Sports’ Stories That Just Make You Want To Do A Double Take ………..

Sports’ Stories That Just Make You Want To Do A Double Take ………..

Well now that the NFL season has ended and we’re into postseason play, now all of the suspense builds up with the divisional round playoffs. The match-ups are the Baltimore Ravens taking on the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Jets taking on the San Diego Chargers. Those are the final four participants within the AFC . In the NFC we’ll see the Dallas Cowboys taking on the Minnesota Vikings and the other half of the NFC divisional round will pit the Arizona Cardinals taking on the New Orleans Saints .

This weekend in that regard we’ll certainly see eight teams aspiring to make it to the respective championship games for the four remaining berths , thereof. The teams are most certainly evenly matched and you’d be hard pressed to pick out a decisive favorite amongst them all. For myself, I’m simply looking forward to these quartet of games and as to what their outcomes might be. My hopes were long shot down when the New England Patriots put up such ‘a putrid performance’ against the Baltimore Ravens, in their thoroughly lopsided 33-14 loss at Gillette Stadium , in Foxboro , Massachusetts. The less said about the loss at this juncture , the better ! Suffice to say as a Pats’ fan, I’m about as enamored with the ‘team’ right now as Rush Limbaugh might be, were he in a room filled with Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and The Congressional Black Caucus . And we all know how Rush loves the minorities at this juncture don’t we ? Well that’s the same way I feel about the Patriots at this juncture !

CBS Sportsline’s own coverage of the McGwire’s admitted use of steroids.

Is it me ? But was anyone at all surprised that former Cardinals’ slugger, Mark McGwire finally ‘fessed up’ to the fact that he took steroids ? Sooner, or later that baby had to be thrown out with the bath water. And this as_hole is now trying to say it was all a mistake ? And he was under pressure to take the elicit substances ? F-ck him and the horse he rode in on ! If he didn’t have the temerity to tell the truth when he was subpoenaed by Congress. Then why the hell should I now believe that this confession is a full act of contrition ? What he’s done to the game of baseball and the very fact that the MLB hierarchy still acknowledges his feats are as unconscionable as it comes. It’d appear that if anything what McGwire is now yearning is the public’s empathy and final vindication that all is now forgiven . Well, as a baseball fan , I won’t be forgiving McGwire or any of his counterparts who subjected the public to this sham , anytime soon. They’ve all profited from this immeasurably and still do , to this day. Whereas, the fans of the game haven’t at all received anything tangible in return.

McGwire in his interview with Bob Costas on the MLB Network admits his use of steroids.

Over the next five years many of the more prominent names from the era will be up for nomination into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York. And although those gullible idiots of the BBWAA will preside over the process. I’m not at all certain that many of them won’t see fit to do unimaginable and actually grant the likes of Barry Bonds , Roger Clemens , or perhaps McGwire , himself, induction into the Hall of Fame. Those morons couldn’t find their way out a dark room with the assist of a flashlight and compass to guide them. But we’re now going to have them preside of an adjudication process that’s about as flawed as they come. Never mind the fact that their objectivity is actually based more on favoritism , rather than subjectivity.

McGwire  (right) seen  here  with  then  manager , Tony  La  Russa of  the  St  Louis Cardinals.    McGwire  was  recently   hired  as  a  hitting  instructor  for  the  team.  Is  anyone  under  the  impression  that  Albert  Pujols  is  in   need  of    McGwirie's  assistance  when  it  comes  to  'hitting'   a  baseball  ?      picture  appears   courtesy  of   Sports  Illustrated and  AP/Photos/  Rod  Killion   ......................
McGwire (right) seen here with then manager , Tony La Russa of the St Louis Cardinals. McGwire was recently hired as a hitting instructor for the team. Is anyone under the impression that Albert Pujols is in need of McGwirie's assistance when it comes to 'hitting' a baseball ? picture appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated and AP/Photos/ Rod Killion ......................

Courtesy of AP and Yahoo Sports

Mark McGwire finally admits using steroids

By Ronald Blum , AP Sports Writer

New York (AP)—Ending more than a decade of denials and evasion, former major league slugger Mark McGwire admitted Monday that steroids and human growth hormone helped make him a home run king.

“The toughest thing is my wife, my parents, close friends have had no idea that I hid it from them all this time,” McGwire told The Associated Press in an emotional, 20-minute interview. “I knew this day was going to come. I didn’t know when.”

In a quavering voice, McGwire apologized and said he used steroids and human growth hormone on and off for a decade, starting before the 1990 season and including the year he broke Roger Maris’ single-season home run record in 1998.

“I wish I had never touched steroids,” McGwire said. “It was foolish and it was a mistake.”

He had mostly disappeared since his infamous testimony before a congressional committee in March 2005, when he repeatedly said, “I’m not here to talk about the past,” a response that made him an object of ridicule during his self-imposed exile.

Once he was hired by the Cardinals in October to be their hitting coach, however, he knew he had to say something before the start of spring training in mid-February.

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And the one other person who’s complicit in this all , has to be St Louis Cardinals’ manager , Tony La Russa . For him to still categorically state that he never knew that McGwire was using steroids either when he was a player with the Oakland Athletics or as a player with the Cardinals. Well that’d be about as believable as Joan Rivers stating categorically that she’s never undergone cosmetic surgery. Have you seen Joan’s ‘grill’ lately ? Alabaster or porcelain never looked that good and nor do the lies that have emanated from the lips of Tony La Russa ! And for La Russa to still stand ‘pat’ behind those claims gives the impression that he knowns the truth but just doesn’t to be implicated in the midst of it all. Funny but on looking back at the Congressional hearings , it seems somewhat ironic that very few club managers were actually subpoenaed to testify before Congress. Strange isn’t it don’t you think ? All of these players but yet ‘no managers’ were actually called to testify ? What is that Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy still has to hide ? Could it be their duplicity and complicity on the ‘fraud’ perpetrated on the public throughout much of the nineties ?

The game of basketball is filled with its nuances and complexities and to my mind it might just be the most exhilarating of the four major sports to watch. Especially when it comes to the NBA and its plethora of stars on a number of teams around the league. The likes of Carmelo Anthony , Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade , Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard , Brandon Roy and Chris Paul, makes this such a wonderful spectacle to watch. That when incidents such as the ‘Gilbert Arenas’ situation arises, you have to wonder what the hell is going on with many of the players in the league , who ought to damn well know better ! And as much I’d to have confidence and faith in the NBA hierarchy under the league’s commissioner in, David Stern. I simply ‘cannot trust him to do what is right’ for the sport without him interjecting himself in the midst of it all , to make it more about what he’s doing for the sport. Rather than what needs to be done proactively when acts detrimental to the sport arise. If ever there was a person who is as ego driven and who craves the limelight just as much as the game’s biggest stars. Then David Stern is that very person ! If you doubt my word, just see the way that he conducts his interviews with the print and television media.

Former  NBA star,  Jayson  Williams  is seen  here   with  his  attorney  after the  court  deliberations  in  his   trial.  The  player was  sentenced to  18 months  in  prison  for  the  wrongful  death  of   his   former  limo  driver  Costas  'Gus' Christofi.    The incident  took  place  in  March  of  2002  and   with there  being  two  intervening  trials  since  the  incident  Williams is  finally  willing to  accept responsibility  in the  death  of  the  victim.   A  civil  settlement   was   paid  to  Christofi's   family   which   was   privately  agreed  to   out of court in which  the  family was  paid  $ 2 million for  Christofi's  death.     picture  appears   courtesy  of  nytimes.com/ Brian  Branch  Price   ....................
Former NBA star, Jayson Williams is seen here with his attorney after the court deliberations in his trial. The player was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the wrongful death of his former limo driver Costas 'Gus' Christofi. The incident took place in March of 2002 and with there being two intervening trials since the incident Williams is finally willing to accept responsibility in the death of the victim. A civil settlement was paid to Christofi's family which was privately agreed to out of court in which the family was paid $ 2 million for Christofi's death. picture appears courtesy of nytimes.com/ Brian Branch Price ....................

It hardly seems like almost a decade ago, that former Nets and Sixers’ player, Jayson Williams seems finally willing to accept responsibility in the death of his former limousine driver, Costas ‘Gus’ Christofi. The limo driver was shot to death in the errant gun play of Williams who’d consumed a fair amount of alcohol that evening, having returned home with his entourage to his palatial mansion in Alexandria Township , New Jersey. The events that led up to that fateful event and what transpired afterwards has been told and retold , time and time again. And now with a final plea agreement reached after a third trial , Williams will be sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment for the wrongful death of Christofi. To my mind the sentence is far too lenient , given the circumstances of the crime and Williams’ actions before and thereafter.

Williams and his entourage having returned to his home would then proceed on with their partying , whereupon further unlimited amounts of alcohol was consumed and it was alleged that Williams and several of his guests had also smoked marijuana. Which if anything further exacerbated what would already be an unfortunate event. Williams along with several of his guests had seen fit to employ in some jocular play and as to why he and they should deem it fit to wield a loaded shot gun about, as part of that scenario is about as thoughtless as running through a mine field blindfolded. But somehow, Jayson Williams thought it appropriate wielding a loaded shotgun whilst inebriated and his inhibitions greatly impaired from drink. Can we all agree that ‘stupid is, as stupid does’ ? With Williams, Christofi and several of the host’s guests in an upstairs room in the mansion. Somehow , Williams states that the gun went off accidentally, whilst he was pointing it away from the victim. This wouldn’t be the original story told however , to law enforcement when the crime was originally investigated.

Courtesy of The NY Times

Williams Pleads Guilty in ’02 Driver Shooting

By Nate Shweber

Somerville, N.J. — Jayson Williams pleaded guilty to aggravated assault on Monday in the fatal shooting of his limousine driver, bringing toward a close a legal case that began nearly eight years ago

Williams’s driver, Costas (Gus) Christofi, 55, died of chest wounds from a blast from Williams’s shotgun on Feb. 14, 2002. Williams will serve at least 18 months in state prison under the terms of the plea. Sentencing was set for Feb. 23.

Williams, 41, a former Nets forward, admitted in State Superior Court that he took out a shotgun in his Alexandria Township home to show friends, and that the weapon “discharged and hit Mr. Christofi in the chest.”

“Mr. Christofi died from the gunshot wound,” Williams said.

In 2003, Williams paid $2.75 million to Christofi’s family to settle a wrongful death civil case. On Monday, Williams appeared alongside his lawyer, Joseph A. Hayden Jr., who prompted him with questions. Williams admitted that he did not check the position of the safety on his shotgun, or whether it was loaded.

“I only saw the top barrel; I didn’t check the bottom barrel,” Williams said, adding that when he snapped the firearm shut with one hand he “did not look at the direction the muzzle of the gun was pointing.”

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NB : As reported in the New York Times

Upon the blast from the shotgun , Christofi’s body was removed to a downstairs room within the home and the gun was placed besides his body and his finger prints were handsomely placed all over the weapon. Then Williams would then get one of his guests to ‘call 911′ and report that a suicide attempt had taken place at his residence. If that wasn’t heinous enough, Williams’ own wife would play a part in this all by backing up her husband’s story, knowing full well that it was all ‘a lie’ to begin with . But yet charges were only brought against Williams and two of his accomplices who in the end would testify against him in all three trials that’ve taken place in the pursuance of justice. They pled to lesser charges and in each case were given suspended sentences and probation of five years apiece. Throughout the many trials there has been a gross miscarriage of justice, as the victim and his family have had no justice whatsoever ! The prosecution has simply mishandled this case with almost the same ineptitude as shown by Chris Darden and Marcia Clark in the O J Simpson murder trial. In this case however, although Williams pled to a lesser charge as part of a plea agreement and was found guilty. The case is deemed a victory for the prosecution and ‘justice’ is seen to have been done. In the case of Simpson , that particular case was handled with the bumbling ineptitude not often seen with prosecution attorneys. But then again when a case becomes more about the pursuance of celebrity status, stardom and notoriety which was parlayed by both Clarke and Darden at the end of the Simpson trial. It gives the public very little faith in the justice system to begin with. And the same can be said once again, here in the Jayson Williams’ trial. He may well have been found guilty but a sentence of eighteen months seems nowhere near fitting enough for a crime that was contemptible to begin with because of the actions of the defendant.

courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Jayson Williams pleads guilty in fatal NJ shooting

By Samantha Henry , Associated Press Writer ,

Somerville, N.J. (AP)—Former NBA star Jayson Williams, his personal life in shambles, took responsibility for accidentally shooting his limousine driver to death eight years ago by pleading guilty Monday to assault and agreeing to serve at least 18 months in prison.

Williams was awaiting retrial on a reckless manslaughter count but pleaded guilty to the lesser aggravated assault count for the 2002 death of Costas Christofi.

Williams remained poised during the hearing and mostly answered yes and no questions, though he did tell the judge that he had not fully checked a shotgun he was showing off to friends before snapping it closed.

“I didn’t look in the direction the muzzle of the gun was pointed,” he said, before admitting that his handling of the gun was reckless and that the gunshot caused Christofi’s death.

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This isn’t the end of Williams’ legal entanglement with the legal system as he’s yet to await a hearing over a traffic stop in New York City on a DUI charge. Somehow , I think that the justice system may well let that one go as nothing more than a light reprimand for the former NBA player, along with a mere slap on the wrist.

When is a man not a man ? It’s when he sees fit to raise his arms against his spouse as an act of subduing her merely to show off his masculinity. Isn’t it enough to read about a golfer’s philandering . And then to find out that he’s as much of a man as an effeminate ‘drag queen’. Tiger Woods states that it’s his intention to ‘heal the wounds and unpleasantness caused’ in the upheaval of his marriage. Unfortunately, Woods is nowhere to be seen at the side of his wife or children over the past five weeks. But yet he’s working on repairing his marriage ? Hey Tiger, let me know how things are working out for you ? If not that lover of Asian American men , Kate Gosselin has room for you at her modest abode along with a ready made family of eight children. And if you play your cards right she’ll no doubt ‘put out’, as well ?

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Bucs’ safety Phillips accused of choking wife

Tampa , Fla. (AP)—Tampa Bay safety Jermaine Phillips(notes) has been charged with trying to choke his wife during an argument.

According to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office press release, Phillips was charged with domestic battery by strangulation. Jail records indicated he is scheduled to be released on his own recognizance Monday.

Authorities say Phillips’ wife called 911 Sunday and said her husband had grabbed her around the neck. She said the couple argued after she confronted him about a number in his cell phone.

The Buccaneers said in a statement that the team was closely monitoring the situation.

Public defender Julianne Holt said a lawyer from her office appeared in court Monday for Phillips, but he is expected to retain a private attorney for future proceedings.

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Bucs'  safety  Jermaine  Phillips (23)  seen  here  with  Tampa Bay Buccaneers'   fan  Robert McFarland at  the  team's  fanfest    held  Raymond  James  Stadium  in  Tampa  , Florida.   These are  the  sort  of   characters   from  the  Gruden  regime  that  in  essence  are  what  the  Bucs are  now  pinning  their  hopes on as to  the  immediacy  of  their   future.   Well  coming  off  a  3-13   season    , can  we  just  say  that  this   team and   Phillips   are clearly showing  that a  backbone   and  character  isn't  one  of their  strongest   traits  !     picture   appears  courtesy  of Tampa  Bay  Tribune  /  Pete  Clarke  .......................
Bucs' safety Jermaine Phillips (23) seen here with Tampa Bay Buccaneers' fan Robert McFarland at the team's fanfest held Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida. These are the sort of characters from the Gruden regime that in essence are what the Bucs are now pinning their hopes on as to the immediacy of their future. Well coming off a 3-13 season , can we just say that this team and Phillips are clearly showing that a backbone and character isn't one of their strongest traits ! picture appears courtesy of Tampa Bay Tribune / Pete Clarke .......................

As I alluded to earlier, Woods is no real man , instead of dealing with his problems he continues to run away from them. Way to go Tiger, way to go ! In light of it all Woods’ problems seems slight when measured against that of Bucs’ safety Jermaine Phillips. The player has been arraigned and charged with domestic abuse in trying to strangle his wife , after she confronted him over a number she found on his cell phone. It’s not known whether or not the number belongs to an acquaintance of Phillips but it was enough for him to react physically violently in the ensuing confrontation with his wife. Grabbing her by the neck, he choked her until she fell to the ground, almost suffocating and passing out. There’s a moral to the story here Jermaine , walk the fu_k away , rather than losing your temper. Your actions in no way prove that you’re a man , provoked or unprovoked. It shows you to be less of a man than you already are, and then some !

We live in a violent enough of a society as it is already , without having to read about athletes wielding guns needlessly or subjecting members of their immediate family to such abhorrent horror and abuse, merely because of their temper. Enough already ! And hopefully the powers that be , in this case law enforcement , will go about doing their job in the appropriate fashion , rather circumventing the real tenets of the law with the never-ending abuse of plea agreements and bargaining. More than often not, these same offenders become the same repeat offenders. And where does that get us at the end of the day ? Needless to say, that there’ll be some bleeding heart morons who’ll continually stand up and say let the athletes alone, as it’s their life to do with as they please. Well no , that’s not the case, when they endanger the public or a family member and then it’s the taxpayer’s monies that is being used to incarcerate and feed them whilst they’re behind bars. I’ve no problem with locking their a_s up, just as long I’m not the one paying the expense of their stay behind bars.

NB: Due reverence is given here to my compatriot Bob Marley & The Wailers and their rendition of ‘Concrete Jungle’ . With my heritage being of Caribbean ancestry , I’m fully appreciative of this particular part of my Jamaican ancestry. And the culture brought forth with regard to reggae music and what it has meant to the music culture and the borders it has crossed.

🙂

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………. 🙂

Mirror Mirror On The Wall Who’s The Fairest of Them All ? Is That Really You Sammy Sosa ?

There’s nothing wrong with being a metro sexual guy in this day and age. I mean it’s expected that a man should keep himself in good shape, eat well and to an extent be of peak physical fitness. Hitting the gym once or twice a week helps. But not to overstate the fact , hitting a nail salon for a manicure and pedicure is taking it way too far. Well at least I thought so , until I saw a recent picture of former Texas Rangers and Cubs‘ player Sammy Sosa attending the Latin Grammy Awards.

Sammy before  and   Sammy  after    '
Sammy Sosa before and Sammy Sosa after ? And now we might know why Sammy's said to be interested in pursuing a solo singing career . I guess he wants to be seen as the Hispanic answer to the late Michael Jackson ?

Sammy Sosa before and Sammy Sosa after ? And now we might know why Sammy’s said to be interested in pursuing a solo music career. I guess he wants to be viewed as the Hispanic answer to the late Michael Jackson ? picture appears courtesy of Zabulowski/AP – Djansezian/Getty ……………

We all know that Sosa has come a long way from the rough streets of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. And that he honed his skills to become one the dominant players of his era. Alright, we know that from those halcyon days when he and Mark McGwire were laying waste to the single season home run record was one big unadulterated fraud perpetrated upon the public, with the MLB hierarchy acting like the three monkeys …..as in see no evil , speak to no evil and hear no evil ! And now it appears that the game’s commissioner,Bud Selig is of the opinion that the return of McGwire to the game as the hitting coach of the St Louis Cardinals is a good thing for the game ? Never-mind the fact that he’ll embraced with open arms by his former Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa. Whose own ideas on steroid abuse scandal in baseball lies somewhere in between don’t ask , don’t tell and who gives a f_ck policy ! And we’re to believe that there’s still some integrity in the game ? Not when the game’s highest ranking official is making such asinine statements !

The Summer of 1998 when it was thought all was right in the world of baseball and the fans were watching with a great deal of astonishment and surprise as McGwire and Sosa laid an onslaught in the single season home run record held at time by New York Yankees‘ great, Roger Maris. The record was broken by McGwire , only for it to be broken several years later by another steroid abuse suspect in that of San Francisco Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds. He would hit a record breaking 73 home runs that year ,with the last coming on October 7th 2001. A record which still stands to this day. And one, which should it once again be broken,would come under immediate suspicion by the fans and laymen alike. Bonds , whose own fate still lies in the hands of the US Justice System (Dept. of Justice) at this very moment. It’s hard to believe that he could still return to the game and be off some effect to it. Not with having been away from the game for close on three years.

Effective communication as taught to Mark McGwire .Here he addresses House Members with his testimony concerning steroid use. As you can see McGwire was less than forthright with the House members. His fellow playing colleague Rafael Palmeiro would have his own mea culpa , as it came to be known.

Baseball may well be in a tide of euphoria, with the New York Yankees having won their 27th World Series title in defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games (4-2) in The Fall Classic. But with the impending return of Mark McGwire to the game and the thought that his crimes proven or not, are still thought of as nothing more than a misnomer by the game’s hierarchy. It sends something of an indirect message to the game’s youngest fans, that you too can be good at this game, just as long as you don’t get caught cheating.

This brief 6 second sound byte has all but placed the death knell , as to Rafael Palmeiro’s ambition for getting into baseball’s Hall of Fame. ” Let me start by telling you this I have never used steroids period “! If his finger waving to the House Members didn’t warrant a rebuke ,then certainly those words uttered by Palmeiro came back to haunt him in the most expected of ways. Less than four months later it was revealed that he tested positive for banned substance prohibited by law and the league. Karma is a bitch isn’t it ?

The Four Horsemen of  the Apocalypse  ?   From left to  right ,  Sammy  Sosa  ,  Mark McGwire ,   Rafael  Palmeiro and   Curt Schilling.   The  former  Phillies' ace   was more like  an  audition  for    position within  the  House  as  he  skirted  around  many  of the  questions  asked  of  him  at  the  time.         picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Scott McIntosh  ....................

The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse . From left to right, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire , Rafael Palmeiro and former Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies’ pitching ace Curt Schilling sit and listen attentively prior to giving testimony to members of the House in an open session. The former Phillies ace’s testimony was very much like an audition for one of the House Members’ positions.As he skirted around the questions asked of him at the time. Sosa for his part, became indecipherable as if almost overnight his command of the English language had completely vanished. And it was left to an interpreter to pose the questions to the former player and also reply on his behalf once he was made cognitive of what was being asked of him at the time. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Scott McIntosh ………..

And for Sosa while there’s no impending return for him to the game. One may well well have to ask what the future may well have in store for the one time legendary slugger ? A singing career perhaps ? Or as a performer in the adult movie industry ? These are the questions one could boldly ask of Sammy Sosa, if only his command of the English language was all that intelligible. But being that his interactions inside the clubhouse had never posed a problem for Sosa when he was interacting with his teammates, coaches and ancillary staff alike. I now have to ask myself this question who’s in fact looking like the biggest fool of them all ? And who’s said to be looking like the fairest of them all ? Have you an answer to the question being posed ?