Carpe` Diem …….. Seize The Day

Carpe` Diem … Seize The Day

By tophatal ….

Well it would appear that MLB (baseball) has another image problem to deal in light of the fact that NL MVP Ryan Braun has tested positive for a banned substance prohibited by the league hierarchy . In light in what has been one of the most exciting and exhilirating seasons in recent baseball history . The fact that a reigning MVP is now embroiled in such a controversy that further tarnishes the image of the game as well Braun , himself , further emphasizes what I have felt along ! Major League Baseball and its hierarchy under MLB Commissioner Bud Selig just happens to far too clueless for their own good and are in complete denial ! For his part the denial of Braun while vociferous points to the fact the players and their union (MLBPA) clearly are not averse to still seeing their members flout the rules of the game .

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Now while I don’t believe that the BBWAA will rescind the awarding OF Braun the accolade I do believe that in future they will clearly have to rethink the premise under which they set their criteria . The voting itself within the NL had Ryan Braun defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp not necessarily by the slimmest of margins but it may well now set about a precedence about what was known concerning this issue, as baseball’s hierarchy were fully cognizant of this the player’s positive result some months ago , but only now just making it public after his having been awarded the accolade . Pardon me for saying this , but in what universe are the ” so called custodians of the game “ living in ? More to the point where is the common sense prevailing within the game itself ? Now in light of this all we now know that the league has now chosen reinstate twice guilty substance abuser Manny Ramirez , therefore affording him the right to return to the game , which he himself has tarnished as well given fans a number of exciting as well as thought provoking moments to think about over the course of his career . Suffice to say it’s back to business as usual within the game of baseball where in essence , not a god damn thing has changed ! The league and the team owners at this juncture are simply devoid of all intelligence in spite of the continued claims of Bud Selig that the game now has the most stringent of testing policies in all of professional sports . What Selig and the managers and the union have clearly chosen no to do is to educate the players on what is meant to be legitimate in terms of the substances that they deem allowable within the game . Not once have I heard a succinct answer being given as to the legitimate substances allowable for use by the players . Is there a fan out there who doesn’t at all find this surprising ?

As to the possible penalties that can be levied against Ryan Braun beyond the mandatory 50 game suspension for a first violation . I think it highly unlikely that the BBWAA (Baseball Writers’ Assoc of America) will take away his award and then place it in the hands of Matt Kemp as their de-facto recipient . What else could be anymore embarrassing than the present situation that they now find themselves in ? Well it’s not as if that alleged esteemed body has ever truly been known to show much common sense to begin with anyway ! So let’s essentially look upon this mess as simply another reason why the game of baseball hasn’t got its head on straight ! Simply look down the list of former Cy Young Award winners and league MVP’s over the last few years (decade plus) that have been in some way been embroiled in the tawdry fiasco now commonly known as the ” steroid era ” ? And for the idiots out there who feel that steroids do no harm even when abused ……. simply see how a patient suffering from atrial fibrillation (AF) or renal failure has to endure pain and then come back and respond .

Well here we go again, the Oakland Raiders simply continue to find numerous ways to repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot. Not content with their embarrassing loss (34-14) to the Miami Dolphins last week where the team was subjected to one of their most lopsided defeats in recent team history . Not totally content with that loss it would appear in being the guests of the NFL’s best team the Green Bay Packers (13-0) .The Raiders under head coach Hue Jackson simply felt it necessary to try and outdo the ineptitude shown in their humiliating loss to the Miami Dolphins . And boy they chose not to disappoint their fans or the Packers’ fans in attendance at Lambeau Field , Green Bay , Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon.

Now for all of those Raiders’ fans out there , who were convinced that Carson Palmer would somehow be the cure to what ails this team with the advent of losing Jason Campbell for the season . I can’t help but wonder what those fans might now be currently thinking , not only of the performance of Palmer in this game but also the completely inept performance by the team’s secondary over the past two weeks .

The AFC West is now up for grabs and with the Raiders abject futility in their 46-16 loss to further emphasizes how far the Oakland Raiders have fallen over the past two weeks . It begs the question does this team much less the coaching staff or anyone within this organization really possess the heart “ to face adversity , look it squarely in the face and then somehow find a way to overcome that obstacle ? Or as I am more inclined to believe that the vast majority of Raiders’ fans are simply apathetic , who will continue to make excuses for the team’s plight while simply living in the past and regaling us with anecdotes as to the team’s history .

“Carpe` Diem and clearly that is what the Denver Broncos (8-5) and Tim Tebow are now clearly doing . Winners of six straight games the Broncos are slowly making believers out of the doubters whilst on air television analysts such as Phil Simms and Merril Hoge are slowly looking for ways to clearly extricate themselves from the denouncements made of the young quarterback . Tebow for his part and the team are merely trundling along and making a mockery of those who had written them off . Never mind the fact that as they now sit atop of the AFC West and the team now seems to be well on their way to securing their first divisional title in 6 years . And while the young quarterback’s stats are nowhere admirable to the statistician’s eyes one simply cannot deny that his grit, determination and the fact that he possesses the leadership abilities that many of his more experiences peers are simply unable to show . This one’s for you Tony Romo and Carson Palmer ! Overrated !

For John Fox , John Elway and GM Brian Xanders while everyone is on-board the ” Tebow Express” let ’em ride that locomotive for as long and as far it can take them . Inexplicably I am now beginning to wonder how Lovie Smith and rag tag bunch of ingrates are now feeling ! If Smith and GM Jerry Angelo are still serious about bringing in either Brett Favre or Donovan McNabb then god help this organization and their immediate future ! After their rather inept performance in that overtime loss (13-10) to the Denver Broncos I am not so sure what to make of this Bears’ team and their aspirations as it regards the postseason .

In the aftermath of the belated attempt by the New Orleans Hornets to trade Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers it should come as no surprise that several Hornets’ players are simply wanting to desert what now appears to be a sinking ship . The team now owned jointly by the NBA league hierarchy and the team owners are simply left with a franchise that is need of new ownership after the tenure and uneventful years of ownership under George Shinn . Coach Monty Williams , his coaching staff and GM Dell Demps because of the overall uncertainty now surrounding the franchise are caught between a rock and a hard place . And clearly without real stewardship forthcoming in terms of a lack of a real authoritative figure by way of an owner , this organization to my mind might now as well be folded up and cease their operations as an NBA franchise !

It is not as if either David Stern or Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver are said to be actively seeking out any potential suitors for the team . If that were the case , then I am sure that we would not have seen this active flurry surrounding the New Orleans Hornets ! No potential purchaser looking to buy this team would willingly acquiesce to the trade of the team’s best player and the de-facto face of the franchise . Now I heave read and heard it mentioned that the tentative deal that would have sent Paul to the Lakers with Pau Gasol joining the Hornets and Lamar Odom heading to the Houston Rockets as part of a three way deal would have effectively saved the Lakers several million dollars and exempt the organization from the league’s luxury tax . But to my mind that is but a small price to pay considering the irrevocable damage that would be done to the Hornets as a NBA franchise altogether ! As it is , the team struggles to makes its presence felt from an economic standpoint much less the fact that attendances for the team’s home games at the New Orleans Arena are seemingly minuscule when compared to many of its contemporaries within the NBA . Nowhere have I seen much less heard anyone simply bring this to the forefront of any discussion but as usual that merely all comes down to what many would like to see rather than simply facing the reality that the NBA is essentially still in a financial quagmire of its own damn making ! .

Now with all of the hype supposedly surrounding the compelling belief that this NBA season ought to be a special one , nothing in reality could be further from the truth . The NBPA (union) may not entirely got its way but I can assure you of one thing , this so called new found accord between the league and union will be short-lived . We are already beginning to see things to begin to fray at the edges and this latest incident clearly shows us all that the NBA and the union are clearly out of touch with reality . Never-mind the fact that owners such as Dan Gilbert , Joe Lacob , Michael Jordan and Rich De Vos will be hard pressed to see their respective organizations actually turn an operating profit . Fans are now talking about contracting small market teams but that would essentially solve nothing at all . It is clear that the front office executives are in dire need to some real economic lessons , rather than continuing with rather their rather asinine and idiotic spending on talent that in large is simply marginal at its very worse and grossly overvalued at the upper echelons of the game .

What does it say about an organization that simply dupes the municipality where it is domiciled into spending in excess of $ 575 million to build it an all purpose state of the art venue in downtown Orlando to house the Orlando Magic ? I have to admit that team owner Rich De Vos and his son in law Bob VanderWeide ” pulled the wool over the eyes” of Mayor Buddy Dyer and the elected officials on the city commission ! But what might be even more disturbing other than the fact of Vander Weide choosing to step down from his role as Chief Executive Officer, is the very fact that the Magic have now acquiesced to Dwight Howard’s demands to be traded . Unless I am mistake another celebrated former Orlando Magic center by the name of Shaquille O’Neal took the same route and would go on to see his career flourish within the NBA . Chalk this idiocy up to the machination of GM Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy who have over the years rather than complemented Howard with the talent he’s rightfully deserving of , instead they have given him ill fitting pieces that simply couldn’t cut the mustard much less anything else for that matter .

Now it should not come as a surprise that there will be a plethora of teams that will no doubt be interested in the NBA’s > best center and a player whose defensive prowess is unparalleled within the league . Now undoubtedly with the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers , New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks likely to be keen suitors for Howard’s talents , it will be very interesting to see quite possibly see what Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy can obtain from any such trade that would be deemed to be reciprocal in value.

In the past 24 hours Dwight Howard has tried to alleviate his stance of wanting a trade and that is even with the Orlando Magic having acquired his close friend Glen Davis from the Boston Celtics . As to whether or not that will be enough to induce the front office of the Magic to still seek a trade of their celebrated three time NBA Defensive Player of the Year , well that now remains to be seen .

To my mind if Otis Smith , Stan Van Gundy and newly appointed team CEO & President Alec Martins are intent on retaining Dwight Howard then they will have to show the player that their passion in keeping him is genuine. Clearly jettisoning Gilbert Arenas was a step in the right direction with the player having added little to the team by way of his productivity last season . But it would be remiss to think that Arenas alone wasn’t a part of the lack of progress by the players on this roster . Hedo Turkoglu a seasoned journeyman simply showed that age has caught up with him and that he’s being vastly overpaid , having produced little of consequence to the Orlando Magic . But such has been the capricious nature of the personnel moves made by Otis Smith in conjunction with Stan Van Gundy that it ought to have any discerning Orlando Magic fans questioning the mindset of the duo !

Should such a trade ever take place then in all probability we will once again see the decline of this NBA franchise not only terms of its competitiveness but also in terms of its overall financial value . Now one of the most inane things I’ve read recently is a call for teams to be contracted within the NBA ! . Nowhere have I read , is how anyone would go about doing this and which teams would cease operating , never mind how would the league hierarchy go about compensating those team owners never mind the legal ramifications for those teams and the areas where they are domiciled . Less we forget many of these teams have contractual obligations with regard to the leasehold on their venues . So someone , please explain to where they see the NBA paying out tens of millions of dollars to team franchisees and would then by all accounts have to pay ” millions “ …. more in compensation to numerous municipalities across the country ? Come on , someone out there with some semblance of intelligence explain that or would they then rather see the NBA being steeped in litigation within US Federal Court for the next five or six months ? Clearly no thought was placed behind such a premise and merely only wishful thinking by such individuals !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) FILE – This Feb. 24, 2011, file photo, shows Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun in Phoenix. ESPN is reporting that National League MVP Braun has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and is facing a 50-game suspension. A spokesman for Braun said in a statement issued to ESPN and The Associated Press by his representatives, Creative Artists Agency, that “there are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan’s complete innocence.” AP Photo/Morry Gash, …

(2) “With shrinkage , will my penis still fit in my girlfriend’s vagina ” ? (A thought said to be mulling through Ryan Braun’s mind as he sits in the dugout ) Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks watch from the dugout during the ninth inning of Game 5 of baseball’s National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday, Oct. 14, 2011, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 7-1 to take a 3-2 lead in the series . AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(3) In this photo taken April 6, 2011, Tampa Bay Rays’ Manny Ramirez watches from the dugout during a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in St. Petersburg, Fla. Ramirez has notified Major League Baseball that he is retiring after being notified of an issue under MLB’s drug policy. The commissioner’s office issued a statement Friday, APril 8, 2011, that said Ramirez decided to retire rather than go through MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The player having announced his retirement recently filed papers with the league to seek his reinstatement which has since been granted by the MLB hierarchy . However he would still have to serve a second suspension as warranted before being fully reinstated as a player . AP Photo/Mike Carlson …. ….

(4) GREEN BAY, WI – DECEMBER 11: Michael Bush (29) of the Oakland Raiders avoids a tackle attempt by Tramon Williams (38) of the Green Bay Packers to score a touchdown at Lambeau Field on December 11, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Raiders 46-16 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ….

(5) GREEN BAY, WI – DECEMBER 11: Tramon Williams (38) and C.J. Wilson (98) of the Green Bay Packers and Khalif Barnes (69) of the Oakland Raiders try to recover a loose ball at Lambeau Field on December 11, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Raiders 46-16. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …..

(6) ” You’re my bit_h Carson stay still and take it like a man ” ! Green Bay Packers’ Frank Zombo (58) sacks Oakland Raiders’ Carson Palmer (3) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. AP Photo/Jim Prisching …

(7) DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 11: A fan displays a sign in support of quarterback Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos as they face the Chicago Bears at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Bears 13-10 . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ….

(8) DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 11: Quarterback Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos is pressured by safety Craig Steltz ( 20 ) of the Chicago Bears and later fumbles the ball during the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ….

(9) Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith answers questions from members of the media at NBA basketball training camp in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011. AP Photo/John Raoux ….

(10) Orlando Magic CEO and vice vhairman Bob Vander Weide announces his retirement during an NBA basketball news conference in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. Magic team president Alex Martins is being promoted to his position. AP Photo/John Raoux …..

(11) Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, left, jokes with team CEO Alex Martins, second from left, Director of Communications George Galante and Chairman Dan DeVos , right, during the first day of NBA basketball training camp in Orlando, Fla., Friday, Dec. 9, 2011. AP Photo/John Raoux ….
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Zoe Saldana/

Hot chic pics of the day …Zoe Saldana & Paula Patton . Screw ” Avatar” and its lack of a plotline dumb ass special effects and mundane acting this is how we guys want to see Saldana ! ‘nough said !

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Yes sir ! I’d tap this ass in a heartbeat !

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Paula Patton soon to be seen alongside Tom Cruise , Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner in MI4 “Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol” .

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Yeah baby ! Patton can “pound” on my meat anytime she wants without any complaining from me at all !

Rip My Heart Out Why Don’t You ….? It’s All But A Done Deal …..!

Rip  My  Heart  Why  Don’t  You  ?…..It’s All  But  A Done  Deal  ….!

 

Well as the NBA  season   comes    down  the  final  stretch of the  season.  A  number  of  teams with   playoff   ambitions  are  aligning  themselves  and   jockeying   for  positions  that ‘d be  favorable  in terms  of  the  seeding.     

 

 

 

In  the  Eastern   Conference  it’s  all  but  a  certainty  that  the  Cleveland  Cavaliers (62-15) will be  the  overall  number  one  seed.  And it’s  a  deserving  mantel  to  have  for  what  can   be  best  described as  an  outstanding  season.   Having  already   surpassed  the  60 win  threshold  for  the  season.  The team  is  further looking  to  cement its   status  as  the  league’s   best  team  in  terms  of   the  overall  win  total  and    number   one  seeding  throughout the  playoffs.

 

 

 

That  being  said   in the  Western  Conference   the   Los Angeles Lakers (62-16)  are  looking  to  make something   of a  late  run and  perhaps  derail  the   Cavaliers’  hopes. Well  unless there’s   divine   intervention   from   up  on   high.  I  think  it’s  pretty   safe  to  say   that’s  not  going  to  happen   at this   juncture.  And  as  much  as   those   in the  West  would  very much like  to  see  this   happen.  It’s   somewhat  safe  to  say   there  are  those  who’d   rather   see  someone  else   seated   atop of  the  hill.  

 

 

 

 

Which   now   brings me   to   my  next   point.   As  a  long  avid  San Antonio  Spurs’ (50-27)  fan.  I for one  felt  that  this  season   there  might’ve  been a  chance  of   gaining   revenge  against   our conference  rivals  in the  Los  Angeles  Lakers.    Well   at  least  I thought  it  was  going  to  be  that  way.  Much  of the  season  it  has   been  something  of   a  turnstile  of  players   being   injured  and  re-injuring  themselves.  Wherein   there  was   never  any  real  continuity ,  fluidity  or   cohesiveness  as to  the  team’s  play.  And  that  has  led to   a great deal  of  consistency    despite them   once  again  obtaining   a  50  win   season  thus   far.  Suffice  to  say  it’s been  another   remarkable   coaching   job  done   by   Gregg Popovich .  Even  if  the   carousel   ride  itself   at times  has   flirted  with    disaster.  And   despite   the   milestones   he’s  achieved   the  man   still   remains   almost   unflappable.     He’s  won  four  NBA titles  as a  coach   and  this   season   became   one  of   handful  coaches  to  have  attained   1,000  regular  season wins.   Joining  a  select  few   and  most   certainly   he’ll  one  day   be  enshrined  in the  Naismith   Basketball  Hall  of  Fame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As alluded  to  earlier  in this   piece   for  much  of  the  season the   team  has  been  unable to  play  at  full  strength .  They’ve  not been   able to  have  their    triumvirate   of  All  Stars  in  Tim  Duncan  ,  Manu Ginobli  and  Tony  Parker   together   for   a  prolonged  period   of  continuous   play  for  a  series  of  games. It’d be   easy  to  suggest   that   good teams  are  able  to  adapt  and   overcome  such  adversities.  And  many of  the  good  teams  do.   The  great   teams  they  say “ can   say  can   look  into    the  eyes  of  adversity    stare  it   down   and   overcome”.  There was  a  time  when    that’d    be  the  case  for  the  Spurs  ,  but   no   longer.  As  they’ve   always   been   ever  reliant  upon  their   combo  of  Duncan  , Ginobli and  Parker.

 

 

 

 

Well with  the  recent   announcement   that   Ginobli  has  been   lost  to  the  team  for  the   rest  of  the  regular  season  as well  as  the  playoffs.  In  making  that   announcement   Popovich   hasn’t  surrendered   his  belief  that this   team   can  usurp  the  Los Angeles  Lakers.  But  at the   same  time  he   can’t   hide  the   disappointment   of   knowing  that  the   team’s   very   own   super-sub   will  be   lost  the  team  once   again.  It all   now   but  guarantees  that   the  Spurs  will   face  an  uphill   battle   as to being    quite   possibly  the  Lakers’  opponents   in the  Western Conference  Finals. And  that’s   predicated   on  both   teams  making  that   far   by   going   unscathed  once the  playoffs  begin.

 

 

 

If there’s   one  thing   that  at times   we   know  it’s   that   nothing  is  ever   etched   in stone   permanently  when   it  comes  to   game  of  basketball and   the  NBA  in  particular. I’d   somehow   like  to  think  that   could   be   changed  somewhat .  But at this   juncture    I’m   going to  enjoy  the  ride  and   root   for  my   team   no  matter  what.   To  say   that  I’m   not  disheartened with  the  loss  of   Ginobli  would  be  an  immense   understatement.   Because  with   Ginobli   on the  court   almost  anything  can  happen and    for  the  large  part   it   normally   does.   He’s  dragged  victory   from   the  depths   of   defeat  so  often   for  the  franchise  over the  years.   Though  it  can  be   said  that   Duncan  and  Parker   have  both   been  heroes  as well   when  it  has counted.  But  it   has  been  Ginobli   that  has  provided   that   unexpected   spark  when   things  seemed   dire   for   the   team. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now  comes  the   question  who’ll  step  up from  amongst  the   team’s  roster  to  assume   Ginobli’s  mantel   now  that  he’s  been   lost  to  the  team ?   Matt Bonner   while  dutiful   in  his  role   on the  team   doesn’t  exactly   set  the   world alight.  Though he’s   proven to  be   more  than  capable  when  called  upon.  He  doesn’t   posses  the  intangibles   of  Ginobli.  And   though  many   of  the  Spurs’  fans   have  delighted  in the play  of  Roger  Mason Jr.  It  can   be  said   he  hasn’t   been   dipped  into  the   baptism  of   fire  that the  playoffs  are all  about.  He’s  shown  that  he’s  capable  of   taking  and   making  the  big  shots  during  a  game .    But   the   regular  season  is  one  thing.  With  the  game on the  line  and   Parker   and  Duncan   being  guarded .  Somehow in the  pressure   cooker   of   the   playoffs   I’m   not  so   sure  that   Mason  for  all   of  the  guile   shown   in the  regular  season  can  handle   the  pressure  there  and  then.   But  then  again  one   can  live   in  hope   that   he can  make the  impossible  seem   possible  and   effortless with  ease !  

 

 

 

 

 

 

One  thing  is  for   certain   however  it’d be  extremely   naïve and   foolish  to   count  out  the  San Antonio  Spurs  at  this   juncture.  Even  if  I   do  have  my  doubts   about  the  team.  Other  than   Phil   Jackson  of  the  Los Angeles Lakers   there  might    be   no  other  coach    in the  league  who’s  adept   enough  to   actually   take  this  team and   make   them  a  potentially   dangerous   foe  to  meet    even   under  such  adversity.  It’ s  nor   just   a  team  one  needs  to   worry  about  in  the  playoffs.  It’s   also  the   acumen  of  the  coaches as  well  who  are   involved  in  those   series.  And   if   there’s   a  better  postseason  coach    out  there at present   other   than   Popovich   who  possesses  his   guile.  I’d    like  to  hear     your   arguments   for  and   against   him.

It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking , Ticking And Just Keeps On Givin, Otherwise Known As Basball’s Dirty Little Secret ………

It’s  The Gift  That  Keeps  On Ticking , Ticking  And  Just   Keeps  On  Giving  ,  Otherwise  Known  As  Baseball’s  Dirty  Little  Secret  .

 

 

 

 

Well   now  that  the   World   Baseball  Classic  has  past. And   it has  no  doubt  faded  off   long  into  the  memories  of    most.  Especially   considering   the   United  States’  team’s    ever  so   disastrous   efforts   in the   tournament.    Now  I’m   not   going  to  lament   on  what  went   wrong  there.  As  it’s   best   left  to the  likes  of   Tommy  LaSorda.    He  knows   better  than   most    how   ineffectual   the  team  actually  was. 

 

 

Former Senator  George  Mitchell  and  Major  League Baseball  Commissioner  Allan 'Bud'  Selig  seen  here   at the  announcement   that  the   announcement  the   reported   investigation   known as The Mitchell Report  has  reached  its  culmination.
Sen. George Mitchell (foreground) and Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan 'Bud' Selig seen here announcing that the conducted investigation into steroid use within the game known as The Mitchell Report had reached its culmination . The contents of which haven't been readily made for public consumption. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Patrick Rycroft ..............

 

 

 

It’s   now  coming    more  the   fore   as  to  how  much   of  a  conflict   and  corruption  there now   is  when   it  comes  to   recruiting    young   players   from the  Caribbean  and   the  South  American   continent   into the  major  leagues.  So   much   so   that   even   when  The Mitchell Report  touched   on the  matter  it  was  somewhat   ignored.   Those  of  who  were   interested as  to  the  content   of  the  report   were    primarily   concerned as  to  what  it  have   to  say  with  regard  to  the   players   involved   in  the   steroid  abuse   scandal. 

 

 

 

 

That   situation   in   of itself   continues   unabated  and   it  hasn’t   helped  that  the   game’s   biggest  star   Alex  Rodriguez   has   admitted   to  using   steroids.  And   whilst  the  player  has   offered   what   one  would   deem  a  contrite   apology   to  the   fans ,  public  ,  his   teammates  and  the    New York  Yankees  organization.   The   latest   rumors    surrounding  the   player   only  exacerbates  the   situation  even  further .  Added  to  the   fact  that  he’s   lost  to  the  team  before   the   regular  season  begins   due   injury  and   surgery.

 

 

Alex  Rodriguez (right)  along  with  Yankees' GM Brian  Cashman (center)  and  the  team's  manager Joe Girardi.
Alex Rodriguez (right) seen here alongside Yankees' GM Brian Cashman (center) and team manager Joe Girardi. All three are there at George Stennbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Where the player made his public statement announcing his use of steroids. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Al Messerschmidt .............

 

 

This   has   become   nothing   but  an    unmitigated  disaster    for  Major  League  Baseball.  Their   effort to   try   and   clean  up  the  game  has  been  about  as  effective   as   throwing   a   half   empty  kerosene  gas  can   into  fire   thinking  that   nothing   will  actually  happen.  And  with  evidence  now   swirling   around  that  young   players   in  particularly   from  the  Dominican  Republic   have   been   used  as   pawns   in    the  deceptive  practice   of  enticing   big  league    teams   to    pay  exorbitant   sums   of  money  in  terms   of a  signing   bonus  to  effectively   have  a  player   sign  with  them.    It   only  adds     further     to a  percolating    pot  of  misdeed  and    plain   ineptitude    within  the   upper  ranks   of  the game’s   hierarchy.     And  it   certainly   hasn’t    helped  that    officials    from  within   some   of  the  major    organizations   might   well   have  been   involved  are   infact  implicated  in  payoffs to  the  buscones /agents (facilitators)  who    offer  the  players   to  the   teams.

 

 

Esmailyn Gonzalez  as  he's  known  the  Washington Nationals  but  the  player's  actual  given  birth  name  is  Carlos Alvarez  Daniel  Lugo.  He's  seen  here  signed  as a  top prospect   with  then  coach  Frank  Robinson.
Esmailyn Gonzalez as he's known to the Washington Nationals. But whose given and birth name is actually Carlos Daniel Alvarez Lugo. The player seen here with then coach Frank Robinson was signed as a top prospect by the team. picture appears courtesy of ap/ Victor Matthews ..............

 

 

 

 

This   all   emanated  from  the  Esmailyn Gonzalez  scandal  that  exploded    with  the   player   having   signed   with  the  Washington  Nationals. Not   only  had   the   player’s   birth  certificate   been    falsified   with   regards   to   his   age.   But   a  large   amount   of   money  exchanged   hands   between  the   team   ,  the   player   in   terms   of  his   signing   bonus.  But   also    with   the   agent   getting   his   cut.  It’s   believed  that   also  several  of   the  Nationals’ own  staff    profited   from  this    by  way   of   a   cut   from   the  money   that  was    paid  to   the  player.  It’s   not    uncommon   for   this   to   happen  within  the  lower   echelons  of   organization   if  it’s   deemed  to  be  happening  amongst  a  team’s   scouting   staff.    But    what    makes  this  all   so   unpalatable   is   that  it   is  believed  that   in  the   case   of  Gonzalez  .  It   may  have   involved  the   team’s   general  manager  at the  time  Jim  Bowden  and   his special  assistant   Jose Rijo .   And  while   both    are   no    longer  with   the   team with   Rijo   having    been   fired  and  Bowden   re-signing    while   proclaiming   his  innocence  as   to   any   wrongdoing.   The   facts   speak   for  themselves     as   very    little   was   done   to   verify  the   player’s  records.  Much   less  they, themselves    conducting   their  own  internal investigation.

 

 

Nationals' principal  owner  Stan  Kasten .
Washington Nationals' principal owner Stan Kasten. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Thornton ..................

 

 

 

 

While  on  appearance  this  may   not   seem   a   serious   transgression.  Consider the  fact   once    money   was   pocketed   by   anyone   within  the  organization   who  wasn’t  entitled  to it.  It   then  becomes  a  federal  offense   and   as   such  is  indictable     by   law.   And  with   the  FBI   now   conducting   its  own  investigation    into   what  it   is   believed  to  now   be  a   widespread   practice   throughout   the   league.  One   has  to   ask  the   question.    What   is   going   on     behind   the  closed   doors   of   Major   League  Baseball  and   its   franchises   ?  If  there’s  now  that  much    widespread    corruption   from  the   top  down  then   surely   the   game’s  own   hierarchy    ought  to  be  looked  at  as  well  ? 

 

Continue reading “It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking , Ticking And Just Keeps On Givin, Otherwise Known As Basball’s Dirty Little Secret ………”

Was It Really Meant To Be The Golden Era of The Sport ….?

 

Was It Really Meant  To  Be  The Golden  Era  Of The  Sport ……… ?

 

  

At the  height  of  their   rivalry   within  the   ring   it  was said  that  Muhammad Ali,  George Foreman, Joe  Frazier  and Ken  Norton   drove  the  sport  of  boxing  to  unprecedented  heights.  And that may  well  have  been  the  case.  The  trilogy  of  fights  between   Ali  and Frazier   have  gone   down  in the  annals  of  boxing   history.     And  the   universal   appeal  of  Ali is  still  present   after  all these  years.

 

 

Ken Norton  adorned  with  the  Heavyweight title   belt.  The  one  elusive  professional  accolade that  he  would  not  ever  win  in the   ring.
Ken Norton adorned with the heavyweight title belt. The one professional accolade that he would not win in the ring.

 

 What  has  gone  on  for the  sport of  boxing   since this   trio   of alltime   great have  retired  could   be   described  as   a  comical   farce.  But   for  the  presence   one  could  say  of  Larry Holmes  that his  tenure  as  the   undisputed heavyweight  champion  of  the  world.  We’ve  had  to   live  with the  Mike  Tyson era  ,  where   if  anything   it  was  more   circus  and  theatrical   moments  of   sheer    disbelief  before   his  career   spiraled   out  of  control.  I’d add  Evander   Holyfield   into   the  mix.  But it’s  already  become  obvious    that   ‘The  Real  Deal’   has  become  a  caricature  of   his  former  self.  Still   fighting   and   now  being   beaten  like   a  piñata   at  a  children’s  party  . Need  one  say  anymore  ?

 

 

Ali  and  Norton   face  off  against  each other  in of  their much  heralded  bouts .
Ali and Norton face off against each other in one of their much heralded bouts.

  

 

The  era  of  the  late  sixties and   early   seventies    could  well  be addressed  the  heyday   of  the  sport.  At  that   time    there  was a   plethora   of   fighters  who   were   vastly     superior  to  the   fighters  of   today  within  the   heavyweight  category.    Unfortunately  for  us   now  the  division  is  filled  with  East Europeans   who’ve  about  as  much   skill  as a  ballet   dancer   being  asked   lace up   his  boots  ,  put  on  some  cleats and  grace  us  all  with  his  presence   on  an  NFL  field. Even more  distasteful   might be  the  fact  that   we’ve   got    the  alphabetized   list  of titlists  within  the division . Never   mind  the   fact  also  that  there  isn’t   really   a  US  born   fighter   on  the  horizon    who  one  could say  would  be  a  big   draw   to  the  sport.  So  thankfully  we’re  left  to   reminisce  about an  era   when   fighters  were   fighters and  were prepared to  take  on  each  other.  And   we  were    being    thoroughly   entertained   by what  was   taking   place  in  the  ring.

 

 

Norton  faces   Duane  Bobick  in a  heavyweight   bout .
Norton faces Duane Bobick in a heavyweight bout .

  

Those  days  when   Ali , Frazier  and  Norton   held  sway  over  the  heavyweight   division  was  indeed  something  to  behold.    And thankfully  we  still    have  the  film  and   pictures  whereby  we   can  still   remember  these   events.   One  could  go  farther  back  and   state that during  the  era  of   Joe Louis  ,  Rocky  Marciano ,     Ingemar Johansson and  Floyd Patterson  was  great.   But   in  sheer   terms  of  the  quality  of   fighters   in the  category.  The  era   would   pale   into  comparison when   compared against the   sixties   and   seventies.   This   was   perhaps   was  when the   division  was   definitely at  its   best   in  terms  of the  qualities  of the  fighters  within  the  division.

 

 

Ken  Norton  faces  Larry Holmes  with  referee  Mills  Lane  of  Las Vegas  overseeing  the  bout.  The  fight itself  was held  Caesar's  Palace  Hotel & Casino  , Las Vegas,. Nevada.
Norton and Larry Holmes face off against one another. Norton seen here for the moment has the upper hand with Holmes. The fight itself was held at Caesar's Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Refereeing the bout is Mills Lane. Lane also is a distinguished circuit court Judge in the state of Nevada.

  

We all  know  the  praise,  ridicule and  hatred   heaped   upon   Ali  for  one   reason  or  another.  And   the  purpose   of the   piece  isn’t to  hold  sway  over the  reader  and  to  ask     for their   predisposition   as  to  the  course   of  action   taken  by  him  as  to  his  beliefs.  One  can   assume   that  he  was  afforded  those  rights  as  a  citizen ? Like  it  or   not  we have to  live  with  it.   Men  of  lesser  stature   have   done  far   worse. 

 

Ken Norton faces  Jerry  Quarry  in a heavyweight  title   eliminator ..........
Norton seen here faces Jerry Quarry in a heavyweight title bout eliminator. .............

 

 

My  own  feeling with   regard to  this  era  is that  were  it    not   for  Foreman, Frazier   or   Ali.  Then  most   definitely   Norton  would’ve    had  a   long  and  distinguished   reign   as  the  heavyweight   champion  of   the  world.   However  for   Norton   he  came  at   a  time   when  the  likes  of  the  triumvirate  mentioned  were   just  more  powerful  than  he as  a  fighter.  That’s   not  to say  that  Norton   couldn’t  bang  with  the  best  of  them.    The fact of  the  matter  was    however   he  was   never   really  known  as  a  knockout  specialist.  His  record   may   reflect  that  fact   but   in  large part many  of  those   knockout  victories   came  early  in   his  career  and   against   fighters  ,  whom   one  could  describe   as  less than   adequate   in  the  sport.   But  that should   in  now  way  detract  from  his   record  as a  fighter.  Often   described  as  “The  Black  Hercules”  or  “The Jawbreaker” .  Norton  was   a   studious    fighter  who’d learnt   his  craft well. 

 

   Continue reading “Was It Really Meant To Be The Golden Era of The Sport ….?”