Too Late To Apologize ………………

Too Late To Apologize ……

As MLB celebrates the Civil Rights games scheduled over the weekend I found it quite fascinating to see the interview that took place between Hank Aaron and CNN’s Don Lemmon . The interview with baseball’s former home run King shed light on what is now a glaring disparity within the game of baseball and that is that the African American’s participation within the game , is now said to be at its lowest level in years. I know that the game’s hierarchy has done its utmost to honor Jackie Robinson and his contribution’s to the game but I feel that Aaron summed it up best when he said that …..” baseball simply doesn’t do enough to lure young African American fans to the game “ . If anything it has been how the game is now marketed and the mere fact that Commissioner Bud Selig has set his sights on the Latin America , the Caribbean basin as well South Asia to bring the game of baseball to a wider audience. And granted , the game has seen a growth in those areas but what cannot be denied is the waning interest in the game amongst young African Americans . So much so , that their participation in the game at the professional level is now at its lowest level in two decades.

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It wasn’t that long ago that Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Torii Hunter made the comment that ….” Latino males who are of African ancestry can’t be considered to be black “ ……unfortunately for Hunter even if that wasn’t his intent to generate the resentment that may well have brought up amongst the Latin players but after those comments if anything , it simply didn’t stir much of a response amongst prominent African American players in the league . I’d like the to think that the contributions of such players as Reggie Jackson , Willie Mays , Robinson and Aaron would actually mean something to young African American players at the youth level but the fact of the matter is now they are simply no real African American icons within the game today that they can simply identify with. They’ve seen the game brought to its knees by the antics of Barry Bonds the steroid allegations that have surround him and the game’s handling of that very issue amongst other things may well be one of the main reasons for their choosing to shy away from the game of baseball. Most certainly as Hank Aaron stated the league hierarchy has indeed done a poor job of actually bringing back the game at the grassroots level .

OK, it’s said that they have specific programs within the elementary schools , high school and inner cities within their recreation departments . But that in of-itself simply hasn’t been enough to actually heighten the interest sought by the game . And that if anything is really a sad indictment of the game and how much of a waning interest that there now is with the African American community. If anything the NBA and NFL have simply stepped up their branding and marketing of their respective sports and the financial opportunities there are far greater and the chance of immediate success would seem to be far greater given the right set of circumstances for a player seeking entry into the those sports .

One of the points also raised by Hank Aaron also was that during lean economic times we tend to see it hit the African American community hard in terms of their attending games and taking an interest in recreational events . But I think that comparison can be made for the whole demographic of the community at large because if fans aren’t simply turning up for games then there’s also to be less of an interest in participating in that sport as a recreation. Certainly , I do believe also that when public schools are making budgetary cuts within physical education it makes the situation much more stark as to the gravity of the events that are now taking place. Even within the game itself where we now see that there’s also a glaring disparity with the haves and have nots amongst the large and small market teams I can’t help but wonder what might be the next step to be taken by Bud Selig , the team owners , in particular the MLBPA and what they might do to remedy the situation that facing them as they see a fall-off in the presence of African Americans within the sport at the professional level amongst the players. Certainly at the executive level amongst the general managers and managers there is a presence there with prominent African Americans . But I for one have yet to hear a public statement from any of the individuals in question concerning this issue much less a public statement on this issue from Bud Selig, himself. I think if anything Selig’s handling of this all has been like everything else that he at times deal with , it tends to be haphazard and rather laissez-faire attitude as he simply seeks to put a positive spin on any issue that tends to show the image of the game in a bad light . And nowhere was this more self evident than his handling with the whole steroid issue and the hearings that came with this all he gave his own testimony to the House Oversight Committee .

I don’t know that there’s a clear cut answer for this situation but I do feel that the league hierarchy has been lax in dealing with this and several other issues that now seems to have befallen the game of baseball. Even when I hear statements being made by Rob Manfred even addressing the financial disparities within the game I simply know that he’s not at all sincere much less does or any of his colleagues within baseball’s hierarchy have a real answer for the disparities and problems . It would appear problem solving isn’t even the highest priority within the game of baseball but merely keeping up this facade that they’re simply the ones who still carry this flag of social conscience as it relates to the issue of racial integration within team sports. If anything it’s simply now doing the game a disservice as it fails to really deal with a number of issues within its own parameters.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning this piece and are you at all in agreement with the statement made by Hank Aaron ? And what changes if any do you believe would be of benefit to the game concerning this specific issue ? Simply just chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron watches a tribute video showing him hitting his 715th career home run at the Major League Baseball Beacon Awards Banquet at the Omni Hotel on May 14, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America / Mark Zarrilli …….

(2) (From left to right) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, Billye Aaron and Beacon Award winner Ernie Banks gather after the Beacon Awards Banquet at the Omni Hotel on May 14, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America / Mark Zarrilli …….

(3) Baseball Hall of Famers wave to fans following ceremonies opening the Hank Aaron Museum at the Hank Aaron Stadium on April 14, 2010 in Mobile, Alabama. From left: Bob Feller , Ozzie Smith , Reggie Jackson, Hank Aaron and Rickey Henderson . Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images North America …….

(4) Robinson is seen here alongside his wife Rachel at his Hall of Fame Induction . Also pictured is Branch Rickey whose courageous act brought Robinson into the Majors . Post Archives Inc….

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MLB News

ABCDEFG ……………

ABCDEFG ………………..

Ah the rather self absorbed Jason Whitlock once again espousing views that simply at times has no rhyme or reason. Whitlock in his latest masterpiece has written that the NBA’s ” most dynamic duo “ of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat are now a better duo than Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were at their best with the Chicago Bulls . For a duo that has yet to win anything of relevance within the NBA I get the impression that Whitlock’s love the duo might well be bordering on being homo-erotic rather than based on anything tangible. Never let it be said that his idiocy also has no boundaries when it comes to Whitlock and his ideas .

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This season the Heat have been efficient not necessarily spectacular in making their way to the Eastern Conference semi finals where they’ll meet the Derrick Rose led Chicago Bulls . Kind of ironic don’t you think that in the midst of subject on the Bulls Whitlock as such would take a mocking jibe at perhaps that franchise’s best duo in its history ? Jordan , Pippen and their cast of supporting players won six NBA titles within an eight year span and during the season they won a record <a 72 games that season as well as winning the NBA championship . If the Miami Heat indeed are to prove their worth then this team will not only have to vindicate themselves by winning this season’s title but do so in a convincing fashion .

Whitlock for his part has done little to state succinctly his reasons behind this thought process , other than to suggest that the two Heat players are athletic , dynamic and entertaining . But my question to Jason Whitlock since when have those facets won anything in the NBA ? As impressive as the Heat have been in dispatching the Boston Celtics in their conference quarter final series this is still somewhat a flawed team . The Heat’s ‘Big Three’ of Chris Bosh , James and Wade have been placed under the microscope , dissected , analyzed and criticized to the nth degree . In the midst of this all team President Pat Riley has hit back at those critical of the organization’s moves that brought both Bosh and James to the Heat in the offseason. Erik Spoelstra as coach of the Miami Heat knows that a great deal is now expected of him in leading this team to what many now feels is their destiny. As one of the quintet of coaches left in the latter stages of these playoffs , Spoelstera, Scott Brooks , Tom Thibodeau , Lionel Hollins and Rick Carlisle are now aspiring to be first time winners of an NBA title as a coach. And given the fact that with the impending retirement of Phil Jackson there are only two other coaches in the NBA to have won an NBA title. That duo would be Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers and then beyond that the cupboard as they say …..” becomes bare ” .

The substantive issues raised by Whitlock goes a long way in showing how much I believe that the NBA has changed as a league over the past decade and a half ! Players during this decade, if anything aren’t necessarily as skilled as their predecessors . More is made about hype over substance concerning today’s players and the image that’s portrayed , albeit that the league now more so than ever is very much consumer driven. That could very well be the premise behind Whitlock’s perspective on making these comparisons or the very fact that he genuinely believes that James and Wade are that much better than Jordan and Pippen. Granted , Jordan had yet to win a title at the stage where both James and Wade now find their careers . But bear this in mind , Jordan led by example and that’s something that is clearly missing from LeBron James’ resume’ as a player. Indecision or not , the way he bolted from the Cleveland Cavaliers left a bitter taste in the mouths of the fans and in particular within the front office of that organization . It left Dan Gilbert an angry owner whose behavior in the aftermath of what he felt was a genuine betrayal by the player. If anything that situation was handled badly by both parties as James came off as being immature and petulant . Whereas, Gilbert simply acted out as enraged, owner who’d lost the team’s biggest asset in an unsolicited takeover bid that simply broke up the company merely leaving him with the remnants of a shell company. Incumbent coach Byron Scott has his work cut out for him in turning this team around and it will take a great deal of work by him and his immediate coaching staff .

To my mind Jordan and Pippen have epitomized what a duo and a team are about and although Jason Whitlock chose the duo to make this comparison it has me wondering how it is he came to this judgment ! This journalist’s work over the years has raised eyebrows as to the volatility and emotions he chooses to put on display with regard to the themes he chooses to address . He has been vilified by many and has the respect of others but in large part he’s either someone that you either love or hate as a journalist.

If one remembers the idiocy of the displays after James and Bosh’s arrival the trio talked of themselves winning ………. not one , not two but five or six championships . As of yet the Miami Heat with this trio in lock have yet to win anything of merit but it has been Whitlock’s idiocy and his piece that makes his subjective article to an extent all the more ridiculous in its premise and what he’s trying to substantiate as a case in making his argument . But in this day and age where journalism no longer has any real integrity to it , rather it being about the journalists simply wanting have you bear witness as to what they believe to be right rather than allowing the readers to make a judgment for themselves with the facts being laid out there for them all to see. Inasmuch as there are somewhat controversial journalists out there such Jason Whitlock , it has to be said without his smorgasboard of morsels to offer the public I seriously doubt that anyone would take the genre of sports journalism with any degree of sincerity !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on this piece and in particular Jason Whitlock’s comparisons between the duos of James and Wade , Jordan and Pippen ? Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts concerning the topics raised within this piece .

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

Picture and slide show details

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(1) Jason Whitlock noted sport’s columnist and journalist . AP Photo / Eric Clarke ……

(2) Jordan (23) and Pippen seen here in one of the Bulls’ many NBA Finals triumphs . In the background is former Bulls and now NBA tv analyst Steve Kerr . AFP/Reuters Inc/ Gustav Nillson ………..

(3) Chris Bosh , Dywane Wade and LeBron Wade seen here just after their formal introduction to the Miami Heat fans this past offseason at the AA Arena ,in Miami , Florida . AP Photo / John Raoux …..

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Do The Right Thing ……………….

Do The Right Thing ……………..

There’s a great deal to be said about the legacy of baseball , its history and the fact that Jackie Robinson played a part in integrating team sports, being the first African American to play a professional sport where its embodiment was integrated . And granted, were it not for Branch Rickey willing to take a chance on a social experiment that would have lasting ramifications that would reverberate across the landscape of the country , I seriously doubt that we’d have seen the integration of the game at the time we did. Consider this, at the time that Robinson suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers the US military still hadn’t been fully integrated wherein African American soldiers could be part of the same platoon and serve alongside their Caucasian counterparts but yet this myth continues here within this country that it’d rather gloss over this whole episode concerning African Americans within the US military. The US military wouldn’t be fully integrated until 1953 , some eight years after World War II had ended .

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In light of the above evidence a patron (chappy81) of my site and I mulled over the situation with regard to the image of the NFL and that of MLB and the fact that both sports are so image conscious . He remarked about the fact baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day and that baseball also has its Civil Rights —– games played this weekend . But that in of-itself I find to be a real misnomer as it simply means nothing in the greater landscape of things , given the fact that now we’re seeing an attack to repeal many of the advances made under the Civil Rights Act . And whereas Jackie Robinson’s number has been retired by the league I do find it somewhat asinine that the league especially now under the tenure of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has somehow refused to retire Roberto Clemente’s number in honor of the player and his accomplishments but specifically as a human rights activist and philanthropist . If Selig and the league hierarchy simply can’t view Clemente’s accomplishments other than to institute an award in his name , I think it somewhat inane that they simply believe that honor only ought to be bestowed upon Jackie Robinson , merely because he was simply the first person of an ethnic minority to have the game as part of an integrated team at the professional level ! Baseball while steeped in its traditions has become archaic and fully out of touch with the realities of the world .

Given the current problems within the league , financial instability of teams around baseball , team owners who’ve simply put greed above common sense and a hierarchy who for the most part simply show the naivete of an immature child that it’s hard to imagine that the game has made the advancement that it has over the years. Character issue asides of the players past and present I do feel that it is now time for Bud Selig do the right thing and actually retire Roberto Clemente’s number , not just simply as an act of benevolence but also to acknowledge his achievements as a philanthropist .

Now one might suggest that in allowing Clemente’s number to retired it would diminish what Jackie Robinson’s entry at the major league level meant to the game . But I say …no ………. because if anything these are two great players who by their own deeds and willingness to beat the odds has done a great deal to establish the game of baseball across a broad demographic and therein making it relevant socially as well being viewed as America’s pastime .

Well now that the conference finals appear to be set with regard to the NBA Playoffs . The Eastern Conference Finals sets up an intriguing match-up between the top two seeds within the confrence . The Chicago Bulls will host the Miami Heat at the United Center in Chicago on Sunday 15th May in a game one of this best of seven game series . For LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade they see this as a form of vindication having defeated the Boston Celtics in their conference quarter semi final series 4-1 .

So clinical was the defeat of the Celtics that it had many wondering whether or not this might the last charge of the Boston Celtics’ ‘Big Three’ of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Ray Allen . To my mind I do feel that this Celtics’ roster labored because of the fact that is in large part an aging one . And whereas Doc Rivers was able to lead the Celtics to an emphatic triumph in the 2008 NBA Finals . This might very well be a time for a changing of the guard in some part . GM Danny Ainge and senior general partner Wyc Grousbeck may very well have to overhaul this roster if the Celtics are to have any serious chance of challenging for an NBA title next season .

And while it is being widely reported that Rivers is now in the process of accepting a renewed five year $35 million deal to remain with the organization . It may well pretty much put into effect that the Big Three will likely also remain with the Celtics . Beyond that it remains to be seen what now becomes the next saga of the Boston Celtics’ history.

In going back to address this conference finals’ matchup between the Bulls and Heat it will most certainly be an intriguing one. The Bulls swept the season series between the two teams with some ease but that was in large part before the Heat had found any real consistency in their play . If the Bulls are to prove that those results during the regular season were no fluke then they will have to play with a fluidity and resolve that they’ve shown throughout the large part of the postseason . League MVP —- Derrick Rose and his teammates have to be mindful as to the knowledge that will be imparted to them by their coach Tom Thibodeau and his coaching staff if they’re to have any chance of beating the Heat in this series . And for the Heat who’ll no doubt be looked at as the presumptive favorites for coach Erik Spoelstra , he knows that it is now or never for this team which has been looked at to win it all ever since team President & Head of Basketball Operations Pat Riley engineered the moves that brought Bosh and James to the Miami Heat during the offseason.

Not since the Michael Jordan era led Bulls of the 1995-96 season has there been this much fervor over this organization for which the expectations are now extraordinarily high. Should the Bulls prevail in this series then it could be viewed as one of the biggest shocks in recent NBA history , in terms of postseason upsets .

Amazingly enough while the Dallas Mavericks awaits the winners of the series between the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder . I’ve now got to ask myself after this monumental disastrous display by the Thunder in their fourteen point loss to the Grizzlies on Friday night how is it that Scott Brooks can feel that his team can now close out this series ? On a night when league scoring champion Kevin Durant had an abysmal night shooting , that this was a game that I believe that the Thunder would rather forget ! Once again it was left the heroics of Zach Randolph as he led the team in scoring and in taking the lead as its vocal leader in erasing a 3-2 deficit to even this series with everything to play for as game seven brings the two teams back Oklahoma City to bring this conference semi finals to a fitting culmination. As to what that might be , we now all wait to see what unfolds in this exhausting and thrilling series .

If the rumors are to believed as it is now being reported that the Los Angeles Lakers have allowed Phil Jackson’s assistant Brian Shaw to speak with both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets as to both vacant coaching positions. Strange as this may seem , unless the Lakers are extremely confident that Jackson will be returning to the organization then I feel it somewhat less than prudent of them to allow Shaw to seek out an initial interview with either organization . Shaw if anything has to be the favorite for the position as he has the respect of a number of players on the team. But it may well be that GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Dr Jerry Buss may well feel that it is indeed better bring someone anew to be Jackson’s successor. From my own perspective although I’ve heard the name of Rick Adelman being bandied about as a likely successor I do feel that it’d be step backwards for the Lakers should they hire this well respected coach. A retread is very much the last thing that this organization needs in light of their rather embarrassing 4-0 series loss to the Dallas Mavericks . The one candidate I feel who fits the bill as the successor to Jackson would be Tom Izzo of Michigan State and his given his coaching pedigree I think he’d certainly be the appropriate choice ! However , that decision is now in the hands of the general manager and owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and it may well be some time before they come to a final decision .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment and thank as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) From left to right Branch Rickey , Jackie Robinson and his wife Rachel seen are as the former player receives his plaque after his enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame . AFP Archives ………

(2) Pirates’ outfielder Roberto Clemente whose tragic death is still mourned to this day . Baseball archives ….

(3) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat gets emotional after closing out the series against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 11, 2011 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(4) Omer Asik (3) reacts with Luol Deng (9) of the Chicago Bulls after Asik drew a foul from the Atlanta Hawks in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C Cox / Getty Images …….

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MLB News

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MLB Results & scores 14th May 2011

Probable starting pitchers 15th May 2011

Probable starting pitchers 16th May 2011

MLB Schedule 3 days at a glance

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NBA Playoffs 2011

The Real Funny Side Of Sports You’d Think ………….

The Real Funny Side Of Sports You’d Think …………

The longer this facade goes on the more asinine I know that baseball has become in terms of the game’s hierarchy , the team owners and the mere fact that they’ve never been known to show any common sense . The sharks are now circling the Los Angeles Dodgers as they smell blood and the idiocy of the team’s owner Frank McCourt only further adds to the illusion that when the league hierarchy saw fit to grant him the right to purchase the team from Fox and its parent company NewsCorp when they simply hadn’t used due diligence .

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The organization is now mired in so much financial mismanagement that it’s hard to understand how McCourt and the rest of the executives within the Dodgers’ front office could have been so financially irresponsible . But herein lies the caveat the league hierarchy rarely looks into the finances of its teams unless they believe there to be something inherently wrong. What might be even more surprising is that even in spite of there being clear cut evidence that something was awry with the Dodgers from a financial standpoint Bud Selig chose not to intervene until things had got to a point where one now has to question whether or not the Dodgers can now survive in its present format. If McCourt and his now ex-wife Jamie McCourt were using this organization as their very own personal ATM then questions have to now be answered with a great deal of veracity by not only Frank McCourt by the entire hierarchy of the Los Angeles Dodgers. This so called $3 billion tv contract that awaits the league’s approval has been the sole basis for McCourt to suggest that the organization has no financial worries as it also asks for $ 300 million upfront as an advance from the local Los Angeles Fox tv affiliate . What gave McCourt the impression that $ 300 million would be the cure to what ails the Los Angeles Dodgers when it is clear that he and his subordinates have contravened many of the league’s very own rules ? Now it’s becoming transparent that McCourt and those very same subordinates have been less than truthful as it relates to the organization’s financial stability.

Now the ante may well be upped in lieu of the fact that neither McCourt and Selig have met publicly to discuss the team’s issues . And with it now being reported that the Dodgers simply doesn’t have the cash available to meet its budgetary expenses for the months of May and Junes ____ you simply have to ask how much longer this idiocy can be allowed to carry on , in allowing to have McCourt even be associated with this team in any form whatsoever ? Gross negligence on his part , much of it no doubt suborned by the front office as they may well have been powerless but at the same time they also have a responsibility to the league hierarchy to report any serious malfeasance within their organization . Either Ned Colletti and CFO Peter Wilhelm are that stupid or they simply went along with the insipid moves and his then wife Jamie Court in raiding the organization’s coffers for their own malevolent needs . Frank and Jamie McCourt it is suggested were loaned $108 million between 2004-09 to fund their lavish lifestyle . If this is indeed true then I can only surmise that Frank McCourt’s estimated wealth of $1.2 billion had to have diminished immensely for him to be taking money from the coffers of the organization while they struggled to actually be competitive within NL West.

Granted this season we’ve witnessed some competitiveness from the team but as of late things have tailed off somewhat for organization as the off the field troubles has simply become a major news sports story within the game of baseball this season . The NL West as competitive as some may well believe it to be in large part has been a division that has been viewed as where the baseball being played there between those teams can be best described as being marginal . The division is now led by San Francisco Giants with a 21-16 mark followed by the Colorado Rockies (19-16) and Dodgers some 3.5 games behind with an 18-20 mark. That being said with all of the off the field controversy and mayhem taking place within the Dodgers’ organization the events taking place on the field have been forced to take a back seat as this idiocy simply plays itself out as a spectacle within the public’s domain.

It’s sad that one of baseball’s great organizations has been allowed to sink such depths but in reality this merely shows the complete ineptitude that is now on display at all levels of the game from the league hierarchy on down to the very players themselves .

If Chad Ochocinco can’t have the glare of the limelight placed upon him this NFL player simply becomes bereft of all common sense . Not content with having tried out for a roster spot with MLS soccer’s Sporting Kansas City the player is now said to be interested in riding a bull on the PBR (Professional Bull Riding) circuit . Well given the amount of bull served up last season by Ocho and the Cincinnati Bengals I just hope that the bull he’s given to ride simply stomps his ass into several hundred pieces ! The more he’s around in the NFL , the more you simply know that any team that he’s a part of is almost certainly doomed for failure . Granted, coming off a 2009 season where the Bengals were the AFC North champions 2010 was merely an afterthought as the Bengals simply slipped into a season sheer ineptitude posting a 6-10 record for the year . If that wasn’t bad enough you then had the team’s Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer demanding a trade rather than remaining with the Bengals . That situation seems close to resolving itself as the team took Andy Dalton as their second pick 35th overall in this season’s NFL Draft .

From my own perspective the problems of the Cincinnati Bengals are many , from a defense that’s simply become non-existent to an offense that on its best days would simply have problems making a first down, much less putting up points on the board as and when needed . It simply wasn’t merely about Palmer’s problems both on and off the field but the mere fact that Marvin Lewis lost control of these players and little of what he or his coaching staff imparted on those players actually manifested itself on the field of play last season. This season the Bengals could very well be at odds with itself as well as the incumbents within the AFC North. This much is certain if the Bengals are to have any chance being legitimately viewed as contender within the AFC much less the rest of the NFL then Ochocinco and this team will very much have to prove themselves worthy adversaries of their opponents this season . A great deal is being asked of Andy Dalton if he’s chosen to be the team’s quarterback but in lieu of that fact his being thrown in at the deep end may not be the wisest of choices but it may well be the only one that can be made by Marvin Lewis and his staff.

Well now that the Boston Celtics have been unceremoniously dumped out of this season’s NBA Playoffs in their series loss to the Miami Heat . The orbituaries are now being written as to the demise of several players on this team . It appears that negotiations are underway to retain the services of Doc Rivers as the team’s coach . But if anything GM Danny Ainge , senior managing partner Wyc Grousbeck and the other managing partners can’t have been entirely happy in the way that this teams was summarily dispatched by this Heat team .

This 4-1 series loss by the Boston Celtics to the Miami Heat in essence explained a lot about the two diverging paths that these two heave have taken over the course of the regular season. Having won their regular season meetings 3-1 the Celtics may well have felt that they had the upper hand were they to meet again in the postseason. But if anything it was the Heat who took heart from those meetings knowing that they had to up their game and play with a great deal more resolve. Erik Spoelstra having got this team play much more cohesively, began to see the fruits of his labor . At the same time team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison now know that all of the maneuvering and the subsequent work done by Dwyane Wade in persuading both Chris Bosh and LeBron James to sign with the team was not only in the players’ best interests as it offered them the best chance of winning an NBA title but it also benefited the Heat organization from a competitive and financial standpoint as well.

For the Boston Celtics Ainge alongside Rivers and the coaching staff must now look at how best rebuild this team and what if any major roster changes need to be made if they’re return back the playoffs as a formidable postseason opponent. We surely have seen the last of both Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal as players within the NBA . Collectively the duo offered little if anything to the team during much of the postseason. However my greatest gripe concerning the fall from grace by the Celtics was the absurd notion by Danny Ainge that his trade deadline moves of trading both Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson actually made the Celtics better , when he got little , tangible in return from those deals . He may well have done that to pare down the Celtics’ payroll but that all seems redundant when you consider that jointly Jermaine and Shaquille O’Neal were earning more than Perkins and Robinson combined this season. Contract lenght asides who in their right mind would want two aging veterans who between them offered nothing to this team throughout much of the regular season other than being a complete waste of space on the bench ?

It remains to be seen the steps to be taken by Ainge and his staff but this much is certain for the large part this current roster will most certainly change in its current format and for the large part we will be seeing a number of new faces on this team be it via free agency or through the upcoming NBA Draft.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the topics raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment .

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Tom Schieffer , the man charged by Major League Baseball with sorting through the finances of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is interviewed in New York, Thursday, May 12, 2011. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(2) Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno, right, watches his throw to first after forcing out Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier during the second inning of a baseball <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_05_12_lanmlb_pitmlbgame in Pittsburgh on Thursday, May 12, 2011. Juan Uribe was out at first. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ….

(3) Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig listens to a question during a news conference on Thursday, May 12, 2011 in New York. Selig gave Frank McCourt the face-to-face meeting the Los Angeles Dodgers owner wanted, but provided no timetable on approving a proposed $3 billion television deal with Fox that would keep the club from running out of cash at the end of the month. Selig and McCourt met Wednesday when owners began a two-day quarterly meeting at Major League Baseball’s office. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(4) Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti (left) and the team’s owner Frank McCourt . This was Colletti’s formal introduction to the public as the team’s new GM in November 2005. Icon SMI/ Larry Goren ……. .

(5) A.J. Green(4) overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, poses for a photo on stage with family members during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ….

(6) Cincinnati Bengals second round draft pick Andy Dalton(notes), left, a quarterback from TCU, and third round draft pick Dontay Moch, a linebacker from Nevada, right, pose with their jerseys during an NFL football news conference, Saturday, April 30, 2011, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/ David Kohl ……..

(7) Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick A.J. Green, right, speaks at a news conference with head coach Marvin Lewis, Friday, April 29, 2011 in Cincinnati. Green, a wide receiver from Georgia, will wear number 18 for the NFL football team. AP Photo/Al Behrman ……….

(8) Chad Ochocinco begins tryout with Sporting Kansas City on March 23, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. The player having gained a roster spot with the team is now said to be interested in riding a bull within the PBR circuit . Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ……

(9) Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge talks with reporters during a news conference at the team’s NBA basketball training facility in Waltham, Mass., Friday, May 13, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …….

(10) MIAMI, FL – MAY 11: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat gets emotional after closing out the series against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 11, 2011 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images …..

(11) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat is congratulated by Ray Allen (20) of the Boston Celtics after Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images /Mike Ehrmann ………

(12) Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers reacts on the sideline during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NBAE/Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann ……….

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MLB News

MLB Standings

MLB Schedule 3 days at a glance

Probable starting pitchers 13th May 2011

Probable starters 14th May 2011

MLB Scoreboard

MLB results & scores 12th May 2011

NFL News

NBA News

NBA Playoffs

NBA Schedule

NBA Conference Finals

Eastern Conference

Chicago Bulls ……. vs ……. Miami Heat

Western Conference

Dallas Mavericks …… TBD …….. winners of the series between Memphis Grizzlies …… & ….. Oklahoma City Thunder

Don’t Hate Appreciate ………… Have You Had Your Can Of Whup Ass Today ?

Don’t Hate Appreciate ………… Have You Had Your Can Of Whup Ass Today ?

I’ve said it repeatedly the tough teams know how to win when it matters most and case in point was proof positive of that as the Los Angeles Lakers simply gave up in their quest having succumbed to the Dallas Mavericks 98-92 in a decisive game three played at the American Airlines Center in Dallas , Texas. Instead of being composed we saw a Lakers’ team pressed and playing rather in consistently throughout this series .

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Slide show for your perusal .

If there was an unsung hero during this game for the Mavericks then it had to be jointly Jason Terry , Peja Stojakovic and that wily veteran Jason Kidd who belied their years in the league. Now pardon me for saying this but each time I hear TNT or ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy I simply want to throw up ! Is there no time wherein this guy can simply be observant report on what he observes rather than coming up with asinine comments and analysis. Now down 0-3 this series is now beyond the reach of the Lakers as no team in playoff history has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to come back and win that series .

This was simply a collective effort from this Mavericks’ team and it was a thoroughly convincing result and this series now seems to the Dallas Mavericks’ for the taking . If you’ve any doubt about that then simply look at the box-score and the stats for the Mavericks ? Game four of this series resumes on Sunday and we’re liable to see the Lakers be swept out of this series as the Dallas Mavericks make their way to the Western Conference Finals . Personally I can see the Lakers quite possibly taking game four but beyond that this team is liable to lose one if not two of the next three to be played at the Staples Center after the series’ departure from Dallas .

Anyone who was in any doubt why Derrick Rose became the youngest league MVP in NBA history then you simply had to witness his display against the Atlanta Hawks in game three played at the Philips Arena in Atlanta , Georgia . The Chicago Bulls simply laid the wood to the Hawks as they took them behind the woodshed and literally beat the shit out of this Hawks’ team . Forty four points simply sums up this player’s play and the fact that the Bulls’ bench took up some of the slack . Joakim Noah , Kyle Korver and Taj Gibson played with a great deal of aplomb as and when needed, as they harried the Hawks’ offense and made them look lethargic .

By midway through the fourth quarter this game was simply beyond the Atlanta Hawks’ reach and their two All Stars on this team in Joe Johnson and Al Horford simply couldn’t do anything to bring the Hawks back into this game. On this series resumption with game four we could well see the Chicago Bulls take a 3-1 lead in this series .

Can someone explain to me how it is that Cliff Lee can strike out 15 batters in a game and still come up with a loss (5-0 ) in a game played at Citizens Ballpark in Philadelphia as the Philadelphia Phillies took on the Atlanta Braves ? Lee’s opposite number Derek Lowe also had the prospect obtaining a no hitter in this game in what was an exemplary display by both pitchers. In the end however this was more about the mistakes defensively made by the Phillies and solid resolute play by the Braves as they inched closer to the the Florida Marlins and Phillies within the NL East .

Andre Ethier’s amazing season continues as he embarks on rewriting the Los Angeles Dodgers’ record book. Ethier is on the cusp of becoming the Dodgers’ consecutive single season record in terms of a consecutive games hit streak . Now at thirty games and counting Ethier looks to surpass the Dodgers’ record of Willie Davis’ streak of 31 and hopes to top the mark of forty before he can think about even coming within range of Joe Di Maggio’s 56 game hit streak which is the all time record within MLB . It’s now becoming redundant to continue talking about the Dodgers’ off the field problems as nothing can now simply change that particular landscape as it now stands. The idiocy of it all is that the team’s owner Frank McCourt continues to wallow in the fact that he’s now become a victim in the aftermath of the league hierarchy taking over the day to day running of the organization. Suffice to say that the league , its team owners enabled McCourt and his executive subordinates to enact this madness . And for those opining that the Dodgers and their $3 billion tv contract signed with Fox and its parent company NewsCorp let’s just say if you’re unable to pay the staff salaries for your employees for the months of April and now May please don’t come up with the bullshit about this organization being in a viable financial position. Simply let it be , and get a dose of reality as to how business is conducted in the real world .

Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams effectively announced his retirement as coach of the Terrapins’ basketball team . Having assumed tenure of the Terrapins as its coach in 1989 while the team was under NCAA probation Williams single handedly resurrected this program and put it back on the map. In doing so he won the 2002 NCAA Basketball Tournament . That title has been Maryland’s sole NCAA Men’s title but it has been the programs consistency over the years that has made Gary Williams stand apart as a collegiate basketball coach . He leaves an indelible record having won over 630 games and a run of eleven straight NCAA appearances as well as the Sweet 16 on multiple occasions . Thirty three years as a coach of, which 22 were spent as the coach of Maryland and I’d like to think that makes Gary Williams something of a special talent within the world of collegiate basketball !

Well it appears now apart from Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff looking to challenge the BCS’ antitrust exemption status and its stand as a monopoly within collegiate football. It now seems that the US Justice Department and its antitrust division will now serve notice that they intend to send letters to NCAA President Mark Emmert and the BCS seeking their reasons as to why there isn’t a playoff format in place for the national championship at the D1 level. If that’s not enough to peak your interest assistant US attorney general Christine Varney within the antitrust division of the Justice Department says that she is quite prepared subpoena records from both the NCAA and BCS to seek out how they conduct their business practices as it relates collegiate football . Considering the NCAA is already facing a civil suit challenge by several former NCAA athletes as to the use of their likeness for business purposes within the Federal Court System this couldn’t have come at a worse time for both the NCAA and BCS.

If it hasn’t been enough that we’ve seen the idiocy of the NCAA and the belief that the BCS and its subordinates feel that they’re above reproach . We now have to see them having to defend themselves from what we already know to be a grossly corrupt system that is in place and that’s being defended by an idiot in Ohio State university President Dr E Gordon Gee . How in God’s name that buffoon believes that the system is above reproach tells you all you need to know when you simply survey the 2010-11 and 2011 schedule of the Buckeyes to see how they affix their schedules , wherein they’re literally playing a bunch of no name programs to pad out their stats. In the midst of this all, Gee has the temerity to suggest that mid major conferences ought not to be allowed to have the privilege of attaining a BCS Bowl game berth because they’re simply not good enough. If anything, Gee ought to be more concerned over the image of his school and the fact that its football coach Jim Tressel has no moral character or integrity and the very fact that he’s self consumed a liar and a cheat . Those ought to be Gee’s biggest concerns rather than his asinine notion that the BCS system is above reproach.

I’ve longed felt that were it not for Severiano Ballesteros the European Tour and the PGA Tour wouldn’t be what is today . Having won five grand slam majors and over 68 tournaments worldwide Ballesteros’ legacy has been well chronicled . Long before Tiger Woods held the world as a captive audience on the golf course it was the spectacle of seeing Ballesteros simply play with a fluidity not often seen on any major tour today. His shot making was uncanny and anyone who knows anything about the sport of golf will know how special Seve’ Ballasteros was . Unfortunately , the Spanish star and a successful Ryder Cup captain is suffering from cancer of the brain , having gone through repeated bouts of chemotherapy and undergone several neuro surgeries over the past eight years ever since it was discovered that he had malignant tumors on his brain. Having removed several of the tumors it was felt that Severiano Ballesteros’ would be able to make a slow and successful recovery from his illness .

Ballesteros died at age 54 in the early hours of Saturday morning, in the arms of his family, a national treasure within the country of Spain and a worldwide celebrity . A wealthy individual in his own right , from his professional earnings and as a businessman from his the off the field business ventures , he married Caroline Boutin , whose family founded one of Spain’s largest financial institutions Banco de Santander . He will be sorely missed by the golf word but it was his larger than life character , respect for and of the game as well as his fellow competitors that made Ballasteros stand apart. His dominance of the game goes without saying and for those who’ve never witnessed Ballesteros at his very best , simply imagine the shot playing of Tiger Woods at his best with the power of Jack Nicklaus and you can imagine how special Ballesteros was at the height of his game.. Thanks Seve’ for all the grace you brought to the game and in particular the world of sport , you’ll be sorely missed !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) DALLAS, TX – MAY 6: Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after hitting a three against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2011 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images …….

(2) The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant looks at his bench as Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki , left, Peja Stojakovic , center and Jason Kidd , right react during the final minutes of Game 3 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks won 98-92. NBAE/Getty Images / Danny Bollinger ….

(3) Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol shoots over Dallas Mavericks’ Jason Kidd, left, and Peja Stojakovic during the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Dallas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …….

(4) ATLANTA, GA – MAY 06: Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls drives against Joe Johnson (2) and Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox …..

(5) Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Derek Lowe(notes) delivers to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Philadelphia. AP Photo / Barbara Johnston ….

(6) Atlanta Braves’ Jason Heyward (22) steals to second base as Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Michael Martinez (19) is late with the tag during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Braves won 5-0. AP Photo/Barbara Johnston ….

(7) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Jamey Carroll(14) greets teammate Andre Ethier (16) at the plate after Ethier’s seventh-inning two-run home run as New York Mets catcher Ronny Paulino , center, looks on during a baseball game at Citi Field in New York, Sunday, May 8, 2011. AP Photo/ Kathy Willens ……

(8) University of Maryland basketball coach Gary WIlliams (L) hugs his wife Dana WIlliams after announcing his retirement on May 6, 2011 at the Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images ……..

(9) University of Maryland basketball coach Gary WIlliams speaks while announcing his retirement on May 6, 2011 at the Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images ……..

(10) Seve Ballesteros (C) of Spain poses with Per Ericsson (R) and German Lopez of Volvo Event Management during the press conference of the Volvo World Match Play Championship 2009 presentation at Intercontinental Hotel on October 14, 2009 in Madrid, Spain. Ballesteros, who is recovering from cancer which has left him partially blind in his left eye, is hopeful that he’ll be able to take part in the upcoming Volvo World Match Play. October 13, 2009 – Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images Europe ……..

(11) Ballesteros seen here in receipt of the Green Jacket having won the 1983 Masters Tournament at Augusta National G&C Augusta , Georgia ,. Photo archives / Reuters/ Peter McKinnon ……

(12) Christine Varney (left) head of the Antitrust Divsion of the US Dept of Justice . Her department has been asked by the AG Eric Holder to look into possible grounds to see if the BCS can be considered a monopoly in terms of its business practices as it relates to D1 collegiate football . NY Times Susan Etheridge ……

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MLB News

MLB Scoreboard & schedule 7th May 2011

MLB results 6th May 2011

MLB Schedule 8th May 2011

MLB Standings

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Results 6th May 2011

NBA Schedule 7th May 2011

NBA Schedule 8th May 2011

The Determining Factor ……………………..

The Determining Factor

It’s crazy but with the end of the NFL Draft and we already have the analysts and draft geeks assessing which team actually had the best draft class from this most recent endeavor . Now don’t get me wrong but the draft has its merits but in reality until those players actually have played down in a regular season game within the NFL we will never truly know what these players are or will be actually capable of. Can’t miss players are merely speculation and conjecture . And now where a first round draft pick especially one that is picked in the upper echelons of the first round, the financial cost and commitment for a player to a team can be well into tens of millions of dollars over the course of an initial contract. Do you think that the Oakland Raiders regret making that initial $ 65 million commitment to JaMarcus Russell right about now ? One simply has to look to their front office of the Raiders to see the cause of their demise . To put it more succinctly Al Davis no longer knows how to assess talent in spite of the continued idiocy that’s misplaced by an overbearing oaf such as radio personality and employee of the organization the nationally syndicated sports talk radio host J T The Brick . Here’s a guy who when it comes to showing any form of impartiality to an issue concerning the Raiders , well let’s just say he’d make a Klan member feel proud !

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In reality success has been fleeting for the Raiders over the last decade and half and that is in spite of the organization’s rich history within the NFL . But as with a number of teams and in particular with each generation of fans it’s not merely about those by gone years but what you have you done for me lately by way of success ? And to my mind the determining factor and in relation to the success that any organization wishes to attain be it within MLB , NBA , NBA , or the NFL itself .. It is predicated upon the front office of each organization ,from the ownership on down to the executives and coaching staff. Consider this , think of the most successful franchises within each of the four major sports and what has each got in common apart from winning ? It is the fact that each has had an owner who has remained consistent with what works for it as an entity . The Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils within the NHL , the Pittsburgh Steelers , New York Yankees , the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have simply stuck to that tried and tested method of having sound fiscal policies , as well as competent coaches and executives within their respective organizations.

During the NBA Playoffs without a doubt the most disappointing display to my mind was that of the Orlando Magic and their lopsided 4-2 series loss to the Atlanta Hawks . Anyone who was witness to the sheer ineptitude of the Magic’s performances throughout this series would realize that without Dwight Howard this team simply isn’t worth a damn . What might be even more perplexing was the sheer idiocy and the belief shown by GM Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy that the mid-season trades made would in fact improve the team . If anything the team simply became even more inconsistent , lackluster and completely devoid of creativity on either end of the floor . Not only that but they were simply those who labored under the fact Dwight Howard because of his stats made a viable MVP candidate while his teammates simply were mediocre .

Anyone who actually has an ounce of common sense would know from the very fact that the vast majority of the winners of the league’s regular season trophy to the individual recipient has in fact made those around him considerably better as their respective teams statistically have shown signs progress during that season. Case in point , was this season’s runaway winner of the league MVP trophy , Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and the 21 game turnaround engineered by Tom Thibodeau from last season to this where the team became a 62 game winner and the top seed within the Eastern Conference never mind the fact that they’ve now made the Eastern Conference Semi Finals where they face the Atlanta Hawks who as I explained earlier dethroned the Magic with effortless ease.

The Orlando Magic and its front office in conjunction with Otis Smith I feel were capricious. Smith and Bob Vander Weide team President & CEO made a gamble that simply didn’t pay off . Not only that but in acquiring Jason Richardson , Hedo Turoglu and Gilbert Arenas the organization is financially on the hook for $65 million in salary for the players in question over the remaining years of those contracts. Call me naive but the productivity by the players during the regular season as well as the postseason has been minuscule and not deserving of the Magic’s fans undoubted expectations. And with this loss the Magic and its management have a great deal of contemplating to do as it regards the moves that need to be made in order to make this team better. Dwight Howard whose contract expires at the end of 2012 can actually opt out of the contract prior to its culmination rather than seeking to start the whole negotiation process. Clearly Van Gundy and Otis Smith will have to be very persuasive in convincing Howard that he ought to remain with the organization. And at this juncture that scenario isn’t as clear cut as some would believe or would like it to be.

In baseball we have all seen the idiocy of the team owners there and their ostentatious spending. Is it any wonder Los Angeles Dodgers and in particular the New York Mets are in a mess financially with regard to their own existence and financial viability ? Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt seems to be under the misapprehension that he will be successful regaining control of the team he bought in 2003 from the local > News Corp through their wholly owned Fox Inc subsidiary. Since then, even though the team has averaged 3 million attendees per season the organization has struggled to remain financially a viable concern . Now with collateralized and none- subordinated debt in excess of $ 1.2 billion McCourt feels that the team and organization still remains a viable concern. He must feel that the his creditors will continue remain lukewarm to his overtures should they feel that he’s having problems paying down that debt. In this sort of economic climate there tends not to that type willingness from many of the nation’s major financiers and their respective institutions. And even with the league hierarchy having assumed control of the Dodgers I would like to think that Bud Selig is closely monitoring the situation as it now unfolds with Mets , in particular with co-owners —- Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon !

Success for both the Dodgers and Mets seems to have been fleeting over the past decade and it remains to be seen whether or not their aspirations remains the same and that is to win a World Series title . And as ambitious as those front offices appears to be it seems that they have lost sight of their ultimate goal . Much of that malaise has to be laid squarely upon the shoulders of McCourt and his executives within the organization . Ned Colletti may well be enjoying the prestige of running the personnel side of the organization but he too like McCourt may well have lost site of the organization’s goals. It certainly most telling that when questioned by the press as to who now controls the Dodgers and its day to day running Colletti’s response was one that seems to be an individual who just doesn’t care either way . If that is indicative of how this organization is being ran then it shows that they’re completing deserving of their fate.

The New York Mets face a civil suit that at present is being determined through a mediator appointed by the US Federal Courts and at the heart of it all appears to be whether or not the organization knowlingly gain financially from the monies received as profits from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme of which several thousands of investors were defrauded of $59 billion. Irving Picard the plaintiffs’ lead attorney in this suit has filed a motion seeking to recoup some $750 million from both Katz, Wilpon their Sterling Equities as well as the New York Mets. The lead defendants Katz and Wilpon deny any wrongdoing on their part but have stated that they are victims of the fraud perpetrated by Madoff and his associates. However , it has been the Mets unwillingness to open their books up for public scrutiny that casts a doubt upon the veracity of the argument now being put forth by the Mets as the defendants and in particular by Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon . A federal subpoena has a way of making the truth be known in the end and hopefully several of those will be put to use in the course of this case. And inasmuch the Mets once again are having a mediocre season one can’t help but feel that through the connivance and mismanagement from the executives and managerial level over the past few years that this organization is thoroughly deserving of its present predicament.

I’ve long maintained that the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns as teams within the NFL clearly have some way to go before they can be thought of as serious contenders within the league and as a legitimate team to win the Superbowl . Bengals’ owner Mike Brown and team coach Marvin Lewis are now having to deal with Carson Palmer’s petulant behavior and his wanting to be traded to a contender . If this is what is indicative of what was now being produced by USC as to quarterbacks from the Pete Carroll era then clearly there are some questions that really do need to be asked . I think that things are now likely to get a great deal murkier with the team’s drafting of Andy Dalton as the de-facto successor to Palmer as his reign is about to come to an abrupt end with the Bengals . From AFC North champions in 2009 to a team with a lackluster 6-10 record last season .

The Browns for their part have been in more of a tailspin having dumped Romeo Crennel and hired Eric Mangini only too see the team fail miserably under Mangini’s tenure . And given Mangini’s coaching record in the NFL I’ve got to ask myself what the hell was Mike Holmgren thinking as the team’s President ? Last season this team competed gallantly but in large part they faced an uphill battle trying to usurp the dominance of both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers within their division (AFC North ). Now with Pat Shurmur as the team’s head coach and there being a revamped assistant coaching staff it remains to be seen what this upcoming season may well have in store for the Browns. The team had a breakout star in Peyton Hillis and as always the dependable Josh Cribbs was at his very best and it would appear that team now has a quarterback in Colt McCoy who can actually commands the respect of his teammates.

In stark contrast to the teams that have been consistent and have attained success, much of that can be put down to the fact that apart from making the right personnel decisions . It has been the continuity not only from within their coaching regime but primarily through the fact that at the executive levels as with regards to the general manager that is in place , there has been little , if any , real turnover in that staff. It’s not always been about the coaches because that in essence comes down to the coach’s resume’ and his ability to communicate with the players and if anything above all with his general manager. Simply look at the success attained by the Steelers and New England Patriots over the years and the one constant there has been the ownership , the fact that the general managers there have been tenured with those respective organizations for a number of years and the actual willingness of the owner to defer to subordinates within the organization. And even though Scott Pioli has since left the Patriots to assume a similar position with the Kansas City Chiefs we’ve seen that even there also once Pioli was allowed to show his acumen in assessing talent the team has progressed showing a marked display last season in winning the AFC West (10-6) and making the playoffs where they would succumb to the Baltimore Ravens —- 30-7 in the wildcard round. And for head coach Todd Haley and his coaching staff though the loss had been been a tremendous disappointment , it also points to the fact that the organization has to be now heading in the right direction after so many barren years in the wilderness .

The Patriots for their part having seen their postseason woes continue with their lackluster performance in losing to their divisional rivals the New York Jets —- 28-21 in a game that pretty much summed up the team’s season. In light of that however they’ve gone about things in their usual business like manner garnering picks for future drafts and at the same time picking up the usual talent they’ve been accustomed to down the years . Much of that by design as Bill Belichick has worked in conjunction with Floyd Reese the team’s senior consultant charged with the task of dealing with personnel matters for the team.

We may well feel that in large part that success is actually achieved on the field of play because of the performances of the players. But it does essentially start with the eager willingness of the owners and their front office executives actually having the right staff in place being able assess the talent that is there to be had and as necessary spend prudently in order to get the best possible player available . How often have we seen a situation where in fact a team that simply looks good on paper just tends to implode because of the undue pressure and the very fact that the coach simply hasn’t done their job adequately ? At times we can blame the players for their lackluster performances but doesn’t that also have something to do with the coach not being able to get his point across as to what needs to be done at a given moment ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In coming to this conclusion I do firmly believe that any professional sports organization has to have all integral parts on the same page working in cohesion . If that isn’t evident within an organization then by the very evidence we tend to see the vast majority of the time that team does tend fail in its endeavors. We’ve seen it this postseason within the NBA , NHL , also within the NFL and MLB as well . What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And as such do you feel that I may well have missed some pertinent factor that should have been included ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson (L) looks on as Raiders owner Al Davis (R) speaks to reporters after introducing Jackson as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders on January 18, 2011 in Alameda, California. Hue Jackson was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing the fired Tom Cable. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ……

(2) JaMarcus Russell (2) of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California. Jed Jacobsohn/ Getty Images ……

(3) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic questions a call by the official during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia . Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(4) In this photo taken on April 14, 2010, from left, Orlando Magic president and chief executive officer Bob Vander Weide, chief operating officer Alex Martins and general manager Otis Smith chat prior to an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Orlando, Fla. Smith, by his own admission, is a risk-taker. He’s the general manager who traded three starters from an NBA finals team, moves that either will show Smith’s brilliance or become a symbol of a gamble gone wrong for the Magic in the playoffs. AP Photo/John Raoux …….

(5) Andre Ethier (16) of the Los Angeles Dodgers swings and loses his bat in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on May 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 4-1 . Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ……

(6) Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti (left) and the team’s owner Frank McCourt . This was Colletti’s formal introduction to the public as the team’s new GM in November 2005. Icon SMI/ Larry Goren ……. ……..

(7) Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick A.J. Green, right, speaks at a news conference with head coach Marvin Lewis, Friday, April 29, 2011 in Cincinnati. Green, a wide receiver from Georgia, will wear number 18 for the NFL football team. AP Photo/Al Behrman ……..

(8) Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren watches from the back of the room as first-round draft pick Phillip Taylor holds a news conference at the NFL football team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Mark Duncan ……

(9) Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert, right, presents a jersey to first round-draft pick Phillip Taylor during an NFL football news confernce at the team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. The Browns took the Baylor defensive tackle with the 21st overall pick Thursday night. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …….

(10) FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2009, file photo : Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley, left, talks with general manager Scott Pioli before a news conference announcing Haley’s hiring in Kansas City, Mo. Pioli and Haley are deservedly drawing praise for taking the Chiefs from 10 wins in three years to 10 wins in 16 weeks. But they don’t deny they were blessed with a core of solidly talented young players when they got to Kansas City after a 2-14 2008 season. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……

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MLB News

MLB Scoreboard

Results & scores 3rd May 2011

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NFL News

NHL News

MLB Team owners

MLB Team General Managers

MLB team managers

NBA team owners

NBA general managers

NBA coaches

NFL team owners

NFL coaches

NFL general managers

NHL team owners

NHL team general managers

NHL team head coaches

Now What ?

Now What ?

Well the NFL Draft began and over the course of three days Radio City Music Hall , New York City well become the epicenter of the NFL world . Never mind the fact that although Judge Susan Richard Nelson has sided with the players over their challenge of the league’s mandated lockout the nation’s top collegiate players will be front and center as the teams and their front office executives and coaches will assuage and assess their merits .

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Slide show for your perusal .

No real surprise as Cam Newton was taken number one overall by the Carolina Panthers having been the league’s worse team record wise last season. The draft itself as it continues and until its culmination on Saturday will provide the fans with a great many surprises and no doubt a great deal of disappointment as to the choices that’ll no doubt be made by the various teams. As a discerning fan I for one am not overly interested in the process , as from my own perspective until that first snap and first down is made on an NFL field during a regular season game we’re totally unsure what to expect from the rookies stepping up to the professional ranks . Suffice to say , that the likes of Newton , Von Miller , Marcell Dareus , A J Green , Patrick Peterson and Julio Jones are now set for life financially having been taken as the first six players in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.

That being said I expect a number trades to take place too as some teams may well look to off-load a prospective free agent in order to move up in the draft order in order to obtain a player that meets their needs. Given the still unclear picture of the league landscape and the very fact that though a 2011 schedule has been made public the fans are still unclear as to what awaits them in terms of there actually be a regular NFL season. The owners have still vowed to fight on in spite of Nelson’s verdict and her denying them a right of appeal at the Appellate Division . So the only recourse for the league and owners would be to challenge that decision in the Supreme Court , with that challenge being heard by the Justices there . And the likelihood that Chief Justice John Roberts and his colleagues supersede or overturn that decision seems highly unlikely , unless the the league as the plaintiffs, can provide a clear and substantive proof that Nelson erred in rendering her original decision .

For now in terms of anything tangible all the NFL fan simply has at this moment in time is that draft and the parade of the players as chattel bound for a new owner. For the analysts and draft geeks I’m of no doubt that they’re well on their way to making prognostications as to who has done well in the first two rounds and who may well have made a profound miscalculation with their picks . Be that as it may , no one really knows for sure what is liable to happen with these players until that first whistle is blown and the season should there be one , gets underway. Then and only then , will we be able to gauge these players and how they’re likely to do.

I’m sorry, but now is not the time for excuses ,…………. especially when your team gets handed its own ass on the proverbial silver platter for all to see . Having watched in large part several of the games in the NBA playoff series between the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic , I have come to the conclusion that the Magic have and become the softest team in the Eastern Conference merely not only from a mental standpoint but also from a physical one as well ! At no time throughout this series has the Orlando Magic actually played well much less with any degree of consistency . If anything their play has been erratic and if anything the hype over these players and in particular the aspirations of Dwight Howard being a viable league MVP candidate was simply hyperbole and not much else . Big players step up and lead , here’s been a clear cut case wherein Howard has simply bitched and complained as things haven’t gone his way and where the team’s animated coach Stan Van Gundy has simply proven that when it really matters most , in the face of real adversity he simply cannot instill anything into this team. I’ve heard it said that a league MVP simply means being the best player on the team , I think it goes way beyond that , as it means also showing leadership qualities and actually getting those around you to raise the level of their play. If anyone can point to the fact where Howard has shown any semblance of the latter during this series where a teammate has stepped up and followed his lead then someone please intervene and show me such an instance ?

This series essentially was over once the Hawks took to taking the Magic and exposing all of their flaws bare for all to see . A one dimensional team that lacked creativity and imagination. The likes of Gilbert Arenas , Jason Richardson and Quentin Richardson have literally been stealing money from the Orlando Magic and undeniably it has been Van Gundy , the front office executives and GM Otis Smith who have been culpable in creating this unmitigated mess with the Orlando Magic in its present guise . There has been no cohesion on this roster as it has simply been assembled as a group of mismatched pieces . The trades that took place that gave berth to the roster must’ve been thought up as a quip at first because in terms of offensive presence what had been hoped simply didn’t materialize and in terms of defensive voracity it wasn’t on display by the Magic as Jamal Crawford , Josh Smith , Al Horford and the sighting of Joe Johnson made the Magic seem all the more irrelevant during the series . Hard to believe that Magic were actually the number four seeds in the Eastern Conference but that’s what one tends to get suckered into if you simply take a record at face value rather than looking over the entire body of work and what’s brought to the table in terms of anything tangible .

Game six and that result (84-81) was an emphatic statement as to which team was simply deserving of this series . Having lost the series (4-2) the Magic , the coaching staff and team will have to reassess where , why and how things all went so badly wrong . This much is certain the Orlando Magic in its present guise I firmly believe will be completely new entity for the start of the 2011-12 season . I certainly don’t believe that Smith , Van Gundy and in particular team owner Rich DeVos , President & CEO Bob Vander Weide and the other senior executives of the Magic can be entirely happy with the outcome of this seris from a competitive or financial standpoint. Especially in light of franchise’s ongoing difficulties , albeit, that they’re now esconced in their new facility the Amway Center in downtown Orlando . The NBA and in particular in order to remain viable not just from a competitive standpoint also have to remain a viable one from a financial standpoint also . And that if anything has cast a shadow over the organization over the past several years . With NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy projecting a fiscal loss of anywhere between $400 to $500 million you can well understand why it was imperative for the team to have had some semblance this postseason . Instead they’re now back to the drawing board looking to start over again with a plan in face hopefully with something that will lead to that ultimate goal of securing the club its first NBA title .

Given that in 2009 , the Orlando Magic were one of 18 teams around the NBA who were in receipt of a $175 million bailout courtesy of the league hierarchy by way of several financial institutions which the league itself has guaranteed . In 2010 the same exercise was again the norm with a further $300 million and it begs the question what’s going on with the NBA and in particular with its own financial template ? Anyone care to take a guess ?

I don’t know about you but as more information is divulged about Jim Tressel’s actions and the fact that he knew full well of several players’ improprieties , in their actions of selling memorabilia for financial gain. The more I ask myself , how is it that he still has a job at Ohio State ? Pardon me for saying this but how the fuck can the university condone these actions with a mere slap on the wrist by simply doing nothing more than asking Tressel to make a public apology and handing down a rather menial suspension ? The players involved in this subterfuge as such still have their athletic careers in tact but this simply gives further credence as to how corrupt collegiate athletics has become and the mere fact that the universities and the NCAA are powerless to stop any form of malfeasance that takes place . If Tressel can be allowed to remain on campus without there being real consequence for his actions , lying to senior faculty members and the press alike then it simply tells about this coach’s complete lack of integrity and character. And to think there are idiots about who still think of him as some type of role model ? Only a friggin’ idiot would be of that mindset I believe !

Dr E Gordon Gee the university’s president and Athletic Director Gene Smith have stated that they hope that episode can be put behind them and the school can proceed forward with its integrity still in tact . Well my answer to both Gee and Smith ….. ” had you had the balls to do what is morally right then perhaps your statements could be treated with a degree of realism “ . But given the fact that both have shown that they’d rather keep Tressel within their midst and with a tainted reputation simply emphasizes that within collegiate athletics ….. money simply trumps everything . There’s no denying that the football program brings in countless millions for the school but what that says about the school’s own image and the mere fact that they’d believe that Tressel’s less contrite apology makes up for his misdeeds shows and indicate how naive they actually are .

NCAA President Mark Emmert has stated that he’d like see a situation where student athletes would be able to receive some form of stipend while their collegiate athletic career is ongoing . But that’s something that I for one believe that the purists and many of the various athletic conferences might not be willing to part-take in . Not if it’s going to diminish what they’re receiving in terms of filling their monetary coffers . Imagine you have SEC Commissioner Mike Slive who’s now more concerned whether not the actions of Mark Shurtleff as Attorney General of Utah is stepping outside of his legal parameters ? Merely because Shurtleff wants to challenge the BCS’s antitrust exemption status and where he also feels that the BCS is an illegal monopoly in terms of its existence and how it conducts itself as a business entity. One could well understand Slive’s concerns , as he simply doesn’t want to see that gravy train dry up in any way .whatsoever . Not with there being countless millions at stake and pouring into coming into the major BCS conference coffers each year through various sports and business formats .

At some point there has to be some semblance brought into the midst as to how the NCAA deals with the misdeeds of not only the student athletes but also of the coaches who have been allowed in large have gone untouched for their actions . Simply look at what has taken place with Jim Calhoun , Bruce Pearl and Lane Kiffin recently and you can understand how pointless it as times to expect any sense of integrity coming from within collegiate athletics ! Integrity and greed simply doesn’t mix , much like oil and water is said not to . And that’s why nothing will ever change within the collegiate athletics landscape because in retrospect no one there actually wants it to change , the status quo has to remain the same . Integrity and honor be damned because that’s the least of the concerns of the schools , much less the NCAA itself .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do have on the topics raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .

Alan aka tophatal …………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1)Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick Cam Newton answers a question after being introduced during an NFL football news conference at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Bob Leverone ………….

(2) Washington Redskins first-round draft pick Ryan Kerrigan addresses the media during an NFL football news conference at Redskins Park, Friday, April 29, 2011, in Ashburn, Va. AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez ……

(3) Cam Newton receives a hug from his mother Jackie on stage after he was selected #1 overall by the Carolina Panthers during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ….

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Mark Ingram, #28 overall pick by the New Orleans Saints, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ………

(5) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts after a missed basket during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin Cox / Getty Images …..

(6) Dwight Howard(12) of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin Cox / Getty Images …….

(7) A fan hold up a neon green sign with the word “Kryptonite” written on it during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox ……….

(8) Gilbert Arenas (1) of the Orlando Magic drives to the basket against Josh Smith (5) and Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox ………

(9) NBA commissioner David Stern, left, chats with Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos during the first half of Game 1 in a second-round of the NBA basketball playoff series between the Magic and the Atlanta Hawks in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, May 4, 2010. Stern announced earlier Tuesday that the 2012 All-Star Game will be held in Orlando. Courtesy of Forbes Magazine & AP Photo /John Raoux ……

(10) E. Gordon Gee, left, Ohio State University president; football coach Jim Tressel, center; and athletic director Gene Smith take questions during a news conference Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State suspendedTressel for two games and fined him $250,000 for violating NCAA rules by failing to notify the school about information he received involving two players and questionable activities involving Buckeye memorabilia. Tressel also will receive a public reprimand and must make a public apology. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ………..

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NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Games schedule

Friday 29th April 2011

Conference Semi Finals match-ups

Eastern Conference

Home team designated on the left

Chicago Bulls vs Atlanta Hawks

Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics

Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks

San Antonio Spurs/ Memphis Grizzlies vs Oklahoma City Thunder TBA

The series between the Spurs has yet to be decided with game six to be played tonight at the Fedex Forum in Memphis , Tennessee . . The Grizzlies at present have 3-2 lead in the best of seven game series .

NFL News

2011 NFL Draft

Draft by rounds : Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6


Round 7

NFL Draft 2010

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Wyclef Jean …….. feat’g ….. Mary J Blige ……………. “911”

Playoffs ? What Playoffs ? The NBA Playoffs Dummy Get With The Program

Playoffs ? What Playoffs ? The NBA Playoffs Dummy Get With The Program

Well this much is certain the NBA Playoffs have began to set about a number of surprises and then there have been the teams that you simply know have underachieved during the first round of the playoffs . The New York Knicks were summarily swept out of the first round with consummate ease by the Boston Celtics . And for those out there saying that the Knicks are a work in progress …….. here’s my retort for you the gestation period for a female pachyderm is a work in progress the New York Knicks are unadulterated friggin’ mess ! How this team was assembled by Mike D’Antoni and GM Donnie Walsh gives me every reason to believe that this organization now, is no better off than when former team President and GM Isiah Thomas was running the show the whole god-damn show ! And God knows, we all know how fu_cking bad that team was under Thomas’ tenure .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Throughout this series not once had this team chosen to even play a modicum of defense but yet somehow there were idiots out there joyous that the Knicks had actually made the playoffs because in their eyes it made the club relevant once again . I’m sorry but the Knicks were about as relevant within the NBA as I’d consider Muammar Ghadaffi to be a beacon of light to democracy within the Middle East and on the African continent ! Unfortunately for all of the talk of Amar’e Stoudemire being paired together with Carmelo Anthony had the makings of a dynamic duo . Let’s say had Batman and Robin been homosexual crime fighters they’d still be far more intimidating than this duo have been throughout this series . Contributions asides when a team built primarily around offense and not a lick of defense is being played, how the hell is anyone of the belief that the Knicks were actually in with a chance of even winning this series ? At no time was I even convinced that the Knicks could win the series , much less make it a competitive one. Much of the team’s malaise can laid squarely on the shoulders of D’Antoni and Walsh. I hazard a guess that with Chauncey Billups having a series he’d rather forget , I can only surmise that his career is now in its twilight years . From a Finals MVP to a non-descript passenger on a derailed passenger train is very much how I’d assess the Knicks’ foray in this postseason along with the lackluster performances of Billups .

Speaking of a team that could very well be on the cusp of being humiliated in the playoffs are the Orlando Magic . Stan Van Gundy for all of animated demeanor and being so vocal is completely adrift with a team that is simply overwhelmed by its surroundings. The moves made by the Magic at the trade deadline were meant to improve the offensive productivity and creativity of this team . Who would’ve thought that the Atlanta Hawks would have the upper hand in this series with the Hawks not only taking a decisive a 3-1 lead but also Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson are actually outplaying the entire Magic front court by showing so much creativity and the tenacity to get the job done . The only player on the Magic roster who appears to be showing any proclivity in wanting to play with any aggression, happens to be the team’s All Star center Dwight Howard . Other than Howard there has been little contribution if any from anyone on this team.

Unfortunately the Magic are now on the hook financially for the contracts of Jason Richardson , Hedo Turkoglu , Gilbert Arenas and Quentin Richardson who collectively are owed a cumulative sum of $63 million over the next three years. I somehow get the feeling that GM Otis Smith and the front office executives within the Magic organization gambled heavily and that bet hasn’t worked ! In fact this whole maneuver has been an unmitigated disaster . If anyone was of the belief that this Magic team was remotely in with a chance of winning this series much less being taken as a serious contender for this season’s NBA title clearly hasn’t been watching this team play. Inconsistency has been their mantra and the very fact that they’ve been unable able to close out a game with any effectiveness during the regular season and then expect them to do the same in the postseason would suggest that they were in with a remote chance of actually winning this series . And clearly that hasn’t been the case as they’ve been continually outplayed and outcoached throughout the entirety of the series .

However what might be even more surprising is the mere fact that during last season’s playoffs the Orlando Magic actually swept the Hawks in a 4-0 series drubbing that is considered to be the most lopsided series’ victory that has been seen in the NBA in quite a while . Unfortunately game five to be played at the Amway Center in Orlando this Tuesday can be viewed as a series decider as the Magic are fighting for their very survival . A loss for the Magic and Larry Drew’s team makes their way into the Eastern Conference semi finals where they’ll meet the Chicago Bulls the number one seed in the Eastern Conference . That should be a which could very well prove to be thoroughly entertaining and at the same time somewhat suspenseful.

Another series which seems to be heading towards an unlikely outcome should things remain as they are . The San Antonio Spurs face a daunting task in trying to erase a 2-1 deficit against the Memphis Grizzlies . Coming into the series as the number one seed in the Western Conference . And the Spurs’ performances during this series if anything cannot be described as that of the best team in the conference or NBA record wise . It has been the Grizzlies led by Zach Randolph who have been playing like a team that on appearance has been playing like a number one seed . The Spurs have been playing below par and if anything they’ve been complacent in taking the Grizzlies far too lightly . Game four to be played tonight in Memphis will certainly let us know whether or not the Spurs are capable of erasing this deficit or whether or not the Memphis Grizzlies can push the number one seeds to the brink of elimination by winning what could very well be a very scintillating game .

San Antonio Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff will most certainly have to prove that these series’ results are no mere fluke . But if anything credit has to be given to the Grizzlies who in essence have shown us that they’re quite capable of knocking off a top seed . It has been pretty incredible to see this Spurs’ team labor throughout this series . Tony Parker has been inconsistent and while Manu Ginobli has struggled with injuries the Spurs’ bench has contributed little if anything to this series overall. The veteran presence of Tim Duncan and Antonio McDyess has made little difference as the Grizzlies have simply outran , out-thought and completely outplayed the San Antonio Spurs . Should they bow out of this series at this juncture it would be the earliest exit by the team in over five years.

As an ardent fan of the Spurs I must admit that I’ve been surprised by the lackluster effort that put forth by the team . If anything I expected a competitive series between the two teams . Excuses are the last thing I’m about to make for the Spurs should their be a monumental collapse because I do believe that teams that encounter adversity can learn something from it . And should it prove to be the case for the Spurs then hopefully Popovich and his coaching staff and in particular the Spurs’ players can learn something from this all.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

These series so far have been intriguing so far but there’s still a great deal to come . So if anything go ahead and enjoy what is left of the NBA postseason , so make of it what you will .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 24: (L-R) Amar’e Stoudemire(1) , Carmelo Anthony(7) and Shawne Williams (3) of the New York Knicks celebrate a play against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Celtics won 101-89 . Nick Laham / Getty Images …..

(2) Carmelo Anthony(notes) #7 of the New York Knicks gets set to receive an inbounds pass as director Spike Lee yells at referee Derrick Collins #11 against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Nick Laham / Getty Images ……

(3) Paul Pierce(34) of the Boston Celtics looks to go up for a shot against Amar’e Stoudemire(1), Ronny Turiaf(14) and Landry Fields (6) of the New York Knicks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City . Getty Images/ Nick Laham …..

(4) New York Knicks owner (C) Jim Dolan , General Manager Donnie Walsh and Head Coach Mike D’Antoni introduce new players Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups at a press conference at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. Chris Trotman / Getty Images North America ……

(5) Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen, left, defends San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis , Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Lance Murphey …….

(6) Not looking good at all . San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, left, and guard Tony Parker, right, of France, watch the final minutes of Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Lance Murphey ….

(7) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic converses with his offense in the final minutes against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 24, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …….

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. NB Game four was won decisively by the Memphis Grizzlies 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the best of seven game series with a semi finals’ conference berth awaiting the winner .

Finally An Act of Rationale By MLB And In Particular Bud Selig Who Shows That He Might Indeed Have A Backbone

Finally An Act of Rationale By MLB And In Particular Bud Selig Who Shows That He Might Indeed Have A Backbone

I’ve read with a great deal of glee where the MLB —- hierarchy has now chosen to intervene and take over the day to day running of the operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers and not a moment too soon ! Given the financial situation of the organization and wherein the league hierarchy under MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has sat idly by as Frank McCourt has brought the organization to the brink of bankruptcy . In the last eighteen months two major ballclubs have been placed within the bankruptcy in order that they may have a stay from their creditors while being able to reorganize themselves . First off were the Chicago Cubs whose previous owner billionaire commercial real estate developer Sam Zell placed the team into bankruptcy protection in order to stave off creditors of the Cubs’ parent company (The Tribune Group) at the time going after the team to make the debt payments due. And while this maneuver worked it did cause and cost the company financially a great deal of bad PR that it could have well done without. But what might be even more gave glaring, it gave further credence as to the fact how dire the financial situation was for a number of teams around Major League Baseball .

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Courtesy of MLB.com

Selig to Appoint a rep to oversee Dodgers

By Ken Gurnick , MLB.com

LOS ANGELES — Major League Baseball has taken over operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Commissioner Bud Selig announced Wednesday.

“Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club,” Selig said in a statement.

“I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt’s ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days.

“The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future.”

McCourt issued a brief statement late Wednesday night that read: “Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow. The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines. On this basis, it is hard to understand the Commissioner’s action today.”

In an e-mail message sent to Dodgers employees on Wednesday, McCourt said, “In light of the Commissioner’s announcement today, I ask that you please continue to conduct business as usual with our complete dedication to the game and our loyal fans. Each of you has represented this organization with class, and while this is no doubt a challenging time for all of us, I truly appreciate your efforts.”

McCourt, owner and chairman of the Dodgers, bought the club from News Corp. on Jan. 29, 2004, and the club reached the postseason in four of his seven seasons as owner.

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If one of most renowned teams in baseball has to be forced into bankruptcy through the financial mismanagement of its parent company then what must that forebear for other organizations around the league at the time ? Given the Cubs’ history and perceived financial resources as it was believed to be , this was nothing more than a shot across the bow of the teams who faced much starker situations but who’ve yet to make it known to the public. I’ve heard it said that the hierarchy of the league wouldn’t be prepared to contract teams but that it is utter stupidity by anyone who believes that it can’t , or won’t happen. If it is the league’s wish then it will happen especially in the light of the economic uncertainty and the whole financial mismanagement of teams around the league at present. With the Cubs having been reorganized whilst in bankruptcy protection it was bought by Tom Ricketts and his family (founders of online stock trading company TD Ameritrade) for an unprecedented $ 850 million . Paring down costs to an extent while still trying to remain competitive has been of the highest order for the Ricketts as they seek to make the Chicago Cubs relevant again within the league .

The second such team , with which bankruptcy was forced upon them, were the Texas Rangers who at the time were jointly owned by Texas multi millionaires Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette . Their combined worth an estimated $2.5 billion but somehow they couldn’t make this organization a viable going concern , from a financial or competitive standpoint but yet somehow through their idiocy they managed to offer Alex Rodriguez what was at the time the richest contract in professional sports , a ten year $250 million contract . Rodriguez barely lasted three years with the organization although he managed to win AL MVP award with the Rangers . I can only surmise that Scott Boras as A Rod’s agent at the time , proved what most people may well have known , that in the state of Texas not only are the businessmen dumb but they lack real business acumen also ! Once again through financial mismanagement by an ownership group another team was brought to near extinction and each time MLB Commissioner Bud Selig sat idly by . Having been forced into bankruptcy for failing to meet their financial obligations the team was bought by consortium led by Nolan Ryan and former Rangers’ executive Chuck Greenbeg . A much needed change in fortune has taken place for the Rangers both financially and competitively on and off the field of play but it doesn’t change the fact that the game’s hierarchy and team owners have been less than truthful as to their overall financial plight .

It’s becoming increasingly clear for all who care to take notice that the game isn’t as financially sound as Selig makes it out to be , nor are the owners being financially prudent and fiscally responsible. It’s not just about the economics of the game or the fact of the now overall plight of the economy at but all but the lack of financial oversight and sound business practices that is taking place in almost every aspect of the game. The GM’s around the league have become opulent and ostentatious and it would appear that the owners alike choose not to pare down their expenses but if anything in number of cases pass on those costs to fans through higher priced tickets and in the prices that they pay for concessions and memorabilia . Well now that fans in large part are refusing to meet those demands , it is now becoming clear that the owners and in particular the league hierarchy have seen the light . Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case for Frank McCourt and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office who’ve amassed a debt now close to $1.3 billion collectively and who this past month borrowed in excess of $30 million from the local Fox tv station affiliate in Los Angeles to meet the team’s budgetary expenses for the month. Need one ask what would have happened had the MLB hierarchy chosen not to intervene and bring some sanity back within that organization ? Because clearly the likes of McCourt , GM Ned Colletti and Tommy LaSorda have lost their frigging minds if they think that they can continue to exist in such a way while trying to play down their financial plight !

And although it has been reported that McCourt will seek legal action in US Federal Court to stop the league from intervening and taking over the day to day running of the Los Angeles Dodgers I think that given his recent lack of success in the courtroom and the the financial maelstrom that he has brought within the organization , I find it hard to believe that any presiding judge hearing hearing this case would in fact choose to side with the plaintiff ! If anything the judge might be more likely to side with the defendant in the case given the severe financial problems that McCourt and his fellow executives have placed the organization in.

Now while all of this plays out as a comedic and public spectacle there are also calls for the O’Malley family to once again assume control of the Los Angeles Dodgers . As the previous owners of the ballclub I certainly don’t think that they would want to re-enter the fray of owning the organization once again, on any level, be it for the long term , or short term merely as a custodian ! If anything this situation is best left in the hands of Selig , the hierarchy under his authority . If anything it’d open up his eyes and that of the owners now knowing as such that they could be on the hook for the organization’s debt and mismanagement . One thing I do know, it’s highly unlikely that the Dodgers’ creditors would be liable to write off the vast majority of that cumulative debt as it presently stands as they too have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders and board members . Obviously that’s something that McCourt and his fellow executives didn’t take into account in terms of their own fiduciary responsibilities as it relates to their own consortium of partners in the Dodgers’ ownership. Living big and spending big doesn’t guarantee success if you simply don’t know what the hell you’re doing to begin with !

It’s certainly funny that given the Dodgers’ plight and that of the New York Mets who have their own vast problems from a financial and competitive standpoint but this might be one of the rare times that Bud Selig has chosen to show publicly that he indeed has a backbone ! God knows that this man has cowered his way under pressure and has acted oblivious to many of the problems that he has either created within the game through lax oversight or showing his complete naivete’ ! One only has to look at his handling of the steroid issue and the fact that he was absolutely powerless because he chose to be confrontational not only with the MLBPA but also with the Congress and in particular with two of its most powerful legislative bodies in the House Government & Oversight Reform Committee as Senate Judiciary Committee . You piss off the hand that feeds you in terms of providing you with your sole reason to exist throught antitrust exemption , you often in the end tend to make even more enemies than you actually want or need . Something that not even Selig would now care to openly admit to at this juncture .

Courtesy of The New York Times

Madoff Profits Fueled Mets’ Empire, Lawsuit Says

By Alison Leigh Cowan & Richard Sandomir

A lawsuit brought by the trustee for the victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme contends that the owners of the Mets used the profits from their years of investing with Mr. Madoff to enhance their personal fortunes, enrich a number of family trusts and financially fuel their array of businesses — all in the face of repeated warnings that Mr. Madoff’s investment firm might have been a fraud.

The lawsuit, unsealed in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan on Friday, says the owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , their families and their businesses “made so much easy money from Madoff for so long” that despite the many warnings — from within their own inner circle, and by other investors and financial institutions — they “chose to simply look the other way.”

“There are thousands of victims of Madoff’s massive fraud,” the lawsuit states. “But Saul Katz is not one of them. Neither is Fred Wilpon.”

Since Mr. Madoff’s arrest in December 2008, Mr. Wilpon has portrayed himself as a victim of the fraud, one he conceded was carried out by a man who had been his friend for many years. On Friday, in a personal statement and through their lawyers, Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz decried the trustee’s legal assault.

“The trustee’s lawsuit is an outrageous ‘strong arm’ effort to try to force a settlement by threatening to ruin our reputations and businesses, which we have built for over 50 years,” Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz said.

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If ever there was a cautionary tale to be learned as to the world of sports and how the excess of greed can turn a once beloved spectacle into a crevasse of bungling ineptitude then Major League Baseball would be it. From the cheating , lying and bungling ineptitude of the owners , players , union and the hierarchy itself and their overall unwillingness to act in a proactive manner whenever there is a real problem within their midst. Instead they each tend to act as if there’s nothing wrong at all , until it’s all too late and by then the damage done tend to be irreparable . And when I say damage done it’s not only to the game in terms of its competitiveness , financial stability but also to its very own image and the fact that the vast majority of the fans can and do no longer trust what the game says it stands for or the very people who are entrusted to oversee and maintain its very existence and livelihood .

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Do you feel that the intervention now undertaken by Bud Selig and the league hierarchy will ensure the Los Angeles Dodgers’ long term existence and livelihood. Or do you feel that the Dodgers ought to have been left to their own devices and let them sink or swim dependent upon what they chose to do in order to survive ? And do you believe that in the long term contraction within the game will become more likely in light of the financial problems that are now coming to light concerning a number of teams within the game of baseball ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter and as usual thanks for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) MLB commissioner Bud Selig (left) watches the 81st MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 13, 2010 in Anaheim, California. Getty Images North America / Michael Buckner ……

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt (R) greets Don Newcombe, former Brooklyn Dodgers teammate of Jackie Robinson, before the game with the St. Louis Cardinals as Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Stephen Dunn ……..

(3) Cubs GM Jim Hendry (left) is seen here alongside team owner Tom Ricketts at the team’s headquarters at Wrigley Field , Chicago , Illinois , speaking to the convened press . AP Photo / Tom Scott ….

(4) Nolan Ryan team President & lead managing partner of the Texas Rangers is seen here with Chuck Greenberg a former executive with the Texas Rangers . Greenberg a respected sports attorney and agent abruptly left the Rangers’ organization earlier , this year. Dallas Morning News / Michael Ainsworth ……

(5) (L – R) Saul Katz, CEO of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, GM Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the Mets pose for a photo during Alderson’s introduction as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images North America / Andrew Burton ……

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MLB News

Los Angeles Dodgers News

MLB Scoreboard 21 st April 2011

MLB Results 20 th April 2011

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There’s No I In Team ………….. In Miami They’ve No Team But They’ve Got A Great Many Flaws !

There’s No I In Team ………….. In Miami They’ve No Team But They’ve Got A
Great Many Flaws !

Explain this to me the Miami Heat were meantt to be the team to beat and the conventional wisdom of thinking was that they would be the presumptive favorites within the Eastern Conference to win the NBA title . Pardon me for saying this but when you’re 1-7 against the five of the top teams within the league it shows that you’re simply overrated !

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Coming off giving up a 24 point lead in a loss to the Orlando Magic at the Amway Arena the Heat would fall flat in their blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs . And as a statistic consider this the Spurs were able to hit seventeen 3 pointers in the game as the Heat and their big three were simply no match for the conference and division leading Spurs in their runaway win .

The “team” that Pat Riley built is more style over substance and it continues to show despite the rationale of Dwyane Wade , LeBron James and Chris Bosh talking about growing as a team shows that this Heat roster still has a long way to go. And it simply hasn’t helped that the bench play of this team has been awful throughout the season and defensively their inconsistency continues to be a cause of great concern.

Though the Miami Heat has the third best record within the Eastern Conference the thought is that now Eric Spoelstra and his coaching staff will now have to truly prove their worth over the remainder of the season. It’s all well and good when a team is winning but in reality when the expectations of the fans and the front office are so high that failure is not an option and by failure I mean winning this season’s NBA title. The Heat players may well tell you that this season is simply about playing with consistency but their most recent trials and tribulations have been anything but that .

From a coaching standpoint I certainly don’t believe that Spoelstra’s position is in danger as of yet but if things continue to get worse then I do believe that Pat Riley may well have to rethink that issue and be quite possibly willing to step down from his executive suite of the Heat’s front office and step back into the fray as an NBA coach. The mindset of this team is the belief that three players all with their own abilities makes a unit considerably better but then you don’t complement them with a core group of players that can play at both ends of the court then any aspirations that you might have won’t at all come to fruition. Players such as Zydrunas Ilgauskas , Eric Dampier are past their sell by date and please tell me that Carlos Arroyo has something to offer the Heat rather than simply just portraying a mannequin !

If there’s anything that the Heat can take away from this loss is the mere fact that they still lead Atlantic Division even in light of the Orlando Magic’s loss to the Chicago Bulls . Next up for Miami is a game against the Bulls at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois. And their situation won’t be made any easier with the fact that the next six of their eight games are against teams with records above .500 within the NBA .

For Gregg Popovich he had to have been pleased with what he saw from his team and in particular the play of Matt Bonner , Gary Neal and Tigao Splitter but simply put this was a collective effort in the team’s seemingly effortless 30 point victory (125-95) which was the Heat’s largest loss inflicted on the team this season .

The Spurs’ trio of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker may well believe that this team is quite capable of winning their first title since 2007 . And most certainly bodes well for the rest of the regular season for the San Antonio Spurs as they look to put their own seal of approval on the year .

This NBA postseason promises to be one filled with a great deal of intrigue and it remains to see what will transpire from it all . As to the immediate fate of the Heat and how they might fare over the remainder of the season it all comes down to the fact this team has no heart when they steer real adversity in the face and that was plain for all to see in this rather humiliating loss . At no point did anyone step up to the plate and show any semblance of leadership in any regard . Certainly not from Wade , James or Bosh much less anyone else on the team and the postgame interviews of the triumvirate merely reiterated that fact with usual rhetorical response as to their disappointment. This Miami Heat has simply shown more style over substance and far too many people have bought into that hype rather than looking at the heart and soul of this team and that has been what has been missing all along. It’s all been style over substance and you simply no that style points get you nowhere when it comes to the postseason. And as to the asinine summaries from TNT analysts such as Chris Mullin and Mark Jackson as they really need to look at how the Heat play rather than simply being in awe of LeBron James !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the play of the Miami Heat and their season so far ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this topic and anything else as it relates to the NBA ?

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) Tony Parker (9) of the San Antonio Spurs takes a shot against the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center on March 4, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images ……….

(2) Dejuan Blair of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on March 4, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas while the Heat’s Chris Bosh is unable to defend the play. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images …..

(3) Guard Dwyane Wade(3) of the Miami Heat takes a shot against Tim Duncan(21) of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on March 4, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images ……………

(4) Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra speaks with referee Michael Smith during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2011. The Spurs won 125-95. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani …….

(5) San Antonio Spurs center Matt Bonner shoots a 3-pointer as players on the Miami Heat bench watch during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2011. Bonner was 6-for-7 on 3-point attempts as the Spurs beat the Heat 125-95 . AP Photo/ Bahram Mark Sobhani ………

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Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/


NBA News

NBA scores &

schedule

Saturday’s schedule

Sunday’s schedule

Conference Standings ……………………… Divisional Standings

Standings by streak & by games ahead

NBA scoring leaders

Statistics by Defense and Offense


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Eye candy ……………. Ajay Milan

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E-40 …………. ” Come Hard Or Go Home ”

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Thank You For Not Participating !

Thank You For Not Participating !

First of all my thanks to the Oklahoma Sooners for once again proving me right in my thoughts that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks especially when they’re unwilling to learn from the evidence already set forth. Over the weekend Bob Stoops’ team literally chose to lay down and choke away a game. The last time I saw someone choke that badly it was during an act of oral sex during which the adult female performer gagged whilst swallowing the ejaculate of her partner during their act of intimacy. Well the Sooners swallowed alright , so much so that they’re no longer atop of the BCS rankings having lost their game to sixteenth ranked Mizzou Tigers 36-27. Thanks once again Sooners as your participation was actually welcomed gagging like the bitches that you’ve now become and always were, simply overrated for all of the right reasons.

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Well now that we know who the two final participants will be in the 2010 World Series will be I’d like to thank both Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard for their inept contributions to their respective teams throughout this postseason and in particular their LCS games. The two combined earned in excess of $52 million for the 2010 season but their overall postseason contributions would in all honesty has not been worth 1/10 of that ! How ironic was it to see both of these high profiled players essentially swatting at fastballs that led to the twenty seventh and final out that eliminated their respective teams from the remainder of the postseason ? And for New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman and his rather inane statement of saying that he’s ………’profoundly disappointed with the outcome’ is simply befuddling considering the vast resources at his organization’s disposal. If all $200 million can buy isn’t even a decent pot to piss in then Cashman isn’t clearly doing his job. They say that time heals all wounds but I doubt that for the Yankees’ fans now whining and making excuses their wounds will be healed immediately after the team’s rather inept performances in the ALCS .

In the world of MMA Brock Lesnar seemingly eschews the showing of class as he’d rather be thought of as the villain. As the UFC heavyweight champion Lesnar defended his title against the number one challenger Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 . Lesnar had the physical advantage over his opponent in terms of being the heavier man by over 24 lbs but that advantage was stymied by the challenger who made short and light work of the champion by literally beating him to a pulp and becoming the first Mexican American to hold a heavyweight title in a professional combative sport. And for the 265 lb Lesnar this was a damning indictment of how limited his skills actually are, as a mixed martial artist. He may well be a prolific wrestler but clearly his boxing skills and stand up work leave a great deal to be desired. It’ll be back to the trenches for Lesnar with his tail between his legs as he seeks to gain some self semblance of esteem in order to return back to the top of his sport.

Theirs was a relationship that was thought to be one of mutual convenience and as a way of seeking out competitive and financial success for the Minnesota Vikings . But at this juncture the relationship between Brett Favre and Vikings’ coach Brad Childress has about as much in common as the relationship that there’s said to now exist between political hack Bill O’Reilly and talk show hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg. That chasm has and will now grow even wider after the Vikings’ loss to their divisional rivals the Green Bay Packers. And a great deal of the blame for the loss must rest upon the shoulders of Favre himself whose errant play led to the three interceptions during the game in his team’s 27-24 loss to the Packers. The less said about the player’s off the field problems the better, as it is his professional life which the fans now tend to judge him by. And as we’ve now all witnessed this time around Favre is not the Favre of old has already began to look like an aging geriatric who’s aching all over !

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These are but of a few of the weekend story lines as they played out wherein the participation of the athletes and the teams in question were about as welcoming as dose of gonorrhea would be to a practicing street walker. Alas the best said about the last scenario the better. Which teams or athletes to your mind were a complete embarrassment to themselves in terms of their efforts put forth ? Chime on with a comment as you’d deem fit .

🙂 ______ 😦

Alan aka tophatal 🙂

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Eye candy one I hope that you’ll all like ? The amazing Amie

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Ooh Lordy , lordy !

And less is more as they say !

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Amie

Who wants to go for a ride on a jet ski with Amie ? Hands up now ?

Stupid Things Within The Realms of Sports That There Doesn’t Always Seem To Be Answer For

Stupid Things Within The Realms of Sports That There Doesn’t Always Seem To Be Answer For

There’s a time and place for everything and everything in its place. Much as I love the ardor with which an analyst expresses their passion for sports the one thing I cannot condone is when they choose to use that platform to express their political beliefs and views ! It’s not the appropriate platform and I seriously doubt that any sport’s fan really needs to hear that diatribe to begin with. My reason for saying this comes from the very fact that former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz saw fit to ask for public donations for the Republican National Committee on air during an ESPN broadcast. Had it been a Democratic supporter I still would have taken issue with that person expressing themselves in such a way !. The platform there for the mediator and hosts of the program was to discuss the landscape of the collegiate football scene and simply that. If Holtz wants to revisit the issue and look for donations then let him do so , away from halls of ESPN . He ought to go out in public and make his case there and while he’s at it Lou here’s a tip Republican politicians like their counterparts on the opposite side of the aisle also lie …….. I repeat they also lie.

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Holtz’s credibility after this can’t at all be taken seriously no matter which way one tries to spin it but somehow ESPN will look to make light of it all and that’s even if the former coach is somehow reprimanded after that display. I was under the impression that the outlet was a sports broadcast network and not a political platform for the thoughts and views of their employees ? Isn’t it enough already that we have both Fox News and CNN out there squabbling like petulant children about the state of the nation without being able to offer up any solutions whatsoever for what ails the nation ?

Here’s a thought why would a respected journalist such as Brent Musburger make a statement ….. ‘that the use of steroids has a place within sports if handled correctly’ . Brett isn’t it enough that the governing bodies of the four major sports can barely deal with the issue of their athletes using steroids and other prohibited substances ? But yet you come out and make a statement that you’ve clearly not placed much thought into . And by trying to negate it somewhat by stating you don’t see where steroids has a place in varsity sports only further complicates your argument to begin with . Students athletes as well as high school athletes are still impressionable minds and by seeing what their peers are doing within the professional ranks they’ll look to do the same. At the same time by trying to use the rationale that having a medical professional be there to prescribe the medication to these athletes will stem the tide of illegal use is completely asinine to begin with ! Medical professionals like anyone else can be easily corrupted when the price is right. Simply ask Dr Anthony Galan how that can happen ? This medical professional is currently under Federal indictment for the possession of several banned steroids and the trafficking of HGH and selling of the substance without a prescription. And through this doctor’s testimony it is believed that he could very well implicate several noted athletes in each of the four major sports. The following are or have been patients of Galen and they are Alex Rodriguez , Tiger Woods , Evander Holyfield and Andy Pettite to name but a few. And while no one would insinuate that Tiger Woods may have used an illicit substance to further his career , any association with this doctor seems to have brought about a great deal of controversy.

Tour de France champion Alberto Contador was recently suspended UCI the international governing body for cycling after his blood sample tested positive for the substance clenbuterol . This substance apart from prescribed to alleviate asthma symptoms is used in the field of agriculture for the fattening up cattle and poultry before they are then slaughtered for consumption within the food chain. Contador claims the reason for such high levels in his blood stream stems from his having eaten tainted meat and that in doing so he also suffered food poisoning. Have I missed something ? For the levels registered within his body in producing such a high level of the steroid Contador might have had to have consumed at least two cows. But then again what do I know other than the fact that the sport of cycling has become a complete joke over the last decade. It’s not as if UCI and L’Equipe who oversees the sport’s most famous race the Tour De France , has ever really been on the fast track to cleaning up the sport. And at the same time while controversy swirls around one of the sport’s greatest riders in Lance Armstrong. There too Armstrong has his detractors and is now himself currently under investigation by the Justice Department. It seems Armstrong can’t catch a break no matter what he does , even when he has and exhibits the best of intentions.

Armstrong despite all of the denials and the fact that he has never tested positive for any illicit substance still can’t escape the taint of his sport. And even now having retired it seems that there too with all of the controversy that there now is within the sport he has to find a way to deflect the negative publicity that now seems to be coming his way. Friends and foes alike have given affidavits as to what they say they know and what they have seen for themselves. As to how this will all play out is dependent upon the action taken by the Justice Department as to how they will proceed. What I do know is with them having spent in excess of $15 million on the Barry Bonds’ trial and the likelihood that a large enough sum will also be spent on the upcoming Roger Clemens’ trial I get the distinct feeling that we’re not about to hear the last of this, as it concerns the plight of Lance Armstrong. And with an outcome not yet to be determined concerning Bonds’ guilt or innocence and the fact that the trial will once again resume in early April 2011, I’d like to know who’s keeping tabs on the money that’s being spent on this all ? It doesn’t appear to be anyone within the Justice Department and certainly no one within Congress seems to be acutely aware as to what’s going on. But then again these are the very same buffoons who for two solid weeks in had the hierarchies of each of the four major sports up on Capitol Hill asking them routinely idiotic questions without ever once obtaining a succinct answer. Need I say anymore on the matter when it comes to Congress’ involvement in sports ?

Baylor basketball star LaceDarius Dunn has been thrown off the basketball team and suspended indefinitely by the coach Scott Drew. The reason behind this was the fact that Dunn has been charged with aggravated assault of his girlfriend Lacharlesla Edwards , mother of Dunn’s three year old son. The player was arrested by Waco Police Dept after an altercation took place in which Dunn is alleged to have broken his girlfriend’s jaw with a punch. What makes this now so surprising is the very fact that Edwards has recanted her statement and has pleaded with coach Drew to lift the suspension on Dunn. Pardon me for saying this but what the fu_k is wrong with this female ? She now claims that she was injured in a fall at her apartment and that her jaw wasn’t broken. One can only surmise that the other bruises suffered by Edwards either came from the fall or when her child may well have squeezed too tightly on her arms and legs in the midst of crying ? I mean you never know with three year olds and how angry they can become when a parent isn’t taking any notice of them.

Lacharlesla Edwards while now stating that Dunn never proceeded to hit her , it has to be noted that the police who answered the call aren’t thoroughly convinced that she hasn’t been coerced into seeking to have the charges dropped against her boyfriend. She also claims that she’s fully recovered and that the relationship between her and the LaceDarius is better than it has ever been. Well that might be until the next time the player goes off the rails and proceeds to batter her ………. again …….. allegedly. Any form of domestic violence where we are privee` to the actions that have taken place , be it in the public eye in terms of an athlete or just an incident inside the home of an ordinary couple cannot be overlooked and thought of as merely another incident. It is still an act of violence and where it involves the victim being a female who’s in fear of her life then it has to be dealt with appropriately. I for one at first glance find this story abhorrent but what might be even more distasteful is the very fact that the victim here is in complete denial and is now pleading with the coach to lift the suspension against the player .

And while no public statement has been made by any official from Baylor over this incident. I can only hope that in this particular case Scott Drew sticks to the action that he has already taken and doesn’t rescind the suspension of LaceDarius Dunn as it would send the wrong message and at the same time condone the actions of the player. There was a reason behind law enforcement being called to the residence in the first place for this incident and I hardly think that it had anything at all to do with a slip and fall. How about you ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on the topics raised within this piece ? By all means leave a comment concerning your feelings on the issues raised .

Alan aka tophatal …………… 😦 _ 🙂

Wrap Yourself Around The Flag This 4th July

Wrap Yourself Around The Flag This 4th July

If like me you’ve now become extremely bored by the comings and goings of the NBA free agency period you can well liken it to having a tooth pulled. Nothing says boring than having a bunch of multi millionaire players and owners act as if their world is coming to an end. As for David Stern and the NBA hierarchy they have to be loving this as the postseason was something of an uninspired disaster. They might suggest that because the finals were between the two most storied clubs in professional basketball. The fact of the matter was the series itself between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers wasn’t that great an NBA Finals to watch and the play itself overall wasn’t that exciting to begin with.

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Now we have to put up with a bunch of self absorbed athletes and owners try to weigh their futures and in the midst of it all the fans are now wondering what to make of it all. Never mind the fact that for a mere $ 30 million extra some players will be squabbling with their agents merely to make sure that they get the top dollar available . Now don’t get me wrong I’m not against the players getting the maximum available to them but what I’m now getting sick and tired to hear is a player complaining that they’re not being paid enough or the fact that the NBA owners are now depriving players of their right to earn a fair wage. I’d dare say that at the vast majority of NBA fans will never see $120 million in their life time much less be able to fathom how the hell some of these players can complain that they’re not earning enough . Pardon me but when the unemployment rate as a national average is now at 9.8% and with each day the unemployment rolls seem to be growing by the hour . I can only surmise that this is the last thing on the mind of the likes of Dywane Wade or LeBron James and how they might feel that the fans may well view this all !

Now while many of us are about as interested in the many scenarios arising out of this all as we would be about the life-style of Paris Hilton the paparazzi’s main staple. Some of us will be about as interested the events as one might be in having a tooth pulled without anesthesia . It’s becoming very painful to see this all played out and the fans are meant to get excited by it all. So unless you’re an avid Cavaliers or LeBron James’ fan I can only surmise that you’re all so in awe of the events now unfolding. All I know is that from this moment on I’ll be making sure to completely avoid the news cycle of ESPN and the various outlets covering this all.

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While I know that Sunday is the 234th anniversary of this beloved country which I now call my home. I’ve got to say to you all and that’s in wishing you all a glorious 4th July . Have a great and safe one ! Wrap yourself around the treats I’ve left and hopefully you’ll enjoy it all ? Have a safe and happy 4th of July !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….

Jennifer Hudson gives her rendition of the the “Star Spangled Banner ”