And The Surveys Says ……….. David Einhorn Is An Ass ! But There’s More $1.2 Billion Can Possibly Buy A Piece of Crap !

And The Survey Says …….. David Einhorn Is An Ass ! But There’s More $1.2 Billion Can Possibly Buy A Piece of Crap !

Perhaps it was simply naive to think that hedge fund manager David Einhorn could be considered an astute businessman . Einhorn the founder and CEO of Greenlight Capital Investments Inc sought to invest $200 million into the beleaguered New York Mets . And as many of you must now be aware the organization as well as its two most senior executives Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon as well as the ballclub itself are co-defendants in a civil suit seeking in excess of $750 million received by Katz , Wilpon and their investment company Sterling Equities Inc . This civil suit comes about , having been derived of the Bernard Madoff “Ponzi Scheme scandal”.

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Madoff now incarcerated , is serving a 125 year sentence for his fraudulent acts and it has been estimated that a mere $2.6 billion has been recovered from the $59 billion ($59,000,000,000) lost by the victims of this scandal . Representing the plaintiffs as the receiver in the federal trial within the US Federal Court System is renowned attorney Irving Picard . And it would appear with the reluctance of both Katz and Wilpon to fully disclose all of the interaction that is said to have taken place with all of the vested parties who are the defendants in this case. Allegations that monies have been sent to offshore accounts and a lack of candor from anyone within the New York Mets’ organization with regard to this matter but somehow David Einhorn thought it prudent to invest $200 million to purchase a stake in the team. Pardon me for saying this , but this is simply another reason that indicates the complete stupidity that lies within the game amongst the team owners , front office executives and no less than the league hierarchy itself. I’ve no doubt that Einhorn may well be suitably qualified to run a hedge fund company but based on this one act alone I wouldn’t have this asshole invest my money in anything deemed to be a worthwhile investment based on his alleged knowledge .

Courtesy of The New York Times

Deal to Sell Piece of Mets to Einhorn Falls Apart

Richard Sandomir , The New York Times

In a surprising development, the Mets announced on Thursday that they had ended their protracted negotiations to sell a minority share of the team for $200 million to David Einhorn, a hedge fund manager.

In part, the deal broke down over Einhorn’s desire to be preapproved by Major League Baseball as the team’s majority owner in anticipation that he might be able to buy more than 50 percent of the team in coming years. He was also apparently seeking considerable input as a limited partner, which also may have factored in the talks’ breakdown.

That the issue of future majority ownership would help topple the negotiations was not surprising. There was always an inherent tension in the relationship between the Mets’ owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, who are in their 70s and want control of the team to remain in family hands, and Einhorn, 42, who clearly had his own aspirations about the club’s future.

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The New York Mets are a poorly ran organization, bereft of executives with any intelligence and the league hierarchy itself is no better than the crazed idiots who seem to think that the ball-club is simply worth saving . From my own standpoint I do believe that Einhorn was led to believe that the team was a worthwhile investment but given the idiocy of this decision from the outset , let me ask you this who in their right mind chooses to invest $200 million in a ball-club that itself is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy ? The team is carrying significant debt much of which hasn’t been fully disclosed and herein lies the biggest problem within baseball itself , it is the complete lack of candor , transparency of the teams who more often than not seek public financing for their stadiums at the expense of the taxpayers. And how quaint is it that in this time of economic strife no one seems to question the fact that multi millionaire team owners are granted these amenities while small businesses are left out in the cold when it comes to governmental aid at the state or federal level .

Whatever legal counsel and advice proffered up to the fund manager (Einhorn) has to been idiotic at best , but this is another reason to indicate why the game is in the current state that it is , in as it relates to the financial well being of the teams in baseball . At this point I’m wondering what else it must now take for Bud Selig to further to show some interest in the legal proceedings concerning the New York Mets and the actual dealings of the organization itself ! I know that both Sandy Alderson and J P Ricciardi have been brought in the oversee the front office and all personnel decisions concerning this ball-club.

The team itself has struggled over the course of this season . But if nothing else for manager Terry Collins and his coaching staff this has been a work in progress as they assess this roster . Far be it for me to suggest but the New York Mets are a long way off from where they need to be or would hope to be . And given their present financial predicament the likelihood of them being able to turn things around do not appear to be promising at present . What talent that’s said to be on the roster could very well be on the way out at some point in the immediate future and it is clear the Jose Reyes and David Wright are the most prized assets on this team . Although it can be said amongst their prospects , draft and their farm system could be considered where the future may well lay for the organization as it determines its very future .

Well it appears that the never-ending Los Angeles Dodgers’ saga isn’t at an end as it is being widely reported that Bill Burke , co-founder and former the director of the Los Angeles Marathon is heading a consortium to buy the beleaguered franchise. The ball-club now in bankruptcy proceedings (Chapter 11) with that effort having been sought by team owner Frank McCourt . Now it goes without saying , that this is a further case where the league hierarchy led by Bud Selig , simply dropped the ball , acting like a blind man playing hopscotch in a minefield . Each step taken and this ass has acted as if the actions of the executives within the Dodgers’ front office were simply unknown to him . What might be unconscionable is the very fact that Peter Wilhelm as the COO and general manager Ned Colletti have simply acted in like lap dogs while McCourt and his ex-spouse , Jamie McCourt have plundered the coffers of this ball-club. They have simply used the organization as their personal ATM , spending lavishly on luxury homes , vehicles , vacations to various parts of the globe and in some cases Frank McCourt used the organization as collateral in numerous business deals . Those business transactions are in direct contravention of the the bye laws of the game as set by the league hierarchy . How this can be overlooked by the Bud Selig simply beyond belief but it once again shows the stupidity of the commissioner and those said to countenance the well being of the game .

Bill Burke has formally lodged through the US District Bankruptcy Court , Wilmington , in the state of Delaware , as they are dealing with the bankruptcy proceedings concerning the Los Angeles Dodgers. Burke and the consortium have offered $1.2 billion ($1,200,000,000) for the team and that is believed to be the highest bid ever offered for the the potential purchase of a ball-club . The presiding judge would have to assess the merits of the bid but the approval would still have to come from the league hierarchy concerning this sale . $1.2 billion seems extraordinarily high but we have yet to verify all of the details of the consortium’s bid and whether or not they are assuming the debt of the organization as that situation has yet to be fully resolved. At this juncture , I am not so sure that there will be a satisfactory ending to this drama as Frank McCourt wants to retain total control of this team . Sadly , for the beleaguered fans of the ball club having McCourt as the owner has been one of those episodes one would rather forget because there has been nothing at all that could would stipulate as being satisfactory. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ recent record and that of their lack of real success in the postseason playoffs clearly indicates that this organization is without real direction. Certainly given their history , the famed players to have donned the uniform and the Hall of Famers

Courtesy of Los Angeles Times

Frank McCourt is offered $1.2 billion for Dodgers

By Bill Shaikin , Los Angeles Times

In an international twist in the Dodgers’ ownership saga, Frank McCourt has been offered $1.2 billion to sell the team to a group indirectly financed by the government of China.

The bid is headed by Los Angeles Marathon founder Bill Burke, according to a letter sent to McCourt on Tuesday. The letter was disclosed to The Times by two people familiar with its content but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The proposed sale price would set a record for a Major League Baseball team. However, the bid was received with skepticism within MLB, where executives wondered whether the proposal might be used by McCourt to stir negotiations with other potential buyers or to persuade a Bankruptcy Court judge to keep McCourt in charge of the team.

“There are questions within the sports industry about whether this is a genuine offer,” said one industry consultant who works extensively with MLB and other professional sports leagues.

The offer was unsolicited, according to a person who had spoken with McCourt’s representatives but was not authorized to discuss the conversation.

It is uncertain whether the embattled Dodgers owner is receptive to the offer. McCourt has said that he had no interest in selling the Dodgers and that he intended to remain the owner after the team emerges from bankruptcy protection.

Steve Sugerman, a spokesman for McCourt, declined to comment on whether McCourt had received the letter and whether he would consider selling the team.

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The one bright spot quite possibly for Los Angeles Dodgers this season has been the play Matt Kemp and it bodes well for his possible candidacy for the NL MVP . And given the other potential candidates said to be in the running for the award . The fact that Kemp plays on a team with a losing record and they are completely out of the running not only for the NL West but also the wildcard berth within the National League leads me to believe that he has an outside chance to win the award . If anything the presumed favorites could are the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun and his teammate Prince Fielder . The coveted award adds to a player’s resume’ but places them alongside an illustrious number whose names adorns one of the game’s most prized and fabled accolades .

Don Mattingly and his assistant coaches have tried their best to make the transition from Joe Torre to his protege’ (Mattingly) seem smooth and without real friction . But it has been the drama off the field that if anything that has simply brought far too much focus and attention on the organization for all of the wrong reasons . Somehow , had there been an ounce of intelligence from within this organization amongst its executives , then perhaps , the Dodgers’ fall from grace would not be so dramatic and unbelievable in its magnitude , never mind the capricious acts of Frank McCourt and his ex-wife , Jamie McCourt .

At this juncture I am no longer surprised by the idiocy to be witnessed within the game of baseball . Far too many fans are simply about what is happening on the field , rather than what’s happening within the front offices of the teams . Needless to say , there’s a great deal more to be added to both of these stories as they play themselves out for the public’s consumption .

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With David Einhorn now backing out of this deal to purchase a stake in the New York Mets what do you think would be the appropriate action that should be taken be it by the league hierarchy or the presiding judge in this legal matter ? And as such do you feel optimistic that Bill Burke’s potential bid for the Los Angeles Dodgers will be looked upon favorably by the league and the bankruptcy judge presiding over the organization’s filing ? Leave a comment as to the points raised within this piece and anything else you believe to be pertinent .

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

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) From left to right New York Mets Chief Executive Officer Fred Wilpon , Manager Terry Collins, prospective Mets owner David Einhorn and General Manager Sandy Alderson talk during batting practice before a Major League Baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on August 6, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
Getty Images North America / Paul Bereswill …..

(2) Saul Katz (standing) is seen here with Mets’ co-owner Fred Wilpon the executive suite at Citi-Field , Flushing , New York . AP Photo / Chris Beresford …….

(3) Dr William “Bill” Burke who leads a consortium backed by the Chinese government that has made a $1.2 billion bid for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team’s owner Frank McCourt has yet to release a formal statement concerning the unsolicited bid the group but it is believed that the beleaguered club executive may well reject the offer. Courtesy of CBS Los Angeles ………..

(4) Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti (left) and the team’s owner Frank McCourt . This was Colletti’s formal introduction to the public as the team’s new GM in November 2005. Icon SMI/ Larry Goren …….

(5) Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly talks with pitcher Dana Eveland in the dugout after the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011. The Dodgers won 6-4 with Dana Eveland getting the win. AP Photo/Gene Puskar ….

(6) Matt Kemp (27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a single against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on September 1, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images ……
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Do I Hear A Bid of One Billion Dollars … ?

Do I Hear A Bid of One Billion Dollars … ?

Well we are all aware that David Einhorn the New York hedge fund manager and founder of Green Capital Investments has invested $200 million into the cash starved and financially strapped New York Mets . Now along the way we have all read about the problems of the organization and the fact that the team’s well the two most prominent owners team are now defendants in the ongoing case as the plaintiffs in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal seek as much as $1 billion in punitive damages from Saul Katz , Fred Wilpon , the New York Mets and Wilpon’s investment company Sterling Equities Inc . With that in mind I’d like to think that Einhorn and his lawyers were given some sort of guarantee that his investment is in fact safe , given the fact that the case against the defendants would appear to very strong. The plaintiffs’ lead attorney Irving Picard remains steadfast in his belief that the defendants are guilty and knowingly hid these funds having been made aware that as recipients of the funds from Madoff , this all from a fraudulent and felonious act. I’m not so sure that when it’s all said and done the Mets as an organization will be the ball club in its present guise that will be around . There is a very strong possibility that should the judge presiding over this hearing rule in the defendants’ favor after all of the evidentiary facts , we could very well see the organization seeking bankruptcy protection.

I was once told by a patron that bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean doom and gloom for a franchise . Somehow I don’t think that this individual knows what actually comes about in such a situation for the franchise given the fact that creditors aren’t always willing at first to renegotiate their debt for pennies on the dollar . For me however , I simply look at the Mets as an organization whose owners and front office over the last few years have become complacent , clueless and completely inept ! And although there has been an upheaval in the front office with Sandy Alderson , team President and EVP J P Ricciardi being brought in to oversee all personnel and roster moves in all aspects of the player personnel decisions. And given the overwhelming belief that this team has underperformed this season it is easy understand why the New York Mets are viewed a monumental laughing stock around MLB. Terry Collins was brought in as the Mets’ manager having succeeded Jerry Manuel whose managerial style bordered on sheer ineptitude .

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I’ve no doubt that at the end of the day this organization will either sink or swim by the decisions made of which much of it was brought on by their own actions . At 39-39 within the NL East and already some games behind the division leading Philadelphia Phillies I now feel that there’s no chance of the team actually competing within the division , much less winning it or possibly gaining a wildcard berth . And given the proclivity of this team to simply implode at the most inexplicable of moments it’s easy to understand why Wilpon was so vehemently critical of players such as Jose Reyes , Carlos Beltran and David Wright . A trio of overpaid, alleged superstars who between them have contributed little by way of success this season or seasons past . If nothing else given the fact that of the investment made by David Einhorn I am not so sure that he’ll get an entirely acceptable return on his investment.

Consider the idiocy however concerning not only of the Mets’ organization but the capricious nature of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the very fact that he cajoled the city commission in voting for a $2.355 billion bond issue that financed the building of Citi Fied (and Yankee Stadium ) an edifice that for much of this season has been half filled through much of the home games played at the venue . Built at a cost of over $755 million I can’t help but wonder what gave Bloomberg or the New York Mets the impression that building this monstrosity would equate with any future success for the organization Mets ! But this is merely a harbinger of the idiocy and corrupt practices that now takes place within the game all under the nose and suborned by Bud Selig , baseball’s hierarchy and the team owners within the game.

Here’s a question I would pose you now if you were a wealthy financier or entrepreneur and $ 1 billion at your disposal would you take it upon yourself to invest in a professional sports franchise and if so which particular sport would that investment be in ? Would it be within MLB , the NFL , NHL , MLS or NBA for that matter ?

Each of the four major sports face their own difficulties given the variables of economic climate but in large part the hierarchies of MLB, NBA , NFL and NHL along with the respective owners have never really shown enough foresight to actually plan expediently for the future. The NBA now faces a work stoppage that in large part can be avoided but given the fact that NBA Commissioner David Stern likes grandstanding and playing to the media , I think that the league and the hierarchy are in for a rough time ahead as they seek an accord before the expiry of the existing collective bargaining agreement on the 30th June , 2011 . The team owners along with the league hierarchy will steadfastly stand by the fact that they will seek concessions from the NBPA headed by Executive Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher .

Should there be a stoppage within the NBA and it becomes as litigious as the impasse now in evidence between the NFL and NFLPA then any thought of the 2011-12 season starting on schedule in September could end up being wishful thinking on the part of the NBA fan. It is clear that neither side wants to be the first that backs down and I have no doubt that the executives of the teams will be working behind the scenes also to make sure that they can do their utmost in conjunction with the league to stave off any thought of a stoppage.

As for the NHL even with the fact that they just had an exhilarating Stanley Cup Finals between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins . The aftermath of the Bruins’ game seven victory and the city of Vancouver erupted into violence, with fans rioting , 150 injured victims and some 100 arrests. But what might be even more unbelievable were the multi million dollars’ worth of damage caused by the rioters. The city’s police Chief Jim Chu states that the cause of these riots weren’t due to the loss by the Canucks but simply due to the fact that these were individuals looking to take advantage of an event to loot and riot. Nonetheless, it will still be viewed as something of a black eye for the game and in particular the city of Vancouver and the team .

Hockey itself has come a long way from its own self inflicted wounds stemming from their lockout . Financial mismanagement and sheer ineptitude being shown by the league hierarchy led by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman still hasn’t brought the sport back to the visibility it once had. Viewership is still down but at the same time attendances are still up at a number of franchises around the league . Teams are now back to their old ways of conducting business , wherein we have seen being offered exorbitant contracts but yet somehow a number of owners simply wanted to have the best talent on offer and rewarding the players with such extraordinary offers that most teams could ill afford to pay. I won’t lambast a sport that I have little if any interest in because from a financial standpoint I believe that Bettman and the owners are still struggling to find a firm financial footing and given the proclivity there for simply tripping over their own bootlaces , the less now said about the NHL , the better !

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

In terms of the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New York Mets’ Jose Reyes, right, scores along with Mets’ Angel Pagan on a two-run RBI single by teammate Carlos Beltran in the second inning against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, June 26, 2011. AP Photo/Star-Telegram, Ron T. Ennis ……

(2) Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, right, yells at home plate umpire Andy Fletcher after being ejected from the game during a baseball game against the New York Mets in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, June 26, 2011. AP Photo/Star-Telegram, Ron T. Ennis ……

(3) ARLINGTON, TX – JUNE 26: A detail view of the field during the game between the against the Texas Rangers and the against the New York Mets at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 26, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images ….

(4) Daniel Murphy (28) of the New York Mets get tagged at second base by Ian Kinsler (5) of the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 26, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ian Kinsler;Daniel Murphy ……

(5) Fred Wilpon, General Manager Sandy Alderson, New York Mets new manager Terry Collins, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz pose for pictures during a press conference at Citi Field on November 23, 2010 in New York, New York. Getty Images North America / Chris McGrath …..

(6) David Einhorn, part owner of the New York Mets, watches the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on May 28, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Chris Trotman/ Getty Images North America ……

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It’s Often Best To Be Seen And Not Heard ……………

It’s Often Best To Be Seen And Not Heard ……………

Well with the ongoing NFL lockout you simply knew that ESPN couldn’t live without getting a sound byte no matter how inane it might be. And you can simply count on ESPN to sink to the lowest common denominator to make sure that scenario arises . Reporter Sal Palantonio  in an interview with the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Lewis had me chuckling when he correlated that the prolonged labor stoppage would lead to a rise in crime because the discerning NFL fan would have nothing to with there being no football. I simply wanted to say …” nig_a shut the fu_k up for God’s sake ” ! Ray Lewis knows about committing a crime and actually getting away with it because of the fact that the legal establishment simply obfuscated their responsibility as they often do , when taking a plea agreement or in this case, Lewis simply got off ” Scott free” in the manslaughter death of a victim in a deadly brawl during which two of Lewis’ accomplices actually committed this heinous act . ==================================================================================

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Courtesy of USA Today

Ravens’ Ray Lewis warns of spike in crime if NFL season is lost By Nate Davis , USA Today Ravens star LB Ray Lewis believes if the players and owners don’t soon find a way to resolve the ongoing lockout that people outside the NFL’s family could suffer far more severely than the ones squabbling within it. “We really got to remove pride. Seriously,” he said in an interview with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. “There’s no other reason the issue is going on. That’s why I don’t get into words and all that other stuff, because it takes away from life — itself. Man there are people who’s really struggling — for real. There’s real struggles out there. What we’re going through right now, we’re affecting way more than us. “There’s too many people (that) live through us, people live through us. Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I’m not talking about the people you see all the time.” Lewis goes on to suggest that the livelihoods of many fans and some of the NFL’s subsidiary employees — such as stadium workers — hang in the balance. “Do this research if we don’t have a season,” Lewis says. “Watch how much evil — which we call it crime — watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game. … There’s nothing else to do, Sal.” —————————————————————————————————Click on the link to read this article in its entirety . =================================================================================

Ray Lewis ought to recognize that crime usually goes up primarily because of the harsh realities of an economy goes into the tank ____ it’s now there for all to see. Without a doubt Lewis is either showing his ignorance or he’s merely looking for a way to show that he feels aggrieved because of the league’s actions in initiating the stoppage . And the very fact that the stoppage itself has been legally upheld by a judicial ruling by the 8th District Court of Appeals in Minneapolis , Minnesota he of all people should be concerned with his own union (NFLPA) body has been doing while all of this plays out . The NFLPA has simply been about its own image and self worth while painting the league hierarchy as the villains of the piece . It’s at times like this I’m simply happy that the idiots within the NFL and the NFLPA show that what they lack in common sense is only exhibited by the stupidity that either side has shown in trying to further play to the public’s sympathy by simply looking to blame the other for something that they collectively brought into being .

As respected as Lewis may well be by his peers within the league and some fans across the NFL panacea , I do believe that he could have expressed himself considerably better . Emotional as he may well be about this stoppage , he should remember also that the average fan out there isn’t as lucky to have been attributed with the Lewis’ God given talents and the fact that they would be able to earn a multi million dollar salary each year . And in spite of his image makeover after his legal issues in the aftermath of the trial that took place in the manslaughter death of that male victim by his two accomplices I still believe that Lewis is considerably lucky not to be behind bars ! Were this a mere civilian rather than a high profile athlete the outcome might well have been different. At this juncture there’s not much more that can be really said other than the words I’ve already directed at the Ravens’ player !

We all know the idiocy that has taken place concerning the New York Mets  and the fact that the organization as well two of the team’s most prominent owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon  as defendants are being sued in a Federal Court by the plaintiffs in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal . The plaintiffs are being represented by noted attorney Irving Picard . In light of this Katz and Wilpon have plead their innocence in any wrongdoing and have stated that they are if anything victims of Madoff’s malfeasance rather than being enablers that have profited financially wherein the duo have received in excess of 700 million over the decades that the scheme had been enacted.

Given the grave financial instability of of the New York Mets I found it quite comedic that Fred Wilpon was being critical of several players on this team most notably Jose Reyes , Carlos Beltran and David Wright . Wilpon stated that he felt that Reyes, in the process of seeking a contract extension isn’t good enough to be earning a Carl Crawford type of a contract (7 years / $140 million ) and that Beltran isn’t the same player they signed to a 7 year $119 million contract. Furthermore , he went on to state that the team’s All Star and team captain David Wright isn’t a star in the making or simply good enough to be compared to his cross-town counterpart Derek Jeter  . Strong words indeed for an owner who simply signed the checks on the say so, of then general manager Omar Minaya  . And during Minaya’s tenure it simply wasn’t about attaining players for the sake of it but merely gaining back page coverage in order to compete with the New York Yankees for that coverage on the sports’ pages within the nation’s largest ad market and also on the local television there within the Big Apple. I’ve got to say when you’re that envious, there’s got to be something that you can do better in order to obtain a higher profile rather than spending money so capriciously ! Keeping up with the Joneses ?

This season much like last season it would appear that the New York Mets are simply mediocre and I seriously doubt that things are liable to change anytime soon . And even though the organization sought to bring in Sandy Alderson , J P Riccardi  to head the front office as Exec VP, general manager , assistant EVP general manager it still has me wondering whether or not this will be enough to turn things around for a team that has been engulfed in such an abysmal situation where much of that has been self inflicted by the idiotic personnel decisions made . But it appears even with a new manager Terry Collins and coaching staff in tow it appears that things haven’t changed all that much from his predecessor Jerry Manuel was leading this team. Minaya and Manuel simply took this team to depths of mediocrity and beyond if that’s actually possible . And Minaya simply tried to justify the personnel decisions made that brought this club to where they became somewhat of a laughing stock . Never mind that uber-agent  Scott Boras  and many of his clients made off like thieves in the night as the Mets simply overpaid for mediocre talent .

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Mets owner Fred Wilpon sounds off on his beloved team’s troubles By Tom Verducci , Sports Illustrated New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, as profiled this week in Sports Illustrated, provided a blunt picture of the team’s finances: The team is “bleeding cash” at the rate of a possible $70 million loss this year and his ownership of the team could be jeopardized by the $1 billion lawsuit against him and his Sterling Equities partners. The suit was filed by the trustee of the liquidation of Bernie Madoff’s investments. What does it mean for the baseball operations? In the short term, the Mets likely will cut payroll next year by about 30 percent and give a voice to a new investor that Wilpon expects to introduce in about three weeks — an investor he will treat as a limited partner. Is Wilpon worried that the lawsuit — in which the trustee wants about $300 million in fictitious profits and another $700 million in principal the Sterling partners put into Madoff accounts — could cause him to lose the team? “Not right now, no,” he told SI in an exclusive interview last week. “Because I don’t think anybody thinks that 700 is realistic.” ————————————————————————————————————————-

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At present the New York Mets  6-4 in their last ten games coming off a two game losing streak but they’re already 4 1/2 games behind the division leading Philadelphia Phillies  (28-18) within the NL East . And as spirited a change as many well have thought might have taken place with the Mets this team continues to perform monstrously in the most inexplicably of ways . Injuries or not the explanation being given by Wilpon as to the team’s present woes while in part justifiable it simply doesn’t go anywhere in explaining how it is that he and the front office have simply let things get to where they are at present . Most team owners I would have thought would desire some real effort put forth by its players even in the face of real adversity . Instead all we have seen from this team is an exceptionally inept organization from top to bottom in terms of its performances both and off the field of play.

Now some might say it is still too early to judge Alderson , Riccardi and Collins at present but if things continue to get any worse I can assure you that the fans in attendance at Citi Field for the team’s home games can’t continue to endure the mediocrity that seems to be part of this organization’s current mantra. Er’go it’s akin to the laughable excuses I’ve heard being uttered when some patrons try to state that because a change are in the offing, it solicits that the changes being made even if they are incremental , will be for the better . Since when was the game of baseball not been about what you’re doing now but what you’ll be doing four to five years from now . And that's especially true when teams are struggling not only from a competitive standpoint but also financially as well ! If one is going to delve also into the business of sports at least one should show the acumen to understand that the game simply isn't just about winning but also being a profitable going concern. After all the owners are simply doing this all out of the goodness of their heart but some idiotic fans seem to be under the impression and that making money is the last thing that the team owners simply want to do !

Fred Wilpon and his partners within the Mets’ organization and at his company Sterling Equities of which Katz happens to be a co-founder have a lot to be concerned with given their reluctance to comply with many of the requests of the plantiffs’ attorney Irving Picard with regard to certain financial documents still in their possession concerning monetary movements between the New York Mets and the financial concern under their command. I get the feeling that Wilpon has made this statement simply to deflect the attention he feels that has been unwarranted concerning his actions and Saul Katz’s as it relates to the financial scandal that has engulfed the Mets and their company ! He may well be justified in calling out certain players but he also should be taking a close look at his own actions in all of this , as an owner , he too has a responsibility to voice his concerns but it was clear that was the furthest thing from his mind at the time when he , in conjunction with Minaya and Jerry Manuel decided to make many of the outrageous personnel decisions that have brought the New York Mets to where they presently are.

As this season plays itself out it will be very interesting to see how things pan out for the New York Mets and the steps that might well be taken by the front office come the trade deadline . Win or lose , as of now , the clock is ticking on this organization’s immediate future and the shape that it will ultimately take. The league hierarchy under Bud Selig may well be watching this all with a great deal of close scrutiny because simply put, in the aftermath of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ debacle , their financial woes and the assault of a San Francisco Giants’ fan, Brian Stow , at Dodgers Stadium . The last thing the game now needs is another black eye to further taint its already tarnished image .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And do you believe that the statements attributed to both Lewis and Wilpon in any way are somehow justified ? Chime in with your thoughts as see fit .

Alan aka tophatal …………..

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Lewis seen here in his interview with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio speaks of what he sees as the ramifications of what he sees will embody and impact this lockout with regard to the NFL fan . ESPN/ Mark Gustaffson …….

(2) Linebackers Ray Lewis (52) and Terrell Suggs (55) of the Baltimore Ravens celebrate a play during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on January 9, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images North America / Dilip Vishwanath …..

(3) From left to right Fred Wilpon , GM Sandy Alderson , team manager Terry Collins , Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon  and team President Saul Katz . Collins was being formally introduced to the public and New York press as the team’s new manager after the abrupt firing of his predecessor Jerry Manuel . Getty Images / Chris McGrath ……

(4) Mike Pelfrey (34) of the New York Mets reacts after giving up a first inning home run to Curtis Granderson (14) of the New York Yankees on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets  9-3 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images …..

(5) Chris Dickerson (27) of the New York Yankees hits a double in the seventh inning against the New York Mets on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets 9-3. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

(6) Mike Pelfrey of the New York Mets is pulled in the seventh inning as teammates Daniel Murphy(28) , Willie Harris(22), and manager Terry Collins (10) look on against the New York Yankees on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets 9-3. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……

(7) Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees and Jose Reyes (7) of the New York Mets share a laugh on May 21, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets  7-3 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ….

(8) David Wright(5) of the New York Mets who’s on the team’s DL sits on the bench during the game between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees on May 20, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Mets defeat the Yankees 2-1 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……

(9) Mark Teixeira (25) of the New York Yankees (not pictured) hits a home run just over the leap of Carlos Beltran(15) of the New York Mets in the bottom of the third on May 20, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……..

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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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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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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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Winners Are Often Made But The Again They Can Be Born

Winners Are Often Made But Then Again They Can
Be Born

All of a sudden it appears that Joe Maddon and his coaching staff has a winning team on his hands with the Tampa Bays Rays having won five straight games and now making their presence felt in the AL East . Now I’m not about to pronounce the Rays as the surprise team of the season as of yet because we’re but a few weeks into an arduous 162 game regular season schedule , where as we know anything can happen.

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As some of you may know I’m fan without a team to support having abandoned the Florida Marlins at the end of last season . I felt I could no longer support an organization where the team owner Jeffrey Loria was simply more about himself , his needs and wants rather than what was in the best interests of the team and the fans in general . It goes without saying that Loria like many of his peers within the game are of the same mindset and that is especially applicable to the owners amongst the small market teams around MLB . They’ll do whatever it takes to make money even if it’s to be done illegally !

The Rays this season having lost Manny Ramirez with his abrupt retirement rather than face the league mandated 100 game suspension after a second failed consecutive drug test thereby breaking the league’s steroid policy , essentially showed himself to be nothing more than a coward ! The heroes of the moment for the Tampa Bay Rays has to be Johnny Damon and Sam Fulds who has proven to be just the impetus needed to turn things around for the team and now make themselves the talk of the town at present as it regards their play. That being said it would be naive to even suggest or think that because of the team’s play they’re ready to contend within their division once again and make a successful defense of their AL East divisional title . Stranger things are known to have happened but then again who know as it concerns the vagaries of this team ?

I’m sorry but anyone of the belief that the New York Mets with their payroll of over bloated stars can contend within the NL East much less the rest of baseball has to be either delirious or still on some form of prescriptive medication . This team much less the organization has no idea what it takes to win much how to go about it with any degree of certainty or authority. I know that manager Terry Collins , his coaching staff will have the assist wherewithal of GM’s Sandy Alderson and assistant general manager J P Ricciardi providing their input as it relates to the personnel decisions but simply put the Mets’ window of opportunity to even be viewed as contenders much less win a World Series title has long gone !

The New York Mets has become a comical caricature of all that is wrong with the game of baseball ! Team President Saul Katz , team owner , senior general partner Fred Wilpon have plunged the team into an abyss of mediocrity and now it also appears the team’s immediate future could very well be at stake . Both Katz and Wilpon as well as the organization has been named as defendants in a civil suit that looks to reclaim $500 million that Wilpon and Katz were in receipt of as part of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme. Both defendants claim that they were unaware that the sums they’d been in receipt of was from fraudulent means . But yet somehow both Katz and Wilpon divested much of the $ 500 million into various entities including a company that both had co- founded —– Sterling Equities . What now awaits both defendants as well as the team remains to be seen .

Well the NBA postseaon has begun and we’ve already seen that what the expectations are meant to be about . Those doubters of the Chicago Bulls after their unexpected 60 plus win season shows why it is that you simply don’t gloss over the achievements of this team and its coach Tom Thibodeau . I’ve read it where some have said because of the inexperience of this team they could very well struggle throughout these the playoffs and that because Tom Thibodeau doesn’t have much of a coaching pedigree it could prove to be an impediment for this team. I simply wish when people make such asinine claims that they simply did a little research than simply speaking out their rear end ! Thibodeau has been the assistant coach on two NBA title winning organizations that collectively have won 5 titles in the last decade and a half . A fact that simply has been overlooked by individuals who’ve chosen not to look at the coach’s resume’ . Being an assistant to such noted coaches as Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich may seem slight but consider this , Thibodeau was the architect of the defensive strategies that has molded the face we see of both the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs .

Game one of the Bulls’ opening round series against Doug Collins’ Philadelphia 76ers . The United Center was packed to the rafters to see the Chicago Bulls play their first postseason game and series at the venue since the heyday of Jordan , Pippen and Phil Jackson . And though I didn’t think that series would be a cakewalk for the Bulls I knew that game one would be a stern test for the team and in particular the leadership qualities of Derrick Rose a potential league MVP candidate . And if anyone is in any doubt why Rose shouldn’t be the league MVP then yesterday’s play in which he blocked Darren Collison’s shot , then in transition dribbled the ball upcourt and then carved his way through the Sixers’ defense for the layup score . Need I anymore on the matter ?

For the better part of three quarters the Sixers had the Bulls on the rack but somehow you simply knew that this team wasn’t about to disappoint their fans and in particular a national tv audience watching. Rose for his part has led this team with authority throughout the season and in doing so we’ve seen both the maturation of Luol Deng , Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah as players . And with the team having acquired Carlos Boozer in the offseason as a free agent we saw the Chicago Bulls rise to the occasion surprising many of their contemporaries within the Eastern Conference .

The Bulls eked out a comfortable victory and will look to resume the series and increase their lead have a 2-0 margin before the resumption of the series in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center ( formerly the Comcast/ Spectrum Arena) . If anything Doug Collins would like nothing more than to even this series at one game apiece before his team’s return its home venue. I know that the Sixers’ coach had to have been disappointed to see his team give up a lead and then see it completely erased with less than 3 and a half minutes to go in the game . From being on the cusp of a surprise upset win the Bulls simply placed a dagger in the hearts of their first round opponents . That’s the way a game ought to be closed out , with complete authority and the mind of a cold boodied assassin !

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As a sport’s fan how do you define winning and what it means to you as a fan and no I’m not talking about the ‘term’ now being coined by actor Charlie Sheen ! If anything over this sport’s weekend what result if anything either came as a surprise or met with your expectation ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the topics raised within this piece . .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com ……..

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(1) Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon looks on from the dugout during the ninth inning of a Major League Baseball game against the Minnesota Twins Sunday, April 17, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays would go on to lose 4-2 to the Twins . AP Photo/Brian Blanco ……

(2) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – APRIL 17: of the Tampa Bay Rays of the Minnesota Twins during the game at Tropicana Field on April 17, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ………..

(3) New York Mets’ Josh Thole is caught stealing second base as Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, left, makes the tag for an out in the fifth inning of a major league baseball game Sunday, April 17, 2011 in Atlanta. The Mets won 3-2 . AP Photo/David Goldman …..

(4) New York Mets’ Josh Thole, left, beats the tag of Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann to score on an Ike Davis single in the first inning of a major league baseball game Sunday, April 17, 2011 in Atlanta. AP Photo/David Goldman ………….

(5) Fred Wilpon, General Manager Sandy Alderson, New York Mets new manager Terry Collins, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz pose for pictures during a press conference at Citi Field on November 23, 2010 in New York, New York. Getty Images North America / Chris McGrath ……….

(6) Carlos Boozer (5) of the Chicago Bulls and Tyler Hansbrough (50) of the Indiana Pacers battle for position on a free-throw in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pacers 104-99 . Johnathan Daniels /Getty Images …….

(7) Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls of the Indiana Pacers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pacers 104-99. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images . ……..

(8) CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 16: Joakim Noah (13) of the Chicago Bulls celebrates two blocked shots in the final seconds against the Indiana Pacers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pacers 104-99. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……..

(9) Derrick Rose(1) of the Chicago Bulls leaps to pass the ball around Paul George (24) of the Indiana Pacers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pacers 104-99. Johnathan Daniel / Getty Images ……

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Batter Up ……. Baseball Is Here ……………..

Batter Up ……. Baseball Is Here ……………..

The MLB —– season starts and there’s a great deal to be said as to the expectations that are prevaling. Can the San Francisco Giants become the first team in a decade and a half to successfully defend a World Series title ? And are the New York Yankees now under the tenure of Hank and Hal Steinbrenner capable of leading the organization to the unprecedented success of their late father George Steinbrenner was able to achieve ? These are but a few of the plot lines that await the fans as the season gets underway with Spring Training but before that pitchers and catchers start reporting for their preseason workouts .

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Well the postseason gave us a World Series that somewhat was a coming of age tail for the two participants. The San Francisco Giants were able to take down the Texas Rangers with a certain amount of ease as the Rangers never really played with any confidence throughout the series. There are fans who believe that this season we could very well see the rise of another team combative enough to be dominant within baseball but to my mind that would be predicated on that team being equal in its parts in all facets of the game. And that tends not to be the case more often than not with most teams in contention tending to hit a rich vein of form as the end of the regular season beckons.

In the American League everyone seems to be looking at the Boston Red Sox after the impressive signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford instigated by GM Theo Epstein and team President Larry Lucchino . The New York Yankees under Brian Cashman as such weren’t part of any big money deals other than the signing of reliever Rafael Soriano and a number of players by Cashman who essentially are roster invitees looking to gain permanent roster spot on the Yankees’ team. Does anyone really believe that Eric Chavez at this stage of his career can be productive ? The Yankees will be hard pressed this season to keep up with the Boston Red Sox in the AL East unless the Red Sox choose to self implode . From my own perspective I do believe that as a team the Yankees will be under a great deal of pressure with the loss of Andy Pettite due to his retirement and an aging core of players whose best years are now behind them .

Now there’ll be the usual plethora of Yankees’ followers who’ll hark back to their glory years and their multiple World Series titles but at the end of it all we can all see that the Yankees are no longer the dominant team that the game once heralded . I’ve no doubt that they’ll be competitive throughout the season and they may well make the postseason but I certainly don’t believe that they’re capable of winning a World Series title. The team’s Achilles’ heel will be their pitching and it will most certainly let them down because beyond C C Sabathia and Phil Hughes there’s no real dept to the pitching roster at all. They may still have Mariano Rivera but can we say for a near certainty that he’s still going to be a guarantee to be the player that the team has relied upon ‘the most’ when it really matters ?

Around the AL I’m not so sure that we’re going to see one true dominant team rise and simply set the league alight . I may well be wrong and I’m willing to accept that but but in the AL Central I’ve not been overly impressed by what I’ve seen ! I mean the Minnesota Twins in the postseason simply become a deer caught in headlights once they become participants. The Detroit Tigers have become an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum and let’s just say that if Ozzie Guillen isn’t berating his team the Chicago White Sox you just can’t be sure what to expect .

The AL West could be a very interesting scene merely because a great deal will be expected of the current AL pennant holders the Texas Rangers. Ron Washington’s ——– team will certainly be looking to make amends after last season . And with the loss of Vladimir Guerrero as well as pitching ace Cliff Lee it has to be said that they’ll be hard pressed to repeat as the champions within the AL. The Rangers will no doubt be challenged by the likes of the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels within the division .

The National League could will be interesting to watch this season with the Washington Nationals looking to make their presence felt within the NL East . With their high priced acquisition of Jayson Werth to go alongside phenoms Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg it could well be that GM Mike Rizzo finally believes that they’ve turned a the corner. God knows given the Nationals’ history they’re in need of all the assistance that they can get. The Washington Nationals will be going up against the Philadelphia Phillies , Atlanta Braves , New York Mets and Florida Marlins .

There’s a great deal riding on this season for the Nationals and they’re out to prove to their fans in attendance at Nationals Ballpark that they are finally in a position and ready to contend ..

The NL Central has the Cincinnati Reds looking to successfully defend their divisional title but at the same time the St Louis Cardinals will most certainly look to rebound from last season. It seems ridiculous to think that the Chicago Cubs are still looking to win their first World Series title in over a century . The curse of the goat still exists and let’s just say that there’s Bartman’s efforts did little to lift the curse . NL MVP Joey Votto will be looking to lead the Reds back into the postseason. I certainly hope that they’re capable of making another run but the division has become a highly competitive one.

I’ve never been overly enamored with the NL West and the teams there even if they currently have the reigning World Series champions there. The San Francisco Giants may well have had a terrific postseason but I think that they’ll be hard pressed to repeat as champions. And within the division you have the Los Angeles Dodgers , Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks . Troubling as it may seem I for one don’t think that those teams truly know how be competitive ! Inconsistency has been the name of the game for the triumvirate in recent years and then we have the idiocy that has now become wherewithal within the Dodgers’ organization . Owner Frank McCourt amidst an acrimonious divorce now has the team laden with almost $1,000,000,000 ($1 billion) but even after his divorce trial’s proceedings went against him he states that he’s under no obligation to sell the organization. The presiding judge in the case delivered a verdict where he decided that the Dodgers is communal property and under California law it is a joint asset between McCourt and his ex wife Jamie McCourt. And as all this unfolds we have MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the league hierarchy watching from afar.

If Selig could devote as much time to the problems that have befallen the game as he has to making sure that the lobbyists that MLB pays to secure their interests within Congress then quite possibly the game would be in a far healthier state. Instead he’s now become the butt of jokes amongst the fans while the archaic purists and owners mercilessly listen to his inane statements . And it certainly seems to be unfathomable how he can sit idly by while the mess that the New York Mets’ ownership has themselves embroiled in, as part of a civil suit wherein the plaintiffs are the victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. Picard vs Katz , Wilpon et al seeks damages in excess of $350 million with punitive damages said to be in excess of $700 million .

Baseball may well be the game that the fans can identify with because of its history, social worth within the fabric of society and the impact it made . But as of now it has become a comedy of errors and a parody ! In all honesty the game may well have a legacy but its hierarchy under Selig has led it into an abyss of mediocrity with about as much business sense as is now being shown by the Federal Reserve , US Treasury and the US government combined !

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

What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming MLB season and which teams will you be closely following ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter by leaving a comment .

Picture and slide show details below.
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(1)Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona talks with reporters at the Boston Red Sox player development center in Fort Myers, Fla., Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. Pitchers and catchers reported Monday and will hold their first official spring training workout on Tuesday. AP Photo/Dave Martin …….

(2) Boston Red Sox pitcher Hideki Okajima , of Japan, throws during a workout at the Red Sox spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011. Spring training begins Monday for the Red Sox. AP Photo/Dave Martin ……

(3) Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez loosens up at the Red Sox training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011. Tomorrow is the first official spring training workout for the Red Sox. AP Photo/Dave Martin …..

(4) From left to right COO Lonn Trost , manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees attend the press conference to announce the retirement of Andy Pettitte (not pictured) on February 4, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ………..

(5) Jorge Posada , Mariano Rivera , Derek Jeter , and Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees pose on the pitchers mound after winning the last regular season game at Yankee Stadium 7-3 against the Baltimore Orioles on September 21, 2008 in the Bronx borough of New York City. According to reports on February 3, 2011, Andy Pettitte will announce his retirement at Yankee Stadium on February 4, 2011. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……….

(6) Philadelphia Phillies’ Cliff Lee fields a ball during spring training baseball workouts, Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 in Clearwater, Fla. AP Photo/Eric Gay ……

(7) In this file photo from Oct. 29, 2010, New York Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon , left, club president Saul Katz and Mets owner Fred Wilpon , right, look on during a baseball news conference in New York. The owners of the Mets turned a blind eye to Bernard Madoff’s massive fraud, reaping $300 million in false profits and using a large chunk to run the team, according to a lawsuit unsealed Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The lawsuit claims the owners were so dependent on the disgraced financier’s too-good-to-be-true returns that it “faced a severe and immediate liquidity crisis” when Madoff’s crimes were revealed in 2009. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ……..

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NB The SNY Network is a wholly owned cable network operation of the New York Mets. One avenue for the organization should they seek a cash influx would be to sell the cable programmer which is estimated to be worth in excess of $700 million as a stand alone entity . Current estimated value of the Mets is approximately $600 million . In 2008 the team had an estimated worth of $850 million and with Citi Field costing $755 million built largely through public financing courtesy of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and with minimal financial commitment coming from the Mets’ organization .

MLB news ………

To view the details behind the plaintiffs’ case against Mets’ senior partners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon simply click on the link provided …… JP Morgan Seeks to Move Madoff Fraud Suit …..

😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………

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Rita G

Eye candy ……………………. Rita G

More of Rita for the more discerning amongst you .

Rita G-1

Wouldn’t you want to play with Rita G’s coochie ?

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Nicki Minaj ………. “Massive Attack” ….feat’g Sean Garrett

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Chances Are ………. Things Could Get Worse Before They’ll Get A Great Deal Better

Chances Are ………. Things Could Get Worse Before They’ll Get A Great Deal Better

OK so the NFL and the NFLPA are about to have their set to and I’m thinking how is that a $ 9 billion a year industry cannot seem to deal within the parameters set by their template ? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in his state of the NFL address to the convened press at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas has reiterated his wish to hammer out a deal with the union’s Executive Committee led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae .

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Slide show for your perusal.

The league hierarchy and the owners opted out of the league’s collective bargaining agreement which was due to expire on March 3rd 2011. Both sides knew exactly the impasse that this would create and at the same time they’re now looking for the empathy of the NFL fans. Personally I do believe that the NFL and the players had completely underestimated the resolve and tenacity of the fans who in essence will abandon the NFL and their support of their teams . The players see the league as the villains of the piece whereas the league’s view of the union is that they’re self serving and unwilling to acquiesce and make the concessions being asked by Goodell and the owners . The league seeks a give back of $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) a year for the next seven years and on the face of it that might not seem a great deal but when you consider that the figure merely accounts just over 11% of the league’s annual revenues. But also what I’d like to ask of Goodell and the league is given that when the NFL’s next television broadcast agreement comes up for renewal what are they prepared to seek from the networks in question ? I’m sure that NBC , ABC/ESPN , Fox and CBS Sports are closely monitoring these negotiations very closely. As too no doubt are league’s corporate sponsors as they’ve a lot to lose should there be a labor stoppage and a prolonged lockout.

Courtesy of CBCSports.ca

Goodell says bargaining with players ‘beneficial’

Sunday session was first formal talk since November

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says this weekend’s bargaining session with the players’ union was “beneficial.”

In an interview with Fox News Sunday that aired the morning of the Super Bowl, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labour talks.

Goodell said “a number of” individual players and owners participated in a two-hour meeting Saturday, the first formal bargaining session since November. The labour deal expires in March.

“It’s always a positive when both parties are talking,” he said.

Outlining major sticking points, Goodell talked about revenue division, rookie salaries and benefits for retired players, adding “We want to continue on with the integrity of the game, which is my No. 1 issue.”

He also spoke of “making sure we have the best drug program in sports.”

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As to the league’s showcase even this may well be the last chance the fans will get to see a Superbowl (SBXLV) for a while . Imagine there being no 2011-12 season and nothing but an uproar from the fans while the players themselves simply sit back and wait ? Blank television screens and stadiums across the league empty , never mind the economic impact the loss would create to the 32 league markets . These are the things that I believe that Goodell knows will hamper the league’s image and the brand itself. The last stoppage to affect the league was over decade and a half ago and the fans who witnessed this all left them aggrieved and angry at the NFL.

At this juncture I’m not so sure that this impasse will be quickly resolved as both sides are entrenched and don’t appear to want to budge from their current positions. Goodell in part and the owners are also looking to have an eighteen game schedule in place by either the 2011-12 or 2012-13 season . The NFLPA aren’t about accede to that request unless the league will make several concessions , one of which would be to decrease the number preseason games from four to two. Also as a bone of contention is that of the NFL rookies’ salary contract and the idiocy that simply goes on there. Agents such Drew Rosenhaus and Leigh Steinberg may not view this as acceptable but either way they should be thankful that their clients will still get paid.

I’ve read with interest that the Wilpon family will be looking to sell a minority stake in the New York Mets and this has come about because the family has a judgment against them seeking some $350 million that they were able to profit from in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal which defrauded several thousand clients to the tune of an estimated $59 billion ($59 ,000,000,000). This was as such the largest fraud perpetrated and whereby the SEC in conjunction with FBI and Justice Department were able to catch the felon , in the case Madoff and his co-conspirators. Madoff is now serving a 125 year jail sentence in in a Federal penitentiary
The Wilpon family it has been said also lost heavily which resulted in what is said to be losses of anywhere between $250 million to $ 500 million if the estimates are to be believed.

Amongst the interested parties is a syndicate of which Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s son Martin Luther King III will be part of the group seeking to become a minority stake owner in the team. Given the history and legacy of the game of baseball I find it rather ironic that it’s only now that we’ve actually seen a genuine attempt for there to be an African American owner in the sport. There’s only one other prominent minority owner in the sport and that is Arte Moreno of the Los Angeles Angeles . Albeit that the league can boast several general managers of ethnic persuasion there simply hasn’t been that ardent fervor you’d have come to expect from Commissioner Bud Selig and the baseball hierarchy for there to be a prominent African American owner within the game.

Martin Luther King III should he and his syndicate group to be successful this would most definitely be a first in MLB. It would also send a clear indication to the ethnic community at large that there is a place for them at the owner’s table should they seek to ascend to those levels. It certainly hasn’t hurt the image of the NBA where Michael Jordan still the face of the NBA is now the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats . And the franchise’s history has been well chronicled in its present guise and it’s hoped that Jordan during his tenure can lead this team some semblance of success.
This much we do know about the Mets in its present guise with the upheaval felt within the front office after the firings of Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya does portend that incoming Head of Baseball Operations Sandy Alderson and VP and Head of Scouting J P Ricciardi are the new brooms brought in by COO Jeff Wilpon to clean house and discard of the unwanted pieces in this underachieving team .

Courtesy of USA Today


Madoff lawsuit: Mets owners owe victims $300 million

New York — The owners of the New York Mets, along with their relatives and other businesses, were “collectively one of the largest beneficiaries” of Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, receiving approximately $300 million in phantom profits that financed the team and other ventures, a newly unsealed lawsuit charged Friday.

The business empire of Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz had 483 Madoff accounts — including 16 for the Mets, from which $90 million of burned investors’ money helped pay the National League baseball franchise’s “day-to-day operations” — according to the lawsuit filed by Irving Picard. Picard is the court-appointed trustee seeking Madoff assets to repay the fraud’s thousands of victims.

The action alleges Wilpon and Katz ignored “gathering clouds” of repeated warnings from financial experts and others that Madoff’s investment operation was in reality a scam, because the owners had come to rely on the uncannily steady profits to substantially support their Sterling Equities Associates empire for a quarter of a century.

PICARD vs Mets : Read the complaint

The owners realized they “were simply in too deep,” the lawsuit says.

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Click on link to read this article in its entirety .

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The Mets’ history has been a storied one of ups and downs more downs given their recent history as they’ve seen their crosstown rivals the New York Yankees have unprecedented success over the last decade and a half. And if the Mets are to succeed then it will have to come down the coaching staff , the prudency shown by the front office and the performances of the players. If they can’t get it done this upcoming season then the New York Mets might as well throw in the towel once and for all.

I’m sorry but given the horrid season the Minnesota Timberwolves are now having and perhaps the only reason to be joyful, as they’ve seen the team’s lone All Star —– Kevin Love have a truly astonishing season with his play. A constant threat now to throw up 20 and 10 with amazing regularity the player is now being viewed as a must see around the NBA .Both Love and the Los Angeles Clippers’ —- Blake Griffin are simply just letting it rip.And they’ve quite rightly both been rewarded with roster spots on Western Conference All Star team for 2011.

Now while on appearance the Timberwolves’ season has literally spun out of control the team , Kurt Rambis’ and his coaching staff have done their utmost to put on a good face as they’ve struggled to maintain some sense of consistency . And the situation hasn’t helped that O J Mayo has had to serve an NBA mandated 10 game suspension for abusing the game’s substance abuse policy. The player himself however contends that the reason for his positive test stems from the fact that he’s used a supplement which had DHEA . That particular substance is viewed as a PED (performance enhancing drug) by the league’s hierarchy .

Whatever the outcome of this season will be for the Minnesota Timberwolves it’s clear that as of now the organization can only hope for things to get a great deal better. If not then the continued malaise will have the fans deserting the organization and looking elsewhere for to heap noteworthy praise on a team .

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By clicking on an individual frame you can view each in its original formatted
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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on the subjects raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment and I’ll do my utmost to respond expeditiously and clarity. Thanks as always for your continued support.

Picture and slide show details .

(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been front and center at the Super Bowl this week, dealing with questions about both this season and the possibly delayed one to come because of labor issues. David J. Phillip/Associated Press …..

(2) Center Kevin Mawae (68) of the Tennessee Titans and President of the NFL Player’s Association speaks to members of the media during the NFL Player’s Association Press Conference held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 4, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Inset also if NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . Doug Benc / Getty Images North America Inc ……….

(3) DeMaurice Smith, NFL Player’s Association Executive Director, speaks to members of the media during the NFL Player’s Association Press Conference held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 4, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Getty Images / Doug Benc ……

(4) New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon (left) and team owner Fred Wilpon patriarch of the family. The front office of the Mets has been completely revamped and so too has the coaching staff . The organization now finds itself in an intensive lawsuit that could have some adverse effects on the team’s long term financial stability and viability as the family has been ordered to pay the victims of the Madoff Ponzi scheme an estimated $350 million . AFP/ Reuters / Michael Findley ……..

(5) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love, left, and Denver Nuggets’ Chauncey Billups battle for a rebound in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011, in Minneapolis. The Nuggets won 113-100 . Billups scored 21 points and had 13 assists while Love scored 18 and had 19 rebounds for the Timberwolves. AP Photo/Jim Mone ……….

(6) Martin Luther King III (R) and his sister Bernice release a dove from the balcony where their father, Martin Luther King Jr., was shot to death at the conclusion of a vigil in King’s honor at the Lorraine Hotel April 4, 2008 in Memphis, Tennessee. King was killed by James Earl Ray 40 years ago today. Win McNamee / Getty Images ………

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……….

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C Black

Eye candy ……………………. Courtney Black

Courtney 2

Eight ball corner pocket, my balls and pen_s are feeling great ! Thanks Courtney !

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Ashanti ……….. ‘Rain On Me’

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