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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