It’s The Results That Matter …………………

It’s The Results That Matter

Well the baseball season is slowly unfolding and as it to be expected the highs and low of the season are to be expected . The Minnesota Twins it appears is on its way to becoming synonymous with mediocrity within baseball for this season . It will be interesting to see if the team does indeed end up with the worst record in baseball at season’s end. And for Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire this can’t have been what he expected for his team and the very fact that their All Star catcher Joe Mauer was lost to the Twins for a prolonged period. The Minnesota Twins for their part have made Target Field in Minnesota something of an elephant’s graveyard with the mediocre play and lack of the real cohesion as a team .

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Slide show for your perusal .

It would appear having got back to winning ways of sort in defeating the Texas Rangers —- 8-1 one would have thought that victory would enough to provide the Twins’ fans with some form of relief but nothing could be further from the truth. The Minnesota Twins are languishing at the bottom of the NL Central with a 25-39 record , some 10 games behind the division leading Cleveland Indians (34-28). Having won 8 of their last ten games the Twins continue to struggle and one would be hard pressed to believe that over the remainder of the season they could prove to be serious challengers not just for the division but also for a wildcard berth within the AL .

The month of June will tell us a great deal as to the directions that a number of teams will be taking . From a personal standpoint although I just can’t see the Twins making any sort of change that would have me believing that they can actually turn things around . This team appears to be lacking in confidence and I doubt that Gardenhire and his coaching staff can now coax this team to play with any level of consistency in spite of their last ten games. This has been a season thus far that I believe that the Twins’ fans and players would rather forget as they simply move systematically back and forth in terms of an uneven season .

The CONCACAF Gold Cup has started and no doubt Team USA under the management of coach Bob Bradley was hoping to see the team show some improvement as a sign that they are heading in the right direction in lieu of the FIFA —- World Cup (2014) in Brazil in 2012 . The team is off to an inauspicious start in Group C having played three games , winning one , a draw and a rather embarrassing 2-1 loss to Panama . If anything this result shows that Bradley faces a stiff challenging a team that will have the right traits not only to qualify for the World Cup but also have some semblance in winning the Gold Cup.

Viewed as a pre tournament contender and favorite alongside Mexico the team still stands a good chance of making out of the group qualifying rounds before the format of the tournament then becomes a knockout competition . Starved of an out and out attacker with formidable goal scoring talent this has simply been the Bradley’s biggest lament . In the tournament the team’s joint top scorers are Clint Dempsey are Clarence Goodson with one goal apiece . I have always maintained that the real problem with the game of soccer resonating amongst the large majority of the fans here comes from the very fact that it is merely viewed as a recreational pass-time . And even though MLS a divisional endeavor is up and running the league itself still struggles to create any form of a seismic rumble amongst fans . Granted with the number of international stars acquired to add some glamor to the league it really hasn’t helped given the fact that the likes of Thierry Henry , David Beckham and Maicon Santos are either players who were unable to establish themselves domestically in their respective countries or in the cases of Henry and Beckham their best is simply now a thing of the past.

This Gold Cup was obviously viewed as a precursor for the upcoming World Cup and with Bradley obviously wanting gain some semblance of consistency instead he now has a team that is bereft of creativity and ideas in light of this rather humiliating 2-1 loss to Panama a team that seven times out of ten they should beat handily .

The team now faces a stern test in their next game to be played with Group C against Guadeloupe on the 14 th June . A win is a necessity if they’re to not only qualify from the group but also gain a favorable match-up in the knockout phase of the competition . It remains to be seen whether or not Bradley will be able to regroup his players and have them ready in time for the match .

At the start of the NBA season it seemed that in large part the vast majority of fans were already prepared to anoint the Miami Heat as NBA champions even before the season had started . With the acquisitions of Chris Bosh and LeBron James to add alongside Dwyane Wade it appeared that all the Heat had to do was to simply waltz their way through their schedule and lay waste to the opposition during the postseason . Well as stories go this was a script that was still being written for the drama that would be played out in the NBA Finals .

The Dallas Mavericks may well be viewed as the underdogs coming into this series but if anything only a fool would actually have felt that way and there’s a reason why Vegas simply lured the suckers in with the odds favoring the Heat . Up 3-2 in the best of seven game series and with the final two games being on the Heat’s home-court of AAA Arena , Miami , Florida in order to close out the series . The Heat players in particular James and Wade knew exactly what was on the line for them not only in terms of the team players but the franchise as a whole . Team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison’s master plan had been put into effect. An assortment of role players to surround their trio of superstars and all that had to be completed would be the defeat of the Mavericks to justify the whole experiment and season as a whole .
If only the Heat players and in particular James , Wade and Bosh had left their enormous egos at the door ! Instead we saw how complacent all three had become and the classness of their demeanor throughout much of the series . And for Erik Spoelstra one has to wonder whether or not some of the blame will be layed at his door beyond that of the players and in particular the triumvirate of superstars ?

Contempt and ignorance when it manifests itself in a team , then more often than not it tends to lead to disaster and it became a reality for the Miami Heat as their hold on what they believe to be rightfully theirs was taken right out of their presumed grasp by a Mavericks’ team that simply hungered for the title even more so than their opponent . Dirk Nowitzki along with Jason Terry and JJ Barea simply showed why at times it’s great to see the good guys actually win ! The trio led the team by example and outplayed the Heat when it mattered most and by securing the deciding game six victory 105-95 the Dallas Mavericks would secure the organization’s first NBA title . And for the victorious team owner Mark Cuban this had to be the most relishing moment in his tenure as the owner of the basketball club .
Perhaps the most heart warming moment after the Finals had ended was in knowing that seasoned veterans Jason Terry , Nowitzki and Jason Kidd could finally acknowledge that they can indeed now be looked upon as being champions .

Dirk Nowitzki justifiably so , was named Finals MVP with his stellar play throughout the postseason and the Finals itself . On the flip side of the case that will now be made ……….. was the hyperbole over the Heat simply worth it considering how lackluster this team’s performances were ? We had James and Wade mocking Nowitzki’s illness prior to game 6 and even if it were meant in jest it showed how lacking in class the duo were ! Pretty much sums up how best to describe a bunch of self absorbed athletes who simply believe that the entitlement mentality and adoration makes them the persons that they are ! From my own perspective I am thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of seeing the Heat being hoisted on their own petards in front of their home crowd . It makes that defeat all the more embarrassing not just for the fans but the whole organization as a whole . Perhaps after this James and Wade will have at least learned some civility rather than the odious behavior that they’d shown throughout much of the regular and postseason. The results matter but so too does the demeanor under which a team carries themselves during a sporting event and that simply wasn’t shown here with the Miami Heat. Decorum was never within their sphere as they simply strolled around without any deference to anyone at all !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 11: Arthur Rhodes (53) of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the eighth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(2) Delmon Young (21) of the Minnesota Twins singles against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …….

(3) Ben Revere (11) of the Minnesota Twins steals second base as shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) of the Texas Rangers catches the ball during the fourth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ………..

(4) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 11: Alexi Casilla (12) of the Minnesota Twins hits an RBI single while Mike Napoli (25) of the Texas Rangers defends home plate during the fourth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….

(5) Clarence Goodson (21) of Team United States celebrates his goal against Team Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images / J Meric ……..

(6) Jozy Altidore (17) of Team United States advances the ball against Team Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. J Meric / Getty Images North America ….

(7) Team Panama celebrates their victory over Team United States during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images North America ……

(8) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban carries the NBA Championship basketball trophy as he leads the team off the jet after their arrival at Love Field in Dallas, Monday, June 13, 2011. The Mavericks beat the Heat to win the championship. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(9) “I am not a pussy . ” LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat looks on dejected against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …..

(10) Tyson Chandler (right) of the Dallas Mavericks attempts a shot against Miami Heat in the Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO / POOL / David J. Phillip ……

(11) TOPSHOTS : Dirk Nowitzki(notes) (R) of the Dallas Mavericks shoots before Chris Bosh(notes) (L) of the Miami Heat during Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 12, 2011 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT ….

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MLB news

MLB Standings

MLB wildcard standings

MLB Schedule 3 days at a glance

MLB Probable starters

MLB scoreboard & results 12th June 2011

CONCACAF News

Gold Cup Schedule & results

Gold Cup Group Standings

CONCACAF Gold Cup Teams

NBA Finals

NBA News

Dallas Mavericks news

Miami Heat news

Likes And Dislikes When It Comes To Sports …………….

Some sports I could watch to my heart’s content ! Whilst others , I just can’t stand in any shape or form . Much as I can’t stand the NHL ,as seemingly the action all gets caught up in the fact that the players in essence are either out there at times,trying to decapitate each other. Or they’re ready start a fight at the drop of a hat. Penalty minutes and all of the so called brouhaha that’s associated with the sport. I simply, just don’t get it !

Alexander  Ovechkin (#8) of the  Washington  Capitals  often  described  as  the  best player  in the  NHL battles  for  the  puck  against  the  Columbus Blue Jackets'  Jason Chimer  (#25) in  game   played the  Verizon  Center  in  Washington  DC.    picture  appears courtesy  of   getty images/ Greg  Fiume  ..............

Alexander Ovechkin (#8)of the Washington Capitals battles the Columbus Blue Jackets Jason Chimera (#25) for the puck in a game played at the Verizon Center in Washington DC. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Greg Fiume ……..

But also, is it me ? A game goes into overtime after both teams are tied at the end of the regulation period and both teams attain a point because of that ? What sort of incentive is that for a team anyway ? Nonetheless there are fans out there who eat ,breathe and live for the sport of hockey. Not I , said the fly ! As physical as the game is , I still believe that when compared the game of rugby , it fall short in terms of the real physical aggression and the imposing of your will on an opponent. And besides the guys playing wear nowhere near as much protection as the guys playing professional hockey. What’s more the rugby players are just as physically imposing as the hockey players of the NHL, if not more so.

The Lowes' Chevrolet (#48)  of  points'  leader  Jimmie Johnson  pits  during  the  NASCAR Sprint  Cup  event   Amp  Energy  500  from  Talladega  Superspeedway , in Alabama ,.     picture  appears  courtesy of getty images/ Chris  Graythern  .............

The Lowes’ Chevrolet (#48) points’ leader Jimmie Johnson pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup race , the AMP Energy 500 from Talladega Superspeedway , in Alabama. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Chris Graythern ………..

For all of the vagaries of the sport of NASCAR and the throngs of fans that are entirely devoted to watching these monstrous metallic beasts encircle an oval track repeatedly. Unless, I’m mistaken there’s something inherently awry with the sport. Granted , it’s a grand spectacle, if watching a race live at the venue , then it becomes a scintillating exercise to be a part of. Especially when these vehicles are traveling in excess of 200 mph down a straightway before having to make a right turn and brake hard with the precision of a locomotive having to come to an almost immediate stop. The adrenalin rush that it creates for the driver and the fans , can be quite exhilarating . Never mind the fact that it’s said to the crash that draws the fans to such an event. And for the super fast tracks such as, Daytona and Talladega Super Speedway . Well, these are the tracks where the most excitement can be obtained and in essence more bang for your buck . Pardon that , but there’s meant to be no pun intended.

I feel compelled to watch some of the races but honestly , I’m not a big devotee of the sport ! I can tell you the names of several of the drivers within the top ranks of the sport , which happens to be the Sprint Cup Series . And along with the very fact that for much of the time many of the races seem unendurably long and tedious. More often than not , that’s because for some needless reason there tends to be one pile up after another with ever increasing regularity. And when in essence it’s merely 43 high powered vehicles repeatedly making left turn , left turn , one after another. Let’s just say , that the momentum from the perceived excitement, just isn’t there. It’s simply akin to watching grains of sand fall through an hourglass. Tedious or what ?

Formula 1 World  Champion  Jenson Button  celebrates  his  third  place  finish    at the  Abu  Dhabi  Grand  Prix  as the  Yas  Marina  Circuit  in Abu  Dhabi     .       Button   is   a  first  time  winner  of  the  world championship   and  has become  the  second  consecutive  British   driver  to win  the  championship  in the  last  two  years.   He succeeds  Lewis   Hamilton  who  became  the  first  black  driver to  win  the   prestigious   title.       picture  appears   courtesy  of  reuters/  Steve  Crisp  .........

Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button celebrates his third place finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi,. Button is a first time winner of the championship and has become the second consecutive British driver to win the championship in the last two years. He succeeds Lewis Hamilton who became the first black driver to win the prestigious title in 2008. picture appears courtesy of reuters/ Steve Crisp ……..

For myself , the thrill of watching motorsports came from watching the races on the Formula 1 Grand Prix Circuit . And even though the races there are favored road course events. The prerequisite skills required by the drivers are very much in a similar vein to that of their counterparts within NASCAR. And with the sport’s governing body Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) being of the a disposition to make their events much more popular and internationally relevant. This is the primary reason why I tend to veer towards the races that take place within this genre of racing. It’s fast , it’s exciting and most of all the races aren’t always convoluted with the spectacle of repeated crashes or stoppages for cautions from pieces of debris falling from a race car. That’s something that tends to be the norm within the realms of NASCAR, more often than not.

Pele`  seen  here  as    member of    the  New  York  Cosmos   of the  NASL

Pele`seen here as a member of the New York Cosmos of the NASL. The league at its inception in 1968 lasted for 17 years. But then folded in 1985, with its last champions being the Chicago Sting in 1984. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/archive/soccer ….

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Love it ,or hate it, soccer is the predominant sport played on the planet. That being said, I have to ask myself what is it that makes the vast number of US sports’ fans so oblivious to the sport of soccer ? I understand America’s proclivity for wanting to be competitive and be dominant in every international sporting event that it participates in. But given the fact , that its desires upon the sport stems from the fact that if they’re not dominant in it. Then, it bears no interest to them or to the social graces that comes with being an ardent fan of the sport. Perhaps , much of this stems from the very fact that at the height of the seventies , when a number of international soccer stars were lured stateside for vast amounts of money. Well , the game and what it represented , the U.S was place to be seen. And at the height of the euphoria surrounding the game here in North America. The venue to be seen at was at the home venue of the New York Cosmos , with its litany of world class international superstars. At that time, no star was more widely known than that, of Brazil’s Pele’ . In many people’s eyes, the greatest soccer player the world has ever seen, or will ever see.

The  New  York  Cosmos  line up  prior  to an  NASL  match  held at  Giants  Stadium  , East Rutherford ,  New  Jersey .   At  the  time  Pele'  was  one  14 international   players on  the  Cosmos  roster.   There  weren't   any  rules  in   place   limiting  the  number  of  international  players  a  team  could  have  at  its  disposal   for  a  game.    picture appears  courtesy  afp/  Paul  Wright  ...........

Pele’ seen here the sixth player from the left is lined up alongside his New York Cosmos teammates prior to an NASL match played at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of afp/Paul Wright …..

With the inception of the North American Soccer League (NASL) and the governing board’s proclivity for wanting the brightest and the best that the game had to offer by way of international talent. No stone was left unturned in terms of money to lure the likes of Pele` , Giorgio Chinaglia , Franz Beckenbauer , Johann Cryuff , Graeme Souness, Hugo Sanchez, Gerd Muller , Rodney Marsh , Marinho` and a slew of other world class , who all inked their name on the dotted line. And the financial rewards for the top stars ? Well it was immense .

Fast forward to today and with the demise of the NASL . We now have the MLS and its sundry of players , primarily native born . But amongst them also are a number of international stars and some nationalized citizens, who’ve made the US their home. But nowhere is there the dearth of world class stars that once graced soccer here, as of now. OK , so fan favorite David Beckham of the Los Angeles Galaxy was lured here to try and make the sport relevant amongst a certain type of male demographic. But as of yet that hasn’t really been parlayed into anything of significance. Granted , at first the curiosity factor was there. And inspite of it all , the Galaxy have still struggled to fully live up to expectations. As too has Beckham to some extent. But now with the team in the MLS playoffs, great things are expected of them.

The Los  Angeles  Galaxy  team  seen  here   prior  to the  MLS Western  Conference  Semi-finals  match  against  Chivas  USA  in  game   played at the  Home Depot  Center  in  Carson,   California,.   The  game  would  end  in a  2-2 tie  .   picture appears  courtesy  of  getty images/  Victor Decolongon  ..................

The Los Angeles Galaxy team seen here prior to their MLS Western Conference Semi-final match against Chivas USA in a game played The Home Depot Center in Carson, California . Also in picture is David Beckham in the back , first player on the left. In the front row is Landon Donovan, 2nd player from the left. The game would end in a 2-2 tie. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Victor Decolongon …..

For the sport to really make its presence felt . Much of that success will not only stem from the league’s chance to resonate with its fans. But also much of that success will also be predicated by the amount of success that can be attained by the men’s national squad. Inasmuch, as the women attained a great deal of success at the international level and then sought to follow that up with the creation of its own professional domestic league. The success there was only fleeting and much of that was derived from the fact that they took far too long in setting up a league in the first place.

For MLS and its hierarchy under the guidance of Commissioner Don Garber. . He’s entrusted with seeing that the game flourishes around the league through its franchises. And at the same he also seeks the maturation of such homegrown talent in Jozy Altidore , Landon Donovan , Marvell Wynne and a slew of up and coming players with the wherewithall to make their presence felt at the domestic level. And then all the way at the international level, if the game is to truly resonate with the fans here. And then, and only then, can the game consider to have been a success domestically as well as at the international level. Albeit, that the quality domestically doesn’t rival that of their European counterpart. The rise of US soccer has been incremental. And it is to the credit of template set by MLS and USA Soccer !

In parting , the thoughts made here within this piece are purely my own as to my likes and dislikes, when it comes to sports. If as such, there are certain sports that you consider to be mundane , either in part because they’re too monotonous to watch. Or perhaps in your eyes they just don’t elicit enough fervor and excitement . Then by all means, feel free to pass judgment by leaving a comment.