It’s still bad , at the top or the bottom and that’s as good as it’s liable to get .

It’s still bad , at the top or the bottom and that’s as
good as it’s liable to get .

College Basketball’s season has began and in many respects, the level of basketball of being played is not seen as glamorous as its professional counterpart within the NBA. Atop of the rankings remains one of the NCAA’s basketball powerhouses with the Kentucky Wildcats (9-0) casting its eye over the landscape where they reign supreme. John Calipari and his coaching staff having guided this team to the best record in College Basketball . This early in the season and one shouldn’t place a great deal in those standings as the teams have yet to find any type of consistency to their respective schedules.

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With the Wildcats ranked at number one, the second spot in the rankings is held by the Duke Blue Devils) coached by their acclaimed head coach Mike Krzyzewski, he seeks to win his fifth national title with the program. Krzyzewski and his team will be looking to be the dominant program once again within the ACC. Duke will likely be part of ” March Madness”,the climactic postseason soiree of College Basketball, unlike any other collegiate event. The Blue Devils’ next game will be against Elon in what is sure to be a lopsided contest. Kentucky will have a battle on their hands when they face the Pac-12 storied program UCLA (Bruins) in their next game .

To my mind, while the College Basketball season still remains in its infancy, we will not begin to witness the real resilience of the teams until mid January, when many of the programs have their sights set on the postseason fare and all of the visibility it brings. At the same time, there will be several players looking to shine with their displays in the run-up to that particular event.

Last season, in College Basketball the general belief and hype concerned players such as Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker , Joel Embiid and the litany of rookies drafted into the NBA. The presence of these freshmen, has simply proven to be one of the many reasons why the play in the league continues to be dire. Granted, there were always going to be bad teams in the NBA , but this season at this stage , how many of us could have imagined that so many of them would be playing so badly , with their being little coaching acumen being shown by the coaching staffs of these franchises ?

The Los Angeles Lakers have proven to be a monumental bust this season, with the team simply failing to show up, even then, it tends to be rather sporadic before they once again shift back to the depths of mediocrity . Not that Kobe Bryant and his teammates have been able to climb out of the morass frequently, judged on their play. Head coach Byron Scott could very well meet the same fate as his two predecessors if this continued ineptitude shows no signs of changing. Bryant for his partremains single-minded,not in chasing team goals , but more now at this stage of his career chasing personal goals. He is now nine points behind the career points’ total of Michael Jordan and his protagonists are trying to suggest it places the Lakers’ player on the same plateau as the NBA’s greatest player. That notion is simply asinine, needs to be seen as just sheer stupidity and without merit . Bryant will never be viewed as Jordan’s equal , never-mind being remotely close to him in stature or character.

Los Angeles will be on the road today, when the team meet the Minnesota Timberwolves . A game I might add, has a great deal at stake , with both of these Western Conference franchises looking to steer themselves away from the lower rungs of the conference. I have never been a great admirer of Byron Scott as a head coach even with his success coaching the New Jersey Nets, where he was able to take the franchise to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003.

The Brooklyn Nets as they are now known , owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov . This season in particular, Prokhorov has seen his team struggle with head coach Lionel Hollins , seeking to instill a great deal of discipline into a lineup that seems to have no intent on playing an iota of defense on both ends of the floor. The fact that the Brooklyn Nets have by far the highest payroll in the entire NBA should not be lost on the fans or league hierarchy , who seem to have little sense of being financially prudent , much less the executives and owners around the league being prepared to show that sense of urgency on the matter.

Lionel Hollins will takes his team bearing a 10-12 record as they sit 6 1/2 games behind the Atlantic Coast Division leading Toronto Raptors (17-6). Brooklyn just happens to be 5-5 in their last ten games and on a two-game win streak. Brooklyn’s next contest will be against the Miami Heat on Tuesday evening when the two teams meet at the AA Arena in Miami, Florida,. Miami after the abrupt departure of LeBron James have sought to build their roster around the talents of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade , with head coach Erik Spoelstra seeking rebuild his lineup around this duo of stars.

Coming off a lopsided twenty seven point victory over what appears to be the hapless Charlotte Hornets , where the Nets sank sixteen three point attempts in this contest. The Hornets I believe are a team who remain an aberration in spite of last season’s success and their having made the NBA Playoffs this past year . Michael Jordan in his new found role as the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats must hope his players are able to show the discipline needed to make another run at the playoffs. As good as we might assume the Hornets’ team to be there is clear evidence the front office and coaching staff cannot be entirely happy with what they have witnessed so far this season.

Kemba Walker remains the face of this Hornets’ franchise and it will be interesting to see what moves are made if any, by GM Rich Cho at the behest of head coach Steve Clifford as they seek to bolster the roster. Next up for this franchise will a game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, as the guests hope to place a dent in the hopes of the Cavaliers, as that team seeks to make a push at gaining the top seed in the Eastern Conference . James for his part, has lost none of scoring prowess as he leads the team in scoring and is well-placed in a number of other offensive categories . Yet, LeBron’s offensive prowess cannot be the sole proviso for the Cavaliers if they are to be successful this season, because his teammates will have to step up to the plate, along with David Blatt and his coaching staff showing a great deal more ingenuity than we have witnessed so far this season. Defensively , the Cavaliers have yet to prove themselves as one of the better teams in the conference or in the NBA overall . James and the Cavaliers’ next contest will see them line up against the Charlotte Hornets at home when they take the court at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio in front of a sold-out crowd on Monday night.

Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans might be considered to be having a great season, with the power forward consistently being among one of the topscorers in the league on a consistent basis during the infancy of the Pelicans’ schedule and this NBA season. This is a far cry from what the fans witnessed last season from the team as they struggled to find some consistency during 2013.

The addition of Tyreke Evans has given the lineup a great basis for their progress with their being a greater emphasis on defense as well as offense from this young team . Davis has played like an early season leading contender for the League MVP and it would prove to be extremely difficult to state he is not justified to be listed among the leading candidates for the trophy at this juncture, one quarter of the way through the NBA schedule. There might be no more than five players who considered to be having great all-round seasons , but among those names, one might consider Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, James Harden of the Houston Rockets , DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings and LeBron James .

A narrow six-point loss to the the Golden State Warriors was a clear sign , that the New Orleans Pelicans are on the right track, but there is still a great deal of work to be done by this team , with head coach Monty Williams and his coaching staff undertaking the task to the best of their abilities. Team owner, Tom Benson having bought the franchise, rather than seeing it be relocated with the organization’s previous owner, George Shinn , only all too willing to plead poverty, has begun to engineer a turnaround , that will hopefully see a return to competitive play , but also a profitable economic return on his investment for the owner.

Steve Ballmer paid an exorbitant and outrageous $2 billion for the privilege of owning an NBA franchise. In doing so he merely helped the NBA hierarchy out of a hole of their own making, with the gutless David Stern showing that he has no stomach to come down hard and punish an owner for their egregious actions and behavior. Even when left to his successor, Adam Silver to mete out punishment to the now departed Donald Sterling , the league still found a way make themselves look like complete fools , in their handling of the former Los Angeles Clippers’ owner. Come full circle , with Ballmer assuming control of the organization and still within the fans’ midst remains, Rochelle Stein-Sterling , the estranged wife of the former owner. Somehow, the continued idiocy to be found within the NBA remains , even when a new e owner comes within its midst , with Steve Ballmer acknowledging Stein-Sterling and making her an honorary lifetime member of the organization, albeit, she is said to have been well aware of her husband’s despicable racial beliefs and overtures, during his tenure as the owner of the Clippers. In this case , not only has complicity being rewarded but also he sheer mendacity of Rochelle Stein-Sterling.

As the Golden State Warriors’ ascent has been well-chronicled , with the franchise having the best record (20-2) in the NBA, there can be no denying Steve Kerr has this team heading in the right direction. Joe Lacob , Peter Guber and the members of the front office knew the successor to Mark Jackson had to be someone with skilled basketball IQ, a disciplinarian and an individual who would fit in with the ideals the owners had in mind for their franchise. Jackson for his part, proved to be far too outspoken on a number of issues that bore no relation to the Warriors’ principles or that of basketball. Along the way , he showed his ignorance and some might say bigotry , yet this should be not lost on the public when one bears in mind how out of touch the league remains on a litany of social issues which David Stern and the league hierarchy barely paid lip service to.

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have been the primary reasons why the Warriors are off to a flying start , with the team now on a sixteen- game win streak, easily their best start to a season and a franchise record. Curry has fast become a fan favorite, with Thompson not too far behind, with his growing influence and popularity among the Warriors’ fans around the league. These two players are likely to be among the list of candidates to be team’s representatives on the Western Conference All Star Ballot for the NBA’s mid-season showcase. The prowess shown by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson make the pairing a force to be reckoned with in the NBA and be looked upon favorably against any other duo of offensive players in the league.

Kerr and the Warriors will have their next outing against the Memphis Grizzlies , a team with the second-best record in the Western Conference , while leading their division with a great deal of ease. This contest will provide us with a great deal of insight about these two teams, where Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph will lead a Grizzlies’ team intent on proving , they are to to be taken seriously as a legitimate threat within the conference as a playoff contender. I am certainly beginning to think the landscape has shifted within the Western Conference , where the only known commodities as perennial playoff contenders are the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs, the defending NBA champions.

Two of the NBA’s most storied franchises are certainly having indifferent seasons. The Boston Celtics under second-year head coach Brad Stevens are still in the early stages of their rebuilding phase . A maneuver , I certainly believe GM Danny Ainge should have started at least three years ago, but inexplicably he chose to wait and here we are with a Celtics’ team still getting its feet wet and showing incrementals signs of improvement in their overall play. The New York Knicks remain an undisciplined team with their being little of positive recommendation to be made about this Derek Fisher coached lineup . To top it all , the Knicks’ front office remains clueless and that is with all due respect to Phil Jackson as Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise, but even he has to see , his task has now become a great deal tougher than first thought. Anyone of the belief that a roster made up of players such as Samuel Dalembert , Tim Hardaway Jr , Iman Shumpert , Pablo Prigioni, Amare’ Stoudemire, JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony were going to possibly compete n this league would have to be delusional or simply long-term diehard Knicks’ fans who welcomed the torture they have been subjected to over the past decade.

Personally, I do not believe fans of the franchise are either eloquent or intelligent enough to succinctly state the problems this team faces but yet they appear to be of the belief Jackson will be able to engineer a quick turnaround. Well, the famed head coach will not be stepping back into his coach’s shoes anytime soon and it is clear to see Fisher is way in, over his head. As to this continued idiocy, the coaching staff is experienced enough to guide these players, clearly that has become a farce of epic proportions. If anyone is trying to suggest Kurt Rambis and Roger Hinds can provide the tutelage needed, let alone assist Fisher to the best of their abilities in making this roster remotely competitive. The evidence is there for all too see, as borne out the team’s record without the continued asinine excuses being made for their plight. A five-point loss suffered at the hands of the Toronto Raptors on Sunday evening at Madison Square Garden , served notice as to how soft the New York Knicks have becomeand the fact this team is simply not that good by any stretch of the imagination to compete in the NBA.

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While I know the NBA season remains very much in its early stages , we have already reached first quarter of the schedule. The troublesome and prevailing premise has to be, when are we likely to see any type of improvement from the teams at the bottom end of the pedestal ? Certainly there is a great deal of room for improvement from the likes of the Brooklyn Nets , New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, but their issues are of their own making and not likely to get any better anytime soon. By all means, leave a comment as to your thoughts on the NBA and what you would like to see come out of this season concerning the teams ?

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) North Carolina’s Marcus Paige , middle, looks for a teammate amid Kentucky defenders, from left, Aaron Harrison , Dakari Johnson , and Willie Cauley-Stein during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game , Saturday, Dec. 13th, 2014. Kentucky won 84-70 . AP Photo/James Crisp

(2) North Carolina’s Marcus Paige , left, draws a charging foul on Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. AP Photo/James Crisp …

(3) Duke’s Tyus Jones (5) shoots past Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in Madison, Wis. Duke won 80-70 . AP Photo/Andy Manis …

(4) Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski , left, and Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan greet each other before an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in Madison, Wis. AP Photo/Andy Manis ….

(5) Oct 7 , 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) posts up against Indiana Pacers guard George Hill (3) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana , Indianapolis . The Pacers would go on to defeat the Timberwolves 103-90 . Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports ….

(6) Klay Thompson , Shaun Livingston and Festus Ezeli of the Golden State Warriors during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on December 14, 2014 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images / Lane Murdoch Jr . …

(7) Anthony Davis (23) of the New Orleans Pelicans looks to make an offensive play as DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers looks to defend . Davis has been one of the league’s most explosive players offensively , during this season and by far the most effective power forward at this juncture of the NBA schedule. The Clippers would go on to defeat the Pelicans 120-100 in a high scoring game played on the 6th December , 2014 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California ,. Getty Images / Paul Fleming …

(8) LOS ANGELES – FEBRUARY 23: The Los Angeles Lakers coaching staff (L-R) Brian Shaw, Kurt Rambis , Phil Jackson, Frank Hamblen and athletic trainer Gary Vitti share a laugh on the bench during the game game against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on February 23, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 122-96. Rambis is now the lead assistant on Derek Fisher’s coaching staff of the New York Knicks where Jackson is now the Head of Basketball Operations for the Knicks’ organization. Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images …

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Lana del Ray …. “Ultraviolence ”

PTI , it was a weekend, of highs and lows . More lows , than highs , I believe!

PTI , it was a weekend, of highs and lows . More lows , than highs , I believe !

Well just like LeBron James , I decided to take my talents elsewhere , in this case , North to visit the state of North Carolina over the weekend . A number of work colleagues and myself traveled up to Tobacco Road , Blue Devils’ country to take in the game between the Miami Hurricanes and the renowned Duke Blue Devils , coach by four-time NCAA championship winning head coach Mike Krzyzewski . These two titans with the ACC this season , have been on the path of a vengeful rematch , ever since Jim Larrinaga’s players took the Blue Devils behind the woodshed and comprehensively gave them an a$s whooping in mid-January , that not until Saturday afternoon, were the hosts be able to exact some sort of revenge at Cameron Indoor Arena , in Charlotte , North Carolina .

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Cameron Indoor Arena is a venue filled with heralded history , as well-being home to one of the most well-respected programs in collegiate athletics’ history . And make no bones about it , the success achieved in men’s basketball is primarily down to the program’s now legendary coach, Mike Krzyzewski and his astonishing achievements as a basketball coach.

If there is one thing that we should now be accustomed to, it is that you can never take Mike Krzyzewski team lightly. And where, there w ere many simply looking to “write off the Blue Devils’ season . It was abundantly clear, that the ACC and in particular the season was not yet lost for this team . The players on Krzyzewski’s roster sought to make a statement, that would be seen and heard across the collegiate basketball landscape , as a reminder of what to expect during the upcoming NCAA Basketball Tournament . And the hero of the hour , in this game on Saturday , just happened to be Ryan Kelly , whose single-handed display took on epic proportions and was described by the Blue Devils’ coach as one of the five best performances ever , by a player that he has coached under his tutelage . High praise indeed , coming from a coach of Mike Krzyzewski’s esteem , and when you consider the players coached by Krzyzewski during his tenure with this program, you have to realize how special Kelly’s achievements were on Saturday afternoon.

Ryan Kelly scored 36 points on 10 of ten fourteen , shooting, hitting seven threes from beyond the arc , as well as , pulling down seven rebounds , and leading all scorers in Duke’s 79-76 victory over the Miami Hurricanes. With both programs also ranked in the top ten of the NCAA rankings and with both having ambitions with regard to the regular season ACC championship crown . This game most definitely went along way letting us know what we should expect once the NCAA Tournament gets underway . I certainly expect both of these ACC programs to be in “ the thick of things “ , the farther along we get into the tournament !

“ Pretense “ and “ pretenders “ do go , hand in hand , as how else would you expect to now hear the bells within Madison Square Garden a faux cathedral to mediocrity , go exceedingly silent quiet ? The cacophony of noise extolling the virtues of the New York Knicks (35-21) were soundly silenced on Sunday afternoon. Mike Woodson’s team played host to their heated conference rivals the Miami Heat (43-14) . In what should have been a game emphasizing the best of what the Easter Conference had to offer . The Knicks simply threw up the white flag of surrender and must now realize that in a seven game series , they will not be remotely in the same area code when it comes to competitive play, especially if they are matched up against the Heat at any stage of this postseason .

LeBron James and his teammates simply overwhelmed the Knicks with an exhibition of teamwork , whereas their opponents were simply struggling for solutions as to how best to stop the league’s best player and one of its most potent offensive weapons . I have always maintained during the regular season , you can put up all the damn points you want on the scoreboard , but if you can’t play a lick of frigging defense , then you are definitely not going to progress deep into the NBA postseason.

Undoubtedly, the front office of the New York Knicks saw this team in its current guise , had ambitions not only to challenge the Miami Heat , but to also lay down the gauntlet to the rest of the aspirants within the Eastern Conference as well as the NBA as a whole. And while I have been impressed with the Knicks in large part , primarily because of the play of Carmelo Anthony . I simply believe that there are still far too many flaws on this team , that GM Glen Grunwald has failed to address ! It would appear that the organization is intent on spending money and acquiring free agents as a way of attaining success , rather than by appearance alone , seeking to nurture talent organically. Having dropped from the second seed to the third seed within the conference , does not aid the franchise , given their recent form of the New York Knicks in their endeavor for the season .

Well , the Baltimore Ravens have their man , having signed quarterback , Joe Flacco in what is now said to be the “ highest salaried contract “ in NFL history. The deal in question , is a six-year $ 120 million compensation package , that makes the player , the highest paid in the NFL as well as the highest paid quarterback in league history. Far be it for me, to suggest, that the player is overrated or overpaid , as I feel that the league , long ago failed to eschew financial accountability , much less intelligence , being shown by Commissioner Roger Goodell , or the league hierarchy , team owners and the front office executives ! Flacco for his part , simply lived up to his team’s and that of John Harbaugh’s expectations , as the Ravens triumphed over the San Francisco Giants in Superbowl 47 (SB47/XLVII).

With the off-season now in full swing and teams seeking to offload impending free agents and players thought to be superfluous to their needs . The player personnel version of “ Black Monday “ has begun , with some notable players having been discarded by their respective franchises . And nowhere was this more evident than with the Atlanta Falcons and their summarily discarding amongst others , running back , Michael Turner , Dunta Robinson and perennial Pro-Bowl defensive player , John Abrahams . The team’s failings this postseason , I believe are a reflection not only of their poor play but also , a clear lack of leadership , and the very fact that quarterback , Matt Ryan , appears to be a “lamb being led to the slaughter” , once the postseason comes around. He’s great during the regular season , yet for some reason any type of postseason foray becomes his “ Achilles’ Heel” .

The fact that head coach, Mike Smith in conjunction with Team President , Rich McKay GM, Thomas Dimitroff have sought to make these wholesale changes , is a clear sign of dissatisfaction as well as the fact that they now believe that they have gone as far as was ultimately possible with the players that they have jettisoned . While the players taken from their most recent drafts have proven to be productive , quite obviously , many of the team’s seasoned veterans simply did not meet expectations. As to where the Falcons now go from here , it remains to be seen, but it becoming abundantly clear that Matt Ryan should he fail this upcoming season to lead this franchise deep into a postseason run. The questions will be raised concerning his abilities and the fact that this first round 2008 NFL Draft pick could very well be viewed as something of a “ considerable bust” . Your thoughts on this , and anything else you believe to be relevant as it relates to the Atlanta Falcons , this past season ?

The fact that head coach, Mike Smith in conjunction with Team President , Rich McKay GM, Thomas Dimitroff have sought to make these wholesale changes , is a clear sign of dissatisfaction as well as the fact that they now believe that they have gone as far as was ultimately possible with the players that they have jettisoned . While the players taken from their most recent drafts have proven to be productive , quite obviously , many of the team’s seasoned veterans simply did not meet expectations. As to where the Falcons now go from here , it remains to be seen, but it becoming abundantly clear that Matt Ryan should he fail this upcoming season to lead this franchise deep into a postseason run. The questions will be raised concerning his abilities and the fact that this first round 2008 NFL Draft pick could very well be viewed as something of a “ considerable bust” . Your thoughts on this , and anything else you believe to be relevant as it relates to the Atlanta Falcons , this past season ?

The NFL Combine while it lasted , was something of a drab display and granted , there are no real players of standout talent . There is this continued belief that teams will be able to pick up “ a diamond in the rough” .Yet , from what many of us have witnessed and the NFL analysts have suggested , there has not been one overpowering performance that has simply blown everyone away. This weekend , Lauren Silberman , sought to make history as the first female to be part of the NFL Draft participants , as part of a combine , by trying out as a kicker . The fact that the tryouts in question , were held at Florham Park , New Jersey , home of the New York Jets’ practice facility , should tell you all you need to know . Gimmick or not , only the Jets as a franchise , would be prepared to subject themselves and Silberman to such ridicule . And the former soccer star with the University of Wisconsin (Badgers) , while trying her best , her two attempted kicks went for a combined 32 yards . Silberman, in her later interviews after her unsuccessful tryouts suggested that the quadriceps injury that she suffered some weeks earlier , restricted her full range of motion and complete movement . My thoughts on this all , there’s a place for Lauren Silberman , within the Lingerie Football League , but most definitely , not in the NFL !

Spring Training may well be here, and the standings as they currently are , within the Citrus and Grapefruit Leagues , do not really give enough of an indicator , as what to expect , once the regular MLB regular season schedule gets underway. Besides , isn’t there an idiotic international competition, that will somehow , interfere with the preparations of the teams? The quadrennial event known as the World Baseball Classic , is now once again within our midst and the group play will commence on the 2nd March , 2013 . The television coverage for the Classic, will be provided jointly by ABC/ESPN , in its entirety. The fact that team USA since the competition’s inception has never had a great showing , indicates one of two things , (1) ____ the top US born players , simply have no interest in a competition where they will not be richly rewarded and (2) ____ this competition devised by the MLB hierarchy and IBAF , baseball’s international governing body simply knows that the sport can gain no traction while it remains under suspicion because Bud Selig has failed miserably to rein in the actions of the ” drug cheats” within the game ,here on the continent of North America .

Team USA manager Joe Torre will be looking to stave off the team’s bad showing in the WBC . Since its inception the organization has failed to make a deep run , whereby it has qualified for the championship game , itself . The current makeup of the roster while extremely talented , it doesn’t create the impression that this is any way the best or most competitive team that could be fielded for what is said to be most prestigious international team tournament , beyond the IBAF World Cup. The team is drawn in Group D in a four team group, which consists of Canada , Italy , Mexico and the USA , itself . They will be based in Phoenix , playing their initial group games at Chase Field , in Phoenix , Arizona , home to the Arizona Diamondbacks . The sixteen team tournament , with its first round of group staged games should make for an enthralling event, as the scenarios begin to play themselves out .

As I alluded to earlier the Team USA roster , while being talented , it is by no means a team that offers the fans the best of the talent available , for what I believe to be a truly competitive team ! The pitching staff led by R A Dickey , also consists of Derek Holland , Mitchell Boggs, Tim Collins , Ross Detwiler and Gio Gonzalez , amongst others . In terms of offense , the lead will be provided by Mark Teixeira, Giancarlo Stanton , Brandon Phillips , Adam Jones , Ryan Braun , David Wright and Ben Zobrist . A real threat to anyone , when you consider the strengths of the other participants as the two-time reigning champions , Japan , Cuba , China , Chinese Taipei and the Dominican Republic .

And the game of baseball faces an uphill battle as it seeks to have the sport reinstated as part of the Summer Olympics . The mere fact that Selig is now pressing Ricardo Farrari , President of IBAF to merge their efforts with ISF (International Softball Federation) , the governing body for the women’s softball as they present a joint bid to have both sports reinstated , spells out for me clearly how low on the “pecking order” both sports have now become on the international sports’ scene. So much so, that IOC President , Jacques Rogge and the fellow members of the IOC Executive Committee have indicated that both sports, were they to be reinstated , the earliest proposed return would not take place until the 2020 Summer Games . Do however , bear in mind that a decision has not yet been made , as to which country and city will be the host for the games in question . Those with a vested interest in hosting the quadrennial event , are the cities of Istanbul , Turkey , Tokyo , Japan , Madrid , Spain , Doha , Qatar, and Baku in Azerbaijan. I am sure that there will be enough intrigue and the atypical connivance of bribery and corruption , that will go along with the bidding process in question ! Not unlike the asinine antics, we have come to expect from the MLB team owners and the league hierarchy , itself .

Inasmuch, as I am looking forward to baseball’s season of ridiculous intent , of luring the fans , in with they believe will be an exciting year . Let’s get one thing straight , the game will still be engulfed by those who have , and those who do not ! The fact that the New York Yankees this year , will have a payroll exceeding $200 million , once again sets us up for a season , where even the Bronx Bombers will be hard pressed to outdo the Los Angeles Dodgers for print space and within the television media , as Magic Johnson and his latest bauble , with their $215 million payroll will try to outdo their AL counterpart , both on and off the field of play. Personally , I am beginning to wonder whether or not the Oakland Athletics and their rather menial payroll of $60 million will be able to reproduce the form , and excitement witnessed last season , at home and away from the O Coliseum and still be competitive enough to compete at the highest echelons of the game ! And dependent upon who you may ask the AL West might either get exceedingly tougher or softer , with the addition of last season’s worst baseball franchise , the Houston Astros (55-107), as they now become the latest member of the American League (AL). Make of it what , you will , but I am sure that the sweetheart deal and sweetener offered ($65 million) to Astros’ owner Jim Crane , will ease the burden and pain of another insufferable season !

Speaking of insufferable seasons, how much longer will the fans of the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates have to endure the years of ignominy in terms of their poor showing from year to year ? Several years ago a patron of this, claiming to be a knowledgeable individual and an employee of a well-known NL Central franchise made the claim , that the Royals were a ball-club on the rise and would be a serious contender in 2011 and 2012. Well, here we are, in 2013 , and the franchise is no better than a .500 team and that is even with the aspiring talent that is made to make up the roster. Personally , I do not believe that the Kansas City Royals’ owner , David Glass , has the slightest interest in seeing the franchise be a competitive concern within baseball. If that were the case, then surely with the resources at Glass’ disposal , in terms of his wealth , then he would have made a concerted effort to change the mindset of this entire organization . Instead , year in and year out , the Royals are the backwaters’ organization relying on the largess of the league hierarchy and the continued asinine tax sharing revenue scheme. Bud Selig believes this exercise has been to the benefit of the small market teams around the league , but in reality , nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ll say this for Pirates’ owner Bob Nutting , he really does know how to blow smoke up people’s ass. Having purchased the franchise from McClatchy family , the Pirates have yet acquire a winning season , during his tenure, as the owner of this ball-club. The lone star, on this Pirates’ team , and the organization’s best player , is their All Star center-fielder, Andrew McCutchen . Granted, Nutting has made an effort to raise and then pare down the Pirates’ payroll repeatedly over the years , dependent upon the ball-club’s degree of success. GM Neal Huntington , has worked in conjunction with the team owner and coaching staff to draft prudently to meet the team’s needs over the last few years (2009,2010,2011 and 2012). With the departure of the Houston Astros , it will be interesting to see if the Pirates can avoid being the bottom feeder within the NL Central this season .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Over this past weekend, which sporting event to your mind, provided you with the most interest ? Also, do you believe that there will come a time when a female can compete, at any level, within the NFL ? Your thoughts on this, and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it is gratefully appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow details for your perusal .

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(1) Duke’s Ryan Kelly (34) drives to the basket as Miami’s Shane Larkin (0) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, March 2, 2013. Duke won 79-76 . AP Photo/Gerry Broome ….

(2) Miami’s Kenny Kadji (35) dunks over Duke defender Ryan Kelly during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, March 2, 2013. AP Photo/Gerry Broome …

(3) Mason Plumlee (5) looks to make a pass during the against Miami Hurricanes at Cameron Indoor Arena , Charlotte , North Carolina on Saturday 2nd March , 2013 . Duke would go on to defeat Miami 79-76. Miami Sun Sentinel / Jorge Vargas ….

(4) Duke fans celebrate after the team’s triumph over their ACC rivals the Miami Hurricanes in a conference match-up between these two teams with NCAA championship aspirations. Before, however , there still remains the conference title as well the championship to be decided . @ copyrighted material …….. all rights reserved .

(5) NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 3: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat shoots in a game against the New York Knicks on March 3, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Heat would go on to defeat the Knicks 99-93 , and then on Monday night , they would gain their fifteenth consecutive victory by outlasting the Minnesota Timberwolves in a lopsided 97-81 triumph . Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(6) Further emphasizing that the Knicks can’t defend “worth a damn ” . Lebron James goes in , unchallenged for an uncontested dunk against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 3, 2013 in New York City. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images ..

(7) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco walks up to a microphone before speaking at a news conference at the team’s practice facility in Owings Mills, Md., Monday, March 4, 2013. Flacco agreed to a contract that will make him the highest paid quarterback in NFL history after leading the Ravens to a Super Bowl XLVII victory over the San Francisco 49ers. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(8) FILE – In this Dec. 9, 2012 file photo, Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) sits on the bench before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. The Falcons have released Turner, defensive end John Abraham and corner-back Dunta Robinson The moves were announced Friday, March 1, 2013, by a team that came up just short of the Super Bowl. AP Photo/Bob Leverone …..

(9) From left to right , Atlanta Falcons’ team President , Rich McKay , GM Thomas Dimitroff and team owner , Arthur Blank are seen in the executive sky-box suites at Falcons’ home game . McKay and Dimitroff have made the decision to revamp the team’s roster by cutting several players as part of an off-season purge and “salary cap easing” , as they prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft and the possible signing of free agents this off-season . AP Photo / Marcus Richards ….

(10) Lauren Silberman talks to officials after taking two attempts during kicker tryouts at an NFL football regional combine workout, Sunday, March 3, 2013, at the New York Jets’ training facility in Florham Park, N.J. AP Photo/Mel Evans

(11) Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen runs off the field in the rain before a baseball spring training exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall ….

(12) Andruw Jones 25 and Jonathan Balentina (29) of Netherlands celebrate with team-mates after 4-1 victory against Australia during the World Baseball Classic First Round Group B match between Australia and the Netherlands at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on March 5, 2013 in Taichung, Taiwan. ….

(13) Joe Torre will manage Team USA in the World Baseball Classic . Torre is hoping to lead the team to international success in a competition that the country has yet to win since its inception in 2006 . AP/REUTERS/ Martin Jacobs …..

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By Tophatal and my bio

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NCAA archive basketball news

NCAA Men’s Basketball rankings

NCAA men’s basketball results 03/03/2013 and results of 2nd March 2013

Men’s basketball schedule 4th March 2013

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NBA news

NBA results 3rd March 2013 & scheduled games for 4th March 2013

NBA standings by division and by conference

NBA playoff picture

NBA team statistics offense

NBA team stats defense

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NFL news & news from the NFL Combine

NFL transactions

NFL Draft 2013

Atlanta Falcons news

Baltimore Ravens news

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MLB news

MLB results 5th March 2013

MLB schedule 6th March

MLB Spring Training Standings —- Citrus & Grapefruit Leagues

World Baseball Classic home page and team brackets

World Baseball Classic news

World Baseball Classic schedule