What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

Well now that the MLB season is slowly progressing towards its halfway point and with the league’s midseason showcase event due in July with the All Star Game being hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field , in Phoenix , Arizona. It well be interesting to see how the teams come into the break in terms of their overall form .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The standings at present reflect that Philadelphia Phillies seem to be intent on running away with the NL East . They currently hold a 5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the division and though it’s way too early to suggest that they will be playing for the NLCS during the postseason but it would appear that the only thing that can derail the Phillies’ season would be their own complacency . Within the NL Central and NL West it would appear the races there are too close to call between the top two teams within each division . Tight races tend to add a great deal more excitement to the season and there’s no doubt in my mind that’s what the fans really yearn . And that is liable to be the case at present within both of the divisions in question .

Within the AL it’s business as usual within the AL East where the Boston Red Sox are now prepared to show that their recent form isn’t merely an aberration. On a two game winning streak and winners of nine of their last ten games the Red Sox now look as if they’re look distance themselves from the rest of the division. Their 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field was certainly a hard fought win but that’s simply the mindset of what now is the most competitive division within baseball. This division to my mind will most certainly provide the wildcard entrant for AL without a doubt unless there’s a monumental meltdown by the runner up to the winner of the AL East.

As was the premise with the NL Central and NL West well once again here too the races may well be too close to call within the AL Central and AL West . What we can be certain of within both divisions is that the teams won’t be giving up until the divisions are mathematically out of their reach in terms of winning or possibly attaining that lone wildcard berth .

Now as much as I know that Commissioner Bud Selig the league hierarchy in conjunction with the team owners have proposed expanding the playoffs’ format by adding two more teams within each league . I certainly believe that the hierarchy’s biggest issue is to deal with the financial problems now engulfing a number of teams within the league rather than adding to the playoffs and further elongating the season far more than it needs to be. I mean it’s not as if Selig has actually shown the propensity for being proactive on any issue unless he’s dragged kicking and screaming , then being forced to make a decision. Simply look at the morass created by Frank McCourt with the Los Angeles Dodgers ? If that’s not enough of an indication to show mind numbingly slow Selig was in acting , given the fact that it had been widely reported that the franchise was financially troubled . Then clearly Bud Selig along with the owners and league hierarchy were in fact so naive but perhaps even more so , too damn stupid for their own good .

I’m not about to try understand the fascination with Ricky Rubio and the fact that the player now says he’s ready to play in the NBA . Granted , having been drafted in 2009 by the Minnesota Timberwolves , the player sought to forgo joining the organization and play an additional two years in Europe where the financial inducement there was far greater than the front office could have offered with a rookie contract. Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn now feel that the player having made the decision to join the team can provide them with the form and maturity that simply belies his age.

In the aftermath of a horrendous season the Timberwolves now have to deal with the disatisfaction of their incumbent coach Kurt Rambis and the mere fact that neither Glen Taylor or David Kahn have assured their beleaguered coach that he’ll be asked to return next season. With there not being a plethora of viable candidates out there to succeed Rambis should he be relieved of his duties . I would have thought that the the general manager and team owner would want to reassure the coach that his job is safe. Furthermore , with the NBA Draft due to take place on 23rd June I certainly would have thought that a coaching upheaval would be the last things that this franchise now needs . But herein lies the idiocy of how the Timberwolves have simply acted , as if in a vacuum and perhaps one of the reasons why they’ve simply had little success over the last five years. Beset by rather asinine personnel decisions made not only by Kahn but also his predecessor Kevin McHale this organization has never gained any traction in terms of success .

With the Minnesota Timberwolves having the number # 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft it will be interesting to see the decision made by the organization. As such there isn’t a genuine consensus number one pick but the thought is that the two most desirable players could well be Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams . From there , it’s anyone’s guess as to what format will be then taken in terms of the players taken in this Draft .

As the NFL work stoppage has already entered its ninetieth day I can’t help but wonder what the optimism amongst the team owners , league hierarchy and players appears to be about ! Hell, both sides have already alienated the vast majority of fans to begin with . And no amount of public statements coming from both sides concerning the progress now being made can simply hide the fact that what we have are two groups of greedy fucking bastards ! The average salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million per year with the median salary $770,000 and the average career span being approximately three and a half years . I understand that the players are entitled the highest possible salary available to them given the inherent risks of the game . But herein lies my question do they try and identify themselves with the fan out there ? I’ve heard a number of players during this stoppage state their issues are no different from that of any employee in the work place . Personally, I seriously doubt that the working fan who attends an NFL game can actually identify with the likes of Tom Brady , Peyton Manning or even Reggie Bush for that matter when their salaries run into the millions each season . Whereas as the average salary nationwide is approximately $44,000 per year , one can well understand that fan can hardly identify with a player who’s compensation package , endorsements notwithstanding can easily exceed $15 million a year.

From a fan’s standpoint , at this moment in time I couldn’t really care if the NFL starts on schedule as planned on the 8th September 2011 . Once this dispute came into being with a stoppage the NFL simply lost me and many others as long term fans . I’m of no doubt that they will however do their utmost to lure us all back with some form of inducement that we might too unbelievable to turn down . It has already began with a number of teams around the NFL in many cases offering deep discounts on for the purchase of season tickets and game day tickets in a number of instances .

So the US Open golf tournament is underway and all of this without the game’s biggest draw in Tiger Woods . The stage is set at Congressional Golf Club in Bethseda , Maryland for any one of a number of players to step into Woods’ shoes and show the fans they can become the main draw for the event . From my own standpoint the moment made the announcement that he wouldn’t be participating in the second Major of the season I simply knew that the tournament could either become a monumental disaster from spectators yearning for excitement . As it now stands the leaderboard for the tournament midway through two rounds isn’t exactly awe inspiring . Rory McIlroy leads the event with an eight stroke lead at -11 (11 under par). And to think that a patron stated that the player’s meltdown in the year’s first Major The Masters was simply because he wasn’t good enough . I guess when your knowledge of the game borders on the level of Palin’s knowledge of jurisprudence and the number of members seated on the US Supreme Court I guess you simply have to take that for all it’s worth ? Sitting solely in second place is Y. E. Yang at -3 , in third place is Robert Garrigus at .-2.

There is still two more rounds to be played in this tournament but if McIlroy is able to keep his composure with the pressure bearing down on him then it is my belief that he can win this tournament and cement his credentials as one of the best young players on the PGA Tour . Having already established himself on the European Tour as well as a member of a winning European Ryder Cup team the future bodes well for the young Irishman . In an earlier article I had intimated that I firmly believe that the US Open could be won by a foreigner as I felt that the US born players have now simply become too disinterested in their national championship and in large , the Majors themselves . With there being vast sums at stake on the Tour schedule and total prize money in excess of $ 225 million it begs the question are they actually interested in winning or merely cashing a check for a top twenty finish ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show for your perusal .

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(1) Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard (6) celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Florida Marlins in the fifth inning of a baseball game on Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Phillies won 3-0 . AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr ….

(2) PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: during the game against the at Citizens Bank Park on June 16, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 3-0. Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images ….

(3) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays steals second base as shortstop Marco Scutaro (10) of the Boston Red Sox is late with the tag during the game at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(4) Pitching coach Jim Hickey (48) of the Tampa Bay Rays talks with pitcher David Price (14) during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Red Sox would go on to defeat the Rays 4-2 Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(5) Spanish basketball player Ricky Rubio gives a press conference on June 17, 2011, at the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona, to announce that he was leaving the Catalan team to make his debut in the NBA next season at Minnesota Timberwolves.
AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGO /Getty Images …

(6) 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. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images …

(7) T’wolves’ GM David Kahn (foreground) and the team’s owner Glen Taylor answer questions from the convened press at a team press conference. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/ ap/photo/ Martin Geshell ……………….

(8) Tom Brady and Peyton Manning shake hands after an NFL game . The two celebrated quarterbacks are amongst the highest paid players in the NFL . Getty Images/ Jim Rogash ……

(9) BETHESDA, MD – JUNE 17: The handwritten scores of Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in the press room during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images ……

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland swings from the bunker on the ninth hole during the second round of the 111th US Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON ….

(11) Y. E. Yang, of South Korea, watches his drive from the fourth tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Friday, June 17, 2011. AP Photo/Eric Gay …..

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Sports News in general

MLB News

MLB Schedule 3 days at a glance

MLB Scoreboard

MLB Results 16th June

MLB Probable starters

MLB Standings

MLB Standings wildcard

NBA News

NBA Draft

NBA Draft Order 2011

Minnesota Timberwolves history

Minnesota Timberwolves news

Minnesota Timberwolves front office

Minnesota Timberwolves’ roster

Minnesota Timberwolves team stats

Coach Kurt Rambis

NFL News

PGA Tour news

2011 US Open Leaderboard

A Wasteland Of Despair And Ineptitude …………..

A Wasteland Of Despair And Ineptitude …………..

There was a time when I use to think that the ‘majority’ of the ‘really bad teams’ that resided in the NBA were in fact, in the Eastern Conference . Now I’m not quite so sure , based on last night’s performance by the Western Conference’s Minnesota Timberwolves. We can all attest to the fact that the New Jersey Nets are ‘woefully inept’ and that their impending full season record may well lead to an all-time low in the depths of mediocrity when it comes to the NBA But even the Nets haven’t given up an astounding 152 points in a regular season game.

 Jonny Flynn (10) of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives to the basket against Robin Lopez (15) of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on March 16, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 152-114.   photo appears  courtesy  of  Getty  Images/  Christian  Petersen ....
Jonny Flynn (10) of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives to the basket against Robin Lopez (15) of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on March 16, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 152-114. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Christian Petersen ....

The claim can be made that this might well have been the worse performance by any NBA franchise this season defensively, as the Timberwolves allowed the Phoenix Suns to amass 152 points against them in a ’38 point’ blowout loss 152-114 . The total amassed by the Suns was a league and it was the highest points total given up by the Timberwolves in a loss over the last decade.

Leandro Barbosa (10) of the Phoenix Suns drives against Jonny Flinn (10) of the Minnesota Timberwolves in an NBA Game played on March 16, 2010 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.  photo appears   courtesy of NBAE/Getty  Images/  Paul  Molumby  ..............
Leandro Barbosa (10) of the Phoenix Suns drives against Jonny Flinn (10) of the Minnesota Timberwolves in an NBA Game played on March 16, 2010 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Paul Molumby ..............

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Sharpshooting Suns rout reeling Minnesota 152-114

By Bob Baum , AP Sports Writer

Phoenix (AP)—It’s an NBA law of physics: Put the highest-scoring team in the league against arguably the worst defense and watch the scoreboard light up like the Fourth of July.

Jason Richardson scored 27 points and Amare Stoudemire 25, then sat with the rest of the Phoenix starters while the Suns’ reserves finished off a 152-114 rout of Minnesota on Monday night in the highest-scoring game by an NBA team this season.

Lou Amundson matched his career high with 20 points as Phoenix sent the Timberwolves to their 10th straight loss and 16th in the last 17 games.

The Suns, with eight players in double figures, shot 56 percent from the field and 15 of 31 from 3-point range to win their ninth in 12 games.

“We’re just trying to gear up for the last 15 games,” Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said, “have a pace that we’re comfortable with.”

Corey Brewer scored 21 for the Timberwolves, who set a franchise record for most points allowed in a game.

“Well, that’s certainly what happens when you don’t play any defense,” Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said.

Phoenix pulled alone into sixth place in the tight scramble for playoff positioning in the West. The Suns trail No. 5 Oklahoma City by a half-game and No. 4 Utah by 1 1/2 games. It was a perfect night to rest the starters in preparation for Friday night’s home game against the Jazz.

“And you know that will be a physical game,” Gentry said.

This one certainly wasn’t.

“It was a lot of fun,” Stoudemire said. “It was so much fun when the starters were able to rest there in the fourth. We’ll take that.”

Richardson, who scored 15 in the first quarter, matched his season high with six 3-pointers. Steve Nash(notes) had 13 points and 14 assists, nine of them in the opening period.

The game matched two of the bottom three teams in terms of points allowed this season. The difference was the Suns have a lot more scorers than woeful Minnesota does.

“We weren’t making that effort. They were playing a lot harder than we were,” Rambis said. “With a team that is in synch the way that they’re in, they understand how to move the basketball, the know where their options and their outlet passes are. They’re just too good.”

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Goran Dragic (2) of the Phoenix Suns drives for a shot past Ryan Hollins (1) of the Minnesota Timberwolves in an NBA Game played on March 16, 2010 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. photo appears  courtesy of  NBAE/ Getty  Images/  Barry  Gossage  ......................
Goran Dragic (2) of the Phoenix Suns drives for a shot past Ryan Hollins (1) of the Minnesota Timberwolves in an NBA Game played on March 16, 2010 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Barry Gossage ......................

For Timberwolves’ coach Kurt Rambis , he must be now wondering whether or not he wouldn’t have been better off remaining a part of Phil Jackson’s coaching staff with the Los Angeles Lakers ? Because based on last night’s evidence, this T’wolves’ team is in need of a great deal of coaching and discipline on both ends of the floor. GM Dave Kahn and team owner Glen Taylor had to have been shell-shocked from seeing their team being dismantled and completely bombarded by a Suns’ team , where all of their starters scored double figures. The Suns were led in scoring by Jason Richardson with 27 points and he was ably assisted by Amare’ Stoudemire who scored 25 points , to go along with the his usual customary defense. That asides, about the only thing that the T’wolves had going for them was the fact that the margin of victory wasn’t indeed greater. Other than the play of Corey Brewer and Ryan Gomes , there wasn’t much positive that the Minnesota Timberwolves could take away from this loss on the Suns’ homecourt at the US Airways Arena (Center) in downtown Phoenix.

Currently with a 14-54 mark, the Timberwolves have ‘the worse record’ in the Western Conference and are only marginally worse off than the Golden State Warriors who maintains a 5 game advantage over the T’wolves , with a 18-48 mark. Though it is nowhere near the abysmal total now set by New Jersey Nets and their record of 7-60 . It is easy to understand why ‘these two teams’ are now fighting for the ignominy of not ending up with the worse record in the NBA at the end of the regular season. OK, so there may well be light at the end of the tunnel in the fact one of these two teams will end up with the number one pick in the NBA Draft , dependent upon their chances in the lottery. But if the consensus is that two players coming out of that draft may well be Evan Turner of Ohio State and John Wall of Kentucky . Then things could very well be looking up for both teams in the future. Do you think that either of the team’s GM’s Dave Kahn and his Nets’ counterparts Rod Thorn , President of Basketball Operations and GM Alex Diaz will seek to ‘curry favor’ with David Stern , prior to the draft, in order to obtain a favorable showing in the NBA Draft lottery ?

 Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 16, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. photo  appears courtesy  of  Getty  Images/  Christian  Petersen ...........
Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 16, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Christian Petersen ...........

The Nets may also have bigger aspirations, as they no doubt seek to be a part of the LeBron James sweepstakes at the end of the season, should the Cavaliers’ player indeed make his wishes known as to ‘his’ impending free agency status. But much of that may well be based on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ postseason showing. A trip to the NBA Finals and a Cavaliers’ triumph , pretty much to puts to rest any thoughts of James leaving the franchise. A defeat however, and he may well seek to play in the Big Apple, in Brooklyn, the soon to be, new home of a relocated Nets franchise .

For the Timberwolves’ organization the only direction is up . But a great deal of work now needs to be done by the front office and in particular by Rambis’ and his coaching staff . They possess some good young players but in large part there’s no veteran presence or leadership. So in essence it’s left to Brewer , Al Jefferson , rookies Jonny Flynn and Wayne Ellington to lead this team back to some semblance of respectability.

T'wolves' GM David Kahn (foreground)and the team's owner Glen Taylor (left) answer questions from the convened press at a team press conference. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/ ap/photo/ Martin Geshell ...................
T'wolves' GM David Kahn (foreground)and the team's owner Glen Taylor (left) answer questions from the convened press at a team press conference. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/ ap/photo/ Martin Geshell ...................

This is something that has to happen if the franchise is to have any goodwill with the remaining supporters there in the city. If there’s continued failure, then the fans will drift away in their support of ‘the team’ and the Timberwolves’ organization as a whole. And that’s going to be a formidable task if the team doesn’t avail itself of a top flight draftee in the 2010 NBA Draft. So it’s pretty much safe to say that the current wasteland of despair and ineptitude could either be a short run thing for the Timberwolves or it could end up being the norm for the foreseeable future. The same can be said of the fate for the New Jersey Nets also.

What are your thoughts on the matter ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………

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Naureen  Zaim .  Who  wouldn't   mind  teaching   her  a  lesson  or   two  on   human  biology  ?
Model & Playboy playmate Naureen Zaim . Who wouldn't mind teaching her a lesson or two on human anatomy ?

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Bone Thugs N Harmony ………..”Crossroads”

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