Ah Those Lovable Scoundrels …….. !

Ah Those Lovable Scoundrels …….. !

It seems the depths of ineptitude continue for one of baseball’s great franchises in the Chicago Cubs . The ownership group led by Tom Ricketts sought to fire GM Jim Hendry after his seventeen years loyal service with the organization . Given the history of the players associated (Hall of Famers) with this organization many of whom have been enshrined in Cooperstown , at the Hall of Fame it has to be said that their fall from grace has been absolutely horrendous .

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I would hazard a guess that Tom Ricketts and the members of the family could no longer withstand the ridicule and the mere fact that the long faithful and loyal fans in attendance at Wrigley Field essentially had enough of the lackluster displays and the sheer ineptitude of the team and managerial staff . To say that this team has underachieved this season would be to suggest that Peyton Manning had an off-day at the office but that he’d been doing so repeatedly over the last decade. Highs and lows over the course their history , more lows than highs if anything but it has to be said that the Tom Ricketts had high hopes for the organization . And as we know the postseason hasn’t exactly been kind to the Chicago Cubs . There’s a saying …… “always the bridesmaid never the bride ” . In the case of the Cubs that hasn’t happened in over 100 years for this ballclub laying claim to the World Series .

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Chicago Cubs interim general manager Randy Bush talks to the media before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 21, 2011 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by David Banks/Getty Images …….

It’d be remiss to suggest that Jim Hendry might just be the worse front office executive in the game today but given the slim pickings in terms of the sheer ineptitude shown by the now defunct executive one might hazard a guess that Hendry’s name would be considered a worthy nomination. Cubs’ manager Mike Quade now has to endure a season of speculation as to whether not he’ll retain his job until the end of the year . And at this juncture no one can actually be sure of that , with no successor named to succeed Hendry , and no formal statement coming from the owners .

At this point it’s hard to say what the all consuming Chicago Cubs’ fan ought to expect from this organization . Certainly , ever since Tom Ricketts assumed control of this team having purchased the organization that had been placed into bankruptcy proceedings by then multi billionaire mogul Sam Zell . I am not about to suggest that Zell gave up on this organization by jettisoning the ball-club but you simply get the impression that the “curse of the goat” simply remains in tact. No amount of refurbishment to Wrigley Field can offset the ineptitude shown on the diamond by this team . What glimmer of hope there might have been, has been few , if at all ! Certainly from the future standpoint of the club everything points to the future as the moves made by front office and the draft choices made. The bright spots also are the prospects within the organization and its farm system where there appears to a number of players looking to contribute for the Chicago Cubs .

As we have all come to know injuries will play a part in team’s season and how the players they simply chooses to acquit themselves . There seems to be no real leadership coming from the veterans on this team and for the likes of Alfonso Soriano , Carlos Pena , Geovany Soto , Kerry Wood and Starlin Castro have offered little hope if anything to show the fans there’s imminent hope that things are about to make an immediate turnaround .

There are few teams within the game of baseball that in terms of attendance that can consistently draw in excess of 2,500,000 fans each season and the Chicago Cubs just happens to be one of those teams . Considered a big market team with a storied history , loyal supporters and litany of devoted followers nationwide it is extremely hard to see how a ball-club can seemingly remain in such an abyss of mediocrity. But herein , lies the drama and ever evolving cycle that encapsulates what the Chicago Cubs seems to be about.

The now infamous Steve Bartman ‘incident’ and his confrontation with Moises Alou over a fly ball in a postseason game played between the Cubs and Florida Marlins will go down in Chicago Cubs’ folklore. If ever there were a time to sympathize with the ball-club then that might have been it. Bartman was vilified not only by the fans , the city of Chicago but also the team’s broadcasters who covered the game.

Tom Ricketts may seek to promote from within in terms of a successor to Jim Hendry or they may well seek to go outside that comfortability zone and bring in someone with the experience they seek in terms of a front office executive. The opportunity is there for the right candidate but the speculation remains as to when a decision will be forthcoming from the ownership group.

One of the major fallouts from the whole unsavory episode now surrounding the University of Miami and its now soured athletics program could well be the form of punishment imposed on the school by the NCAA . Mark Emmert as president of collegiate athletics’ governing body that upon the finality of its investigations into the claims made by the now disgraced Canes’ booster Nevin Shapiro , who is now serving a multi year sentence in a federal penitentiary will make a decision as to what punishment he feel is appropriate to be levied against the university. Watching all of this closely will be USC Trojans’ athletics director Pat Haden with the school having been severely punished in light of school’s own problematic program _____ in particular the football program and the allegations surrounding former player Reggie Bush .

Donna Shalala , Shawn Eichorst and David Reed in conjunction with Hurricanes’ football coach Al Golden have all tried to suggest that the school still has a great deal of integrity and that the students have been the embodiment of what character is all about. But such has been the systemic violations and the mere fact that the aforementioned quartet closely aligned themselves with one of the school’s major boosters in Nevin Shapiro , that it is hard to believe any statement uttered by Shalala and her subordinates.

Pat Haden having succeeded Mike Garrett will watch with a great deal of interest as to the form of punishment that is meted out to the university of Miami. Clearly with the sanctions placed upon USC , with the school having to vacate a championship season , multiple student athlete scholarships and postseason appearances _____ anything short of that as a form of action levied against the Canes’ program will be viewed as being biased . What might be even more suspect as this situation unfolds is that Paul Dee a former athletics director of the University of Miami now chairs NCAA’s Infractions Committee . My own opinion , is that Dee will have to recuse himself if a decision has to be made over a program that he was once an administrator of , as by perception alone , the appearance of a conflict of interest comes into being. Haden would have a valid point in appealing any ruling that Paul Dee is a part of , in rendering a decision that imposes any sanction that is viewed to be somewhat light in terms of its severity.

I am not about to suggest that the NCAA isn’t above some type surreptitious activity , given the inconsistency shown in the forms of punishment levied against certain programs. But herein lies my biggest concern , if the NCAA shows its unwillingness to punish the school with impunity then what does that say about that institutional body as a whole ? Mark Emmert and the institution he presides over (NCAA) not only has a credibility problem but also an image problem that certainly needs to be addressed. It’s one thing to suggest changes that he would like to see but at this moment in time the NCAA president has done little to suggest that he is indeed a man of action. Instead he seems to be ready foist upon the public meaningless and asinine sound bytes merely to curry favor with the public at large .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

With the firing of Cubs’ general manager Jim Hendry where do you now see the ownership going in terms of a successor and do you view Mike Quade’s job as still being safe at this juncture ? Also how do you team’s season panning out over the remainder of the year ? Do you also feel that any that Pat Haden will be justified in lodging an appeal should Paul Dee preside over any deliberations as it concerns the punishment that may well be levied against the University of Miami ? Simply leave a comment on the points raised as you deem fit .

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

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(1) St. Louis Cardinals’ Yadier Molina, left, and Fernando Salas celebrate the Cardinals 6-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs after a baseball game on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/Jim Prisching …..

(2) Chicago Cubs’ catcher Geovany Soto, left, looks on as the St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols celebrates his solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/Jim Prisching ………

(3) Chicago Cubs interim general manager Randy Bush talks to the media before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 21, 2011 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by David Banks/Getty Images …….

(4) Hendry (left) is seen here alongside Tom Ricketts whose family are the primary owners of the Chicago Cubs . Ricketts wealth came from the online stock trading company Ameritrade founded by his father patriarch J. Joseph Ricketts . The company now known as TD Ameritrade Inc. . Ricketts is also the CEO of Chicago financial concern Incapital LLC . He plays an active concern in both companies as well as the day to day operations of the Chicago Cubs of which each of his siblings are also involved with the organization in various capacities . AP Photo/ Matthew Barnhart ……

(5) Hendry ,left is seen here alongside now incumbent manager Mike Quade , center and Tom Ricketts , owner of the Chicago Cubs. There is now mounting speculation as to whether or not Quade will be retained by the club beyond this season . Interim general manager Randy Bush hasn’t indicated what the organization’s plans are other than to suggest the Mike Quade remains the team’s manager for the moment. AP Photo/ Rich Howard ….

(6) Donna Shalala right is seen here alongside former Miami booster and now incarcerated felon Nevin Shapiro (center) . Shalala has tried to distance herself and the school’s athletics department staff from all of the perceived wrongdoings concerning Shapiro and his claims. Courtesy of Miami Herald .

(7) Paul Dee (background-far left) is seen here with Donna Shalala . Dee , now the chairman of the NCAA’s Infractions Committee would have to preside over the hearings concerning the University of Miami’s alleged improprieties . However, in lieu of this Pat Haden the AD of USC is questioning the impartiality that can be shown as Paul Dee once served as the athletics director of the Miami Hurricanes’ program . ……….. AP /Getty Images / Humberto Cruz …..

(8) Pat Haden the current AD of USC having succeeded Mike Garrett . He has been entrusted to clean up the school’s tarnished image in light of the violations and subsequent punishment meted out by the NCAA. The USC Trojans’ AD has made it public that he will be closely scrutinizing actions of the NCAA and how they treat the University of Miami in light of the allegations and any sanctions levied against the school. Also coming into question as broached by Haden will be the fact that Paul Dee as chairman of the Infractions Committee will preside over the hearings concerning the school . One has to bear in mind that Dee served as a former athletics director of the Canes’ program as well as teaching law at the school. AP Photo / Mitch Marshall ……..

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The NCAA Is An Archaic System That Has Outlived Its Usefulness

The NCAA Is An Archaic System That Has Outlived Its Usefulness

Once again it appears that another collegiate coach has overstepped his parameters as a coach by flouting the rules of the NCAA by violating a number of ordinances that govern college recruiting and that might also cover academic fraud. Tenneessee Volunteers’ basketball coach Bruce Pearl has admitted lying to members of the NCAA’s Infraction’s Committee after the college’s athletics program is said to have committed several recruitment violations. Pearl is said to have not only obstructed the investigation of the committee but at although the findings there are not yet complete and ready for the public’s notification he firmly believes that he’ll still be able to retain his position as the Volunteers men’s basketball coach.

It has to be said that Tennessee and the faculty there has yet to take any action against the coach even though Pearl admitted that he made a profound error in judgment and awaits clarification as to what action will be taken by the university. My question is that the NCAA seems to be quick to act with impunity when a student athlete violates an NCAA rule that governs collegiate athletics. But yet when a coach is involved in such an act they’ve effectively chosen not to punish the coach. And what action if any one would have thought appropriate wherein the college themselves would take necessary a stance to countermand those transgressions. In the case of former USC Trojans’ basketball coach Tim Floyd who knowingly gave cash to a recruit , O J Mayo and then denied any wrongdoing before leaving the program by choice without any admission of guilt. The school at the time while conducting its own internal investigation and audit clearly overlooked the coach’s actions but would then seek to nullify the charges made by the NCAA when they found that not only were Floyd’s actions clearly a transgression of the NCAA rules but that there was a vast cover-up enacted to hide the actions of both coach and player. But the actions of the athletics’ department just didn’t stop there but it also covered the actions of former football players at the school most notably that the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush.

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Slide show gallery.

The fallout from what has transpired at USC has led to the school undergoing severe NCAA sanctions of which they won’t be able to make a postseason appearance for two years as well as losing numerous athletics’ scholarships . But what might be even more unbelievable is the mere fact that former Trojans’ football coach Pete Carroll claims that he was completely unaware as to what was going on within the program at the time. Carroll’s departure prior to the sanctions being announced and then the abrupt action by Reggie Bush to return his Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trophy Committee would suggest that there was a great deal that the public and alumni of the college were never completely made aware of . Once again a coach walks away ‘Scot-Free’ , with some questionable actions on his part and that of a former player who’s said to have profited financially while attending the school and all this happening under the nose of the then AD Mike Garrett who has since re-signed to be replaced by Pat Haden.

Stories such as this have been cropping up with alarming regularity around the world of collegiate athletics and a number of the programs in question are prominent schools that are synonymous with collegiate athletics excellence. Now under the microscope is U-Conn mens’ basketball coach Jim Calhoun and once again his actions that of several compliance officers and coaching staff are being questioned as to what they knew and did concerning the recruitment of a number of players to the school’s basketball program. Calhoun has repeatedly skirted around the issue stating that there’s been no wrongdoing on his part and that he knows of no incidents where he or any of his staff have acted inappropriately. However the NCAA’s findings have suggested that not only may Jim Calhoun known about the violations in question but he may well have played a part in its orchestration. What surprises me in all of this has been the fact that the NCAA chooses to punish only the schools for the actions that are knowingly perpetrated by coaches and staff members and then make it known that the athletes are the ones who are also complicit in this all. I’d like to know why it is that no action can be taken against the coaches themselves ?

OK so the coaches are in the employment of the schools that have hired them but then again their remuneration packages are such, that they’re being paid not only to bring success to the program but also the prerequisite talent to those respective sports. And any action taken wherein a coach is fired without due cause can lead to a wrongful dismissal lawsuit. If those actions by the coaches are egregious and they bring about sanctions even if the main cause has been the undue acts of an athlete then it’s my belief that if the violations have a veracity to them then the coaches should be either fired or suspended. In the real world where an employee has broken a rule or committed a criminal act then the employer is quite within their right to dismiss that employee. Why not in the world of collegiate athletics ?

The NCAA is also is just as much to blame in this all because of their lack of oversight in not doing what I believe would be appropriate and that is to conduct a regular audit of schools on a regular basis. Much like independent audit can be conducted on a public company by the SEC when they feel that there’s been misconduct by its board of directors. But then again we tend to make comparisons of some institutions and that of the Federal government and how they go about dealing with misconduct. As way too often excuses are made by the institutions in question when they’re asked to undertake an investigation. Idiocy abounds when repeatedly we’re told that they have found no wrongdoing when it’s clear that there’s been egregious actions on the part of a company. However with the NCAA, it’s a case where they tend to pick and choose who they are prepared to make an example of . For a body that has to oversee collegiate athletics the bureaucracy within the institution is archaic and cumbersome . It’s also reflected by the complete lack of transparency that’s shown by the NCAA . A multi billion dollar institution that in essence rules over its kingdom like a third world despot leader but who tries to give the impression to the world that there isn’t a problem at all within its domain because they have it all under control.

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Picture galley for your perusal.

What if anything do you feel ought to imposed upon a coach when it’s clear that there has been an egregious NCAA violation where he or she has played a part in that transgression ? Do you feel that the coach ought to be suspended or fired where the act is egregious and he has played a part in the violation ? Also how do you view the NCAA under the new tenure of its President Mark Emmert ? Do you believe that there has been enough transparency by the NCAA since Emmert took over from his predecessor Myles Brand ? Make your thoughts known felt by simply leaving a comment as you’d deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s great appreciated .

NB: It has since been announced that U Conn imposed sanctions against itself after admitting that they had in fact violated rules concerning contact between recruits and coaches . Also that there’s tenuous actions with regard to academic fraud at the school.

Alan aka tophatal ……………………. 🙂

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Nikki_B

Eye candy courtesy of Low Rider Magazine . Nikki B video vixen who’s also a staple of XXL Magazine.

I’m No One’s Bitch But My Own …… !

I’m No One’s Bitch But My Own !

OK so someone explain to me what was so noble about what was done by Reggie Bush ? Giving up his Heisman Trophy after the cheating that took place when from the outset as he lied as to the fact that he took nor did he licit any gifts from an agent or boosters from within the US Trojans’ organization. From start to finish this has been one complete charade and much of that may well have been done with the knowledge of his former coach Pete Carroll and no doubt former athletic director Mike Garrett. Pat Haden who as successor to Garrett has thanked the former Trojan for his actions and stated that…”it was a commendable thing to do”. Now as the Heisman Board of Trustees makes a decision as to whether or not to award the the trophy to runner up Vince Young or to completely vacate verdict of 2005 one has to ask what sort of a deterrent will this be seen as to other athletes ?

Clearly Bush has profited from the award financially not just from his draft status in 2006 but also from the commercial endorsements garnered by the player. The NCAA in their dealings with USC found that the program there was rife with numerous infractions stemming from 2005 and prior. In pronouncing their findings they sought punish the program with impunity. The loss of multiple scholarships and none appearances in BCS bowl games for two consecutive years. We may think that the punishment was too severe but when one considers that the program sought to hide behind this subterfuge without an admission of guilt. And the idiocy shown by former USC students in trying to negate the wrongdoing by saying that the cheating didn’t take place on the field of play was as asinine as it comes !

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The NCAA doesn’t stipulate as to how cheating is prescribed as it concerns on the field endeavors because they simply state infractions of any kind aren’t tolerated. If that’s not a clear enough definition for those individuals then the education that takes place on the campus of USC isn’t all it’s cracked up to be ! As to Young being the recipient of the award, well it may not viewed as the right thing to do but to my mind it would not settle a situation that the Heisman board members and the NCAA were in some ways fully aware as to ongoing inconsistencies going on within the Trojans’ athletic program. But the idiocy here was that they all chose to turn a blind eye to the actions that had been rumored to have taken place. ere it not for the investigative journalists who sought to seek out the truth then much of what came to light would’ve remained hidden.

The NFL season is but a week old but already injuries could well become the culprit that waylays the year for several teams . It could play a great deal as to what transpires for numerous teams. So far the New York Jets , New England Patriots , Indianapolis Colts and are but a slew of teams that has lost players to season ending injuries. And it will become a test of wills for their coaches to see if the players plugged in to fill those gaps will prove to be sufficient to keep their seasons intact .

Did I miss something concerning the San Diego Chargers’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs ? I’m no great admirer of Norv Turner as a coach as I don’t view him as someone who knows how to handle real adversity within the NFL well. The Chargers’ defense was about as resolute as the passengers on the Titanic as they sought to save themselves. In the case of the Chargers there was nothing to be saved here other than the reputation of several veterans. The upheaval that there has been within the team where we’ve since seen the departure of future Hall of Famer LaDanian Tomlinsion and the discord between wide receiver Vincent Jackson </a? and the organization . GM A J Smith and team President & CEO Dean Spanos while looking towards the future seem to be unsure as to the what direction that they want the team to be heading in.

The AFC West long seen as the Chargers’ own personal backyard but this season could turn out to be somewhat different as the Chiefs now seem to be more resolute with the addition of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel as the offensive and defensive coordinators for the team . The two experienced veteran coaches will provide a great deal of assistance to head coach Todd Haley . We may well also get to see how much growth there will be quarterback Matt Cassel’s game as he seeks to more cohesiveness with his team and in particular with the offense. The defense showed depth and signs of maturity in their season opener but it was special teams that brought about the victory for the success starved Chiefs.

Say what you may about the Oakland Raiders but I now get the impression that many of their fans aren’t always willing to deal with reality. And if they are, they’ll tend to wax on lyrically about past achievements rather than the reality of what’s happening at present. Can a Raiders’ fan simply explain to me how from one moment to the next this team simply plays as if they’ve no sense of acceptance or responsibility to their fans ? And from a coaching standpoint Tom Cable just hasn’t instigated any sort of discipline into this team. If there’s a Raiders fan out there who believes that he has then I’d like to hear your ideas as to where there’s evidence of that ? Two years on and it could well be that should Cable and the team not have a winning season then we could see the organization part with the coach and the ever revolving door of coaches departing from the team once again commences. It’s strange to see how far this organization has fallen from grace all under the tenure of owner Al Davis . And as storied as Davis’ legacy as been there comes a time when the keys to the kingdom has to be turned over to someone who actually knows the hell what they’re doing.

As week two approaches a number of things may well fall into place as a number of teams will actually begin to find their footing as the season progresses. My biggest concern is how realistic the league will be in the declining attendances across the NFL. Granted the cavernous edifices of Cowboys Stadium and Meadowlands Stadium may not initially reflect that given that both venues are still in their infancy but it remains to be seen whether or not the teams who call it their home can fill the venues without the anticipated success. Overall revenues are now on the decline for the NFL and so too has been game attendance although television viewership appears to be on the rise. The economic recession has played its part in this all but now with the uncertainty of a possible labor stoppage and the mere fact that there’s an impasse between the league and players’ union. And one could ask whether or not Commissioner Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA are actually making a concerted effort to reach an amicable agreement that would curtail a lockout ? What we’ve heard from either side would indicate that the chasm between the two sides appears to be wider than first thought . And neither side it appears wants to be seen as the villain of the piece but clearly neither side wants to be seen as the culprit that brings about a strike within the NFL. The good faith and will built between the league and its patrons , the fans , will suffer should the league shutdown for the entire upcoming season. Chances are if that scenario were to arise then we all might as well take up needlepoint as a replacement for watching or attending NFL games.

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Picture gallery for your perusal

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised in this piece and how do you view things panning out specifically with regard to the league ?

Alan aka tophatal 🙂 * 😦

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Bria Myles’ 22’s but I’m sure headlights and rims are far bigger than that ! And who wouldn’t want to polish Bria’s headlights ?

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Cassidy … feat’g Swizz Beatz ……..“My Drink-N-2 Step”