An Ill Wind Blows In The Windy City ..

An Ill Wind Blows In The Windy City ..

by tophatal …. Other NFL pieces within this site

I don’t know that things can or will get much worse but it appears that within the front office of the Chicago Bears there is little common sense being shown , as it relates to the contract negotiations for the team’s Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte . Inasmuch, as GM Phil Emery wants to be seen as being judicious in these deliberations the situation with each passing moment alienates the player and his ongoing relationship with the organization . The Bears state that they have some concerns as to player’s durability and those issues deal with Forte’s knees and the fact that he has suffered knee injuries in each of the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears . Matt Forte’s agent Adisa Bakari has taken the Bears’ front office to task , questioning their real intent and whether or not they wish to sign the player to a long-term contract.

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At present , Matt Forte is not among the highest-paid running backs in the NFL but he has been amongst the most productive over the last four seasons . Head coach Lovie Smith and his coaching staff know that if the team is to have any chance of challenging the supremacy of the Green Bay Packers within the NFC North , then it will be incumbent upon the organization either signing the player to a new deal commensurate to his talent or they could seek to “ franchise tag” Matt Forte , signing him to a one-year qualifying deal . Forte , a four-year starter with the Bears was drafted 44th overall in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Tulane University . It did take some time for Matt Forte to establish himself in the NFL but it was apparent for all to see that he would indeed be a very productive player in this league . His most productive year was his rookie season of 2008 but the improvements have been made whereby his all-round game has flourished.

Last season with the Chicago Bears missing the playoffs , Forte was still able to prove his worth to the team by proving to be a major part of their offensive productivity . As I alluded to earlier , it will be extremely difficult for the Bears to be competitive enough to challenge the Packers within their own division , much less the entire league without Matt Forte’s skill-set . During the off-season the Bears acquired ….. Brandon Marshall to join former teammate Jay Cutler , with a view to providing the quarterback with another offensive target . However, it should be noted that in this year’s NFL Draft GM Phil Emery sought to bolster the team’s roster with a complement of picks that would benefit both the defensive and offensive side of the ball .

And during this off-season it has not been lost on Matt Forte that many of his peers have sought raise their salaries while seeking to either negotiate or renegotiate the terms of their contracts . The highest paid running back in the NFL at present , happens to be the Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson , whose 6 year deal for $55 million ( $30 million guaranteed – $10 million signing bonus) . The determining factor that could go a long way in assisting Matt Forte’s position are the current crop of free agents , restricted free agents and their endeavors in seeking out new deals . The Baltimore Ravens all-purpose running back Ray Rice is intent on seeing not only his “stock” being raised but also his bank balance by way of a new deal . . With the waters certainly being muddied at present , a number of players seeking to holdout or forego OTA’s and mandatory training camps merely to get their points across in terms of salary demands . Last season’s NFL rushing leader …. .. Maurice Jones-Drew is presently at logger-heads GM Gene Smith and the entire Jacksonville Jaguars organization .

Jones-Drew seeks a new long-term deal , albeit that he currently has two years left on his existing contract with the Jaguars . Set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2014 , the running back is due $17.2 million over the next two seasons . Team owner Shahid Khan and head coach Mike Mularkey have expressed their concerns but they are not prepared to acquiesce to the player’s demands , categorically stating that Maurice Jones-Drew must fulfill his contractual obligations to the franchise before they can set about negotiating a new deal for the player. As the relationship between the player and franchise now deepens becoming increasingly clear that neither side is about to budge from their original stance. We all know that first and foremost , the NFL is a business and that business just happens to be in the line making money _________ lots of it as a matter of fact . Team owners have always tried to paint the players as being greedy and likewise the players via their union (NFLPA) have sought to portray the league hierarchy and franchise owners as being less than honorable . What is undeniable , is the very fact that the NFL as an industry is a $ 7 to $8.5 billion-a-year financial behemoth whose hunger and lust for money knows no boundaries . Feeding into this all , just happens to the cable and major broadcast outlets and networks that carry the brand . Bear mind that the value of the franchises are at an all-time high and are as profitable as ever , and the owners are not about to come out of their cocoons , and suddenly plead poverty .

From a fan standpoint , it is hard to have any empathy towards a multimillionaire athlete or owner quibbling over figures that in large part the vast majority of fans cannot relate to . In the midst of this all the league hierarchy comes across to those very same supporters as in-compassionate , whose degree of honesty and integrity can be best described as than desirable . While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seeks to create the perception that the NFL stands on solid ground , less we forget , his handling of the recent labor dispute as well as the fallout from the New Orleans Saints’ “ bounty scandal “ shows how inept his tenure has become and the very fact that , as he leads , like sheep the owners will follow .

Don’t look now but the Chicago Cubs still suck while sharing the worst record in baseball alongside the Colorado Rockies (30-49) . Far be it for me to suggest but team owner Tom Ricketts , even after the hiring of Theo Epstein to head the franchise’s Baseball Operations and Epstein’s own hand-picked general manager , Jed Hoyer , absolutely nothing has changed . . Team manager Dale Sveum and his coaching staff have struggled to get this team to perform even moderately in terms of being competitive .

Although the team is on a 4 four game winning streak , and winners of six of their last ten games . It has to be said that there have not been many highlights over the course of the season for the Chicago Cubs can actually feel proud . Granted , the play of Starling Castro , Jeff Samardzija , Brian La Hair and Anthony Rizzo have heightened that sense of anticipation , there is the belief that this team is still a long way from where it really needs to be .

Long thought of as being one baseball’s more heralded teams , in reality there has been of late to suggest that the ball-club is now heading in the right direction . Jed Hoyer’s predecessor Jim Hendry saddled the franchise with a number of exuberant and often dubious contracts and along the way the players in question have failed to produce . The mess has to be cleaned up and it may well take the hands of a skilled surgeon to “cull the dead weight” on this roster and simply jettison those pieces and start afresh . The Chicago Cubs , within their minor league system have a number of promising prospects , and the rationale now must be “ bring up them up now and simply see how they fare . To my mind those players cannot be any worse than those on display during this season !

Having defeated the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field , in Atlanta , Georgia , 4-1 , the team remains the guests of the NL East …… franchise for the remaining three games of their original four-game series . On the mound today for the Cubs will be Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46 ERA) , as he squares off against Jair Jurrjens (1-2, 6.07 ERA) of the Braves . No hard and fast rule here , as both pitchers will try to gain something for their respective teams , while also looking to bolster their beleaguered statistics .

It goes without saying anything short of a series’ win and the Cubs’ season will only resonate with those who have a love for the stench of rotting flesh or fecal matter . An appropriate analogy do you believe ?

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Picture gallery .

Do you believe that the Chicago Bears are within their rights not to offer Matt Forte a contract extension ? Or do you believe that the player is justified in voicing his concerns ? Are of the opinion also that Maurice Jones-Drew should be treated differently , given his set of circumstances ? By all means leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears is hit by Donald Butler (56) of the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Chargers 31-20 . Jonathan Daniel /Getty Images North America ….

(2) Running back Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears takes in a game against between the Chicago Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks at the United Center on January 3, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Hawks 76-74 . Johnathan Daniel / Getty Images North America

FILE – This Dec. 24, 2011 file photo shows Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew before an NFL football game between the Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans, in Nashville, Tenn. The Jaguars have no plans to renegotiate running back Jones-Drew’s current contract. General manager Gene Smith confirmed Monday, June 11, 2012 that Jones-Drew wants a new deal, but made it clear it’s not going to happen. AP Photo/Wade Payne …

(4) From left to right , Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan , head coach Mike Mularkey and GM Gene Smith . The trio is in agreement that they will not renegotiate the contract of Maurice Jones-Drew , who still has two years remaining on his existing deal before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2014 . AP Photo/ Brett Thompson ….

(5) GM Jed Hoyer (far left) is seen here alongside Chicago Cubs’ team manager Dale Sveum (center) and EVP & Head of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein (right). The team has gotten off to uneasy start this season and have not been able to gain any traction within the NL Central . AP Photo / Garrett Shaw ….

(6) Chicago Cubs’ Luis Valbuena gestures to the dugout while Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones watches after Valbuena’s three-run double , and a throwing error, advances him to third base in the seventh inning of their baseball game on Monday, July 2, 2012, at Turner Field in Atlanta. AP Photo/David Tulis …

(7) ATLANTA, GA – JULY 02: Darwin Barney (15) of the Chicago Cubs reacts after turning a double play over Jason Heyward (22) of the Atlanta Braves in the ninth inning at Turner Field on July 2, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …..

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Amber Foxx aka …. Amber McNeil aka Brandi

What Ozzie Wants Ozzie Usually Gets ….. Now He Gets Carlos Zambrano And A Whole Lot Of Headaches ….

What Carlos Wants Carlos Usually Gets ….. Now He Gets Carlos Zambrano And A Whole Lot of Headaches ……..

By tophatal …..

I’m trying to figure out where the Chicago Cubs now go from here as they seek to rebuild this organization from the top on down . Team owner Tom Ricketts sought to bring in former Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein as President of Baseball Operations and Jed Hoyer as the team’s general manager . Out has gone Mike Quade as the manager , with the two senior executives seeking a successor for the fired former manager . They would indeed be successful in their search having hired Dale Sveum . Apart from that perhaps the organization’s biggest move was to rescind the contract of pitcher Carlos Zambrano thereby making the pitcher a restricted free agent . The troubled pitcher constantly a thorn in the side of the coaching staff and the league hierarchy the player now finds himself in an abyss of self doubt .

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With Zambrano now on the sidelines it would appear that there might not be in any takers for the temperamental player. But in to the rescue comes fellow native Venezuelan Ozzie Guillen the newly installed manager of the Miami Marlins . Guillen succeeds Jack McKeon as the ball club now embarks on a new journey in their new ball park . Marlins’ team president Larry Beinfest alongside David Samson and general manager Michael Hill seemingly have approved to their manager’s request to obtain the pitcher ____ who was traded for in exchange for Marlins’ pitcher Chris Volstad . Clearly with all the moves made by the team during this off-season it is clear that the Marlins want to make a run at the divisional title ( NL East ) and the postseason .

Jose Reyes , Heath Bell and Mark Buerhle were the biggest acquisitions made and it would appear also that money was of no object . So much so , that there were prepared to break the bank to obtain All Star first baseman Albert Pujols . The player would however become the missing piece in Arte Moreno’s jigsaw puzzle as the Los Angeles Angels would swoop down and make a surprising offer to the player that he would agree to . Also joining Pujols in the newly bolstered roster of the Angels would be C J Wilson who , himself would obtain a financial windfall courtesy of the organization.

Given the urgency of the Miami Marlins and their wish to have the stadium filled but even more so to appeal specifically to the primary demographic within the area it appears that acquiring a Latin player with name recognition that had to be met . Having missed out on Albert Pujols , even having signed Jose Reyes this might well be the one move that could come back to bite the Marlins in the proverbial ass . As to what Carlos Zambrano’s ambitions may well be , it is clear he is a pitcher who can be productive when given the chance to play. And with an already productive pitching rotation that was amongst the best in the NL last season the addition of the former Cubs’ player might well prove to be the shot in the arm that the Miami Marlins seeks. Young pitchers such as Anibel Sanchexz , Ricky Nolascao and Josh Johnson can profit and learn from a veteran such as Zambrano . But herein lies my issue with the player and in particular this move by the organization . What happens when Carlos Zambrano has another of his meltdowns and his volatile temperament boils over ? Will he and his manager be “throw down ” on the pitcher’s mound or will it be him spouting some profanity at a teammate or simply abandoning his team altogether ? If memory serves me correctly , during last season that was one of many episodes that fans of the Chicago Cubs had to witness from the player during one of his volatile moments of his now already troubled career . This might be one moment wherein the fans of the Miami Marlins wouldn’t mind seeing a fight rather than the team performing poorly on the field . Your thoughts ?

The Chicago Cubs as they seek to rebuild will most certainly have to jettison the “dead weight ” on their roster . Having performed so badly during last season without ever being truly competitive within the NL Central . They now have to compete with a resurgent …. Milwaukee Brewers’ organization and the always competitive St Louis Cardinals , who as defending World Series . champions will be out to prove that the loss of Albert Pujols is not in vain . In pursuing Carlos Beltran and signing the former New York Mets and San Francisco Giants’ player they get a proven commodity , albeit that in recent years Beltran has been often injured . But last season he proved his worth in his stints with both the Giants and Mets .

From my own perspective I am not so sure where the Cubs go from here given the team’s most recent performances and their lack of competitiveness and heart . Wrigley Field continues to be a sellout but the on the field product remains mediocre at best . This hasn’t been lost on Tom Ricketts and the front office staff who know that if anything the fans will not continue to tolerate this mess without voicing their concerns . And the best way for them to do that would be for there to be a reduction in attendance , something that obviously neither Ricketts or Theo Epstein wants . It is pretty safe to say that they Chicago Cubs’ front office will be asking their fans to endure great deal more pain while they try to resurrect this organization that simply went off course while former general manager Jim Hendry completely lost direction .

This will no doubt be one to four-year process for the Chicago Cubs as they seek to become relevant within MLB ( baseball) . One of the league’s most traditional franchises it would be remiss to say that their fall from grace hasn’t been staggering . What now awaits the fans and the game in general as it relates to the Cubs remains to be seen . Anything short of a competitive season within their division will be thought of as another profound failure by the fans . At the same time the credibility of the Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer hiring will be greatly debated .

In terms of the newly monikered Miami Marlins as many of you may be aware I was once an avid fan of the ball club. But in recent years I have become disgruntled with the organization and most notably with the demeanor the team’s owner Jeffrey Loria . Honesty is a word high on this owner’s agenda but then again should we expect any different from any owner within the game of baseball ? Especially when Commissioner Bud Selig is prepared to jump through hoops on their behalf at the drop of a hat . Only recently has the commissioner’s tenacity and veracity been truly tested in the light of the financial maelstrom that surrounded beleaguered owner Frank McCourt and the Los Angeles Dodgers . Selig’s handling of that situation has many questioning when he actual duplicity in the whole affair and the complete lack of oversight shown by the league hierarchy from the outset . I am no longer a supporter of the baseball team having changed my loyalties , and I now align myself with the Atlanta Braves !

Loria has been a somewhat dubious owner of the team from his purchase of the organization from then owner John W. Henry (now a majority stake owner of the Boston Red Sox ) in what many believe to be was an underhanded backdoor deal surreptitiously arranged by Bud Selig intertwining the two team owners . Somehow all of the parties involved in this all came up smelling of roses but when it was clear that this deal was very dubious from the start .

The Miami Marlins now finds itself embroiled in another controversy that may well have the league itself and the organization being subpoenaed by the US Justice Department as to how the financing was arranged for the team’s baseball stadium due to opened later this year at the start of the 2012 season . In the midst of this controversy also is the city of Miami and many of its most senior officials . For now , the ongoing investigation by the federal government agency has left some wondering what is happening within the game under Bud Selig’s tenure . The commissioner himself has remained tight lipped on the matter and the very fact that once again public money is being used to finance a private enterprise that many of the city’s most senior officials were hyping up as being a real benefit to their community . If only there wasn’t so much apathy shown by the city’s residents and the very fact that much of this was driven by the ambition of city Mayor Tomas Regalado at the behest of Bud Selig and the Marlins’ ownership group . The thought that $650 million of public funds could be cause for concern for use on a facility that won’t be primarily for the public’s use . This in a city where its own financial solvency remains in question because of their mismanagement of their finances and no one on the city commission wants to openly discuss the matter whilst the Justice Department investigation is still ongoing .

Fans may well turn up in droves at the new 37,000 seat capacity venue but the allure may well fade should this team fail to be competitive this season . There is a great deal hinging on the moves made by the Miami Marlins as they seek to make themselves a force to be reckoned within in the game . Much of that now comes down to not only the performances of Carlos Zambrano but also that of Ozzie Guillen and his coaching staff . Whether or not all parties will be up to the task remains to be seen and at this juncture one can sit and wait to see how things may well pan out . Chances are the Miami Marlins could very well challenge the likes of the Atlanta Braves , New York Mets , Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals within the NL East . But that would very much be predicated upon the performances of their players .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? And where do you see the upcoming season going for both the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

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(1) Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano (38) reacts in the second inning of the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs baseball game , Friday, Aug. 12, 2011, at Turner Field in Atlanta. Zambrano allowed a career-worst five homers, and manager Mike Quade said he then left the team. Quade said, “His locker is empty. He walked out on 24 guys … I don’t know where he’s gone or what he’s doing.” AP Photo/Dave Tulis ….

(2) (2) Dale Sveum , the new manager of the Chicago Cubs, speaks during a press conference as general manager Jed Hoyer listens at Wrigley Field on November 18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(3) Team President Theo Epstein of the Chicago Cubs (R) shakes hands with Dale Sveum, the new manager, before a press conference at Wrigley Field on November 18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ….

(4) MIAMI, FL – DECEMBER 09: Exterior views of the New Miami Marlins Ballpark on December 9, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….

(5) Shortstop Jose Reyes, second from right, is introduced as a member of the Miami Marlins . Also pictured are Jeffrey Loria (far right) , Dave Samson to the immediate left of Reyes and team President Larry Beinfest . Courtesy of US Presswire / Chris Purcell …….

(6) Ozzie Guillen (center) is seen here with Miami Marlins’ front office executives , Larry Beinfest , left , to Guillen’s left team owner Jeffrey Loria and VP Operations David Samson . The former White Sox manager has been brought in to lead the team during their inaugural season at the new Marlins’ ballpark . It was at the new manager’s request that troubled former Cubs’ pitcher Carlos Zambrano was acquired by the organization . Miami Herald / Hector Gonzalez …..
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It’s Over When It’s Over But At Times It’s Not !

It’s Over When It’s Over But At Times It’s Not !

By Alan aka tophatal

OK I’ve had enough of the idiot Fighting Irish fans within this forum carrying on as if Brian Kelly’s — — Notre Dame football team is still relevant . What turned to be the highlight of their schedule simply showed the nation that this team simply is no longer worth talking about on the national stage ! . In their game against Laine Kiffin’s USC Trojans they came up short . And the thought of the Irish simply having to win a mere six games to qualify for a Bowl appearance makes a mockery of the system altogether of football at the collegiate level.

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Matt Barkley the starting quarterback for USC and his teammates laid the wood to Notre Dame and left no doubt in anyone’s mind that this Brian Kelly’s team simply isn’t what their fans believe them to be . They clearly are not good enough to be even worthy of a Bowl appearance much less being thought as being a member of BCS conference . USC not eligible for the postseason because of their NCAA imposed sanctions this in effect was the Trojans’ chance to shine and play spoiler , which indeed they did . Quarterback Dayne Crist and Notre Dame turned the ball over repeatedly ___ much like their play throughout much of the game the end result simply echoed what was apparent for all to see , this team isn’t as good some may well believe them to be . Lou Holtz can you hear me ? The Trojans came to play and make sure that any aspirations that the Fighting Irish may well have had simply went up in smoke . 31-17 being the end result in a game which essentially could have been of a much wider margin had Lane Kiffin’s players applied themselves more effectively.

Game three of the World Series was the coming out party for Albert Pujols this postseason , as the player simply added another milestone to his already historic career . The St Louis Cardinals as guests of the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas , that silenced a Rangers’ crowd expecting to see the AL pennant winners stamp their authority on this game . Well , that wasn’t to be , albeit that the fans and a national television audience were witness to an explosive offensive onslaught from both teams with 23 runs being scored as the Cardinals came away with a 16-7 victory. Kyle Lohse came away with the win for the St Louis Cardinals as Ron Washington’s team now has to make sure they even this series by taking game four if they are to have a remote chance remaining in this series , much less winning their first World Series .

Given what we were led to believe in terms of the Texas Rangers’ pitching rotation it was clear that on this night Pujols and his bat were not about to be denied as he put on a riveting display of power hitting, going 5 for 6, 3HR’s , 4 runs scored with 6 RBI’s . It is on a night like this why you can appreciate the reason many believe that Albert Pujols is by far the “best player “ in the game today. In amassing three home runs in World Series game Pujols joins a select band of players to have hit three home runs in a World Series game and those players are enshrined in Cooperstown , New York in the Baseball Hall of Fame . The players in question are Babe Ruth (twice) and Reggie Jackson , each of whom went on to lead their teams to a World Series title. There may well be questions about whether or not the Cardinals’ front office will be able to resign the player to a long term contract but I firmly believe that GM John Mozeliak and the ownership group led by Willam O DeWitt , William DeWitt Jr and Fred Hanser will be making a tremendous mistake in not retaining the player’s services .

If there was one thing that was telling in this game it was the very fact that the bullpen of the Texas Rangers couldn’t live up to the expectations expected of them by their fans. I certainly don’t believe that the St Louis Cardinals are complacent enough to let this series now slip away from them as they are now in the driver’s seat . Tony La Russa knows that should the momentum continue with his team then they are well on their way to another World Series title should they obtain a victory in game four . On the mound for the Texas Rangers for that scheduled game will be Derek Holland as he will be facing Edwin Jackson of the St Louis Cardinals .

This series now takes on something of a major thrill ride for the fans as the expectations are , can the Cardinals essentially dampen the hopes of the Texas Rangers ? And in doing so essentially ending any real hopes of the Ron Washington’s team fighting their way back into this series . Rarely does a team comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the World Series , and as a good as the Rangers are said to be there is a distinct feeling to my mind that we are about to see history repeat itself with this team losing once again losing to an NL team in the World Series. Who can forget Texas Rangers’ woes against a San Francisco Giants’ team that simply played sensationally throughout the 2010 World Series ?

Derek Holland will most definitely have to produce a solid pitching performance for Ron Washington and at the same time provide some sort of impetus for his teammates . Edwin Jackson for the St Louis Cardinals simply has to curtail what clearly is a very good Rangers’ offense when their bats are alight . It remains to be seen what events and stories are left to be told as this series plays itself out for the fans and the public’s consumption.

With Theo Epstein now having accepted Tom Ricketts’s proposal to become the defacto general manager of the Chicago Cubs , Epstein has been immediately been promoted to become team president and Head of Baseball Operations. And in what is said to be the executive’s choice his first hire has been that of Jed Hoyer as the general manager of the ballclub. It would be safe to say that for Epstein and Hoyer they have a great deal work ahead of them as they gauge this whole operation from the player personnel to the coaching staff . And while the belief for now is that the Cubs may well retain Mike Quade as the manager , I firmly believe that Epstein and Hoyer would like to bring in their own personal choice for the position ! This past season the team was a non factor
in the divisional race within the NL Central . The Milwaukee Brewers and St Louis Cardinals were the sole representatives from the National League (NL) as the postseason representatives . The Cardinals as the NL pennant winners are now in embroiled in a fascinating World Series against the Texas Rangers.

PADRES: Departure of Hoyer, McLeod shouldn’t lead to major changes

By Dan Hayes

SAN DIEGO — Padres general manager Jed Hoyer and assistant general manager Jason McLeod may be headed to the Chicago Cubs, but the organization’s philosophy of cultivating its own impact players, key personnel in scouting and development and a streamlined information process are here to stay.

Jim Callis , Baseball America’s executive editor, said those secondary factors are far more important to the continued improvement of the Padres’ farm system than the departures of Hoyer and McLeod, which is expected to be announced this week.

“There’s no reason they can’t sustain what they started,” Callis said. “It’s more about getting the process in place. If you have a good process and are willing to invest, it’s definitely sustainable.

“They’ve got the process in place.”

Callis expects the Padres will rank sixth or higher among baseball’s 30 teams when Baseball America’s 2012 farm system rankings are released in December.

McLeod echoed those sentiments last week, saying the franchise has stockpiled more talent and athleticism than he could remember possessing at any time during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox.

In three years under Moorad, the Padres have spent $24.42 million in signing bonuses for amateur draft picks, including a club-record $11.020 million this season. The team also had another $5 million go unclaimed in 2010 when Karsten Whitson and A.J. Venegas chose college over the pros.

Callis expects the Padres will rank sixth or higher among baseball’s 30 teams when Baseball America’s 2012 farm system rankings are released in December.

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There’s a growing belief that the Chicago Cubs simply overpay for talent that hasn’t lived up to expectations . Carlos Zambrano bailed on his teammates and the organization and one could say that in terms of leadership there was none to be seen from anyone on the roster , much less from Quade and his coaching staff . Perhaps it’s me but when Alfonso Soriano as one of the highest paid players on the roster simply shows no leadership qualities and Aramis Ramirez has all but become as docile as a cat sipping milk when he’s up in the batter’s box , you can see the reasons why this organization hasn’t been relevant in the postseason for years !
And from a pitching standpoint the pitching rotation were inept over the course of the season .

At this point I am not so sure that Theo Epstein will be in a position to turn things around so quickly as many of the Cubs’ fans and the sports’ talk analysts within the city believe to think . Wrigley Field still remains a cathedral for the loyal Cubs’ fans with its history and legacy of Hall of Famers . Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts has staked a great deal in placing his faith on the wunderkind of baseball and herein lies the dilemma for this organization . It could very well take anywhere between three to five years before Epstein and his staff are able to turn things around make this team truly competitive within the game. We now will be able to see how truly capable Theo Epstein may well be as a general manager .

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In light of Saturday night’s event what if anything was the main highlight during the World Series ? Also from your own standpoint do you feel that Brian Kelly and his coaching staff are capable of turning things around within the Notre Dame program ? By all means do leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised and anything pertinent you believe concerning pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist looks to pass in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Southern California in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. AP Photo/Joe Raymond …..

(2) SOUTH BEND, IN – OCTOBER 22: Curtis McNeal (22) of the University of Southern California Trojans runs for yardage against the Notre Dame Fighting irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. USC defeated Notre Dame 31-17 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ….

(3) Andrew Hendrix (12) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is stopped short of the goal by defensive players from the University of Southern California Trojans including Nick Perry (8) at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. USC defeated Notre Dame 31-17 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …..

(4) St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols answers questions during a news conference after Game 3 of baseball’s World Series against the Texas Rangers, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. Pujols hit three home runs to tie the World Series record in a 16-7 Cardinals’ victory. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ….

(5) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run in the ninth inning for his third home run of the night during Game Three of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …

(6) FILE- This Dec.12, 2005, file photo, shows Boston Red Sox co-general manager Ben Cherington , left, and co-general manager Jed Hoyer , right, during their three month tenure as shared general manager during a news conference at Fenway Park in Boston. Cherington is expected to be promoted on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, when the Red Sox have scheduled a news conference to introduce Theo Epstein’s replacement. Epstein resigned from Boston to take over as president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs on Friday, and the teams said they would hold off on more announcements out of respect for the teams in the World Series; Tuesday is the next off-day. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia …..

(7) Theo Epstein of the Chicago Cubs having accepted the offer to reprise his role it would now appear he is now to become the Head of Baseball Operations for the team . Subject to a formal announcement Jed Hoyer would then become the general manager with Jason McCleod becoming the assistant general manager of the team. Hoyer and McCleod held similar roles within the San Diego Padres’ front office . AP Photo / Keith Metcalfe ….

(8) Tom Ricketts the principal managing partner of the Chicago Cubs . In the aftermath of Jim Hendry’s departure the owner has sought to bring in a influx of fresh front office executive talent with a view to improving the organization competitively both on and off the field of play . Getty Images/ Ron Jackson …..

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NCAA Football results week 8

MLB news

MLB World Series schedule & results .

St Louis Cardinals news

Texas Rangers news

Chicago Cubs news

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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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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 news

Boston Red Sox news

Chicago Cubs’ news

MLB postseason schedule

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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NBA news

NCAA Football schedule

Auburn Tigers’ football

Miami Hurricanes’ football

Sports Stories That Simply Aren’t Worth Reporting But Somehow They’re Out There

Sports Stories That Simply Aren’t Worth Reporting But Somehow They’re Out There

Minnesota Timberwolves’ coach Kurt Rambis is said to be aggrieved as to the uncertainty concerning his impending future with the organization. Given his coaching record and the mere fact that the Timberwolves had another miserable season pretty much sums up what the front office’s thoughts may well be on the beleaguered coach . Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn surely know that with the upcoming NBA Draft due to take place on the 23rd June they can ill afford to any type of indecision on their part. They either retain the coach or relieve him of his duties and immediately start a search for his successor. Any indecsiveness on their part hurts the image of the franchise and shows complete ineptitude to the fans and across the NBA landscape in general .

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Things are difficult as it as already for the Minnesota Timberwolves without now further opening up themselves to ridicule concerning their coach and his job status. But then again the mindset within this organization can be easily summed up in two words …” woefully inept “.

Now don’t get me wrong I was happy to see the New York Knicks make the NBA postseason but the mere fact that their sojourn there lasted about as long as Usain Bolt would take to run a 100m race , essentially told you all that you needed to know about this team and such the organization. Team owner James Dolan is looking to extend the contract of GM Donnie Walsh the seventy four year old senior executive within the Knicks’ organization . If the rumors are to be believed Dolan wanted offer Walsh a two year contract extension as they seek to rebuild the basketball team . Donnie Walsh in spite of his undoubted NBA knowledge knows that in many ways he’s not getting any younger and at the same time his job placed him under a great deal of pressure allowing him very little time to be with his family. The general manager has told the owner that he will not be returning to the organization next season , choosing instead to relinquish his duties with the New York Knicks .

I certainly would have thought that the New York Knicks would be better prepared in terms of having a long term plan as to successor by having someone within their front office be tutored by Walsh since his original hiring by the organization. But somehow given the plethora of executives that make up board of the New York Knicks you simply knew that sheer incompetency wouldn’t be far behind in terms of the decision making that the organization has come to be known for. If Hank Ratner or any other of his peers aren’t capable of assuming Walsh’s role , then I would hate to think that Knicks would be idiotic enough to rehire Isiah Thomas to a position he once held within the organization. There is no way in hell that the Knicks would consider rehiring their former VP & Head of Basketball Operations , albeit , that Thomas stated that he has no interest in rejoining the organization but then again we are talking about the New York Knicks .

Cyclist Lance Armstrong the seven time winner of the Tour de France continues to maintain his innocence concerning the latest admissions by Armstrong’s former teammates Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie former teammates members on the Radio Shack team ran team manager by Johan Bruyneel . The ongoing cause-de-celebre concerning concerning Armstrong’s innocence , the fact both Hamilton’s and Hincapie’s evidence was sworn testimony under oath given to law officials of the Justice Department . It would be simply idiotic to think that either cyclist would choose to perjure themselves knowing well that a federal sentence would await them courtesy of the Bureau of Prisons within the federal penitentiary system. In the advent of this all Armstrong seeks an apology from CBS News and in particular from the producers of the broadcast outlets news magazine program ’60 Minutes’. Anyone who witnessed the in depth segment on Tyler Hamilton and in particular his allegations concerning his former teammate would be hard pressed not to believe that allegations made by Hamilton . If nothing else Armstrong who has been adding to defense with a legion of of defense attorneys in pursuant of the Justice Department’s decision to seek the indictment of Armstrong for the illegal use of use steroids in particular EPO and several other known illicit substances .

From my own perspective cycling may well be the most corrupt sport on the landscape and the mere fact that UCI the international governing body for cycling has been literally all too slow in seeking to clean up its sport. L’Equipe which oversees the Tour de France has been less reluctant to actually come forward and say that they have not done enough to make this sport more appealing and its image above reproach . Instead L’Equipe’s greatest wish has been simply to make millions of dollars through the event with the broadcast rights of the Tour across the globe. My own wish would be to see the IOC the governing body of the Summer Olympics to simply suspend the sport from the Olympics until UCI has a strict and comprehensive drug policy in place . It would not be too much to ask but the idiocy within the sport of cycling does leave a great deal to be desired ! It has been all talk and with two of the sport’s most visible faces having been embroiled in drug controversy only a complete idiot would take this sport seriously and think that it has something tangible to offer !

Clearly anyone who believes that the Chicago Cubs’ fortunes are about to change hasn’t been watching this team play at all. I’m not saying that the curse of the goat still looms over Wrigley Field but at this juncture if a tornado were to hit that storied edfice the aftermath in terms of the destruction brought it would be a hell of a lot better than what the Cubs’ fans have been asked to endure since the start of the season . The NL Central where the Cubs reside along with the division leading St Louis Cardinals (33-24) whereas the Chicago Cubs have simply been mediocre . This team is on a three game losing streak and has lost seven of their last ten games during which manager Mike Quade and his coaching staff have tried to to the players playing with a great deal more resolve. GM Jim Hendry along with the ownership group headed by the Ricketts’ family has simply tried to instill a sense of purpose of and an eagerness to win . The long terms of efforts can’t go unrecognized with regard to the refurbishment of Wrigley Field in order to make the venue fan friendly. But that in of itself won’t be enough as the organization seeks its World Series title in over a century . Simply put the years of mediocrity that the fans may well have thought long gone still seem to be alive and present. .

So the so called saga concerning Alex Rodriguez’s stance that he simply abused the league’s steroid policy through sheer naivete` and the fact that he and his cousin Yuri Sucart were simply looking to get an edge no longer seems to make any sense . In the aftermath of his admission and apology to the league hierarchy and the New York Yankees still hasn’t stopped the player from associating with his cousin after Rodriguez having been advised not to associate communicate with Sucart on the Yankees’ property or any baseball facility during the season . It would appear that the requests are lost on Alex Rodriguez with there now being evidence to suggest that the player and Sucart have been seen together at the St Regis Hotel in San Francisco prior to a recent game played against the Oakland Athletics at the A’s ballpark . What might be even more unpalatable is the very fact that Sucart has accompanied Rodriguez to several games this season with the player knowing full well that he has been advised by senior executives within the Yankees’ hierarchy not to associate with his cousin.

If one remembers Rodriguez’s apology suggested that he and Yuri Sucart were merely experimenting with the use of steroids and the regimen followed was he says… so ill disciplined that it’s hard to take the player at his word when it has come to light that his name has come up repeatedly , in conjunction with the indictment of Orlando medical professional Dr Anthony Galea . The doctor is now awaiting trial with regard to the sale and transportation of illicit narcotics and steroids across international borders . The Justice Department having arraigned and indicted Galea ____ they are now seeking assistance from the medical professional in seeking the indictment of other subjects to whom he supplied steroids and other illicit substances. Many of the individuals that Anthony Galea is said to have supplied are a professional athletes in MLB , NBA , NFL and NHL and college athletes . If that isn’t now a cause for concern given the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig is still of the belief that the game now has the strictest testing policy in all professional sports , one has to ask what they will now do in light of these latest allegations concerning Alex Rodriguez. And with the player being less than forthright when asked about his name being associated with Galea and his cousin Yuri Sucart can we really now expect anything form of action by the league ? Rob Manfred a senior league official and Head for VP of Player Relations has spoken directly within the New York Yankees concerning Rodriguez’s association with his cousin. If this is what the league believes to be the appropriate action I firmly believe that the league has no idea as to what it takes to stem the flow of the illicit use of PED’s within the game , with players now flouting clear instructions makes a mockery their edicts . Is it any wonder that Manny Ramirez having failed a second drug test was allowed to walk away without any form of punishment levied against him by the league ? That is the complete asinine stance that MLB has with regard to its stance when players flout the rules . As for MLBPA and their Executive Director Michael Weiner and his response to what is now an acute issue that even the league and union have failed to really address .

In the wake of the Jim Tressel fiasco we are now learning that the quarterback for the football team Terrelle Pryor had been driving on a suspended license . What is now coming to light concerning this also is the very fact that the player who drives a 2011 Nissan 350Z which we have been informed was purchased by his mother Thomasina Pryor as a trade in . In light of that however since Pryor’s entrance to Ohio State he has been driving around in a number of vehicles for which there is no substantive evidence that would suggest he owned the vehicles in question or that they were leased by the player. The longer this saga has gone on the more idiotic both university President E Gordon Gee and the AD Gene Smith appear to be in light of their actions and what we now know Tressel had suppressed from his superiors . As the investigation went on both Gee and Smith stood behind their actions of a mere suspension and monetary fine of the coach knowing full well that were other far more serious allegations that had already come to light. Now with Pryor now subject of the school’s own internal investigation we’re now finding out that the NCAA is prepared to conduct their own separate investigation into the player and these latest allegations. And one wonders how corrupt collegiate sports is now said to be ? Why not simply allow the players to be paid, gamble on their games and have done with it ? It is becoming abundantly clear that collegiate athletics no longer can be taken seriously on any level at all !

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Picture gallery for your approval. By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it is gratefully appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 13: Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Houston Rockets during a game on April 13, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves’ front office is said to be undecided as to whether or the coach will be retained for the upcoming season. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(2) David Kahn seated right alongside Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. Kahn recently assumed the mantel of being the team’s GM as well as Head of Basketball Operations. He’s also keep the title of President of the Timberwolves’ organizational structure. Besides having to deal with the Rubio situation Kahn also will be in search of a new coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Richard Clarke-Patterson ………

(3) GM Donnie Walsh (seated left) is seen here alongside Knicks’ team owner James Dolan . Walsh has declined the team’s offer for a two year contract extension deciding instead to be with his family , retiring from the NBA having been involved in the sport for over four decades. AP Photo/ Chris Young ….

(4) Lance Armstrong of the USA, riding for Team Astana, speaks with Astana team director Johan Bruyneel before the start of stage six of the 2009 Tour Down Under January 25, 2009 in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ….

(5) Tyler Hamilton seen here during his interview with 60 Minutes’ correspondent Scott Pelley reiterates his position that former teammate Lance Armstrong knowingly took EPO amongst other illicit banned substances during competition. Courtesy of CBS News/Getty Images …

(6) Aramis Ramirez (16) of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-RBI double against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 5, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Cubs 3-2 in 10 innings. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

(7) Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry is seen here with Alfonso Soriano as the player is formally introduced to the convened press . AP Photo/ Tonny Todd ….

(8) Cubs’ manager Mike Quade all smiles for the moment but for how long ? His job isn’t yet imperiled but who knows should the <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/team/roster_active.jsp?c_id=chc&quot;. team continue to lose without any real effort on the part of the players ? Getty Images / Keith Stoddart …….

(9) Yuri Sucart , cousin of Yankees’ slugger Alex Rodriguez and whose name has once again been associated with the player in spite of the warnings issued to the player and New York Yankees’ organization. Both Rodriguez and Yucart were seen together in public at the St Regis Hotel and then again at the A’s ballpark . It would appear that the player has failed to heed the requests of MLB as well as the New York Yankees in not associating with his relative . The player who in his admission to the use of steroids stated that he was supplied with the prohibited substances by Yuri Sucart . AP/Getty Images / Rafael T Aguillar ……

(10) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 5: the New York Yankees the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 5, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The Yankees won 5-3 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(11) In this photo taken Monday, May 30, 2011, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives for a players only meeting at the Woody Hayes Complex in Columbus, Ohio. Pryor, the highest profile recruit of former coach Jim Tressel’s 25-year coaching career, is one of five Buckeyes who have already been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for taking money and tattoos from local tattoo-parlor owner Edward Rife, who pleaded guilty last week to federal drug trafficking and money-laundering charges. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam …

(12) Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives in this Nissan 350Z, center, to a players only meeting Monday, May 30, 2011, at the Woody Hayes Complex, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ……..

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NBA Finals 2011

Alive And Kicking In Kansas Or Not ………. But Dorothy And Toto Are Still Popular

Alive And Kicking In Kansas Or Not ………. But Dorothy And Toto Are Still Popular

There’s no reason to think that the mindset of an organization is about to change merely because the ownership makes certain pronouncements . The idiocy of this all is that nothing has changed with the Kansas City Royals . Merely because within the AL Central they sit mid table with an under .500 record (22-28) simply means nothing . Based on the team’s most recent form and the fact that this cannot simply find any consistency much less form in their play , consistency some observers feel that the team and organization simply aren’t warranted of any criticism. Well I say this, if abject futility is something that you feel a team is obliged to offer their fans then you simply can’t understand the premise of objectivity much less being subjective .

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In their most recent game played against the Texas Rangers played at Texas Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas . The Royals were simply out-matched and outplayed by a Rangers team that got the better of the Kansas City Royals and made this team look less than ordinary. I’ve no doubt that team owner David Glass wants the best for this team given the organization’s history but at this juncture I for one feel that this team is so far off from where they need to be that they won’t be challenging for any postseason honors anytime soon ! The Texas Rangers’ offense in this game simply was on fire hitting back to back to back to back home runs and the Royals starting pitcher Sean O’ Sullivan was made to look ordinary at best in the Royals’ 10-1 loss to the Texas Rangers .

At this juncture there’s not much more to say concerning the Royals other than to suggest that their time may well come but it certainly won’t this season or anytime soon . And that’s in spite of their minor league system , draft choices or their top 10 prospects that the organization obviously has a great deal of faith in. Now I might add that although baseball has seen a gamut of financial mismanagement from its hierarchy on down to the general managers and team owners . Please someone tell me how the hell that this travesty within the game can be allowed to continue ? But yet there are those who carry on as if baseball is in a healthy financial state ?

Is it me but the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista is making a mockery of the season in terms of having hit 20 home runs in a mere 50 games for the Blue Jays this season . If Bautista keeps up this pace then quite possibly the single season home run record could very well be in jeopardy . Granted , Barry Bonds’ 73 home runs is still looked upon as being tainted but herein lies the odyssey of this all MLB simply as well as Elias Sports Bureau recognizes this as being a legitimate statistic that’s duly recognized. Can’t say that I blame either organization because as things continue and the records are assailed they will still come under a great deal more suspicion !

In their last ten games the Boston Red Sox (28-22) are 7-3 and are a mere .03 of a percentage point behind the New York Yankees (27-21) within the AL East . The division itself now seems to be a three horse race with the Tampa Bays Rays also making their presence felt , that the AL East is liable to be so competitive and contentious that you’d be hard pressed to pick an outright favorite within the division at this juncture . Each of the three teams in question have been playing at a high level and the mere fact the teams also have their flaws makes the season within the division all the more suspenseful from the fans’ standpoint .

Adrian Gonzalez has had a terrific season thus far for the Red Sox and their initial start to the season now seems to be something of the past . Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona has to pleased with what he’s now seeing from his team and in particular now with Carl Crawford having hit his stride as a Red Sox player. GM Theo Epstein may well have had his doubters when he acquired both Crawford and Gonzalez but the general manager knew that having the duo would make this team a great deal more formidable. All that’s now needed is for their pitching to be far more consistent over the course of the season .

As the first half of the season I’d like to think that the second half will provide us with a great deal of suspense as things play themselves out ! The upcoming All Star Game being played at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona could very much be surrounded in a great deal of controversy with the state legislature having passed into law the state’s immigration bill ( SB 1070) which provides law enforcement with the power to request a suspect provide identification as to their immigration status. Now one might take umbrage at that proposal but Gov Jan Brewer (R-Az) felt the need to address this issue knowing full well that the passing of that law would have its consequences amongst its detractors as well as its supporters . With certain provisions in the bill having been struck down by the Appellate Courts at the request of President Obama of which task had been undertaken by the Justice Department . This new bill still gives statewide law enforcement the right to question a suspect as to their immigration status . Something of which many believe should be an issue dealt with by the Department of Homeland Security through the Immigration & Natural Service .

This immigration bill obviously hasn’t sat well with the Hispanic players around the league and I would certainly like to think that the players would be willing participants in the All Star Game but at the same time I understand that they may not favor the enactment of this law within the state of Arizona . This much I do know furor surrounding this emotional issue isn’t about to die down anytime soon , as both sides feel that they have something to prove . The Obama administration may well feel that the state of Arizona has overstepped their boundaries but I do feel that successive Presidential administrations down the years have simply shied away from having a comprehensive immigration bill on the books as a statute. Make of it what you will but simply ask yourself who benefits from the idiocy we are now seeing on both sides of political aisle ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

To the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have on those mentioned and how do you see the season panning out within Major League Baseball ? Simply chime in with a comment as you’d deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Kansas City Royals’ Jeff Francoeur (21) tosses his bat after striking out against Texas Rangers relief pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama in the eighth inning of a baseball game on Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Arlington. Francoeur went 1-for-4 with no runs in the 10-1 Rangers win. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ….

(2) Texas Rangers’ Mike Napoli (25) is greeted at the dugout by Ian Kinsler, right, and the rest of the team following Napoli’s solo home run off Kansas City Royals’ Sean O’Sullivan in the second inning of a baseball game on Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(3) Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Sean O’Sullivan (37) walks to the back of the mound as Texas Rangers’ Mitch Moreland, rear, rounds the bases following his solo home in the second inning of a baseball game on Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

(4) Toronto Blue Jays Aaron Hill swings at a ball from Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Harrell as catcher Ramon Castro and home plate umpire David Rackley look on during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Sunday May 29, 2011. The Blue Jays would defeat the White Sox 13_4 . AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young ….

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(5) Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista watches his three-run home run hit during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Toronto. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese …..

(6) Detroit Tigers’ Andy Dirks, right, scores against Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek from first base on a double by Brennan Boesch in the first inning of game two of a baseball double-header Sunday, May 29, 2011 in Detroit. AP Photo/Duane Burleson……

(7) Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by teammate Carl Crawford (13) after Gonzalez scored in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs on May 22, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Before this series, the two teams haven’t played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. Elsa Martinez / Getty Images North America …

(8) Digger Phelps throws the ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of the Chicago Cubs’ baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(9) Chicago Cubs starter Randy Wells wipes his face after Pittsburgh Pirates’ Ronny Cedeno’s three-run home run, during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

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MLB Standings

MLB Scoreboard

MLB scores & results 29th May 2011

MLB Probable starters 29th May

Probable starters 30th May 2011

MLB Schedule 3 days at a glance

MLB News

NB: Can someone remind Digger Phelps that the Chicago Cubs play baseball and not college basketball ! His thoughts during his rendition of ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame ‘ and the thinking that Cubs could overcome a 10-0 deficit with three innings to go against the Pirates simply shows what an asshole this guy is at times ! The Cubs would actually be blanked 10-0 at Wrigley Field by the Pirates .

As of 28th May when this piece was originally written the MLB standings having changed .

Finally An Act of Rationale By MLB And In Particular Bud Selig Who Shows That He Might Indeed Have A Backbone

Finally An Act of Rationale By MLB And In Particular Bud Selig Who Shows That He Might Indeed Have A Backbone

I’ve read with a great deal of glee where the MLB —- hierarchy has now chosen to intervene and take over the day to day running of the operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers and not a moment too soon ! Given the financial situation of the organization and wherein the league hierarchy under MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has sat idly by as Frank McCourt has brought the organization to the brink of bankruptcy . In the last eighteen months two major ballclubs have been placed within the bankruptcy in order that they may have a stay from their creditors while being able to reorganize themselves . First off were the Chicago Cubs whose previous owner billionaire commercial real estate developer Sam Zell placed the team into bankruptcy protection in order to stave off creditors of the Cubs’ parent company (The Tribune Group) at the time going after the team to make the debt payments due. And while this maneuver worked it did cause and cost the company financially a great deal of bad PR that it could have well done without. But what might be even more gave glaring, it gave further credence as to the fact how dire the financial situation was for a number of teams around Major League Baseball .

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Slideshow for your perusal .

Courtesy of MLB.com

Selig to Appoint a rep to oversee Dodgers

By Ken Gurnick , MLB.com

LOS ANGELES — Major League Baseball has taken over operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Commissioner Bud Selig announced Wednesday.

“Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club,” Selig said in a statement.

“I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt’s ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days.

“The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future.”

McCourt issued a brief statement late Wednesday night that read: “Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow. The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines. On this basis, it is hard to understand the Commissioner’s action today.”

In an e-mail message sent to Dodgers employees on Wednesday, McCourt said, “In light of the Commissioner’s announcement today, I ask that you please continue to conduct business as usual with our complete dedication to the game and our loyal fans. Each of you has represented this organization with class, and while this is no doubt a challenging time for all of us, I truly appreciate your efforts.”

McCourt, owner and chairman of the Dodgers, bought the club from News Corp. on Jan. 29, 2004, and the club reached the postseason in four of his seven seasons as owner.

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If one of most renowned teams in baseball has to be forced into bankruptcy through the financial mismanagement of its parent company then what must that forebear for other organizations around the league at the time ? Given the Cubs’ history and perceived financial resources as it was believed to be , this was nothing more than a shot across the bow of the teams who faced much starker situations but who’ve yet to make it known to the public. I’ve heard it said that the hierarchy of the league wouldn’t be prepared to contract teams but that it is utter stupidity by anyone who believes that it can’t , or won’t happen. If it is the league’s wish then it will happen especially in the light of the economic uncertainty and the whole financial mismanagement of teams around the league at present. With the Cubs having been reorganized whilst in bankruptcy protection it was bought by Tom Ricketts and his family (founders of online stock trading company TD Ameritrade) for an unprecedented $ 850 million . Paring down costs to an extent while still trying to remain competitive has been of the highest order for the Ricketts as they seek to make the Chicago Cubs relevant again within the league .

The second such team , with which bankruptcy was forced upon them, were the Texas Rangers who at the time were jointly owned by Texas multi millionaires Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette . Their combined worth an estimated $2.5 billion but somehow they couldn’t make this organization a viable going concern , from a financial or competitive standpoint but yet somehow through their idiocy they managed to offer Alex Rodriguez what was at the time the richest contract in professional sports , a ten year $250 million contract . Rodriguez barely lasted three years with the organization although he managed to win AL MVP award with the Rangers . I can only surmise that Scott Boras as A Rod’s agent at the time , proved what most people may well have known , that in the state of Texas not only are the businessmen dumb but they lack real business acumen also ! Once again through financial mismanagement by an ownership group another team was brought to near extinction and each time MLB Commissioner Bud Selig sat idly by . Having been forced into bankruptcy for failing to meet their financial obligations the team was bought by consortium led by Nolan Ryan and former Rangers’ executive Chuck Greenbeg . A much needed change in fortune has taken place for the Rangers both financially and competitively on and off the field of play but it doesn’t change the fact that the game’s hierarchy and team owners have been less than truthful as to their overall financial plight .

It’s becoming increasingly clear for all who care to take notice that the game isn’t as financially sound as Selig makes it out to be , nor are the owners being financially prudent and fiscally responsible. It’s not just about the economics of the game or the fact of the now overall plight of the economy at but all but the lack of financial oversight and sound business practices that is taking place in almost every aspect of the game. The GM’s around the league have become opulent and ostentatious and it would appear that the owners alike choose not to pare down their expenses but if anything in number of cases pass on those costs to fans through higher priced tickets and in the prices that they pay for concessions and memorabilia . Well now that fans in large part are refusing to meet those demands , it is now becoming clear that the owners and in particular the league hierarchy have seen the light . Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case for Frank McCourt and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office who’ve amassed a debt now close to $1.3 billion collectively and who this past month borrowed in excess of $30 million from the local Fox tv station affiliate in Los Angeles to meet the team’s budgetary expenses for the month. Need one ask what would have happened had the MLB hierarchy chosen not to intervene and bring some sanity back within that organization ? Because clearly the likes of McCourt , GM Ned Colletti and Tommy LaSorda have lost their frigging minds if they think that they can continue to exist in such a way while trying to play down their financial plight !

And although it has been reported that McCourt will seek legal action in US Federal Court to stop the league from intervening and taking over the day to day running of the Los Angeles Dodgers I think that given his recent lack of success in the courtroom and the the financial maelstrom that he has brought within the organization , I find it hard to believe that any presiding judge hearing hearing this case would in fact choose to side with the plaintiff ! If anything the judge might be more likely to side with the defendant in the case given the severe financial problems that McCourt and his fellow executives have placed the organization in.

Now while all of this plays out as a comedic and public spectacle there are also calls for the O’Malley family to once again assume control of the Los Angeles Dodgers . As the previous owners of the ballclub I certainly don’t think that they would want to re-enter the fray of owning the organization once again, on any level, be it for the long term , or short term merely as a custodian ! If anything this situation is best left in the hands of Selig , the hierarchy under his authority . If anything it’d open up his eyes and that of the owners now knowing as such that they could be on the hook for the organization’s debt and mismanagement . One thing I do know, it’s highly unlikely that the Dodgers’ creditors would be liable to write off the vast majority of that cumulative debt as it presently stands as they too have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders and board members . Obviously that’s something that McCourt and his fellow executives didn’t take into account in terms of their own fiduciary responsibilities as it relates to their own consortium of partners in the Dodgers’ ownership. Living big and spending big doesn’t guarantee success if you simply don’t know what the hell you’re doing to begin with !

It’s certainly funny that given the Dodgers’ plight and that of the New York Mets who have their own vast problems from a financial and competitive standpoint but this might be one of the rare times that Bud Selig has chosen to show publicly that he indeed has a backbone ! God knows that this man has cowered his way under pressure and has acted oblivious to many of the problems that he has either created within the game through lax oversight or showing his complete naivete’ ! One only has to look at his handling of the steroid issue and the fact that he was absolutely powerless because he chose to be confrontational not only with the MLBPA but also with the Congress and in particular with two of its most powerful legislative bodies in the House Government & Oversight Reform Committee as Senate Judiciary Committee . You piss off the hand that feeds you in terms of providing you with your sole reason to exist throught antitrust exemption , you often in the end tend to make even more enemies than you actually want or need . Something that not even Selig would now care to openly admit to at this juncture .

Courtesy of The New York Times

Madoff Profits Fueled Mets’ Empire, Lawsuit Says

By Alison Leigh Cowan & Richard Sandomir

A lawsuit brought by the trustee for the victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme contends that the owners of the Mets used the profits from their years of investing with Mr. Madoff to enhance their personal fortunes, enrich a number of family trusts and financially fuel their array of businesses — all in the face of repeated warnings that Mr. Madoff’s investment firm might have been a fraud.

The lawsuit, unsealed in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan on Friday, says the owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , their families and their businesses “made so much easy money from Madoff for so long” that despite the many warnings — from within their own inner circle, and by other investors and financial institutions — they “chose to simply look the other way.”

“There are thousands of victims of Madoff’s massive fraud,” the lawsuit states. “But Saul Katz is not one of them. Neither is Fred Wilpon.”

Since Mr. Madoff’s arrest in December 2008, Mr. Wilpon has portrayed himself as a victim of the fraud, one he conceded was carried out by a man who had been his friend for many years. On Friday, in a personal statement and through their lawyers, Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz decried the trustee’s legal assault.

“The trustee’s lawsuit is an outrageous ‘strong arm’ effort to try to force a settlement by threatening to ruin our reputations and businesses, which we have built for over 50 years,” Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz said.

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Click on link to read this article in its entirety .

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If ever there was a cautionary tale to be learned as to the world of sports and how the excess of greed can turn a once beloved spectacle into a crevasse of bungling ineptitude then Major League Baseball would be it. From the cheating , lying and bungling ineptitude of the owners , players , union and the hierarchy itself and their overall unwillingness to act in a proactive manner whenever there is a real problem within their midst. Instead they each tend to act as if there’s nothing wrong at all , until it’s all too late and by then the damage done tend to be irreparable . And when I say damage done it’s not only to the game in terms of its competitiveness , financial stability but also to its very own image and the fact that the vast majority of the fans can and do no longer trust what the game says it stands for or the very people who are entrusted to oversee and maintain its very existence and livelihood .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Do you feel that the intervention now undertaken by Bud Selig and the league hierarchy will ensure the Los Angeles Dodgers’ long term existence and livelihood. Or do you feel that the Dodgers ought to have been left to their own devices and let them sink or swim dependent upon what they chose to do in order to survive ? And do you believe that in the long term contraction within the game will become more likely in light of the financial problems that are now coming to light concerning a number of teams within the game of baseball ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter and as usual thanks for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) MLB commissioner Bud Selig (left) watches the 81st MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 13, 2010 in Anaheim, California. Getty Images North America / Michael Buckner ……

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt (R) greets Don Newcombe, former Brooklyn Dodgers teammate of Jackie Robinson, before the game with the St. Louis Cardinals as Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Stephen Dunn ……..

(3) Cubs GM Jim Hendry (left) is seen here alongside team owner Tom Ricketts at the team’s headquarters at Wrigley Field , Chicago , Illinois , speaking to the convened press . AP Photo / Tom Scott ….

(4) Nolan Ryan team President & lead managing partner of the Texas Rangers is seen here with Chuck Greenberg a former executive with the Texas Rangers . Greenberg a respected sports attorney and agent abruptly left the Rangers’ organization earlier , this year. Dallas Morning News / Michael Ainsworth ……

(5) (L – R) Saul Katz, CEO of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, GM Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the Mets pose for a photo during Alderson’s introduction as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images North America / Andrew Burton ……

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MLB News

Los Angeles Dodgers News

MLB Scoreboard 21 st April 2011

MLB Results 20 th April 2011

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The Winds Of Change Are Not About To Happen Anytime Soon ….. Count On It

The Winds Of Change Are Not About To Happen Anytime Soon ….. Count On It

If money is the root of all evil then how is that MLB just can’t deal with its problems which inherently comes down to the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig and the owners can’t come up with something that’s beneficial to all of the teams within the game ? I mean what idiot truly believes that the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme actually works ? The league in essence forces teams with a payroll in excess of $150 million to pay a luxury tax that’s deemed appropriate by the league hierarchy. The New York Yankees whose payroll for the 2010 season was in excess of $205 million and the tax levied by the league was in excess of $60 million which was shared amongst the small market teams around the league. As to the overall amounts paid by teams such as the St Louis Cardinals , Los Angeles Angels , Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies it doesn’t really go that far when one realizes that there isn’t any profit sharing by the MLB and monies derived by sales of league paraphernalia isn’t divided up amongst the teams equally. Calls for a hard and fast salary cap falls on deaf ears within the league hierarchy and team owners because they simply don’t want it and they’d rather the status quo remain the same.

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Slide show .

For many teams much of their revenue is either derived by ticket sales , concessions at home games and via fees charged within their local television market. As to Bud Selig and the game’s hierarchy that this is the most equitable way of formulating a system that is of benefit to the teams I’m under the impression that they’re taking their charge by seeing how the the Congress , Senate and the President’s Cabinet conducts its business. There money is spent like it’s being printed on a daily basis and truth be known it actually is and at the same time the government is borrowing so much money that they’ll never to pay down the national debt much less the ever increasing interest as its appreciates. Now we have this convoluted mess after this latest spending bill in which the House appropriated $1,000,000,000,000 ($1 trillion) in order that it can operate for the upcoming fiscal year. We’ve been told repeatedly that the government will eliminate ‘earmarks’ otherwise known as ‘pork barrel’ spending . And much of this latest bill signed into law by President Barack Obama is filled earmarked projects which he himself , House Majority Leader-designate John Boehner (R-Oh) , Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv) have categorically stated that they would rid the Congress of earmaks themselves and nothing at apparently has changed . by way of those statements .

Clearly much like the idiocy that now happens within the game of baseball when it comes to showing an alarming rate of stupidity there is no difference between Congress and that game’s hierarchy. Of this $ 1,000,000,000,000 there was $8 ,000,000,000 ($ 8 billion) earmarked for pet project of these congressional members . Sixty six hundred (6,600) projects all-told and you’d not be surprised to see how some of this money is spent and what it’s being spent on. Suffice to say that if you’ve an avowed interest in how bat fecal matter affects agriculture then there’ll be something of interest there for you. Or that there’ll be a museum built in the state of Iowa to commemorate the visit made there the late Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev . And here I was under the impression that there was about to be wind of change within Congress ? Not so fast as that’s not about to happen when the incoming designates for the Congress are seated in the next term. And for those of you out there who are of the belief that Tea Party backed designates who’ll assume their seats in the next session of Congress will change things, consider this not one of the candidates in question have come out openly and voiced their disapproval at this latest betrayal of the public’s faith in the current lawmakers seated in both congressional houses. Oh yeah they’ll be a party of change alright can we say more of the same in terms of changes that’ll take place ? Simply put, out with the old and in with a new clique of bloodsucking vampires and miscreants ! .

Baseball for all of its alleged virtues and competitive spirit is not unlike Congress and the federal government , as there too we see a great deal idiocy , wantoned waste of money and not much by way of intelligence or creativity when it comes to dealing with its own financial well being . How else can one explain where its own Commissioner Allan ‘Bud’ Selig has earned in excess of $ 45 million alone in the last three years but yet two teams, the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers were on the brink of bankruptcy and financial collapse because of the financial mismanagement of both teams. The Cubs were placed into bankruptcy filing by then owner Sam Zell merely to avoid having team’s parent company’s (The Tribune Co ) creditors go after the club for monies owed by The Tribune Company . In the case of the Rangers that was because then owner, Tom Hicks’ sporting interests again mishandled , mismanaged and wasn’t willing to acquiesce to the wishes of his creditors in making the payments for the financing agreed to under the terms of the original contracts. The debt amassed by Hicks’ sporting interests tallied into hundreds of millions of dollars . And when the financiers chose to appraise the assets in question with a view to selling them off, he felt aggrieved that they were under-priced and that he would be unable to either retain or in some way make a profit from their sales. I guess those people there in Texas who were of the belief that Hicks was a great businessman may well now have to rethink their position . The Dallas Stars , Texas Rangers and Liverpool FC of the English Premiership League are no longer baubles that he can parade around to friends and acquaintances as part of his once large sports’ empire.

The intransigence now being shown by Selig , MLB hierarchy , team owners and the MLBPA (Players’ Union) could very well lead to the game’s own death knell . As glorious as one feels that the triumphs are for the World Series champions each year, consider this , each off-season the upheavals that take place as teams vie for the free agents out there on the open market or via trades that tend to take place the more ludicrous the demands are . At the same time small market teams can merely watch as they see their big market counterparts and rivals simply feast at the table with an open checkbook and unabated appetite. Somehow the so called level playing field and parity that fans out there try and equate with baseball appears to simply be a misnomer. And those small market teams in the end merely tend to give up and do what they simply do best and that’s to groom their young talent and then in a few years after they’re salary arbitration eligible they will either trade them away for the most part or retain them short term in the hope that they might catch lightning in a bottle.

I can’t help but wonder if during this upcoming season should things not be going right for a team like the jsp?c_id=was”> Washington Nationals , will we see them off-load their big money signing Jayson Werth ? After-all who in their right mind signs a player to a seven year $126 million contract when there’s nothing to suggest that he’s at all the answer to the organization’s most dire needs ? As good as Werth is presumed to be does anyone believe that his acquisition alone will make the Nationals an immediate contender within the NL East right away ? GM Mike Rizzo , team owner Ted Lerner and his partners have spent voluminously to acquire Werth, young phenoms such as Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg in the hope that change is in the offing . Get the feeling that the one constant in that division the Philadelphia Phillies are about to let that happen given their own recent outlay for Cliff Lee ? I didn’t think so !

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

Many of the pieces I’ve read about baseball here within a number of sites are by fans who are openly enamored with the game on the field of play but when it comes to the off the field issues as it concerns the game’s viability rarely do I read any commentary whatsoever on those issues. I get the impression that they feel it is of no intrinsic value or that they simply don’t understand the business side of the sport and how it relates to the game overall and their own way of life . When baseball chooses not to deal with many of its issues it’s usually the fans who in the end will end up suffering . The only change that has ever really taken place within the game was the social change engineered at the time stave off racial stereotyping as to the game’s openly racist ardor. Since then there’s been very little to suggest that things have changed for the better in terms the hierarchy showing any common sense as it relates to its future and the financial viability of a number of its teams. Simply look around and tell me what you see that would suggest to you that things are about to change within the game from that particular aspect ? Chime on in with your own thoughts on this matter and any other concerning the game as you view it and its future .

NB: The tax levied by the league isn’t based at the threshold but as a percentage of the gross payroll salary paid by the team within that fiscal year.

Alan aka tophatal ……………………… 🙂

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Nicole

Eye candy …………. Nicole Pankey .Don’t hate simply appreciate.

News And Views In The Ever Changing World Of Sports

News And Views In The Ever Changing World Of Sports

We can all agree that at this time of the year there’s not much news out there that one would deem newsworthy in the world of sports. As of now there’s not really much to opine about as it now stands. Well that’s unless you’re an aggrieved USC Trojans’ fan then you can’t take solace in the fact that the SEC or NCAA won’t as of yet be investigating the allegations into the fact that former Gators’ player Maurkice Pouncey may well have improperly accepted $100,000 whilst attending the University of Florida while on his athletic football scholarship. Well nothing new there given the fact that Gators’ football coach Urban Meyer is bout as strict with his players as the Los Angeles County Court System are on their treatment of Hollywood celebrities . But then again what else should one expect ? It has become the norm to see athletes and celebrities be treated as nothing more than Pre-K children each time they ran afoul of the law or knowingly break the rules of an educational institution and that of the NCAA .

Knowing what we already know about collegiate athletics when stories such as this come to the public’s attention we can either choose to ignore them or we can choose to discuss them like mature adults. But then again when discussing collegiate sports and in particular football it can border upon sectarianism in its resolve in trying to garner anything intelligent or enlightening as part of any type of debate or discussion. The NCAA > for its part can come across as a rather toothless organization whose bark more often than not is worse than its bite !

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Below I’ve either provided links or in part piece of an ongoing story for you to peruse that we might discuss. So by all means having read the links provided then do chime in with a comment.

Courtesy of USA Today & Sean Leahy

Report: Steelers rookie C Maurkice Pouncey tied to improprieties at Florida

C/G Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers’ first-round draft pick, may be facing some uncomfortable questions once he signs his first NFL contract later this summer.

According to ESPN, the University of Florida is investing claims that Pouncey received a $100,000 payment from the representative of an agent prior to playing in the Gators’ Sugar Bowl win over the University of Cincinnati in January.

“We were made aware of some information in early June that we reported to law enforcement and we then shared with the NCAA and the SEC,” Gators AD Jeremy Foley said in a statement released Monday morning. “At this time we have no information that has indicated that there are any compliance issues for the University of Florida.”

Pouncey entered the 2010 NFL draft after his junior season, but his twin brother Mike, a potential first-round pick in the 2011 draft, remained in Gainesville, Fla., for his senior season. He is also an offensive lineman.

If found guilty of improprieties, Florida could have to vacate its Sugar Bowl victory over the Bearcats.

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Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Russell pleads not guilty not guilty in Alabama case


Ex-Raider Russell pleads not guilty in Ala. case

MOBILE, Ala. (AP)—Former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell(notes) pleaded not guilty to a charge of illegal drug possession Tuesday in Alabama.

Russell, 24, is a former LSU star who was released by Oakland after being the No. 1 draft choice in 2007. He entered the plea in court in Mobile. He is charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, codeine syrup.

Authorities have said that he did not have a prescription for the drug and that he was arrested July 5 at his home as part of an undercover investigation.

His attorney, Donald Briskman, said in a phone interview that there were about nine or 10 people in the house and that he believes once all the evidence is known, Russell will be exonerated.

Russell, a prep star in Mobile, had no comment after his court appearance. He has been free on $2,500 bond.

Briskman said he asked for an early hearing in order for Russell to get the case behind him and renew his effort to play professional football. A hearing in his case is set for Aug. 11 to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury.

One of the NFL’s biggest No. 1 draft busts, Russell completed just 52.1 percent of his passes in his career, with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and 15 lost fumbles. He won only seven of 25 starts.

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Someone explain to me what it was that Al Davis and the rest of the Raiders’ front office saw in JaMarcus Russell to begin with ? I’ve heard it said that temperament and maturity doesn’t matter when it comes to being professional athlete . Without either then an athlete will fail to show presence of mind to become a success to begin with ! Well the idiot who made that summary and asinine remark is too dumb to realize what’s needed to compete at the professional level ! Russell had none of the attributes required to make it at the next level !

Fedrigo denies Armstrong Tour de France stage win

OK so tell me who the hell is actually interested in the Tour de France to begin with ? Lance Armstrong may well be the nom-de-plume for the moment. But he’s not going to win the event nor was he ever like to add to his tally of seven consecutive wins. Lance’s time has come and gone ! nd besides the sport itself is rife with cheating nd prolific steroid use. Never mind the fact that the sports’ governing body UCI has about as much presence in dealing with the matter as the US government’s stance has been on immigration reform and that of the US economy. Both have become those respective legislative bodies’ Waterloo. The former seven time champion currently sits in twenty fifth place some 34 minutes behind the current leader Alberto Contador of Spain ,a winner of the race in 2007 and 2009 .

Sorry Lance you’re no longer worthy of being lauded as some hero , not when the sport of cycling is rife with as much cheating that’s alleged to have gone on within the sport over the past decade. Now you’re in the midst of an ongoing battle of words with one of your fellow compatriots in Greg Lemond , himself former winner of the event. Why don’t you boys just kiss and make up instead of coming across like pair of Ru Paul’s drag queen cast offs from the drag queen’s reality show ?

Cubs manager Piniella retiring after season

Right so this should come as a surprise to whom ? Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella announces that he’ll retire at the end of the season . Low and behold after all of the torture that lovable Lou has suffered at the hands of this team and organization I’d like to commend him on his decision to begin with ! It’s not as if the team was ever capable of winning a World Series title to begin with ! Instead there’ll just be another year added to over a century of infamy and sheer ineptitude. As for those endearing fans who attend Wrigley Field religiously each season I for one just hope that they can continue to endure the suffering that they’ve had to withstand ! At some point in the future things my well change but who know when that might be ? Even the purists nd pundits can’t decide when that will be but somehow they’re holding out hope for change in the fortunes of the Chicago Cubs . How about you ? Do you ever see things turning around for the baseball club ?

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Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka …. tophatal ………. 🙂

Nas ………………..” Made You Look”

If You Can’t Face Adversity Square On And Look At It Face On Then What Use Are You If You’ve Learned Nothing At All From It ?

If You Can’t Face Adversity Square On And Look At It Face On Then What Use Are You If You’ve Learned Nothing At All From It ?

Bitch and whine but yet throwing out statistics merely to justify a loss in a competitive match simply shows complete naivete and a lack of understanding as to what it takes to win. But low and behold forty eight hours after bowing out of the World Cup we still have US fans trying to justify the claim that the US team were better than their nemesis Ghana in the round of 16 . So the US out-shot Ghana 20-16 but it’s the end result that counts and this what I believe is the asinine realization that seems to be lost on many of these fans. Wake up and smell the friggin’ coffee the US lost 2-1 to Ghana. The African nation made it to the quarter finals and the US didn’t so for God’s sake stop the bitching and fu_king whining as you’re all coming across like children who’ve been told to take a damn timeout ! If you want to be constructive in assessing the loss then look at what positives if any have come out of this all and not harp on about why you lost the game . The result most certainly can’t be changed at this juncture . And besides who says that the US team coached by Bob Bradley was the better team to begin with ? Was it because a numb-nut like Alexi Lalas said so ? His understanding of the game and his opinions are about as warranted or merited as Paris Hilton’s views would be on peace in the Middle East ! For want of a better word who gives a sh_t to begin with ?

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Bob Bradley’s team was never that good to begin with and in terms of defense and their frontal players in attack. Well let’s just say there’d have been more presence upfront were it Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken as the frontal players on this US team. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan showed the creativity and presence of a docile mouse. Now with the US having returned home US Soccer President Sunil Gulati can assess what went wrong, where, when and why. Personally, until there’s a real competitive presence within the MLS in terms of the “talent level” then we’ll never see the maturation of US soccer on the international stage. The respect that the US craves won’t be given and it first has to be earned which is something that the fans and their players simply have yet to learn. Nothing could be more prevalent than the attitude and demeanor shown by Bradley and in particular by Landon Donovan in their post game interviews after the loss to Ghana .


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Slide show gallery for your perusal . Use the arrow indicator to move the slide show frames as you see fit.

OK, so here we are on the first day of the NBA __ free agency period and as of yet we’ve yet to hear whether or not Lebron James will be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers or making a move elsewhere around the NBA. The thought was that James would be the “domino effect” that would set everything into effect. But that now appears to be not the case as it would appear that Toronto Raptors’ power forward Chris Bosh could well be the carrot that lures James into making a decision. Bosh as one of the second tier free agents on the market, is the most desired of the power forwards out there. And the thinking amongst several NBA analysts and general managers around the league is that whomever lands Bosh will have the upper hand in luring and signing Lebron James.

Now in assessing the situation my own feeling is that LeBron if he’s to win an NBA title then for his alleged Jordan persona will be in need of a Scottie Pippen. James despite being saddled with Antawn Jamison and Shaquille O’Neal , this Cavaliers’ team was merely doing it all with smoking mirrors. And for the ass kissing morons at ESPN who simply had their lips pressed so closely to James’ sphincter that they couldn’t see the reality that this team was simply not good enough to beat the Los Angeles Lakers much less the Boston Celtics . Mike Brown and former GM Danny Ferry simply built a team for the long haul of the regular season but not for the rigors of the postseason . And now with Brown having been fired and Ferry inauspiciously choosing to relinquish his position with the team. It has now been left to Dan Gilbert the team owner and newly installed GM Chris Grant to try and gauge the situation concerning James and his status. It doesn’t appear that there has been a great deal communication between James’ handlers and the Cavaliers’ front office . If that’s not enough of an indicator that things could quite possibly change with regard to the Cavaliers’ future then the situation could well be lost on the Cavaliers’ fans and their executives. What I find very telling concerning the coaching staff of the Cavaliers was that not one of their members has played professionally in the NBA. That’s almost unheard of amongst the coaching staffs of a number franchises around the league.

Now with the Cavaliers now rushing to sign Byron Scott as the team’s next coach, with the position having been turned down by Lakers’ assistant Brian Shaw. This off season has been a very interesting one for the Cavaliers to say the least.

At one should a team give up on the season in baseball ? Now approaching the league’s mid-season showcase of the All Star Game to be held at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California __ for which the event should prove be a great spectacle. The season has been filled with one or two surprises in the league and perhaps the biggest surprise might be that of the Cincinnati Reds and their ongoing battle for supremacy within the NL Central . While that has gone on , the Chicago Cubs seemingly finds with each passing game ways of sinking into further realms of mediocrity . I’m not about to say that the Cubs are done but my God if this team were a lame dog or horse they’d have been put down and euthanized. Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella seems to be out of touch and his team even more so but then again we are talking about the lovable and hapless Chicago Cubs where losing has now become the norm and winning has become a thing of the past .

Reds’ manager Dusty Baker could very well end up becoming the NL Manager of The Year should his team win the division. Other than that there’s not much more that can be said about the Cubs and their situation . As to the surprising ascendancy of the Reds it’s hard to bet against them and their season thus far. The play of Joey Votto and the middle order of the team’s offense has been simply astonishing . Their play seems to epitomize what this team seems to be about and what they’re doing makes them the NL story of the season.

Close your eyes and you’re liable to miss the image of the NFL as it sinks lower under the tenure of Roger Goodell . As for my own view on Goodell , well, let’s put it this way, for the highest ranking executive in the NFL to seem all clueless as to the players of the NFL and their behavior. Star players such as Michael Vick and Vince Young bring the image and reputation of the NFL into further disrepute and Goodell can only act like a Roman Catholic priest caught in the midst of another sex scandal . Instead of dealing with the situation with some authority , instead what we’re seeing from the NFL commissioner is the very fact that he’s a gutless individual ! Never mind the fact that there have been some serious allegations that have arisen concerning an Indianapolis Colts’ defensive tackle Eric Foster and a rape allegation . If Goodell handles this the way that he handled the Ben Roethlisberger situation then we might as well shut up shop as far as the image of the NFL is concerned. Because it’s not as if the NLPA and Executive Director DeMaurice Smith are in the least bit concerned with the image of their members to begin with. It’s as one patron of my site stated he’s not in the least bit concerned about an NFL player being involved in a fight . My question to him was what if the situation had escalated wherein the player ended up losing his life in an act of gun violence ? For which he’s yet to respond to my question but then again I shouldn’t expect anything less from someone who thinks that gun violence is probably the best way to resolve an issue. But then again amongst young African Americans that’s probably the be all end all when they’re severely lacking intelligence. Word to wise for Vince Young and in particular Michael Vick grow the fuck up and stop being and behaving like an asshole ! You’re both doing yourselves and your race a great disservice !

As for the Indianapolis Colts and their GM Bill Polian they’ve been less reticent to issue a statement concerning the matter and the alleged rape. The so called “pristine image” of the Indianapolis Colts is about as clean as that of the Roman Catholic church and their wish to be seen as God’s representative of Christianity on the earth. By my way of thinking that’s akin to asking a group of neo Nazis to be the custodians of the Torah and a church filled with young African American school children. You simply know that no good can from the outcome much like the Colts’ need to keep this all quiet and completely away from the public domain . And nowhere is this more self evident than in the actions of the organization and that of the commissioner’s office. And as to the assumption of the NFL if it’s a first time offense by a player then the league has a right to deal with the issue as it sees fit. Well whatever happened to the league’s player conduct policy ? Goodell much like his edict is completely full of shit much like the rest of the crap that he’d like for us all to buy into. I wonder how Goodell might have dealt would’ve dealt with the Ray Carruth affair were he commissioner at the time ?

Doubt my word concerning the NFL then simply look at the actions of Goodell and the inconsistencies of his rulings over the past few years ? Show me the consistencies in his deliberations and how he has come by them and then ask yourself is there any justification as to the types of punishment that has been meted out ? Goodell actions haven‘t exactly been seen as a deterrent to the players who court trouble and then hide behind the legalities of a justice system that has been all too soft on celebrities and in particular athletes. Were the actions seen that of an every day citizen then we’d be asking what the hell is going on. But as I’ve alluded to before the justice system and that of what Roger Goodell deems as being fair is about as equal in its logic as the actions of a habitual liar., Their actions are that way as a safety mechanism because it’s the only way that they know how to act.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Chime on in with a comment as you see fit and I’ll do my best to respond to your comments as succinctly as I can and once again thanks as always for your continued support and patronage. It’s been appreciated throughout my time here contributing within this domain.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal

Red Hot Chili Peppers ………… Give It Away

Not Quite The Silly Season In Sports But It’s Still Early Days As Of Yet ……………..

We all know how that at the end of the regular season on the PGA Tour , the sport has its anomaly of post-season events . Wherein, the players can supplement their on Tour earnings with even more astronomical sums in terms of unofficial prize money. Never mind the fact that Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has extended the calendar on The Tour , whereby a number of events were move beyond the end of the official regular season but the winnings attained there wouldn’t count on a player’s official prize money earnings. This part of the season is known as the ‘silly season’ . The same is true of for all of the four major sports.

Not Quite The Silly Season In Sports But It’s Still Early Days As Of Yet ……………..

We all know how that at the end of the regular season on the PGA Tour , the sport has its anomaly of post-season events . Wherein, the players can supplement their on Tour earnings with even more astronomical sums in terms of unofficial prize money. Never mind the fact that Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has extended the calendar on The Tour , whereby a number of events were move beyond the end of the official regular season but the winnings attained there wouldn’t count on a player’s official prize money earnings. This part of the season is known as the ‘silly season’ . The same is true of for all of the four major sports.

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s steroids proposal, made to the union last month, calls for a 50-game ban for first offenders, a 100-game penalty for second offenders and a lifetime ban for a third positive test.
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s steroids proposal, made to the union last month, calls for a 50-game ban for first offenders, a 100-game penalty for second offenders and a lifetime ban for a third positive test. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Adam Roundtree .......

Well low and behold , despite the pontificating by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , his asinine and inane attempts to suggest that there were no tried , tested and reliable methods in testing for HGH (human growth hormone) . Somehow , it has come about whereby there is irrefutable evidence that there is a test that is 100 % full-proof. So much for the blithering idiot and the MLB hierarchy that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty first century when it came to adopting an internationally recognized drug testing policy. Is the hierarchy of major league baseball that archaic ? Or is it being ran by a bunch of simpletons ?

Courtesy of The New York Daily News

British professional rugby player Terry Newton tests positive for HGH as MLB on deck for testing

By Michael O’Keeffe and Christian Red , Daily News Sports Writers

The argument by Major League Baseball that no reliable test for human growth hormone exists took a major hit Monday.

Both the United Kingdom Anti-Doping agency (UKAD) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) trumpeted the positive HGH test of British professional rugby player Terry Newton as “proof positive” that the drug can be detected in blood tests. Newton, who was tested in November, did not contest the result and yesterday was banned from the sport for two years by UKAD. Newton’s rugby club, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, also canceled his contract. Newton is believed to be the first case of a professional athlete testing positive for HGH using a blood sample.

Baseball has banned growth hormone since 2005, but there is still no HGH testing. Travis Tygart, USADA’s chief executive, Monday blasted baseball’s argument that an effective HGH test is unavailable.

“All of us who have helped develop a test wouldn’t put it in place if it wasn’t forensically sound and reliable.” Tygart told the Daily News. “Particularly in (Newton’s) case, it’s proof positive the test works.”

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With the ‘positive test’ of British rugby league player , Terry Newton , further proves how far and out of touch major league baseball really is with regard to the ongoing medical advances that there are in the meticulous testing of athletes for prohibitive substances. Not that it would really matter to baseball under Selig’s tenure as commissioner. He still believes to this day, that the sport has the most rigorous and meticulous testing policy in all of professional sports. As well as meting out the stiffest penalties available. If I hadn’t realize that he was being serious, I wouldn’t continue to ridicule this oaf ! His mendacity would suggest that he hasn’t the faintest idea as to what the hell he’s talking about. If anything , the ‘Mitchell Report’ and its finding further clarifies that ! God knows, the game itself , still has its problems but Selig’s handling of the issue and the undue intransigence of the MLBPA (union) has only further exacerbated and compounded an already grave situation.

Well what do you know ? A number of teams around the NFL have begun to either place the ‘franchise tag’ on their unrestricted free agents or in some cases, they’ve actually ‘cut’ players whom they feel are no longer of much use to their organizations. It’s business and the ‘nature of the beast’. Nothing in the game of football is guaranteed , other than a signing bonus and the ancillary incentives reached by a player once they attain those objectives. Could some please remind Jeff Garcia why it was that he and former Buccaneers’ coach Jon Gruden had a parting of the ways ? Honesty seems to be something that Gruden was short on , during his professional career as an NFL coach. But that asides , he got the job done.

Carolina Panthers' Julius Peppers saluting fans as he walks off the field after the Panthers' <strong> 23-10 </strong>win over the New Orleans Saints in an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have decided the price is too steep to keep their all-time sacks leader. It means five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers is about to become one of the top prizes in free agency.  Agent Carl Carey says the Panthers have told him they won't place the restrictive franchise tag on Peppers for a second consecutive year at a cost of more than $20 million.  The move Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010,  comes two days before the tag deadline.  photo appears courtesy  of Associated  Press/ Rick Havner  ......
Carolina Panthers' Julius Peppers saluting fans as he walks off the field after the Panthers' 23-10 win over the New Orleans Saints in an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have decided the price is too steep to keep their all-time sacks leader. It means five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers is about to become one of the top prizes in free agency. Agent Carl Carey says the Panthers have told him they won't place the restrictive franchise tag on Peppers for a second consecutive year at a cost of more than $20 million. The move Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, comes two days before the tag deadline. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Rick Havner ......

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Eagles release RB Westbrook after 8 seasons

By Dan Gelston , AP Sports Writer

Philadelphia (AP)—Brian Westbrook(notes) could break open a game from almost anywhere on the field.

Lined up in the slot, he could run a slant, beat a linebacker and take off with no one able to catch No. 36. His defining moment with the Philadelphia Eagles came on an 84-yard punt return that stunned the New York Giants in 2003.

Out of the backfield, he was a 1,000-yard rusher who always kept defenses guessing—and flailing.

But in his later years, it was injuries that defined Westbrook more than his dynamic offensive skills. His age, salary and lengthy list of beaten body parts led the Eagles to release him Tuesday and save the team $7.5 million due next year.

“I think we all know that Brian is one of the all-time great Philadelphia Eagles,” coach Andy Reid said. “For what we’ve done here over the years, Brian has been just a huge part of building this program to the level that we’re at now. My heart will always be a Brian Westbrook fan as we go forward here.”

A former All-Pro, the 5-foot-10 Westbrook led the league in yards from scrimmage in 2007 with 2,104. He rushed for 1,333 yards and accounted 12 touchdowns that season.

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Chargers’ GM A. J. Smith made the decision to cut their Pro Bowl running back, LaDainian Tomlinson . The same maneuver has since been followed with Philadelphia Eagles’ running back Brian Westbrook being cut by the team’s GM Joe Banner. Do you seen an emerging pattern here ? Once you’re deemed ‘over the hill’, then that’s it ……’you’re out’.

It’s been often said , that once the San Francisco 49ers saw fit to release their ‘storied quarterback’, Joe Montana , the ‘game’ had essentially ‘lost its soul’. Whether or not that it is indeed true, I’ll leave that up to you, to decide ! And though it’s no longer all that disturbing , there’s still something of a tinge of sadness when this all happens to a much beloved and well respected player.

The NFC South’s Carolina Panthers now face a daunting task , as to whether or not it is still prudent to re-sign Julius Peppers. The Pro Bowl defensive end , last season was a franchise tagged player, who was the league’s highest paid player with a salary of $16.9 million for 2009. Coach Jon Fox would no doubt like to retain the player but at what cost to their bottom line ? Never mind the fact that the needs on this Panthers’ roster goes way beyond trying to persuade Peppers to remain with the team but at a lower salary. Somehow , neither Peppers or his agent are liable to acquiesce and listen to such a request from the Panthers' front office and their general manager , Marty Hurney . There’ll no doubt be a number of teams that are liable to show an interest in the player and who will be quite prepared to meet or surpass his asking price.

Courtesy of NFL.com

Sweet home Chicago for Peppers, Kampman? DEs coveted by Bears

By Jason La Canafora of NFL.com

The Chicago Bears are gearing up for a major run at Julius Peppers, a league source said Tuesday, and Aaron Kampman also is an option for a team that’s intent on landing a pass-rushing defensive end this offseason.

Peppers, who will not receive the Carolina Panthers’ franchise tag, is the Bears’ prime target. However, Peppers will not come cheap — he was seeking around $40 million guaranteed from the Panthers. The Bears traditionally are a frugal team, but in this limited free-agent market, they are prepared to jump into the sweepstakes for Peppers, who had 81 sacks in eight seasons with the Panthers.

Kampman, who struggled to switch from end to linebacker in the Green Bay Packers’ new 3-4 defense, also is someone the Bears are high on, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The Bears know Kampman well from their intense NFC North rivalry games against the Packers.

Chicago’s defense ranked 17th in the NFL last season, and coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo need improvement to ease questions about their job security. After mulling whether or not to part with higher-priced defensive veterans such as linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs and tackle Tommie Harris, Bears management has decided to keep that core together and try to add playmakers through free agency.

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Well a number of my blogging buddies , namely, chappy 81 and sportschump , have been telling me, ne’ persuading me , that the likes of the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic are still legitimate contenders for the NBA title. The veracity of a case can still be made for the Magic , as they’re still the reigning Eastern Conference champions within the NBA. With regard to the Mavericks and their stellar play this season under the guidance of coach, Rick Carlisle . For chappy , I mention these words ‘…..does the meaning swoon in June resonate with you at all ? Because for all sense and purpose that is it what we’ve become use to seeing from the Mavericks over the past few seasons. This team led by Dirk Nowitzki is very, very good, during the regular season . But far too often , once the postseason season comes around they become something of a tease. They’ll lure you in with the belief that this is to be their year , whereby they will fully acquit themselves. But it as I’ve suggested all too often , comes that swoon. And then that obligatory tailspin comes into being. Being a passenger on the Titanic might prove to be much more fortuitous than being a fan of the Mavericks.

Mike Dunleavy (#17) of the Indiana Pacers goes up for the lay up against Brendan Haywood (#33) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on February 22, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo  appears  courtesy  of  NBAE/ Getty  Images/  Glenn  James  ...................
Mike Dunleavy (#17) of the Indiana Pacers goes up for the lay up against Brendan Haywood (#33) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on February 22, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Glenn James ...................

And needless to say, the acquisitions of both Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood does make them better. But are they as good as their erstwhile rivals in the Western Conference in the guise of the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets ? State the case , wherein the Mavericks are as good as either team ? Because nothing they’ve done thus far in the season that bears this out. One can surmise that Mavericks’ GM Donnie Walsh sought to bolster the roster in order to make it more resilient with the additions of both Butler and Haywood. But neither player can be considered clutch performers when it matters most and yet there those who trying to tell me that Haywood can be that and a great deal more ? If he wasn’t that much of presence with the Wizards to begin with . Then why all of a sudden will things suddenly take a turn for the better from his standpoint ? He’s a serviceable player , if that’s what the Mavericks are in fact looking for. And the case for Butler that can be made , is that on certain nights he’ll be able to make a contribution for the team. So lets not pretend that overnight , the Mavericks are about to set the NBA world alight and make Mark Cuban a very happy man. You’d better off making the case that Sarah Palin would be a wiser choice as the Republican nominee for President of the United States. And even though that scenario can’t be anymore less stupid than the one being placed that the Mavericks will be able to challenge usurp the supremacy of both the Lakers and Nuggets. But alas, this is now the world that we live in , where anything can be said without much logic being stated as the basis for an argument.

College Football is replete with good and bad coaches. As a matter of fact that broad based statement runs the gamut of collegiate athletics. The troubling fact now within the game is that there are a number of coaches who choose to eschew the rules, in order to seek an advantage for their program. And little do they care as to the consequences of their actions. That has to be the case for both programs of the USC Trojans and the University of Michigan (Wolverines). Both programs are under new head coaches but in the case of all three current and past coaches there’s a case to be made where each has violated the rules of the NCAA . Pete Carroll and now current coach Lane Kiffin has essentially carried on where his predecessor left off , with the Trojans’ program. The athletics’ program at USC has become so ‘tainted’ that it’s hard to make a case why it shouldn’t be suspended altogether, for a period of not less than year to act as a deterrent to others . Both the men’s football and basketball programs have been complicit in some serious transgressions violations of NCAA rules. And one wonders why it has taken so long even with the ongoing investigations that’ve been conducted by the NCAA. But here’s the kicker to it all, the football program is not only a ‘cash cow’ for the NCAA but also for the BCS system. And one wouldn’t want to be seen as biting the hand that feeds it now, would one ?

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, left, and head football coach <strong>Rich Rodriguez</strong>, right, are shown at a news conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010. The NCAA has found that Michigan's storied football program was out of compliance with practice time rules under coach Rodriguez. Incoming athletic director David Brandon disclosed the finding Tuesday. He says there were no surprises in the NCAA findings. He also says Rodriguez remains the coach. Michigan has 90 days to respond and will appear at an NCAA hearing on infractions in August. photo appears courtesy of  Associated Press/ Paul Sancya  ......
University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, left, and head football coach Rich Rodriguez, right, are shown at a news conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010. The NCAA has found that Michigan's storied football program was out of compliance with practice time rules under coach Rodriguez. Incoming athletic director David Brandon disclosed the finding Tuesday. He says there were no surprises in the NCAA findings. He also says Rodriguez remains the coach. Michigan has 90 days to respond and will appear at an NCAA hearing on infractions in August. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Paul Sancya ......

In the case of the Wolverines and their coach, Rich Rodriguez . He has knowingly flouted the rules concerning the amount of time allowable for his players in terms of their preparational training for a game, contravening the strict rules that all programs have to abide by. Rodriguez categorically denies any wrongdoing on his part , even with the statements from current and past players of the football program detailing otherwise. The situation has become so ridiculous, that both the AD David Brandon and University President Mary Sue Coleman have come out in full support of the beleaguered and embattled coach. And one would’ve thought that in both cases the AD’s of both establishments would be looking to enforce the rules and make a formal statement giving the NCAA assurances that they not condone such actions. But in the case of both Brandon and his counterpart Mike Garrett at USC , this most definitely has not been the case !

Los Angeles -January 13th 2010. New head coach of the USC Trojans Lane Kiffin shakes a hand as he makes his way to his press conference at Heritage Hall  in Los Angeles, California.  photo appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/  Harry How .................
Los Angeles -January 13th 2010. New head coach of the USC Trojans Lane Kiffin shakes a hand as he makes his way to his press conference at Heritage Hall in Los Angeles, California. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Harry How .................

Now there’s no chance of either program coming forward and admitting any impropriety on their part. But consider this , when it was first announced that an investigation was about to get underway into the USC athletics’ program. The school’s AD approached the NCAA about imposing their own sanctions on both the basketball and football programs. And we now wonder why Pete Carroll fled USC under the subterfuge that he sought a new challenge in the NFL ranks , to be a coach with the Seattle Seahawks ? For those in the know , wouldn’t that be considered a step down for Pete Carroll ? LOL,LOL, LOL !!! In large part most people view the Trojans’ program as LA’s only true professional football franchise ? And that’s with all due respect to California Redwoods of the UFL (United Football League). Who see themselves as the transitional answer to Los Angeles’ need for a professional football franchise. Redwoods’ owner Paul Pelosi , husband of House Majority Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca), has all but stated that as a fact. As he ultimately foresees the franchise as the ultimate answer for the city’s quest and yearning for a professional football franchise. Whether not that as well as the UFL comes to full fruition remains to be seen. Albeit, that the Redwoods are based in San Jose, some three hundred miles away from the city of Los Angeles. Nothing like ambition to spread bold , asinine statements and ideas to begin with ! Could it be, that both Pelosi’s are intent on ruling their domains, as they view it from the lofty perches of their ivory towers ? Needless to say there’s some love and hatred there for both.

Duke's Jon Scheyer collides with Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, left, during the first half. Scheyer scored 25 points and collected 10 rebounds in the win.
Duke's Jon Scheyer collides with Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, left, during the first half. Scheyer scored 25 points and collected 10 rebounds in the win. The Blue Devils defeated Virginia Tech (Hokies) 67-55 in the game . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Sara Davis .................

Would it be remiss for me to suggest that the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) of men’s basketball ‘stinks to high heaven’ ? Now don’t get me wrong there are still some marginal teams but what the hell has gone wrong there ? Other than Duke , there isn’t another team from the conference in the ‘top 25’ of the national rankings . And even with the Blue Devils ranked at number 5 in the rankings, Mike Krzyzewski’s team hasn’t been exactly setting the world on fire with their play. But one could surmise that they’re waiting to shine in the NCAA national championships ? Roll on ‘March Madness’ , as that’s when the ‘men will be separated from the boys’ .

This’ll be the one time of the year that I’d have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from in-front of the television set when the NCAA men’s national championships are on. To my mind it’s the best of the collegiate championships that takes place during the course of the sporting calendar. And in terms of sheer excitement , it ranks up there alongside the Superbowl , itself ! And the real thrilling part of it all , other than showing support for one’s team. It will be to see the future prospective stars of the NBA. And those may well be the names such of such current stars , as John Wall and his Wildcats’ teammate DeMarcus Cousins . Others who also come to mind are Sherron Collins of the Kansas Jayhawks, Ricky Jackson of the Syracuse Orangemen and a slew other players , far too numerous to mention. But over the course of the NCAA tournament , I guarantee that you’ll get to know who those players are. And you’ll definitely be showing your support for them , if not their teams.

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts speaks to the media Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 at the Chicago Cubs spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears  Assoc. Press/ Matt  York  ....
Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts speaks to the media Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 at the Chicago Cubs spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears Assoc. Press/ Matt York ....

A century plus of continued futility and there’s now said to be a breath of fresh air in the environment, as the new Chicago Cubs’, owner, billionaire, Tom Ricketts , addresses the team as well as the rest of the organization . How much this will resonate with the Cubs’ long suffering fans and those devoted faithful who throng to Wrigley Field religiously to watch the team play, remains to be seen. But rest assured Ricketts’ anecdotes about his fond memories of the Cubs and some of their former halcyon days can only provide a respite for what we may well envisage once again this season.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

New Cubs owner Ricketts addresses team

By Rick Gano , AP Sports Writer

Mesa, Ariz. (AP)—Tom Ricketts once sat in the bleachers at Wrigley Field, cheering for the Chicago Cubs. On Tuesday, with the players gathered around him in the spring training weight room, he addressed the team that his family now owns.

His message was simple: He and his family will be around and do everything possible to help the Cubs win.

“If there is anything we can do better, let us know,” Ricketts said he told the players.

For his part, Ricketts is already taking steps.

There are new upgrades at Wrigley Field, including an improved clubhouse and weight rooms, a new players’ lounge, a new club in the outfield and better restrooms for fans. The Ricketts also raised ticket prices on some seats at the storied stadium.

“Obviously Wrigley needs a lot of love and a lot of help over the next few years,” Ricketts said. “That will be very challenging. Other than that, we feel the pressure to produce on some winning teams and that will be something that is always with us.”

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908.

Ricketts said if the Cubs are in contention around the trade deadline, it’s possible they would spend the money to bring in a player needed to make a playoff push.

Manager Lou Piniella sounded confident that would happen.

“The fact they are going to involved and visible and the fact they want to win and are very competitive, and I’m sure if we get in position during the course of the summer and we need something, there’s a darn good chance they’ll step forward,” Piniella said.

“The Ricketts are going to be good for Chicago and for the Chicago Cubs,” added Piniella, who is in the last year of his contract. “This is not just a one-year or two-year thing. They want to keep this team in their family for a long, long time.”

The $845 million sale of the Cubs, Wrigley Field and other assets from the Tribune Co. to the family of billionaire Joe Ricketts was completed in October, more than 2 1/2 years after the baseball franchise went on the market.

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Click on link to read article in its entirety
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Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, right, along with coaches Matt Sinatro, middle, and Lester Strode watch pitchers warm up during spring training baseball camp practice Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears courtesy  of  Assoc. Press/  Ross D. Franklin  ...........
Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, right, along with coaches Matt Sinatro, middle, and Lester Strode watch pitchers warm up during spring training baseball camp practice Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears courtesy of Assoc. Press/ Ross D. Franklin ...........

If it wasn’t enough that the Lou Piniella coached Cubs has to contend with the St Louis Cardinals , Milwaukee Brewers , Houston Astros , Cincinnati Reds and less we forget the woefully inept Pittsburgh Pirates >. The NL Central alongside the NL East might just be the two most competitive divisions in the National League. But it’d be enough to suggest that Ricketts is now of the belief that the beleaguered organization is about to turn the corner as its impending fortunes are about to change. Haven’t we all seen this before ? A new owner rides in on his white steed in the hope of regaling the fans and the community at large with the view that they can contend and bring a championship to the city. If only that were the case with the Chicago Cubs . They’ve become more of a tease than a voluptuous scantly clad blond female at a party. She and you both are there but with one thing on both of your mind. But in the end, you’re the one who ends up being disappointed.
It just turns out the blond in question is literally that, nothing more than a damn tease . As are the Chicago Cubs, year in and year out ! Can someone now please slaughter that damn goat and put the Cubs and their long suffering fans out of their misery ? And while you’re at it , call Steve Bartman and tell him , he’s still ‘persona-non-grata’ in the city of Chicago ?

The now infamous ‘Bartman Incident ‘ that happened at Wrigley Field during the NLCS game between the Cubs and Marlins. And the rest say they say ‘……… is history’.

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Bartman had to be escorted out of Wrigley Field , as the Cubs’ hierarchy at the time feared for his safety. On the night was there a more despised person in the city of Chicago ? Or perhaps the state of Illinois ?

The ‘silly season’ in sports will soon be upon us and we’re liable to laugh as much as get upset for one reason or another, as to the stories start to unfold. Personally, I’d rather just laugh my way throughout the season , rather than letting my emotions get the better of me because of another stupid episode during the sporting calendar year. What are your thoughts on the whole thing ?


Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………..

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From the land of my parental birth, Jamaica. Here’s Buju Banton with ‘Champion’ .

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Canadian adult burlesque performer Bianca Beauchamp . Here she is in her wondrous form and self. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the subject and content matter ? To view each picture within the gallery in full, just click unto the individual picture in question.

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