What actually makes a successful NFL owner much less a successful professional sports’ franchise owner today in the world of sports ?

What actually makes a successful NFL owner much less a successful professional sports’ franchise owner today in the world of sports ?

There have been many great owners within the world of professional sports here in North America and undoubtedly the Rooney family and their stewardship of the Pittsburgh Steelers remains the current “standard bearer” within the NFL and with which, every NFL team aspires to be judged by. Six Superbowl victories to go alongside, a Hall of Fame coach in Chuck Noll and a parade of players enshrined in Canton , Ohio , does have a way of making that particular franchise’s legacy stand out above all others . In the case of the San Francisco Forty Niners , for years it was that of the era of Bill Walsh under the then ownership of Eddie DeBartolo with the NFC based franchise having unheralded success with the owner and head coach in tandem. Walsh’s coaching legacy has been borne out by the number of assistants from his staff that have gone on to coach in the NFL, with some having considerable success, themselves.

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With Eddie DeBartolo no longer owning the franchise , with his having to relinquish his ownership after being indicted by the US Justice Department of racketeering with charges of grand larceny , corruption and the bribery of an elected official , which in involved the obtaining of gaming and casino licenses . The reins of the franchise were handed over to his sister , Denise DeBartolo-York and her husband Dr John York , who along with their son Jed York , have seen a successful resurgence of the franchise over the past two years under head coach Jim Harbaugh , after several seasons of underachievement .

Now, one could also suggest, that the tenure of Jerry Jones , as the owner of the Dallas Cowboys has been a resounding success. Three Superbowl victories during his reign, while making the franchise the valuable and profitable of all the league’s thirty-two teams might just be the only thing that the Cowboys might currently have going for it . With the team’s last playoff appearance coming in 2009 and their last victory coming by way of a wildcard round win over the Philadelphia Eagles in a lopsided 34-14 rout . There does not seem to a great deal upon which Jones can now hang his hat and point to the Dallas Cowboys , as having been a resounding success in the subsequent years , since that win over the Eagles . There have been numerous coaching changes , volatile relationships with those coaches , as well as current and former players , never mind the continued deity like worship devoted to the franchise , by the print and television media , alike . It begs the question, when will Jones himself , finally realize that the franchise under his leadership as owner and de-facto general manager, is actually heading nowhere.

It is beyond belief, that Jones continues to overspend on talent , with little to show in return by way of any type of tangible on-field success. While Jerry Jones continues to believe implicitly, in the skill-set of the Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo and the veteran’s presence on the team. It is hard for Jones to justify the faith in a player, who has only one postseason victory to his name , in his ten-year career in the NFL. As if to further emphasize the continued turmoil, head coach Jason Garrett will be under even closer scrutiny this upcoming season , with the general manager having added to the coaching staff without consulting Garrett, with the hiring of Scott Linehan to be the eyes and ears as a consultant and assistant head coach and perhaps superseding the hierarchical coaching structure , where Bill Callahan was the lead assistant to Jason Garrett. What this does, to suggest by way of a “pecking order “ within that structure, is simply another disaster in the waiting, given the comedic nature of the franchise.

Vince Lombardi , after whose name the Superbowl Trophy is named, is perhaps the most revered coach in AFL & NFL history . Lombardi’s career resume’ , simply says a great deal about the man, his stature and what he was able to achieve as one of the Green Bay Packers’ most successful and renowned head coaches in the franchise’s history. Lombardi , simply built upon the foundations laid by the franchise’s founder and first head coach , Curly Lambeau , whose name adorns the edifice in which the Packers’ call their home venue , scene to many a great victory . With four Superbowl victories among the notable achievements within the Green Bay Packers’ history and with that franchise now possessing one of the league’s best quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers , the future does seem bright for the NFL’s only publicly owned franchise, where the shareholders, all residents of Green Bay , Wisconsin, are the only permitted owners of shares in the team.

Over the past twelve years, it would be fair to suggest that the New England Patriots have been the most successful NFL franchise in terms of postseason appearances and Superbowl victories. Presiding over that success, as the team’s head coach , has been Bill Belichick . He in turn, along with Robert Kraft , as the Patriots’ owner , have enjoyed the unrivaled appeal and recognition of the accolades , visibility provided with those achievements . New England and the Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s only franchises with a near approximation value of $2 billion or more , and the team’s $139.2 million profit ranks second to the Cowboys’ $250.7 million at the end of the 2012-13 season . It certainly also helps, that the franchise does also have the most successful postseason quarterback over the past twelve years helming the team, in Tom Brady , whose postseason statistics , also place him in the upper echelons of passers in the NFL postseason. . Granted, five Superbowl appearances, with three victories to show for it all, still cannot hide the bitter defeats suffered at the hands of the New York Giants, on each occasion. What has been shown by the Patriots down the years, has been the consistency of a well ran organization , where Kraft , GM Nick Caserio , the entire front office and coaching staff led by Bill Belichick, do all appear to be on the same page, with the singular minded goal of being perennial contenders and seeking Superbowl success. Along with those on-field achievements, the bye-product of it all, will be the commercial success for the franchise.

Four of the more famed franchises within baseball are the Boston Red Sox , Los Angeles Dodgers , New York Yankees and St Louis Cardinals . Between them, this quartet of teams have won a combined fifty-one World Series’ titles, with the venerable Yankees leading the way with twenty-seven World Series’ crowns . Their most recent win came in 2009 , under Joe Girardi, as the team’s manager. For the Red Sox, they were victorious in 2013 , having won three titles in the last nine years, whereas, the Cardinals posted victories in the ‘Fall Classic’ as recently as 2006 and again in 2011 . For the beleaguered Dodgers, their last title came in 1988 , with the closest the ball-club has managed in making a return to the World Series , coming in 2013 , with their loss in the NLCS to the St Louis Cardinals .

With the Dodgers having been acquired by a consortium led by venture capitalists Mark Walter and Todd S Boehly , with NBA great Magic Johnson and Hollywood mogul Peter Guber paying unprecedented sum of $2.156 billion for the Los Angeles’ based franchise , which had been forcibly placed into bankruptcy proceedings after the financial mismanagement of the ball-club by former owner Frank McCourt . The latter of whom, is now seeking to sue his ex-wife for $2 million , said to be his legal expenses in their long and drawn out divorce proceedings . The fact that McCourt was able to escape criminal charges in light of his alleged actions concerning the baseball-club , is of fascination to a number people , with the exception of the idiots within the headquarters of Major League Baseball . Bud Selig and MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner have never offered a public statement as to the actions of Frank McCourt and what is said to be his leveraging of the franchise, to meet other personal and business financial obligations , outside the team’s sphere of business operations. Of what use is Mariner , when neither or anyone within his department is said to have audited the organization over the past five years , having only accepted the financial records submitted to the league office ? And one wonders, why the state of Major League Baseball has continued having financial difficulties for a number of teams beyond team payroll imbalances ?

In spite of the largess of a payroll that exceeded $200 million in 2013 , the postseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers proved to be fruitless and the effortless ease with which they were dispatched by the St Louis Cardinals, had to have been a profound disappointment to Magic Johnson and the rest of ownership consortium. As to what this might have suggested about Don Mattingly and his managerial staff with their complacency , points to a number of areas in which the team were simply overrated and completely lacking in on-field leadership, but for some reason everyone bought into the Dodgers as being a “sure fire bet “ this past postseason. A great deal of that vanity was also exhibited by Magic Johnson and number of his associates, who were willing to discuss the ambitions at the drop of a hat, with anyone willing to listen to his ramblings concerning the Dodgers.

The off-season saw Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti making a major financial commitment to their NL Cy Young Award winner from 2013 , with Clayton Kershaw being signed to a long-term contract that makes the player one of the highest paid pitchers in baseball, as well as amongst the highest-paid on the team’s payroll . This season is likely to make or break as the ball-club chases after an elusive title that has escaped their grasp for the past twenty-five years.

The biggest story in baseball, has been the formal announcement by Derek Jeter , this season , his twentieth in the Majors , will be his last . A future Hall of Fame bound player , Jeter now feels , it is indeed time to move on and leave his legacy for others to judge . As to the likely turmoil this may well have caused amongst the Steinbenner family , as the owners of the ball-club , might well be summed up with these words “what the hell do we do next “ ? With no apparent leader on the roster , to assume who that vocal role as the leader of this team will be , one wonders how the New York Yankees are likely to fare over the course of this season . Spend , as they have done this off-season , lavishing contracts to players , many of whom have already seen their best years behind them , rather than ahead of them . Granted , the acquisition of Masahiro Tanaka is seen as an upgrade to pitching rotation that was far from consistent last season .

I will continue to maintain that other than the Yankees’ run through the mid to late nineties and the success attained with Joe Torre , I firmly believe that without the vast resources of the YES Network , this ball-club would not have been able to achieve the success attained then and subsequently . The organization’s draft history, over that time-frame has been sporadic at best, in terms of productivity from the players obtained from 1996 onwards. GM Brian Cashman may well be viewed as a genius in some circles , but when you can simply write a blank check , and the owners are likely to treat that expense as a useful ” tax write-off ” , in terms of the organization’s expenses , there is not much else that needs to be answered concerning how the Yankees continue to operate . Hal Steinbrenner , having stepped into his father , the late George Steinbrenner’s shoes , is now finding out that it will be a tough role to fill.


William DeWitt
and his son, William DeWitt Jr have been great custodians to one of the most venerable names within baseball as the owner of the St Louis Cardinals . Along with GM John Mozelliak , one of baseball’s most revered and best supported teams , has seen unprecedented success throughout a great deal of its history . The loss of Albert Pujols , the ball-club’s best player since making his debut for the team in 2001 , as a young twenty-one year old , has seen the slugger thrive to become one of the preeminent offensive threats of his generation . Having won, an NL MVP Award and countless other accolades. Pujols can count himself lucky , to have won two World Series’ titles with the St Louis Missouri based franchise . A great deal of what he has been able to achieve came under the watchful eye of the now retired Tony La Russa , former manager with the organization. Now with the Los Angeles Angels , Albert Puols’ tenure with the AL West franchise has seen far more highs than lows , with a great deal of his time having been spent on the disabled list. Leading many to now believe, that quite possibly his best days are not necessarily ahead of him, but quite possibly now behind him.

St Louis for its part, with the departure of Tony La Russa, has seen Mike Matheny make a smooth transition as his mentor’s successor , while the team has remained a perennial contender for the NL Central division , while John Mozelliak has systematically made the type of acquisitions for the ball-club that have proven to be fruitful. The DeWitt family have simply allowed their subordinates within the organization to go about running the Cardinals , while they deal with a number of bigger issues as it relates to the franchise that undoubtedly possesses some of the most loyal fans within the game of baseball.

When Mike Matheny and his team embark upon their opening home series of the regular season ,it will be interesting to see how the Cardinals fare in that opening game against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium , in St Louis, Missouri ,.

John Farrell was lucky enough to succeed in his very first try , in resurrecting the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox , after a year of sheer ineptitude in 2012 , when the ball-club hired a seemingly clues Bobby Valentine . Style over substance, was simply the only reason for the hire, that was suborned by team President Larry Lucchino , who obviously believed that GM Ben Cherington lacked the experience to make a decision that would be in the best interest of the organization. John Henry the team’s owner, who takes a backseat in the day-to-day running of the ball-club must have been dismayed with a last place divisional finish , from a team that had a great deal of experience and talent in 2012.

Cherington and Farrell , along with the managerial staff went ahead and assembled a team in 2013 that was competitive and playing in unison that rebounded from a last to first place finish (AL East) , while strolling through the postseason with the utmost of ease . and then summarily dispatching the St Louis Cardinals without breaking sweat. Coming into this season , I believe that John Henry believes that Boston’s lineup will be good enough to certainly be in the hunt for the Red Sox to make successful defense of their AL East divisional title. As to whether or not, there will be a likely challenge to their crown by the New York Yankees , Baltimore Orioles , Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays , remains to be seen, as well as a matter of great debate between the fans of the respective teams in question.

Three decades of solid growth under David Stern as the NBA Commissioner has seen the team owners served well , wherein the values of the franchises and their profits have grown exponentially, during that time-frame. Granted, a large part of that explosive growth, came with the Michael Jordan era and the Chicago Bulls’ . dominance of the NBA. Yet, the lead-up into that, came about with the one true rivalry that was relished by the fans across the panacea of the league’s fan-base, with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers and their legendary regular season and postseason meetings. Larry Bird and his rivalry with Magic Johnson was rekindled, in the professional ranks, after some well chronicled contests at the collegiate level.

The NBA today, with its litany of high-profiled stars, has now become more about individualistic effort and less about team achievement . Yes, at the end of regular season , the league regales us with its postseason showcase of the NBA Playoffs , with a champion being crowned at the end of that particular spectacle. With the two-time defending champions , the Miami Heat looking to make a successful defense of their title and young upstarts such as the Indiana Pacers seeking to dethrone the champions. There can be no denying, the Heat will make a tenacious effort to defend their crown with a great deal of zeal. Team President Pat Riley assembled this team , built around the talents of LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for a specific reason and that was to win not just one title , but multiple championships, while making the franchise not only a competitive one , but one, that is also a commercial success as a business enterprise for the organization and for the team’s billionaire owner , Micky Arison , who also just happens to be Chairman of the world’s biggest passenger cruise line , Carnival Cruises Lines .

Miami may well exceed in their endeavors this season, but I believe their task is not likely to be an easy one, once they get beyond the further rounds of the Eastern Conference series of postseason games . Other than the Indiana Pacers within the conference, there is not one team that is likely pose a serious threat to the top two teams within the East.

If the Miami Heat are said to be the current “glamor” franchise of the NBA, with their trio of All Stars in James , Wade and Bosh. Then, the San Antonio Spurs can be seen, as the workmanlike, by the book franchise , for which success has been beyond priceless. For head coach Gregg Popovich , who has coached the franchise to all four of their NBA triumphs during his reign, having succeeded Larry Brown as the head coach. Team owner, Peter Holt and GM RC Buford have systematically presided over unparalleled sixteen years of heralded success, having made the postseason for fourteen straight seasons.

San Antonio has been lucky enough to have several great players either begin or end their careers with the franchise. Currently, there are seven former players who are enshrined in the Hall of Fame , who can lay claim that they have indeed played a part in the Spurs’ progress of being an “also ran” to one of the most respected organizations in the NBA. It has been players, such as David Robinson , George Gervin , Artis Gilmore and Cliff Hagan , who in essence helped build the foundations for the success of the Spurs, with that torch having been passed their next Hall of Fame inductee Tim Duncan , whose career speaks volumes and arguably makes him the greatest power forward in NBA history. It is also possible to suggest that Duncan is likely to be joined by two of his current teammates, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli , when their respective careers come to an end . It would be a fitting way for all three to remembered , and as well with their exploits for the renowned franchise.

The Spurs may not be in the largest of ad markets or the most valuable of the NBA’s franchises, but its image, makes it by far the most pristine and well-respected around. There few teams within the league, about which that can be said , wherein the front office and its legacy of producing other great general managers and coaching assistants , who are currently serving with great success in an either leading role or as an assistant elsewhere, in the league . Scott Brooks , Sam Presti , George Karl and Tom Thibodeau , made their way from humble beginnings within the ranks and have gone on to more prominent positions within the NBA. Peter Holt , has held steadfast to a single ideal, ” take of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves”. At this juncture, I would say that he has things , just about right !

I defy any Brooklyn Nets or New York Knicks’ fans to tell me, that they are entirely happy with the way that their teams are currently playing or with their standing within the NBA ! At the same time it has to be humbling to see Los Angeles Lakers brought back down to earth , while having one of the worst records in the NBA as of the 25th February , 2014. At this point, one has point a finger at owners Mikhail Prokhorov , James Dolan and Jim Buss , and simply ask , do either of these idiots actually know what the hell they are doing , much less what is currently happening with their respective franchises ? For general managers, Billy King , Steve Mills and Mitch Kupchak , at what point do you ask that trio to simply step down ? The teams might not be playing well , but in conjunction with their coaches , Jason Kidd , Mike Woodson and Mike D’Antoni , are a trio of coaches who are said to be truly overrated . So what if Kidd, won a Coach of the Month Award in January ?

Coming into this past Sunday, the Nets had lost five of their last ten games and had one of the worst road records in the league over the last month . If that is not a damning indictment of his lack of coaching ability, along with the fact that the team’s inflated payroll has been misspent on past their prime players such as Kevin Garnett , Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce , when there is simply no leadership forthcoming from anyone on the roster. Boo-hoo , to the continued whining of the Knicks’ fans, who are now in apoplexy , wondering if Carmelo Anthony is likely to bolt at the end of the season ! The worrying thing here, has been, that is it not Carmelo, who has been responding to questions concerning his long-term future with the franchise, but his television reality-show star wife , Lala Velazquez , who has repeatedly said that her husband wants to remain a New York Knicks’ player for life. And after two thousand years of fighting, there is still no peace in the Palestinian territory’s or Israel, as a whole. In the words of Drew Rosenhaus , “next question “ ?

It is now time for Kobe Bryant to either grow up or simply shut the hell up ! The NBA star continues to rile inner sanctum of the Lakers, and continues to do more harm to his own image, in coming across as an immature and sanctimonious bastard ! Granted, the Lakers’ lineup is no more appealing than witnessing full frontal nude pictures of either Roseanne Barr or Phyllis Diller . Somehow, somewhere , there’s a guy ” whacking off ” ,while picturing that image. News does get around fast doesn’t it ? Kellen Winslow Jr , just got caught once again, massaging his “Johnson” , while complaining that he didn’t know that his On-Star GPS navigation system to his SUV , could not find the nearest location to the local Boston Market restaurant, while the engine was completely turned off.

The Lakers are bedeviled by a season, where Kobe Bryant’s injury has effectively put them out of any chance of making the postseason and where there have been few positives on the court in term’s of the team’s overall play . That notwithstanding and the failed Dwight Howard experiment of last season, there simply is not a great deal for the Lakers to hang their hats on in terms their immediate and long-term future. Steve Nash’s contributions have been paper-thin and Pau Gasol cannot hold this team on his shoulders and lead them with any real authority, As to this continued idiocy, that a marquee free agent will sign with the organization for the upcoming season . Bryant will be in his last year and there is nothing the suggest that he is likely to be entire healthy for a prolonged eighty-two game schedule much less be able to play an entire postseason schedule , were the team to make it that far . The All Star Guard is likely make this 2014-15 season, his last in the NBA, before calling it quits. As to how Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss are likely to prepare for that scenario remains to be seen , but as of now, the current environment within the Lakers’ organization is not an entirely happy one , in spite of the confidence said to be exuded by Buss and Kupchak.

I could continue on with the owners within the NHL , but at this point , that would be fruitless , because the landscape of that particular sport remains from an economic standpoint , is still one that stands on the edge of a precipice . Neither Gary Bettman , the teams’ owners or the NHLPA have learned a damn thing in the aftermath of idiotic league enforced labor stoppage . In some markets, there has a been a marked rise in attendance , whereas , in others there are steep declines , for which the game’s Board of Governors have yet to offer up any type of response. The excitement of the Winter Olympics in Sochi , Russia , placed a spotlight on the NHL , as many of the game’s biggest stars were competing for their national teams, with the hope of taking home Olympic gold . Team USA failed in that endeavor, while Canada proved to be triumphant .

Charles Wang , James Dolan , Mike Ilitch , Jeremy Jacobs , Stan Kroenke , MLSE , Ted Leonsis and Philip Anschutz still have a long way to before they are able to truly entice fans back to their respective venues to witness one of the fastest team sports in the world. The quality is there , in terms of the play, the issue remains how the sport is being marketed domestically and on a global basis . The NHL hierarchy has been failing abysmally, on both counts, in each endeavor .

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Picture gallery .

What are your overall opinions of the owners, in each of the four major professional teams sports in North America? Do you believe that in large part, they have acted in the best interests of their sports, in presenting an entertaining brand, and what of their use of public funds to build the venues that their teams are housed in ? Do leave a comment, as you deem fit with regard to the related subject matter and anything else you believe pertinent.

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Pittsburgh Steelers’ owner , Dan Rooney III is seen here with son Art Rooney , as they are interviewed after the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Rooney family have presided over the ownership of the franchise since their inception . AP Photo / Michael Archer ……

(2) Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh , left, is seen here with the San Francisco Forty-Niners’ quarterback Montana and the team’s then owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr after the 49ers’ triumph in Superbowl XIX . It would be one of four personal Superbowl triumphs for Montana and wherein , Walsh as a coach , won three for the revered franchise. AP Photo /Asa Hart @ copyrighted material ….

(3) Dallas Cowboys’ franchise leading rusher Emmitt Smith is seen here with the team’s owner Jerry Jones as his bust is unveiled at Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. There have been some considerably lean years since the Cowboys won the last of their five Superbowls. The franchise’s last appearance in the postseason came in 2009 , with the team failing miserably. Jones along with sons Stephen and Jerry Jones Jr run the franchise which also happens to be the NFL’s most profitable and valuable team . That alone may well appease some , but over the landscape of the league’s fan-base Jerry Jones is viewed as something of an imbecile with regard to his running of the Cowboys since their last Superbowl victory . UPI / REUTERS / Christian Pincus …..

(4) Vince Lombardi whose towering presence with the Green Bay Packers made that franchise a formidable foe in the days of the AFL and in the early days of the NFL and its inception, with the Packers winning the first two Superbowls played in NFL history . Inducted into the Hall of Fame , Lombardi remains one of the most revered figures in the game’s history, even after his death. Archived image copyrighted material ….. all rights reserved

(5) New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick hugs the team’s owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft as he provides him with the game winning ball after a team victory. There have been many of those moments, ever since Belichick became the head coach of the franchise . Seven AFC Championships and five Superbowl appearances with three victories have made Patriots the most successful NFL franchise between 2001 and 2013. All of this coincided with the team drafting of current starting quarterback Tom Brady , whose own record now makes him a future inductee in the Hall of Fame in Canton , Ohio ,. Getty Images North America / Vince Miller …

(6) In the background GM Ben Cherington , while Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell holds aloft the 2013 World Series crown after the ball-club’s triumph over the St Louis Cardinals in baseball’s postseason series’ finale. It was the franchise’s third win of the World Series in the past nine years . This year the Boston Red Sox are likely to be the team to beat within the AL in spite of the flurry of off-season acquisitions made by the New York Yankees and others . A seemingly smooth transition from Bobby Valentine’s departure and Farrell’s introduction has made the resurgence of the franchise all the more impressive when you considered they finished last within the AL East in 2012 , while playing some very “bad ball” throughout much of the season . Team owner John W Henry has simply allowed the front office to conduct the business of the organization in a professional manner . Courtesy of NESN . …….

(7) Miami Heat President & GM Pat Riley ,left , is seen here with team owner Micky Arison . Having three NBA titles since 2007 , the duo will be seeking to win a third consecutive title for the franchise which currently has the second best record within the Eastern Conference and a mark that also places the Heat within the top five of the entire NBA . Hector Gonzalez / Palm Beach Post …….

(8) San Antonio Spurs’ executives R.C. Buford and Peter Holt relax court-side as the San Antonio Spurs play the Denver Nuggets at the Cox Pavilion at UNLV on Tuesday, July 13, 2009. Tom Reel/Staff

(9) Billionaire Brooklyn Nets’ team owner Mikhail Prokhorov , left and James Dolan Chairman & CEO of MSG Entertainment the holding and parent company for the sporting interests of the Dolan family . As owner of the New York Knicks , Dolan has seen the team under-perform this season , leading many to believe that there will be a major upheaval at all levels within the organization this off-season . For Prokhorov, his troubles remains the inconsistency of the team under first-year head coach Jason Kidd. Both teams are amongst the highest salaried franchises in the NBA , with both exceeding the league’s “soft cap figure” of $58.679 million , for which both franchises as well as other exceeding the cap will have to pay a heft luxury tax equating $1-50 for every $1-00 amount that they are over the cap . Owners are at odds with the league hierarchy with this edict , having approved it , in a NBA Board of Governors’ vote prior to the start of the NBA season . In coming NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has no wish to rescind this ruling under any measure and believes to be of benefit to the league , in order for the teams to be fiscally responsible . Getty Images / Harry How …..

(10) Los Angeles Lakers’ team owner Jim Buss is seen here alongside team GM Mitch Kupchak , as the two seated court-side, watching the team during a practice session at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California . This season has been a troubling one for the franchise , with Kobe Bryant sidelined by an injury and the rest of the players also struggling . AP Photo / Larry Hughes ……..

(11) Computer software magnate Charles Wang , owner of the New York Islanders . AP Photo / Maggie Briscoe ….

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If all interested , take time to participate in the above poll.

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🙂

tophatal ………. 02/26/2014

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You say tomato , I say tomato , dynasties are now a thing of the past in the world of professional team sports in North America

You say tomato , I say tomato , dynasties are now a thing of the past in the world of professional team sports in North America

Well, over the weekend, the last of the remaining unbeaten teams fell to conference foes within the NBA and NFL . Safe to say, that for all of the relishing of seeing a truly dominant team in either sport now becomes a thing of the past , much like the respective hierarchies wish to try and suggest that dynasties are still possible within either league. Now while I admire the feats of such teams as the Chicago Bulls in their heyday , when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were leading the franchise to six NBA titles in an eight-year span . Whereas , in the NFL , the league has not seen as back-to-back winner of the Superbowl in over a decade , when that feat was last achieved by the New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005 .

(1)
, Hall of Fame inductees , Michael Jordan and teammate Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls. The duo reached the pinnacle within NBA history in guiding the franchise to six NBA titles during an eight year span during which those teams were perhaps the most dominant in all of professional team sports during their reign . Neither the NFL , NHL or MLB has seen that type of dominant reign within their respective sports over the past two decades. AP Photo / John Raoux ….

Now dependent upon how one defines the term “dynasty” , as to whether or not it means prolonged dominance or simply being able establish one’s self as a perennial contender for a title. This all becomes subjective in the eyes of many and how they actually view the issue. The New York Yankees , long seen as baseball’s preeminent franchise with their numerous World Series’ titles and Hall of Famers , stands as a testament to team sports in North America . It could be said that from the late nineties until the early part of this decade , the franchise could be considered the last “ true dynasty” in any of the North American professional team sports.

(2)
(2) Tom Brady and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots are seen here celebrating the first (SB XXXVI) of the franchise’s three Superbowl victories during the past decade . The duo have made six Superbowl appearances having won three with two of those defeats , being suffered at the hands of NFC foes the New York Giants . Brady leads all active quarterbacks in terms of postseason appearances and Superbowl victories. The player and coach are seeking a fourth Lombardi Trophy to join only Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw of Pittsburgh Steelers r to have won a quartet of victories for the NFL’s biggest postseason showcase event , the Superbowl . Getty Images North America / Chris Hodges ….

Joe Torre , now a high-ranking executive within baseball’s hierarchy and seen in some circles as a possible heir-apparent to Bud Selig , once his tenure comes to an end in 2014. Unfortunately , I do not believe that sound intelligence will be brought into place when the MLB Board of Governors come to the decision as to whom should succeed the incumbent commissioner. Torre seems to be the obvious choice , but somehow the idiocy of the team owners and the members of the league hierarchy are likely to go with Rob Manfred , who in many ways will remain a ” carbon copy ” of Bud Selig in terms of the decision-making we have now witnessed the present commissioner . Joe Torre as we know was able to guide the New York Yankees to four World Series’ titles in six years , along with six appearances during that decade of unprecedented success during his tenure as the manager of the ball-club. That era, led to the rise in prominence of such players on those teams as Derek Jeter , Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettite and Jorge Posada . Of the quartet mentioned, only Jeter remains as a player on the Yankees’ current roster , with the team captain’s career now coming into their final years. Jeter, is no longer the player he was at the height of the franchise’s success . After an almost two-decade tenure with the franchise , it is easy to understand why he is one of the most beloved players in the Yankees’ history as well as within the game , itself .

Though the New York Yankees failed to make the postseason this year , they remained the omnipresent story within the game for some the right reasons , but most definitely also , for all of the wrong reasons and their haphazard handling of the ongoing Alex Rodriguez ” affair , and the very fact that the ball-club seemed once again seemed unwilling to conduct their own in-depth investigation into the allegations of the player’s use of a banned substance . Instead, that investigation, was left to the league hierarchy and the ongoing incompetence shown, in its handling of the procedural investigation and the evidence gathering involved . The longer this drama continues the less legitimacy the game of baseball has in terms of its relevance on the North American sporting landscape.

With Yankees’ failure , came the resurgence of the Boston Red Sox , with that franchise claiming their third World Series in the past ten years and the ball-club’s eighth overall . It is pretty much safe to say that while the Red Sox fans at present , may well lay claim to the bragging rights , another nineteen titles will go a long way in the organization seeking to be held in the same esteem their divisional rivals . Now one could allude to the fact that with the Red Sox having won a third World Series in the past decade , could they be perhaps referred to as a dominant franchise or even a perennial contender during that time-span ? While I do believe that the Boston Red Sox are a very well ran organization with perhaps at present the best managerial staff in baseball , I am not so sure that I am yet ready to call this team in its present form , dominant or even on their way to being called a dynasty ! Undoubtedly , their statistics during the run to this current World Series’ victory was considerably better than during 2004 and 2007 , the last time ball-club was victorious baseball’s showcase finale . What may truly determine greatness and the creation of what it deemed to be a dynasty , can determined and viewed by dominance of the best players on a great team. This season’s World Series’ MVP David Ortiz has proven himself to be one of the best players in the Boston Red Sox’s history and perhaps the franchise’s most beloved of the past three decades.

(3)
Derek Jeter and Torre are seen here celebrating the New York Yankees’ triumph over the Boston Red Sox in a regular season meeting in September 1996 . Jeter had the winning RBI single that guaranteed the victory for the team. AP Photo / Jason Jennings ….

This asinine idiocy that there is now parity in the NFL because there is now said to be a level playing field , is merely a creation get a dialogue going for the fans to simply debate as a water cooler topic . Parity in the NFL:, has now become a charade to hide behind and the fact that the introduction of free agency and the salary cap ($124.558 million) has altered the landscape to such an extent, whereby the game itself , as a product has become so diluted and wherein the coaching has become puerile and mediocre . A number of week eleven’s results , can be best described as inexplicable , with the Atlanta Falcons falling to divisional rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 41-28 loss , in one the worst performances by the Falcons this season . All of this, from a team that prior to the start of this year, were viewed as a possible NFC championship contender . As of now, Matt Ryan , along with his bloated salary , and his teammates could not find their way out of a darkened room with the aid of a flashlight . This game constituted about as much importance on the day’s schedule , as one would be permitted to see, during a debate within the Senate , as the legislators in question discussed the federal deficit.

The Monday night game between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers at the Bank of America Stadium , in Charlotte North Carolina , as a resurgent Panthers’ team look to play themselves in contention within both the NFC South divisional contention, as well as a possible playoff berth for the postseason . New England, can essentially lock up the AFC East title with a win , this evening, after the New York Jets’ defeat, 37-14 at the hands of the Buffalo Bills . It is now safe to suggest , that the Jets’ mediocrity exhibited last season , has been as equally abysmal in 2013. Rex Ryan of the New York Jets, may well need to polish up his resume` should the team suffer a few more losses over the remainder of their schedule. Both GM John Idzik and team owner Woody Johnson’s patience must now be reaching its pinnacle , as this franchise has continued to under achieve over the past two seasons. Ryan’s own, laissez-faire attitude, has now been tempered by the very fact that he now faces a very uncertain future in the NFL .

The New England Patriots could rightly lay claim that they have been the best franchise in the NFL since 2001, during which that time their record during the regular and postseason , simply speaks for itself . A great deal of that success has come down to the ever-present head coach Bill Belichick and the team’s tenured quarterback Tom Brady , whose postseason experience and Superbowl appearances , now places him alongside many of the pantheons of the game, specifically those Superbowl winning quarterbacks with a Superbowl MVP also now part of their respective resumes` and feats of accomplishments. Five Superbowl appearances for the quarterback and three wins , and the zeal to add a fourth victory to his already impressive record is still atop of the player’s list of yet to be achieved personal goals .

A sole constant with regard to the New England Patriots’ success also , has been the organization’s acumen in drafting players who have gradually over time been able to contribute to the franchise’s success . Yet, with the recent charges leveled against the team’s former tight end Aaron Hernandez , his arraignment and indictment on a charge of first degree murder , one could attest to the fact that the franchise’s image has taken a monumental hit from an image and public relations’ standpoint . No amount of finger-pointing can avert the fact that the front office were well aware of Hernandez’s character issues , but they simply ignored it all to acquire the player as fourth round draft pick in the 2010 NFL Draft . It is unlikely, that Aaron Hernandez will ever again grace a football field as an athlete in the NFL. Now subject to the legal system within the state of Massachusetts , what was once a promising career in the league , has now become one , that no one wishes to be associated with , at all .

With the Indiana Pacers’ loss, suffered at the hands (110-97) of the Chicago Bulls , and the assertion by Paul George that the Bulls have been of little relevance in the subsequent years since the franchise’s last titular triumph in the NBA. One could assert that the Eastern Conference demands and deserves a rivalry within that environment , beyond that of the Miami Heat as the two-time defending champions versus everyone else within the conference. While some fans are trying to suggest that both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks are still finding their way as the season is still in its infancy , I would suggest that those seeking to use that premise as a proxy , simply look at the respective records of both the Knicks and Nets , and their most recent performances as well their defensive and offensive prowess . There has simply been nothing to suggest that either of these two teams are currently capable of mounting a serious enough challenge to the defending champions , albeit , that the Heat themselves are also in a state of transition , with the recent off-season moves to improve the depth on the roster.

(4)
New York Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson is seen here alongside Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony . The team this season is off the a horrendous start and they are struggling on both sides of the ball , during which they have dropped to the bottom of their division and the lower rungs of the Eastern Conference . Getty Images / Elsa Martinez ….

As if to further emphasize how overrated the New York Knicks just happened to be , along with their self-aggrandizing and delusional fans . In a weekend scheduled game , the team simply showed once again why they cannot be ever taken seriously as a legitimate threat to the Miami Heat. In a contest against the Atlanta Hawks , this alleged prodigiously talented Knicks’ roster were upstaged by their opponents on their home-court of Madison Square Garden , in New York City , New York . My question for Knicks’ fans , if your team simply cannot defend their home turf , then how the hell do you believe that the roster has what it takes to be deemed as an elite franchise within the conference ? A great deal of “hot air” tends to be blown by the vast majority of the franchise’s fans without their being barely any damn intelligence to back up their thought process entirely . The twenty-point loss , 110-90 to the Hawks was enough of a damning indictment for the team on the night . I don’t believe that there is much else that needs to be added at this juncture !

I will say this for Mikhail Prokhorov , GM Billy King and the entire Brooklyn Nets’ organization . The trappings of wealth and ostentatious-ness has done nothing to hide the exuberance of the franchise even after entertaining and the of acquiring an aging trio of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to bolster what is said to the team’s best chance to win an NBA title in several years . To my mind, the best indicator of how well this team is likely to succeed will be totally predicated upon the health and durability of both Brook Lopez and Deron Williams . Beyond that , everything else is secondary , and as to this asinine notion that Joe Johnson is still a player capable of being a “game changer” , is akin to suggesting that Miley Cyrus’ sudden change in her musical repertoire, makes her more credible , as a musical artist. Joe Johnson has not been the focal point of anything tangible by way of his career in several years and it seems somewhat comedic in the fact as the Nets’ highest paid player on the roster and amongst the highest salaried players in the NBA , his productivity this season has bordered on being anemic .

(5)
Brooklyn Nets’ head coach Jason Kidd , is seen here with members of the team’s starting lineup . From left to right they are Joe Johnson , Paul Pierce , Kevin Garnett , Kidd , center and point guard Deron Williams . Hoping to play themselves into contention this season the Nets are struggling , with their inexperienced head coach being unable to provide a real explanation for the team’s ongoing woes . AP Photo / Chris Jacobson ….

Enthralled as I always am, to read a commentator’s account as to why a team such as the Brooklyn Nets should be looked upon as a force to be reckoned with , when there has been no real “body of work” in terms of that team in recent seasons having acquit itself at the highest levels possible . Clearly , it is simply a case of wishful thinking on the part of analysts such as Chris Broussard , Tim Legler , Jalen Rose and even the somewhat ” impudent” Bill Simmons , when they describe a team in such glowing terms , as being championship caliber. The Nets’ franchise has not been a championship capable outfit, since the last of their repeat appearances in the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003 , as coached by none other than Byron Scott .

In an age, where money in the world of sports can in some cases, determine a great deal of success for a professional sports’ franchise. It should be noted, that Mikhail Prokhorov as the owner of the Brooklyn Nets , might just be the wealthiest team owner not just in the NBA , but quite possibly in all of four major professional team sports in North America. With an estimated wealth , exceeding $12.5 billion , perhaps only the Seattle Seahawks’ owner , Paul Allen is the only other individual with the type of personal fortune by comparison . Herein lies the caveat, concerning the fortunes of the Brooklyn Nets , while the front office chases after success , while splurging on players’ salaries , the franchise itself has become unprofitable , losing an estimated $100 million in the past three years alone , even with having moved into their palatial edifice known as the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn, New York,.

In having the league’s highest team payroll , which now exceeds $100 million , the expectations are not only high for the Nets this season ,but with a rookie head coach , by way of Jason Kidd and where the only other assistant on his staff with any of NBA coaching experience is one of the franchise’s former head coaches in Lawrence Frank , it is becoming increasingly easy to understand one of the reasons behind the team’s failure this season. Kidd’s inexperience and what appears to be his ego of wanting to “go it alone” by way displaying his coaching acumen, has not only backfired , but it has shown the numerous flaws on the team team as borne out in their record (3-6) and standing within their division (Atlantic Division) and the Eastern Conference .

The Nets’ most recent game , saw the team post another loss , this time to the Portland Trailblazers , where the contest itself was not even remotely close by any stretch of the imagination. Defensively and from an offensive standpoint , the issues of the Brooklyn Nets will continue to remain a work in progress . However, the question , I must now ask, how much longer can Mikhail Prokhorov’s and that of GM Billy King’s patience withstand this sort of ineptitude , while the franchise itself, seeks to turn a profit ?

Since 1999, the Los Angeles Lakers , Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs are the only NBA franchises to have won multiple NBA titles, during the aforementioned time-span. The Heat having won its third last season , trails the tally of four won by the Spurs and the five won by the Lakers’ , with Phil Jackson at the helm for the quintuple of rings, adding to the franchise’s sixteen titles in total . .

For San Antonio, who are off to another successful start (9-1) to an NBA year, during which they will seek to establish another NBA record for the most consecutive NBA postseason appearances (15) in league history. All of this, has been accomplished under head coach Gregg Popovich , as the NBA’s longest tenured head coach . Such as has been the strength of his relationship with the Spurs’ front office , in particular with team owner Peter Holt and GM RC Buford , that it would be hard to envisage anyone else coaching the franchise at this juncture. Yet, at some time in the future Popovich is likely to call it a day, with perhaps the reins being handed over to one of his coaching assistants .

(6)
David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs is seen here alongside teammate Tim Duncan during the 1999 NBA season . San Antonio would go on to the first of four NBA Finals’ triumphs, in meeting the New York Knicks , where they would go on to defeat the Knicks in a rather lopsided series 4-1 . AP Photo / Marcus James …..

The San Antonio Spurs have never been considered one of the NBA’s glamor teams , merely one of the best ran organizations in all of professional sports . Yet, the franchise’s impressive record during Gregg Popovich’s reign, makes them one of the most revered and liked sports’ teams in North America. David Robinson , current Hall of Fame inductee, alongside Tim Duncan set the franchise on its current path with the Spurs’ first of their four triumphs in the NBA Finals. The initial title , would then see the retirement of Robinson , who remains in close contact with the organization , while his philanthropic efforts have been rewarded with civic awards from the city of San Antonio , as well as statewide and nationally. Duncan , has simply, carried the torch, while he , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli have extended the franchise’s proud , impressive record of longevity and success. It would be easy to suggest, that the Spurs’ perennial appearances in the postseason makes them a dynasty . Yet for all of the acclaim afforded the San Antonio Spurs, it has been the changes within the NBA and the landscape of professional sports that makes this issue now subjective , rather than objective.

(7)
LeBron James of the Miami Heat , who has slowly been carving out an NBA career that when it is all said and done , might go down as one the greatest in NBA history . James has notched a number of career firsts along the way in his already impressive resume` . Yet it has been the driving force and zeal in wanting to emulate his hero Michael Jordan , that may well see the player quite possibly surpass a number of Jordan’s feats within the game . Getty Images North America / Robin Mason ……

Dynasties in professional sports, are now thing of the past , and even if some fans and analyst are now trying to suggest that Miami Heat’s current dominance of the NBA makes them a dynasty . I believe it has more to do with the marvel-ment of witnessing the prowess of LeBron James at his very best , as he dominates the game , with his physical prowess on the court and the individual accomplishments of a ten-year career , at this juncture ! Quite possibly , in the next eight years , it might well be appropriate to suggest there has been another dynasty within professional sports by way of the Miami Heat , were the franchise able to win another four or possibly five NBA titles in the allotted time-frame mentioned .

(8)
Seen as the likely saviors of the NHL , the game’s most high profiled players from left to right , Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins , Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Alex Ovechkin of Washington Capitals . As the game’s attendance slowly regains momentum the financial woes still remain for a number of teams around the NHL . Getty Images / Chris Curtis …..

The NHL revels its own merriment , having, still not fully recovered from their self-induced stupidity of a labor stoppage. While there now seems to be a growing resonance within the game , hockey is not at the point, where it needs to be , by way of its television viewership , or in terms of attendance , or commercial sponsors. Granted, the game has now has several superstars, with Steven Stamkos , Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby leading the charge. Yet what the NHL is most definitely in need of is a truly dominant team that gets the fans excited and where their play resonates throughout the sport. It is one thing to for Barry Melrose to wax on lyrically about the “ big hits seen during a game or his own wish for the Detroit Red Wings , Montreal Canadiens , New York Islanders or New York Rangers back at their very best . The game has evolved, free agency and money dictates a player’s desire and destination as to his playing career. The Stanley Cup is the pinnacle of the sport, but given the infrequency of the NHL not having a repeat champion within the sport in a number of years . For now, the fans will have to bear the brand and product as it is now exhibited on the ice.

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Picture gallery .

At this juncture do you believe it a prerequisite, that professional team sports are in need of either a dynamic or dominant team ? Or is it, simply an urban legend created, in terms of a dialogue for discussion amongst analysts and fans alike ? By all means, do leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter .

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(1) Hall of Fame inductees , Michael Jordan and teammate Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls. The duo reached the pinnacle within NBA history in guiding the franchise to six NBA titles during an eight year span , during which those teams were perhaps the most dominant in all of professional team sports during their reign . Neither the NFL , NHL or MLB has seen that type of dominant reign within their respective sports over the past two decades. AP Photo / John Raoux ….

(2) Tom Brady and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots are seen here celebrating the first (SB XXXVI) of the franchise’s three Superbowl victories during the past decade . The duo have made six Superbowl appearances having won three with two of those defeats , being suffered at the hands of NFC foes the New York Giants . Brady leads all active quarterbacks in terms of postseason appearances and Superbowl victories. The player and coach are seeking a fourth Lombardi Trophy to join only Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw of Pittsburgh Steelers r to have won a quartet of victories for the NFL’s biggest postseason showcase event , the Superbowl . Getty Images North America / Chris Hodges ….

(3) Derek Jeter and Joe Torre are seen here celebrating the New York Yankees’ triumph over the Boston Red Sox in a regular season game in September 1996 . Jeter had the winning RBI single that guaranteed the victory for the team. AP Photo / Jason Jennings ….

(4) New York Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson is seen here alongside Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony . The team this season is off the a horrendous start and they are struggling on both sides of the ball , during which they have dropped to the bottom of their division and the lower rungs of the Eastern Conference . Getty Images / Elsa Martinez ….

(5) Brooklyn Nets’ head coach Jason Kidd , is seen here with members of the team’s starting lineup . From left to right they are Joe Johnson , Paul Pierce , Kevin Garnett , Kidd , center and point guard Deron Williams . Hoping to play themselves into contention this season the Nets are struggling , with their inexperienced head coach being unable to provide a real explanation for the team’s ongoing woes . AP Photo / Chris Jacobson ….

(6) David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs is seen here alongside teammate Tim Duncan during the 1999 NBA season . San Antonio would go on to the first of four NBA Finals’ triumphs, in meeting the New York Knicks , where they would go on to defeat the Knicks in a rather lopsided series 4-1 . AP Photo / Marcus James …..

(7) LeBron James of the Miami Heat , who has slowly been carving out an NBA career that when it is all said and done , might go down as one the greatest in NBA history . James has notched a number of career firsts along the way in his already impressive resume` . Yet it has been the driving force and zeal in wanting to emulate his hero Michael Jordan , that may well see the player quite possibly surpass a number of Jordan’s feats within the game . Getty Images North America / Robin Mason ……

(8) Seen as the likely saviors of the NHL , the game’s most high profiled players from left to right , Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins , Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Alex Ovechkin of Washington Capitals . As the game’s attendance slowly regains momentum the financial woes still remain for a number of teams around the NHL . Getty Images / Chris Curtis …..
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If only we knew where she hid the bath sponge ?

Greed is good ! The problem remains, when is enough not enough?

Greed is good ! The problem remains, when is enough not enough?

One of my favorite movies of all-time, just happens to be the Oliver Stone directed and scripted theatrical release Wall St (1987). The movie depicted the cutthroat business of the financial markets of Wall St and the corruption involved in the world of high finance, the derivatives market and the stock exchange . Having worked in that field for a number of UK-based financial concerns in the areas of capital markets , economic research , mergers &acquisitions , arbitrage and money markets , upon my exit from the military , I can tell you that the portrayals of some of the characters were closer to reality , rather than the fabric of Stone’s imagination. The Oscar-winning director, may well have consulted with a number of Wall St bankers and financiers as a sounding board, in order to create the Michael Douglas’ character Gordon Gekko.

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Even today , the financial sector remains replete with its cast of characters , noted billionaire and multi-millionaire executives and dealers who display their wealth , all too ostentatiously, while paying homage to no one but themselves. In the world of professional sports’ franchise ownership , the same can be said of many of today’s most prominent team owners. Steeped in tradition , many of the owners from the past were treated with such reverence , but unfortunately , the same cannot be said for the vast majority of now involved this endeavor. Owners are now, power-hungry and money driven to eke out the last red cent that can be made from every dollar , and there to assist them with their wanton lust are Bud Selig , Roger Goodell , Gary Bettman and David Stern .

A patron of my site recently left a comment to a piece that I had written suggesting that the NHL (hockey) was now back on its feet, being a well ran organization , with now rising attendance. I found the comment itself rather comedic and totally lacking of insight and knowledge from someone who clearly had no idea what they were talking about , and someone who may well not have conducted any research before coming up with his assumption. The NHL remains in a very tenuous situation , one wherein the teams have in fact remained oblivious to the issues that caused their most recent labor stoppage , its fourth in the last two decades. Somehow this was all lost on this patron, who simply glossed over the following. The Phoenix Coyotes having barely escaped bankruptcy , are now under a new ownership group , who having chosen to remain within that locale, are now struggling to find major corporate sponsors as well as a local television contract, something which is one of the mainstays behind any professional sports franchise ownership and a major provider as a revenue stream. The NHL may well reconfigured the divisions, but it remains a vain attempt to not fully address the main problems that still befalls the game as a whole .

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman may well be restrained in his dealings with union counterpart , Executive Director Donald Fehr , who formerly held a similar position with the MLBPA (Players’ Union) . As we can all attest , that specific union much like its hockey counterpart , has baseball’s hierarchy quivering with fright , the very moment they mentioned the words , “labor stoppage “ or “ strike” . The same can be said, of the NHL hierarchy , their recent dealings with Donald Fehr and the ridiculous events that led to the most recent stoppage. Hockey drops the puck on their preseason on the 1st October , with the hope of seeing increased attendance levels and a greater presence in terms of a television audience , something that has been on the decline over the past three seasons . By stark contrast, teams said to be showing financial constraint in terms of their payroll commitments , suddenly began to revert back to ways of old by offering exorbitant long-term contracts , when it was clear that from a financial standpoint those obligations could not be met , with their being a sharp decline in team revenues. Consider also, the alleged health of the NHL by way of its franchises and their financial well-being , remains a myth, rather than a fact that they have steadily growing profits and revenue streams .

Hockey’s big four , by way of their prominence in terms of ownership and profitability, are the Montreal Canadiens , New York Rangers , Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings , have long been seen as the way franchises within the sport should be run. With their respective owners , the Molson family (Canadiens), James Dolan , Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Inc (holding company &sports’ franchise conglomerate) and Michael Ilitch have tried to show some financial constraint , but the issue remains , the weakness shown by the NHL hierarchy led by Gary Bettman when dealing with the NHLPA .

If hockey is said to be in something awry, MLB (baseball) joins the NHL as one of the most ineptly ran hierarchies in all of professional sports. Team owners , the general managers and MLB hierarchy , in conjunction with the union; have literally brought the game to its knees, with the ongoing scandals and the lack of leadership at all levels within baseball . Inasmuch, as the teams, with their history reveled in their perceptions of greatness , with owners of the past , such as George Steinbrenner , Walter O’Malley , Robert Carpenter III , Lou Perini , William Bartholomay , Jean R Yawkey , Ted Turner and Horace Stoneham may well be deemed as relics from a bygone age . Granted , George Steinbrenner brought the game into a new age , with his realization that the media could be used to further the visibility of a brand . With that came the establishment of the YES Network , wherein the Boston Red Sox followed suit with the creation of , NESN , which has now become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Fenway Sports Group (FSG) .

Baseball’s revenues have grown exponentially, to the point where game’s revenues now tops $7.5 billion annually . With that, we have seen the avarice of the owners, players and the league hierarchy alike , along with the escalating team payrolls and players’ salaries . Yet, for all of the greed shown, there has never really been any type of financial restraint being shown by the league itself . Now fans and analysts may well point to the fact that baseball does have a “luxury tax” built around the falsehood of an artificial salary cap based on a $200 million threshold . It is a luxury tax that a number of prominent team owners are now beginning to question its feasibility and whether or not its use, is still warranted. . Bud Selig would have you believe that the luxury tax has been of great benefit to the game , but in essence , it has been nothing more than keeping a number of less profitable franchises from failing into bankruptcy . Given the fact that baseball does have a number of unprofitable franchises who actually manage to obtain a profit by way of the luxury tax scheme as a recipient. It begs the question , should the big market teams be penalized for the inefficiency being shown by their small-market counterparts ?

Unless many of us were not deep-rooted fans of the New York Yankees , we could have not failed to realize the mediocrity of the Yankees’ season and the excuses now being made in certain circles for that failure . Off-field controversies asides, the team was mishandled by Joe Girardi and his staff, with a number of players on the roster simply under-performing , with little leadership being provided in the absence of team captain, Derek Jeter . Certainly , none was forthcoming from the game’s highest paid player , Alex Rodriguez , whose own issues seem to have come full circle once again , after his less than contrite apology in March 2010 , for the use of a been steroidal substance . Somehow , the third baseman’s anemic season was further compounded by the ineptitude of the entire front office’s handling of this latest scandal to hit the Yankees’ organization , never mind Bud Selig’s own idiotic antics in this matter. Rodriguez for his part , faces an off-season of real uncertainty , as he awaits an appeal’s hearing on his two-hundred and eleven game suspension . Arbitrator Fred Horowitz will listen to all of the evidence presented, before returning with a summary verdict . By no later, than late November , we are likely to find out , whether or not the now disgraced player has a future in the game , or will be cast aside , like a worn out pair of shoes. Alex Rodriguez has his detractors in and outside of the game , but to my mind baseball’s fraternity of players , have been nothing , but hypocrites , when the issue of steroids is raised within their environment ! Rodriguez, should lose his appeal won’t be financially impacted by the result , having earned in excess of $400 million over the course of his career . I mean what is the loss of $34 million to someone who will have earned well in excess of $25 million in 2013 , for putting up mediocre numbers , albeit, that he spent several months on the sidelines, being on the team’s disabled list ? . Rodriguez’s desire to be on the roster had nothing at all to do with wanting to contribute to the team , but more so to do with his own greed and lust to be seen as the best player of his generation, with the tainted legacy following in hot pursuit . The New York Yankees’ failure to make the postseason will not be a major blight to the finances of the organization , but their non-appearance tends to add weight , that without their participation , there does tend to be a considerable fall-off in the television ratings.

“Three-peat ” ? Well, that will be the cause-celebre’ for the Miami Heat should they actually manage to achieve that feat and become the first team since the Los Angeles Lakers reached that mantel in 2000 , 2001 and 2002 , under famed head coach Phil Jackson . Since acquiring LeBron James , Chris Bosh via free agency and the actual re-signing of Dwyane Wade in 2010, all to considerably lower deals than the players in question could have obtained . The Heat as a franchise, has seen its value increase 35% , with profits doubling during that time-span. The team has now become the “hottest ticket” in town and the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , is the place to seen at a sporting event in the state Florida. Sorry Buccaneers , Dolphins , Jaguars and Rays’ fans , but A-List celebrities have no wish to be seen at a venue where the decibel levels and meager attendance , tend to be a great deal quieter than being at a funeral service. .

Though Forbes may well have the Miami Heat’s value listed at .$685 million at present , that figure in reality, is now closer to $850 million , and as long as James remains with franchise alongside Bosh and Wade , that figure will appreciate more in value along with the organization’s profits . There was a reason behind Pat Riley and Micky Arison’s alleged Machiavellian scheme and madness , the answer was to simply make even more money as well as winning a couple of NBA titles to add to the mantelpiece . Can’t really fault them for that, can we ?

The Miami Heat in all likelihood will have another banner season in terms of attendance and once again be ranked among the top-five NBA franchises in terms of attendance levels all year-long, at home and for away games . David Stern continues to sell the merits of his brand to the consumer and corporate endorsers alike, but along the way his notion that while the league is making money , a number of teams , simply are not . And how does he answer those questions when they are posed by a journalist with a great deal of business insight ? Well, the commissioner tends to deflect them all , by putting on the charm and acting as the guardian of the keys to the castle otherwise known as the NBA .

The plot-lines have already been made clear, and they start with the following . Who in the East will be able to wrestle away the conference title from the defending NBA champions? Will LeBron James, win his fifth league MVP award? For all of the monetary commitment made by the Brooklyn Nets , will Jason Kidd be able to lead his assortment of highly paid stars to their first NBA title? A great deal is on the line for Nets’ GM Billy King and the franchise’s larger than life owner , Russian billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov .

In the Western Conference the never-ending drama and soap opera now parodying a comedic episode of ” Friends “ has now become a what if issue . Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak are now caught between a rock and a hard place . Last season they gambled hugely and lost , while under the belief that Dwight Howard was the missing piece they needed to make a deep playoff run in the postseason . Howard’s performances were anemic , as were those of his former teammates . Granted , the loss of Kobe Bryant was gut wrenching , but even that cannot hide the fact that beyond being a poorly coached team , head coach Mike D’Antoni remains completely out of his depth . He shows no wish to coach defense in spite of his public statements. Failure this season , and I do believe that apart from the roster being revamped and s we are likely to see the departure of Mitch Kupchak . He has become ” long in the tooth ” as a general manager , and in recent years his draft choices have become a complete bust . This could prove to be interesting beyond the anticipation of the Lakers’ fans , because it is my belief we will see a further decline in the fortunes of the NBA’s most renowned franchises .

The NFL has started off with a terrific bang , but as always that comes with the same stories replete with embarrassment. Divisions seem to be playing out with a number of teams proving to be downright mediocre . Nowhere is this more evident than within the NFC West , where if things carry on as they are we could once again see a team with .500 record make the postseason. Certainly, a case is being made by all four teams , the Dallas Cowboys (2-2) , New York Giants (0-4) , Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) and Washington Redskins (1-3) , that they are currently the face of what is now said to be wrong in the NFL. Bad coaching and in a number of cases highly overpaid players , simply failing to live up to the hyperbole . Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach went so far as to suggest that Tony Romo was the quarterback he believes is capable of leading the Dallas Cowboys to the Superbowl . Not wanting to disparage , but it may well be that the Cowboys’ great has yet to witness Romo’s play in the postseason and the very fact that current starting quarterback has only one playoff win to his postseason career after a decade in the NFL . Given the current state of the Dallas Cowboys’ season , it seems highly unlikely that this team in its current guise, will add to that tally for the player . Never mind, that doubts are continually raised, as to the coaching acumen of Jason Garrett , in spite of the implicit faith being shown in him by team owner Jerry Jones.

If there is anything that we do know about Jerry Jones as the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. It is his propensity of making a great deal of money , most notably for his franchise , with the NFL in some respects trailing in his wake, in following many of the commercial and marketing strategies the ubiquitous owner has put in place as the general manager and de-facto CEO of the franchise .

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This season will be a tough one for the Cowboys , and they face an even tougher task this weekend , when their opponents are the unbeaten Denver Broncos (4-0) , led by Peyton Manning , who through four games this season has put up some scintillating figures for the AFC West franchise . The game itself promises to be a high-octane affair amongst an array week five match-ups that should prove to be entertaining . The NFL will continue to reap the seeds sown of their s labor , even when its brand looks extremely dour, because , it has become a well-oiled multi-billion industry on an annual basis, with the spoils of war being shared, equally amongst the teams. Yet for some reason, I get the feeling, that the league hierarchy remains unconcerned in such an instance. Your thoughts on this all and anything else you feel to be pertinent to the subject matter ?

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From left to right , Davids Stern , Bud Selig , Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman . The four executives are the highest ranking leaders within the four respective professional team sports . AP Photo / Gary Halvorson ……

(2) Radim Vrbata of the Phoenix Coyotes is seen in a game against the Los Angeles Kings . Getty Images / Christian Peterson ………

(3) Walter O’Malley is seen here perusing a picture of Dodgers Stadium . Known as a shrewd businessman , O’Malley was vilified for relocating the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles and then renaming them the Los Angeles Dodgers . AFP /REUTERS ….

(4) Andy Pettitte (46) of the New York Yankees is joined by Derek Jeter (2) and Mariano Rivera (42) to honor Pettitte, who is retiring from the Yankees, before their game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on September 25, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Rays defeated the Yankees 8-3 . Getty Images / Mike Stobe …

(5) A duo of destiny ? Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra (foreground) and LeBron James are seen here on the sidelines during a game interval. The coach and player will be looking win their second NBA title and the franchise’s third overall in their history. AP Photo / Mike Rodgers …

(6) Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni and Kobe Bryant . The two are hoping to rebound from an awful 2012 , that saw the team’s hopes derailed in the postseason by a first round exit . . AP Photo / Kim Thompson …..

(7) Roger Staubach is seen here on the sidelines with Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys . Staubach a Superbowl winner with the franchise , believes the current incumbent quarterback is good enough to win a Superbowl title with the ball-club. Getty Images / Matt Richardson ….

(8) Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (center), flanked (from left to right) by son Jerry Jr., daughter Charlotte Anderson, wife Gene and son Stephen. AP Photo / Paul Marsh ….

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tophatal ………………. 10/01/2013

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NBA news

NBA regular season schedule 2013-14 begins 29th October , 2013

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Miami Heat schedule (2013-14)

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NHL divisional standings (2013-14) and by conference

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Dumbing it down for the fans ……….

Dumbing it down for the fans ….

By Tophatal

Well to save himself from further embarrassment , Lance Armstrong agreed to what is being called an in-depth interview , by none other than Oprah Winfrey , on her, self –titled broadcast network OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). The two-night event, encompassing four hours is meant to be hard-hitting. Far be it for me to suggest , but Winfrey hasn’t conducted a hard-hitting in-depth news’ story or interview in decades , much less conducted an interview that will have the nation riveted . Granted , the bye product of this story will be Armstrong seeking the nation’s empathy, much of that to my mind is totally undeserving , but somehow this idiocy will continue as the lowly ranked and viewer starved cable outlet will be seeking a ratings’ bonanza from this all. Oh , Tom Cruise , jumping down on a sofa declaring his undying love for Katie Holmes , his former ex-wife , to whom he was married to , for a mere four years is not riveting television , unless , you just happen to be enamored with the Hollywood actor . .Oh yeah , those are the stories, that a dumbed down nation will truly appreciate . I think not, unless of course you just happen to be anally retentive.

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Armstrong used his notoriety to raise tens of millions of dollars for cancer research and to aid victims in need , from this debilitating disease . But herein lies , my question , this ungrateful asshole hasn’t the God-given fucking intelligence to consider that as a cancer survivor himself , he would then resort placing steroids and other illicit substances within his system ? So for all the bold-faced idiots out there, still pitying this dumb ass ! Can you explain Armstrong’s motives , other than it not being about the financial reward ? With an estimated $100 million fortune, the now disgraced athlete in the ensuing months , could now find himself as a defendant in several upcoming lawsuits , and deservedly so ! Was it , really worth it ?

Thursday night was a bile inducing piece of idiocy , self-indulgent and that had no merits, in terms of journalistic integrity! As for Oprah, her ratings’ challenged network will continue to suffer, unless the programming content is greatly improved.

Microsoft billionaire, Chairman, Steve Ballmer , and his erstwhile fellow. Washington State native, Chris Hansen , co-founder of venture capital firm , Vanguard Capital Inc , have agreed in principle to purchase the beleaguered Sacramento Kings’ franchise . The presumed sale price will be somewhere between $300 million to $375 million for the loss making concern. The city of Sacramento led by its mayor , Kevin Johnson , has sought some compromise from the Kings’ ownership group , led by Joe and Gavin Maloof have essentially duped the municipality and its residents , that it had been their intent to remain in the city , playing the aging Sleep Train Arena , in downtown Sacramento .

This once proud franchise , in recent years has become anathema , starved of real support ,with fans seemingly apathetic to the woes of this team. Head coach, Keith Smart , along with his coaching staff have been entrusted in guiding the Kings back to former glories past . It is hard to say where this team now goes from here, as the common feeling is , the sale of the Kings would be in the best interest of the Kings , long and short-term , rather than the continued neglect and lack of real authoritative leadership coming from anyone within the organization , on or off the basketball court. At 15-23 this team is on a two game win streak but yet that might not be enough to simply get through this current drama as there is a continued distrust of the Maloofs.

The irony in all of this , as the city yearns the return of an NBA franchise within their locale , I am not so sure that the fans in Sacramento are truly appreciative of Kings being within their midst . Clearly , there has to be some apoplexy , because if they were diehard fans of this team , then they would be turning out in droves to support this NBA franchise wholeheartedly. Instead , it has been continued bitching and whining about the city council being ready to spend tens of millions of in public funds , for the rebuilding of new state of the art venue . The infrastructure of the municipality remains a mess , yet the fans who are support of this project are seemingly showing, a great deal of short-sightedness . I guess when you reside on the West Coast, and the political leadership is about as uninspiring as a Sarah Palin speech, on any given subject matter! Apathy is definitely in the house !

I don’t know if it is appropriate to lambast Notre Dame’s Manti Te`o any further , after the football team’s embarrassing loss in the BCS national title game . The young man has now set his sights on a career in the NFL , and no doubt he will be drafted in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft . That being said , with the latest web of deceit , and what appears to be a considerable amount of continuous falsehoods by Te`o , this story of an imaginary girlfriend whom me apparently met online , is now getting weirder by the second . To complicate things even further , Notre Dame’s AD , Jack Swarbrick has openly come out having issued a statement in support of the 2012 runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting . Good God , how lucky are we, that Te’o didn’t capture enough votes to win the most prestigious collegiate award in College Football ? My advice for Manti Te`o , at present , before you can put on your big boy pants , how about actually trying to have a real live relationship with a female that is physically in your presence ?

So let me get this straight , the still financially impoverished New York Mets , while seeking to improve their roster , after last season’s debacle , have sought to go about spending money like a drunken maritime sailor on furlough ? The signing of David Wright to a seven-year deal , financially irresponsible to say the very least , seems to be a sign that Mets’ GM , Sandy Alderson will continue with the inane stupidity shown by his predecessor Omar Minaya . If the signing of Wright was not to be viewed as an act of desperation , then how should any Mets’ fan view the front office’s acquisition of former Giants’ closer, Brian Wilson ? The player spent the entire 2012 season on the disabled list with the San Francisco Giants , as they triumphed in winning their second World Series in the past five years.

Now there is no denying that at his very best Wilson can be an overpowering and dominant closer , but the very best those traits were last seen from the player in 2010 , when he led all closers within the game in terms of saves , while the San Francisco Giants were triumphant in winning baseball’s biggest prize. It is hard to envisage Brian Wilson regaining that sort form this season for the New York Mets, on a team that will be hard pressed to compete within the NL East . Coming off “Tommy John “ surgery has never been easy , and it is extremely rare for a player having undergone that medical procedure to completely regain that form . It is a really big gamble , on the part of Sandy Alderson, manager, Terry Collins , and the manager’s coaching staff in taking a chance on the player . How this will all play out , is dependent upon the resilience shown by the team over the course of their season.

The New York Mets will begin their regular season schedule with a three game set beginning on the 1st April , 2013, when they play host to the San Diego Padres at Citi-Field, in Flushing , New York . A season of hope lies ahead for the Mets’ fans , one they no doubt hope , will end in some form of measured success .

The NFL postseason is now down to the conference championship games , with what are now arguably the four best teams in the league, based not upon divisional standing but the play of these teams over the course of the entire regular season schedule and their respective postseason forays . Franchises, that were expected to contend , fell by the wayside like leaves descendingg during “ The Fall “ . And the players thought to be leaders on their teams , were simply nowhere to be seen . What can one say, about those teams considered to pre and early season contenders ? Well , it was enough to suggest that “Black Monday” was a damning indictment of the coaches who failed miserably and who were subsequently relieved of their duties by the front office executives and owners of those beleaguered teams. Andy Reid , perhaps the biggest of the names to fall , has found himself in a position to succeed Romeo Crennel , as the new head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs .

Reid’s former team , the Philadelphia Eagles , found a way to induce Chip Kelly to leave Oregon ( Ducks) , a program he built into a perennial powerhouse within College Football . From my own perspective , I believe Kelly’s departure had more to do with the fact that the NCAA’s ongoing investigation of Oregon , had not yet concluded , but with ever wide-ranging culture of rumors fomenting , as to the scurrilous deceit and wrongdoings , all of which has happened during Kelly’s tenure. It simply made sense for the coach to make a quick departure rather than being subject to questioning by the NCAA’s Infractions’ Committee , as to his actions and those of his players, and the lack of accountability from the program’s compliance officers and the lackluster efforts of AD, Rob Mullen’s , to try to systematically clean up the image of a sullied athletics’ program.

Kelly’s biggest problem in Philadelphia , beyond fomenting a relationship with GM , Howie Roseman , will be to make a decision as to the impending future on the declining skills of Michael Vick , who in 2012, had his worst season on record . Vick’s days as a starter in the NFL are numbered , and his ego might not permit to become a glorified backup to a less experienced player, who the veteran may well feel that he has a far superior skillset , than the incumbent. We have seen it before , and we will see it again within the NFL. The 2013 NFL Draft , should prove to be a great indicator as to the direction that will be taken by Kelly and the Eagles’ front office , as they seek to write a new chapter in the franchise’s legacy.

Another of the NFL head coaches, upon a which guillotine came down on , happened to be the now departed Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals . Suffice to say, when you offer a player a ludicrous contract , as to the one offered to Kevin Kolb , you had better fucking well , make sure that he can play with the position effectively ! Let’s just say that chicken shit” , tastes nothing like ” chicken liver “, and essentially Kolb and John Skelton , combined , served up a whole lot of chicken shit, as it related to the Cardinals’ offense and passing game throughout 2012.

The Cardinals’ front office made what I believe has been the best hire , of the newly hired head coaches , in acquiring Bruce Arians to succeed Ken Whisenhunt . Anyone , who had the pleasure of seeing the former Steelers offensive coordinator and Colts’ assistant, interact with Andrew Luck while leading the team on their improbable run during the regular season ,while the franchise’s off-season woes dealt with the health issues of head coach , Chuck Pagano . Arians, was able to steady a team whose nucleus was primarily made up of rookies and second year starters . That may well have been the trait that was easily recognizable by the franchise’s newly installed GM , Steve Keim, as the Arizona Cardinals seek to move on from another disastrous season . If Bruce Arians is able to get half as productive an output from the Cardinals players on the current roster , by comparison than what he achieved with the Indianapolis Colts last season , then it bodes well for the team in 2013.

The NHL, is back ? So who, gives a shit? A regular season schedule of forty-eight games in the space of the three months is meant to enliven a disheartened apparent dwindling fan-base . Yet , the NHL hierarchy are still trying to sell the fans and public this time around they have got it right . I’ll pose this question, what in hell’s name has convinced Commissioner Gary Bettman that this time a ten-year negotiated deal, which sees an even split the NHL’s revenues will lead to a long-term peace accord ? Is this not the same sport , that in the space of two decades have forced their fans to endure four league induced work stoppages ? Not the self-destructive AFL-CIO , or the UAW have been as inept as the NHL and NHLPA combined , and have been able to wreak as much financial damage to their sport . Bettman’s , union counterpart , Donald Fehr , held a similar position with the MLBPA , within Major League Baseball (MLB).

Hockey has now become a sport of diminishing returns , for a vast majority of the teams within the league . A $2.5 billion ( $2,500,000,000) a year industry still remains on life support and the idiocy remains , that neither league hierarchy, team owners or the players themselves , have learned a god damn thing after this labor dispute ! They’ve learned nothing from their first , and nothing from the last stoppage to have derailed the sport ! Their heads remain up in the clouds , and in no fucking way, are their feet firmly in the ground , as this sport , is now being ran , as if it were a corner-shop convenience store, that barely carries the essentials needed to captivate the fans’ attention . Sparse attendance , a dwindling television audience , and there just happens to be the fact that the NHL ,still pays NBC Sports , to carry its content, in terms of a hockey broadcast in the United States . If that’s not a recipe for a continued economic disaster , then can someone explain to me what in their eyes , would not be another sure-fire way of seeing this sport completely disappear off the sporting landscape ?

The NHL regular season drops its puck on Saturday afternoon with a slate of thirteen games , whereby the teams will have to race out of their starting blocks and maintain a break neck speed over the course of this truncated season. Whether or not the fans will be appreciative of this all , remains to be seen, because the postseason could very well be , just as frenetic and misleading .

After Manny Pacquiao’s most recent loss to Juan Manuel-Marquez , a fight in which the eight-time titlist was relentlessly punished by his opponent , suffering the most humiliating loss , of his illustrious career . Many felt , it was time for the fighter to call it quits , and simply walk away under his own steam , while he had all of mental and physical capacities about him . A relentless fighter in his prime, he marched through each of the divisions where he reigned supreme , winning eight world titles in five different weight categories . However, the biggest fight of his career and the one that every fight fan yearned to see , proved to be elusive , and is unlikely to ever take place . Diminishing skills , and the very fact that his greatest nemesis , Floyd Mayweather Jr , now simply “ talks a good fight “ rather than being a willing participant in a bout that everyone wishes to see .

Courtesy of ESPN UK

Pacquiao given Parkinson’s warning

The possibility of retirement for Manny Pacquiao was raised on Thursday after neurologist Dr Rustico Jimenez speculated as to whether the Filipino was showing the first signs of Parkinson’s.

According to reports Jimenez, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, said he was concerned about the health of the fighter, who suffered a brutal knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez at the end of 2012.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, which affects Pacquiao’s world-renowned coach Freddie Roach. Dr Jimenez is concerned he can see the first signs now creeping into the physiology of the 34-year-old welterweight.

“Even though his reflexes are quick, I noticed the movement – it’s just another view, my personal view – but it seems like there are early signs,” Jimenez told radio dzMM.

“There are some movements that you will notice with his hands. It’s in the hands, and not the head, where you can easily see this. It twitches a little bit. Although I haven’t seen it up close, I think I am seeing that there are some signs.”

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Allegations of doping , an unwillingness to meet each other’s contractual demands , has in essence made this super mega-fight a nonstarter . A guaranteed multimillion dollar gate in receipts , and in excess of 2 ½ million pay per view buys, has not been enough to get Pacquiao’s or Mayweather’s representatives together , to work out the finite details of such a bout . So all that the most ardent fans can ever wish for , is what might have been , or the idiocy of several computers programmers getting together and inputting all of the fighters’ stats into a purpose-built program , to decide upon who a fictional winner might be . Floyd Mayweather’s business partner and closest confidante , Leonard Ellerbee, in recent weeks has suggested Manny Pacquiao’s promoter , Bob Arum , has rebuffed all of his calls . Personally, I believe that Arum , now has “ bigger fish to fry” , as his biggest and most lucrative client , is no longer the “ major draw” he once was. Two now punishing losses , the first of which was a highly debatable but yet justifiable result was the loss of the Filipino fighter’s WBC welterweight title belt to the then , lightly regarded , Tim Bradley. A proposed rematch with Bradley , is now unlikely to take place , so make of it , what you will.

One of the more tantalizing stories to come out of this saga , since Manny Pacquiao’s defeat, are claims by a renowned neurosurgeon that the fighter is clearly showing early signs of dementia and what could be the onset of Alzheimer’s disease . If that were the case , then it is clearly the time for the fighter to step down and save himself from further injury or a major catastrophe occurring in the ring. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize what such a major loss of this magnitude might mean for the sport . Yet , nowhere is there any common sense being shown on the part of Bob Arum or his client , who seems reluctant to walk away from the ring . Manny Pacquiao has career earnings, in excess of $ 200 million , a lucrative business empire in his native Philippines , as well as being a congressman representing his constituents of Sarangani , a highly impoverished district in the Philippines. Pacquiao’s marriage is now threatened by his reluctance to walk away, as the angst shown by his wife , Maria Geraldine Jamora (“Jinkie”) , and their four children, is etched upon her face, when she states …… “ my children would rather see their father alive , than laying dead , in a casket “. If those words are not strong enough a cause for Manny Pacquiao to now rethink his future , then it would be best for his wife to walk away , than subject her and the four children to further emotional trauma .

And while there has been no real evidence to suggest that Pacquiao has suffered any major loss of neurological functions , it would take an eternal optimist to not believe that the fighter’s two losses to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel-Marquez hasn’t done any damage to the Filipino fighter’s psyche . After-all, who is he going to fight next, in order to convince the public that he is still relevant in the world of boxing ? Any suggestions ?

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(1) Lance Armstrong is seen here with talk show host and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey , as the former athlete confesses to doping, which he denied while an athlete . The interview conducting on Winfrey’s OWN Network came across a bile inducing apology from Armstrong , who is now essentially seeking the public’s forgiveness after the years of deceit and lies . Winfrey herself , failed to ask any really pertinent questions , primarily because the field of sports’ journalism isn’t her expertise , whereas fawning over a guest , has her appearing as matronly individual you could somehow trust to get the truth. Well in this case , there is Armstrong’s truth, as he sees it . And the truth , as the whole world now knows it to be . So who would you rather believe at this juncture ? Courtesy of USA Today /Matt Hinchcomb …. .

(2) A pensive Lance Armstrong searches for answers during an interview with Oprah Winfrey . The host on her ratings’ challenged network hopes to get a boost in the ratings for this two night four-hour expose` . The Guardian UK / Paul Wilson ….

(3) Sacramento Kings fan Gloria Bailey lets her feeling be known as the Kings played the Cleveland Cavaliers in an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. The Kings won 124-118 . The Maloof family, owners of the Kings, are rumored to be in negotiations to sell the team to a group headed by investor Chris Hansen who would relocate the team to Seattle. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(4) Clockwise , from left to right , Chris Hansen, Steve Ballmer , Erik Nordstrom and Peter Nordstrom are the four lead investors seeking to purchase the Sacramento Kings and relocate the franchise to Seattle Washington , where they would play in the newly refurbished Key Arena , in Seattle , Washington ,. AP Photo / Mark Mason …

(5) James Frazier, right, holds a sign alongside his mother Karen Roth before an NBA basketball game between the Sacramento Kings and the Dallas Mavericks in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. Word of the possible sale of the team to investor Chris Hansen who would move the franchise to Seattle has Kings fan showing their support with hopes they will remain in Sacramento. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is now petitioning NBA Commissioner David Stern and the NBA Board of Governors , a body made up of the league owners and league hierarchy for an emergency meeting in seeking to retain the franchise within the city. However, Johnson has not been able to suggest how he seeks to have the Kings remain in the state capitol. No vested purchasers have come from within the greater Sacramento area , although the situation is being monitored by several parties , although no counter offer has yet been made . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ….

(6) Arizona Cardinals owner William Bidwill , right, talks with new head coach Bruce Arians , left, and his wife Christine Arians after Arians was introduced during an NFL football news conference at the team’s training facility Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. The Cardinals bring in Arians after he had a storybook year as the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator-turned-temporary coach. He filled in for head coach Chuck Pagano while he was treated for cancer and helped get the Colts to the NFL playoffs . AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(7) New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur blocks a shot during the team’s first official practice since the NHL hockey lockout ended, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, in Newark, N.J. AP Photo/Julio Cortez ..

(8) Juan Manuel Marquez , left , is seen here fighting Manny Pacquiao in the fourth of their now epic four fight quartet . Many are pressing for a fifth fight between the two , most notably Pacquiao’s promoter , Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc . AFP /REUTERS …..

(9)(L-R) Manny Pacquiao throws a right at Juan Manuel Marquez during their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. But it would be Juan Manuel-Marquez who would end up being the victor in landing left hook and right cross that lead to the knockout of Pacquiao in the sixth round of their WBC welterweight title fight . FRI Mathe` Regency S.A. / Anton Pasquale … @ copyrighted material all rights reserved .

(10) Manny Pacquiao is seen here with his wife, Maria Geradine-Jamora Pacquiao (“Jinkie”), and three of their four children. Jinkie as she is more commonly known , has pleaded with her husband to now step aside and retire from the sport that he has graced over the past decade, requesting that he do so for the sake of their family, and ultimately his long-term health. The boxer has yet to make a decisive decision concerning his future, with promoter , Bob Arum pressing for a rematch against Juan Manuel-Marquez. Picture appears courtesy of BBC Sports ….

(11) Bob Arum , veteran boxing promoter and CEO of Top Rank Promotions Inc , is seen here with Manny Pacquiao , publicizing his third fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in December of 2011 , that took place at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Resort in Las Vegas Nevada ,. AP Photo / Richard Harper ……

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50 Cent …………. ” Many Men “( Wish Death ‘pon-me)

My hard on, is better, and bigger than yours …………….

My hard on, is better , and bigger than yours …..

Tophatal

So here goes , we now have another medication in the world of sports that athletes will now choose to hide behind , as they choose to enhance their athletic abilities on the field of play. In recent weeks , several players in the NFL as well as the NBA and MLB have come forth and stated that they have been taking , or have been caught taking the drug Adderall , a drug that is normally used in treating and abating ADD and ADHD . Now, far be it , for me to suggest, that these athletes are not suffering from a genuine malady , but what does it suggest , when a number of these stars have chosen deliberately to skirt the rules , and have failed to advise a medical professional , in the organization where they are employed of their actions ? In the midst of this all, comes further proof that the MLB hierarchy under Bud Selig , remains , hapless , as well clueless , as we are now made aware that a trio of players embroiled in the game’s “ steroid era “ will be placed on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot . Seven-time NL MVP , Barry Bonds , along with Sammy Sosa and seven-time NL Cy Young Award winner , and recently exonerated , Roger Clemens , will be on the ballot in question . What might make this idiocy all the more inexplicable , is the fact that the names in question are usually forwarded to the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) , by baseball’s hierarchy , who go through the merits and carry out the adjudication process of the proposed nominees .

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Bud Selig never ceases to amaze , and his continued stupidity is only matched , by that shown by team owners within the game , who sat by and chose to do nothing while this massive fraud in the rampant use of steroids , was being perpetrated on the baseball fans within the game . Needless to say, in 2012 that still is the case, and when one considers that in excess of 185 players in the last thirty months at the MLB and MILB (Minor League Level) have been caught and penalized , because of their misuse of steroids. There is no way, that the commissioner , can claim with any veracity , that baseball has stamped out the widespread of use of PED’s and the illicit use of other banned substances . Not when the use of steroids still remains at the forefront of the game .

Consider also , that , the active home runs’ leader , Alex Rodriguez , having admitted his use of “boli” (anabolic steroids) , a mere six months after his much publicized admission , the player’s name once again surfaced, when it was revealed that he was a patient of Orlando medical professional , Dr Anthony Galea . Galea , now incarcerated at a federal facility , after reaching a plea agreement with the US Justice Department , for illegal interstate commerce , the transporting and trafficking of narcotics and the distribution and selling of PED’s as well several other prescription medication brought across from Canada , illegally for sale in the United States .In light of those revelations , Bud Selig , has once again chosen to turn a blind eye , yet the fans are to believe that he has the game’s best interests at heart ? And for the apathetic fans who believe that misuse of steroids does no harm , consider the fact that, renal failure , degenerative bone loss , cardiac problems and impotency are but a few of the side effects that can take place from the misuse of steroids . How about those apples ?

Forever the cries are for Pete Rose , the all-time hits’ leader and his inclusion into the Hall of Fame , but how the fans excuse his actions with regard to his willful neglect of the rules , and concerns the player’s now well publicized admission of guilt that he did in fact bet on games . And this came in light of Rose’s years of constant denial, of any wrongdoing on his part

. It is this sort of lunacy and apathy from the fans that never ceases to amaze . Rose’s acts are , and were just as egregious, as the willful flouting of the game’s rules as it concerns the use of a banned substance but yet , because this is said to be “ a victimless crime” in the eyes of the public , it is felt that he should now be excused and afforded the highest individual honor the game can bestow upon a player in recognition of their achievements , and that is entrance into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . Of course there has been a victim in the case of Rose’s conduct , if he’s said to be fixing games , in order for him to profit from those events financially . If results were being determined, by cheating wherein, Rose engineered the result of a game , that was to his favor, then who is actually being hurt by those actions ? Most certainly, the fans in this a case, and the general public at large . Or is it appropriate that the fans should actually overlook that issue , and simply let bygones be by bygones, with Pete Rose inclusion into the Hall of Fame ? Your thoughts ?

Adderall , itself is a banned substance , but the NFL does allow its use , only where it has been prescribed for use by a medical professional to an individual who’s said to be suffering from ADD or ADHD. . And it’s illicit use by Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive player Eric Wright , has once again brought this issue into the spotlight Wright has been in violation of the league’s substance abuse policy once before , so my question would be , is this latest infraction , was it for a legitimate issue on the player’s part or simply Wright’s willingness to violate the rules once again? The fact that he gave the explanation that he suffers from ADD , but nowhere was this mentioned by Wright when he was acquired by the team as a free agent. Strike you as curious ? Chime in with a comment as you see fit .

Much to my dismay, I am trying still trying to fathom how in two successive weeks the Buccaneers have managed to squander away games where victory seemed to be well within their grasp ! In two of the last three weeks , Josh Freeman and his teammates let slip what was certainly a game that was theirs and winnable . In week twelve , it was a game against the Atlanta Falcons , and a one point loss (24-23) . Whatever , Greg Schiano has been trying to instill into his players , clearly is not working , as it would appear that complacency as well as inconsistency has become the norm within this ball-club.

This past Sunday , the Buccaneers hosted the Philadelphia Eagles (3-9) at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida ,. Beyond the events on the field , it should be noted that the game was blacked out in the local television market , as the fair-weather fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were nowhere to be seen. It is at times like this , when I have to wonder if the city of Tampa should be imbued with the privilege of an NFL franchise within their midst, much less any type of professional sports’ franchise ! If the fans can’t come out to support this team , much less the Tampa Bay Rays or Tampa Bay Lightning , then why the hell try to assert that the city is indeed a sport’s related locale that can support three of the four major professional team sports ? Truth be known , the fans barely come out to support either of the aforementioned franchises, even in the best of times . Yet , for all of the grandiose ideas of from the city of Tampa and the neighboring city of St Petersburg, it is becoming increasingly clear that the local politicians within the locale are just as devoid of intelligence and business acumen as the owners who preside over three franchises in question. The Glazers may well have made their billions in the world of commercial real estate , but their day-to-day business operations as it concerns the Buccaneers’ franchise could be likened to a small grocery store , where the produce is rotting and the sales’ staff are simply disinterested in their environment.

In terms of the Rays , well it’s back to the annual exercise of penny-pinching by GM Andrew Friedman at the behest of team owner , Stuart Sternberg , while “seeking out” not necessarily the best talent available , but the cheapest , while the organization seeks to divest itself of some of their best players in recent years . As to the Lightning , well let’s just say , that as long as the NHL finds itself in the midst of another labor stoppage , then we might as well be talking about the merits of whether not a female with D cup sized breasts, are far more alluring than a female with C cups ? Tampa Bay Lightning owner , Jeff Vinnick must now wish he’d never set eyes on the hockey franchise and then to “pony up” the alleged $110 million purchase price for the team . With losses now mounting up and this continued idiocy by fans that this sport remains relevant , is it any wonder that one can continue to make a mockery of the their repeated suggestion that the sport can regain its financial footing ! What f#cking planet are those fans living on , might I ask ? Now almost three months into a league enforced lockout and no apparent sign that the two sides are any closer to reaching a compromise . The NHLPA (union) and hockey’s hierarchy seem intent on self-destruction . My response … “ have at it , you assholes ( hierarchy and union) , as you never knew when you were unto a good thing in the first place “ !

In the game on Sunday , between these two NFC combatants , the Eagles given their issues both and off the field were not seen as favorites to upset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . However , in front of a sparse crowd , the team led by rookie quarterback , Nick Foles , as he and teammates , with a great deal of composure , came back from a ten-point deficit in the final 2 ½ minutes of the game to essentially all, but now derail the Buccaneers’ hopes of making the postseason . The loss drops the Buccaneers to (6-7) within the NFC South , they will now have to rely on others ahead of them in the NFC standings in order to move ahead of their conference rivals seeking a playoff berth . Another losing for the Buccaneers , albeit with a rookie coach and there you have their season all wrapped up in a neatly packaged parcel and a bow . Unfortunately, this was a not a season of gift giving by way Greg Schiano’s players being the recipient of a gift . The Buccaneers will have to seriously look at this roster and the issues that they have , a lack a truly vocal leader . And when you have such a seasoned veteran , such as , Ronde Barber , bitching and whining , while offering very little by way of leadership to the younger players on the roster , then it is easy to understand why this team has failed so miserably this season ! .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning a number of the points raised within this article ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) From left to right, Sammy Sosa , Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds . All three former Big League players are on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot , which in some circles has drawn the ire of fans and MLB analysts alike . The BBWAA which adjudicates the process , have accepted the nominations , but no results will be forthcoming as to what their final decision may well be , on whether or not all three , will be due for enshrinement having met the criteria of gaining 75% of the votes allocated . AP Photo/ Paul Hart ….

(2) Barry Bonds , left , and Sammy Sosa are seen here prior to a game between their two teams respectively , the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs . The two friends and adversaries have combined for over 1400 home runs and 4600 hits over the course of their careers . AFP/REUTERS/ Matthew Harris ….

(3) Pete Rose the all-time hits’ leader is seen here on the twenty-fifth anniversary celebrating his surpassing what was then the hits’ mark of 4,192 . Rose would go on to on set the new mark of 4,256 career hits , which still remains intact today The former Cincinnati Reds player and manager has been reticent in having admitted his guilt, in betting on games , whilst a manager of the baseball franchise . In the subsequent since years his retirement, the former big league star has seen his hopes dashed of being accepted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame . It does appear that seems little hope that Rose will gain entrance into that hallowed establishment , unless the decision is made by the Veterans’ Committee of the BBWAA . Paul Mathis / AP Photo …….

(4) Bucs’ defensive player , Eric Wright seen here with the team at their practice facility at One Buc Place earlier this season, Wright is having to sit out four games , due to violating the league’s substance abuse program . It is is the player’s second such violation , in the past eighteen months . This time however, it was for the use of the prescription drug Adderall , without having advised the team of his use under an approved script of a medical professional . Wright’s other suspension had to with a DUI infraction , which subjected to him that prior infraction . AP Photo/ Keith Franklin …

(5) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) runs 10-yards for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …..

(6) Philadelphia Eagles tight end Clay Harbor (82) pulls in a touchdown in front of Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (24) during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. The Eagles won the game 23-21 . With the win, the Eagles’ record moves to 4-9 within the NFC East , still leaving the team firmly rooted at the bottom of the division and with one of the worst records in the NFC as a whole , mounting to on ongoing speculation that head coach Andy Reid and his coaching staff will be relieved of their duties at season’s end . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …

(7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Ronde Barber (20) reacts after the Philadelphia Eagles scored the game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. The Eagles won the game 23-21. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …..

(8) This is a 2012 photo of Wil Myers of the Kansas City Royals baseball team. The Kansas City Royals have acquired starting pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis from the Tampa Bay Rays for outfielder Myers and a package of minor league prospects , Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …..

(9) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields delivers to the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game , Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Shields along with teammate, Wade Davis were traded to the Kansas City Royals’ top outfield prospect Wil Myers, and a batch of other minor league prospects, in a seven-player trade that took place this past Sunday. Spelling the customary cost-cutting exercise that has been in place with the Rays’ franchise over the past few seasons , as they seek to cut payroll while seeking to remain competitive within the AL East . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….

(10) NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 05: Chief Executive Officer and Alternate Governor of the Tampa Bay Lightning Tod Leiweke leaves the leagues legal offices following the National Hockey League Board of Governors’ meeting on December 5, 2012 in New York City. Eighty-six days into the league enforced lockout and the two sides are still farther apart, than they were, at the beginning of the dispute, with no clear signs that either side , the league hierarchy or the union (NHLPA) , are prepared to acquiesce to the other parties’ demands. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images …..

(11) Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is seen here addressing the convened press in an interview after his purchase of the troubled NHL franchise from previous owners tv mogul Oren Koules and his business associates for a reputed $110 million . Vinik an investment banker, and real estate developer, has seen the value of the franchise decline because of the ongoing lockout , and is now seeking to develop ways to attract more fans to future Lightning games as well as seeking to lure more high-end consumers to his new redevelopment of the Channel-side area of downtown Tampa, which he recently purchased for an undisclosed sum . Tampa Bay Tribune … @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

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Monday night game between the Houston Texans (11-1) and New England Patriots (9-3) at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts ,.

Don’t Start Something If You Can’t Say Something …………

Don’t Start Something If You Can’t Say Something …………

By tophatal ………….. Monday, April 16, 2012 ,

At times it never ceases to amaze me as to the naivete` of the sports fan in general ! Here’s one of the asinine premises I’ve come across as of late and that’s ……….” I want to be entertained ” rather than seeing the usual staple of teams being served up perennially by the NBA , MLB , NHL and NFL ! Well considering that first and foremost the league hierarchies in question are actually a commercial enterprises whose primary goals are to make money and that of benefiting their franchise owners and players alike , as well as their numerous corporate sponsors and as well as the broadcast outlets who carry their product . So much of these individuals who claim to have a business degree of sorts . Unless it just happened to be a degree doled out by way of some none accredited educational establishment wherein , all that was required was a small monetary donation and in return came a diploma with a name festooned , denoted in bold calligraphy stating that the recipient was now a learned scholar .

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There’s a reason why the Los Angeles Lakers , Miami Heat , Boston Celtics of the will be part of the NBA televised schedule rather than that of their fellow teams carried by the outlets who carry league’s regularly seasoned schedule games. Legacy and success still carries weight over the perceived wishes of the consumer at times . And it is the same reason why the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , Los Angeles Angels , Los Angeles Dodgers and St Louis Cardinals will be seen on via the national broadcast and cable outlets more often their peers even via a regional outlets .

The NFL’s premise is to build around its more high profiled teams and that of its most popular players . There’s a reason why the Dallas Cowboys remains a ” major draw ” for the NFL beyond being the most profitable NFL franchise by far . The Cowboys draw viewers and that means added revenues for the broadcast outlets . Beyond the Dallas Cowboys you also have the New England Patriots , and the two prominent New York teams , albeit that they’re domiciled in the state of New Jersey , those being the New York Giants and New York Jets . I’d mention the Buffalo Bills in greater depth but in reality , let’s get real , what has this franchise done as of late that can be thought of as being meaningful ? Answer me that , if you can ?

The NHL is still trying to find its niche but undoubtedly without the appeal of Sidney Crosby , the Pittsburgh Penguins , Philadelphia Flyers , New York Rangers , New York Islanders , Boston Bruins , Montreal Canadiens , Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings the sport of hockey game of would barely register a blip in terms of ratings . And that is in spite of the renewed and rejuvenated attempt by the NBC Sports’ Network whose whole premise seems to be ” playing up the excitement” to be found during the playoffs this postseason .

The concerns for the hierarchies of the four major sports is to build around their most popular brands and to feed it to the consumer continually . Some of the hierarchies are more successful than others while some are still trying to figure it all out . Needless to say , we can figure out which of the sports in question are indeed troubled as to a following and some might say a dwindling fan-base . And which seem to be the ones who have seen their profiles raised not just domestically but also on a global front , their fortunes have changed dramatically over the past three decades at least . Care to suggest , as to which of the four major sports have met that specific criteria ?

This past Sunday marked the 65th anniversary (Jackie Robinson Day ) of the integration of Major League Baseball (MLB) , with Jackie Robinson being the first minority player of color to play in a fully integrated professional team sport . Consider at the time also , the US military wasn’t fully integrated , wherein African-American males could not fight alongside their Caucasian counterpart counterparts . They simply relegated to menial tasks or placed in all black platoons white officer presiding over them . It would not be until eight years after the end of WWII (World War II) that all branches of the US military would be indeed be fully integrated . Robinson paved the way for many social reforms that should have had a lasting effect upon our society . But in reality the country has fallen short of the of the wishes of not just Jackie Robinson the player , and social activist but also that of perhaps this country’s greatest disciple of effective social change , Dr Martin Luther King . Personally , I feel that the league hierarchy under Bud Selig have done little of real significance on this one issue and that is in spite the RBI initiative ( Returning Baseball to the Inner Cities) ! More money is now being spent by many of the league’s more prominent teams to build baseball academies in Latin America , the Caribbean , the African continent and Far East Asia , than the league itself spends on their so-called initiative . So much for that initiative then , don’t you think ?

Angels’ outfielder Torii Hunter may well have been unto something some years back when he stated that he could not consider Latino players as such , as being akin to his own ethnicity . Annually , Selig trots out the whole charade (Jackie Robinson Day) to remind us as to the steps that had been taken by Branch Rickey and the Brooklyn Dodgers . As recently as 1987 , the makeup of African-American players within the game of baseball was in excess of 30.8% of the rosters of the teams within the league at the time . In 2010 , that figure had fallen to below 8.7 % and for this Selig and the hierarchy has no meaningful explanation . Suffice to say , that in spite of the RBI initiative the interest amongst African-Americans for baseball is no longer there and has been on the decline over the last twenty-five years. A quick fix coming from MLB , not likely given the fact that a baseball scholarship is not as meaningful or as financially rewarding as obtaining a basketball or football scholarship at the D1 level . But you’d be hard pressed to have Bud Selig work in conjunction with the NCAA and Mark Emmert to change that landscape given the premise that MLB Draft profits greatly from having a high school declare his eligibility and then enter the process and likewise also , the players at the collegiate level who follow that same path.

So NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decided to uphold his original decision to not to rescind the suspensions levied against the New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton , assistant , Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis . As great as this may well sound , this whole ” odious affair ” of the Saints’ bounty scandal has taken on a new face and life of its very own . The NFLPA (union) has in fact had in its possession evidence to suggest that this whole sordid affair was known to them for quite some time . Scott Fujita , former member player representatives for the NFLPA has admitted to Peter King of Sports Illustrated that while a player for the Saints , he had in-fact paid members of the team for “big plays” but not so , to hurt players of the opposing team . This however, doesn’t negate the fact that this all happened while Gregg Williams’ scheme was actually being enforced and suborned by the coaching staff of the New Orleans Saints . How Fujita believes his actions were any-the-less egregious than the actions that were already in place is beyond belief ! Consider the fact , that the players on the team are already being well compensated , why would any other financial in incentive be needed beyond the players' usual salary ? If this was all happening while Fujita was a player rep for the Saints , then it speaks to length and depth of this whole contrived conspiracy and how it was perpetrated . And now you have the idiocy of union itself advising its members who may well be embroiled in this mess to have their player representative at their side as well as legal counsel when questioned by the NFL investigators , who are still conducting their ongoing investigation into the affair.

The NFL , much less the NFLPA , has never been at all concerned with player safety , and this typically proves that fact ! It’s not so much the denials complacency and negligence of the league hierarchy in not acknowledging the cause-and-effect of the injuries suffered blunt force head traumas and Grade II concussions . But how has this has sat with the NFL , with the mounting evidence placed in-front of them , much of research into the injuries coming well-respected medical and universities of academia with years of experience in the area of neurology ? The league hierarchy continued to deny that the research had any merit whatsoever by stating own in-house medical advisers had conducted research which suggested evidence to the contrary . Goodell , much like his predecessor Paul Tagliabue have failed to address the issue of player safety and it has only been under pressure from the US government , specifically the House Commerce & Energy Committee , House Oversight & Gov’t Reform Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee that has now caused the league hierarchy to change its stance somewhat . And this continued idiocy that the NFL cares about its members is asinine and heightened all the more when one considers the abhorrent treatment meted out to old-time veterans , who were repeatedly denied benefits rightfully due to them . I would preface this by saying , the fact that the NFL is now the subject of two separate legal cases as a defendant at the state level and Federal level , may well be the reason why Goodell and the team owners are lining up all of their ducks in a row , as they seek to have both cases conjoined and heard within the US Federal Court System .

Courtesy of Cleveland Plain Dealer

Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita meeting with NFL officials today about bounty scandal

By Mary Kay Kabot , The Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND — Current Browns and former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita is among the players meeting in New York today with NFL officials about the Saints bounty program and other matters, according to Albert Breer of nfl.com.

Fujita, a member of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee, has admitted to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King that he paid teammates for big plays while in New Orleans, but not for hurting opponents and not as part of the bounty pool.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and other members of executive committee besides Fujita arrived this morning at league offices to discuss sanctions against players involved in the Saints’ program.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has come down hard on current and former Saints employees involved in the program, including suspending coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season and general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games.

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I’ve long-held the contention that the NFL and union have been disingenuous and more so simply devoid of creativity and intelligence ! Both have their own agendas , which has absolutely nothing to bringing to do with seeing the brand itself grow in stature . Roger Goodell has been quick to point to the fact that during the impasse that led to the preseason being abandoned but the entire regular season being enmeshed into a tighter pattern led to some exciting football being played at times but we also had situations where a number of teams simply performed badly . The commissioner was also quick to state that the league had been the recipient of an additional $1.25 billion in added revenues by way of a newly negotiated contract jointly with CBS and Fox Sports . You ever get the feeling that it will be never enough for the NFL , while at the same time they simply coerce municipal and state employees to granting them tax incentives repeatedly each season that has appreciated value for the team owners . While in reality those agencies tend to see a diminishing return by way of that largess . Doubt my word , then ask New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg how things seem to be working out concerning Citi-Field and what now appears to be a white elephant that has yet to be filled to capacity for a regular season game . It is becoming abundantly clear that while the New York Mets may well be riding high within the NL East but the real issue still facing the front office is that of reining in costs as it relates to the team’s payroll .

Sandy Alderson and J P. Riccardi have been entrusted to reverse the recent misfortunes of the Mets’ organization . No small feat when one considers that it has been over two decades since the New York Mets won their sole World Series title . As to whether or the team in its current guise can aspire to those lofty heights will no doubt be predicated not only the team’s pitching but also how explosive that offense will be . And as good as the New York Mets appear to be at present I am not convinced that they are simply good enough to challenge the might of the St Louis Cardinals , Philadelphia Phillies , San Francisco Giants within the NL !

I’m no fan of the New York Mets as I have felt all along team owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz have been negligent , financially incompetent and derelict in their duties as the owners of this baseball club. Having dodged a bullet in their as defendant in a recent civil suit that sought the recovery of $1.15 billion received by way of the alleged investments derived from the Madoff Ponzi scheme . The Mets would settle with plaintiff’s attorney Irving Picard of Baker Potts LLC , for the rather minuscule sum of $165 million . There was enough evidence to suggest that Picard would have won the case for his clients but somehow they chose to settle . In the aftermath of this all , the 750 clients represented by the law would receive the meager sum of just over $210,000 before the legal fees of the attorney is taken into account. Someone got ” hosed ” in this whole episode and it certainly wasn’t the New York Mets ! Say what you will but the Mets are laughing , while I believe that the plaintiffs in this suit might have some issue with their lawyer ! Picard and his law firm will walk away with a tidy sum in legal fees for simply belittling the Mets . Nowhere near enough when you consider what the plaintiffs had originally sought.

The Charlotte Bobcats seem to be now bungling their way to NBA history as they seek to either rewrite the annals of the league for sheer ineptitude . With a mark of 7-52 and only seven games left before the culmination of the regular season on the 26th April, 2012. Granted , the season has been curtailed to one of 66 games and the all-time mark is that of the ‘ 73-74 Philadelphia 76ers’ 9-73 . But who knew at that the organization owned by the game’s most beloved player Michael Jordan . The front office executive has said little concerning the woes of the team and the very fact that it is becoming increasingly likely that they will not surpass that Sixers’ mark . However , Paul Silas and Michael Jordan can look back on this season as one of not only missed opportunities but the very fact this team was simply uncompetitive and had no leadership coming from anyone on the roster , much less from Silas’ staff of coaching assistants . Nothing ventured , nothing gained and that has clearly been the case for the Charlotte Bobcats . Kemba Walker may well have entered the NBA Draft with high expectations. Unfortunately for the player , his rookie season it has been one lows than highs playing on a team that certainly won’t be able to shed this season from its memory anytime soon .

I was once told by grandmother ………. “if you can’t say anything nice about anyone then try to be respectful in pointing out their problems ” . I am not so sure I can be that kind and compromising when it concerns the Bobcats ! So much was made about how great the season would be and the fact that the teams would be playing at a highly competitive level . In some cases that has been true but herein lies my issues with the season , either teams have forgotten how to play defense or simply put the level and quality of the coaching within the NBA has now sank to an all-time low ! Personally , I believe it’s a combination of both and it is unlikely change anytime soon ! Paul Silas may well have been brought in by GM Rod Wiggins to provide the young players on this team some guidance and experience but that has fallen remarkably short upon a group of players whose combined basketball IQ might not even equal that of Sarah Palin’s and Paris Hilton’s combined ! And even if the Bobcats are part of this season’s NBA Draft Lottery , a possible resurgence of the franchise won’t be an overnight thing.

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What if anything do you feel to be pertinent concerning the points raised within the piece ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit .

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Cleveland Browns’ defensive player Scott Fujita is seen here with NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith heading to a meeting with of the union’s executive committee and the NFL league hierarchy this past Monday. Fujita for former player rep while with the New Orleans Saints answered questions concerning his involvement in the Saints’ now infamous “bounty program” . Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press ……

(2) Charlotte Bobcats head coach Paul Silas , left, lowers his head as his son, assistant coach Stephen Silas , right, looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, April 15, 2012. Boston won 92-84 . AP Photo/Chuck Burton ….

(3) LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 15 : Vince Carter (25 ) and Brendan Haywood (33) of the Dallas Mavericks guard Andrew Bynum (17 ) of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on April 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(4) LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 15: Pau Gasol (16) of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a game against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on April 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(5) Minnesota Twins’ Jamey Carroll , right, crosses home plate while New York Yankees’ catcher Russell Martin watches during the fifth inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Monday, April 16, 2012. The Twins won 7-3 . AP Photo/Seth Wenig …

(6) Curtis Granderson (14) of the New York Yankees is congratulated after making a catch hit by Justin Morneau (33) of the Minnesota Twins during their game on April 16, 2012 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……

(7) Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby warms up during NHL hockey practice in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 17, 2012. The Penguins face the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 of a first round Stanley Cup playoffs series in Philadelphia on Wednesday. The Flyers lead the best-of- seven games series 3-0 . AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar …

(8) New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, left, and shortstop Derek Jeter join Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, on the field prior to the Yankees’ baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Jackie Robinson Day at Yankee Stadium in New York, Sunday, April 15, 2012. It is he 65th anniversary of his breaking the Major League Baseball color barrier. AP Photo /Kathy Willens …..

(9) Brooklyn Dodger infielder Jackie Robinson poses in May 1952. Courtesy of DP Archives /AP @ all rights reserved copyrighted material ….

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” For The Love of Money ” ………………. to my mind the four major professional sports’ league hierarchies are no different from the illegal drug operations of fabled fictionalized character Nino Brown from the seminal movie “New Jack City ” @ circa 1991 !

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Or have it another way via a more contemporary revamp from Easy E feat’g Bone Thugs-N-Harmony ………… ” For The Love of Money ” . Your Thoughts ?

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Simply Looking For A Few Good Men …. Can You Handle The Truth ?

Simply Looking For A Few Good Men …. Can You Handle The Truth ?

By tophatal ………..

There’s no denying that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had one of one of the more disappointing seasons in their recent history . So much was expected from this team after their breakout year in 2010 . Narrowly missing the postseason by the slightest of margins . Last year for the Buccaneers as coached by Raheem Morris led to an unhappy tidings not only for the beleaguered coach but also for several of the players , most notably starting quarterback Josh Freeman , LeGarrette Blount and specifically the Buccaneers’ defense .

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It’s hard to comprehend how the Buccaneers could end up losing 10 consecutive games as their season wound up in flames in 2011 but that is exactly what was achieved by the team that essentially led to Morris’ dismissal by GM Mark Dominik at the behest of the team’s owners the Glazer family , led by patriarch Malcolm Glazer . Not necessarily shocking as to the abrupt firing of Raheem Morris but it was plain to see that the young coach had lost the confidence of a young and ill-disciplined team . Furthermore , veteran players such as Ronde Barber and Kellen Winslow Jr simply showed a lack of real leadership , all this from two of the team’s more recognizable faces . But alas, this is what tends to happen to players who are now simply past their prime and who as such are being richly rewarded while being unproductive .

In light of Morris’ departure , Mark Dominik had something of a major search on his hands , in gauging a likely successor for Raheem Morris . After conducting several interviews of a wide and varying list of candidates , Greg Schiano was hired as the head coach . The former Rutgers’ head coach then went about assembling an assistant coaching staff with former Tar Heels head coach Butch Davis being hired as a special consultant to assist Schiano in whatever capacity is sought by the new incumbent head coach. As good a hire as that might appear to be on paper , I am not so sure with the experience of Davis we will actually see any great improvement from this team in its present guise . And given that Butch Davis’ career with North Carolina ended in a great deal of controversy I certainly don’t believe his hiring was an appropriate one ! Davis’ candor , and lies to members of the schools faculty leads me to believe that he is simply a man with little credibility or integrity . And even though his actual apology to the school came after his initial denials of any wrong-doing on his part that led NCAA violations concerning recruitment policies and a lack oversight by the coaching staff as it related to players’ conduct and what is believed to be the lack of monitoring academic standards by players on the football team .

For a team that was simply lacking in so many facets of the game it is easy to understand why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers failed so miserably last season . Not much of a defense and even more so their run and pass offense was simply mediocre within the NFL . Clearly the Buccaneers have issues on both sides of the ball and they need to addressed either through free agency or via the upcoming NFL Draft .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have the fifth pick in the Draft and it remains to be seen what decisions will be made by Schiano in conjunction Dominik and the scouting department of the team’s front office . I’m not about to boast any type of prognostication as to which direction the team is liable to go in terms of that first round pick but I would like to think that if the organization’s draft history is anything to go by , then I hope it will be a prudent and insightful choice ! It has been a number of years since the Buccaneers have had a first round pick that has actually gone to make a big impact within the NFL . Carnell “Cadillac” Williams was thought to be a player who would be a great impact for this organization , only for the running back to literally disappear from the landscape after his first four games of his professional career within the NFL . From thereon-in , it was simply downhill for the player who is now languishing as part of the St Louis Rams’ ….. offense .

Buccaneers’ quarterback Josh Freeman in the aftermath of a down year in 2011 with there being little to suggest that the his regression was nothing more than his opponents are now aware of the player’s limitations and capabilities. Quarterbacks taken in the same year (2009) as Freeman and in subsequent years have had their ups and downs , as can be expected . And as the off-season begins to gain momentum with the free agency status slowly coming to into its nascent . Now the ” movers and shakers” are beginning to make their intent known .

Now as the NFL watches and waits to see the ultimate destination of quarterback Peyton Manning , it will be interesting to see the decision made by the renowned quarterback . Having met with the executives of the Miami Dolphins , Arizona Cardinals , Denver Broncos , Tennessee Titans and it’s said the Washington Redskins . I do believe that the two franchise best suited to the player’s skill-set are the Broncos and Cardinals ! . GM Rod Graves of the Arizona Cardinals and Brian Xanders in conjunction with John Elway of the Denver Broncos will make a full court press to sell the virtues of their respective organizations. Manning and his agent Tom Condon will certainly be looking for the best fit that suits the player , and I for one doubt that Manning has a real desire to ply his trade within the NFC but then again I may well be wrong . And given the quality of the quarterbacks to be found within the conference could the four-time league MVP still be a resounding success playing at a high-caliber at this stage of his already unprecedented fourteen year career ? Your thoughts ?

I would like to think that Greg Schiano can be a success with the Buccaneers and make this franchise a resurgent force once again . But herein lies the caveat for the organization , anything short of winning season and the fans will simply begin to desert the team in droves , leaving Raymond James Stadium simply looking fit for nothing more than staging a funeral or perhaps a Jonas Brothers for adoring teenage and preteen females . Attendance for the Buccaneers home games last season bordered on being abysmal with several of those being blacked out due to the lack of there being fans presence that met with the league’s criteria in order for the games being showed live within the local tv market . And one wonders why there has been a great deal of apathy concerning the Tampa Bay are professional sports’ franchises ? The Tampa Bay Lightning , Tampa Bay Rays and Buccaneers have all struggled to gain any semblance of acceptance with regard to fan attendance at their respective home venues .

As part of what appears to be Schiano’s first steps in bolstering the roster the organization has signed free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson to a 5 yr deal that makes the player one of the highest paid wide receivers in the NFL . As how this adds to the core already on hand with this Buccaneers’ team remains to be seen and also which players will be deemed superfluous to the coaching staff’s needs .

Jackson , the troubled star on an under-performing …. San Diego Chargers’ …. team this past ….. season could well provide the Buccaneers with the productivity they need to make their offense more potent within the NFC West . And no doubt a player of Jackson’s caliber will see the Tampa Buccaneers as an environment where he can regain the momentum that made him a Pro Bowl caliber wide receiver within the NFL . Hopefully , the addition of Vincent Jackson can mean something tangible for the Buccaneers this upcoming season . If not , then it will be back to the drawing board once again , and nothing could be more disconcerting than having to see the franchise start afresh once again . Your thoughts on the matter ?

Apathy has and always will be the norm within this local market when it comes to all three franchises and it is easy to see why . Success has been fleeting for all three franchises in recent years. The Buccaneers haven’t had any real success since their triumph over the Oakland Raiders in the 2003 Superbowl . Their NHL counterpart the Tampa Bay Lightning in spite of the turnover in player personnel and change of ownership , hasn’t tasted real success in recent years even in spite of the Stanley Cup triumph in 2004 . Only recent years have the Tampa Bay Rays made their presence felt in the regular and postseason . And last season simply showed why the Rays came up short once again purely due to the fact that the depth of the roster simply wasn’t good enough at any point of their foray as a precursor to the 2011 World Series . .

Guy Boucher , Joe Maddon and Greg Schiano will have a great deal to prove during 2012 , no matter which way you look at things . So make of it what you will .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the salient points within this piece ? Chime in with a comment as you would deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support !

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) FILE – In this Jan. 8, 2011 file photo, New Orleans Saints’ Carl Nicks (77) walks off the field after an NFL NFC wild card playoff football game loss to the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Nicks has become the first 2011 All-Pro to change teams in free agency, leaving New Orleans on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. AP Photo/Elaine Thompson ….

(2) TAMPA, FL – NOVEMBER 13: Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (95) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sets for a play against the Houston Texans , November 13, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. According to reports February 15, 2012, the Buccaneers have released Haynesworth. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …. …..

(3) Coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers speaks to the media at an introduction press conference at the team training facility January 27, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …..

(4) San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla., Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack …..

(5) Josh Freeman (5) talks with Jeremy Zuttah (76) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a play clock violation during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images North America / Chris Graythern

(6) Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon watches from the dugout during the second inning of a spring training baseball game in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, March 10, 2012. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …..

(7) Head coach Guy Boucher of the Tampa Bay Lightning speaks to the media after they defeated the Boston Bruins 5 – 3 in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at St Pete Times Forum on May 21, 2011 in Tampa. Getty Images /Justin K . Aller …….

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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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Had Your Dose Of Sports Over The Weekend ?

Had Your Dose Of Sports Over The Weekend ?

Well for myself the sporting weekend transitioned itself around Rory McIlroy simply decimating a world class field at the US Open at Congressional Golf Club in Bethesda , Maryland . The margin of victory not withstanding a resounding 8 stroke victory by McIlroy over his closest rival Jason Day . Now the whole world will want to know what awaits McIlroy and how would he have fared had Tiger Woods been in the field ? From my own perspective given Woods’ recent run of form I doubt that the result would have been any different ! Suffice to say while Woods remains the yardstick against which the current contemporaries are to be adjudged , in reality the Tiger of old isn’t currently around .

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Things are now beginning to look rather bleak for the Florida Marlins . In the month of June this team has won only one of their last eighteen games and the fact that manager Edwin Rodriguez simply walked away from the organization and team having tendered his resignation simply indicates how dire things had become for the NL East franchise . Now with eighty year old Jack McKeon being asked by GM Larry Beinfest to assume control of this beleaguered team I am not so sure that things can be drastically turned around .

Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress soon have his freedom having been incarcerated at the taxpayers’ expense . And for the player who now looks to resurrect his NFL career it will be interesting to see what teams if any take an open interest in the former Pro Bowl wideout . Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has made it his desire to have Burress become a teammate of his with the Eagles . But I doubt that either team coach Andy Reid or GM Joe Banner are seeking to make another reclamation project out of another troubled NFL player . Vick in spite of his successes last season still has a long way to go to prove to everyone that he’s actually back to his very best as a player but even more so as a leader .

There’s no doubt in my mind that Burress still has something to offer to a team but given the player’s predilection to self implode , if I were a general manager much less an NFL team owner his joining my organization would have to be based upon his demeanor and actual acknowledgement that he has now changed for the better as a human being . Beyond that not much else would really matter other than him being productive on the field of play .

There’s no doubt in my mind that the rules of the NFL are there for a reason especially where it involves the players concerning gambling. It is now being widely reported that as many twenty five NFL players are known to be investors in a gaming concern in Alabama . The owner of the casino Country Crossing —- Ron Gilley is under indictment by the Justice Department along with two lobbyists for offering state legislator millions of dollars in bribes in order to facilitate the approval and building of the casino in Dothan , Alabama .

The NFL’s rules are very clear on this matter wherein it states that current NFL players are barred from being involved in any type of gaming concern from a business standpoint . In doing so it creates the perception that in some way that there could be a conflict of interest and any type of impropriety that a player or players whilst on the field of play could effect the outcome of game . Well given the fact that the league as such welcomes to the actions of gamblers betting on their games I can’t see how they feel that an NFL player hasn’t been wagering on the games where they are already participants ! It would be naïve to think otherwise , albeit that no one has been caught but I think it is pretty safe to say that the players around the NFL have their own proclivities when it comes to games of chance . Tens of millions of dollars are wagered each year on the Superbowl and I am quite sure that there have been a number of players around the NFL that have profited directly or indirectly from placing a bet on the game . The NFL hierarchy if they do decide to conduct an investigation into this matter than the ramifications could well be very serious for the players involved at the center of this drama .

I’ve never been one to get completely enamored over the glare of the limelight or the very fact that some athletes tend to think of themselves as being bigger than the game. But in light of the recent meltdown of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals and the mere fact that the team’s All Star LeBron James has began to chastise the fans for his and his team’s own shortcoming has me now believing more so than ever before that this is the monster that David Stern has created ! Instead of the NBA being a team sport it has now become a heartless ego driven endeavor where upon it is the stars/ marquee players that we are meant to be enthralled by rather than the teams themselves .

If James’ behavior and that of his teammate Dwyane Wade wasn’t enough of an indicator of that then I for one don’t know what is ! ! Self aggrandizement and the mocking of an opponent who at the time was said to be ill shows the lack of class in the two aforementioned players . But yet team President Pat Riley continued to bitch and whine when any criticism was being leveled at the team or his famous duo of stars . In the end nothing could have been much sweeter than seeing the Miami Heat juggernaut being derailed by the Dallas Mavericks and Finals’ MVP Dirk Nowitzki . When all said and done the better and far more deserving team proved to be victorious and laying to rest the myth that having a trio of superstars elicits a win of a title . Teams win titles , where the endeavor is meant to about showing cohesiveness and a genuine will to win and nothing resembling that was ever on display by the Miami Heat throughout the NBA Finals and their series loss to the Dallas Mavericks !

I was never enamored with the NHL and I don’t think I ever will be ! In light of the Boston Bruins having won the Stanley Cup in defeating the Vancouver Canucks . The display by Canucks’ fans in the aftermath of the team’s game seven loss was enough of an indicator that it simply doesn’t matter where the fans are from their baser instincts are always the same ! Act like a Neanderthal and you’ll viewed as such ! The fans went on a postgame riot , looting , burning cars and damaging businesses in the city of Vancouver that in the could run into several million dollars worth of damages . But what might be even more ludicrous may well have been the public statement issued by the city’s police chief , Jim Chu in stating that the incidents and acts of violence resulting in over 100 arrests and 150 people injured were merely the acts of the criminal element with nothing better to do . I wonder if Chu’s mindset would still have been the same had there been far more serious injuries resulting with someone’s death ? Isn’t it bad enough that his city was shown in a thoroughly bad light after these riots , never mind the fact that the game’s image has been tarnished by the events that took place ?

Granted, no sport is ever without its bad elements but the mere fact that Chu chooses to write this off as a criminal element choosing to take advantage of a sporting events smacks of sheer stupidity on his part . If anything it furthermore paints a poor picture of his city and the fact that those involved are nothing more than a marauding bunch of hooligans . That asides , if the hockey fan out there becomes this disgruntled because their team loses in the game’s showcase event then it simply shows another reason why the game continues to flounder in more ways than one from a commercial and professional endeavor .

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By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

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

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

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

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) U.S. Open golf championship winner Rory McIlroy, or Northern Ireland, right, is handed his U.S. Open trophy by Francois-Henry Bennahmias, left, president and CEO of Audemars Piguet (North America) Inc., during an event at the Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee, Mass., Monday, June 20, 2011. AP Photo/The Cape Cod Times, Merrily Cassidy …

(2) Bethseda, Maryland: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and his father Gerry McIlroy pose with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images …

(3) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks with the media after his eight-stroke during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images …

(4) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks onto the eightenth green before winning the 111th US Open by eight strokes over Jason Day with a record 268 at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON …..

(5) Florida Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, left, talks to reporters as interim manager Jack McKeon looks on during a news conference in Miami, Monday, June 20, 2011. Beinfest announced McKeon’s second term as manager of the Marlins. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields , right, is congratulated by catcher Kelly Shoppach after throwing a four-hitter in the Rays’ 2-1 victory over the Florida Marlins in a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday, June 19, 2011.

(7) Former New York Giants wide receiver, Plaxico Burress is seen holding onto a cup of coffee and wearing a Philadelphia Phillies hat while out in New York City. On June 6th, Burress was released from prison after nearly spending two years behind bars on gun charges. Courtesy of Pacific coast news.com ….

(8) Former NFL wide receiver Plaxico Burress attends a press conference at National Urban League on June 13, 2011 in New York City. Getty Images North America / Joe Corrigan ……

(9) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles takes the field before playing against the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images /Al Bello ….

(10) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles walks of the field after losing to the Green Bay Packers during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles would lose to the Packers 21-16 Getty Images / Al Bello ….

(11) FILE – This June 1, 2011 file photo shows Miami Heat President Pat Riley talking to reporters in Miami. Riley says he will not return to coaching, and says the team has a strong leader in Erik Spoelstra . Riley spoke Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at his annual end-of-season wrap-up and touched on several topics including the disappointment of Miami’s loss in the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks. AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File …

(12) Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, of Germany, fights back tears as fans cheer following his introduction during a celebration following the team’s victory parade, Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks earned their first NBA basketball championship by defeating the Miami Heat. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(13) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 12: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat walks into the interview room to answer questions after the Heat were defeated 105-95 by the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida.

(14) Riot police walk in the street on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team the Vancouver Canucks lost in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images …..

(15) Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron carries the Stanley Cup aloft as he walks through a crowd of onlookers from Tia’s Restaurant in Boston on Thursday, June 16, 2011, one day after the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….

(16) Police on horseback move down a street during a riot following the Vancouver Canucks being defeated by the Boston Bruins in the NHL Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Angry, drunken revelers ran wild Wednesday night after the Vancouver Canucks’ 4-0 loss to Boston in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, setting cars and garbage cans ablaze, smashing windows, showering giant TV screens with beer bottles and dancing atop overturned vehicles. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz ….

(17) Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu seen here speaking with the convened press . copyrighted material @ All rights reserved Post Media News / Ethan Baron ……

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The Determining Factor ……………………..

The Determining Factor

It’s crazy but with the end of the NFL Draft and we already have the analysts and draft geeks assessing which team actually had the best draft class from this most recent endeavor . Now don’t get me wrong but the draft has its merits but in reality until those players actually have played down in a regular season game within the NFL we will never truly know what these players are or will be actually capable of. Can’t miss players are merely speculation and conjecture . And now where a first round draft pick especially one that is picked in the upper echelons of the first round, the financial cost and commitment for a player to a team can be well into tens of millions of dollars over the course of an initial contract. Do you think that the Oakland Raiders regret making that initial $ 65 million commitment to JaMarcus Russell right about now ? One simply has to look to their front office of the Raiders to see the cause of their demise . To put it more succinctly Al Davis no longer knows how to assess talent in spite of the continued idiocy that’s misplaced by an overbearing oaf such as radio personality and employee of the organization the nationally syndicated sports talk radio host J T The Brick . Here’s a guy who when it comes to showing any form of impartiality to an issue concerning the Raiders , well let’s just say he’d make a Klan member feel proud !

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Slide show for your perusal .

In reality success has been fleeting for the Raiders over the last decade and half and that is in spite of the organization’s rich history within the NFL . But as with a number of teams and in particular with each generation of fans it’s not merely about those by gone years but what you have you done for me lately by way of success ? And to my mind the determining factor and in relation to the success that any organization wishes to attain be it within MLB , NBA , NBA , or the NFL itself .. It is predicated upon the front office of each organization ,from the ownership on down to the executives and coaching staff. Consider this , think of the most successful franchises within each of the four major sports and what has each got in common apart from winning ? It is the fact that each has had an owner who has remained consistent with what works for it as an entity . The Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils within the NHL , the Pittsburgh Steelers , New York Yankees , the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have simply stuck to that tried and tested method of having sound fiscal policies , as well as competent coaches and executives within their respective organizations.

During the NBA Playoffs without a doubt the most disappointing display to my mind was that of the Orlando Magic and their lopsided 4-2 series loss to the Atlanta Hawks . Anyone who was witness to the sheer ineptitude of the Magic’s performances throughout this series would realize that without Dwight Howard this team simply isn’t worth a damn . What might be even more perplexing was the sheer idiocy and the belief shown by GM Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy that the mid-season trades made would in fact improve the team . If anything the team simply became even more inconsistent , lackluster and completely devoid of creativity on either end of the floor . Not only that but they were simply those who labored under the fact Dwight Howard because of his stats made a viable MVP candidate while his teammates simply were mediocre .

Anyone who actually has an ounce of common sense would know from the very fact that the vast majority of the winners of the league’s regular season trophy to the individual recipient has in fact made those around him considerably better as their respective teams statistically have shown signs progress during that season. Case in point , was this season’s runaway winner of the league MVP trophy , Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and the 21 game turnaround engineered by Tom Thibodeau from last season to this where the team became a 62 game winner and the top seed within the Eastern Conference never mind the fact that they’ve now made the Eastern Conference Semi Finals where they face the Atlanta Hawks who as I explained earlier dethroned the Magic with effortless ease.

The Orlando Magic and its front office in conjunction with Otis Smith I feel were capricious. Smith and Bob Vander Weide team President & CEO made a gamble that simply didn’t pay off . Not only that but in acquiring Jason Richardson , Hedo Turoglu and Gilbert Arenas the organization is financially on the hook for $65 million in salary for the players in question over the remaining years of those contracts. Call me naive but the productivity by the players during the regular season as well as the postseason has been minuscule and not deserving of the Magic’s fans undoubted expectations. And with this loss the Magic and its management have a great deal of contemplating to do as it regards the moves that need to be made in order to make this team better. Dwight Howard whose contract expires at the end of 2012 can actually opt out of the contract prior to its culmination rather than seeking to start the whole negotiation process. Clearly Van Gundy and Otis Smith will have to be very persuasive in convincing Howard that he ought to remain with the organization. And at this juncture that scenario isn’t as clear cut as some would believe or would like it to be.

In baseball we have all seen the idiocy of the team owners there and their ostentatious spending. Is it any wonder Los Angeles Dodgers and in particular the New York Mets are in a mess financially with regard to their own existence and financial viability ? Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt seems to be under the misapprehension that he will be successful regaining control of the team he bought in 2003 from the local > News Corp through their wholly owned Fox Inc subsidiary. Since then, even though the team has averaged 3 million attendees per season the organization has struggled to remain financially a viable concern . Now with collateralized and none- subordinated debt in excess of $ 1.2 billion McCourt feels that the team and organization still remains a viable concern. He must feel that the his creditors will continue remain lukewarm to his overtures should they feel that he’s having problems paying down that debt. In this sort of economic climate there tends not to that type willingness from many of the nation’s major financiers and their respective institutions. And even with the league hierarchy having assumed control of the Dodgers I would like to think that Bud Selig is closely monitoring the situation as it now unfolds with Mets , in particular with co-owners —- Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon !

Success for both the Dodgers and Mets seems to have been fleeting over the past decade and it remains to be seen whether or not their aspirations remains the same and that is to win a World Series title . And as ambitious as those front offices appears to be it seems that they have lost sight of their ultimate goal . Much of that malaise has to be laid squarely upon the shoulders of McCourt and his executives within the organization . Ned Colletti may well be enjoying the prestige of running the personnel side of the organization but he too like McCourt may well have lost site of the organization’s goals. It certainly most telling that when questioned by the press as to who now controls the Dodgers and its day to day running Colletti’s response was one that seems to be an individual who just doesn’t care either way . If that is indicative of how this organization is being ran then it shows that they’re completing deserving of their fate.

The New York Mets face a civil suit that at present is being determined through a mediator appointed by the US Federal Courts and at the heart of it all appears to be whether or not the organization knowlingly gain financially from the monies received as profits from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme of which several thousands of investors were defrauded of $59 billion. Irving Picard the plaintiffs’ lead attorney in this suit has filed a motion seeking to recoup some $750 million from both Katz, Wilpon their Sterling Equities as well as the New York Mets. The lead defendants Katz and Wilpon deny any wrongdoing on their part but have stated that they are victims of the fraud perpetrated by Madoff and his associates. However , it has been the Mets unwillingness to open their books up for public scrutiny that casts a doubt upon the veracity of the argument now being put forth by the Mets as the defendants and in particular by Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon . A federal subpoena has a way of making the truth be known in the end and hopefully several of those will be put to use in the course of this case. And inasmuch the Mets once again are having a mediocre season one can’t help but feel that through the connivance and mismanagement from the executives and managerial level over the past few years that this organization is thoroughly deserving of its present predicament.

I’ve long maintained that the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns as teams within the NFL clearly have some way to go before they can be thought of as serious contenders within the league and as a legitimate team to win the Superbowl . Bengals’ owner Mike Brown and team coach Marvin Lewis are now having to deal with Carson Palmer’s petulant behavior and his wanting to be traded to a contender . If this is what is indicative of what was now being produced by USC as to quarterbacks from the Pete Carroll era then clearly there are some questions that really do need to be asked . I think that things are now likely to get a great deal murkier with the team’s drafting of Andy Dalton as the de-facto successor to Palmer as his reign is about to come to an abrupt end with the Bengals . From AFC North champions in 2009 to a team with a lackluster 6-10 record last season .

The Browns for their part have been in more of a tailspin having dumped Romeo Crennel and hired Eric Mangini only too see the team fail miserably under Mangini’s tenure . And given Mangini’s coaching record in the NFL I’ve got to ask myself what the hell was Mike Holmgren thinking as the team’s President ? Last season this team competed gallantly but in large part they faced an uphill battle trying to usurp the dominance of both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers within their division (AFC North ). Now with Pat Shurmur as the team’s head coach and there being a revamped assistant coaching staff it remains to be seen what this upcoming season may well have in store for the Browns. The team had a breakout star in Peyton Hillis and as always the dependable Josh Cribbs was at his very best and it would appear that team now has a quarterback in Colt McCoy who can actually commands the respect of his teammates.

In stark contrast to the teams that have been consistent and have attained success, much of that can be put down to the fact that apart from making the right personnel decisions . It has been the continuity not only from within their coaching regime but primarily through the fact that at the executive levels as with regards to the general manager that is in place , there has been little , if any , real turnover in that staff. It’s not always been about the coaches because that in essence comes down to the coach’s resume’ and his ability to communicate with the players and if anything above all with his general manager. Simply look at the success attained by the Steelers and New England Patriots over the years and the one constant there has been the ownership , the fact that the general managers there have been tenured with those respective organizations for a number of years and the actual willingness of the owner to defer to subordinates within the organization. And even though Scott Pioli has since left the Patriots to assume a similar position with the Kansas City Chiefs we’ve seen that even there also once Pioli was allowed to show his acumen in assessing talent the team has progressed showing a marked display last season in winning the AFC West (10-6) and making the playoffs where they would succumb to the Baltimore Ravens —- 30-7 in the wildcard round. And for head coach Todd Haley and his coaching staff though the loss had been been a tremendous disappointment , it also points to the fact that the organization has to be now heading in the right direction after so many barren years in the wilderness .

The Patriots for their part having seen their postseason woes continue with their lackluster performance in losing to their divisional rivals the New York Jets —- 28-21 in a game that pretty much summed up the team’s season. In light of that however they’ve gone about things in their usual business like manner garnering picks for future drafts and at the same time picking up the usual talent they’ve been accustomed to down the years . Much of that by design as Bill Belichick has worked in conjunction with Floyd Reese the team’s senior consultant charged with the task of dealing with personnel matters for the team.

We may well feel that in large part that success is actually achieved on the field of play because of the performances of the players. But it does essentially start with the eager willingness of the owners and their front office executives actually having the right staff in place being able assess the talent that is there to be had and as necessary spend prudently in order to get the best possible player available . How often have we seen a situation where in fact a team that simply looks good on paper just tends to implode because of the undue pressure and the very fact that the coach simply hasn’t done their job adequately ? At times we can blame the players for their lackluster performances but doesn’t that also have something to do with the coach not being able to get his point across as to what needs to be done at a given moment ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In coming to this conclusion I do firmly believe that any professional sports organization has to have all integral parts on the same page working in cohesion . If that isn’t evident within an organization then by the very evidence we tend to see the vast majority of the time that team does tend fail in its endeavors. We’ve seen it this postseason within the NBA , NHL , also within the NFL and MLB as well . What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And as such do you feel that I may well have missed some pertinent factor that should have been included ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson (L) looks on as Raiders owner Al Davis (R) speaks to reporters after introducing Jackson as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders on January 18, 2011 in Alameda, California. Hue Jackson was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing the fired Tom Cable. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ……

(2) JaMarcus Russell (2) of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California. Jed Jacobsohn/ Getty Images ……

(3) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic questions a call by the official during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia . Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(4) In this photo taken on April 14, 2010, from left, Orlando Magic president and chief executive officer Bob Vander Weide, chief operating officer Alex Martins and general manager Otis Smith chat prior to an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Orlando, Fla. Smith, by his own admission, is a risk-taker. He’s the general manager who traded three starters from an NBA finals team, moves that either will show Smith’s brilliance or become a symbol of a gamble gone wrong for the Magic in the playoffs. AP Photo/John Raoux …….

(5) Andre Ethier (16) of the Los Angeles Dodgers swings and loses his bat in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on May 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 4-1 . Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ……

(6) 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 ……. ……..

(7) Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick A.J. Green, right, speaks at a news conference with head coach Marvin Lewis, Friday, April 29, 2011 in Cincinnati. Green, a wide receiver from Georgia, will wear number 18 for the NFL football team. AP Photo/Al Behrman ……..

(8) Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren watches from the back of the room as first-round draft pick Phillip Taylor holds a news conference at the NFL football team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Mark Duncan ……

(9) Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert, right, presents a jersey to first round-draft pick Phillip Taylor during an NFL football news confernce at the team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. The Browns took the Baylor defensive tackle with the 21st overall pick Thursday night. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …….

(10) FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2009, file photo : Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley, left, talks with general manager Scott Pioli before a news conference announcing Haley’s hiring in Kansas City, Mo. Pioli and Haley are deservedly drawing praise for taking the Chiefs from 10 wins in three years to 10 wins in 16 weeks. But they don’t deny they were blessed with a core of solidly talented young players when they got to Kansas City after a 2-14 2008 season. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……

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For Whom The Bells Toll ……….. It Tolls For Thee !

There’s not a great deal happening in the world of sports at present and with the Opening Day of baseball (MLB) set for this Thursday beyond that there isn’t a great deal to actually have the sport’s fan greatly enamored. The NBA regular season is slowly approaching the final straight and there too a number of teams are striving to gain some form of momentum in order to have themselves playoff ready for the postseason .

For Whom The Bells Toll ……….. It Tolls For Thee !

There’s not a great deal happening in the world of sports at present and with the Opening Day of baseball (MLB) set for this Thursday beyond that there isn’t a great deal to actually have the sport’s fan greatly enamored. The NBA regular season is slowly approaching the final straight and there too a number of teams are striving to gain some form of momentum in order to have themselves playoff ready for the postseason .

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Slide show for your perusal

With the NBA postseason set to commence in the second week or third week of April (April 16th), it’s easy to understand why these teams contending for a playoff berth would want to hit form of consistency that sets them on the right track as the playoffs approach . My own thoughts are that the teams looking to make a postseason berth are going to have to raise the level of their game as the playoffs approach.

A work colleague of mine brought up the subject of the NFL labor dispute and the lockout and made the statement that how is that all of a sudden the league now sets to paint the NFLPA in a dark light bearing in mind that they were the ones who sought instigate the lockout because the Executive Committee of the union were unwilling to acquiesce to a number of conditions that league proposed ? With Neil being a labor relation’s lawyer I found it somewhat surprising that he raised that point ! One of the sticking points now appears to be the league’s wish to have a comprehensive drug testing policy as it relates to PED’s and in particular HGH . For some reason I was under the impression that the league already had what they’d deemed to be a comprehensive drug testing policy but obviously it’s no better than the policy that MLB hierarchy has in place . Now if this is one of the real sticking points said to be many that the league and the union are said to be far apart on then it this lockout suddenly becomes not merely about money but a great deal more.

I know that the league (NFL) does test for certain prohibitive substances , namely marijuana , anabolic steroids and certain other illicit opiates but if they weren’t already testing for HGH then this is the question I’ve got to ask what the hell is going on within the NFL and their own credibility as it relates to the use of HGH ? Given the fact that we’ve all seen the dangers of abusing steroids and in particular a number of these opiates how is it that they’ve continued to not address the issue of HGH being used by the players . I know that it’s use has to be closely scrutinized by a medical professional. But herein lies the caveat if it’s only now that the league hierarchy under NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is prepared to address this issue then clearly there’s something that the NFL and owners weren’t prepared to make public unless they’re prepared to use it as leverage against the union. At the same time in the midst of this all Tennessee Titans’ owner Bud Adams issued a public statement saying that it is his belief that a 2011-12 season will commence on time . Unless Bud Adams is actually fully aware of some upcoming turn of events then clearly the league feels that they now hold the upper hand in any proposed return to the table concerning resolving the labor negotiations.. I’m not so sure that now appears to the case as I do believe that Goodell and the owners have been out-maneuvered by the NFLPA headed by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith .

Courtesy of NFL.com

NFL wants its players tested for human growth hormone

By Steve Wyche of NFL.com

The NFL believes now is the time to include human growth hormone testing in its banned substances policy and is pushing players to add it to a collective bargaining agreement — whenever one is reached.

The NFL and NFL Players Association discussed the policy before the union decertified March 11 and league owners imposed a lockout March 12, but no details were provided regarding where things stood.

News of the league’s insistence on HGH testing being part of the new CBA was first reported Thursday by FoxSports.com.

Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s vice president of law and labor policy, said Friday that the league has pushed for HGH testing since 2008, but with the opportunity to re-cast terms of a labor deal, it has become a priority. The NFLPA had resisted it in the past because of HGH testing methods and the reliability of results.

Blood testing remains the most reliable means to detect the presence of HGH, and that has been the sticking point — not both sides’ desire for fair play, Birch said.

“In terms of the policy, we’ve always been in lockstep with the players,” Birch said. “It’s an important tool in deterring — that’s maybe the most important part — and detecting those who are using (HGH). It helps the public understand what they are seeing is legitimate and that it’s not the result of artificial means. It’s equally important to players to know that someone hasn’t gained an artificial advantage over them.”

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Click on the link shown to read the article in its entirety.

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At this juncture the whole labor dispute nonsensical and personally with each passing day with the damage being done to the image of both parties , I now feel that the fans couldn’t give a sh_t how things turn out. It’s not as if the league or players have ever had the fans’ best interests at heart any time during their deliberations !

With the trial of Barry Bonds now hitting its stride it’s amazing to see to read or hear about the testimony now be given by the number of witnesses subpoenad to appear at the trial by the prosecution in this case the US Justice Department and the attorneys representing the People of the US. With Jason Giambi having testified that he was a recipient of steroids from Bonds’ former personal trainer Greg Anderson and Bonds’ former mistress Kimberly Bell testifying that in her time spent with the MLB slugger over the course of their relationship the player got considerably bigger. I can only surmise that apart from Bonds’ rigorous training regimen that she was trying to allude to the fact the player was using something illicit to spurt his growth or could it be that she was also taking about the size of his member ? And as absurd as this case has become I do believe that we’re going to hear a great deal more than goes from the sublime to the ridiculous !

The longer this charade goes on as to the money being spent on this case the more I continue to question the asinine stance of the MLB hierarchy under the tenure of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , in particular the owners within the game , managers and the MLBPA under then Executive Director Donald Fehr who now holds a similar position with the NHLPA . If the NHL and the sport of hockey hasn’t gone through enouhh problems as it is ther Players’ Union hires Fehr to become their Executive Director ? Are they fu_king mad ? The game is still in a financially tenuous position and it’s not as if Gary Bettman as the NHL Commissioner has actually got them now heading in the right direction as of now is it ?

As it now stands the legacy of the game throughout the nineties and into the early part of this decade has been irrevocably damaged and harmed ! With the advent of the regular season about to start as of tomorrow I can’t help but wonder what the teams , owners , union , fans and the game’s hierarchy hope to see when in large part the fans are still being reminded of the inane stupidity of the league hierarchy’s lackadaisical approach to the steroid issue . Bud Selig and his then counterpart Donald Fehr and the union as a whole were complicit in perpetrating this fraud upon the public and wherein the teams and players had a financial windfall. Were this a white collar crime committed I can assure you that the FBI , Justice Department and dare I say it the idiots within both Congress and the Senate would be asking that there be indictments of all of the guilty parties concerned ! But instead those blowholes have remained mind numbingly silent , even with those odious and sleep inducing Congressional hearings that took place and was overseen by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and the House Committee on Energy & Commerce . What was achieved by those hearings dependent upon one’ s views ranged somewhere between the idiotic with the grandstanding by those congressional committee members and the idiotic statements and testimony given by the league hierarchy and the players subpoenad to testify !

The one thing I for one question now is given what we may or may not know to be true is how the public view the records attained by players during the steroid era and how they ought to be viewed by the fans and public in general ? God knows the single season home run record as well as the home run record ought to have an asterisk placed at their side . I don’t state this as a damning indictment of Bonds alone . But I do feel if that he’s now to be viewed as the face of the steroid era along with Jose Canseco and several other players whom we all know to be associated with the illicit use of steroids amongst other substances banned by the game then we also ought to question silence maintained by players such as Derek Jeter , Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine who’ve often been viewed as what’s right within the game but with their avowed silence on the issue , has to have the fans thinking up to a point whether or not they condoned the actions by their fellow players ? I mean even the most menial and lowly of the low within the union (MLBPA) as well as the marquee names have profited greatly from the era having seen their salaries rise not merely based on potential alone but from the stats that were achieved during the era . And with the idiot general managers then willing to pay exorbitant salaries to players while being lassoed in by uber-agents such as Scott Boras , Arn Tellem and Leigh Steinberg making the players immeasurably wealthy beyond their wildest dreams . It now begs the question what credibility does the game of baseball really have as to its legitimacy in being viewed as the nation’s favorite pastime as well as the integrity of its players , managers and the league hierarchy itself ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As the NFL labor dispute continues to meander along whatever route it presumably takes how do you as such view the situation as a discerning fan of the game ? Do you also feel that the league’s stance with regard to them wanting to instigate a test for HGH via blood testing is the proactive thing to do by the NFL ? Or do you feel that a the federal laws in place as it relates to the use of steroids is enough of a deterrent to the players as a whole ? And what thoughts if any do you have with regard to the recently commenced federal trial of former San Francisco Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds ? Simply leave a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter as you’d deem fit .

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award finalists Nnamdi Asomugha (R) of the Oakland Raiders and Israel Idonije (2ndR) of the Chicago Bears pose with the Peyton family, Connie Payton (2ndL), wife of former Chicago Bears great Walter Payton, and her children Brittney (3rdL), Jarrett (3rdR) and Adolpho Birch (L) during a press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 4, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images North America Inc / Doug Pensinger ……..

(2) Birch (center) seen here with officials of the NFL and local dignitaries in Arlington , Texas prior to this past season’s Superbowl played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers . AP Photo Chris Morgan ………

(3) DeMaurice Smith (R), NFLPA executive director, arrives with NFL Players Association Spokesman George Atallah (L) and Kansas City Chiefs player Brian Waters (C) for an extra day of negotiations at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 4, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement between players and owners during a 24 hour extension in negotiations. Brian Smialowski / Getty Images North America …..

(4) Former TN. Govenor Phil Bredesen, Honoree/Owner NFL TN. Titans Bud Adams, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and current TN. Governor Bill Haslam present Bud Adams with the “Lifetime Humanitarian Award” at the 2011 T.J. Martell Foundation Honors Gala at the Hutton Hotel on March 28, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. Rick Diamond / Getty Images ……

(5) Former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds leaves federal court at the end of the day on March 29, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Barry Bonds’ perjury trial accusing him of lying to a grand jury about his use of performance enhancing drugs when he played for the San Francisco Giants enters its second week. The trial is expected to last two to four weeks. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images ……..

(6) Major League Baseball player Jason Giambi leaves federal court after testifying during Barry Bonds’ perjury trial on March 29, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Barry Bonds’ perjury trial accusing him of lying to a grand jury about his use of performance enhancing drugs when he played for the San Francisco Giants enters its second week. The trial is expected to last two to four weeks. Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images North America ….

(7) Kimberly Bell the former mistress of Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds is seen here leaving the US Federal Courthouse in San Francisco , California, having given her testimony in the player’s obstruction of Justice and perjury trial . AP Photo / Phil Montgomery …

(8) Former Major League All Star Jose Canseco known steroid user whose revelations of widespread steroid and PED use amongst his peers in the league led to widespread outrage along with the watered down Mitchell Report and MLB ‘s inane drug policy . AP/Reuters / Keith Pettigrew ……….

(9) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (L) is pictured alongside then Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association Donald Fehr during testimony at a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on the Mitchell Report into the use of steroids in baseball, on Capitol Hill in Washington January 15, 2008. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell told the U.S. Congress on Tuesday that Major League Baseball’s players and owners must come together “in a well-planned, well-executed and sustained effort” to remove steroids from the national pastime . Andy Krupp /Reuters ……

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Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

🙂

NBA News

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Bubba Sparxxx ………………………….”Ugly ” .

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Dre Dre ……. feat’g ……… Snoop Dogg …………………… ” Let Me Ride ”

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TI ………… feat’g ………. Christina Aguilera ……….” Castle Walls ”

Could this better describe the situation now facing both the MLB and NFL and their respective images as they each perceive it to be ?
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I Don’t Do Politics …………… I Really Don’t !

I Don’t Do Politics …..I Really Don’t !

Crazy as this seems, having been part of a military (UN) peace keeping force (UNCyrpus, Ethiopia , Eritrea) in the military. I’m bewildered to see the devastating remnants of the earthquake in Haiti . The loss of an alleged ‘175,000 lives or more’ and the instantaneous making of quite possibly tens of thousands of orphaned children. And it’s almost impossible to encapsulate the complete despair and bewildering catastrophe in this tiny nation .

As the disaster is being reported on from around the world.

Thankfully, the caring heart of countless millions across the nation participated in a telethon that was shown on a number broadcast and cable outlets. This shows the caring side of a nation, that in the most acute of moments is always willing to ‘step up to the plate’. But then again there are insipid idiots such as Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson who’ve sank to the ‘lowest common denominator’ by showing what complete asses they are. What’s even more insidious is the fact that both of these oafs have supporters out there , who follow both Limbaugh and Robertson religiously. Have I missed something here ?

A Haitian child  suffering  in  pain   and  silence   have  lost the  entire members  of  his  immediate  family.   photo  appears courtesy  of guardian.co.uk/  AFP/ Getty  Images/  Logan  Abassi  ..................
A Haitian child suffering in pain and silence have lost the entire members of his immediate family. photo appears courtesy of guardian.co.uk/ AFP/ Getty Images/ Logan Abassi ..................

As a bye note on this , I’m just happy to know that the ‘political blowhole’ known as Bill O’Reilly, has decided this time around to shut the fu_k up and not opine on the fact, as to how much of the money raised by the telethon, in order to assist Haiti and its residence will be going directly to aid the afflicted there. This ‘pompous ass’ has about as much credibility, given his sexual proclivity in sexually harassing female interns in the employ of the Fox News cable outlet. The 250,000 lives lost in the Indonesian tsunami catastrophe, I’m sure that they welcomed your intent. But the more I think of those who survived that disaster, were more appreciative of the assistance given to them. For all of your political pontificating, at least have the humility to show that you care about those who are indeed in need of help and assistance ? Or is that too much to ask of your self absorbed pontificating ass ?

Hey Bill , a word of advice, if you want a piece of ass, don’t sexually harass the victim you desire over the phone. Better yet you oaf, make sure that if you’re going down that route, make sure that there’s a reciprocal wish on the part of the other person you want to lay down with. What another douche-bag, who offers up commentary but shows about as much common sense and intelligence as a gnat !

President Obama   seen  here  in  the  Oval  Office  with  former   Fed  Chairman  Paul  Volcker .   The   Obama  administration   with   Volcker  as  its  main   spearhead   will  initiate  a  number  of  reforms  meant  to  rein  in  the   financial   industry   strategically  aimed   at  the  banks  and   credit  card    companies  and  the  way  that they   go  about   conducting  their   business.  Volcker   also   sits  on  the  President's   Economic  Advisory  Board  and  offers   up   cursory  opinions   on  the   state  of  the   economy to the  President  and  Cabinet .  White  House Staff  photo/  Gerald  Martineau
President Obama seen here in the Oval Office with former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker . The Obama administration with Volcker as its main spearhead will initiate a number of reforms meant to rein in the financial industry strategically aimed at the banks and credit card companies and the way that they go about conducting their business. Volcker also sits on the President's Economic Advisory Board and offers up cursory opinions on the state of the economy to the President and Cabinet . White House Staff photo/ Gerald Martineau

I’ve been reading with interest that President Obama now intends to go after the banking industry with a venom . In what amounts to be what one cannot now consider to be a bluff. It is his administration’s as well the Congress’ wish to go after the banks and impose a $90 billion one time major tax hike on several of the banks , who were part the stimulus package that benefited the industry. Well that’s all well and good but since when did first rewarding these financial institutions in the first place and then wanting to punish them as an act of retribution is said to be a deterrent ? If I’m not mistaken, it was the President’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who pretty much in his prior position as an assistant Deputy Chairman at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York , New York City, oversaw that institution’s gross misconduct in the financial derivatives markets with some errant decision making that in large part assisted in the financial meltdown. Of which AIG was one of the main instigators through their London office, through a subsidiary known as AIG Financial Products (AIGFP). Total worldwide losses for major financial institutions and corporations are believed to have exceeded in excess of $2 trillion ($2,000,000,000,000) .

President Obama with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner , discussed the insurance company American International Group . The company would become the recipient of tens of billions of dollars of taxpayers' monies in completing a financial bailout of the US insurance and underwriting giant. Geithner would later be implicated in the fallout of insurance bonuses doled out to high ranking executives and employees of the company. Senate Banking & Finance Chairman , Sen Chris Dodd (D-Conn) would later deny that he had any knowledge of the committment to pay the bonuses. But some 48 hours prior to the announcemen he had met with Geithner to discuss the vary same topic and how to go about that it wihout creating an uprorar . picture appears courtesy of New York Times/ Doug Mills .........................

There mere fact that this precipitous , grossly egregious mishandling and capricious acts in an already volatile marketplace only adds to the craziness that’s now being instigated by the Obama administration and the Treasury. And if I’m not mistaken the Federal Reserve under Chairman Ben Bernanke’s custodianship, will essentially sit idly by and act like a docile mouse. The name calling and asinine notion that Barack Obama is now to blame for this calamity , is about as sound as listening to anything that the Republicans have to say about the subject. Pretty much consider this as a retort to the very fact that Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush was about as well versed in the domestic and economic issues as Paris Hilton would be in reciting Einstein’s Theory on Relativity . Wasn’t he (Bush) a graduate of Harvard with an MBA ? Holy sh_t ! The dumbing down of America wasn’t a myth after all then ?

Now in spite of this all, I’m supposed to think that these changes will change the mindset and the attitudes of the bankers on Wall St ? These are the same banks that were in receipt of in excess of $50 billion of taxpayers’ monies as part of the ‘TARP’ program . And with the $787 billion stimulus package and an additional$1.6 trillion ($ 1,600,000,000,000) to the national debt . Can I now ask how the administration intends to pay for the largess of the spending that has been undertaken ? I was under the impression that the stimulus package would be an investment in the nation’s infrastructure and as a way of creating jobs in the private and public sector ? But alas given the inner workings of the House Appropriation’s Committee , the Senate Finance Committee and the partisanship between the Democrats and Republicans. The administration would be better off throwing sh_t up against the wall to see what sticks !

Principal  partner   in  the  ownership  group  of  the  NHL's Tampa  Bay Lightning   ,  Oren  Koules  (seated left)  is   seen  here  with  one   time   partner   Len  Barrie.   photo  appaers  courtesy  of  Associated  Press / Chris  O'Meara .......................
Principal partner in the ownership group of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning , Oren Koules (seated left) is seen here with one time partner Len Barrie. photo appaers courtesy of Associated Press / Chris O'Meara .......................

Here in the Tampa area, the bottom seems to have fallen out of the professional sports franchises , as to their ongoing stability not only as a competitor but also financially. The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning under the ownership of Oren Koules, is struggling to maintain their competitiveness as well as financial viability. So acute is the situation for the franchise that this past month the organization had to make a request of the NHL for an advance of its residuals, in order that they could meet their financial obligations in paying the players’ salaries as well as that of their administrative staff. How fu_ked up is that situation ? It wouldn’t surprise me at all if at some time in the near future the organization either files for bankruptcy protection or Koules seeks to sell the team and try to recoup what no doubt will be some of his losses.

The ongoing rumor on the airwaves within the sports talk show market is the possible trade of the team’s most recognized playe , Vinny LeCavalier. Can we salary dump ? And then in the foreseeable, future ‘fire sale’ ?

Joel Glazer, left, Bryan Glazer, center, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers team owner and president Malcolm Glazer, right, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, Wednesday, May 25, 2005. Malcolm Glazer appointed his three sons Joel, Bryan and Avram, to the board of English Premier league soccer team Manchester United, on Tuesday, June 7, 2005, extending his control over the world's richest soccer club. Malcom Glazer, became majority shareholder of Man United on May 16, 2005. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press /J. Scott Applewhite ....................

The ongoing soap opera that is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is now beginning to read like a comedy of errors. The team’s coach, Raheem Morris is an inexperienced novice and the GM, Mark Dominik, while showing a great deal of insight, is showing that for all of the sound bytes given the print and tv media. They’re about as unencumbered in their present situation as a death row inmate awaiting execution. After a 3-13 season, Domini , Morris and the most ardent of Bucs’ fans are now beginning to find out how disingenuous the Glazer family are, as owners of the franchise. The organization was $60 million under the NFL mandated salary cap but somehow they weren’t active in the free agency market. What might be in ever more troubling however, is the fact the Glazers as owners of the Premiership soccer club Manchester United , are now facing a major financial obstacle in meeting their financial obligations to their bankers, as well as several of their creditors. The club is laden with a $1.15 billion debt.

Raheem  Morris  (second  from the  right )  and   Bucs'  General  Manager   Mark  Dominik  (left) are  seen  here  with  members  of  the  Glazer   family  , owners  of   both  the   Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers  as  well   English  Premier  League  soccer club  Manchester United  .     photo  appears courtesy  of  Getty Images  / Paul  Mason  ..............
Raheem Morris (second from the right ) and Bucs' General Manager Mark Dominik (left) are seen here with members of the Glazer family , owners of both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well English Premier League soccer club Manchester United . photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Paul Mason ..............

Now in order to meet some of those obligations, the Glazers want to initiate a bond offering to raise between $150 million to $250 million. Herein lies the rub, they’re now trying to enlist the players on the team to buy the bonds as an act of good faith and also to entice not only the devoted United fans but also the general public and public institutions as well. The Glazers are pretty much what I would call wannabe sports owners, showing about as much business acumen as the former board of directors of Enron. Am I suggesting that they’re now fuc*king over the fans here in Tampa as well as in Manchester , England ? Well hell yeah and then some ! Joel , Avram , Edward and Malcolm Glazer now making the laughable assertion that they’re striving for success for both of their sports’ franchises , are about as credible as Congress’ intent to rein in the powers of the banking industry. Given the fact that the lobbyists representing the financial industry, are only third in line as to the sums paid out to members of the House of Representatives and Senate. The tens of millions of dollars doled out each year is only behind that of the defense and pharmaceutical industries. Give me fuc_ing change that I can believe in please !

Despite what could be viewed as a credible 2008-09 season. The Tampa Bay Rays fell back to the pack as they fell out of contention for a playoff berth last season. We saw the resurgence of the New York Yankees and the very fact that the Boston Red Sox are still viewed as perennial contenders in the AL East. It would suggest that the Rays are back to playing catch up once again, in pursuing the Red Sox and Yankees. A ‘three horse race’ they say is far better than that of a two horse race. But where does that now leave the Rays in the whole pecking order when you consider their financial stability ? They can’t seem to lure prime free agents to the area in spite of the fact that the team is considered to be a competitive one.

Joe Maddon  (left)  coach of  the  Tampa Bay  Rays  is  seen  here   with  Team  Snr  Vice  President  of  Operations  and  General  Manager   ,  Andrew  Friedman  .   The two  individuals   have   built  the  Rays  into a  formidable  and   competitive   organization  within the  AL   East .   picture  appears  courtesy  of  Sports   Illustrated / Associated  Press/  Tim  Dyson  ......................
Joe Maddon (left) coach of the Tampa Bay Rays is seen here with Team Snr Vice President of Operations and General Manager , Andrew Friedman . The two individuals have built the Rays into a formidable and competitive organization within the AL East . picture appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated / Associated Press/ Tim Dyson ......................

Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman and team manager, Joe Maddon now face something of a daunting task. Outfielder, B. J. Upton is now up for salary arbitration and it would appear that the Rays’ $4 million dollar to the player is viewed as derisory. Upton it has to be said, is one of better outfielders in MLB but at the same time his precocious talent is inconsistent. His offensive prowess can be exhilarating but more often than not, he can also prove to be an immense disappointment. Now if the Rays want to be viewed as a serious and perennial contender , is it best to let go one of the best all round players on their roster ? I’m not one to suggest that they they should retain Upton but given the organization’s struggles with their payroll. What else can they now do at this juncture ?

Rays’ principal owner, Stuart Sternberg is seen here receiving the William Harridge trophy after their defeat of the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS of 2008. The team would then go on to lose the World Series to the eventual winners , the Philadelphia Phillies .

Principal owner , Stuart Sternberg wants the team to be viewed as fan and family friendly organization and they’ve done their very best give the fans something to cheer about and appreciate. But with a hardcore fan base approaching no more than 12,000 to 14,000. It’s hard to see how much longer that the organization can continue to exist within a diverse market, where in large part the majority of the fans within the area are New York Yankees’ supporters. Uphill battle or what for the Rays in order to gain recognition ? All the image making in the world can’t change the fact that baseball in this town is about as wanted a ‘dengue fever’ pandemic. Can’t put it anymore succinctly than that ! Even with a winning product on the field of play, the Rays’ fans are about as appreciative of the team as if they were being told that their income tax rate was about to be raised.

We can opine about the fact that the organization wants a new state of the art venue built in Pinellas County , either in downtown St Petersburg or across county lines in Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa. It may or may not happen but for now the Rays’ organization will have to live with their present situation.

I’d made a suggestion to a fellow blogger, sportschump, a friend of mine who resides in the Tampa area and whose knowledge of the marketplace is well known. I asked him , who is his mind past or present , is the worst sports franchise owner that the city has known ? Amongst those up for consideration are Hugh Culverhouse , Vince Naimoli , Bill Davidson , Oren Koules, the Glazer family , headed their by patriarch , Malcolm Glazer and, Stuart Sternberg . Now he’s yet to leave me a response but I’m sure that he’s got a say as to he thinks it ought to be. As to my own thoughts on the situation, like the title says …….‘I Don’t Do Politics..I Really Don’t ‘!

Rihanna provides us with ‘Hard’ feat’g Jeezy . She’s a long cool glass of water that I’d certainly take a drink from and enjoy the extraordinary pleasure of doing it !

There's  nothing   like  seeing  a  woman  bending  over  suggestively   while  pretending  that  their  mind  is  elsewhere .  What  do   you   think  ?
There's nothing like seeing a woman bending over suggestively while pretending that their mind is elsewhere . What do you think ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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