Two Shakes of a Lamb’s Tail and We’ll be Up and Running ….+

Yes it’s that time of the year when the NFL is in full swing vying it’s way to what should prove to be an interesting postseason , much like last year among the teams and players . Elsewhere in the world of sports there are some fascinating stories about to unfold . There’s now a great deal of uncertainty concerning the futures of several head coaches around the NFL . Last night in Monday Night Football the Philadelphia Eagles lost another game on their schedule falling to conference rivals the Seattle Seahawks. For Eagles’ quarterback this Carson Wentz , this was another game where the player continued to show a great deal of inconsistency with far too many errant plays .

Carson Wentz (11) of the Philadelphia Eagles is seen here during the game played against the Green Bay Packers which which the Eagles would go on to lose 30-16 .

For Eagles’ Head Coach Doug Peterson and the front office there could be pressing times ahead for this entire team and the coaching staff. Team owner Jeff Lurie might well have to make a severe shake up within the front office with the possible firing of GM Howie Roseman along with the firing of Doug Pederson also. With five games left of the regular season, the Eagles are playing not just for honor, but also for the futures of several players on the roster including Carson Wentz himself .

In week thirteen of the NFL schedule the Philadelphia Eagles will be back on the field to face the Green Bay Packers in a must-win game for the Eagles if they are to have a legitimate shot a seeding within the conference (NFC) for the postseason .

After a great postseason within the NBA and the Los Angeles Lakers winning their seventeenth NBA title tying them alongside the Boston Celtics , it will be interesting to see if the Lakers can make a successful defense of the championship with LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading what will be a revamped roster . Several players have left the Lakers moving on to supposed pastures green for considerably higher pay and the thought of contributing to their new teams .

The upcoming NBA season is not scheduled to begin until Christmas week with their being a slew of games to start off what could be another shortened season due to the Coronavirus . NBA league hierarchy led by Adam Silver did what was deemed to be the right thing with the NBA Playoffs being played in a bubble at a singular venue . What transpires out of this season could very well be determined by the league and that of the NBPA (union) .

Opening Night of the new season will see several of the new rookies on the court for their respective teams. If last season was anything to go by along with previous seasons, then the fans in whatever form they may well take should be in for some excitement.

Lavar Ball has placed all three of his sons on a pedestal believing all three are going to be the ” next big thing “ within the league (NBA).. His eldest son, Lonzo Ball , currently with the New Orleans Pelicans , has struggled within the NBA ever since he was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers as a first round draft pick during the 2017 NBA Draft. With Lonzo Ball now happily being part of the Pelicans and playing alongside Zion Williamson . It has to be said that things have worked out perfectly for Lonzo and dare I say it, for his father also and their company Big Baller Brand (BBB) ? LaMelo Ball is the second of LaVar Ball’s three sons to have made it into the NBA , with his being drafted by the Charlotte Hornets . Team owner Michael Jordan , might not be buying into the hype concerning LaMelo Ball , but he obviously knows that something needed to be done if he is to persuade the front office and coaching staff that the franchise is heading in the right direction.

Having signed his rookie contract LaMelo Ball will be looking to start real fast right out of the gate, looking to impress his new teammates , coaching staff and the entire front office and Hornets’ fans. For Michael Jordan this might the biggest gamble of his life since he tried his hand at playing Major League Baseball with the Chicago White Sox . That short-lived career did not amount to much as a player for the American League ball club. Fans are not so sure whether or not this season will be one of an eighty two game season or a reduced one of 60 to 65 games ?

One thing is becoming abundantly clear James Harden might well be one of the moist talented players in the NBA , but in terms of his being able to get along with his teammates , there has been continuous problems with Harden when he was with the Oklahoma City Thunder and now with the Houston Rockets . Harden couldn’t be the second wheel Kevin Durant as the franchise chased glory seeking to win an NBA title . His departure from the Thunder to join the Rockets didn’t come as a major surprise. Yet what we know now , Harden couldn’t seem to get along with Chris Paul and now he can’t seem to get along with Russell Westbrook . The prolific point guard has been traded to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall .

The Los Angeles Dodgers triumphed in winning their first World Series title in just over thirty years having defeated the Tamp Bay Rays , winning the series 4-2 . Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts managed to do what his predecessors had not been able to do since 1988 . That triumph has now taken away a giant shadow which had been cast over the organization for more than three decades . Corey Seager managed to have an extraordinary postseason , having won World Series MVP in the Dodgers’ triumph. Beyond that, it will be interesting to see if the front office of the ball-club will offer the player a long-term contract before he’s due to become a free agent. At $12 million a year Corey Seager is very much undervalued given his status and productivity for the Dodgers’ franchise .

No one can deny that Mike Trout might just be the best player in baseball at this moment in time , His career resume’ to date says it all alongside his multiple wins of the AL League MVP . The one thing missing from Trout’s personal file , a World Series’ ring and World Series MVP accolade. His sojourn in the postseason with the Los Angeles Angels continues to come up short.

If the Los Angeles Angels are to compete in 2021 , then this team has to play with a more competitive drive to their all-round game . If nothing else several of Trouts’ teammates will also have to step up to the plate including seasoned veteran Albert Pujols . The team might not be seen as a favorite within the AL West , but given the play around the American League , just about anything can happen . The Angels if nothing else will have to play at a much higher level and this will be very much predicated upon the managerial acumen of the team’s manager Joe Maddon . The manager for his part has seen a great deal of success in his role and whether or not he can regain that type of success remains to be seen.

I’d like to think Mike Trout can have another great season. If Mike can simply have his teammates play at his level. then it could provide a great deal of excitement for the Angels’ fans.

Another year of lean disappointment for the New York Yankees and their litany of stars , one has to now wonder where the front office now goes from here after their season of woes. Gerrit Cole was brought in with a high price contract to add some stellar pitching to a staff that might be seen as suspect . This past season within the MLB Postseason this Brett Boone roster of players didn’t meet the expectations of a deep postseason run . The off-season for the Yankees could lead to some major changes within the roster lineup by way of deals being made for free agents . It will be interesting to see if the Yankees will seek to pare down their payroll or seek to increase it substantially while also incurring the payroll luxury tax.

As the reigning World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers will head into next season looking to see if they can repeat as champions . Something which has not been done in several years , with the last back to back champions taking place in 1999 and then in 2000 with the New York Yankees triumphing both times . Dave Roberts as the Dodgers’ team manager will be glad to know that in all likelihood the core of this roster will be back in 2021 to pursue their challenge of seeking to make it a reality of repeating as champions . One thing is certain this Dodgers’ lineup if it continues with their consistency , then they will have to be considered favorites not just within the NL , but throughout MLB for this upcoming year and the World Series .

This past weekend welterweight champion Errol, Spence Jr made his long awaited turn to a boxing ring when he faced challenger Danny Garcia . Spence having been involved in single vehicle accident came within inches of losing his life and what would have been a abrupt end to his career. The bout itself between these two welterweight stars didn’t meet all of the expectations , but Spence proved his durability with a unanimous verdict decision over Garcia .

Tophatal ……

USA Today Sports

I’m Calling It A Wip-eout !!!!

I’m Calling It A Wipe-out !!!!

Well the NBA Finals have come to an abrupt end, with the Cleveland Cavaliers being blown out in the Finals by the Golden State Warriors , completing a sweep with a degree of clinical precision not seen in a very long time . Kevin Durant adds to his impressive resume’ as he was named Finals’ MVP for the second consecutive season . His being given this accolade places Durant as one of only two players to have won multiple scoring titles as well as the Finals’ MVP . For the Cavaliers as the losing finalists , the fact that each loss in the four games played was by double-digits or less , emphasizes why there is such a large chasm between the quality of the teams in the Eastern Conference of the NBA and their counterparts in the West.


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Adding more embarrassment to Cleveland’s debacle in the Finals remains the uncertainty concerning the future of LeBron James . The player can choose to opt-out of the final year of his contract and seek to become an unrestricted free agent , leaving to join a legitimate contender within the league. Based on all of the criteria seen, there are at least five or six teams that might be a destination for the superstar.

LeBron James should he choose to leave Cleveland for the second time in his esteemed thirteen-year career, it would once again lead to a great deal of frustration and anger among the franchise’s fans. Bear in mind however, this team in its original guise at the start of the season , was the one which James himself had a great deal of input in assembling . Just before the All Star Break , Cleveland Cavaliers’ GM Koby Altman brought in players he felt would complement the skill-set of LeBron James and Kevin Love . For Love as the second-best player on the Cavaliers’ roster, his productivity during the NBA Finals, could be best described as sparse, while the rest of the players were simply along for the ride. LeBron James has now been on five losing teams in the NBA Finals and he now has on his resume , a second series’ sweep with the first coming when the Cavaliers were summarily annihilated by the San Antonio Spurs during the 2007 NBA Finals , where Tim Duncan led the Spurs to what was an expected series’ victory, but not which was so lopsided.

After-all LeBron James was seen as the face of the NBA and the ” anointed best player on the planet “ . King James as he has often referred to himself , an anointing which many of his supporters and NBA analysts are in complete agreement with.

Whatever the future now holds for LeBron James , be it his remaining in Cleveland or his offering his services to the highest bidder, I would like to see the player come to a quick decision , rather than it being a long drawn out drama , something akin to a very bad soap opera episode.

I’m an avid boxing and Mixed Martial Arts’ fan and over this past weekend both sports showcased events which were meant to lure the fans back to the respective sports, which had been experiencing something of a lull. The UFC showcased their main event , UFC 225 , where the main card , had the top-two contenders within the Men’s Middleweight Division fight for the title , with the winner getting the chance further enhance his resume’. Robert Whittaker of Australia faced Yoel Romero of Cuba, in what could be best described as a war of attrition rather than a about that had a great deal of athleticism or tactical display about it. The fact that Whittaker won on a split decision , should tell you all you need to know about the bout and the fact that it failed to live up to expectation . Far be it for me to suggest, but the UFC is in a sad state of affairs at present in spite of being under new ownership and having a multi-year , multi-billion television contract with Fox Sports (FS1) . . If the ratings continue to decline for a number of their big events , other than premiering big-time PPV match-ups, that whets the appetites of the fans , then UFC President Dana White will continue to have a hard time justifying his comments that the UFC is the premier brand in the world when it comes to MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) .

He has made his return to the professional boxing ring after BBBC (British Boxing Board of Control) mandated suspension for failing a drug test. Former Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury was back in the ring to face Sefer Seferi  of Albania, in what was meant to be a tune-up fight for the former champion, as he seeks to legitimize his position in the Heavyweight rankings. Fury has always been known to talk the talk , but rarely has been able to walk the walk. Other than his victory over a fast declining Wladimir Klitschko , there’s nothing on the British fighter’s resume’ to suggest that he has the potential to reclaim the world title. The two best fighters within the division, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua are on a collision course for multi-million dollar unification bout to settle once and for all who is the best heavyweight fighter on the planet .

Tyson Fury has always questioned the claims that he took a banned substance , but has failed to explain, how after two random test samples the , the test still came up positive for a banned substance. He should consider himself lucky that his suspension was not for a great deal longer than the two years he spent away from the ring. As for his performance against Sefer Seferi, well let’s just say , lethargic and ring-rusty would be apt ways to describe his victory over his Albanian opponent. Fury doesn’t have the prowess to take on either   Anthony Joshua    or Deontay Wilder , let alone beat either of the claimants to their versions of the World Heavyweight title .

Australian Jeff Horn after his somewhat dubious victory over boxing legend Manny Pacquiao , had sought to legitimize himself as one of the best welterweight boxers in the world. His majority decision verdict over the Filipino legend , quickly made Horn a national hero in Australia. In order to further validate that victory , the Australian took on Terence “Bud” Crawford , as Horn defended his WBO Welterweight Title against the hard-hitting American challenger on Saturday night. . Crawford barely broke sweat as the took the title from the Australian champion with a stoppage in the ninth round. Let’s just say Jeff Horn was way out of his class and league , in spite of that victory over Manny Pacquiao .

So as the President, Donald Trump continues to regale us with his insight with the ongoing issues within the world , he recently spoke of his wish to sit down with the players of the NFL to speak with them on the issues of their grievances concerning social injustice. Trump was still basking in the limelight after pardoning Alice Johnson who was serving a life sentence with regard to drug trafficking and money-laundering . Johnson was granted a pardon , after reality show star Kim Kardashian prevailed upon the President to take a look at Johnson’s case.

Alice Johnson freely admits that she knew the risks , but she sought to earn quick money , because of her plight at the time. I guess when your home is being used as a drug cash and stash-house, as well as being a distribution center for a violent drug gang , then any excuse can be allowed for your actions ? The President we know has been extremely critical of the NFL players whom he says are being unpatriotic by refusing to stand for the national anthem. Stating repeatedly, in failing to do so , it dishonors the men and women have fought in wars to protect the rights of citizens in America and freedom across the world. This President fails to understand the real reason why the players are taking this stance and has never addressed the real underlying issues. One of the latest signs of not only complete stupidity on the part of the President but also lack of common sense , was the statement made , where he suggested it was time to grant Muhammad Ali , a full pardon for his crimes. Now bear in mind Ali’s case was overturned in the US Supreme Court on appeal , meaning there were no longer any charges for him to face.

Call me naïve or just plain stupid, but what fucking planet is Donald Trump now living on and does he ever take any advice proffered up to him by the Solicitor General , much less the Inspector General within the US Justice Department or from anyone within his administration ? Or will continue to take advice from his daughter, Ivanka Trump , his two clueless sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr , as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner (husband of Ivanka Trump) .

The day, Donald Trump actually shows signs of interest let alone knowledge of a social issue , rather than chomping off at the bit like a rabid dog in search of a victim . It will be the day that he can be taken seriously for the role for which he was elected into office for.

Rafael Nadal added further to his astonishing tennis career , claiming his eleventh French Open title at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris , France this past Sunday . Nadal’s victory over Dominic Thiem was clinical and surgical in its precision and gave the Spaniard his seventeenth Grand Slam title , three behind by the all-time leader Roger Federer , whose current tally stands at twenty Grand Slam singles’ titles .

Next up for Rafael Nadal by way of the next Grand Slam Tournament will be Wimbledon at the All England Club , where Nadal will be looking to add a third Singles’ title having won previously in 2008 and 2010 . Nadal , Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the only men currently active on ATP Men’s Tennis Tour to have to have won all four legs of the Grand Slam ( Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open) . With his French Open victory Rafael Nadal holds unto the number one ranking in the world, closely followed by Roger Federer.

So here we go again, fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers are complaining , because their high-priced roster of stars are falling by way the wayside due to injuries . Dodgers’ team manager Dave Roberts seems to have his work cut out again for himself this season as the team struggles to get back on track , being competitive within the NL West and NL in particular. At one game above .500, this is not where the Dodgers expected themselves to be at this point of the season , but even with a record of 7-3 over their last ten games game , you have to be feel that this team is far more capable of producing , than what we’ve seen to date.

In their recent weekend schedule the Los Angeles Dodgers came away with a 2-1 series’ victory over the Atlanta Braves . The two teams are next scheduled to meet on the 26th July when the Dodgers will face the Braves on the road Sun Trust Ballpark in at Atlanta , Georgia as part of their regular season series’ meetings in 2018. However, with the rest of their June schedule not yet in full swing, the next game on the itinerary for the Los Angeles Dodgers will be the team squaring off against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, 12th June , with Bartolo Colon of the Rangers facing a yet to be named opposing pitcher for the contest.

With that type of payroll , it’s about time the Los Angeles Dodgers put up or simply shut and just stop with their continued whining about injuries and all of the other things you’d come to expect of their oh so anxious and at times obnoxious fans.



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Continue reading “I’m Calling It A Wip-eout !!!!”

See You At The Crossroads , We’re Already There ….

See You At The Crossroads , We’re Already There

At a time when both sports are in need of some rejuvenation , both Boxing and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) , find themselves at a crossroads. Oscar De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotion , in spite of their stable of boxers , are vesting more into the world of Mixed Martial Arts, though not aligning themselves with either the UFC or Bellator , who just happen to the UFC’s biggest rival competitor. De La Hoya of late , is doing his best to promote his visible fighter , Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez , after the fighter’s lopsided unanimous verdict over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr . Now with a proposed mega-fight due to take place in mid-September, with Saul Alvarez facing Gennady Golovkin for the middleweight title . This should prove to be the “biggest fight” of 2017 on the boxing calendar , unless the much-anticipated fight takes place with Floyd Mayweather Jr comes out of retirement to face UFC fighter Conor McGregor . UFC President Dana White now seems to be on-board with latest piece of buffoonery. Bearing in mind the recent mismatches seen in some of the most recent bouts in the UFC , which have been title and non-title fights, I am not so sure fans will be prepared to meet the likely $59.95 PPV price for this particular freak-show .
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In recent months UFC has seen the decline of its biggest star with consecutive losses suffered by Ronda Rousey , whose career slide has been as fast as her supposedly being the next big female action star in Hollywood. It is unlikely Rousey will return to the octagon , where her career ascent was fast , but clearly because the opposition faced in the early stages of her career was simply mediocre at best. Hype in MMA is just about everything and it can also mean absolutely nothing. Beyond the proposed fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor , for which contracts have yet to be signed or a proposed date being set, other the continued emphasis of hyperbole that it will take place, the UFC can only promise that some of its biggest stars will be seen inside the octagon within the coming months . Proposed bouts within the Light Heavyweight Division will see Daniel Cormier defend his title against the division’s former champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones , in a bout which will bring about even more tension , given the apparent dislike each fighter has for the other.

The long-awaited return of another former champion can’ t come around fast enough as the former Welterweight Title holder Georges St Pierre makes a comeback. St Pierre was due to face Michael Bisping the UFC Middleweight champion , but with Bisping having suffered a knee injury , Dana White is now proposing “Rush” as he is more commonly known, face the division’s champion Tyrone Woodley . Georges St Pierre was adamant upon his return to the octagon , he had no wish to fight once again within the division . The fighter is considered greatest welterweight in UFC history and his record number of defenses remains a benchmark not only within the division , but among all of the weight categories within the UFC , with only Demetrious Johnson having made more double-digit defenses of a UFC title.

Among the Women’s ranks of the UFC , Amanda Nunes has now become the “Face of the Sport” , having toppled the division’s best among the Bantamweights . With their being only three weight categories within the UFC for women to fight at the professional level , it remains to be seen what other challenges lie ahead for this highly skilled fighter. I certainly believe she is capable enough of surpassing Ronda Rousey’s record in terms of the number of title defenses . Nunes’ rematch with Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 213 should prove to be a thrilling fight, with Shevchenko looking to make amends for her loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 196 .

I read a recent article, which tried to concoct a debate as to who has been the greatest Heavyweight Champion in UFC history . Consider the fact, no claimant to the title , has ever been able to make more than three successful defenses, speaks volumes as to how mediocre the division has been throughout its history. Randy Couture might well have won the title on more than one occasion , while also being the only UFC fighter to have held both the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight titles simultaneously. Brief spells alone , Couture remains perhaps the division’s most well-known champion. The current champion , American -born Stipe Miocic , who is of Croatian ancestry , has already joined a select group of UFC heavyweights who have made two defenses of UFC Heavyweight Title. The division might just be the weakest in all of the weight categories within the Men’s Division of the UFC and at a time when boxing longs for an undisputed champion among the Heavyweight Division , it easy to understand the reason why there is no real interest in either category of the respective sports.

Stipe Miocic doesn’t fight for the glory , but he does seek make the sport and in particular his division a more respectable one . His greatest reward comes from the fact he is a fireman in his native state of Ohio. Miocic’s next bout is likely to be against a top-five contender within the division , with Dana White having the last say as to the challenger is likely to be. Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velazquez are the two leading contenders within division and it will be down to Dana White to make the pick, as to whom he believes would provide the most appealing and lucrative fight for the champion as well as the UFC.

I will continue to maintain until there is an undisputed champion in any weight division of boxing , the sport will continue to be an after-thought to even their most ardent fans. There has not been an undisputed champion in any weight category in over a decade and it has been fifteen years since the Heavyweight Division had a lone champion , with the division’s last undisputed champion being Lennox Lewis . Nowadays , it comes down to be anointed a lineal champion announced by Ring Magazine . Not unlike the winner of a beauty pageant being given a tiara made of cubic zirconium rather than real diamonds .

At present there are only two legitimately recognized claimants to the Heavyweight Title , with both boxers having unbeaten records . Deontay Wilder is the current holder of the WBC crown , while Anthony Joshua claims the IBF , WBA and IBO belts . I am not about to suggest , this decade of heavyweights have been among the best seen over the past twelve years , but it certainly does make a difference to know , we no longer have to put up with the idiotic claims that Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir Klitschko were the best things to have happened within the sport of boxing. The skills of both siblings were always questionable and the fact that in his latter years , Wladimir’s jaw was like a glass slipper along with his declining skills was proof of the fact he was an overrated champion. His fight record was littered with meaningless bouts , which padded his successful championship defenses .

Wladimir Klitschko’s last two professional fights ended in defeat, losses , one a unanimous loss, suffered at the hands of Tyson Fury and he then followed that up with a TKO (technical knockout) loss to Anthony Joshua. Now with his demands of a rematch against Joshua falling on deaf ears , there is no real reason why Klitschko should be rewarded with a second fight against his conqueror. Waiting in the wings as possible opponents for Joshua are , Joseph Parker , WBO title holder from New Zealand or a far more lucrative unification bout against Deontay Wilder. With so many international governing bodies presiding over boxing , a sport which remains in constant disarray , it should come as no big surprise , fans are leaving in droves. Boxing no longer has any real charismatic fighters or truly “ big draws” likely to lure in the crowds. Once prominent promoters, such as Don King and Bob Arum , have become aging dinosaurs , while the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and the somewhat retired Floyd Mayweather are now said to be breathing new life into the sport as promoters. One of the real issues for this sport , is the fact , it cannot escape its seedy past or an unclear future, where there does seem to be some lackluster talent laying claims to greatness.

The sport of boxing needs to be more streamlined , , properly regulated not just domestically but also on the international front. Corruption remains ever-present and while know some of the biggest names within the sport can earn millions annually and it should be noted there is little done to protect the well-being of the fighters should they fall upon hard times or suffer from a mishap inside the ring . These are some of the horror stories which often go unreported by the media or the governing bodies themselves.

When the UFC was purchased by the William Morris Agency for the unprecedented sum of $4.6 billion , it set about a great deal of intrigue for the once upstart organization. Dana White was still retained as President but , Frank Fertitta and his brother, Lorenzo Fertitta were able to walk away with over $2 billion apiece , while still retaining a small minority stake in the company. Self-made billionaires in their own right , they can now sit back and watch as the UFC enter its third decade of existence , while being one of the few professional sports’ entities in North America with over a $1 billion in revenues. The humble beginnings of the UFC and what it has been able to achieve since 1993 has been truly staggering. However, the question still remain , under a new ownership structure, will Dana White still be given so much power to hire and fire fighters as he sees fit, while signing them to contracts which in many circles might be seen as indentured slavery with their having few rights if any ? In recent months there has been dissension within the ranks of the UFC , with fighters such as Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz , leading the fray , questioning White’s authority , with UFC’s new owners offering little by way of any serious changes which would be of benefit to their biggest assets, the fighters .



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What do you believe is the biggest hindrance to the sport of boxing ? Also , can the UFC become an even bigger sport than its pugilistic counterpart while also creating household names ? If Conor McGregor can become the only UFC fighter among the highest paid athletes in the world , while the sport of boxing only has three boxers among the top one hundred , then surely MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) has to be doing something right.

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Tophatal ………………. 05/22/2017

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Hit ’em high, hit ’em low …

Hit ’em high , hit ’em low ….

Well in the world of sports , the news encapsulating recent events have been widespread and intriguing. In the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown , the favorite for the Kentucky Derby , Nyquist romped to a victory and will now be looking towards the second leg of the triumvirate of races which makes up the sport’s premiere racing spectacle. The next race will be the Preakness Stakes to be held at Pimlico Racecourse on May 21st ,2016. Whether or not Nyquist can win the Preakness remains to be seen, but the whole world will be watching if the prohibitive favorite can take the second leg and join a select group of horses to have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown. In 2015, American Pharaoh became the first horse in almost four decades to have won all three races , and there can be no doubt Nyquist’s jockey Mario Gutierrez and his trainer Doug O’Neill will be looking to make this all a reality.

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Away from the world of horse racing the pugilistic world of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) saw the return of former UFC World Light Heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones to the octagon. Jones having returned from the UFC mandated suspension was looking to resume his career and getting back to winning ways. Jones’ original bout was set to be against the current champion Daniel Cormier , but with Cormier having suffered an injury , Jon Jones met Ovince St Preux for the interim title. This now sets up a mega-match between the two dominant fighters within the Light Heavyweight Division . UFC President Dana White believes it should solidify the winner as the premiere fighter within the UFC at present given the recent hype over fallen champions Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey . If nothing else, MMA needs the spotlight to be shone brightly on the sport after some rather disappointing results within the octagon in recent months.

In spite of recent denials, there has also been mounting speculation that Zuffa LLC , parent company of the UFC , owned jointly by Frank Fertitta , Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White might be willing to sell the UFC for a reputed $4 billion to a Chinese venture capital firm. If the price is right, I believe the entity could be sold to a foreign entity without their being major controversy being created !

The next major event being staged by the UFC will showcase   Fabricio Werdum     against Stipe Miocic for the UFC Heavyweight Title at UFC 198 in Las Vegas , Nevada on May 14th , 2016. Werdum will be making the third defense of his title while seeking to add to his legacy as the division’s latest champion.

With the recent retirement of Floyd Mayweather Jr and that of his contemporary Manny Pacquiao , the world of boxing now faces something of a vacuum with their being no widely recognized face to lead the sport for the next decade. Mayweather left the sport with an unbeaten record , having earned in excess of $400 million in career earnings , as well as  being the highest paid athlete in the world. Granted, the sport witnessed the dethroning of linear Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko as he lost his belts to British fighter Tyson Fury . A rematch is scheduled for later this year , with Klitschko vowing to win back the titles he has held for almost a decade. Fury, while being a talented fighter , has yet to make a name for himself in North America , which remains the Mecca for the world of boxing. This has been a sport which has been dying on its last legs for several years and having no unified and undisputed champion at any weight category , simply makes it all the more uninteresting and something of a morass. If boxing is to have any real continued traction among its fans , then real meaningful contests will have to take place and that should start with a title fight between Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin for the unification of the world middleweight titles.

In the world of professional sports , for all of the ambivalent diatribe that tends to be referenced by the media as well as the fans . The one thing you can be sure of is that both will often continue to make excuses for the most repugnant behavior by the an athlete. Recently in the world of baseball we had the reigning NL League MVP and Washington Nationals’ outfielder Bryce Harper berating an umpire after what he believed was an erroneous call by the official . Harper’s actions , specifically his tone and abusive language directed at the official has been an ongoing trait of a player who remains immature despite his immense talent . Now vowing to accept his one-game suspension mandated by the league, the player initially sought to appeal the suspension. From my own perspective , I believe the hierarchy of Major League Baseball remains weak , and bereft of intelligence along with the continued ambivalence shown by the MLBPA (Players’ Union) .

Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals have been able to set a blistering pace within the NL East and the National League . Standing a half-game behind the division leading New York Mets (21-13) , the Nationals are coming off a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers and where Max Scherzer struck out twenty Tigers’ hitters on his way to a complete game. Harper and the Washington Nationals’ next game , will see them take on the Miami Marlins in Washington, DC.

Injuries will continue to plague so many of the teams this season and it will be up to teammates to step up to the plate when those players are sidelined. For the New York Yankees in recent years , it has simply been an ongoing issue for a franchise which continually failed to develop talent from within their farm system . In their present format the New York Yankees with a bloated payroll and a number of unproductive players on the roster the Yankees are already struggling to make their presence felt this season . The Yankees will continue to struggle while Joe Girardi and his managerial staff will continue to show they are bereft of ideas. This was very much indicative in their last result , where they were on the wrong side of a lopsided 7-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals . Thursday afternoon and both teams will back on the mound . The Royals will have Ian Kennedy as their starting pitcher in the contest when he faces Nathan Evoldi of the Yankees.

The NBA Playoffs are now in full swing as the remaining participants are now playing for a Conference Finals’ berth. Reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors have booked their berth having beaten the Portland Trailblazers in a lopsided series . In the Eastern Conference the Cleveland Cavaliers as the top seeds await the winners of the series between the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors . For the Heat , who were viewed as the presumptive favorites , they now find themselves on the brink of elimination and facing a pivotal game six contest . It’s now or never for the Miami Heat as the roster , with its current makeup is considered to be aging , with seasoned veterans Dwyane Wade , Udonis Haslem and Luol Deng now approaching the end of their respective careers.

In what might now be turning out to be the best series in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have provided their fans with a wild and suspenseful ride . This series has ebbed and flowed due to the outstanding play from both teams.

Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich will implore his players to put it all out on the court tonight when they face the Thunder in game six , which now becomes a “ must win-game” for the team. Down 3-2 , they cannot afford to be eliminated at this stage of the Playoffs. Thursday’s game at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma should prove to be truly entertaining as the San Antonio Spurs seek to draw equal in this series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

If there is one thing to be said as the regular season came to an end in the NBA. It was the mere fact, for the teams at the lower end of the season’s standings , theirs was not a season they wish to remember. No no need to have any empathy for either the Los Angeles Lakers or the Philadelphia 76ers . These two teams simply sank to a level of ineptitude not often seen in the NBA, as they continually wore out their welcome at home and on the road during the season. With Byron Scott no longer returning to the Lakers next season, with his successor Luke Walton having been named . It would appear the franchise now believes, change was needed sooner rather than later . For the moment , it would appear Brett Brown’s position within the Sixers’ organization is secure , but I can’t but feel , Jerry Colangelo will be ready to pull the trigger and relieve Brown of his coaching duties with the franchise ! It just seems to make sense given the disastrous tenure of Brown as the head coach of the Sixers.

The 2016 NBA Draft is imminent and both the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers will have the privilege of being Lottery choosers during the whole process in the first round . Mitch Kupchak and his Sixers’ counterpart Jerry Colangelo will be mulling over the Draft Board and making sure the decision they will make will be the right one concerning the needs of their respective franchise in the interest of the long-term future.

Twenty-four-seven , three-sixty-five, year-round the NFL remains part of the sports news’ cycle without fail . The passing of the 2016 NFL Draft , signing of the first round rookies and now OTA’s will be upon us , as well as the beckoning of the preseason .

Tom Brady’s suspension might well have been rescinded with the NFL hierarchy feeling pleased with itself and in particular NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Yet all signs seem to be pointing to a possible challenge to this latest verdict with a filing to placed on the docket with the US Supreme Court . Let’s just hope for Roger Goodell’s sake Chief Justice John Roberts isn’t an ardent New England Patriots’ fan or else , all bets are off as to the decision likely to be rendered by the Justices .

Johnny Manziel’s career in the NFL came and went in the blink of an eye. Immaturity , lack of real leadership and talent were on display to be seen and his supporters have now ran off to the woods to hide in silence. Good riddance to Manziel and the opinionated morons who simply bleated on like sheep as to greatness of the former Cleveland Browns’ player.

With each passing season over the past eight years we have seen the best and the worst of the Dallas Cowboys . Team owner Jerry Jones still yearns to win another Superbowl and he still has high hopes Tony Romo will be the quarterback to lead the team to the ‘Promised Land’ . Well Romo is no Moses and the parting of the Red Sea as positioned around Tony Romo’s postseason career , can be best described as the Israelites being engulfed by the high seas. God has forsaken the Cowboys and with good reason . He just doesn’t like ugly and the Dallas Cowboys gave simply been damn ugly over the last decade .

The Dallas Cowboys’ draft was somewhat nondescript , but as usual it is still being championed in some circles as one of their best in recent years. Jason Garrett still remains the head coach, with his staff having not really changed over the past two seasons. The Cowboys are coming off another season of exceptional mediocrity and while excuses are being made for the injuries suffered. There can be no denying the issues of the team were widespread and have yet to be address by the coaching staff or the front office .

Dallas’ preseason schedule should prove to be interesting as Jason Garrett and the staff look to assess their roster . However, in week one of their regular season schedule they will have a tough test on their hands when they face divisional rivals the New York Giants in a home game at Texas Stadium , in Arlington, Texas,. Dallas needs to get off to a fast start and in doing so, be in with a chance of winning the NFC East , a division I still consider to be the most overrated in the entire NFL ! If they can at least go 4-0 or 5-1 through their first six games , then it bodes well for the team. From my own perspective I believe the Dallas Cowboys will struggle if Tony Romo is unable to play at a continually high level let alone play a full NFL schedule of sixteen games each season . We know Romo’s postseason record to be abysmal and that is with good reason , his denials as to his own flaws , while also apportioning blame elsewhere. Should the Cowboys make the postseason , then it will be interesting to see how deep they are able to make it during the postseason and how their quarterback is able to acquit himself for the franchise .

 

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What have been your impressions in recent weeks within the world of sports and which unfolding story or stories do you believe will prove to be the most interesting during the coming weeks ?

Tophatal …. 05/11/2016

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I love the smell of Napalm in the morning …

I love the smell of Napalm in the morning !

Well, in the  aftermath a tumultuous  NFL season we now know the twelve teams   to have made the NFL postseason. The New Denver Broncos and New England Patriots are the two top-seeds within the AFC, leaving the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals as the top seeded contenders within the NFC.

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Results   emanating   from Sunday’s games left us in no doubt who the top teams were within the    conferences after the two hundred and fifty-six games played. As usual with the postseason approaching , speculation will be raised to the possible coaching carousel likely to take place. There is the likelihood we might well have seen the last game coached by Tom Coughlin   as the head coach of the  New York Giants   after the team’s rather embarrassing loss to divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles.

With Chip Kelly’s abrupt firing by the Eagles’ front office , the number of coaches terminated this season are numbered at four , with the recent dismissals of Mike Pettine with the Cleveland Browns and Jim Tomsula with the San Francisco 49ers . As abysmal a season had by each of the teams in question , they were not the franchises with the worst record in the NFL during the 2015 regular season schedule . That accolade belonged to none other than the Tennessee Titans (3-13) a mark which was also shared with the Brown. What this might suggest about both teams can be best summed by their results over the course of the season and their statistical play throughout.

With the top two teams in each conference having a bye in the wildcard round of the postseason , teams seeded three through six will begin the playoffs with the scheduled games due. Those match-ups are likely to prove very intriguing with perhaps the best of the bunch being the NFC contest , which pits the Seattle Seahawks against the Minnesota Vikings . The two opposing quarterbacks Russell Wilson of the Seahawks and Teddy Bridgewater of the Vikings, will provide the fans to see two of the more productive passers within the NFC this season.

Though we have not yet reached the midway point of the NBA season there can be no denying which team has been the best in the league at this point of the schedule. Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors have set a blistering pace leaving others in their wake . Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr , in his absence has seen his understudy Luke Walton guide the team with a great deal of coaching acumen , leading a number of analysts to believe, Walton will likely be pursued by a number of teams at the end of the season, once the customary firings begin to take place. There are likely to be at least six teams seeking the former player’s services, but I do believe he will be reluctant to leave, unless his desired destination is with a franchise where there is a more than reasonable chance of success.

Coming off another victory , Curry and his teammates will next take to the court to face the Charlotte Hornets at the Oracle Arena , Oakland, California on Monday, 4th January . This should prove be an easy win for the Warriors against an Eastern Conference opponent given the team’s record against the conference and their record at home . The Hornets for their part will be looking to keep apace within their conference as well as against a Western Conference opponent where the team has had relatively little success this season.

The Los Angles Lakers (8-27) and the Philadelphia 76ers (3-33) have combined for eleven regular season wins at this point of the season , having played roughly thirty-five games. It would be fair to suggest both teams could very well end up with what would be franchise lows in terms of regular season victories. There also appears to a remote possibility the Sixers are well on their of equaling the NBA league-low number for regular season wins, a mark held by 1973 Philadelphia 76ers .Wins have been have been very difficult to come by for this Brett Brown coached Sixers’ team . Philadelphia’s last victory came on the 30th December when they defeated the Sacramento Kings by the score of 110-105. The team’s next game will be a home contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday evening.

For Byron Scott and the Los Angeles Lakers , their season has been one of sheer ineptitude with only sparing glimpses of Kobe Bryant at his best among the players on the Lakers’ roster. It is hard to envisage where the Lakers now go from here , as GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss have very few alternatives with regard to the depth on the roster. Capable perhaps of only playing for their self-respect, the Los Angeles Lakers do not appear to have a short-term, much less a long-term strategy once Kobe Bryant has played his last game for the franchise. Bryant made it official , this would indeed be his last year with the Lakers , formally announcing his retirement for the end of this season. Unlikely to be a major player in the free agency market , salary dumping or otherwise, Kupchak can only seek to assess the current crop of Los Angeles Lakers’ players and go from there with regard to rebuilding the roster. With a game coming up against the Golden State Warriors , which will be on the road , it will be interesting to see how the team will fare against a conference opponent , the reigning NBA champions .

The College Basketball season is now in full swing and with the teams gearing up towards ‘March Madness’ ,and it has been an interesting season , which has meandered its way through a slew of games. Seated atop of the rankings are the Kansas Jayhawks (12-1) under head coach Bill Self and his Jayhawks’ team . Wayne Selden , Perry Ellis and Frank Mason are the leading scorers for the Jayhawks , but a great deal of praise this season has been heaped upon Ben Simmons of the LSU Tigers . Simmons is considered to be a consensus first round lottery pick and the likely number one choice of the team privileged to have the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft . Judging by his game that is not without merit for a player whose all-round skill-set has been compared to has been compared to four-time NBA League MVP and Cleveland Cavaliers’ player LeBron James . Great praise indeed, but I believe it to be way too premature to be making such comparisons ! The LSU Tigers have an upcoming game against the Kentucky Wildcats.

Bill Self and his Kansas Jayhawks will have pride of place when they tip off against the Oklahoma Sooners in a battle of top-ten ranked teams.

We know the SEC to be the best conference in College Basketball and there can be no questioning of that very fact. The programs within the conference, speaks volumes as to the quality of play witnessed each year. Florida are now going it alone without Billy Donovan going as the head coach of the program. His successor Mike White is being asked to fill a big pair shoes after the considerable success achieved by Donovan during his reign. Florida is off to an inauspicious start to their season and their most recent game was an exhilarating victory over the Georgia Bulldogs with a fourteen-point 77-63 win . White and the Gators will be on the road to face the Tennessee Volunteers in a contest which should bring out the best in both teams.

I have to admit in recent years I have grown tired of the sport of boxing ! It remains corrupt , devoid of real leadership at the international level and most notably without any real transparency by way of leadership here in North America. The USBA which is affiliated to the IBF remains a constant joke, like many of the international counterparts which now hold sway over the sport internationally. Consider the fact there is no undisputed champion in any of weight categories and it is easy to understand why this sport is dying on its knees and close to being in need to resuscitation.

Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao may well have brought back a certain amount of excitement in what was Mayweather’s last professional bout which saw close out his career with an unbeaten 49-0 record. In reality however, this fight was five years too late and simply lacked the excitement the fans truly hoped for . Lackluster, would be too soft a word to describe the title fight , where both fighters walked away with an estimated $300 million to split between them , Mayweather taking the larger slice of the purse before taking into account another $200 million in television rights from the overseas sales and merchandising revenues grossed.

From my own perspective , I believe Floyd Mayweather will make a return to the ring to push his record to 50-0 . Mayweather has not really fought anyone of consequence in the past four years and even though his resume’ boasts and unbeaten record , along with multiple title defenses , one could suggest the record might well stand the test of time , but it truly lacks the hyperbole many believe it deserves.

Several boxers at the welterweight and light middleweight division would undoubtedly like to head into the ring and got toe-to-toe with Floyd Mayweather, but herein lies the caveat with the unbeaten fighter. He cherry-picks his opponents and simply added insult to injury , when he chose Andre Berto , to push his record to 49-0 . Berto was certainly undeserving of a title shot and the fact he was not high enough within the welterweight category clearly indicated the titleholder wanted a “patsy ” in the opposite corner for his last professional bout.

It has been ten years since the heavyweight category last had an undisputed champion with the last titleholder of the titles being British fighter Lennox Lewis. Since Lewis’ retirement from the ring there have several claimants to the differing established belts as recognized by the four main international governing bodies. Unfortunately, the entities in question have failed to give the fans what they yearned , a unified and undisputed champion. Siblings Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko for years, each held claim to one version of the title but refused to defend their versions against each , seeking to unify the division. With Vitali having retired it was left to Wladimir to reign supreme over the division , which in many ways he had done with a string of successful defenses, against less than credible opponents.

Yet in what was believed to a bout where he was considered to be a clear-cut favorite , he fell to the boxing skills of Tyson Fury of Great Britain in what some considered to be one of the biggest upsets in recent boxing history. The bout itself was far from being an instant classic but what it lacked in drama was made up for with the passion shown by the challenger as he wrestled away the title from the Ukrainian champion. However, in what one could only deem as farcical the IBF (International Boxing Federation) has seen fit to strip Tyson Fury of the belt he legitimately won in the ring. The explanation if it is to be believed, smacks of stupidity on the part of the governing body and from the former titleholder , Wladimir Klitschko , who was said to be not only upset with the decision rendered by the judges in a fight he lost in a unanimous decision, but also by the fact Fury sought not to grant him an immediate rematch within ninety days. If boxing has a flaw , then it is one of its own self-importance and indulgence , where the fighters themselves lack as much credibility as the various governing bodies which preside over the sport.

Boxing has lost a great deal of credibility around the globe, albeit , if there are claims it remains the one pugilistic and combative art form every fight fan yearns for . I am not so sure those claims are any longer legitimate and can be proven. While boxing has seen a marked decline , the rapid rise of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) now under the banner of the UFC , seems to be giving fans something they really yearn for. UFC has brought legitimacy and business acumen to a sport which has now become the fastest growing participant sport across the globe. Many of the fighters within the UFC stable of MMA stars are fast becoming recognized names as well Hollywood action stars and crossover celebrities. Suffice to say, the UFC hierarchy under Dana White has struck box-office gold , even if White is considered to be a dictatorial executive.

Ronda Rousey’s shocking and surprising loss to Holly Holm may well prove to be a welcome change for the sport and actually shape the direction and open even more opportunities for women who might see an interest in entering the genre. Rousey created a buzz needed when many felt MMA had lost some of its appeal. Now with her defeat, her drive and eagerness to reclaim her Bantamweight title could be the best thing to happen to Women’s MMA as well as the UFC in general.

In recent months several champions have seen their reigns come to an end within the UFC and added new honorees within the sport. It could well be seen as a good thing for MMA and its viability long-term if the excitement created can be maintained . Certainly , Dana White is taking a new approach of growing the UFC brand globally as well as expanding across North America , with the executive’s biggest wish being to see the sport be granted the license to promote and stage events in New York State.

For some strange reason the State Legislature of New York State sees no need to grant a license and continues to show their disapproval of a sport they deem barbaric. Last I looked, with the issues stemming from the NFL and how that particular league hierarchy has dealt with the issues of chronic head trauma , I would have to say the New York State Athletic Commission has been oblivious to the idiocy of Paul Tagliabue and his successor Roger Goodell , who have somehow chosen to remain in the dark ages as to the deniability of the damages caused from years of brutal head to head helmet contract driven by the physicality of football within the NFL. The league itself , still seeks to challenge the multi-billion dollar settlement obtained by retired by players in a Federal Appeals Court ruling , while also seeking reinstate their four—game suspension of Tom Brady for his alleged involvement in Deflate-Gate. Begs the question, at what point will both the New York State Athletic Commission and the NFL hierarchy actually wake up and smell the coffee , much less the napalm ?

Sports in general as always is in need of a good shakeup , be it at the competitive level or among its hierarchical leadership structure. One thing for sure, without real change , things tend to stagnate and show signs of recession rather than real growth or excitement.

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The case of the man in the moon …

The case of the man in the moon …

Somehow, in the wake of the horrors of the events which took place in Paris, France with the world taking a moment to mourn the loss of the victims. The sports’ world paid their condolences to the victims’ families. In the UFC , in what has to be deemed the most shocking event in the genre’s history the Women’s Bantamweight Champion , former Olympic judo medalist Ronda Rousey saw her unbeaten run come to an end, as she was defeated by challenger Holly Holm with a second-round knockout.

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For Holm , the unbeaten challenger and now champion, this was the biggest win of her career. Calls for a rematch now seem to be a certainty , with UFC President Dana White knowing a return bout between the two would be an instant sellout and a major PPV draw. Rousey has been the biggest draw in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) since her debut. Her charisma has attracted a slew of female and male fans , along with young girls now seeing the former champion as something of a role model. It hasn’t hurt also, with Ronda Rousey having carved out something of a niche, as a budding action star, with revelations that she will be the lead , in a revamped remake of the Patrick Swayze action drama “Roadhouse” .

For the moment however, Rousey will be looking to prepare for her rematch against the newly crowned champion Holly Holm. UFC 193, the event where the shocking result took place, will likely prove to be a major revenue winner by way of PPV broadcast views and ancillary rights for the UFC. A win-win situation for everyone involved in the event , including both the main fight card headliners , Holm and Rousey.

I am not so sure what can be learned from week ten of the NFL schedule , other than to suggest there were one or two teams who are now falling way short of expectations for the season. Inexplicable losses on the road as well as at home may well have led to a great deal of frustration among the fans as well as the coaching staffs of the franchises around the league. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were able to pull off a last-minute come from behind victory , defeating the New York Giants by the narrowest of margins eking out a one-point 27-26 victory , with kicker Stephen Gostkowski being the hero of the day. With the win the Patriots, moved their record to 9-0 . leading the AFC East by a healthy margin , with Bill Belichick likely now preparing the team for their week eleven contest against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro’ , Massachusetts, on Monday , 23rd November, 2015.

Of the more unexpected results , we witnessed the losses suffered by the Denver Broncos falling to divisional rivals the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers seemingly falling apart at the seams , losing to the Detroit Lions. Those defeats suffered , might not have as lasting an effect on the teams in question, but in the case of the New Orleans Saints and their thirty-point plus loss to the Washington Redskins , this might well have put the final nail in the coffin for the Saints and their inept season.

Sean Payton as the head coach of the Saints , is now left wondering what went wrong during his team’s 47-14 loss to the Redskins. The defeat was the New Orleans’ worst loss of the season and likely leading to some major shakeups to the roster before the Saints meet their week twelve opponents the Houston Texans on the 29th November, 2015. Week eleven will be a bye-week for the Saints as the coaching staff and players look to reassess the issues of the team.

A seven-game losing streak hasn’t yet convinced Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys front office , this team is simply bereft of coaching acumen , leadership on and off the field of play. At the start of the season , Jones believed the Cowboys was capable of actually winning the Superbowl. Needless to say , Jerry Jones remains delusional and continues to live in the land of make belief. Sunday afternoon , was just another day at the office for the Dallas Cowboys, as the display from the players was as inept as any given during the seven game losing streak , accumulated by this team over the course of the season. The fact the Cowboys were facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should have been a warning sign of things to come as their ineptitude , shown throughout the contest remained bewildering through four quarters.

In a low-scoring game, the Dallas’ offense could only muster six points and 216 yards of total offense . The two opposing quarterbacks combined for three interceptions , two fumbles and plethora of mistakes throughout the contest and questions are likely to be asked of Jason Garrett , the Cowboys’ coaching staff and the lack of commitment from the players on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster. Lovie Smith may well be smiling after the Buccaneers mind a numbingly boring 10-6 victory, but there was nothing about this win which could convince anyone the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still capable of gaining a wildcard berth for the NFL postseason. As to where this now leaves the Dallas Cowboys, can be best summed up by suggesting Jones and the front office are hoping for a high draft pick from the 2016 NFL Draft .

Ten games into the NBA season and needless to say, the Los Angeles Lakers(2-8) have been the butt of so many jokes , with continued criticism of Byron Scott , his coaching staff and the team . With Kobe Bryant back in the lineup and the team being inconsistent through season’s infancy , there is the belief the Lakers will continue to struggle over the remainder of the season. Coming off a twelve-point home victory over the Detroit Pistons this past Sunday , the win provided something of a respite for a team still in search of an identity .

On Monday night as the Los Angeles Lakers seek to keep the momentum going , they will get the opportunity when they meet another Western Conference counterpart , with the team meeting the Phoenix Suns in what is likely to be a thoroughly entertaining contest.

Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak, team owner & CEO Jim Buss will be hard pressed to turn things around at this juncture , with this likely being the last season of Kobe Bryant illustrious career . The five-time NBA champion will certainly be looking to go out with a “Big Bang” , but that is unlikely to happen this season given the Lakers’
woes
at this stage of their NBA schedule.

In their last game, played on the 14th November , Golden State toyed with the rather inept Brooklyn Nets on their way to an eight-point , 107-99 victory over the Eastern Conference based Nets. The Brooklyn Nets have been struggling and it seems unlikely the coaching staff led by Lionel Hollins knows how to get the team out of their current funk . In their next game the Brooklyn Nets will face the Atlanta Hawks in their home venue of the Barclays Center , Brooklyn, New York on the 17th November, 2015. The match-up should prove to be very interesting as the Nets seek to improve on their current record and stop their current losing streak, where Brooklyn are 1-9 in their last ten games . Only the Philadelphia 76ers have a worse losing streak (0-10) over the time-frame in question , which is no big a surprise , considering the 76ers’ record this season within the NBA .

It would not be remiss to suggest the front office of the Philadelphia 76ers remain without a clue and they are a badly ran franchise . Team owner Joshua Harris and GM Sam Hinkie seem bereft of intelligence , leaving many to wonder if their intent is simply to share in the spoils of war , when one considers how , profitable the NBA teams have become , seeing a sizable appreciation in the value of the franchises ?

Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach Brett Brown will be hard pressed to have this team playing with any type of resilience , when the coaching staff , itself not being able to find anything worthy from the players on the roster. Work in progress or not with the last two first round picks on the roster, but it is clear Brown and Sam Hinkie can no longer this malaise to continue.

Brett Brown and the Sixers will play their next game at home against the Indiana Pacers . Neither Joel Embiid or Jahlil Okafor have been able to provide significant production for Philadelphia this season. The Philadelphia 76ers remain a franchise simply out of their depth and there are no signs, this team is about to get any better anytime soon. It has been almost fifteen years since the Sixers last won a divisional title ,not since the 2000-01 season , with their last Playoff Appearance coming during the 2011-12 postseason , where they fell to the Miami Heat in the first round .

James Harden of the Houston Rockets (4-7) has now become an elite player within the NBA , but it remains to be seen whether or not he can lead Rockets to another NBA title for the franchise. The Houston Rockets have yearned to raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy and for team owner Leslie Alexander , nothing would give him greater pleasure than for his team to win the title. Head coach Kevin McHale and his coaching staff , I believe are capable of coaching this team their being able to make a deep playoff run, but a great deal of that will be dependent upon the play of Harden and whether or not Dwight Howard can finally step up to the plate during the postseason. The Rockets’ center has continued to disappoint and I do not believe he is capable of playing at a high-caliber , when it matters the most and that is during the NBA Playoffs.

Houston has made a solid start to the season, but with the Western Conference being so tough , their best chance of a postseason berth I continue to believe will their winning the Southwest Division within the West. In their most recent game the Houston Rockets hung tough in their contest against the Boston Celtics , but lost a game , which on paper, was far from being close, with the Rockets falling , 111-95 in a home loss .


Brad Stevens
has achieved a great deal since being hired to succeed Doc Rivers as head coach of the Boston Celtic. The fact that the team made the NBA Playoffs of last season before being brushed aside in the first round might well provide the fans and the franchise with the hope Stevens was not only the right man for the job, but GM Danny Ainge and team owner Wyc Grousbeck had to be extremely satisfied with the hire. Stevens has now cultivated a mindset within his young roster of players , which everyone now seems to be buying into , including the Boston Celtics’ fans. Boston might not be prolifically talented by way of their offense , but this team does play with a great deal of bravura .

Jared Sullinger , Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson , Evan Turner , James Young , Tyler Zeller, Isaiah Thomas , Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier are among the teammates of the Boston Celtics who are making the franchise one of the hot topics of conversation this early in the season among the Eastern Conference as well as within their division and the NBA this season. Clearly, if the Celtics are able to make back to back playoff appearances and build upon what was achieved last season. Then there is no reason to believe why this team cannot be seen as a legitimate contender for the NBA title at some point in the future. With a very good coaching staff in place, along with a front office making the right type of personnel decisions ,the future does seem bright for the franchise’s long-term relevancy .

Something is finally going on after the recent years of instability within the Detroit Pistons’ franchise and organization. Team owner Tom Gores along with the front office seemed to have figured it out. Former agent Arn Tellem has been brought in to run the business side of the Pistons’ operations, with Jeff Bower as the general manager of the franchise. The ouster of Joe Dumars was seen as an obvious move , after the decline of the franchise during the last few years of his tenure as general manager.

Sitting two games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers (8-3) within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference the Detroit Pistons find themselves in a comfortable position in a division which will be closely watched. Coming off great victory over the Cavaliers, where LeBron James could not muster his teammates to get the win needed to increase their lead within the division , while also while also looking to pad their lead over the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks within the conference. The win might be the most significant of the Detroit Pistons’ young season which is still in its infancy. It might bode well for the team, if they can build upon the victory and put themselves in a position to contend within their division as well as the Eastern Conference.

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With all the news which has come into focus over the past few days beyond the world events . There is the common belief sports can truly unite the masses ,when we can witness a genuine act of sportsmanship , heroics on the field of play. but above all else , a true love of the environment being cultivated on the field of play.

Tophatal ……..

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Rick Ross featuring Ne-yo .. ” Super High ”

News , views and chews ….

As Major League Baseball awaits the victor of the ALCS series which now stands at 3-2 , with the Kansas City Royals leading the Toronto Blue Jays in the series. We await the outcome of game six which will be played at the Kauffmann Field , in Kansas City . Missouri, on Friday evening.

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Taking the mound for the home team will be former AL Cy Young winner David Price who will face Yordano Ventura of the Royals in what will be a pivotal game for both teams. A win for Kansas puts them in this year’s World Series , while a win for the Blue Jays forces an exciting game-seven decider between the two AL teams. Awaiting the winners of the AL Pennant will the their NL counterparts the New York Mets , whose convincing series’ win over the Chicago Cubs was as good as the Mets have been in a recent postseason foray. Both their pitching and offense was of the highest level expected from a well-managed Terry Collins’ team.

Away from the on-field foray has been the big news to hit the world of baseball with Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers mutually agreeing to part ways. Unfortunately, the public explanations being given in the interviews granted to the press remain unconvincing from both parties , with neither the front office executives or Mattingly , himself , being truly convincing with their summation as to the reasons behind their abrupt dismemberment. One thing is for certain , Andrew Friedman as the Head of Baseball Operations has been given full control to make the decisions necessary to bring about a real turnaround for this franchise. The complacency seen which has been seen from the Dodgers over the past four seasons during the MLB postseason , is unlikely to be tolerated by Friedman or the team’s general manager Farhan Zaidi.

Having spent over $1 billion on salary since their acquisition of the franchise the owners have seen the team simply implode at almost every hurdle during recent postseason play . This season in particular the Los Angeles Dodgers were never good enough to convince anyone they could be seen as the presumptive favorites for the World Series. A $315 million payroll , the highest in the game , and all we witnessed from the Dodgers throughout much of the season were the thrills and spills of a highly overrated team. Granted, Zach Greinke had an exceptional season for the team and will likely be crowned the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Typically, one would laud the feat as being a great achievement, but in retrospect , singular awards while credible , for this franchise the only success sought, was that of a World Series’ triumph , something last achieved by the Dodgers in 1988.

There can be no denying the NFL season so far has proven to be nothing more than the usual storm in a teacup. Granted, there are several teams we knew would be either be bad or just mediocre , while there will always will be one or two surprises which have left us bewildered. Who knew at this point of the season the Cincinnati Bengals (6-0) would be one of the best teams in the AFC as well as the league in general ? Coming off a week six victory over the Buffalo Bills. The Bengals have a bye-week during week seven , whereby they can rest and recuperate before resuming their schedule in week eight , with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 1st November,2015.

Two games on this weekend’s schedule , will likely have the fans’ attention, will be conference contests featuring the New York Jets facing the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ Massachusetts. Tom Brady is having an excellent season and it would appear the idiocy of the Deflate-Gate scandal now seems to be in the rear view mirror of the four-time Superbowl winning quarterback. No doubt Brady will be looking to extend his regular season record against the Jets , while the team seeks to increase their lead over the Jets within the AFC East. The other game of note, pits the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants , in a must-win contest for both teams. Given the mediocrity of the NFC East . there remains the possibility that the winner of the division could be no better than 8-8 or 9-7 at the end of this season.

Eight weeks into the College Football season and as expected , the talk begins as to which teams are deserving to be called the best in the nation. The Ohio State Buckeyes remain unbeaten and atop of the heap in the College Football rankings . Saturday afternoon , the Buckeyes will be on the road as they visit Piscataway , New Jersey to fact Rutgers University. Somehow , I believe this game will end in a rout , with Ohio extending their unbeaten run to twenty games dating back to last season. This Buckeyes’ team is playing at an exceptional level , barely being challenged by their opponents this season.

Texas Christian (TCU) , Baylor, Utah and LSU (Tigers) are among the unbeaten teams all vying for a playoff berth. Les Miles head coach of the Tigers will be hoping to see his team prove their worth in their scheduled contest on Saturday afternoon when they face Western Kentucky. Leonard Fournette , Louisiana’s all blistering running back will be looking to excel in this game while also showing himself to be a viable candidate for this year’s Heisman Trophy.

With four games left to the College Football schedule , there remains a great deal to play for as the season seeks slowly winds down .

The NBA regular season will begin on Tuesday 27th October , but for the moment the preseason is still winding down. Defending NBA champions the Golden State Warriors will be looking to make a successful defense of their title while also seeking to become the first back-to-back titlists since the Miami Heat were able to were able to achieve the feat in 2012 and then again in 2013 . The team was unable to make it a triple , succumbing to the San Antonio Spurs in 2014 . This season the Heat will seek to make their presence felt within the Eastern Conference where the Cleveland Cavaliers will be seen as the prohibitive favorites for the conference title.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are the elder statesmen on the Heat’s playing staffand they are being entrusted to lead a roster with a mix of youth and experience. Erik Spoesltra and his coaching assistants will certainly have their work cut out for them over the course of Miami’s schedule. The team will begin their regular season schedule with a home game against the Charlotte Hornets on 28th October, 2015 . However, I believe the true test for the Miami Heat will come in their conference meetings with the Chicago Bulls , Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks , three of the better teams within the Eastern Conference , based on last season’s standings. The Heat will also be counting on their young rookie Justise Winslow to make a major contribution to the team this season , as he comes under the wings of his mentor Dwyane Wade.

For the Eastern Conference champions of last season , the Cleveland Cavaliers after being soundly beaten by the Golden State Warriors in last season’s NBA Finals , this season will be their chance at seeking redemption. The Cavaliers’ front office led by team owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin have acquiesced to all of LeBron James’ whims facilitating him with a roster , he believes can win the franchise a title. Big money contracts have been offered to players such as Tristan Thompson , with the hope Thompson can prove to be productive for the team.

LeBron James and his Cavaliers’ teammates will begin their regular season schedule against divisional rivals the Chicago Bulls in their game to be played at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois,. While I believe the Cleveland Cavaliers remain the best team in their conference, and likely to repeat as conference champions this season, my belief remains the this team will struggle to beat any of the top-three teams within the Western Conference.

Kevin Garnett has returned to the franchise where he first made his professional league debut. The fact that Garnett now in the twilight of his career is once again with the Minnesota Timberwolves seems not only fair , but brings back memories of a time when he was among the best all-round players in the league, able to play every position possible , without there being a problem for this once agile player. Now he brings to this team , age , experience and a basketball mind second to none , with perhaps only Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant with an adept knowledge of the game and what is needed to succeed. Having won a title with the Boston Celtics as well as multiple appearances as NBA All Star and a League MVP in 2003 . It could be said Garnett’s career has come full circle, without him having much else to prove , other than being a mentor to a young team in need of real leadership.

Flip Saunders , head coach GM , Head of Basketball Operations as well as a minority stakeholder in the Timberwolves, will seek Kevin Garnett’s assistance in providing the on-court stability needed to make Minnesota competitive this season. Karl-Anthony Towns the franchise’s first round draft pick , alongside Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio are seen as the primary contributors for the team as they embark upon their schedule. The true test for the Minnesota Timberwolves will come when they take on the best the Western Conference has to offer , beginning with their regular season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Speculation will continue to surround the events which led to former NBA star Lamar Odom being found lying unconscious in the room of a Nevada brothel. Unfortunately, this simply adds another episode in the life of a player who never lived up to the expectations sought as a parent or as a teammate , in spite of the sympathetic words now being used as a cacophony to make up for another athlete’s shortcomings as a habitual drug user.

Odom through his publicists and his estranged wife Khloe Kardashian have thanked the press and public alike for their well-wishes , but this latest episode cannot hide the fact the NBA actually continues to enable and facilitate the use of banned substances within the game. The league’s so-called policy on banned substances remains weak and the fact the NBPA has sought to weaken the original structure of the policy simply goes to show how much of a ferret David Stern just happened to be, before handing over the reigns as commissioner to his chosen heir-apparent Adam Silver. The NBA Commissioner has yet to issue a public statement concerning Lamar Odom’s issues, purely on the basis the player is no longer active within the league. However. it should be noted , Odom never officially announced his retirement from the NBA and was still hoping to pursue a career , by returning to the league, signing with a team seeking an experienced veteran.

The NBA Commissioner has yet to issue a public statement concerning Lamar Odom’s issues, purely on the basis the player is no longer active within the league. However. it should be noted , Odom never officially announced his retirement from the NBA and was still hoping to pursue a career , by returning to the league, signing with a team seeking an experienced veteran. It seems doubtful a franchise would be willing to risk all. after this latest debacle concerning Lamar Odom.

Speaking of athletes with some off-field issues , with his recent plea agreement with the State’s Attorney’s Office former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones has been reinstated by the UFC , allowing the fighter to makes his return to the octagon. Jones was stripped of the title , after it was revealed he fled the scene of traffic accident while under the influence. It was later revealed the fighter had high level traces of cocaine within his system. Now while he has attended drug intervention program and the fact UFC President Dana White issued an indefinite suspension of the former champion. What cannot be denied, has been the fact, White has been very lax in whom he chooses to punish with impunity when he feels it is necessary.

Jon Jones in his last bout before being stripped of the title tested positive for a banned substance and it was widely reported that several top executives were prive’ to the fact Jones’ test had come back positive on the eve of his title defense against Daniel Cormier. Dana White for his part brushed aside those claims aside , stating it was pure fabrication on the part of detractors of the UFC. However, the Nevada State Athletics Commission which governs the sport within the state has records to prove the UFC hierarchy were well aware of the positive tests. Cormier the current Light Heavyweight Champion would like to make a defense against Jon Jones , knowing such a match-up would lead to a big money payday for himself as well has his challenger. There are very few fighters with the appeal and athleticism of Jones within the UFC at present and the biggest draw currently is the Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey who seems be totally unbeatable within her weight class.

Rousey will be looking to parlay her ongoing fame and notoriety in her next bout when she meets Holly Holm at UFC 193 scheduled to take place at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne , Australia on the 15th November, 2015.

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In light of the latest occurrences in the world of sports what do you feel will be the main talking points in the coming days or over the next week ?

Tophatal …

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The buck doesn’t stop here but it should …

The buck doesn’t stop here but it should …

So  two weeks into the  NFL season and already we’re  witnessing  how  banal so many of the teams just happen to be . Nonetheless, things are likely to get far more problematical for several of these franchise before possibly getting better.

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In the NFC East , the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants having opened their respective season schedule with two consecutive losses are proving to be among the pick of the litter when it comes to sheer ineptitude. Far be it for me to suggest, but head coaches Chip Kelly of the Eagles and Tom Coughlin of the Giants are likely to know their jobs are on the line. Team owners , Jeffrey Lurie and John K Mara cannot be entirely happy with what they have both witnessed from their respective teams to start the season.

The Philadelphia Eagles were on the wrong side of an inept performance , with a week two loss to the Dallas Cowboys , whose 20-10 victory , also saw the loss of quarterback Tony Romo due to an injury. This all could spell some serious issues for the Cowboys, having lost Romo quite possibly for a sizable chunk of their regular season schedule. Dallas’ head coach Jason Garrett will now have to reassess Tony Romo’s fitness and the likelihood of possibly going with his backup, Brandon Weeden , should Romo not be available for Dallas’ week three contest against the Atlanta Falcons on the 27th September, 2015 at Texas Stadium in Arlington. Texas,. Inasmuch as analysts and fans alike try to attribute Tony Romo’s toughness to his abilities , in reality the player lacks real leadership and tends to apportion blame elsewhere when his play has been mediocre.

A great deal is being asked of Brandon Weeden, should he be entrusted with the task of leading the Cowboys into battle against the Falcons next Sunday.

For the New York Giants and their start to the season appears to be inexplicable, but at the same you cannot overlook the fact Eli Manning and his teammates have failed to deliver when all is said to be on the line. Granted, Manning has led the Giants to two highly celebrated Superbowl victories over the New England Patriots in the last six seasons. Losses in week one and week two to the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons respectively, have left many wondering where do the New York Giants now go from here. The Giants’ defense and offense have proven to be equally inept and with receivers Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz yet to show anywhere near the skill-set sought for the team to viewed as legitimate contenders within the league this season. Cruz remains sidelined and there seems to be no indicator as to when the Giants will see his return to their starting lineup. The New York Giants’ next game will pit them against the Washington Redskins on the 24th September , 2015 in a Thursday night contest.

Over the last two seasons , I believe quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford have failed to show what they are capable of players in their respective roles. With the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions both getting off to inauspicious starts to their season , these two teams are likely to be in for a torrid time as the NFL schedule pans out. Neither the Bears or Lions can afford to go through their first three games with consecutive losses , but given their play at present , it simply doesn’t bode well for either of these two teams. Sunday afternoon, we witnessed the Chicago Bears falling to the Arizona Cardinals in a high-scoring contest 48-26. Stafford and the Lions fell to the Minnesota Vikings in a result which simply reflects how bad Detroit just happens to be , as they succumbed to the Vikings 26-16.

While I am not about to suggest at this point of the season the NFC as a conference is less superior than the AFC , there do seem to be pointers which may reflect this position , albeit , two weeks into the schedule should not be truly reflective of the position. By week four , one quarter of the way through the NFL season , the teams should have found their rhythm, as they look to play themselves into divisional and conference contention.

There are thirteen games left in the baseball schedule , for the league’s thirty teams , with several of the divisions still to be decided as of the 20th September . For much of the season , both the St Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals have remained among the two best ball-clubs within the game. Whether or not the two teams will clash in this year’s World Series remains to be seen and will be predicated on their play as schedule plays out to the likely intensity we have seen in recent weeks. The Royals under manager Ned Yost might well be seen as the likely front-runner for this year’s AL Manager of the Year , with among his closest rivals being AJ Hinch , John Gibbons , Jeff Banister and Paul Molitor .

The Kansas City Royals coming off a decisive 10-3 win over the free-falling Detroit Tigers will seek to increase their lead within the AL Central when they face the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington on 22nd September ,2015. On the mound for the Mariners will be Hisashi Iwakuma as he faces Jeremy Guthrie of the Royals.

Kansas now has the inside track on the division, with the Minnesota Twins unlikely to build up a big enough challenge for the AL Central. With the reverberations from the faltering Tigers , in the aftermath with the abrupt departure of former GM Dave Dombrowski . There is now the belief that Dombrowski’s successor Al Avila will make the decision not to extend the contract of the team’s manager Brad Ausmus , leading to further turmoil within the organization. The Tigers’ players have yet to make their thoughts known on the possible departure of Ausmus , but there seems to be a widespread belief Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera are not entirely happy with the situation, in spite of their indifferent seasons and it is easy to understand the many reasons why the Detroit Tigers have failed so miserably this year. The changes for the Tigers during the off-season could very well be dramatic and very nerve shattering, as a number of high-priced players are likely to be jettisoned. Seeking to assess the players , within their farm system is now likely to be an option for Al Avila , as looks to rebuild for next season.

It would be the ultimate tale of sheer stupidity if Mike Matheny was not awarded the NL Manager of the Year Award for this season. He has clearly been the best manager in baseball this year and has been a worthy successor to Tony La Russa . If Matheny can now take this Cardinals’ team in the postseason where they are likely to be the clear favorites for the NL Pennant , then there is no reason to believe why St Louis cannot go on to win their twelfth World Series title, with their last coming in 2011 when they crushed the the Texas Rangers in seven games . The series’ result might suggest the Rangers might have been in with a chance through the entire seven-game series, but at no point did they ever take advantage of St Louis during the showcase series’ finale .

Mike Matheny and the St Louis Cardinals have been a model of consistency throughout much of the season , with their pitching and offense being equally potent on all fronts. To round out their three-game weekend schedule against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago , the Cardinals came away with a well-deserved 4-3 victory over their divisional rivals . On Monday evening the St Louis will play host to the Cincinnati Reds , with John Lamb of the visiting team on the mound to face his opposing number , Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals.

With Tiger Woods now falling off the face of the PGA Tour and this ongoing stupidity he still remains the biggest draw in the game. I have to wonder what type of idiot , there remains within realms of the sports’ world in terms of the fans who simply have no idea as to what the hell they are talking about ! Woods has not come close to winning a tournament on the PGA Tour in almost two years and his last major Grand Slam title was almost six years ago . He has fallen so far down the world rankings (292 nd) , that he is no longer deemed to be a worthy talking point , unless you want to discuss his ongoing medical ailments. A second back surgery , is now in the offing and Woods’ game has deteriorated to such an extent , that only the player himself has any belief he will be able to resurrect his play to the level where he was once considered the heir-apparent to Jack Nicklaus .

There are now much younger players on the Tour , who are just as determined as Tiger Woods , when he was at his best , but they have shown themselves to be more resilient and less prone to litany of mistakes which have become part of Woods’ current persona on a golf course. Jordan Spieth , Rory McIlroy and Jason Day have become the new faces of the PGA Tour , as well being major draws , and a boost to the television ratings.

Jason Day’s five wins on the season which include the PGA Championship , The Barclays Championship and this past weekend the BMW Championship has pushed the Australian to the top of the world rankings , pushing both Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy to second and third within the standings. With those five wins and ten top-ten finishes on the PGA Tour , Day tops the Fedex Cup standings and is line for the $10 million payout which comes with a first place finish in the Fedex Cup overall final placings. If golf and in particular the PGA Tour is to withstand the loss of Tiger Woods and the deterioration of his game. Then the likes of Jason Day , Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy will now have to stand tall in face of the overwhelming odds that fans yearn a dominant and charismatic player within the sport. Woods had the game, but his indiscretions and willingness to cite others for his problems, was simply another indication of a self-absorbed athlete who yearns the limelight but when faced with off-field adversity, they simply haven’t the intellect to handle it well.

A top-five finish in the Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta , Georgia , which is the final tournament of the PGA Tour schedule , could see Day come away with the $10 million bonus payout and quite possibly the Player of the Year Honors, albeit , Jordan Spieth’s two Major victories on the year do make his credentials all the more impressive. Yet if consistency is to be the measure on the season , then the Australian has fared better than his American counterpart.

There are howls of laughter as Floyd Mayweather Jr maintains his wish to now retire from the sport of boxing, having defeated Andre Berto in the defense of his WBA and WBC welterweight titles . Still recognized by Ring Magazine and several of the top analysts within the sports as the Pound-for-Pound King of The Ring and best fighter on the planet. I personally do not believe Mayweather can simply walk away from his unbeaten 49-0 record without seeking to push that mark to 50-0 ! Granted , for an athlete who in the last two years has earned in excess of $400 million from the sport of boxing , there might be few challenges left for a fighter of his caliber. He has the admiration of legions of fans the world over , but he has never been able to truly gain the respect of some of the passionate fans of the sport as well many of the women who follow the sport of boxing from afar.

Floyd Mayweather has failed miserably in trying to allay the persona of his misogyny and denigration of women, albeit , his open invitation of Jen Welter to a press conference and to his bout with Berto was met with a great degree of sarcasm and some embarrassment for Welter , who initially accepted the invitation for both events. Yet it cannot be denied , with Mayweather’s well-chronicled troubles concerning his ex-fiancee and the mother of two of his children , there can be little left to believe the boxer is indeed trying to change his ways. His publicists and management company are trying to create the persona of a social activist , philanthropist and boxing promoter seeking to not only clean up the sport, but also show Floyd Mayweather to be a man of the people. Yet, when it is all said and done, the boxer’s actions outside the ring and his outlandish behavior simply proves the persona created has been nothing more than a charade.

Mayweather still yearns the respect of the purists who cover the sport within the media , even with his impressive fight record. Mayweather Promotions Inc , the boxer’s own management company will certainly be surveying the landscape for a fighter seen as his next challenger. A rematch against Manny Pacquiao would simply be a waste , considering the hype over their first fight and lack of competitiveness seen from the Filipino boxer on his way to a unanimous defeat, was not only embarrassing for the sport of boxing, but also a general fleecing of the paying public and the reputed $500 million gross revenues gained from the bout. Mayweather’s reputed $300 million payday before expenses for the highest grossing title and fight in boxing his history, was nothing more than a comedic mess of gigantic proportions.

The international governing bodies (IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO) for the sport of boxing have been nothing more than a travesty , with Mauricio Sulaiman , Gilberto Mendoza , Daryl Peoples and Francisco Varcarcel have simply forgone their obligations to oversee the sport with robust stewardship, instead leaving it to the unscrupulous boxing promoters to reign over the sport, while leaving the Nevada State Athletic Commission with their connivance and corrupt activities continue to make a mockery of boxing . Conflicts of interests, inexperienced ringside judges adjudicating title bouts have seen the state Athletic Commissioner Francisco Aguilar has been quick to suggest the officials who have judged many of the most recent title fights within the state’s jurisdiction have been without reproach. Yet, in the aftermath of the fiasco concerning the judging Mayweather’s most recent bouts against Manny Pacquiao and Andre Berto has left a great deal to be desired about Aguilar’s claims.

If boxing is left in something of a void in spite of the rise of Deontay Wilder as a titleholder among the heavyweight champions. Yet in reality, Wilder can only be seen as seen as either stepping stone for Wladimir Klitschko to further enhance his claims of being the best heavyweight boxer in the world. Klitschko’s own record has been filled with challengers whose records if nothing else, can only be viewed as comedic and idiotic. The rise of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) under the UFC banner , has seen the growth of the fastest growing combative sport in the world. UFC’s fighters are now becoming household names with Ronda Rousey leading the way for the sport along with the sudden emergence of Fabricio Werdum as the undisputed heavyweight champion. Werdum’s devastating victory over Cain Velazquez was not only for the title was not only exciting but it also breathed life into a sport , where in recent months , we had witnessed the fall of established stars such as Jon Jones , Nick Diaz and Johny Hendricks either through misdeeds outside the octagon ring or through poor performances within.

UFC President Dana White has proven to be an autocratic and somewhat tyrannical ruler of the governing body of the sport , dictating his whims as to what he believes best serves the interests of the sport. Unfortunately. White has proven to be less than forthright as to a number of decisions he has made concerning fighters, who are known to have known to have used substances prohibited by the UFC. Dana White has been complicit in allowing fighters such as Jon Jones , Nick Diaz, Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen to have fought , having then been tested for a banned substance.

Sonnen, now an analyst covering the UFC has not issued a statement concerning his twice being suspended for the use of performance enhancing drugs , while Nick Diaz has continually derided White and suggested he will continue with his use of marijuana as and when he pleases. Silva a former middleweight champion will be making his long-awaited return to the octagon, but with the revelations of his testing positive steroidal medication as well as for an anxiety medication during his rematch with Chris Weidman for the middleweight title at UFC 183.

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Sports , amateur and professional sports, have now become a fickle industry promulgated by profligate athletes and hierarchies, where accountability has become a simple bye-word for lack of leadership, athletes without any real integrity and the continued belief that an act of social responsibility paints them as a person moral integrity.

Floyd Mayweather continues to be indicative of such a persona , while Tiger Woods might well now be wishing he could turn back the hands of time. Hierarchy leaders such as Roger Goodell, Adam Silver , Garry Bettman , Dana White , Rob Manfred and Mark Emmert have become oblivious of what needs to be done to actually clean up the mess they preside over , and can only point to the one known fact they actually care about and that is to make millions of dollars at the expense of the consumers , otherwise known as the fans. Accountability remains the farthest thing from their minds while the fans remain apathetic to what is actually now within their midst.

o_O

Tophatal ……. 2015/09/21

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Bi#ch better have my money

Bi#ch better have my money

The sports’ weekend threw up no great surprises , other than the fact , UFC Heavyweight champion Cain Velazquez was dethroned as the division’s champion by his Brazilian opponent Fabricio Werdum . For UFC President Dana White , he has seen two prominent champions he believed would become the face of his sport, come up short when it mattered most. Mixed Martial Arts now seems to be at a crossroads , simply bearing out a fact, as a sport there are too few major draws with the staying power now to remain dominant within the genre. Now , other than female protagonist Ronda Rousey , the UFC is chasing after its own tail , seeking to remain vibrant and posing a greater threat to the sport of boxing , which over the past decade and a half , has been a sport , waning in popularity , while having no major draw other than Floyd Mayweather , as its most recognizable fighter.

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In the coming months, it will be interesting to see what either sport has to offer their respective fans by way entertaining and competitive bouts likely to bring out a slew of fans to attend their scheduled fights.

Elsewhere , the NBA Finals , now seems to becoming more of a struggle for LeBron James and what looks to be his sole attempt to bring back a professional team title to the state of Ohio. James has put on a one man show , as the Cleveland Cavaliers seek to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the Finals. Golden State for their part took apart the Cavaliers to win a pivotal game five , taking a 3-2 lead in the best of seven-game NBA Finals’ series.

Steph Curry put on another solid display, as he led the Warriors to within one game of winning their first title in four decades. When this series resumes on Tuesday evening , fans will either witness the Cavaliers evening the series , which I now believe to be doubtful or the crowning of the Golden State Warriors as the NBA champions for this season. It would be a fitting season for the team , through their consistency have shown themselves to be the best in the NBA over the span of eighty-two games.

For LeBron James , if he and the Cavaliers fail in their endeavors , then there will be a great deal of criticism not just of James , but also of the entire organization and how the Cavaliers were assembled as a team to complement the skill-set of the NBA star. From my own perspective , James’ move back to Cleveland simply was one out of sheer frustration , after the debacle of last season in the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs , the complacency shown by the Miami Heat and the front office led by team President Pat Riley. It was the front office executive’s unwillingness to bolster this roster ,which ultimately led to the Heat’s downfall in the series against the San Antonio Spurs , who proved to the far better team over the course of the series.

The expectations are high for the US Women’s National Team as the FIFA World Cup gets underway. With the ongoing farce now facing soccer’s international governing body and the idiocy of calls by the fans without a clue concerning the sport that the body should be folded . It begs the question if they feel FIFA has to be torn apart , then why not the same fate being met with the NCAA , MLB , NBA and NFL ? All four entities over the years , whose transparency by way of their business conduct leaves a great deal to be desired . It would appear that there is an abundance of stupidity to be found with the North American sports’ fan without there being much evidence to be shown in terms of their intelligence.

Team USA is considered to be among the favorites for this tournament behind the defending champions Japan, Germany , Sweden and Brazil and tournament hosts Canada are seen as the tournament favorites. US team manager Jill Ellis has a tough task ahead of her as she seeks to get the team into the next round beyond the group stages of this World Cup. A disappointing scoreless draw against Sweden still has Team USA leading Group D . The team’s final match in the group stages , pits them against Nigeria in a must win contest , that will go a long way in deciding where and who the US will play in the knockout stages of the competition. For players such as Abby Wambach , Alexis Morgan and Hope Solo , theirs becomes a situation where they have to prove the team worthy contenders in the tournament.

Hope Solo in recent weeks, has become the center of warranted attention and the fact, USA Soccer has deemed it appropriate to have the goalkeeper remain part of the US team roster in spite of the fact the player is at the center of a legal situation , wherein she has been accused , though yet to be charged with the aggravated assault of her younger siblings.

Solo , has refused to answer any questions concerning the issue , choosing instead to have her attorney address the matter , with her legal representative citing the investigation, is still pending . Bear in mind , the sports’ landscape within North America in recent months has seen a full spate of legal issues with athletes battering their spouses , partners and even their children. One has to pose the question , why it is , USA Soccer has chosen not to reprimand Hope Solo for her behavior , even though it has not been the first time , where the player has actually ran afoul of the law ? It would appear there remains a great deal of hypocrisy not just among the fans , but also within the hierarchy of the NFL and USA Soccer under the auspices of USA Soccer President Sunil Gulati .

It doesn’t seem all that long ago the Boston Red Sox were triumphant in winning the franchise’s third World Series within the space of five years, with the ball-club basking in the limelight of being crowned champions and atop of the baseball world. With John Farrell leading the team in that series’ victory over the St Louis Cardinals .

To comprehend Red Sox’s fall from grace since 2013 , has been as bewildering for their fans as their team’s record would suggest , from then until now . As losers of six straight and seven of their last ten games , it is easy to understand why the Boston Red Sox have been such a tremendous disappointment while having one of the largest payrolls in all of baseball. For the moment , it would appear the jobs of the managerial staff and GM Ben Cherington remains safe , but I cannot help but wonder how much longer will the managing partners remain tolerant and specifically will John W Henry remain patient , before coming to the conclusion the manager and quite possibly the general manager will have to go ! If neither John Farrell or Cherington can turn things around quickly , then there should be no other option but to fire the manager and the franchise’s general manager. The players acquired over the course of the off-season and leading into this year , have proven to be a monumental failure , without taking into account the veterans who have been part of the franchise since 2013.

A 13-5 shellacking suffered at the hands of AL East divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays in a home loss at Fenway Park in Boston , had the home fans booing the home team , after another embarrassing defeat. On Monday , Boston will play host to the Atlanta Braves as they seek to make inroads into the divisional lead of the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays , who head the AL East respectively. Rick Porcello will be on the mound for the Red Sox when he faces off against Williams Perez of the Braves in this intra-league contest.

The issues of the Red Sox are three-fold , as this team is simply poor in just about every facet of the game , from their pitching to their offense and defense . Red Sox players , Dustin Pedroia , David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez have seen their best days , now in their rear view , and it is hard to envisage where the ball club now goes from here as , the perceived expectations and promise from their younger players on the current roster have yet to be fulfilled . Xander Bogaerts , considered to be a future All Star exudes a lot of confidence, but he remains a project still learning the various facets of the game .

As the world turns , so does the never ending soap opera and the idiotic chapters of the NFL as a league , filled with ineptitude at just about every level of the game. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell exudes about as much confidence with his leadership abilities as might be found among the leaders of the Afghan and Iraqi military leadership, for what that might be worth. In this midst of it all, he shows about as much acumen, when it comes impartiality as might be found within the Justice System of a third world country devoid of democracy. Goodell now believes, he will be acting in the best interests of the NFL , should there be an arbitration hearing in the appeal’s case of New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady and the likelihood of his appealing his four-game suspension.

Far be it for me to suggest, Brady is without any guilt whatsoever and his role in the odious Deflate-Gate scandal . With the rising odor of excrement , which continually befalls the NFL , there is clear indication under the commissioner’s leadership , not a damn thing has been achieved , whereby the players are not willing to cheat, knowing full well whatever punishment is meted out. It is likely to be watered down during the appeals’ process. Justice as evidenced with the NFL, is not seen nor is it ever truly representative of anything bordering on anything meaningful or substantial by any stretch of the imagination. Bear in mind , even with the absurdity of the fans out there, who believe in spite of the NFL’s popularity, they believe apathy and the money being made by the league will be enough to assure us all of its relevance on the sporting landscape.

At present. I still trying to figure out this imbued mentality and at times audacious rationale and stupidity of so many general managers within the NFL. That asides, you then have simple selfishness of many of the players with their ludicrous contracts and guaranteed money by way of those deals. Nowhere has this been more self evident than with the idiocy of the Dallas Cowboys and the loss of their record breaking running back DeMarco Murray to free agency. Jerry Jones , owner and de-factoZ general manager explains away the decision as the price of doing business. Unfortunately, that business was pretty much laid to rest with the ongoing postseason and abysmal play of veteran quarterback Tony Romo , his never ending excuses for his lackluster displays come playoff time. Bear in mind.

Romo was given in excess of $50 million by way of his now valueless deal. For those who still believe the quarterback has what it takes to lead the team to a Superbowl. Might I suggest, you simply look at Tony Romo’s postseason record and how abysmal it remains , never mind the fact , his lack of leadership ability. Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson have both amassed better playoff records than the Cowboys’ quarterback during his ten year plus career in the NFL . Food for thought don’t you think considering their tenures in the league ? At no point during the apparent negotiations between DeMarco Murray’s agent and the Cowboys’ front office was there deemed to be a willingness by Tony Romo to renegotiate his contract in order to provide some cap relief whereby the Dallas might well have sought to sign Murray to a one-year deal . Instead the running back was allowed to leave joining divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles . Get the feeling , revenge will be a meal best served cold , when these two teams meet during their regular season divisional sorties, specifically from Murray’s point of view?

Playing in what has become an overrated division, the NFL East has become a modicum of sheer idiocy where the Cowboys’ season led to their aberration during the postseason . Add in the fact that there appears to be a number @ss kissing morons, choosing to drink out of the pot Chip Kelly has chosen to urinate and defecate in and it is easy to understand why both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles have failed so miserably over the past two seasons with their respective postseason forays.

With the preseason being nothing more than a league inducement for fans to part with their money needlessly, witnessing some mediocre play. I personally do not believe those in attendance should really expect anything special at from the teams during this preseason. This season the one thing we know will be made abundantly clear will be the fact the NFL will have raised , their cap level significantly above last season’s figure .

There are one hundred and twenty seven million reasons why former Chicago Bears’ front office executive Phil Emery should be considered an a$s . They can be summed up in two words , Jay Cutler . This being the sum Emery thought fit would be appropriate to secure the services of the quarterback, who in his years with the franchise has simply become an absolute eyesore as a player, never mind the lack leadership skills necessary take the team to the winning of a Superbowl. Cutler remains his generation’s answer to Jeff George in more ways than one could ever have imagined . Now anyone seeking to take the player off the Bears’ hands had better be justified in making such a decision while somehow being able to make use of his mediocre talents.

John Fox has been entrusted to turn the Bears around, as well as seeking some semblance of consistency from Jay Cutler . Easier said than done, given the player’s lack of resolve and being able to raise the level of his play and have it remain there over a prolonged period of time. At $16.5 million for this season, Cutler will not be the highest paid player or quarterback in the league , but be might just be the most overrated and undeserving of those players making in excess of $15 million for this upcoming season.

Continued signs of failure but yet Bears’ quarterback was signed to a seven-year $126 million deal which will not expire until 2021. Any chance of the franchise now seeking to trade the player or simply seek to cut him would prove to be a monumental disaster with the size of the contract and the money still owed to the player under the terms of his deal , being a major hindrance . AP Photo / Garry Wadlow

It will be interesting to see how John Fox fares in his first season with the Chicago Bears, as they seek to make inroads within the NFC North over the course of the preseason and the regular season if the Bears are to fare well at all during their 2015 sojourn. As good as some might deem Chicago to be , I certainly do not believe they are good enough to be the best team in the division or usurping the dominance of the Green Bay Packers and their franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers .

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First, do no harm …

First do no harm

Apply the Hippocratic Oath to the sports of baseball and football is simply idiotic in this day and age, when the hierarchies of both sports remains rudderless and completely lacking in leadership.

Rob Manfred in assuming the position as the successor to Bud Selig has been adrift at sea, wading towards and for firm ground. Already we have seen the suspensions high-profiled players for their ongoing abuse of the game’s steroid policy. In the NFL . Roger Goodell remains the oaf , we already knew him to be without the fact with the upcoming NFL Draft , there are several players having declared their eligibility, will be among the crop of college athletes to be chosen from the process , set to begin on Thursday , 30th April, 2015. Perhaps the most visible among the players to be taken will be Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston , for whom excuses are still being made his legal representatives as well as fans and NFL analysts concerning the player’s well-chronicled issues. If Winston doesn’t possess the maturity level, but almost everyone seems to be impressed with his playing ability , it doesn’t equate with success or his being able to lead, whereby his teammates will follow his lead. Perhaps this all might be above the IQ of those Winston supporters ? Yet there you have it, all wrapped up in a box, waiting to be opened by an unsuspecting team. Pointers and clues have already been placed within our midst concerning players said to have a great deal of ability, only for them to have been a tremendous disappointment .

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Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is hoping to be the number one player taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. Winston leads a the current crop of quarterbacks seeking to make a name for themselves in the NFL . AP Photo/ Richard Hall

Does anyone remember the NFL careers of either Ryan Leaf or JaMarcus Russell ? There are literally many more , but time is of the essence and this article and its writer has no wish to make this a lengthy ode to incompetence at the highest levels of the NFL.

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The first month of the baseball has season is almost in our rear view mirror and the New York Mets appear to be the early surprise to the start of regular season schedule. New York has a comfortable lead over their nearest rivals within the NL East, but are far from being the best team in baseball , in spite of their impressive record. For the moment Terry Collins doesn’t have to bother with looking over his shoulder to see if the daggers are out signaling his imminent departure as the manager of the New York Mets.

Across town, in the city of New York, the New York Yankees find themselves at the top of a very weak AL East division which has been personified by some mediocre pitching and hitting at this early stage of the season. Yankees’ sluggers Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez are having very good starts to their respective seasons . With the money committed to both players this season. It easy to understand why there remains a fascination concerning their fates over the course of this baseball year. For Teixeira the concern will remain his health and for Rodriguez, it will be about his trying to stay clear of any type of controversy and suspicion of using a banned substance. Having recently hit his six hundred and sixtieth career home run , a mark which meant his supplanting Willie Mays among the all-time careerhome-run leaders. The question remains, how will history judge Alex Rodriguez’s career?

A recent home series’ slide to the New York Mets further emphasizes how weak the AL East has become, but also how ‘overrated’ all of the occupants within the division just happen to be. For managers , Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter , Kevin Cash , John Gibbons and John Farrell this will a season where their managerial acumen will be severely tested. Cash will be under a great deal of pressure to prove himself in his rookie season as a manager for the Tampa Bays, who during the off-season lost the franchise’s most valuable assets with the departures of Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman .

Mayhem and idiotic rhetoric has followed with the statements from GM Matt Silverman and team President Brian Auld. As to what this is meant to achieve , can be best summed up by the fact the Rays’ fans and the local media analysts of the ball-club, continue to point to the plight of the organization and the very fact they are still bemoaning the fact there has been no financing for a new ballpark for the franchise. Team owner Stuart Sternberg remains bereft of intelligence as well as any type of financial acumen. Yet you would be hard pressed to convince the naive and apathetic idiots within the area , who fall in line with the ongoing idiocy as to the ambitions of the Rays.

At 11-10, the Tampa Bay Rays sits third within the AL East and there has been little to suggest this team will have the ability necessary to make a consistent run, seeking to win the division or gain a wildcard berth enabling their appearance in the postseason.

A 4-2 loss suffered at the hands of the New York Yankees at Yankees Stadium by the Tampa Bay Rays, further emphasized the struggles the visiting team is likely to have over the remainder of the season . Next up for the Rays will be a game to be played on Wednesday when they visit the Yankees again to end their current series. Taking the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays will be Drew Smyly facing off against Michael Pineda of the Yankees.

If the self-inflicted problems of Alex Rodriguez have not received enough coverage, then the fact of his surpassing Willie Mays’ home run career tally , must now be something of a newsworthy issue. As the slugger seeks his own personal redemption, with each passing career feat, the player and his supporters will try to suggest he can now be seen in a positively new light. From my own standpoint , Rodriguez has disgraced the game and any act of contrition on his part, is far too late, well after the damage has been done. As for this continued idiocy of those calling for the ban to be lifted on Pete Rose , merely because of his apology and that his banishment has been far too severe a punishment. My question remains , if Rose is said to have merely been banned, solely on the basis of his gambling on games as a manager of the Cincinnati Reds, how do we know that as a player , his actions were not just as complicit ? The former Reds’ manager has never been forthright on this matter , merely admitting his guilt on the accusations of his being involved in gambling on games while a manager. Baseball , its hierarchy and owners have been complicit in many of the issues to have plagued the game over the past two-and-half decades, and even with the change at its uppermost levels, there seems to be no inclination that anything is likely to change under the stewardship of Rob Manfred.

Arte Moreno dropped the hammer and in one fail swoop he has been able to rid himself of the trouble plagued Josh Hamilton . Moreno has seen fit to rid the Los Angeles Angels of the former AL MVP Award winner after four unproductive years with the Angels . In his return to the Texas Rangers, the Los Angeles Angels will still remain on the hook for the remaining years left on Hamilton’s contract and the $68 million owed to the player.

Josh Hamilton for his part, other than his admitting the fact he fell foul of his rehabilitation program , though having an arbitrator then side with the player in seeking to have his suspension overturned by MLB , because the arbitrator did not feel the player had contravene any part of his program. This is how asinine the game of baseball has become, where an outside adjudicator shows about as much intelligence as can be found in the carcass of a dead rancid possum. Whether or not Josh Hamilton can regain the form that made him one of the most feared and productive players in the game remains to be seen. The departure of Josh Hamilton could not have come fast enough and without as much heightened publicity. Sadly, there seems to be too few owners willing to take a real stance when it comes to the misconduct of the players within the game.

The rapid ascent of Jon Jones to the top of the UFC ” food chain ” was nothing short of spectacular . Unfortunately , for all of the visibility , fame and fortune , lying beneath the facade, was that of an egotistical MMA fighter who simply believed himself above the law and beyond the reach who oversee his sport and that of law enforcement .

Jon Jones fell foul of UFC President Dana White when the results from Jones’ pre and post-fight drug test from his Light Heavyweight title defense showed a positive test for cocaine use . White , himself a hypocrite, allowed Jon Jones’ Light Heavyweight title defense against Daniel Cormier to go ahead . Now comes news, that Jones having fled the scene of a hit-and-run vehicular accident , has been stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely by the UFC hierarchy. If that was not enough , Dana White is acting perplexed by this all, not willing to acknowledge the fact Jones’ drug rehab stint was nothing more than window dressing, with the fighter signing himself out of the venue after less seventy-two hours’ stay at an unnamed facility. All of this frigging hypocrisy and incompetence by White, and you can now well understand why there seems to be a growing call for his removal as the UFC President.

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UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones was recently stripped of the title after it was announced the fighter fled the scene of traffic accident in which he was involved as a driver. Neither Jones or any of his representatives have issued a public statement on the matter with Jones merely stating on twitter.com that he is going through a difficult time at present. AP Photo / Chris Hardy

With the Light Heavyweight title now vacant, Dana White has ordered a title clash to take place between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson, with the winner being deemed the successor Jon Jones as the newly crowned champion. An imminent return of Jones is a long way off and there is a likelihood with his latest legal issue there is a great deal at stake for the renowned fighter to lose.

This weekend when Floyd Mayweather meets Manny Pacquiao for their long-awaited welterweight title bout at MGM Grand Hotel Resort & Casino Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada, . The boxing match will likely be the most watched PPV bout in boxing history. With the closest ringside seats and tickets averaging $25,000 and a likelihood of a sell-out crowd , this fight will be the most lucrative in the sport’s history. Away from this all , one of the sordid aspects of this contest has been the fact Mayweather and his handlers try to portray him as a reformed character but it cannot and has hidden the fact the Las Vegas’ based fighter has a less than desirable past and trait outside the ring. The WBA (World Boxing Association) long viewed as the one boxing hierarchy which holds some sway within the United States, has been a poor conduit and regulator of the sport when dealing with the misconduct of fighters licensed under their authority.

The fight is now expected to gross in excess $550 million in gross revenues with each fighter having a major pay-day for their efforts . Mayweather, as a co-promoter of the bout will garner the lion’s share of the purse, where he is expected to earn by all estimates, in excess of $220 million, by far his biggest earning fight of his unbeaten career . Floyd Mayweather has tried to suggest the issues of his past are being used against him because of his popularity. There is nothing popular about being a convicted criminal where the charges of domestic violence , child and spousal abuse have been proven ____ and where you have also been sentenced also for threats of violence to witness in one of the cases, for which you charged and found guilty. Having been given something of a lenient sentence by the judge , Mayweather resumed his career unperturbed , earning tens of millions of dollars along the way . With both fighters closing in on the latter part of their respective careers , a win for either boxer seals their legacy and places them among the all-time greats to have graced the sport of boxing.

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Manny Pacquiao (left) will be meeting Floyd Mayweather in their WBA welterweight title fight on Saturday, 2nd May , 2015 at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas , Nevada ., The promoters already have a live sellout crowd for the event but will be hoping for in excess of 2.55 million PPV buys for the event. Getty Images

Floyd Mayweather’s pursuit of reaching the mark of 50-0 is well within his reach , but Manny Pacquiao will be seeking to add to his legacy as well and the defeat of the his opponent would certainly add to the Filipino fighter’s status. Saturday night will provide us with the chance to see what the outcome will be . Protests or not by a women’s rights advocates and groups, will have no bearing at all on Floyd Mayweather , nor will it change the environment of a social issue that sports’ world in general sees as a subject matter that is has no real wish to address. The buffoonery of Roger Goodell has been a clear indication of that league’s understanding of domestic violence and the horrors it brings into the lives of its victims and their immediate family members.

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If the world of professional sports seeks to address social issues. Is is not best to have a leadership, which fully comprehends the issues and images being portrayed through acts of domestic violence , racial bigotry and sexism ? Or should it simply be left to the justice system to deal with and their penchant for subjugating victim far more than the original act perpetrated against them ? In the cases of both Alex Rodriguez and Pete Rose , does the game of baseball really owe either of these individuals anything at all , solely based on their actions in seeking to redeem themselves ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit .

o_O

Tophatal

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A year to savor …

A year to savor

In the blink of an eye the remnants of the last few monents of 2014 disappeared before our very eyes and from a sporting standpoint it was mainly a big disappointment from my own point of view. Nothing said or suggested mediocrity more than a regular NFL season so embarrassing , with the incompetence of a litany of teams. Major disappointments came thick and fast , along with the customary off-season firings and walkouts by either front office executives of head coaches. Jim Harbaugh now rides off into the sunset , assured that he will be welcomed with open arms by the Michigan faithful as he seeks to resurrect their fortunes and status among College Football’s fraternity. San Francisco 49ers’ front office executives may well have parted ways with their former head coach by mutual agreement , but if the rumors are to be believed , Harbaugh’s relationship with GM Trent Baalke , CEO , Chairman & team owner , Jed Yorke had deteriorated to such an extent , communications between the executives and Jim Harbaugh were simply cordial , professional , and nothing more than that. Off the field issues may well have also played a part in Harbaugh’s downfall beyond the complacency shown by the team throughout the course of the season, with the players simply lacking leadership and Colin Kaepernick seemingly more concerned with his growing public image and own self-importance , rather than his performing at a very high level in comparison to last season.

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The San Francisco 49ers failed to make the postseason and barely challenged within the NFC West , where they finished a disappointing third within their division, behind the Seattle Seahawks as the newly crowned divisional champions and perhaps the NFC’s surprise team of the season the Arizona Cardinals who finished in second place. Where San Francisco now goes from here will be solely dependent upon the choice made by Trent Baalke as he goes in search of a successor to fill the vacant head coaching position with the NFL franchise. There will be a litany of candidates qualified and not so qualified looking to be interviewed for the position. It’s safe to say, the question now becomes about who wants to be out on the West Coast coaching a team with a great deal of talent, but now lacking direction and a real sense of purpose ?

Having won their sixth AFC East title in succession the New England Patriots will now be looking to cement their status as the best NFL franchise over the past decade and a-half. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady remain the main building blocks of this franchise , but the Patriots’ long-term future will soon be about the younger players on the roster and the organization seeking a successor to Belichick , at the time of his choosing to ride off into retirement. As the number one seed in the AFC , New England has a bye in the first round of the postseason . Their closest rivals within the conference the Denver Broncos squandered their chance of positioning themselves to take that mantel by falling apart in the last few weeks of the regular season . Hopes of a Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning match-up is still very much on the cards, if both of these teams play to their true potential during the postseason. That very premise could take place in the AFC championship game.

The wildcard round of this postseason has some very intriguing games on the schedule, where the match-up between the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys takes center-stage among the NFC contests . In the AFC , the ongoing rivalry between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers takes off on another chapter of what has been often described as one of the most heated rivalries in the NFL and certainly one, which tends to provide a great deal of drama , if not explosive outcomes . John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin will also get the chance to match wits against each other as the opposing coaches on the sidelines .

The drama surrounding this postseason will not be lost on the fans or the broadcast outlets alike , as they seek to pour over the events as they unfold. One can only hope the fans are not disappointed by the games or the sense of foreboding as things unfold over the course of this weekend.

Money is aid to be the ” root of all evil “ and that definitely would be the case in the world of politics, where the politicians’ greed is not only furthered by their avarice , but also by their sheer contempt of the electorate and the very fact that they believe themselves to be above reproach . That same analogy I believe can be used in the world of baseball (MLB) , where during this off-season we have seen some major moves in the free agency marketas well as a number of teams striving to either deplete themselves of talent or take on the pretext of proving to their fans they are ready to compete .

For the past two seasons the Los Angeles Dodgers have been the biggest spending team in Major League Baseball , making an outlay in excess of a half-billion dollars ($500,000,000) during the time span in question. Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly and his managerial staff have proven to be adroit during the regular season, but in 2013 as well as last year the ball-club failed to meet the expectations of their fans and the front office , with abysmal performances during the playoffs . The decision by Dodgers’ team President Stan Kasten to hire Andrew Friedman to become the Head of Baseball Operations indicates the franchise has decided to change their philosophy somewhat, when it comes to acquiring talent and not overpaying , but taking into account, there are several players on the current roster earning in excess of $15 million a year , it is hard to see how anyone can take the Dodgers seriously as they seek to turn over a new leaf.

Don Mattingly and his team capitulated to the St Louis Cardinals in this past season’s NLDS , a series where it was inexplicable to surmise how bad the Los Angeles Dodgers were said to be on all counts . The Dodgers’ offense may well have been anemic , but their pitching by comparison was nowhere to be seen . As the Dodgers embark upon their off-season sojourn before they begin their preparations for Spring Training and then the 2015 regular season , there will be some new faces as part of the roster , after the departure of several familiar figures who were a staple of the club over the past few seasons. One of those departing faces was Matt Kemp , now a member of the San Diego Padres .

It would be fare to suggest the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants provided baseball fans with one of the more memorable World Series in recent years , with the perceived underdogs the Royals looking usurp the NL franchise . Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy and the team triumphed in a thrilling seven-game series downing the Kansas City Royals in a climactic final game . In a pitching performance for the ages Madison Bumgarner brought back memories of the postseason performances of pitching legends Sandy Koufax and Don Larsen . It seemed only fitting Bumgarner was named World Series MVP . GM Brian Sabean during the off-season replenished the team’s roster with several acquisitions likely to make the ball-club stronger at several key positions while also knowing there are a number of players within their farm system ready to make that leap up to the Majors .

The “stain” which remains part of baseball’s folklore, beyond the ” Black Sox ” scandal will forever be the “steroid era ” and the fact Bud Selig failed miserably in reining the abusers , who sought to cheat the fans and the game of baseball by smearing some of the most historic feats within the sport. With the departure of Roger Clemens and others associated with that sordid chapter , baseball still has the remnants of Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun still within our midst , albeit , both players have served league mandated suspensions for their egregious transgressions with somewhat asinine acts of contrition on both their parts. Rodriguez will make his long awaited return to the New York Yankees and to a ball-club in the midst of change with the retirement of Derek Jeter after a two-decade long career with the ball-club. In the throes of this upheaval GM Brian Cashman will be looking to several of the veterans on the current roster to assume the mantel of leadership , the role Jeter assumed for several years as well as being the team captain. If Cashman now believes Rodriguez can fit the role , then he is sadly mistaken, along with the belief the player can provide the productivity needed to challenge within the AL.

New beginnings and a resurgence of a franchise still seeking its first NBA title. This was meant to be the storyline for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season . The return of LeBron James brought back Cavaliers’ fans to the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio in droves. The four-time League MVP brings with him his productivity and an all-round game that has become the envy of the league and erstwhile fans alike. James’ departure from the recent two-time defending NBA champions the Miami Heat shook the foundations of the organization and simply took everyone off guard including his former former teammates. Miami’s failure in last seasons NBA Finals indicated a flawed team whose over-reliance on LeBron , was simply overwhelming the player during that Finals’ series. That heartbreaking loss may well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back and led to his decision to leave the Miami Heat.

As The Prodigal Son, whose return was welcomed with open arms by the organization led to the upsurge in ticket sales , increased merchandize revenue and the appreciation in the value of the Cavaliers. This has been the impact LeBron James on the NBA and the franchise. Beyond his salary , the player’s annual income along with corporate endorsements places him among the upper echelons of international athletes and the top-paid NBA star . Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin sought to bring in also ,a wealth of experience by way the team’s roster . Point guard Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are meant to be the complementary foils guiding the ambitions of the team this season. A rookie head coach , David Blatt and his coaching staff have struggled to gain any real semblance of consistency the Cavaliers this season .
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Cleveland’s record (18-14) places the team five games behind the the Central Division leading Chicago Bulls (23-10) . Now with the reported loss of LeBron James for two to three weeks due due to a lingering injury , this will likely put a severe dent in Cavaliers’ divisional title hopes as well as the possibility of a high conference seeding within the Eastern Conference. James in the Cavaliers’ lineup offers the team the best chance of winning , rather than his being seated on the bench . The Cavaliers without LeBron James in the lineup after the announcement of his injury , saw the team take on the Charlotte Hornets in a road game at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina . All hands were on deck for the Cavaliers as Kevin Love led the team in scoring as they defeated the Hornets 91-87 .

Next up for Love and his teammates will be a home game on the January 4th , when they clash with Dirk Nowitzki and Rajon Rondo of the Dallas Mavericks at the Quicken Loans Arena . This contest could one of the highlights of the games scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Dallas comes into the contest on a four-game winning streak , with Rondo’s acquisition having set the tone for the team , as they move forward . The trade of the former Boston Celtics’ point guard immediately provides an uplift for the Mavericks and gives the a facilitator who is among the best in the NBA and who will also provide them with a very good defensive presence. Mavericks’ Mark Cuban’s insistence and pursuance of this deal that acquired Rajon Rondo , has certainly made the team a lot better and an almost certainty of being among the top contenders for the number one seed within the Western Conference this season. It would take a rather foolish individual to bet against this team and its pursuit of a second title, to add to the crown won in 2011 .

I’ll fight the good fight in support of a sport , just as long as I feel it will be of benefit to the masses ! Yet for all of the showmanship and acknowledged popularity of Floyd ‘ Money’ Mayweather , I have gotten to the stage , where I find the sport of boxing to be a complete comedy of errors and tragic parody of a once proud sport , which captured the fans’ imagination and held it drawn with its excitement and intensity !. No longer can it be case or where anyone can try to justify it, as still being truly relevant. Other than the world welterweight champion, there is not really a major draw in spite of the fact his greatest rival just happens to be an aging Manny Pacquiao . These two fighters for one reason or another have never sought to face each other at the prime of their careers , instead , often choosing to face lesser opponents along the way , to pad their statistics and the pursuit of multi-million dollar payday .

Mayweather and Pacquiao have passed the pinnacle of their respective careers and the legitimacy they each now seek will not be determined by final contest between the two , because in essence it will prove nothing at all. A proposed mega-fight would likely gross well over $200 million in revenues worldwide with each fighter guaranteed a minimum of $50 million apiece , but in the end of what profit would be to a sport now dying on its knees when there are no other high-profiled boxers on the horizon with the charisma or talent to be seen as the face of the sport and its long-term future? Multiple international governing bodies preside over boxing and there is no real uniformity other than the mandatory twelve rounds of boxing for a world title fight at the international and national levels dependent upon the allegiances of the national boards of the sport worldwide.

The alphabetical melange of who’s who , and the pecking order of the IBF, IBO , WBA , WBC and WBU created this actual nonsense within the sport of boxing and even now , with the pursuit and support shown by current WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman for a unified world champion primarily within the heavyweight division . The appeal for such distinction is lost on the fans and the litany of claimants of the various versions of the crown in question . It has been almost two decades since boxing had a undisputed heavyweight champion , with the last claimant being Lennox Lewis and it should be noted there is not an undisputed champion in any of the weight categories in the sport of professional boxing . Yet , this is the sport Senator John McCain (R-Az) , by his rationale believes relevant , while denouncing its upstart rival the genre of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) as being barbaric , with their being no rules or etiquette ? McCain’s idea of barbarism should be considered a joke , while he ought to be looking at his own legacy within the Congress and its lack of productivity over the last six years .

The rise in prominence of the UFC and the sport of MMA over the past decade and half , ought to be seen as how to brand , manage and package sport , where its reach is now global and in many ways has surpassed the branding and marketability of both the NBA and NFL. NFL combined . Dana White , UFC President along with the Fertitta brothers own the UFC and its affiliated concerns , a company with an estimated value of over $2 billion ($2,000,000,00) , making the three primary partners in this enterprise , extremely wealthy individuals . Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta , were already self-made billionaires , having made their fortunes in the casino and hospitality and hotel management business . Now their primary goal is to expand the growth of the sport globally , which they have been extremely successful in doing , with a stable of fighters from around the world signed to their company , as well as having affiliated associations across the globe.

In 2015 , UFC will ring in its schedule (UFC 182) with its first major title bout of the year, when Light Heavyweight Champion , Jon ‘Bones’ Jones makes a defense against challenger Daniel Cormier . Jones , the division’s best fighter is making his record ninth defense of his title. On January 3rd , 2015 from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas , Nevada , UFC will unveil UFC 182 with an under-card of several terrific bouts, along with the marquee title title fight , with Jones’ Light Heayweight crown being on the line. Jon Jones , can be seen as the protagonist , with Cormier viewed as the antagonist , but there is the feeling the titleholder may well be looking to play ” the villain ” of the piece , because of the apparent ‘bad blood’ between he and the challenger , Daniel Cormier. Undoubtedly, Jones has become one the biggest names within the sport , with perhaps only Ronda Rousey , UFC’s most prominent female fighter, Cain Velasquez , Anthony Pettis and Jose Aldo among active fighters , considered to be extremely popular among the genre’s mass appeal of fans . The title fight itself , could be a contest, where Jones’ experience will out-match the simple bravado of his challenger Daniel Cormier . A thrilling five rounds of combative MMA should tell us a great deal about the champion and his opponent on Saturday night .

Tiger Woods remains the biggest draw in the world of golf, but he is no longer the best player in the game . I once read an asinine comment by someone, who determined because of his drawing power , it made him not only the best but also the only relevant person on the PGA Tour . Granted his having won his own version of the Tiger-Slam and having a career Grand Slam (the feat of winning golf’s four major tournaments [ US Open, PGA Championship , The British Open & US Masters]) gives him that aura of actual invincibility. Quite rightfully so, but over the past eighteen months , Woods’ game has been on the decline , he knows it and only an idiot would try and suggest otherwise , much like the buffoon and his comments concerning the former world number one ranked golfer. Tiger Woods’ legacy is unquestioned, but my question____ is beyond his off the course sexual peccadilloes , where he does he stand on social activism, his well-staged and manufactured philanthropic efforts ? Tiger Woods remains a damn hypocrite of the highest order, while trying to be a role model to young kids . Far too many of today’s professional athletes as well as those within the collegiate level, fit that very mold. Unfortunately, the media and fans alike, with a great deal apathy and naivete’ would prefer the salaciousness and candid sordid details , rather than witnessing great feats of athletic achievement . Never-mind the fact , when many of these athletes are continually caught in a lie, they will repeatedly seek to apportion blame elsewhere.

This upcoming season on the PGA Tour , it will be interesting to see whether or not Tiger Woods can wrestle away the number one ranking from Rory McIlroy , by far the greatest challenger to Woods’ once dominant presence on the PGA Tour . Phil Mickelson remains an afterthought , because more often than not , his challenges to Woods have ” petered out”, because of his missed opportunities. With over $265 million in official prize money being offered on the Tour(PGA Tour) , golf has now become one of the most lucrative way of earning a nice income from professional sports, without taking into account the enormous bye product of commercial endorsement from national and international corporate behemoths .

At the peak of his earning power, Tiger Woods earned well in excess of $100 million annually , now that figure is down to $65 million , still not bad for a player whose last Grand Slam Major victory came by way of the 2008 US Open in La Jolla, California ,. Yes, I can see why Woods is still considered a draw , with that victory , six years later , still toiling for his fifteenth Grand Slam victory , while Jack Nicklaus’ giant shadow and his own accomplishments in the Majors are simply glossed over by idiots and a buffoon with little knowledge of the sport or the African-Americans who created the legacy for Woods’ access to the game. Far be it for me to suggest this @sshole , has any damn idea what he is talking about to begin with .

Billy Horschel (three career wins) was feted , having won the FedEx Cup (2014) and with it a $10 million annuity as prize , but even with his consistency on the Tour in 2014 , the player was never a fixture or a major threat in any of the Grand Slam Majors , but yet I am being asked to be transfixed by character-less stereotypical androids who now make up the bulk of the players on the PGA Tour ? I think not !

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Picture gallery .

What sporting event of 2015 is likely to have you closely watching a performance or set of performances during this year ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery below.

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(1) Ryan Lindley (14) is here along the sidelines speaking with teammate Drew Stanton during a brief interval. A decision will be made by head coach Bruce Arians as to which of the quarterbacks is liable to be the starter for their wildcard round game to be played against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte , North Carolina , on Saturday, 3rd January , 2015 in the first of the two scheduled wildcard contests to be played on the day. Neither of the Panthers’ quarterbacks has any postseason experience playing in the NFL . The visiting Cardinals are deemed to be the slight favorites in the NFC contest. AP Photo / Keith Mitchell …

Ryan Lindley(14) of the Arizona Cardinals passes in the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ersat Levi’s Stadium on December 28 , 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images North America/ Ezra Shaw ..

(3) Former San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh is seen here on the dais having just been introduced as the new head coach for the Michigan Wolverines program by AD Dave Brandon.Harbaugh and San Francisco formally parted ways by mutual agreement , but it is rumored the head coach had outlived his welcome within the organization because of his brash behavior . The Forty Niners for their part, thanked the head coach for his contributions and the resurrection of the team’s fortunes during his tenure . AP Photo / Jenny Hart ..

(4) Tom Brady (12) and Rob Gronkowski(87) of the New England Patriots react after Gronkowski caught a touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 14, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. . Getty Images / Jim Rogash ..

(5) Los Angeles Dodgers’ team President Stan Kasten , left is seen here team manager Don Mattingly ,center and senior managing partner Mark Walter . The organization in the past two years have committed in excess of $500 million on payroll , only see the team squander their chances in the postseasons of 2013 and 2014. In both cases , the Dodgers fell in those hurdles to defeat the hands of the St Louis Cardinals . The decision was made to bring in Andrew Friedman to head up the Baseball Operations of the Dodgers with Ned Colletti given a lateral move within the front office, on becoming a special assistant and adviser to Kasten. Some changes have been made to the playing personnel , where fan favorite Matt Kemp was traded to the San Diego Padres. It is unlikely this will be last major move made by the Dodgers during the off-season . AP Photo / Ted Ross ..

(6) LeBron James(23) of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts to a call by the referees during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 30, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. James will be sidelined for a prolonged period believe to be between to two three weeks as he seeks to recuperate from an injury , leaving his teammates to pick up the slack as they contest several games in the upcoming weeks. LeBron James is not the only major NBA star to be felled by an injury , with Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks also out , adding to the Knicks’ turmoil this season and their moribund record . Getty Images /Kevin C Cox …

(7) Considered the best fighter of his generation and the linear champion within the welterweight division , Floyd Mayweather has never really shown the inclination to meet Manny Pacquiao in the ring in spite of his denials . At the same time, a proposed mega-fight between the two fighters has never taken place , because of disputes in how the purse would be split or the antagonism created by Pacquiao’s main promoter in the US Bob Arum and his continued disdain for Mayweather. In 2015 , the fight many have yearned for may well be scheduled but do not hold your breath waiting for the event to actually take place . Mayweather is likely have at least two fights placed on his schedule as he seeks to fulfill his $200 million fight-deal with cable broadcast outlet Showtime (CBS subsidiary) . AP Photo / Matt Engle ….

(8) Jon Jones ,left is seen here facing his challenger Daniel Cormier for the UFC Light Heavyweight title fight due to take place at the MGM Grand Casino & Hotel Resort Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada on the 3rd January, 2015. The main marquee event is the headliner for UFC 182. Range Finder Inc . @ all rights reserved copyrighted material …

(9) From left to right , background UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer , Jon Jones , UFC President Dana White , Daniel Cormier and comedian and fight analyst Joe Rogan . There have repeated physical altercations between Cormier and Jones with the insults hurled at an alarming speed between the two. Whether or not this is being done to publicize the bout remains to be seen but UFC is expecting a high PPV audience for the clash . …

(10) Jack Nicklaus, left , an eighteen-time Major winner also having won a carer Grand Slam of golf’s four major tournaments (The Masters British Open, US Open and PGA Championship ) is seen here alongside Tiger Woods . The two are considered to be greatest players of their respective generations and two of the greatest players in the history of the game. Woods seeks to emulate his idol by surpassing his historic tally of eighteen Majors wins . Yet his record pales in comparison to Nicklaus not solely because of fourteen wins of the four Grand Slam tournament but the mere fact Woods has not had as many top-five or top-ten finishes in each of the four tournaments in question , albeit, Tiger Woods has yet to compete in as many Slam tournaments over the course of his career. AP Photo / Eric Messner .. ….

(11) Rory McIlroy the world number one in the official World Golf rankings is already a three-time Major tournament winner, with only the The Masters yet to be added to his resume’ of Grand Slam victories . McIlroy joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to have won the first their first three Grand Slam tournaments before turning the age of twenty-five.. The Irish player is seeking to improve on his triumphant 2014 season, where he topped the PGA Tour and European Tour winners’ list in official prize money earnings . Getty Images Europe /. Henrik Thorstvaldt .. …

(12) Billy Horschel is seen here at the 2014 Valero Texas Open at the TPC in San Antonio , Texas . The tournament was won by Steven Bowditch. Horschel would go on to claim the FedEx Cup prize and with it a $10 million paycheck (annuity) . Billy Horschel has three PGA Tournament victories to his name and over $8.2 million in career prize money earnings. AP Photo / Eric Parsons ….

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It’s not the fight that is left in the dog , but whether or not, its bark and bite might send you running

It’s not the fight that is left in the dog , but whether or not, its bark and bite might send you running

It no longer pains me to say this , but the sport of boxing is now dead ! Granted, we are led to be believe that Floyd Mayweather still provides a great deal of excitement in a boxing ring. My question however , does a Mayweather fight truly induce the fans to appreciate what remains a sport that is really devoid of talent , once you take multi-talented champion out of the picture ?

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Aging veteran, Sergio Martinez recently lost his middleweight title against Miguel Cotto in a tenth round stoppage. Cotto’s record coming into this bout was not overly impressive but his manager and promoter are now seeking a bout against Floyd Mayweather , in what would prove to be the biggest purse of Miguel Cotto’s career. For Mayweather , he would once again be on his way to banking another $25-$35 million for a meaningless bout . Yet, this is now what the sport of boxing has come to , with their no longer being any meaningful fights taking place, where an undisputed champion is created.

To understand how far this sport has fallen, once can equate that with the Fall of the Roman Empire with the Emperor Nero playing an instrument while that city burned. Suffice to say, the same scenario is now set with the state of play within boxing. Richard Schaefer , former CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Inc , the boxing promotion company founded by Oscar De La Hoya . The former championship title holder and Schaeffer are said to have had a difference of opinion on the direction that the company was being directed . Golden Boy Promotions , Don King Promotions and Top Rank Inc , remain the three largest boxing promotions’ companies in North America, with the triumvirate battling to decide which of them holds sway and the power within the sport.

Oscar De La Hoya , Don King and Bob Arum are the three executives who run the respective companies that seem to have a stranglehold on the sport of boxing, where corruption , incompetence and a great deal of mismanagement reigns supreme . While all three promoters see themselves as champions of the sport in selling it to the masses, in reality, the biggest obstacle to the sport remains the fact, there are no undisputed champions in any of the weight divisions within boxing . One has to bear in mind also , with four main international governing bodies , boxing remains splintered among the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO . Given the issue , that neither of these bodies in question seems intent on perhaps merging or sharing similar standards , the only constant has been their title fights remain twelve round contests .

With Manny Pacquiao coming off his recent defeat of Timothy Bradley , the Filipino fighter is once again a world champion. However, in light of that fact, Pacquiao and his promoter, Bob Arum, remain unable to engineer the long-awaited bout with Floyd Mayweather . Both fighters are on the downside of their illustrious careers and the possibility of a mega-fight now taking place does seem remote. Unless the payout in the prize money is right and Mayweather’s favor. Then such a fight remains a major topic of debate and conjecture , with no one profiting from their continued stupidity. If the two combatants, cannot come to meet in a civil way, whereby they split a fair share in what would be the biggest boxing match in history. It seems redundant at this point, to consider a proposed bout would still ignite any type of intensity among a fan base of the sport of boxing. Quite possibly, there might be a record number of Pay-Per-View (PPV) buys for such an event, with Mayweather and Bob Arum’s Top Rank co-promoting the event.

There are a number of fighters positioning themselves to be viewed as likely challengers for Manny Pacquiao , Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather , but none of them I believe will elicit enough interest whereby fans would be willing to pay $49.95 for the privilege of witnessing such a bout. Mayweather still remains the biggest draw within the sport of boxing , but he has already hinted that upon fulfilling his six-fight deal with Showtime PPV , for which he will earn $200 million . The boxer is likely to retire, with his record remaining intact, without having suffered a loss.

Richard Schaefer’s decision to leave Golden Boy Promotions , leaves a void within the organization altogether , with his business acumen engineering the substantial growth of the company. Golden Boy Promotions beyond staging and promoting fights also manages fighters , has a publishing arm , as well as branching out into other lucrative area of the sport and into the area of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). These business decisions have made Oscar De La Hoya an extremely powerful and wealthy man, with a voice big enough to influence a number of major decisions within the sport. Yet, for all the decisions made , boxing has regressed to the point where it is now having to play catch-up to the more competitive and exhilarating genre of MMA , under the UFC banner. Schaefer is likely to start his own company or possibly join Al Haymon or Mayweather Promotions Inc, where Floyd Mayweather is the primary owner of that particular business entity.

The threat to Oscar De La Hoya now, is how to keep his company relevant while remaining among the top promotional groups within the sport. His retention of fighters may well prove difficult if they are close to the end of the contracts with the company. Also bear in mind, many of the fighters saw Schaeffer more as the real brains behind Golden Boy Promotions , with De La Hoya seen as a figurehead, because of his name recognition. Boxing is now self-imploding, because of the ongoing idiocy within the sport and the dog eat dog mendacity being shown between rival groups of promoters, the seediness of the international governing bodies and dare one say , the incompetence of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and their failure to have any proper oversight of their officials ? Las Vegas remains the Mecca for the sport of boxing, but as of late , it has been the state’s Athletic Commission, that has many of the sport’s fans up in arms concerning the integrity of that agency and its failure to conduct in-depth investigations into the character and integrity of the boxing judges and referees under its jurisdiction.

There is no denying, the explosion in the growth of MMA over the past decade has primarily come from the marketing and shrewdness shown by UFC President Dana White . His eye, for what was considered to be in some circles, a barbaric sport, has now become the fastest growing global phenomena of combative competition in the world and the popularity of MMA has exceeded boxing, with many of its top practitioners being more widely recognized than some of boxing’s biggest named fighters. White , his co-founding partners , Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta , now preside over a multi-billion dollar empire , with the mercurial President running the show. Unfortunately, in recent months, Dana White has begun to make a complete ass of himself , with either veiled criticism or threats of fighters who have made the sport so popular , bringing along legions of rabid and loyal fans. Yet, for all the pomposity shown by the executive, he also must now realize that his sport is under threat when he fails to act judiciously in reprimanding fighters who fail to adhere to the sport’s strict rules .

For the third time in his career, former middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen has failed a random drug test , with the fighter now announcing his immediate retirement. Yet, for Sonnen’s wrongdoing , White is now seeking to blame the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their draconian measures in suspending the fighter and asking that his license within the state be made permanently inactive. If Dana White wishes to uphold the integrity he believes MMA to have , then he should be pursuing the banishment of Sonnen from the UFC altogether , rather than seeking to support the fighter. It has been a pattern of behavior with Chael Sonnen, which should not be condoned as being in the best interests of the UFC or the genre of MMA. The issue may well be that with the lack of charisma of the current middleweight champion Chris Weidman and the very fact the UFC’s greatest fighter and the division’s former champion Anderson Silva is in the twilight of his career. UFC now finds itself in a position where its biggest and most popular asset is a champion in Jon ‘Bones’ Jones , a fighter who marches to the beat of his own drum and is someone who is not ready to have White dictate the terms of when and who he should fight. As immense as Dana White’s power is now said to be , he is being looked upon as an executive, who is seeking to become bigger than the sport he has built into global phenomena.

Should one man (White) be able to wield that much power? Well, dependent upon the authority and knowledge shown, I believe that some fans might not have a problem with that ! Yet , in today’s sports environment , we have executives such as Bud Selig, David Stern, Mark Emmert and Roger Goodell continually showing a great deal of incompetency , without fully understanding the ever-changing environment around them . One only has to look at Selig’s handling of the steroid issue within baseball, Stern’s apparent behavior and his failing to reprimand Donald Sterling for his behavior prior to this latest outrage in the NBA . NCAA President Mark Emmert’s ongoing lack of credibility on a slew of issues affecting collegiate sports and last, but not least, Goodell’s insistence, at the NFL all along, has acted in the best interests of football’s retired elderly veterans. With the ongoing apathy of some fans and their staunch support for idiots such as David Stern , I have no reason to believe that things are likely to get any better ! The same can be said for the lack of leadership now being shown within Congress and by a President , who now seems to be bungling his way through his second term in office, as his tenure begins to wind down.

The UFC seeks to bring the best contests possible and those events tend to have the best talent available, in marquee match-ups that headlines each of these shows. On Saturday, another of UFC’s usual fare will be on display , when they stage UFC174 , to be held at the Rogers Arena , in Vancouver, Canada, with another championship contest being staged. Headlining the card will be the marquee bout featuring Demetrious Johnson against Ali Baugautinov , as Johnson defends his UFC Flyweight Title . . This will be Johnson’s fifth defense of his title, as he seeks to cement his own legacy within MMA and specifically UFC and the champion is a firm favorite in this contest. On the under-card we have welterweight contenders Rory McDonald facing off against Tyrone Woodley, with the winner a likely future opponent for the newly crowned welterweight champion Johny Hendricks . For the welterweight champion, Hendricks would like nothing more than to prove that he is a worthy successor to Georges St Pierre , who relinquished the title rather than be forced to defend it . A great deal of criticism was leveled directly against the former champion by Dana White , who suggested that St Pierre should be willing to defend the title against all contenders. Granted, while that may well true, it might well have escaped White’s notice Georges St Pierre was one of the most active champions in UFC history , having made eleven successful defenses of the welterweight title, within a seven-year span. Yet, White with all of his bombastic attitude , sought to somehow ridicule the Canadian and many of his accomplishments within UFC. Makes one wonder, does the UFC President believe that he is above any criticism, while also being critical of Anderson Silva ? It might now be time, for Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta to consider having a new President replace their incumbent partner.

As boxing seeks to steer its way through another crisis of its own making , I firmly believe that the sport cannot regain its lofty status of being one of the country’s most beloved pastimes . A famine has ravaged boxing of real talent beyond that of an aging Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather , who are now in the twilight of their careers. Miguel Cotto may well have added to his legacy by winning another world title , but he is no longer the once dominant of five years ago . Within the heavyweight division of the sport, the most dominant champion, just happens to be a Ukrainian still seeking name recognition in North America. Wladimir Klitschko might well be the heavyweight champion , holding the titles that count, but he still remains something of a paradox in what is expected of a truly great champion .

Coming off a lopsided unanimous decision over Alex Leapai , Wladimir Klitschko’s next opponent has yet to be decided. With no real credible challengers within the heavyweight division, you simply have to wonder why anyone would bother to take an interest in any boxing match, taking place within this specific weight category. Long gone, are the days of a truly dominant champion, where everyone took note his title bouts. It has been a decade or more since the division had an undisputed champion , with that accomplishment being achieved by Lennox Lewis of Great Britain . Lewis’ title defenses were not necessarily memorable, but there were nonetheless the only thing that validated the division, without going overboard.

While boxing remains something of staple across the country , Mixed Martial Arts has yet to make a major inroad within the state of New York. The sport is banned by the New York State Legislature and the <a href=http:// New York State Athletic Commission despite receiving countless petitions by the fans and from Dana White and his partners from the UFC , the ban remains in place . Repeated votes within b both legislative chambers of the New York State Legislature, have seen the members simply reiterate their wish, to not grant a statute for the sport to become legal within New York State. The economic impact for the state would be immense ($135 million annually) but yet, there seems to opposition to a sport that is more regulated than the sport of boxing and where the issues of injuries and specifically neurological in nature, are taken far more seriously than the incompetency that has been witnessed with the an-nihilistic nature of pugilism (boxing) .

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Picture gallery .

m Do you believe, the sport of boxing is under threat from the genre of Mixed Martial Arts? In addition, what are your thoughts to the possible reasons why Richard Schaefer would leave Golden Boy Promotions under such a cloud? Finally, have the members of the New York State Assembly made a monumental mistake, in not legalizing the sport of MMA within the state? Simply leave a comment on this and anything else you believe relevant to this topic and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) For the second time in three years , Floyd Mayweather has been named the world’s highest paid athlete , having earned $105 million in the last calendar year. The boxer hopes to have a scheduled fight in September 2014 , with the venue being the MGM Grand Casino & Resort Complex , in Las Vegas, Nevada. AP Photo / Richard Trent ….

(2) Miguel Cotto , right , is seen here dispatching middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in their WBC title fight staged at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York this past Saturday . Also in picture , is referee Michael Griffin . Cotto won the fight with a tenth round knockout of the former champion . AP Photo/ Arturo Gomez ….

(3) LAS VEGAS, NV – MAY 01: CEO of Golden Boy Promotions’ Richard Schaefer (L) introduces President of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya at the final news conference for the bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Robert Guerrero at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino on May 1, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather will defend his WBC welterweight title against Guerrero. An acrimonious split between Schaefer, a co-founder of Golden Boy Promotion Inc and De La Hoya , has now left that company facing a great deal of uncertainty . Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images ….

(4) UFC Light-heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones (left) is seen here with UFC President Dana White . The UFC executive has been extremely critical of late, of two of the sport’s biggest stars , Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva . St-Pierre has called for more stringent testing protocols within the sport, having at times come under a cloud of suspicion as to his presumed use of a banned substance . The fighter has never tested positive at any time during his professional career within the UFC . However, it now seems ironic, White would leap to the defense of Chael Sonnen , who has now tested positive for the third time in his career , within the sport . A second positive test brings about a mandatory suspension by the UFC , and a third such violation , calls for the immediate banning of that fighter, for life . AP Photo / Rich Arnold ….

(5) Chael Sonnen, a former UFC middleweight and light-heavyweight contender announced his retirement from the sport , having tested positive for the third time during his career. Sonnen has yet to give an explanation for the reasons behind testing positive for a banned substance . This was the third transgression by the fighter , that calls for a mandatory lifetime ban from the sport. Courtesy of MMA World …..

(6) Wladimir Klitschko , left , the linear heavyweight champion is seen here defeating Alex Leapai of Samoa during their WBA , WBO and IBF world title fight . Getty Images North America/ Julio Hernandez ……

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A year in review , I think not !

A year in review, I think not!

This tends to be the time of year, where we tend to reflect upon the events of the outgoing three-hundred and sixty-five days. In sports, like any other , there too, fans and analysts alike will tend to dissect and reflect upon what is said to be their favorite moments of the 2013. From a personal standpoint, I believe that there were a number of highlights , but none that would simply have me jumping out of my seat and suggest that they were simply fantastic feats of excellence . As a once proud and avid boxing fan, well let’s just say it was another year of simple fatigue and neurosis for a sport now dying on its feet .

Floyd Mayweather still rules the roost as the best boxer on the planet , while his best adversary Manny Pacquiao made a comeback of sorts in claiming a title that does nothing for the legitimacy of a fighter who remains on a downward slide . Far be it for me to suggest that Pacquiao and his handlers are avoiding Floyd Mayweather , but a proposed mega-fight between these two long-time adversaries , no longer elicits the excitement that it would have perhaps two or three years ago . Pacquiao’s manager Bob Arum still believes that a fight can be made , but had he not spent a great deal of his time haranguing Mayweather and the boxer’s main representative Leonard Ellerbe , then perhaps a fight of this magnitude would have definitely happened a long time ago.

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If dinosaurs were still alive today, then I believe that they would be truly represented by the Neanderthals , who now are part of the heavyweight scene of boxing ! The Klitschko brothers for the past eight years have fought no one of anyone of any real consequence while padding their statistics with their numerous title defenses of the heavyweight title . To suggest that Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko , are now the two best boxers within the division, is truly an affront to the sport and it denigrates the achievements of champions past , when boxing historians are now trying to suggest that the Ukrainian siblings are the most dominant fighters to have come along in the sport of boxing over the past decade. Somehow, these individuals, are either viewing the division through rose-colored glasses or indeed the stature of heavyweights within boxing, is extremely dire . It may well be both, but I can assure of this, if Mike Tyson were to make comeback and get himself into shape , that was part of his preeminent reign , early in his career. He would have, clearly carved up this division and provided us with an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Instead, it has been the Klitschko’s refusal to meet each other in the ring, that clearly sets not only the sport back , but also from the division from now being taken seriously .

As to the other notable events within boxing that are said to have taken place , if you simply have no recognition of many of the fighters now afforded championship status , why would anyone seek to take an interest ?

The Miami Heat strolled their way to a second consecutive NBA title , albeit , that in the 2013 NBA Finals , they were pushed to the limits by the San Antonio Spurs . Miami Heat player LeBron James proved beyond a reasonable doubt , why he is now arguably the best player in the NBA , leaving little else to the imagination with his spectacular play during those Finals. The four-time League MVP and reigning two-time reigning Finals’ MVP has definitely cemented his legacy , as he now seeks to add a third consecutive title for the franchise , and the Heat’s fourth overall .

Now while the Miami Heat may well seem to be laboring this season , do not be fooled into thinking that although with a revamped roster . The appetite of the players has lessened, as they seek to place themselves amongst a very select fraternity. Erik Spoelstra , his coaching staff and the front office , led by team President Pat Riley have a singular purpose in mind this season , and that is to make a successful defense of their title.

The Eastern Conference of the NBA this season has become an eyesore , for the most ardent of fans as the teams there , just seem to be going through the motions, without showing actual competitiveness or signs of real life . At present, only three of the top eight franchises , actually possess a winning record within the conference , and in all likelihood , we are likely to quite possibly see five of the eight occupants for the upcoming NBA Playoffs with conference records that will be, sub 500 . If that is not a sad indictment of the NBA brand at present , then the league hierarchy led by NBA Commissioner David Stern , has to offer the fans a succinct explanation for the league’s travails this season . Fans may well be willing to part with their hard-earned disposable income, but at what cost to their own allegiance to their teams, when the play has been so abhorrent.

Injuries, will continue to plague any team sport and rob it at times , of their marquee stars. Nowhere has this become more relevant or prevalent, than with the misfortunes of Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose , who for the second time inside of eighteen months, has been lost to the league for an indeterminate period , through no fault of his own , as he once again succumbs to a career threatening injury. Chicago for its part , has continued on without the star , while posting some impressive wins , with coach Tom Thibodeau , now asking more of his players than ever before. As to whether or not the team can keep up their momentum over the course of the season remains to be seen .

Continuing to labor, under the belief, that they remain credible challengers to the Miami Heat and the high-flying Indiana Pacers . This season, if nothing else, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks have provided their fans with a bellyful of comedic drama and quite actually, some horrendous play. With a combined record of eighteen and thirty-eight (9-19 apiece) , it is easy to understand why some are calling for the heads of Jason Kidd and Mike Woodson , respectively. Only the , actual ineptitude of Mike Shanahan and his handling of the playing staff of the Washington Redskins , might be considered a worst performing coaching experience than of any coach of the four major professional teams sports over the course of this or last season. Granted , Bo Porter and the managerial staff of the Houston Astros have been a testament to ineptitude over the past two seasons . Yes, it’s the Astros and we simply cannot expect any-less from baseball’s worst franchise over time span in question.

James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov , as the respective owners of the franchises in question , may well feel it appropriate to make a combined payroll outlay exceeding $200 million , to see an outpouring of such banality , fitting enough to make a child suffering from a stomach ailment , feel even worse than they already happen to be .

In the Western Conference last season’s conference champions the San Antonio Spurs are gently plodding along , as if they have not skipped a beat in terms of their form of last year. Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff still have the triumvirate of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker to work with , along with the rising star of Danny Green , who last season proved himself to be a budding accomplice to the renowned trio. This season, it is hoped, that Green’s maturity, along with that of the team in general, will lift them over the hump and on to a fifth NBA title. Meanwhile, the rest of the West, saw the arrival of Doc Rivers as the new head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers , while what appears to be the angst of the Los Angeles Lakers still taking a turn for the worst, with Mike D’Antoni still unable to get the best out of what in actuality is a poorly assembled roster . With Kobe Bryant having only appeared in six games all year this season for the Lakers, it is hard to imagine how the team can fare without him and his leadership abilities. Lakers’ fans merely speak in hyperbole and cannot point to another player on the roster capable of leading the team in the player’s absence , such is their real lack of intelligence on the issue .

With Rivers’ arrival in Los Angeles to coach a team led by point guard Chris Paul , the question now being asked , is whether or not the coach can corral the talent on the roster and get these players playing as a cohesive unit on both ends of the floor . Vinny Del Negro tried as hard as he did to achieve that last season, but it was clear that the players felt it only necessary to show their prowess on offense and simply forget about defense altogether . Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan , will certainly, have to prove their worth in that, very aspect of the game if the Clippers are to have any real chance during the postseason , should they actually make it that far. With the only other real stories of any relevance within the conference , might just be the ascent of the Portland Trailblazers under head coach Terry Stotts this season and the growing signs that Damian Lillard is very much the player that many presumed him to be . Also back into the mix are the Oklahoma City Thunder , where the league’s top offensive duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are now making it a statisticians’ nightmare in trying to keep up with their combined offensive and defensive prowess. It is now fair to say , that there seems to be a new ” pecking order “ within the Western Conference , with once perennial Lakers now taking a back seat to teams with more athleticism and coaching ingenuity.

No matter how much anyone tries to spin it and this continued idiotic insistence in using the idiom, that there is such a thing as parity in the NFL . The fact of the matter is , the only reality has been that there are some good teams , mediocre teams , extremely inept coaching and no real dearth of talent at some of the more notable positions . For the protagonists, still trying to use parity to make their claims, and then please feel free to make your case. Otherwise , simply shut the hell up and look at the facts as they are being displayed right in front of your very eyes. Last season in the league , the Baltimore Ravens simply got into a rhythm a of consistency that brought them the Superbowl and laid the foundation for Joe Flacco to be given an exorbitant contract that he has failed to live up to this year , beyond his own lack of consistency , but failure to step up to the plate as a leader of this team .

In 2013, the Ravens have certainly regressed , but such has been the banality of the play , that the team still remains remotely in the hunt for a playoff berth , even with an 8-7 record within the AFC . Baltimore faces a sizable task on Sunday afternoon, when they face their divisional rivals and leaders of the AFC North , the Cincinnati Bengals in the final game of the season for both teams as the regular season comes to a finale. A win is imperative for John Harbaugh and the team if they are to have any chance of making the playoffs along with the failures and at the expense of the Miami Dolphins , Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers , if they are to assure themselves of a playoff berth.

The AFC as a conference , has now come down to which opponent, is capable of stopping the offensive juggernaut of the Denver Broncos and the record-breaking season of Peyton Manning , who now seems on course to win an unprecedented fifth league MVP Award , barring the downright stupidity of the voters. No other NFL player this season has remotely come close to putting up the type of statistics , much less show the consistency of Manning, as he and the Broncos have simply laid waste to the rest of the NFL over the course of the season . Nick Foles remains a nice feel-good story for the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans , but is anyone truly ready to trust that defense much less the coaching ability of Chip Kelly at this juncture ? Especially in light of what has been a downright pathetic showing within the NFC East by all four occupants of the division over the course of their respective schedules . The Seattle Seahawks for their part , while proving to be very effective , because of the progression of Russell Wilson and the undoubted ability and tenacity of Richard Sherman. Yet, the conference itself, the NFC remains a pick ‘em , as to who the outright conference champion is likely to be amongst the top four contenders . You simply cannot discount the Carolina Panthers and the coaching acumen shown by Ron Rivera , while Cam Newton has regained the type of form shown during his rookie season , while becoming a better all-round player and the apparent leader on that Panthers’ team . It is simply amazing what winning can do in changing a player’s attitude and mindset along with showing a great deal more maturity. Those traits have been evident with the Panthers’ quarterback , all season long. The Panthers will seek to not only close out their season with a win against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday , but also secure themselves their first divisional title since 2008 , when they won the NFC South quite handily over their closest rivals that season the Atlanta Falcons .

I do not believe that there was a great deal to be learned from this past baseball season , other than the fact that the owners still remain clueless , general managers are overpaid and work nowhere near hard enough some would have us believe . As to the players themselves , well let’s just say they remain in denial are poor examples as human beings as well as role as being, a role-model for the young . The entire playing fraternity’s stance on the use of banned substances within their sport remains a joke with not one noted player willing to step into the fray or up to the plate to address the issue of PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) within baseball . And yes , that does include the likes of Derek Jeter , Mike Trout , Albert Pujols , Miguel Cabrera , Mariano Rivera , Yasiel Puig .

When you have a union (MLBPA) that simply remains disingenuous alongside a league hierarchy made up middle-aged individuals who are not quite aware that we now are in the twenty-first century and that the sport has evolved . Then you simply can no longer take the game seriously on its merits , let alone point to any real positive strides that have been made. As to the purists falling in line , with the idiocy of the introduction the use of cameras for instant replay. If you are dumb enough to believe that to be the most important issue within the game , then simply bury your head in the sand or preferably in a bucket of dog crap and smell the odor emanating there , because it is simply no different from the bull#hit being served up from the MLB Commissioner Bud Selig during his entire tenure.

The season did not play out as planned for teams such as the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers , two teams with the highest payrolls in baseball , with a combined outlay exceeding $425 million , with several of their players being amongst the highest paid in the game. For managers Joe Girardi and Don Mattingly , their task was at a minimum, to guide both teams deep into the postseason . Anything less, had to be viewed as a major disappointment for both ball-clubs as well as their respective fans who are among the most rabid in all baseball , if not professional team sports. While those teams faltered , the storyline for much of the season was simply about whether or not the Pittsburgh Pirates could hold sway and make a successful attempt in gaining their first playoff berth in two decades. Granted, Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers did provide the fans in general with a fifty-game stretch , where the team went a 42-8 , a run that essentially made the NL West a foregone conclusion before the end of the season.

John Farrell and his managerial staff worked a major miracle, in taking a last placed team from 2012, and simply turning the Boston Red Sox into a championship caliber talent in 2013. GM Ben Cherington , felt it prudent enough to simply jettison a number of big name and highly paid stars , in order to make the roster a great deal more competitive. Contributions came from all round, as the improbable, became possible and the memory of Bobby Valentine’s year of incompetency , seem a distant memory from the past . Having won the AL East with considerable ease , the Red Sox were up to the challenge of the postseason , as they swept through the ALDS , ALCS and the World Series , without simply skipping a beat . Their opponents in the postseason finale, the St Louis Cardinals gave a bold effort , but they were found wanting in so many ways . Boston’s triumph in that series, was the ball-club’s third title in the past eight years and their eighth overall.

As to baseball’s individual prizes for 2013, there were no major surprises overall, as the most worthy individuals won the awards in question.

With the steady decline of boxing, the sport of MMA has come within focus for the public, while leaving the more renowned pugilistic sport in its wake, as the rise of the UFC , has guided mixed-martial arts to the forefront of combat sports. UFC President Dana White , Frank Fertitta and Lorenzo Fertitta the co-founders of the sport’s sanctioning body , have built the genre into a multi-billion dollar commercial behemoth . . The fighters within MMA have in many cases become household names and there is now a global presence not only with UFC affiliates but also amongst the practitioners , male and female , who have come from around the globe to make a name for themselves.

At the forefront of this ascent of MMA in recent years , have been Georges St Pierre, Jon Jones , Demetrius Johnson , Jose Aldo , Anthony Pettis , Cain Velasquez , Anderson Silva and the most notable female fighter Ronda Rousey , who now represents the female face of MMA.

Silva

Anderson Silva holds his fractured right leg having suffered the injury in his rematch against UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman on Saturday night in their title contest . UFC Inc/Zuffa LLC

Of the most anticipated bouts on the UCF’s schedule during 2013, was the highly anticipated middleweight title defense of MMA’s most successful fighter Anderson Silva , who happened to be making a record twelfth defense of his championship belt . His challenger, at the time, was the well-rounded former college wrestler Chris Weidman . What took place at UFC 162 is perhaps the biggest upset in MMA history , as the challenger wrestled away the belt from the champion with a ferocious knockdown and then knockout that was heard around the world and shook up the middleweight division . Their highly anticipated rematch at UFC 168 , would also end up with an equally surprising outcome , with the former champion being forced to retire , having suffered a leg injury . Referee Herb Dean immediately stopped the fight in the second round of the five round title bout, realizing the gravity of Silva’s leg injury (broken right fibula) and Weidman was declared the winner , with a successful first defense of his title, improving his record to 11-0 . Anderson Silva’s future now seems unclear, but the future Hall of Fame inductee is assured of one thing , his legacy has certainly helped the sport to gain worldwide respect as well heightening the fact that the Brazilian jujitsu art form is amongst the most successful fighting forms , in mixed martial arts as well as all forms of combat sports .

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Picture gallery .

In what has been a highly eventful year in the world of sports in part two of this look at the sports’ calendar. I will address my thoughts on the College Basketball and College Football seasons and what the fans were afforded during 2013. Yet, do take time to provide me with your own analysis of the sports’ year , as you have viewed it overall.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) Floyd Mayweather ,right , on his way to a twelve round majority decision over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez this year . The fight was even more controversial than necessary , because of the incompetency of the judging by one ringside official , Cynthia CJ Ross , who actually scored the fight a draw , after Mayweather overwhelmed his opponent throughout the entire twelve round contest , held at the MGM Grand Casino & Resort Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada,. AP Photo / Benny Thompson …

(2) Bob Arum , Chairman & CEO of Top Rank Inc , is seen here with Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao . The boxer recently suffered a number of untimely losses that has now placed in an unenviable position . Any proposed mega-bout between he and Floyd Mayweather now seems unlikely , even with the renowned ‘clout’ of Pacquiao’s promoter . The animus that there remains between the two opposing camps remains as deep as ever in spite of Arum’s insistence that he and Leonard Ellerbe remain in close contact , seeking to make a deal , for a a proposed bout . Getty Images / Tom Rowan …….

(3) LeBron James of the Miami Heat is seen here on the sidelines with the team’s head coach Erik Spoelstra during a game . The Heat are seeking to win a third consecutive NBA title this season , with the only obstacle likely to be in their way , are the players’ own complacency . Miami Herald /AP Photo / Alberto Ramos ….

(4) Mikhail Prokhorov , owner of the Brooklyn Nets is seen here inside the franchise’s cavernous venue the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York . This season, the Nets have simply underperformed , while having amongst the NBA’s highest paid salaried team payroll , with a crop of aging players in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry . Fans may well feel it plausible that the team can still make a run at gaining a postseason berth within the Eastern Conference , given the dire state of play within all three divisions as well as the conference , itself . That belief however , may well be only viewed with any reality by the front office and the Nets’ fans and players , themselves . NY Daily News /AP Photo / Mark Brown ….

(5) Los Angeles Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul is seen here with team head coach Doc Rivers as they discuss a play during the interval of a game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California . Off to a good start within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference , fans and the players are hoping for the team to make a deep run in this season’s playoffs. The Clippers who share their venue with their more famous residents the Los Angeles Lakers , who are laboring at present without their All Star guard Kobe Bryant , with their being calls for changes in the coaching and roster makeup . As the Clippers’ ascent seems to be more assured , for the Lakers , their days ahead seem very uncertain , albeit that Bryant signed a two-year $48.5 million deal with the franchise. LA Time/AP Photo / Hector Munoz ….

(6) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens answers questions from the media during Super Bowl XLVII Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 29, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The San Francisco 49ers will take on the Baltimore Ravens on February 3, 2013 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome . The Ravens would go on to defeat San Francisco in a highly contested Superbowl contest . This season for Baltimore , with the retirement of Ray Lewis and the trading of Ed Reed , the team’s season has been one of inconsistency , with the quarterback’s play .. being somewhat erratic , without their being any on-field leadership being provided by Flacco or any of his teammates . A remote chance and shot of making the postseason was simply obliterated on Sunday afternoon with the team’s embarrassing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals . Getty Images North America / Scott Halleran …..

(7) Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington , background , is seen here with manager John Farrell foreground , as the formal announcement was made that Farrell would succeed Bobby Valentine , who was fired at the end of the 2012 season . The newly hired manager would lead the team to the AL East divisional title as well as the ALCS pennant and World Series in his first season as the organization’s manager . In 2014 , with the front office having made several moves to bolster the roster , the Red Sox remain favorites within the division as well as being likely to make a successful defense of their divisional title and ALCS pennant . AP Photo / Alex Reid ….

(8) At UFC 162 then UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is seen here mocking his challenger Chris Weidman in the first round of their title fight . Weidman would go on to defeat the champion with a devastating knockout in the second round of their bout . On Saturday night at UFC 168 , in their highly anticipated rematch Chris Weidman would prevail once again in the first defense of his title , after the former champion suffered a leg injury that would prohibit him from carrying on in the bout . Referee Herb Dean , had no other option , but to call a halt to the fight . Silva’s future may well remain in doubt , as Weidman now looks to flourish within the middleweight division by making another defense of his title against the number one contender Vitor Belfort . . Courtesy of Foxsports .

(9) UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman , right , looks to avert a leg kick from challenger Anderson Silva during their rematch at UFC 168 , held at the MGM Grand Garden Casino & Hotel Resort in Las Vegas , Nevada . UFC Inc/Zuffa LLC . Copyrighted material all rights reserved …

(10) Referee Herb Dean calls a halt to the UFC middleweight title bout between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva (lying prostrate) after the challenger suffered a broken right fibula during the bout in the second round . Weidman retained his belt in his rematch against the former champion. UFC Inc / Zuffa LLC …

(11)

Anderson Silva holds his fractured right leg having suffered the injury in his rematch against UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman on Saturday night in their title contest . UFC Inc/Zuffa LLC

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NB: Related article A year in review, part two

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A breast in one hand is better than a bird don’t you think ? Adult star Alexa Loren .

And here’s Alexa, having some fun with her mammary glands

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Are we there yet ?

Are we there yet ?

This might be one point of the year that in terms of the sporting landscape the world simply has nothing to really offer . Granted , one can point to other outside events beyond the four major professional team sports in North America . In Europe , the Tour de France has now started and that rancid stench that will continue to emanate across from France over the remaining seventeen days fifteen days of the event might be enough to induce regurgitation of one’s meal . The sport of cycling remains in tatters as to its image , with its international governing body , the ICU (International Cycling Union) still at a loss , as to how to abate the rampant and widespread cheating that still remains within the sport .

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Lance Armstrong still remains a pariah , as he continues to skirt the real reasons why he chose to cheat by using steroids as well as EPO and several other illicit substances . As to what was meant to be an in-depth interview with media maven and mogul, Oprah Winfrey . Well that bile inducing bilge , was about as noteworthy as Clint Eastwood’s appearance at the Republican National Convention , when he stood on stage , asking questions of an empty chair that suggested he was questioning Barack Obama . Well if that is what it takes the GOP , to be seen as enlightened and a party of the inclusive ____ good luck to them . Personally , I am looking for someone and a party that is keenly aware as to how to deal with many of the issues that still beset this country and not a bunch of clowns from either party , simply paying lip service and giving us sound bytes on what they believe that the electorate needs to hear .

The Tour de France is sport of cycling`s premiere event , with only the World Championships and the Olympics having as much prestige . Yet it is the classic French endurance event that brings in widespread acclaim and undoubted wealth for the winner . However , considering that Alberto Contador , Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis , three of the most recent of eight winners of the event , have in some way been caught up in the less savory and most corrupt revelations and side of the sport . Landis and Armstrong had their names stricken from the record books , as to the list of winners of the event . Contador , for some reason still remains a competitor in the sport and is a contestant in this year’s event , though he is not seen as an overall favorite .

As a Brit , I know how painful it is to watch tennis at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club at Wimbledon each year ! It has been almost eight decades since an Englishman has raised the Men’s Singles Trophy denoting a native-born winner . Fred Perry won the last of his three-straight titles in 1936. And since then , no other male player from the United Kingdom has come remotely close to producing a home-grown champion . This year’s hopes rest with the Scot , Andy Murray , who as the reigning US Open and Olympic champion , will have the nation , soundly supporting his efforts . Now, if Murray should make it through his semifinal meeting with Jerzy Janowicz , he will have the dubious privilege of having to meet the number one ranked Novak Djokovik in the Men`s Finals . All odds favor the Serbian whose run through the tournament has been nothing short of amazing . By Sunday afternoon , we may well witness Djokovik adding to his already impressive resume` , as he seeks to rewrite the history books and place himself amongst the modern-day greats of the Open Era.

The United States does not have single male or female representative left , in either the Men’s or Women’s Singles Tournament. Something I believe , that will sternly that will need to be addressed by the USTA (United States Tennis Association) and how they assess the structure and system now in place . Serena Williams has been the most dominant player in Women’s tennis for just over a decade , but as her career has now reached its apex . There is no telling how long the desire will remain for the fourteen-time singles Grand Slam winner . With her amassed wealth estimated $100 million fortune , and outside business ventures , those scenarios could very well be a driving force that sees the thirty year old step away from the sport sooner , rather than later . On the men’s side of the equation , there is not a great deal that could lead one to believe that there is a future Grand Slam winner amongst the best male players in the United States . The highest ranked in the world rankings , is Sam Querrey at number nineteen , and his run at Wimbledon was somewhat short-lived and about as scintillating as being hit in the face by a wet rag , as he succumbed to the unseeded Bernard Tomic in five sets .

The UFC will kick off UFC 162 , with a co-headline event that will see reigning middleweight champion Anderson Silva defend his title against Chris Weidman . For the Brazilian jujitsu practitioner this will be the twelfth defense of his title, as well as seeking his seventeenth consecutive win inside the octagon . All feats are now UFC records and the primary reason by Silva is considered to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts (MMA) . As a practitioner (karate & muy-thai) and proponent of MMA , this is now the primary reason why I believe that mixed martial arts has simply left the sport of boxing in the dust . It has now become far more popular as a genre and participant sport , with an ever-increasing demographic, as well as now drawing a large following amongst females . Granted, , with the rise of females fighters such as Ronda Rousey , Jessica Andrade , Liz Carmouche , Alexis Davis and Germaine de Randamie . It is now easy to see why UFC President Dana White finally succumbed to admitting females within the UFC fold , as well creating the bantamweight division weight class for women . Rousey is currently the unbeaten UFC champion within that weight class .

Saturday night’s main and under-card a, provides the most discerning fans of the sport, the chance to see some of the best practitioners of this fast growing sport into the public domain . From my own perspective, I do not believe that Weidman will provide all that stern a test for the champion , simply because of the challenger`s inexperience and the lack of real quality opponents that he has faced over his short career within the UFC ! Silva for his part , has toyed with his opponents , simply making a mockery of the division and the lack of overall talent within the middleweight division . Anderson Silva is not, and has not been thoroughly challenged by any of his opponents over his last sixteen bouts . Those who believe to the contrary , simply point to an instance were that has actually been the case and then point out , what the end result tended to be .

The Mandalay Bay Hotel Resort & Casino Complex , in Las Vegas , Nevada , will be the scene for this latest extravaganza being staged by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta , as owners of UFC. What started out , as merely a tough man contest where differing fighting styles were pitted against each other , by the respective fighters , has now become a multi-billion dollar global concern , presided over UFC by the Fertitta brothers, in conjunction wit Dana White . In a little more than a decade and a half , from UFC 1 to now , UFC 162 , this sport has become more respectable and more disciplined , in terms of safety issues, than anything shown by the international governing bodies of the sport of boxing . Subsequent events have now become regimented with a greater emphasis being placed on the safety of the fighters . Furthermore , with the misuse of steroids being part of the sports` panacea , MMA under the UFC banner has become one the few sports were their initiative beyond suspending for a first offense , they are also penalized monetarily by the UFC hierarchy and are subject to further punishment in the states where the sport is sanctioned in North America . Can the same be said , with regard to baseball , basketball , football or hockey ? Most definitely not ,when you consider the intransigence shown by the respective bodies , especially under the auspices of Bud Selig , David Stern , Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman .

Baseball has reached the midpoint of its season and a number of teams , I believe can be counted out of contention as it relates to their postseason ambitions . It is pretty much safe to say that barring divine intervention from up on high, the New York Mets (35-47) , will once again be on the outside looking in . Recent results or not , J P Ricciardi and Sandy Alderson can already begin to think about next season , while getting rid of the dead weight on the roster . Far be it for me to suggest , but if it were possible to jettison Fred Wilpon , his son, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz . I for one , believe that we would all breathe a sigh of relief and so too might the majority of the fans within baseball ! One could also preface that, by saying the same thing for baseball`s hierarchy , because under Bud Selig , let us put it succinctly , not everything he as touched , has actually turned to gold . Selig`s imprint on the game has been akin the AIDS` virus and its virulent spread across the globe , specifically on the continent of Africa and in the Far East Asia where it still remains a scourge .

Matt Harvey may well be having a terrific season for the Mets , but beyond his contributions and that of David Wright . It is pretty much safe to say that there is not a great deal that can be taken away from the season as a positive for the franchise , much less by way of the managerial acumen of Terry Collins and his managerial staff . Coming off a 5-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks the Mets have a mere handful of games before Citi-Field in Flushing, New York, hosts the 2013 MLB All Star Game and all of the festivities we are accustomed to witnessing at the mid-season that is associated with the showcase event .

New York`s next game will pit them against the Milwaukee Brewers (34-50) in a match-up between two desperate ball-clubs seeking redemption at this point of the schedule , after performing poorly through the first half of the season. The rest of the way should prove to be really interesting over the remainder of the MLB schedule .

Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds now has the unique distinction of being the only pitcher in the last decade to have pitched two no-hitters . The fact that he was able to achieve this feat inside the space of eighteen months is all the more surprising . Albeit , that for much of this season in terms of pitching heroics , the buzz has simply been about Matt Scherzer (13-0) of the Detroit Tigers and his phenomenal start to the season , in going 13-0 with a . fourteenth consecutive victory not seemingly out of the question. No-hitters and perfect games are the Holy Grails for a big-league pitcher, and for them to have their names etched in baseball immortality, is not something , that can be taken away or denied. Granted in the age of skepticism and the very fact the game of baseball has been unable to get rid of steroid cheats , makes the fans not necessarily admirers of many of today`s achievements by the players. Especially, when we know that the league hierarchy and the union itself, has done little to rectify the plague that has become widespread within the game . For those of you in doubt , then simply be aware of the fact that over almost two hundred players have now been embroiled in the abuse of steroids covering the game of baseball , covering the Minor League as well as in the Majors . Yet Bud Selig , team owners and Michael Weiner of the MLBPA have simply not offered any explanation for these statistics and the very fact that cheating still remains a blight on and to the game . There still remains the apathy of the fans and analysts alike , which is not unusual, when in large part neither shows a preponderance of showing any damn common sense concerning the issue .

To make things even worse , as it relates to an already tarnished image within the game . The Texas Rangers` GM Jon Daniels signed …. Manny Ramirez , a two-time steroid offender to a Minor League contract . Ramirez who escaped the wrath of a mandatory one hundred game suspension by immediately retiring , then went off and parlayed his services to the highest bidder by playing baseball in the Far East . Now having returned to the game , he has been welcomed back with open arms , as if his actions were never of any consequence . Daniels in a public statement ____ stated, `that taking a flier on Ramirez was well worth the risk`. What I would like to know , is how the ownership group of the Texas Rangers feels that this is in any way beneficial for their image much less of benefit to the game , which is still in a state of disrepair ? Any thoughts on that, at this juncture ?

? Baseball , but for its own stupidity , simply cannot get out of its own way or the repeated pratfalls that it constantly tends to make .

It may not have come as a surprise , given the recent upheavals amongst the coaching fraternity within the NBA . Yet the hiring of Brad Stevens to succeed the nine year tenure of Doc Rivers , may well have taken the whole world by surprise . Stevens who coached the Butler Bulldogs for six successful seasons and then on to two successive NCAA Finals Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011. . That may well been the sort of composure and coaching acumen that impressed the Boston Celtics` front office staff , led by team owner Wyc Grousbeck and GM Danny Ainge to hire the young college coach . We know the nature of the NBA , where the mindset is to win , now , and along the way place a competitive product on the field of play . With the departures of Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers and the trades tat sent Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets . It would appear that the rebuilding process for the Celtics is now underway. To my mind this maneuver is simply two years too late . Doc Rivers over the last two seasons may well ave been somewhat disgruntled with the direction tat the franchise may well ave been heading in , but it did not seem to negate his intent , tat saw him re-sign with the Boston Celtics , a contract for a three-year extension , paying approximately $ 18 to $20 million over the period in question . Somehow, I get the feeling tat Doc Rivers was simply blowing smoke up everyone`s ass , as to his own discomfort , and $20 million was just a nice way of easing the pain .

Stevens may well bring in his own coaching staff , but a great deal of what may well transpire , will come out of the relationship fomented and built up with Celtics` point guard Rajon Rondo , which will be pivotal the success of the franchise and its long-term future . The team`s draft class and their subsequent transactions may well bring about the success sought , and in light of the cap space created , the franchise will be one of the teams that could be an ideal destination for one of the marquee free agents seeking to make that organization a legitimate contender.
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Given Boston`s poor showing in the postseason in their first round loss to the New York Knicks summed up a rather lamentable season for one of the league`s most prestigious franchises .

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At this point of the year, what if anything do you most look forward to by way of the sporting calendar and the events that may pique your interest ? Simply chime on in with a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Tejay Van Garderen of the United States riding for BMC Racing looks on prior to stage two of the 2013 Tour de France, a 156KM road stage from Bastia to Ajaccio, on June 30, 2013 in Bastia, France. The 100th edition of Le Tour de France commences on the island of Corsica and ends July 21 in Paris. Doug Pensinger /Getty Images North America …

(2) Jan Bakelants of Belgium and Radioshack Leopard celebrates as he crosses the finishing line to win stage two of the 2013 Tour de France, a 156KM road stage from Bastia to Ajaccio, on June 30, 2013 in Ajaccio, France. Getty Images / Bryan Lennon …

(3) Andy Murray of Great Britain embraces Jerzy Janowicz of Poland at the net after their Gentlemen’s Singles semi-final match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2013 in London, England. Getty Image Europe /John Finney …

(4) Andy Murray of Great Britain plays a backhand during the Gentlemen’s Singles semi-final match against Jerzy Janowicz of Poland on day eleven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2013 in London, England. John Finney / Getty Images Europe …

(5) Chris Weidman , seen here speaking with the convened press concerning his upcoming UFC middleweight title about against champion Anderson Silva . The two will square off in the octagon this Saturday at UFC 162 at the Mandalay Bay Complex , in Las Vegas, Nevada ,. MMA Fighter @ copyrighted material …

(6) Anderson Silva , UFC middleweight champion , left , is seen here facing off against challenger Chris Weidman in a pre-fight photo promotion at the Mandalay Bay Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada . Silva is a clear favorite in this record-setting title defense against his less experienced opponent. Getty Images / Matt Berger …

(7) Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 3, 2013, in Toronto. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette …

(8) CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 5: Pitcher Homer Bailey (34) of the Cincinnati Reds and catcher Ryan Hanigan (29) of the Cincinnati Reds are presented with lineup cards by Manager Dusty Baker (12) of the Cincinnati Reds to commemorate Bailey’s second career no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants two nights earlier before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Great American Ball Park on July 5, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images ….

(9) Jon Daniels whose decision to sign slugger Manny Ramirez to a minor league deal has raised a few eyebrows around Major League Baseball. The Rangers` front office executive believes the deal well worth the risk and of benefit to the Texas Rangers organization . Getty Images / Elise Amendola …

(10) Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge , left, speaks alongside new head coach Brad Stevens , right, during a news conference where Stevens was introduced Friday, July 5, 2013, at the NBA basketball team’s training facility in Waltham, Mass. Stevens twice led the Butler Bulldogs to the NCAA title game. He replaces Doc Rivers, who was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. AP Photo/Josh Reynolds …..

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tophatal ………

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Can I Have Fries With That Can of Whoop A#s ?

Can I Have Fries With That Can of Whoop A#s ?

by tophatal ….

For all of his false bravado UFC middleweight challenger Chael Sonnen simply proved that when it was time to “man up “ he possessed nothing more than a penis , the size of a pencil and testes the size of pea. Not content, in simply losing with grace and dignity after his first loss to the champion, Anderson Silva at UFC 117 . The challenger would seek to denigrate the champion and along the way show what a complete ass he just happens to be !

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Slide show.

In the duo’s highly anticipated rematch , UFC148 staged at the MGM Grand Hotel & Resort Casino Complex , in Las Vegas , Nevada. There was a great deal of animosity between the champion , Silva and the challenger , Chael Sonnen. And the “ hype” that went along with the pre-fight publicity was more than enough to lure a sellout crowd of 18,000 in attendance along with an estimate 1. 75 million PPV buys (Fuel Tv) for the cable broadcast showing of the biggest fight in UFC history . Sonnen , has courted controversy in the lead-up to the rematch in choosing to denigrate the middleweight champion . Anderson Silva , in response , not one to openly show his emotions simply sought to let his talking in the octagon , albeit that in a pre-fight press conference he also disparaged his challenger , Chael Sonnen. The title holder was making a record eleventh defense of his UFC championship belt , a record within UFC circles .

In a recent write-up I described in earnest why I believed that the UFC has now outstripped the popularity of boxing. And in many respects , the genre MMA under the UFC banner is now making inroads even into the bastions of fans who are ardent supporters of the NHL . The sport is now a multibillion dollar a year industry with the UFC’s tentacles now spanning the globe . Dana White , UFC President in conjunction with the entity’s co-founders Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta , and their judicious business acumen has seen an explosion of growth that is unprecedented in MMA , the fastest growing sport in North America , gaining new interest and fans across the globe . The same , it must be said cannot be stated for the sport of hockey and its present financial woes as well as labor uncertainties . Somehow, the apathetic fans of the NHL can only point to recent Stanley Cup showing as to the relevance of the sport . Even even though hockey beyond its World Championship and being part of the Winter Olympics , the NHL (hockey) still remains a sport that has not fully recovered their last labor dispute . It would appear also , that the team owners are now back to the idiocy of offering exorbitant contracts to the players while still operating under a weakened financial base . You would be hard pressed , to convince the vast majority of NHL fans of that fact . Such are the vagaries of the uninitiated and apathetic !

In the fight itself , round one proved to show us why Anderson Silva is now the most dominant fighter in UFC . Unbeaten in his last sixteen fights and on the night he was making his tenth defense of the UFC middleweight title . The champion was the aggressor and in doing so , he dictated the terms under which the bout took place . Sonnen , for his part had no answer for Silva’s athleticism and jujitsu prowess . The challenger for all of his pretentious and bold predictions , that he would take the title with ease , would soon find out that for all of the talk in the world , if you don’t have the shit to back that talk up. Then you might as well bend over and take that di#k in the a#s like the proverbial bitch that you are ! . Inside of 7 ½ minutes of their five round title fight , Anderson Silva would make light work of the challenger , pummeling Chael Sonnen on his way to a 2nd round TKO .

Having beaten all of the challengers placed in front of him , Anderson Silva is in need of a fresh challenge . Whether or not that challenge will be a mega-fight against Georges St Pierre or Jon “ Bones” Jones . The middleweight champions needs a much tougher proposition than a bloviate asshole , such as Chael Sonnen , who on his best say is not fit enough to sniff the ass of any of his peers within his weight class !

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

As an avid fan of MMA under the UFC banner , I would willingly watch a bout , rather than anything currently being served up within the world boxing , much less from within the NHL ! Neither of the two sports in question seems to have a grip on what currently ails them , while seemingly showing their incompetence along the way . What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Do leave a comment as you see fit.

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Anderson Silva (left) is seen here at the weigh-in with UFC middleweight challenger Chael Sonnen prior to their title bout at UFC 148 held at the MGM Grand Resort & Hotel Complex , in Las Vegas , Nevada ,. @ copyrighted material ….

(2) UFC President Dana White looks to separate UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (left) and his challenger Chael Sonnen right prior to their UFC middleweight title fight at UFC 148 staged at the MGM Grand Hotel & Resort Casino Complex , Las Vegas , Nevada ,. courtesy of MMA Junkie .

(3) Anderson Silva having taken down his opponent Chael Sonnen during UFC 148 . After a sluggish start the champion would easily defeat the challenger with a flurry of punches and a devastating kick to the abdomen that “knocked the wind ” out of the Sonnen , who would be TKO’d in 1 minutes 55 seconds of round two of their 5 round middleweight title fight . courtesy of Sherdog.com copyrighted material @ all rights reserved …..

(4) A triumphant Anderson Silva salutes the crowd having been declared the winner after his second round TKO of challenger Chael Sonnen . In picture seen also is referee Yves Lavigne as he looks at the prostrate challenger laying inside the octagon at UFC 148 . AFP/Reuters/ Karl Svenson …

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UFC news

UFC148

UFC welterweight division denoting overview of champions and fighters

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Hot chic pic of the day , actress , Meghan Markle .