very well insurmountable .

Ralph Wilson the owner of the Buffalo Bills and an enshrinee in the Hall of Fame is perhaps one of the most respected of his peers within the NFL . Long thought to be one of the most knowledgeable of the owners in the league and often viewed as a voice of reason this bespectacled patriarch has now become totally disillusioned with the game and in particular the mindset with the league hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Wilson , though not voicing his opposition to the latest collective bargaining agreement wasn’t at all happy with the concessions made to the NFLPA and their members . However, having voted to ratify the agreement , the owner felt that this was the best way forward and to have a peaceful accord within the league.

The Buffalo Bills are a proud franchise with a great deal of history which encapsulates Ralph Wilson’s involvement as the founder of the franchise . Apart from the Hall of Famers associated with the team over the years , perhaps their most celebrated achievement were the four consecutive Superbowl appearances under then coach Marve Levy . Unfortunately , for the franchise each of those appearances ended in defeat but it still remains a feat unmatched by another other NFL franchise . There’s a great deal to be said for the accolades that have been lauded upon this organization but the inescapable fact is that the one thing more than anything else the fans would like to see most happen with their team , would be for them to proudly hold aloft the Lombardi Trophy. In reality , it may well be a while before we are able to witness such an event as this team in my honest opinion is still a long way off from where they really need to be , in order to be taken seriously as a Superbowl contender.

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Given the impasse between the NBA and union , do you foresee there being a season within the league ? Or are you of the opinion that the lockout will be a long and protracted event over the course of the NBA calendar year ? What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming regular season for the Buffalo Bills and how do you view Ralph Wilson as the franchise’s owner ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ……………

Contact ………. tophatal …………. via the following social media services

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(1) Maurice Evans arrive at a mid town hotel for a meeting Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout. Negotiators for owners and players will meet Thursday, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ….

(2) Tristan Thompson from the University of Texas greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was drafted #4 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round during the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. Getty Images North America / Mike Stobe ……

(3) Mikhail Prokhorov for the moment , a bystander as the NBA hierarchy deals with the now contentious impasse between the league and the players’ union. The Russian billionaire like many of associates are firmly behind the NBA Commissioner David Stern for the present but it remains to be seen how much longer the league is prepared to hold its stance. Getty Images / Jesse D Garrabant ………

(4) DENVER, CO – AUGUST 20: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) of the Buffalo Bills throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images …..

(5) Running back Knowshon Moreno (27) of the Denver Broncos splits the defense of safety Jairus Byrd (31) , Alex Carrington (92 )and linebacker Nick Barnett (50) of the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images …..

(6) Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey argues with referee Jim Mello in the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011, in Denver. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey ……

(7) Buffalo Bills first round draft pick Marcell Dareus, center, poses for a photo with Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr., left center, coach Chan Gailey, right, and general manager Buddy Nix, left, before an introductory NFL football news conference in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/David Duprey ……..
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Buffalo Bills’ team stats 2010

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Horses For Courses And A Great Deal More ……..

Horses For Courses And A Great Deal More ……..

I don’t know whether or not to laugh or simply groan now when I get sight of NBA Commissioner David Stern . It’s simply become so asinine to hear the game’s highest ranking official opine on what he believes to be the NBPA’s lack of good faith in the lockout deliberations . David Stern’s opposition to the union possibly de-certifying is the main reason for the league hierarchy filing suit in US Federal Court while at the same time seeking the intervention of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to act as intermediaries in a government mandated mediation with a judge presiding over the whole deliberation process and then having the right to deliver a binding agreement on both parties. This is something from which neither side can view as a victory should such a scenario arise . David Stern may well be a good poker player but the cards he’s now holding simply do not favor the league or the team owners .

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Should the league vote de-certify which is not against the law it simply lessens the leverage that the NBA feels that they have other union in the negotiation process. It’s something that I’m sure that Executive Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher saw worked out favorably for the NFLPA during their long drawn out lockout process . The commissioner’s bone of contention all along has been their stance that they now have to rein costs and above salary expenditure . Given the idiocy of that statement and the very fact that teams and the general managers have splurged ostentatiously in signing players to exorbitantly outrageous contracts . And pardon me for saying this but when you see Rashard Lewis as the second highest paid player in the NBA last season earning in excess of $22.5 million has me wondering in what god damn world is where you’re paid to not to get results and be productive ? Other than those mindless idiots within the House and Senate I can’t think of any perhaps more undeserving of that type of reward for the least amount of return ! Mind you as I say this , I should point out that much to my surprise I recently found out that the commissioner himself is handsomely rewarded in terms of his annual compensation package. If the rumors are to be believed then David Stern is earning in excess of $20 million not including incentives . That’s the sort of money one would expect to see a highly gifted athlete or a titan of corporate America to be compensated with. But somehow this portly sized former legal mind is now decrying the fact that the salaries of the players are now far too high . Am I missing something here ? And did hell suddenly freeze over ?

Though this NBA stoppage by comparison to the NFL’s 135 day holdout is meager in its length the closer this entrenchment remains unresolved the more discontent there’s bound to be between the two parties . Never mind the ever growing resentment of the brooding NBA fans. With the preseason team training camps due to commence at the beginning of September it remains to be seen who’s about acquiesce to the others’ will. With the prominent team owners such as Dr Jerry Buss , Mark Cuban , James Dolan , Peter Holt , Mikhail Prokhorov , Michael Jordan , Dan Gilbert and Wyc Grousbeck all for the moment standing firmly in support of David Stern , I fully expect that should the lockout be prolonged more than they envisage then the support could very well be
threatened .

Many of the most recent owners such as Dan Gilbert in making the purchase of the Cleveland Cavaliers was fully financed by way of multi faceted loan instruments. And one should consider that the issues facing the Cavaliers in particular after the departure of LeBron James meant less revenues at Quicken Loans Arena and meager attendances for the team’s home games .

I am not about to castigate the team owners or for that matter the league hierarchy of the NBA as well as the union . From my own perspective I do believe that all of the parties are equally to blame . Given that Derek Fisher , Billy Hunter and David Stern were all aware that their existing collective bargaining agreement was due to expire on the 30th June it’s somewhat asinine that the groups in question sought to start their deliberations once the agreement had expired. Clearly there seems to be little if any common sense being shown from the lead individuals concerned . Billy Hunter whose passion as a lawyer is encapsulated around his struggles during the civil rights’ era. But here it appears to not about what’s viewed as being right but simply a matter of greed and how best to split the revenues from a $4.5 billion piece of the pie . The revenue stream as it now stands favors the players on 53.5 % to 46.5% ratio that the league seeks to lessen that would be equitable in its disbursement . Something of which the union simply does not favor as they feel that the league hierarchy has been decidedly less than truthful in showing real transparency as to their finances.

It will be very interesting to see what transpires over the ensuing weeks as the two sides seek to reach some sort of a compromise . If anything I fully expect this lockout to go on for an extended period of time . Billy Hunter made that situation abundantly clear when he commented that he does not expect there to be fully scheduled season for 2011-12. If that’s not of an indication as to how steadfast the NBPA seeks to be then clearly David Stern has misjudged the resolve of the union and it members .

As the races now appear to be tightening up within NL West and NL Central I can’t help but wonder what might happen should both the St Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants fail to make the postseason. And for both Tony La Russa and Bruce Bochy this certainly test their managerial acumen as they seek to get their respective teams playing with a great deal of resolve over the final months of the season.

The respective divisional titles are up for grabs as it would appear that the wildcard berth will come from the NL East in the form of the Atlanta Braves possibly gaining that spot. If nothing else teams in the midst closely ran races with the Cardinals now duelling with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Giants now finding themselves in an allout brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks . One wonders if it would come as a surprise were either the St Louis Cardinals or San Francisco Giants to come up short after this ardous season. Certainly the moves made by the Giants was indication of their resolve in looking to successfully defend merely not only their divisional crown but also their NL pennant as well as looking for a return to the World Series and duplicating last year’s feat . The San Francisco Giants over the Texas Rangers was indeed a long time coming and something the Giants’ fans simply yearned for.

That taste of success now has the Giants simply wanting more and it will be very interesting to see whether or not between now and the end of the regular season the reigning champions will still be on that path to repeating last season’s triumph. With the addition of Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants roster . For Bruce Bochy and his assistants knowing that they’ve some added potency on the offense gives the organization something they felt that they needed. There’s no denying that the team’s biggest strengths have been their pitching led by two time NL Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum . But if anything the real surprise amongst the roster has been the play of seasoned journeyman Ryan Vogelsong . If nothing else this season has been an aspiring ascent into the big leagues for the pitcher .

The Arizona Diamondbacks for their part with the play of Justin Upton has this team playing with a great deal of resolve. Given the change of ownership the changes both on and off the field now seems to have been paying dividends not only for the organization but also for the fans in attendance at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona . There has been a gradual uptick in attendance and with the play > of the team has many thinking that the organization now in a resurgent mode could now be on the cusp of doing something special. GM Kevin Towers along with the managing partners now know with the resurgence of the organization they have something to build upon . It has been a long time coming for the Diamondbacks given that their greatest triumph came back in 2001 with their surprising defeat of the venerable New York Yankees .

If anything one also should commend the job being done by Kirk Gibson and his coaching staff in getting the Arizona Diamondbacks to play with such zeal. He could very well end up being the NL Manager of the Year when it’s all said and done .

Given the ordeals faced by the St Louis Cardinals over the past few days it’s hard to see how one can’t but have some empathy with the team. Granted with the five game suspension of Yadier Molina and the events surrounding Albert Pujols being hit by an errant pitch it has me wondering now whether or not we’ll see the best or worse of this team !

The Milwaukee Brewers for their part with a thriving Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun have many thinking that after last season’s surprising divisional triumph by the Cincinnati Reds there’s time for some fresh infusion of blood in terms of another NL Central divisional winner . If not the St Louis Cardinals then why not the Milwaukee Brewers under the leadership of their managing general partner Mark Attanasio ?

Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke , his assistants and GM Doug Melvin have assembled a roster that is intent on acquitting themselves with a great deal of vigor and bring the fans back to Miller Park , Wisconsin with a sense of purpose . This Milwaukee Brewers’ team is very much a credible one but it remains to be seen what sort of steely resolve they are prepared to show over the remainder of the season .

If the Brewers are to prevail then it will have to be a concerted all-round effort with both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder leading the way . There’s a great deal that is at stake and it goes without saying that given the vagaries of this game where one misstep can be the difference between success and failure I can’t help but feel that the players on this team may well feel ………. that now is their time .

In light of what you are now seeing happening with the divisional races at present in baseball which teams do you feel have been the biggest surprise over the course of this season ? And from within the NL Central and NL West which of the teams do you see actually triumphing in the end in terms those races ? Simply chime in with a comment as you would deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Contact tophatal …………….. rapptu@gmail.com

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(1) NBA commissioner David Stern speaks to reporters after a meeting with the players’ union, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. Despite a three-hour meeting Thursday, the sides could not close the enormous gap that remained in their positions. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer …..

(2) NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher, right, NBA union chief Billy Hunter, left, and LA Lakers’ Theo Ratliff arrive at a midtown hotel for a meeting with the NBA, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 in New York. One month after the lockout began, and three months before the season is scheduled to start, representatives for the NBA owners and locked-out players return to the bargaining table. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer …….

(3) Wyc Grousbeck the senior managing partner of the ownership group for the Boston Celtics . Courtesy of Getty Images / Olin James …

(4) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 4: Hunter Pence (3) of the Philadelphia Phillies gets an RBI single against the San Francisco Giants in the ninth inning during a MLB baseball game at AT&T Park August 4, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Phillies won the game 3-0 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

(5) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 4: Jeff Keppinger (8) of the San Francisco Giants gets his throw off completing the double-play avoiding the slide of John Mayberry (15) of the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh inning during an MLB baseball game at AT&T Park August 4, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Phillies won the game 3-0. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……..

(6) Jason Marquis (21) of the Arizona Diamondbacks is taken out of the game in the fifth inning by manager Kirk Gibson against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 3, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The D’backs would go on lose the game 8-1 against the San Francisco Giants . Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images ………

(7) Pablo Sandoval (48) of the San Francisco Giants slides in safe at home on a ball hit by Orlando Cabrera(notes) in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on August 3, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images …….

(8) St. Louis Cardinals players Rafael Furcal, right, and Albert Pujois celebrate after they defeated the Florida Marlins 7-4 in a baseball game in Miami, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ….

(9) Matt Holliday(7) of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds third after hitting a three run home run off Clay Hensley(32) of the Florida Marlins during a game at Sun Life Stadium on August 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ………

(10) MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 03: Casey McGehee (14) of the Milwaukee Brewers steps on home plate to score after hitting his second home run of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park on August 3, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers defeated the Cardinals 10-5 . Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……..

(11) MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 03: Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers has words with Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals at first base at Miller Park on August 3, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……

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Into Each Of Our Lives A Drop Of Rain Must Fall But Then Again You Can Always Rely On An Idiot Within The Sports Arena To Provide Us With Something Extra !

Into Each Of Our Lives A Drop Of Rain Must Fall But Then Again You Can Always Rely On An Idiot Within The Sports Arena To Provide Us With Something Extra !

Well it had to happen did it not ? A baseball team owner being openly critical of one of his peers . In no uncertain terms Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff has been critical of Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt and his ex wife Jamie McCourt in their ownership of the organization. As we all know the Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection, filing Chapter 11 proceedings in the US Federal Courts .

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Now unless I’m mistaken this is the very first time that we’ve had an owner issue a public statement on this matter . But what might be even more surprising is the very fact that Wolff a staunch supporter of Commissioner Bud Selig was one of the very owners who at the time of McCourt’s purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers was one of the main supporters of Frank McCourt buying the team. And the very fact that Wolff and Frank McCourt share the same business background in the development of commercial and residential real estate has me wondering whether or not the two had a business deal jointly between them that went south which has now brought about this animus !

Courtesy of USA Today

A’s owner Lew Wolff calls on Frank McCourt to sell Dodgers

By Jorge L, Ortiz , USA Today

Commissioner Bud Selig is not only one who wants Frank McCourt to just go away. One of the Los Angeles Dodgers owner’s brethren is now calling for him to leave.

Oakland Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff told the Los Angeles Times that McCourt’s attacks on Selig are misguided and called for him to sell the team. Wolff is the first owner to publicly speak out against McCourt.

“My hope is that the Dodgers will be sold to a party that will restart this great franchise, and that Frank and his family will benefit from a positive sale,” Wolff told the Times. “But to try and equate or compare what Bud Selig has done with the administration of the current Dodger franchise is unsupportable.”

McCourt’s lawyers have contested in divorce court Selig’s claim that McCourt has taken more than $100 million from the team for his personal use, and they argued that Selig has received more than that amount from MLB through his yearly salary of more than $18 million.

Wolff stood up for his former University of Wisconsin fraternity brother, saying his comments were not an attempt to gain favor with Selig as the A’s continue to wait for a report on their stadium options. Wolff also denied any interest in buying the Dodgers.

“For anyone to seek to diminish Bud’s accomplishments in order to rationalize their own actions is, in my opinion, ludicrous and hugely disingenuous,” Wolff said.

Selig rejected a proposed TV rights deal with Fox that McCourt said would be worth upwards of $3 billion, citing concern over McCourt’s handling of the Dodgers’ revenues. McCourt responded by filing for bankruptcy.

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

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Lew Wolff voicing his opinion on Frank McCourt and his misdeeds to my mind actually smacks of stupidity given the A’s owner’s own handling of his team . The Oakland Athletics’ problems this season have been well chronicled and the very fact that the organization has struggled to even maintain some semblance of consistency would suggest that they’re still a long way off from where they really need to be . My own belief is that Lew Wolff as an owner has done little to suggest that he and his partners are ambitious to win . Were it not also from the fact that in Frank McCourt’s first pursuant of trying to own an MLB ballclub then I would have simply waived off this criticism as justified but herein now lies the premise . Several years prior to Frank McCourt gaining control of the Los Angeles Dodgers he has also sought to purchase the Boston Red Sox .

In pursuant of the deal as is normally required in all such instances , Frank McCourt and his partners filed the necessary papers with the board of governors and MLB hierarchy . Much of that paperwork indicated that the bidders would be financing the deal through a menage of cash and borrowing from several major financial institutions. However , it had to be noted that McCourt was also involved in major litigation where he was the defendant in a legal matter that involved unfulfilled obligations concerning the development of a real estate deal . Somehow this was initially overlooked by the league until brought to their attention by their legal counsel and the deal was in the end nixed . If such as is the case, wherein the league had such an issue concerning a potential buyer of one of their franchises once before then how is it that the league hierarchy and owners saw fit to relent and then allow that very same individual the chance to own another of their franchises the second time around ? The pattern again followed the same principle minus the legal issues but once again even in light of Frank McCourt’s previous problems the signs obviously were not heeded . This time around the board of governors which includes the owners voted unanimously to approve the deal .

If Lew Wolff is now trying decry the antics of Frank McCourt then how is it that he did not do so when the Dodgers’ owner came to the table with his deal to buy the organization ? What really had changed other than perhaps the greed of the baseball hierarchy and that of the team owners ? To me this is all so asinine given the fact that the vast majority of owners in the game are about as acutely business minded as the ” idiots” in the House and Senate who claim they have the nation’s interests at heart but who simply bicker like infants when they cannot get their own damn way ! And it is very much the same with the owners and league hierarchy within baseball !

Billy Beane the Oakland Athletics’ general manager has done as much as he can on a shoe-string budget but in recent times it has given the fans of the team little hope if any. Granted, one could allude to the fact that they’re building towards the future with their prospects and players drafted over the past few years . But in reality fans want to see some semblance of success sooner , rather than later . Anyone who would suggest to the contrary is living a life of complete denial . It’s idiotic to suggest that a fan is prepared to sit around and wait anywhere between two or even five years to see their team strive for success. If anything they’re either prepared to show their discontent with the ownership group or simply begin to abandon their team altogether . Merely giving the impression that they are prepared to endure the pain and the bravado of repeatedly watching an organization fail is as such nothing short of sadomasochism . Self flagellation at its best and worst perhaps ?

NBA Commissioner David Stern is now of the belief that the NPBA (union ) representing the players are not acting in good faith . Am I missing something here ? Unless I am mistaken the commissioner along with the NBA hierarchy and team owners indeed sought this lockout initiating the stoppage upon the 30th June deadline and expiration of the then existing collective bargaining agreement . Stern , alongside San Antonio Spurs’ owner Peter Holt and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver in a joint public statement went so far as to suggest that the union represented by executive director Billy Hunter and union president Derek Fisher were being intransigent during the two sides’ deliberations in trying to reach a compromise .

Stern’s biggest gripe is that the union could now choose to de-certify and then pursue their own legal recourse not only against the league hierarchy directly but also against the team owners . And with the commissioner having practiced law he knows that the union is quite within their right to pursue their grievances legally . Plain and simple David Stern doesn’t want to be viewed as being outmaneuvered by the NBPA or anyone else that he feels is beneath him !

Anyone who has seen how David Stern conducts himself in public will know that if he’s not front and center alongside others ____ not the main attraction then you might as well be standing in the background. It has been this sort of autocratic leadership and at times bombastic attitude that has perhaps led to this impasse . Had the league hierarchy and union for that matter had the hindsight to even convene prior to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and try to lay some groundwork for their dealings then in some respects the ensuing action could have been avoided . But that would simply be asking way too much of two organizations where narcissism and being egotistical seems to be the norm !

And now with the game’s own international body FIBA granting the right of the NBA players should they choose to ____ pursue playing abroad during the entrenchment of the two sides during the lockout . It would appear that the power that the league and owners thought they had was in fact nothing more than an actual pipe dream. With perhaps the game’s biggest star in Kobe Bryant now said to be mulling over several lucrative offers of an to play in China or Turkey I don’t think that it will be all that long before several other marquee stars of the NBA may well choose to follow suit !

David Stern for his part may well feel that in pursuant of the owners’ interests that they appear to be in the right but were it not for the fact that transparency of the league hierarchy when it comes to their finances borders on the secrecy of Opus Dei and that particular order. The league owners plead poverty but somehow they choose not to rein in their expenses when it comes to the salaries of the players and at the same time the union itself paints the picture that they’re being held hostage by the demands of the league hierarchy and owners. Now in the midst of it all with the NBA on track to lose several hundred million dollars it is Stern’s intent to have us believe that this lockout is the only way possible to get the union to heed their original warnings of financial doom. Were it not for the fact that in the past two seasons that the teams around the league have been the beneficiaries of in excess of $ 500 million in loans guaranteed by the league and in the past decade itself the league has borrowed in excess of $1.65 billion from several major financial institution across the country I now have a hard time fathoming how it is that the NBA finds itself in such a mess ! Unless the CFO of the league hierarchy is someone who’s clearly not adroit with finance then something is clearly awry within the NBA . David Stern’s main argument has been that the league now needs to rein in costs and he points to the fact that the NBA is on target to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year . Ho hum ! That figure though excessive makes me wonder when the commissioner himself is being compensated to the tune of $23.5 million a year (including incentives) and the likes of Rashard Lewis can earn in excess of $22.5 million on the back end of a rather exorbitant contract then I have to wonder where the madness is actually coming from within the NBA !

Neither side at present shows signs of relenting and with each passing moment it would appear that the league and union have further alienated the fans . With the lockout now only a mere five weeks into its length it appears that neither side is yet willing to acquiesce and reach any sort of a real compromise . Little tidbits are released for the public’s and media’s consumption but beyond that not much has really changed . This impasse may well reach a breaking point where one side will actually relent but it does not appear to be the case now, or anytime soon . I can only surmise that David Stern and the owners will try to play the role of the protagonist in this all , as they seek to paint the union as the antagonists and villains of the piece ! Somehow , I don’t think that the fans really care which is side is portraying which damn character as they are now sick and tired of hearing about millionaires and multi millionaires complain about their financial angst and woes ! These individuals simply cannot relate to the common man much less a fan of the game .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on Lew Wolff’s criticism of Frank McCourt and do you feel it justified ? Also in light of David Stern’s comments where do you stand on the NBA lockout and the impasse as it now meanders along ? Leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Oakland Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff smiles during a news conference in Oakland, Calif., Friday, April 1, 2005. The Oakland A’s owners struck a deal with Major League Soccer to bring a team back to the San Francisco Bay area after the San Jose Earthquakes left for Houston over a stadium squabble, officials said Wednesday, May 24, 2006. Lew Wolff and John Fisher , the A’s principal owners, will have three years to buy a team and develop a stadium solely for soccer. The location of the new stadium has not been determined but the new Earthquakes office will be located in downtown San Jose. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ….

(2) Oakland Athletics’ Kurt Suzuki reacts to striking out in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Seattle. The Mariners beat the Athletics 4-2 . AP Photo/Ted S. Warren ……

(3) Eric Sogard (36) of the Oakland Athletics reacts after striking out with the bases loaded to end the eighth against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images ……

(4) Hideki Matsui (55) of the Oakland Athletics singles in the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images ……

(5) Hideki Matsui (L) shakes hands with Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (R) after trying on his new jersey during a press conference where he was introduced as the newest member of the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 14, 2010 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics signed designated hitter Hideki Matsui to a one-year deal worth $4.25 million plus possible incentives for the 2011 season. Getty Images North America / Justin Sullivan …

(6) NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher, right, NBA union chief Billy Hunter, left, and LA Lakers’ Theo Ratliff arrive at a midtown hotel for a meeting with the NBA, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 in New York. One month after the lockout began, and three months before the season is scheduled to start, representatives for the NBA owners and locked-out players return to the bargaining table. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ……

(7) NBA commissioner David Stern, left, gestures as he holds press conference along with deputy commissioner Adam Silver , following a meeting between team owners and the NBA players union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in New York. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews ……..

San Antonio Spurs’ GM R C Buford is seen here alongside team owner Peter Holt during one the Spurs’ practice sessions . Holt a staunch supporter of the commissioner is one of the primary members of David Stern’s inner circle during the deliberations with the NBPA . Getty Images / Alex Small ……

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Oh The Tom Foolery ………..

Oh The Tom Foolery ……..

In the aftermath of the All Star Game and the shambles that we all witnessed was in essence a clear indication that the league hierarchy couldn’t sell donuts to a room filled with cops , much less have the fans wanting for more. Much of the idiocy stems from the mere fact that the team owners and hierarchy are bereft of creativity and ideas . Can we have a show of common sense from anyone within the game for merely a brief minute ? I was once told by a patron that my ideas as it relates to talking about sports economics were way off base. But herein lies the fact this individual’s idea is to opine about the young players and that the teams are building for the future and they will somehow garner success .. He simply works on supposition, rather than the realities in the midst of the game at present . It may well work within his own mind but in the real world that’s simply not the case .

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There have been a number of suggestions to try and make the game more appealing to the fans , many of which are plausible but on the whole they would not necessarily cure what ails the game . Realignment of the divisions is simply placing a Band Aid on an open festering wound which in the end will do more harm than good . Not that I am not partial to a great deal of blood but that scenario simply creates false hope when there is none ! The one issue that the league hierarchy and owners refuse to get themselves involved in is that of the financial imbalances as it relates to the teams and the mere fact that they are unwilling to adopt a hard salary cap . They would rather simply continue to shoot themselves in the foot until they either end up crippled or paralyzed . And as we can see this is now being borne out by the ever growing problems for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets .

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New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson (14) is helped to first base by manager Joe Girardi after being hit by a pitch form Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price ) during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Yankees won 4-0 . AP Photo / Joe Blanco …

New York Yankees’ out-fielder Curtis Granderson in a candid interview with the Ft Worth Star -Telegram stated that when he now looks up into the stands he finds it a rarity to see an African American face in attendance . The player then went on to suggest that with a dwindling of ethnic players from his own race leads him to believe that the league hierarchy is doing a poor job of luring the fans to the game . And that is in spite of baseball’s RBI (Reviving Baseball In The Inner Cities) initiative in the inner cities across the country . I wonder how that is actually working out , given the expense and working in conjunction with a number of organizations as well as various school systems ? According to the league hierarchy there are over 200,000 participants across the country involved in this (RBI) all but it is difficult to decipher what the findings have led to at the professional level. From my perspective this is simply another one of Bud Selig’s warped ideas that is akin to throwing up fecal matter against the wall and then going with what sticks ! The commissioner hasn’t had an insightful or succinct idea in two decades but if anything should their be an act of flatulence on his part you can’t be sure whether or not he’ll sneeze or his head might explode .

Courtesy of USA Today

Curtis Granderson: Where are all the black fans?

By Seth Livingstone USA Today

New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson isn’t telling Major League Baseball anything it doesn’t already know.

Baseball appears to lack appeal and access to some blacks , whether they are participants or fans. And Granderson wasn’t necessarily trying to stir the pot when he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Count the number of African-American fans.”

On a recent trip to Texas, Granderson said it was difficult to push the count to double digits.

“At first, it starts off as a joke (with teammates),” Granderson said. “As the game moves on, you’ll get to 10, or maybe 15. Depends on where you are, too. Places like Chicago or New York, other places it’s easy. (In Texas), it’s hard. So after a while it becomes, ‘Told you so.

As it was reported in April , the percentage of black players dropped to 8.5% on opening day this year, down from 10% at the start of last season and its lowest level since 2007, according to the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. More than 80% of NBA players are African-American and the percentage of black players in the NFL is more than 60%.

Possible reasons appear myriad for baseball’s drop in black players. The Star-Telegram cites costs for equipment and league participation as possible reasons for baseball’s lack of appeal, to say nothing of admission prices.

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Click on link to read this article in its entirety

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I’ve long held the contention that Branch Rickey’s social experiment to integrate the game by bringing Jackie Robinson and making him the first minority to play in MLB was simply done for business reasons and little else . Integrating the game was one thing but given the fact that those attending the games were separated along racial lines while at the same time the US military itself still had yet to be fully integrated shows that not only had the game along way to go socially but also the country as well . Robinson as a player was not only open to a torrent of racial abuse but also threats upon his life by racially intolerant fans as well as many of his fellow players and from the owners within the game .

Now I would like to think that the game of baseball has made enormous strides and it has in a number of areas but the game has yet to have an African American owner in the modern era . Though it can claim that it has had a select number of managers and executives holding the position of general manager of a ball-club. The game has yet to have an African American owner and at the highest level of the game where ownership of a team would be a sign of a real break through this has yet to happen. Baseball has a number of acute issues that it needs to address , their RBI initiative being one of them but I certainly don’t believe that Bud Selig is the man to be leading that charge ! What he lacks in outright candor he more than makes up for that with his asinine edicts and complete lack of intelligence ! That asides the team owners simply love the fact that his lips are placed so firmly on their sphincters as and when needed . At the same time Michael Weiner who succeeded Donald Fehr as the executive director of the MLBPA has shown little to suggest that his tenure will be any different from that of his predecessor . Suffice to say that the game of baseball is now being ran by a group of individuals who are akin to headless chickens running around in a chicken coop waiting to die as they bleed to death profusely.

Did I miss something ? The NBA hierarchy has seen fit to publicly release the 2011-12 NBA schedule while they are involved in the midst of what they claim to be a labor dispute . Last I looked this was simply about money and who was actually garnering the bigger slice of a multi billion dollar piece of the pie ! The NBPA guided by executive director Billy Hunter and their President Derek Fisher have all but said that they are not prepared to concede to any request or requests from the league unless they are prepared to make concessions themselves . This dispute has all the making of being a bitter contentious battle from which no side will come out of it unscathed . The union’s executive committee have kept their members abreast of the ongoing deliberations much of it behind closed doors with the press and public not really being informed of the meetings . But as usual we can rely on ESPN to inform us of the latest by their usual group of insiders.

David Stern may well have bitten off more than he can chew in seeking to institute a stoppage and no doubt his ego has taken a beating . The team owners may well be sticking behind him at this juncture but sooner or later the likes of Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Peter Holt , Mark Cuban and James Dolan will decide to voice their opinions as to the impasse between the two sides .

The NBA hierarchy and owners have been a law unto themselves showing their gullibility , naivete but above all sheer idiocy in thinking that they could spend money at will while seeing their revenues decline . The soft salary cap instituted by the league of $ 57 million but several teams have exceeded that figure as they chased winning an NBA title . The two finalists from this past season’s Finals between them had a combined salary exceeding $125 million , hardly a figure that David Stern would actually care to discuss .

I find it somewhat ironic while the teams are pleading poverty they’re spending money as if there’s no tomorrow . Leading the charge are the idiot general managers of the game who’ll do just about anything including selling their first born if it guarantees success . Perhaps a clear indication of such inanity were the trades made by the Orlando Magic and their GM Otis Smith as they sought a championship. One only has to look at the team’s roster and their salary implications to see that Smith simply encumbered the organization with so much dead weight that it was laughable to watch the team play .

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Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard sits after the Magic’s 84-81 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Atlanta. AP Photo/John Amis ….

For Bob Vanderweide the COO & President of the Orlando Magic and the other senior executives this will be a trying time for the club. Not only do they have to deal with the financial implications of the team commitment in salaries but there’s also the growing belief that Dwight Howard may well seek to opt out of the final year of his contract and seek to ply his trade elsewhere . There’s no denying that a player of Howard’s caliber would be the envy of the teams around the league willing to acquire the player. But what would the Magic be seeking in return for the player if a deal were to be made ? Given the stakes as they stand and what this could very well mean for the organization it is hard to see anything advantageous for the team coming out of such a transaction ! Dwight Howard may well now feel that the Orlando Magic are not capable of winning a championship and the best opportunity for him as a player lays with another team. That team could very well be the Los Angeles Lakers if the rumors circulating are to be believed .

There’s no doubt in my mind that Mitch Kupchak , Jim Buss and Jerry Buss would pull the trigger on such a deal to land Dwight Howard and then for all essence and purpose the Lakers would have their own equivalent of the Miami Heat’s “Big Three” of Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade . The Lakers’ answer would be the teaming of Howard to play alongside Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant . And I’m sure for newly installed coach Mike Brown this would give him the added assurance that the teaming of the three along with the other players on the roster would be of benefit to the organization and fans . Whether or not such a scenario arises remains to be seen but there’s no denying that this would be an enticing situation for all of the parties involved should it start to foment within each of the front offices in question.

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NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, pictured with Deputy Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer Adam Silver , said in a news conference Thursday that the league is seeking to cut payroll and benefits for players by about a third. AP Photo/ Phil Reed …

As to David Stern’s own ego , it may well be plausible to make next season’s schedule public as a means of showing the fans the NBA ……. is still business as usual . But at present there is nothing at all to suggest that the league and the players are any closer to reaching a compromise much less the fact they are ready to actually get back to the courts . For a number of player who have sought to ply their trade overseas until the lockout ends they get the chance to hone their skills and take in some culture while pocketing a sizable amount in compensation. For others at the lower rungs of the food chain that are not so lucky there’s isn’t a great deal that they can do other than to sit , wait to be notified as to what is going on by their player representatives from the NBPA. Chances are that they too after a while will become fed up of the situation and voice their concerns but I’m guessing that’s a long way off if they now view the situation where they have both and Stern and the owners by the balls !

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

As to the points raised within this piece do you feel that Curtis Granderson’s claims are to an extent valid ? And what recommendations would you make in order to lure not just more minorities to take an interest in the game but also to make baseball more appealing for the fans ? And where do you see the NBA now going from here in terms of the ongoing dispute ? Please leave a comment as you would deem fit and thanks for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Contact ……… rapptu@ gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) A fan holds up a sign during the ninth inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 20, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Rangers 9-8 . Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ….

(2) Ryan Braun (8) of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates with teammates in the dugout before umpires review instant reply on a possible home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning of the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on July 20, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The ball was called foul and the home run was taken back. The Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks 5-2 in 10 innings . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …

(3) New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson (14) is helped to first base by manager Joe Girardi after being hit by a pitch form Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price ) during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Yankees won 4-0 . AP Photo / Joe Blanco …

(4) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JULY 20: Outfielder Curtis Granderson (14) of the New York Yankees scores on a first-inning home run against the Tampa Bay Rays July 20, 2011 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….

(5) Branch Rickey (left) seen here with Jackie Robinson holding the plaque denoting his official enshrinement into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . Also pictured is Robinson’s wife Rachel . Courtesy of White Archives …

(6) Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard sits after the Magic’s 84-81 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Atlanta. AP Photo/John Amis ….

(7) NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, pictured with Deputy Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer Adam Silver , said in a news conference Thursday that the league is seeking to cut payroll and benefits for players by about a third. AP Photo/ Phil Reed …

(8) From left to right Orlando Magic executives Alex Martins , Bob Vanderweide and Otis Grant take questions from the convened press at the team’s headquarters the Amway Center in downtown Orlando , Florida . Orlando Sentinel/ Michael Halloran ….

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Hashish Is The Spice of Life …………

Hashish Is The Spice Of Life So Says Deron Williams

Let’s get one thing clear and stop with the utter stupidity that the statement in which New Jersery Nets’ point guard Deron Williams whose choice to pursue and offer his talents to top Turkish basketball side Beseitkas BC is all about money. The player who left the Utah Jazz in a trade transaction that was a multi player deal to make his home with the Nets . Multi billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov and the front office had to have given his blessing for this deal even with the advent of the NBA mandated lockout. The vested interest that the organization has in the player and the fact that GM Billy King knows that they would rather have a happy player rather than a discontented one .

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Williams simply doesn’t need the money as he’s the thirteenth highest paid player in the league and has sizable endorsement contracts that simply gives the player all the money he could simply ever wish for. What most patrons who’ve proffered up a commentary on this issue fail to understand is that the NBA players are not covered their teams’ insurance coverage during a labor stoppage so it makes prudent financial sense for a player to seek plying his trade elsewhere. The caveat being however , it does give an NBA team the right to void the player’s contract should they have a serious injury that could curtail their career during their sojourn. In the case of Deron Williams he will be financially rewarded with a $ 5 million one year contract , an assistant , the lease of a brand new car , a luxurious home for the player , his immediate family , round the clock security and all of his living expenses will be paid for by Beseitkas during the player’s stay in Turkey. The team itself is one of the top club sides in Europe alongside Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel .

Nets’ team owner Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with minority equity stake partner Jay-Z . The two will combine their resources in bringing the team to the Barclay Yard Development in Brooklyn , New York in two years . Courtesy of NESN.com copyrighted material @ all rights reserved ….

Now with Williams’ wish to play abroad it remains to be seen whether or not any of the league’s marquee stars will seek to ply their trade abroad . With all of the rumors currently circulating that Kobe Bryant is said to be interested in playing in Italy , I for one find that premise somewhat misleading with the mere fact with the player coming off surgery , it is highly unlikely that Bryant would seek to have a re-occurence of injury while playing abroad . If anything the player is more liable to rest and recuperate while awaiting an outcome of this work stoppage initiated by the league hierarchy at the insistence of the NBA team owners .

Courtesy of Foxsports

NBA stars going overseas a bad sign

By Dan Wolken

So Deron Williams wants to play in Turkey if the NBA season doesn’t start on time, which is certainly his right. In theory, it’s a decent way to spend a few months: Hang out in Europe, make money and play basketball while the NBA bickers its way through a lockout. It sounds so good, in fact, that within minutes of Williams’ agent confirming the agreement, superstars ranging from Carmelo Anthony to Kobe Bryant indicated an interest in joining him overseas.

But just by entertaining the idea of a European exodus, NBA stars are already showing the kind of selfishness and greed that will ultimately undermine the Players Association in what could be a long, ugly labor war.

A number of basketball people reacted the same way to the news Williams had agreed to play for Besiktas: They’ll believe it when they see it. But even if Williams never makes it to Turkey, the mere notion of it has already caused problems for players on the margins of the NBA.

With the possibility that legitimate NBA players and even some All-Stars could sign for the duration of the lockout, there are some early indications that players who typically go overseas may be squeezed out until European teams see who they can get.

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With that in mind this can’t sit well with the owners knowing that their players would seek to ply their trade elsewhere while the league itself is in the midst of a labor dispute . But so asinine has been the situation that it is hard to see how David Stern , Adam Silver as Deputy Commissioner can seek to resolve this situation when the league hierarchy and the NBPA are so far apart in renegotiating the collective bargaining agreement which expired on the 30th June.
The union’s Executive Director Billy Hunter along with union president Derek Fisher and its <a href=”http://npba.org/leadership”&gt; executive committee are insistent they have no wish to accede and make any concessions to the league unless the owners and hierarchy are prepared to acquiesce and reciprocate in kind. That at present doesn’t, appear to be an option but it remains to be seen over the ensuing days and weeks how things will work themselves out . This much is certain if the hierarchy and players aren’t on the same page by the time by the mini camp and preseason starts , we could well be seeing a prolonged stoppage with the possibility that the 2011-12 season not starting on time until either January of 2012 or perhaps the season being completely abandoned altogether .

The NBA’s teams at present are hemorrhaging money with more than half the teams in the league now said to be incurring multi million dollar losses . A patron of my site tried to allude to the fact that much of what is being stated concerning the teams’ losses is mere subterfuge on the part of the NBA and the fact that there are clear indications that the teams are in fact making millions . A recent article in noted financial publication Forbes Magazine states that much of the NBA hierarchy’s claims are a fallacy but herein lies the caveat with regard to those claims , it is merely that the contributor of that article merely remarked about the fact that much of the revenues derived by the teams are in fact from season and general admission ticket sales and that of concessions during regular season games . Not much was made with regard to revenues streams derived from the NBA’s own marketing and branding operations . Now inasmuch as I’ve a great affinity for Forbes Magazine and what it at times bring to the table I found the article on the NBA’s finances something of a faux pas on their part ! The article failed to touch on the very fact that in 2009 and 2010 respectively the league received cumulatively in excess of $550 million in loans which was shared amongst 22 teams around the NBA . If that is not indicative of a league that is said to be in dire straits then can someone please explain to me what is ? David Stern in his formal statement in 2009 concerning the first series of loans made the suggestive statement ….. ” that this should not be viewed as a financial bailout of the teams in question but merely a way of assisting them in their financial difficulties”. Over this last decade the league’s teams have borrowed in excess of $1.6 billion from major financial institutions across the nation. Clearly a situation that the league now needs to address as to the financial acumen of its teams and their general managers .

After a nine year career much of it filled with a great deal of disappointment Houston Rockets’ center Yao Ming we’re told will make a formal announcement stating that he will retire from the game. Recurring injuries and ill health throughout much of his career led to this decision where the 7′ center feels it necessary call it a day. Drafted in the 2002 NBA Draft first overall by the Rockets Yao Ming would make his home in Houston leading the team in a number offensive categories over much of his career .

The faith shown in Yao Ming by general manager Daryl Morey and owner Leslie Alexander has been implicit but it has been the growth of the game in Yao’s homeland of China that must first be appreciated . Granted , the population (1.6 billion and counting) may well have known about Michael Jordan through jersey , other sports apparel sales and the presence of Nike Inc which has several manufacturing plants dotted all over the country gave a heighten awareness to the game and NBA brand in the Far East.

With Yao’s apparent wish to step away from the game it has to be said that league hierarchy will see this as something of a sad loss . Commercially the player had the second highest jersey sales in his native land behind Kobe Bryant but without the Chinese native’s rise to the top of the game and the legions of fans within China that now follow the NBA , this has all been due to his presence within the professional ranks in North America.

Success though fleeting for the Rockets with Yao’s arrival and the awareness of the Sino American community within the state of Texas and in particular within the city of Houston laid the foundation for the organization and its selling of the player to the community at large . Yao Ming played his role in that task and it became clear that the Houston Rockets and NBA at large would profit greatly from this endeavor. And though it is questionable as to how Yao Ming’s career will be viewed by the fans and analysts at large . A great player in his own right on both ends of the court it has to be said there will be those who will debate overall whether or not he has actually been a success in the NBA . Debate it at will but there will be those who come out in favor of the player and those who will also question where he stands within the game. The preeminent centers within the game as Yao’s peers were Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard once he became a force in the league but it has to be said the thinning of the position with O’Neal now retiring leaves us with not much by way of the prototypical center within the NBA.

From my own perspective with the retirement of Yao from the game it now leaves a large gap of what I believe to be truly good centers within the NBA ! Certainly amongst the centers now playing the game Dwight Howard immediately comes to mind and that of Andrew Bynum with the latter yet to refine his game and live up to the perceived expectations as to how good he can really become. I think that comes more out of conceit on the part of Bynum , the fact he is self absorbed and believes himself privileged . And if the Los Angeles Lakers are to be resurgent once again then he will have to raise the level of his play.

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In your opinion do you feel that the departure of Deron Williams to play in Europe will be sign that other marquee players will seek to ply their trade elsewhere ? Also with what is said to be the imminent retirement of Yao Ming what thoughts if any do you with regard to play of the centers that are now playing in the NBA ? Do you believe that it is on the decline or is it your opinion that this is merely a cyclical situation and we will once again see a dominant player at the position ? Simply chime with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) FILE – This Feb. 24, 2011, file photo shows New Jersey Nets’ Deron Williams posing in front of his poster at a news conference, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Turkish team Besiktas says it is close to reaching a deal with NBA All-Star guard Deron Williams. The New Jersey Nets say they can’t comment because of the lockout. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(2) New Jersey Nets draft pick Jordan Williams speaks during an introductory NBA basketball news conference as Marshon Brooks looks on Monday, June 27, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….

(3) New Jersey Nets general manager Billy King speaks during an introductory NBA basketball news conference as draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic , left, looks on Monday, June 27, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(4) Nets’ team owner Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with minority equity stake partner Jay-Z . The two will combine their resources in bringing the team to the Barclay Yard Development in Brooklyn , New York in two years . Courtesy of NESN.com copyrighted material @ all rights reserved ….

(5) This file photo taken on June 27th, 2011 shows NBA Houston Rockets’ Chinese basketball star Yao Ming listening to a question during a press conference in Taipei. Chinese media was rife with speculation on July 11, 2011 about what basketball icon Yao Ming might do next, after reports the country’s most famous sporting export is set to retire. AFP PHOTO /Getty Images / FILES / Sam YEH …..

(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 26: Yao Ming (11) of the Houston Rockets looks on during their opening night game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images …..

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Pop Goes The Weasel ……………..

Pop Goes The Weasel …..

Well it is now being widely reported that the NFL in conjunction with the NFLPA have gotten an accord wherein an agreement has been reached between the two sides. From what I’ve been led to believe it will be that the union and Commissioner Roger Goodell on behalf the team owners have suddenly had their wits about them. It took the two sides just over 100 days to suddenly realize that neither side can do without the other . At the same time I do believe that Federal Court Judge Arthur Boylan simply made both sides an offer that neither could refuse ! Either they reached a compromise or Boylan would render a decision that would most certainly have some serious repercussions for both sides.

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If the teams now get back to full practice mode with them all returning to their training facilities then quite possibly a preseason and some form of a regular season will proceed as planned . From my own perspective I think it is more liable that we will see a preseason of 2 games with regular season of 16 games as planned, kicking off on time on the 8th September . As to what this says about the NFL and in particular for the players of the NFLPA , it may well all come down to wanting to save face rather than being forced into a situation where they may have to come off on the wrong side of a legal verdict .

DeMaurice Smith as the NFLPA Executive Director now knows that he and his members face something of an uphill battle in assuring the player representatives that this is now all in their best interest. Other the flip side of this coin , Goodell’s legacy may well appear to be in tact knowing that he dodged a bullet . And for the fans of the NFL well let’s just say that there are some amongst us who feel that it’s great that the league will be back in action . I simply hope that the news that is now coming down the pike concerning the NFL has some real veracity to it and that the new CBA is equitable and amenable to all of the parties concerned !

If the actions of the NFL doesn’t have a bearing on the NBA and their own situation then quite possibly we could very well see the two sides there reach some sort of a compromise. But herein lies the caveat , NBA Commissioner David Stern as the league’s highest ranking official has ruled the NBA as if it were his own personal fiefdom . Stern’s autocratic rule would make a third world despotic tyrant feel proud of their own accomplishments and achievements. In the case of David Stern he now appears to be fighting his toughest battle yet . The NBPA in all likelihood will most certainly be against making any concessions that has them appearing weak and at the same they are not prepared to lessen their grip on the league revenues which sees them receiving a 53/47 split of the $3.95 billion that comes into the league’s coffers each season .

One wonders how it is that repeatedly when such instances arise in the wake of a hierarchy induced stoppage how it is that no foresight is shown wherein a collective bargaining agreement that the two sides prior to that expiration the two sides don’t start negotiating in advance ? That was most certainly the case with the NFL and also once again here with the NBA ! It would appear reasonable to suggest that they ought to have done that in the first place ____ starting off in good faith rather than the intense , sometimes rather animated and infantile exchanges that are said to have taken place during these negotiations between the NFL , NFLPA and now between the NBA and NBPA. Kind of makes one wonder who actually is the child here and who if anything is the adult overseeing this all ? It may well be that things will indeed have to take a real turn for the worse before any semblance of common sense is actually shown. I’m sure that Stern or his union counterpart Billy Hunter surely are not willing to have the FMCS (Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services ) or the US Federal Court intervene in this matter because should that occur then no party comes out in the end looking like a winner under any circumstance.

Now there’s a great deal to be said about the utter stupidity that has shown by the team owners , league hierarchy and in particular the general managers of the teams in the NBA . And now with a number of players now seeking to ply their trade elsewhere knowing that while a lockout remains in force they know that they are not covered in terms of insurance coverage during a league enforced lockout. Salaries , well it’s obvious that those won’t be paid at all so for the players who choose to play in Europe or elsewhere so that they can then earn a sizable sum in the midst of the stoppage and at the same time remain relatively fit is of benefit to themselves and their financial well being .

I find it somewhat naive of the fans are of the opinion feel that the league isn’t losing money but then again it all boils down the league showing very little by the way of transparency . They certainly are averse to opening their books for public scrutiny and it certainly has made David Stern look the complete idiot , when he , himself has sold the golden goose as a brand that simply was all in good standing. In the last two years Stern has made sure that teams around the league have been the financial recipients of over $600 million in loans , all of which the commissioner stated wasn’t to be viewed as a bailout . Somehow in the midst of this all David Stern is now finding out that all that glitters simply isn’t gold . Admittedly the ratings for this past season’s NBA Finals were a bonanza for ABC but the attendance for scheduled regular season games around the league saw a marked decline . Much of which has led to part of the financial instability for a number of teams. Owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Dan Gilbert , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber vastly overpaid for the respective franchises purchased but herein lies the caveat as in the case of Gilbert he’s amongst a number of team owners who are now cash strapped in more ways than they would actually care to admit . Nowhere is this more self evident than in the case of the Sacramento Kings and the ownership group led by Joe and Gavin_Maloof as they’ve simply looked to seek financial aid courtesy of the league hierarchy and advantageous tax exemptions from the city of Sacramento .

The plight of the Kings is by no means clear albeit that they will remain in Sacramento for one more year . Do not be surprised were the Maloofs to take off like thieves into the night with their bags packed and the city of Sacramento is left without an NBA franchise . One simply has to remember what took place with the Seattle Supersonics and their move from that city to Oklahoma City and the lies that permeated through the decision to move all orchestrated by David Stern and the Thunder ownership group led by Clay Bennett . Money may well have exchanged hands to finally facilitate the move but the city (Seattle) remains without a franchise and that simple feeling that they had been duped all along by the NBA . That once again is liable to happen with the city of Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings when it’s all said and done .

Falling attendances in an economic downturn is one thing but when the teams choose not to rein in their expenses and Stern seems to be adverse to actually initiating a hard salary cap rather than insisting that a soft cap now works for the teams. This has proven to be misplaced and even more so given the fact the commissioner has admitted that teams are hemorrhaging red ink like a corpse exsanguinate blood after receiving a nasty abdomen wound from a shotgun. I personally believe that the league hierarchy , the general managers and owners around the NBA have simply lost touched with reality . And the union and its executive committee are not that far behind in this whole asinine charade as they each look to one up each other. The league hierarchy wants to hold on to what little power it still has whereas the union simply wants the status quo to remain as is or perhaps get an even slightly larger slice of that pie.

This stoppage may well be the wake up call that this image enriched league needs to bring it back to reality. And the case can be made that much of this was simply brought about by the ambition of David Stern as he viewed that the best way to market the league was through its stars rather than the marketing of the teams . This scenario worked well when the league was in need of real vibrancy and they found it in a marketing and basketball phenom in Michael Jordan . And the rest as we say is history as the league and Jordan had some rich and wonderful years that have benefited both financially beyond their wildest dreams. Since the six time championship winning player retired from the game it has to be said that the NBA hit some lean years from a fan and attendance standpoint. Competitively the NBA is has had its ups and downs but the teams we expect to see make the NBA playoffs usually do , with there being one or two surprises along the way.

As I have alluded to earlier the league hierarchy simply are averse to any real transparency as to the their business practices and how they actually conduct their operations . The asinine situation remains is the very fact that there are fans out there who simply believe that the league can’t hit upon hard times. If they believe that to be so then simply look at the problems we now see befalling such teams as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are not mere hiccups . If only these fans would care to look beyond what takes place on the field of play and look to what is actually going on in the boardrooms of the teams then they would actually understand what is happening. Many of the thought processes I’ve heard _____ “we have a horrible owner and he needs to sell the team then we’d be much better off “ .

Given the situation with the economy and the asinine belief of some fans that billionaires such as Mark Cuban , Larry Ellison , Carlos Slim Helu and Eli Broad would even be interested in overpaying for a franchise that simply has seen its profits decline and many of its streams begin to dry up with the seller seemingly seeking prices that are inflated and not based on being anywhere near being realistic . Buyers simply don’t buy a sports’ franchise on a whim, they look to make sure that the purchase will be of benefit to them and that there is most certainly a chance of success before they would even consider plowing their money into such a venture . But then again that may not have been the case with the purchase made by Frank McCourt of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the sheer ineptitude shown by the team owners and baseball hierarchy in approving the deal to begin with for the sale of the team. Most certainly due diligence can’t have been used by the league hierarchy and anyone who simply believes that to have been the case has to be an idiot to begin with ! This very same hierarchy and owners voted against McCourt when he originally sought to purchase the Boston Red Sox but a mere three years later they saw fit to vote him in amongst the team owners’ fraternity by approving his purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Somehow words escape me as to the mere ineptitude that has been shown by Bud Selig , the league hierarchy and in fact the team owners of Major League Baseball !

Dan Gilbert though a multi millionaire is now finding out the hard way having seen the marked decline in the value of the Cleveland Cavaliers but at the same time he’s having to pay down the principal and interest having purchased the team by way of a loan from a major financial institution. This could very well be one of the numerous reasons why we are now seeing a number of owners beginning to voice their disapproval with the way that Stern has handled the matter but somehow they remain steadfast in their support of the commissioner and league hierarchy for now. Long time owners having bought their teams relatively cheap simply haven’t that much to worry about in large part but there are those recently new team owners that have spent hundreds of millions in their purchase that have yet to see anything tangible from that purchase by way of success or in the form of a profitability standpoint.

So apparently as one door closes another is still left ajar as the NBA continues with its own form of infighting . It will be interesting to see what now permeates between the two sides and how each looks to make their presentation of their case for the public’s consumption. I doubt that the vast majority of the league’s fans actually favor one side or another but they would simply be rather content to see both sides reach an agreement rather than what could turn out to be a rather bitter dispute between the two parties . It’s bad enough that the public has to endure that same sort of stupidity with the members of the House and Senate up on Capitol Hill without it now having to be shown of all places within the domain of big time professional sports . But this simply has become a microcosm of our society and when greed rather than common sense gets in the way of a real issue then for all sense and purpose stupidity sets in and ‘pop goes the weasel ‘.

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If the related news is said to be true are you happy that the NFL will be back in full swing with a scheduled formatted season of games to be played ? And what are your own thoughts on the NBA’s self imposed lockout and how do you see that scenario ending ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

NB : At the time of writing this piece the news concerning an agreement having been reached between the NFL and NFLPA _ no formal statement had yet to be issued , so as of now things still remain as they are .

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(1) Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert talks with the media at a press availability at the Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, Ohio on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta …..

(2) Larry Ellison, chairman and CEO of Oracle Corp., talks about his company during an interview Monday, May 8, 2000, in Dallas. Ellison, who unveiled a $199 Internet machine before an audience of students at a performing arts high school, said Oracle will donate more than 1,100 of the machines to 23 Dallas schools. The machine, which lacks a hard drive, is targeted at the education and consumer markets. Ellison the founder of Oracle is an ardent basketball fan who lost out in trying to acquire the Golden State Warriors earlier this year. AP Photo/Tim Sharp ……

(3) Billionaire real estate mogul and philanthropist Eli Broad . Courtesy of Forbes Magazine / Joe Puglise @ all rights reserved copyrighted material …

(4) David Stern (left) and Oklahoma City Thunder principal managing partner Clay Bennett are seen here at an NBA game in Oklahoma City , OK. AP Photo / Gabriel Barnes …….

(5) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speak to reporters outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla., after speaking at the NFLPA’s rookie symposium, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ………

(6) (L-R) Brothers George Maloof, Gavin Maloof and Joe Maloof watch a preseason game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Thomas & Mack Center October 13, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lakers won 98-95 . Getty Images North America /Ethan Miller ……

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Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

So here we are and with the ongoing NFL work stoppage now looking as if it’s liable to be a prolonged situation . It no longer comes as a surprise to me that the players are looking to paint the league and the team owners in a poor light. At the same time the league hierarchy isn’t about to make any concessions only seeking to further make this embattled situation more intolerable for the fans . At this juncture it’s pretty safe to say the longer the situation goes on the more suspect that I am the league schedule for the proposed 2011 season won’t commence on time as projected for the 3rd September . Suffice to say that both Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith as the highest ranked executives within the NFL and NFLPA might just be the most despised individuals in professional sports at present.

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Drew Brees in a public statement made the claim that the NFL were circled _____ that their target was indeed the NFLPA like sharks smelling blood after the death of former union executive director Gene Upshaw as they left it would be the right time to seek a change in what was the collective bargaining agreement as it stood at the time. I’m not so sure that I’d disagree with the claims being made by Brees but at the same time I’ve also got to question the confrontational approach of the union as this has all played itself out. From my own standpoint as this idiocy plays itself out and with there now being talk of the NBA quite possibly having their own problems with there also being a lockout there as well I can’t help but wonder when the next shoe will drop. David Stern and his counterpart Billy Hunter are now trying to create the perception that they are capable of acting like mature adults , albeit that the league hierarchy seems to be frustrated at the divergence in the differing views as to what’s best for the league. Union President Derek Fisher and the executive committee has said that the union isn’t prepared to make any concessions without the league itself acceding to the union’s own demands . Given the financial instability of the NBA and the fact that they are projected to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2011 .

The NFL is up the creek without a paddle and it appears that the NBA isn’t that far behind as to their stupidity . The NBA’s postseason show case event the NBA Finals are now front and center with the Dallas Mavericks taking on the Miami Heat . A clash of styles and with a quartet of All Stars in Dirk Nowitzki , <a href=”http://nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/”&gt; LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . This series has the makings of being a classic if both teams play up to their true potential . But with that being said I can’t help but wonder if the outcome could once again be the same as before when these two teams last met in an NBA Finals in 2006 . The Mavericks would go on to lose that series 4-2 in what turned out to be very much a lopsided finals’ series . The Heat for their part during that series saw Finals MVP Dwyane Wade have a memorable NBA Finals in leading the team to their sole win of a championship. For then coach Pat Riley that would be his fourth NBA title as a coach over the course of his already legendary NBA career.

With Riley now as the team President he now has his protege` Erik Spoelstra coaching this star studded team . The young coach along with his Dallas Mavericks’ counterpart Rick Carlisle are both looking for their first title as a coach. And for Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and team GM Donnie Walsh they may well now see this as the organization’s chance at redemption. The acquisition of Tyson Chandler has certainly bolstered the mindset of this Mavericks’ team . Certainly throughout this postseason Dirk Nowitzki has been playing like a man on a mission and he’s been ably assisted by a supporting cast that have simply stepped up to the plate .

The Dallas Mavericks for their part made light work of the Oklahoma City Thunder in a thoroughly convincing fashion defeating Scott Brooks’ team —- 4-1 . For many this result may not have come as a surprise but I for one certainly didn’t feel that the Thunder would wilt so easily but then again with this being such an inexperienced team it is understandable that they would succumb under such circumstances.

The Miami Heat are heavily favored to win this series match-up and with their dynamic trio all playing at a </ahigh caliber this postseason showcase event could either be suspenseful or an unmitigated disaster with the Heat simply walking over the Dallas Mavericks with a great deal of ease. I’d certainly like to think that Mavericks will abate all our fears and make this a memorable NBA Finals ! I’ve no doubt that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would like disprove that although the Mavericks may well have won their regular season series 2-0 the postseason becomes a completely different environment altogether. There’s a great deal more on the line and as such NBA immortality and a legacy to play for as well as an NBA title. That should be enough an incentive for both teams to showcase their undoubted talent and supply the discerning NBA fan with the best possible extravaganza that they can witness . With a worldwide audience approaching 500 million hoping to witness the event ABC as the host broadcast network will be looking to magnify the brand of the NBA as well as their own broadcast talents. And I am sure that David Stern will be hoping that the emerging markets will like what they see. The NBA brand has reached its maturation and saturation point within North America and the league hierarchy now has to look elsewhere to see how best to make the game still a viable and profitable concern. God knows with the mismanagement of the league and the financial mismanagement amongst the teams by their owners and the respective general managers and you can well understand why the league wants a thoroughly entertaining series . Anything that can showcase the league as a entertaining concern would undoubtedly make the NBA a lure for the fan.

As a bye note can someone explain to me how it is that all of a sudden idiocy rears its ugly head with the regard to the comparisons and contrasts with regard to the careers of LeBron James and Michael Jordan . Now looking to add their own thoughts on the matter happens to be none other than Jordan’s former teammate and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Scottie Pippen . The former Bulls’ player stated in a radio interview with hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on their morning radio show “Mike & Mike” would state that Jordan being the game’s greatest scorer but James to his mind can be considered to be the game’s greatest player. Perhaps his statement can be misconstrued but in reality the idiocy of that statement at this juncture simply doesn’t make that much sense . James has yet to win a title and when I last looked two consecutive league MVP awards simply means nothing albeit that there’s a a couple of scoring titles to be added to that resume`. LeBron James needs to win NBA multiple titles before the contrasts and comparison can actually be made . Scottie needs to take a chill pill , quieten down before he alienates himself not only within the city of Chicago but also with his former teammates . If there’s one thing I know…… you simply don’t bite the fu#king hand that feeds you and for Scottie Pippen the hand that fed him was indeed Michael Jeffrey Jordan ! Enough said on the matter I do believe !

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Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 03: New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees makes his way into the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building for the NFL negotiations on March 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Rod Lamkey/Getty Images ……….

(2) Drew Brees has organized workouts for his teammates while trying to organize labor negotiating efforts with NFL owners.
Jonathan Bachman/Cal Sport Media ……

(3) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, right, watches fellow teammate Jason Terry, left, during practice on Sunday, May 29, 2011, in Dallas. AP Photo/Mike Fuentes ……

(4) Miami Heat basketball players LeBron James (left) and Dwyane Wade talk to the media after a practice session in Miami, Sunday, May 29, 2011. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Tuesday . AP Photo/J Pat Carter ………

(5) Jordan and Pippen in a moment of triumph , one of many that the duo had over the course of their career with the Chicago Bulls. Also pictured is Steve Kerr a multiple title winner himself.

(6) A young LeBron James (left) gets the chance to meet his idol Michael Jordan . courtesy of je520wordpress.com ……

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Have You Had Your Dose Of The NBA Today ?

Have You Had Your Dose Of The NBA Today ?

Well it’s back to the hum drum return of an NBA schedule that will play its part in now separating the contenders from the pretenders amongst the stalwarts of the league. And I’ve no doubt at present we’ll see one or two surprises as the season now enters its post midseason point. The San Antonio Spurs still remain the team with the best record in the league but they’re closely followed by what seems to be a resurgent Dallas Mavericks team led by their All Star —– Dirk Nowitzki .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Now while the talk has been about the multiple team , multiple player trade that sent both Carmelo Anthony , Chauncey Billups and several other players to the New York Knicks in exchange for Raymond Felton and what GM Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni feels are players obsolete to the team’s needs in the opposite direction to the Denver Nuggets I can’t help but wonder what happens should the Knicks not go deep into the playoffs ? And as much as the Knicks’ fans are in awe of this deal , on the face of it , it merely adds some luster to a team and fanbase that has been in need of it for over a decade . I mean as heralded the legacy has been for Madison Square Gardens you’ve got the readily admit the place has resembled a graveyard in terms of recent success when it comes to the New York Knicks. The days with which the Knicks under Pat Riley were thought of as a constant omnipresent threat in the Eastern Conference seems an eternity ago.

Courtesy of NBA.com news

From West to East, the balance of NBA power starts to shift …..

Dallas-Tx,. Tyson Chandler wasn’t speaking on behalf of the just Dallas when asked about the balance of power relocating from the Western Conference to the East. He might as well have been a spokesman for anyone with designs of winning the West after Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Deron Williams split for Greater Gotham.

“I wish we could get Kobe and Duncan and Ginobili and all those guys over there, too,” he quipped, “but I guess then it wouldn’t be any fun.”

No doubt there has been a seismic shift in the makeup of the two conferences. The West, for the past decade, has been considered the superior collection of teams from top to bottom. Twice in the previous three years, all eight of the West playoff teams won at least 50 games.

Not gonna happen this season.

And while the East may struggle to field more than six playoff squads with winning records, the so-called Least only figures to get more Beast in the years to come. The days of Western dominance are over, according to a certain All-Star known to wear a cape.

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Don’t get me wrong I’ve no doubt that the Knicks will do well with their new revamped team but here’s the caveat , in acquiring Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups while they gain a great deal of offense the team now loses to an extent a great degree of defensive capability. But then again a Mike D’Antoni coached team has never been known for its defense and therein now lies the dilemma facing the Knicks over the remainder of the season . As good as this team now becomes unless Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony are on the same page in conjunction with the coach then this costly experiment will all be for nought ! And this experiment is proving to be costly as the Knicks are now committed to a $65 million commitment for the next three seasons. For some of the Knicks’ most vociferous fans in terms personalities Spike Lee and ESPN radio sport’s show host Stephen A Smith this now becomes their personal Utopia and future aspirations as it relates to the Knicks.

The trade deadline itself wasn’t without other deals that took place but in reality the real talk was in essence WWCAD ……………..”what will Carmelo Anthony do” ? Well for the Denver Nuggets under coach George Karl their future may well seem bright and the coach himself feels that his team can make a run at a Western Conference playoff berth. It may well be that a sub .500 record or slightly above that may well garner the team a playoff spot. For Nuggets’ GM Masai Ujiri this maneuver may well the deal that breathes life into the Nuggets or casts a shadow organization for the immediate and long term future. It seems along way from a postseason where the team made the playoffs before succumbing to the Utah Jazz in a rather lopsided series .

Of the teams that I’ve followed within the NBA this season the Oklahoma City Thunder to my mind are a team to be feared and coach Scott Brooks does seem to have this team playing at a high level . Potential league MVP candidate Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook provide one of the “most potent one two punch ” in the NBA . And if things do pan out as I believe that they will concerning this team I do believe that they will be one of the teams to be feared come playoff time !

From the sublime to the ridiculous as the Cleveland Cavaliers continue their slide into an abyss of ineptitude . I’m not saying that coach Byron Scott has suddenly found himself in quicksand or in a riverbed filled with piranhas but given the state of things there in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena I’d have said that either of those two scenarios might’ve been preferable . This team now seems to have found enumerable ways to lose —- games with ghastly consequences not only for the team but for the entire organization from a competitive and financial standpoint . Dan Gilbert may well be ruing the day that he sought to remain in control of this team rather than sell it outright to a Chinese investor .

Not to be outdone when it comes to showing ineptitude this season we have the continuing woes of the Washington Wizards , Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves proving to us that you can’t teach can’t teach an old dog new tricks . Losing with increasing regularity has become ingrained into these teams and when that happens the fans do tend to depart in droves from the those teams’ respective home venues. I’ve read where fans of some of these complaining that no one comes to watch them play . Well , would you be willing to shell out your hard earned cash to watch three teams who have a combined 36 wins and 130 losses between them ?

The reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t dive into the trade market looking to bolster their roster but you can bet that Phil Jackson has bent the ears somewhat of the players whom he feels have been underachieving . It has been left as usual to the likes of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to lead the charge offensively but there continues to be disappointment as to overall erratic and inconsistent play of the team. Arguably , Lamar Odom , Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum have played nowhere near their perceived potential when measured by their contributions to the team last season .

There’s now a growing belief that the Los Angeles are now ripe for the taking as it now seems that the team is now more susceptible than ever before in losing the grip on the defense of their NBA title. The two time defending champions are a pale comparison at present of the team that took control of last season’s finals when it looked as if the Boston Celtics to have the championship all sewn up. Instead we saw this Doc Rivers’ coached team flounder like a capsized vessel with the passengers on board being without the assist of a life jacket ! I do firmly believe that both of these teams will make the postseason and should they meet once again in the NBA Finals it will be fascinating to see whether or not this current Celtics’ embodiment of a team can usurp their Western Conference foe.

Now it goes without saying that while the season progresses our thoughts can’t be far away from the current situation evolving the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations between the league’s hierarchy and the NPBA (union). Union President Derek Fisher and Executive Director Billy Hunter have stressed the fact they wish to come to an amicable resolution during this process. And it has to be said that David Stern wants no part of the madness now taking place between the NFL and NLFPA (union) . That whole slew of cow dung now being mediated by a federally appointed mediator can only suggest that these two groups of mindless idiots are so out of touch with reality that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about. And I can only hope that their NBA counterparts show some insight and wisdom and actually do what’s right rather than thinking solely about greed and their pockets ! If not , then both of these sports could very well lose whatever goodwill is left to be had from the fans .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the most recent incidents that’ve have taken place within the NBA over the past few days ? And how as such do you see the remainder of the season panning out ? By all means leave a comment as to your take on it all and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated .

Picture and slide show details below as a guide .

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(1) Amar’e Stoudemire is joined by new teammates Carmelo Anthony (left) and Chauncey Billups (right) in an official picture to introduce the duo to the convened press at Madison Square Gardens , New York City, New York. The duo were part of a multi-player , mutli-team trade that brought them from the Denver Nuggets with several players from the Knicks heading in the opposite direction to the Western Conference team and elsewhere. Getty Images / Chris Trotman …………..

(2) Cleveland Cavaliers general ganager Chris Grant announces a trade which will send Cavaliers’ Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis and a first round draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft , at a news conference at the Cavaliers training center in Independence, Ohio on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta ……

(3) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks drives against Carlos Delfino (10) of the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Bucks 114-108 . Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ……….

(4) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks shoots the ball over Andrew Bogut (6) of the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Bucks 114-108. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …….

(5) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, celebrates with teammate Ron Artest after Bryant scored two free throws to ice the game in overtime during their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Feb.23, 2011. Bryant scored 37 points and Artest scored 24 as they beat the Blazers 106-101 . AP Photo/Don Ryan ……..

(6) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots against Tim Duncan (21) and Manu Ginobili (20) of the San Antonio Spurs on February 23, 2011 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs would end up defeating the Thunder 109-105 . Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images ………..

(7) In this Jan. 26, 2011, file photo shows Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams , center, attempting to score over Spurs guard Tony Parker of France, left, and Spurs forward DeJuan Blair , right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City. A person with knowledge of the trade says the New Jersey Nets have agreed to acquire All-Star point guard Deron Williams from the Jazz in a three-team deal. The Nets are sending rookie Derrick Favors and point guard Devin Harris to the Jazz as part of the package in a deal that also includes the Golden State Warriors . AP Photo/Colin E Braley ……..

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😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

🙂

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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This Ain’t No Ordinary Rodeo …………

This Ain’t No Ordinary Rodeo …………

The San Antonio Spurs (42-8) are no doubt having a terrific season and they’re winning at an unprecedented rate although they’re viewed as being under the radar. All the hype has simply been about the Boston Celtics , Miami Heat and the defending NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers . Now for some reason the league saw fit to schedule 14 of the Spurs’ next nineteen games on the road as the team’s home venue is being used to host a rodeo.

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Slide show for your perusal.

On the face of it that hasn’t really stopped the Spurs as players such as Tony Parker , Manu Ginobli , Tiago Splitter , Richard Jefferson have stepped up to the plate. Aging veteran and four time —- NBA champion —– Tim Duncan still is capable of playing at a high level when called upon but being the cerebral player we’ve all known him to be for Duncan once the postseason comes around that’s when we’ll look to see him raise his game to the next level.

Coach Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff have to be greatly appreciative of what they’re now seeing from the team and in particular from the younger players on the roster. DeJuan Blair is proving that he’s got the game to be potent within the league and his defense has vastly improved. Certainly many around the league have woken up to the fact that these aren’t the same old Spurs who’d wilt when pressed and it’s to Popovich’s credit that he’s simply nurtured this team and then at the same time seen the veteran leadership of Duncan and Antonio McDyess come to the fore . Both of these solid veterans are deeply respected by their teammates have seen if the duo can rise to the occasion then they too can simply do the same.

Though as an avid fan of the team and with the season having reached its beyond its halfway point I like what I’m seeing from the San Antonio Spurs at present and hopefully it bodes well for the rest of their season .

The NBA All Star Game is now but a week away where the event will be staged at the Staples Center and hosted by the Los Angeles Lakers. NBA Commissioner David Stern no doubt will view this as a way of gauging the game’s intrinsic value at a time when the league hierarchy has a number of economic problems . The league’s teams are on track to lose in excess of $500 million this season if Stern’s projected figures are to be believed. And to top it all the league is still in the midst of ongoing labor talks with the NBPA . NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and the union’s representatives led by NBPA President Derek Fisher have been reticent in the fact that they’re not prepared accede and make any concessions that they believe will be to their disadvantage. And with the union having de-certified as a way of taking that first step of challenging the league’s antitrust exemption in the Federal Court system should things fall apart during the negotiating process it gives you a clear picture as to how far apart both sides are in the process.

It’d be asinine to see the NBA have an enforced lockout and labor stoppage . The players say that they don’t want this scenario evolve into a major conflict between the two sides. And from a fan standpoint the image of the league in particular , this doesn’t bode well for what David Stern and the game’s corporate partners had envisaged for the game. Twenty five years in as the game’s highest ranked official and Stern has led the organization to untold riches but at the same time his autocratic rule has been bemoaned by many in and outside of the game. Albeit that team owners around the NBA have to appreciative for what Stern has done for the game from a financial standpoint. In the twenty five years of David Stern’s tenure as NBA Commissioner they’ve seen their franchises appreciate in value and to the point where their revenues have more than quadrupled over that period of time. The branding of the NBA product represents a $4.5 billion to $6 billion ($4,500,000,000-$6,000,000,000) a year industry for all parties concerned. And it’s easy to understand why the owners are thankful to Stern and the business acumen he’s shown over the years.

The NBA much like the NFL can’t afford to be viewed as the villain of the piece as both seek union and labor stability within their respective sports. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been saying all the right things but he’s nearer in avoiding an unwanted lockout . But he simply knows that with hour glass petering and the sand emptying as the March 3rd deadline inches ever closer he has to have an agreement in place with the NFLPA Executive Committee before the March deadline. If that’s not available to him then look for the NFL owners to lock the gates and all hell break loose.

From afar I’m wondering what both the NBA and NFL think that they can achieve from all of this ! I find it somewhat ridiculous that the executives within both organizations and the respective unions could have simply thought that the untold riches that they’ve been in receipt of wasn’t ever going to decline ! But here again lies the fact that much like the present administration , Congress and Senate their thinking has been short term rather than long term when it comes to a business and economic template. How else can you simply explain the economic mess that the country is now in apart from the rather asinine behavior also shown by idiots on Wall St and within the boardrooms of major corporations across the nation ? And not unlike those entities we’re now hearing and seeing the excuses come about as they now try to explain many of the problems they now have within their midst. The NBA , NFL and US government has become >one big joke as they seek to absolve themselves of the problems which in large part much of it they created with their rather irrational and irresponsible behavior !

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What thoughts if any do you have on the San Antonio Spurs’ season ? And also chime in with your own thoughts as the NBA and NFL’s ongoing labor dispute .

Picture and slide show details .

(1) Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans , second from left, tries to the protect the ball from San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili, of Argentina, left, Tim Duncan, third from left, and Tony Parker, right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ……….

(2) San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, of Argentina, right, gets treatment for a cut in his mouth from Spurs trainer Will Sevening , during the second half against the Sacramento Kings in a NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-100 . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ………..

(3) San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich was called for a technical foul for arguing with official Marat Kogut , unseen, during the second half against the Sacramento Kings in a NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-100. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …..

(4) San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair, right, comes up with a loose ball against Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-100. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …..

(5) San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker, right, of France, drives to the basket against Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans, left, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ……..

(6) Head coach Phil Jackson (left) of the Los Angeles Lakers receives his championship ring from NBA Commissioner David Stern before the season opening game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on October 27, 2009 in Los Angeles. Getty Images/ Kevork Djansezjian …..

NBA News

NBA Standings Conference ……… Division

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Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

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San Antonio Spurs ….

Spurs’ roster

Team Stats …

San Antonio Spurs’ 2010-11 schedule

Coaching Staff ……. led by Gregg Popovich

Team owner Peter Holt

General Manager R C Buford

San Antonio Spurs’ history

San Antonio Spurs’ news


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Summer Walker

Eye candy ……………….. Summer Walker . Hell yeah !

Summer Walker 2

Isn’t she the most interesting season of the year ? Summer Walker !

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Mint Condition ………….. “Breakin’ My Heart” (Pretty Brown Eyes)

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