The Work You Put In Provides You With Results In The End ….

 

The Work You Put In Provides You With Results In The End ….

Well, it’s been a long time coming, after a season of thrills, spills and in some cases utter despair. Now the NFL Postseason is upon us and the wildcard round began in earnest with some thrilling games. None more so perhaps, than the game between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts , two divisional rivals who split their season series in 2018. With so much at stake both quarterbacks , Andrew Luck of the Colts and DeShaun Watson of the Texans had to be at their very best. This was clearly the case as both players sought to exhibit their very best during this AFC Wildcard Round contest.


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Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts steamrolled through a Houston Texans’ defense which appeared non-existent on their way to a 21-7 victory . The Colts will now look forward to meeting the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round of this postseason .

Far be it for me to suggest , but Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys must have known that it had to be now or never to prove himself as the Head Coach of this franchise. Garrett’s record in the postseason has not been an enviable one in comparison to many of his predecessors. In Saturday’s home game against the Seattle Seahawks , the Dallas Cowboys were up against a team looking to make their mark once again. Opposing quarterbacks Dak Prescott of the Cowboys and Russell Wilson entered into this game needing to prove that they were among the best within the league and most certainly among the best within the NFC over the course of the season. Dallas would get the better of the Seahawks in the contest , moving on to the next round where they will meet the Los Angeles Rams on the road , in a game which should prove to be very exciting.

OK , so with the NFL now moving on to the Divisional Round , it will be interesting to see who these match-ups will play out and what the teams will bring to the table by way of their play. Defending Superbowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles were lucky to get by the Chicago Bears , whose defense simply didn’t do enough to allow the team to get any type traction in the game. Mitch Trubisky played well , but his counterpart Nick Foles played with a lot more poise and showed leadership when needed. Of the Divisional Round contests set to take place this upcoming weekend , the most appealing might well be the contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts . Yet I do believe the game between the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots , could provide a major upset as Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers takes this franchise to their furthest appearance in the postseason of the past fifteen years.

The past three days within the NBA and the results seen should be a real indicator of what not actually to expect given the inconsistency seen from the teams. The Los Angeles Lakers have been without LeBron James for the past couple of games during which the team has not fared that well. A blowout loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves , just proved that their victory over the Golden State Warriors should be seen for what it was , merely an aberration . Next up for the Los Angeles Lakers will be a match-up against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday evening , a game where the Lakers will have to be at their very best against a Mavericks’ team looking to play their way into playoff contention . With aging veteran Dirk Nowitzki now playing a slightly less competitive role for the team , it will be interesting to see how Dirk performs against the Lakers in this contest .

Of late both the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs have been on impressive win streaks , with notching a mark of 8-2 . San Antonio’s most impressive victory would have to be the one over the Toronto Raptors , the team with the best record in the league at this juncture , with the Raptors being the first to notch thirty victories this season within the NBA . Since that victory the Spurs have played with consistency , with production coming from all of their players. Next up for the Spurs will be a game against the Detroit Pistons on the road against a very good Eastern Conference team.

The firing of Tom Thibodeau as the Head Coach and as a
front office executive
within the Minnesota Timberwolves’ franchise, sent shock waves around the NBA. After the death of Flip Saunders , there was enough tumult within the organization . Ryan Saunders has since assumed the interim coaching position for the Timberwolves , with Scott Layden assuming the General Manager’s position . Glenn Taylor remains team owner , but his advanced age has seen him relinquish certain roles to subordinates within the Timberwolves’ hierarchy . The upheaval and the constant bickering with Thibodeau unable to corral his players led to the dismissal of the coach for the second time during his professional career , with his first firing coming as the former Head Coach of the Chicago Bulls , who this year fired Fred Hoiberg , after that team’s abysmal start to the season .

It is becoming extremely difficult to see where the Minnesota Timberwolves no go from here. With an extremely young roster , and winning having become extremely difficult for the team. It will be interesting to see if Ryan Saunders can show the pedigree of his late father, Flip Saunders , as he seeks to lead the franchise back to prosperity and success. Over their last fifteen games the Timberwolves are 6-0 , though not among the worst in the league, but their last ten games have shown the team to be in a truly dire situation . In their next game the Timberwolves will be facing the Oklahoma City on the road on the 8th January ,2019 , one of the slew of games being played on Tuesday evening . . With Minnesota having built their roster around the Karl-Anthony Townes , Andrew Wiggins and the veteran presence of former League MVP point guard Derrick Rose . A rebuilding process cannot be allowed to ensue within a franchise which is in such dire straits

If the Minnesota Timberwolves are said to be floundering, then the woes of the New York Knicks continue unabated . This franchise remains in a quagmire even after the three moribund and unproductive years under Phil Jackson’s tenure as a front office executive within this franchise. The fact of the matter is , even with Dave Fizdale coaching this roster , this team is simply not good enough to win on a consistent basis . The longest win-streak put together by this team lasted no more than three games. A sad state of affairs for a franchise considered to be one of the most renowned in the NBA. . Fizdale and the team are in action for their next game which pits the New York Knicks against the Golden State Warriors . This is not a game I believe the Knicks are capable of winning at all and it is likely to end in a rout of the Eastern Conference franchise .

So what was heralded as a memorable slug-fest turned out to be a complete rout as Clemson annihilated Alabama to win their third BCS National Title in the last five years . Alabama long revered as the best program in College Football now sees itself as having been surpassed by this Dabo Swinney coached team . Swinney’s opposite number Nick Saban must now think hard as to what needs to be done in order for Alabama to remain relevant and at the top of the food chain.


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With the sporting events you have witnessed over the past week or so , what do you believe were the biggest failings of the teams or athletes who failed to deliver ?


Tophatal ………….

NFL news ….

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A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum …

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum

It seems in the world of sports, things just get drastic by the second.  In  the   NFL  as  the  league  proceeds to the  lead-up to the  NFL  Draft  , teams  are   positioning   themselves to obtain  the  players   available  from   the  collective    seeking  to  make  their  mark  in  2018.  Away  from the  hotbed  of  decision  making  the  owners  themselves  are   either in  hot  water  or  looking to add more  coal to  the  firing   and  stocking  it  to  the  fan the  flames more  widely .  Houston   Texans’   owner  Robert  McNair  is  doubling  down  on  his  comments   that in  some   aspects could be  seen  as  insensitive  as well  as  racist. Now the beleaguered owner  has  stepped  back  into the fray,   stating  that  he has  nothing  to  apologize for . I  suppose  calling your  players  inmates and  then  caustically  referring  to  them  as  slaves  might  not  seem overly  expressive,  but in  light  of recent  events, I believe  McNair  might  not  be  aware of  what  is  happening  around him  and  elsewhere  in  the  world.  Perched atop  of his  ivory tower  with  his  amassed  wealth ,  it’s   always easy  for an aging  white  Anglo  Saxon  male  to say  whatever  he  wants  and  whenever he  wants,   without  fear  of being  held  accountable .


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Robert McNair  obviously  is  following in the  footsteps  of   President   Donald  Trump  who  has  become known  for  his  caustic  remarks   on   a wide  variety  of subjects.  To  date  as    Trump   tries to  navigate  the  treacherous waters  of  his  Presidency, there  is  growing  belief  with all of  the  controversy  now surrounding  his  Presidency, there will  be  great deal  more  flak  coming  his  way, especially  as he  enters the  midterm   elections  and  the   Republican  Party are struggling to  hold  unto both  chambers  of   Congress.

For Robert  McNair and the Houston Texans   last   season  was a  coming  down  to  earth   for the  franchise as they  played  much of  their schedule  without  two of  their  best   players  , with   JJ   Watt and    Jadaveon  Clowney   missing   much  of  the   Texans’  regular season schedule due to  injury. In  their  wake, it  was  left  to  the  surprisingly resourceful Jacksonville  Jaguars , came  out of nowhere  to  win the  AFC  South  and make  their way to the NFL postseason where  they  would  be  upended in  the AFC  championship game by  the New England  Patriots .   Jaguars’ quarterback  Blake Bortles may  well  have  won himself  over some new  fans, but I’m   not  so sure  it’s enough  to suggest  that he is now  good  enough to  join the  ranks  of  the  league’s  elite quarterbacks.    Jacksonville hit  lightning in a bottle during the  first  two  rounds of the postseason.

It  will  be  interesting to see how  both the Houston  Texans  and  Jacksonville Jaguars will fare  during the NFL  Draft with their  decisions made.

I am no longer  at  a  loss to  explain  why   Colin  Kaepernick  remains   unsigned as  a free agent   quarterback, suffice to  say the NFL   still  seeks to make  him  a pariah .   While  the  former  San  Francisco 49ers’  passer  remains  adrift one of  his  contemporaries    Robert  Griffin III   has  been  signed  as   the  backup   quarterback to  Joe  Flacco ,   a former  Superbowl  MVP  with the  Ravens.   It  will  be  interesting  to  see   Griffin  is  able to mount  a serious enough  challenge  to  unseat   Flacco  as the  starting quarterback  for the  Ravens .Robert Griffin    was  signed  to  a  one-year   deal  with  the  AFC  North  based  franchise.

The   NBA  regular  season  will   come  to   an   end with new  divisional champions ,  but  a sense  of  deja-vu  in terms  of  the  leading  contenders  for  the   NBA  title . Defending NBA  champions  the Golden State Warriors    are  not  as  dominant as  last season and  the   loss of   two-time League MVP  and  All  Star Steph Curry has left  the team looking  somewhat   vulnerable .    With the loss of  Curry over the last  three weeks, the team has  struggled, but they still  remain  a clear  favorite to make it back to the Western Conference Finals where  they  are  likely  to  face the   Houston  Rockets  ,  currently the number  one seed in the conference and the team  with the best record in  the  NBA. Both of these teams will be in action this weekend in games that will be of vital importance .

Tiger Woods is looking to play himself back into contention at The Masters in Augusta , Georgia , and the thought of winning his fifth Green Jacket cannot be far from his mind. However, his second round has been erratic, with him now being twelve shots off the pace behind tournament leader Patrick Reed at seven under par (-7) at this moment in time. As we know the final two rounds of any of the Grand Slam Majors tend to be the most exciting aspects of a contest , because that is where the best players in the world tend to showcase their skills as well as their mental psyche.Woods would have to play some remarkable golf over the final thirty-six holes to be remotely in with a chance of winning this particular Major.

Conor McGregor , remains a gregarious creature of habit , with narcissistic tendencies, a penchant for looking to belittle others, showing that he’s a misogynist and a racist. Let’s not be fooled here, as UFC President Dana White welcomes these elements from the biggest name in the sport. MMA needs McGregor more than he now needs the sport, because with what looks like the apparent retirement of Georges St-Pierre and the ultimate banishment of Jon Jones . The UFC is in need of a major star. They do possess one in Demetrious Johnson , but for some reason White has not done his utmost to promote the most successful fighter in UFC history. McGregor has once again found himself on the wrong side of the law as he faces assault charges from a recent UFC event. If found guilty of these charges he could face possible jail time, but there are indications that he might be willing to accept a plea deal and avoid serving anytime in prison.

If Conor McGregor never enters an octagon again to face an opponent it would not be lost on me, as I dislike the fighter and what he stands for, which has nothing at all to do with the sport.

So as the NBA season winds down , the divisions are all but sewn up but there are still one or two things to be finalized within each of the two conference , East and West . The Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets are now in a dog-fight for the final berth within the Western Conference, with the winner looking forward to a first round match-up against the Houston Rockets , the team with the best record in the league as well as the conference. A series against either of these two teams for the Rockets should prove to be a one-sided affair favoring the top seeds.

For the reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors , having
been without Steph Curry for the past two weeks, the team’s Head Coach Steve Kerr has stated he is willing to rest his All Star point guard for the first round of the NBA Playoffs , rather than risk further injury to the player. Curry himself might not be entirely happy with the situation , but Kerr knows that the deeper their run the Playoffs goes , the better the Warriors’ chances will be in having a player of Steph Curry’s caliber fully fit and able. A first round match-up for the Golden State Warriors would see them pitted against the Oklahoma City Thunder led by point guard Russell Westbrooke . Having split their regular season series at two games apiece , this series might not be as clear-cut as one think.

Tiger Woods couldn’t get the job done at Augusta National Golf Course as he sought to win his fifth Green Jacket and push himself one step closer to Jack Nicklaus’ record for the number of Grand Slam Major victories (18). Woods
had
a disastrous final two rounds of The Masters , the first Grand Slam Major of the season on the PGA Tour . Woods is like to take a week or so away from the PGA Tour missing the next few scheduled events. Patrick Reed for his part simply played some stellar golf over the final two rounds , though Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth sought to make the final two rounds very riveting for the fans.

Patrick Reed’s victory was the first Grand Slam of his career , while it also pushes him up the FedEx Cup Standings as well as the World Golf Rankings . . The next Major on the PGA Tour schedule will be the US Open at Shinnecock Hills , in New York from June 14th to the 17th , 2018 .

Still too early as of yet to make statements about which teams are playing the best in baseball at present , but it’s pretty safe to say with the injuries already suffered by the New York Yankees at this stage of the MLB season , it could be a struggle for them over the remainder of their schedule , if certain players don’t step up to the plate. The divisional standings should have provided us with something of an insight into the psyche of the ball-clubs at present . The Yankees are 5-5 over their last ten games with their pitching and hitting struggling at present. For team manager Aaron Boone this has to be very frustrating seeing his team struggle like this. Giancarlo Stanton will have a great deal to prove to the Yankees’ fans as well his new-found teammates . His salary alone demands it when you consider that he is among the highest paid players in the game and by far the highest paid on the New York Yankees’ roster.

The New York Yankees will not be in action on Monday 9th , April as they prepare for a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox , beginning on Tuesday, 10th April . On the mound for the Yankees in that opening game will be starting pitcher Luis Severino (2-0) facing Chris Sale of the Red Sox. New York is need of a morale boost and a victory over Boston would go some way in fulfilling the angst now to be found within the organization after such a rough start.

While the New York Yankees are having struggles of their own, their divisional rivals the Tampa Bay Rays are pretty much a capsized vessel. Only the Chicago White Sox have a worst team ERA (5.88) at present within the AL as of the 9th April. Rays’ manager Kevin Cash and the managerial staff have to be at a loss to explain the team’s poor play as they head into the second-half of the month of April. They will begin a three-game series on the road against the White Sox on Monday and it will interesting to see how they will fare against their AL rival. . Of the players who are said to be offering any type of production for the Rays, there has only been veteran Denard Span as a stand-out for the entire team.

I certainly feel before anyone can make any real judgment concerning the ball-clubs, we should wait until mid-June before making any real assessment of the teams and how they are likely to fare.

Is it possible for Bryce Harper to have another astonishing season and simply push up his value as he seeks to become a free agent. Harper is off to another good start as he and Washington Nationals seek to have another very good season. The continued issue for the Nationals remains the fact they have yet to make a deep postseason run in their current guise. This has to be very frustrating for Bryce Harper , given his talent and being surrounded by a more than capable group of teammates . If the Nationals are not able to prove themselves this season , then it could lead to GM Mike Rizzo making unwanted sacrifices before the end of this season , while looking to keep Bryce Harper as a long-term member of this organization. There is no doubt the front office remains under a great deal of pressure to succeed. This team needs to win consistently, with their being contributions coming from everyone on the roster over the course of this season. The Nationals will be in action over the next three days as they face the Atlanta Braves in a home series at National Ballpark in Washington, DC.

There will be many sports’ stories unfurling over the coming months and the drama from it all will be played out in all parts of the media for the fans. What are the possible segues that you’d like to see coming out this all with regard to the stories now percolating ?

Tophatal …… 2018/04/06 03:30 pm


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It’s The Media’s Fault ….

It’s all the media’s fault

The media reports the news and politicians will continue to use the media in its various formats to get their messages out. So let’s stop pretending the two sides don’t need each other as there tends to be a great deal of ambiguity and hypocrisy which comes from both sides. On Tuesday night there was the gregarious display of President Donald Trump addressing the nation on national television as he sought to unite the country. Dependent upon who you would like to believe, he was able to achieve that , or you might be persuaded that he simply provided us all with another glaring performance of a pompous arrogant ass playing to his audience. He took snipes at two Republican senators from the state of Arizona , blaming them for his party’s failure in the repealing of the Affordable Care (ACA/Obamacare). Trump also presented the media as odious morons who misreport the facts, this coming from a Commander In Chief who has not always been willing to listen to the facts as given to him by his own inner circle of advisers. It will always be the media’s fault when you have nothing of substance to report or say.

It’s all the media’s fault

The media reports the news and politicians will continue to use the media in its various formats to get their messages out. So let’s stop pretending the two sides don’t need each other as there tends to be a great deal of ambiguity and hypocrisy which comes from both sides. On Tuesday night there was the gregarious display of President Donald Trump addressing the nation on national television as he sought to unite the country. Dependent upon who you would like to believe, he was able to achieve that , or you might be persuaded that he simply provided us all with another glaring performance of a pompous arrogant ass playing to his audience. He took snipes at two Republican senators from the state of Arizona , blaming them for his party’s failure in the repealing of the Affordable Care (ACA/Obamacare) . Trump also presented the media as odious morons who misreport the facts, this coming from a Commander In Chief who has not always been willing to listen to the facts as given to him by his own inner circle of advisers. It will always be the media’s fault when you have nothing of substance to report or say.


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The media for its part will continue to be lambasted , rightfully so , when there is a great deal of hypocrisy and idiocy on their part. Nothing at present can be more asinine and idiotic than the story now emanating from ESPN and their removal of Robert Lee from the calling of College Football Game , because Lee’s name might be seen as insensitive after the recent events which have taken place in Charlottesville , Virginia. Robert Lee was due to call a game between the University of Virginia and William & Mary next month. ESPN took it upon themselves after they stated, having met with Lee , it would be more suitable were he to announce a game taking place in Youngstown Ohio , rather than call this upcoming contest.

(1)
President Donald Trump is seen here in Arizona , before taking the dais where he would give a rather incoherent speech on unity and the state of the country , while also lambasting the press for their poor reporting of the facts.

Political correctness, call it what you will, but ESPN remains a bastion of hypocrisy , stupidity and a network where not racial bigotry has existed , but also where male employees have been allowed to get away with rather salacious behavior and odious criminal acts. Misogyny and outright sexism is also part of the environment of the cable broadcast network outlet.

Former heavyweight champion now retired and business entrepreneur George Foreman remains in the public spotlight and is beloved for his heroics in the ring. Unfortunately , of late Foreman , has chosen to voice his opinion on what he believes are acts of non-patriotism with the actions of NFL player Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to stand while the national anthem is being played at NFL games. Kaepernick remains unsigned and his free agency status is likely to remain as it is long into the regular season. The former champion was not only critical of the NFL player but athletes in general and what he says are acts on non-patriotism and his directness in taking aim at Kevin Durant and Durant’s refusal to attend the White House when the Golden State Warriors are due to meet the President as the franchise is recognized for their championship series’ victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers , is to my mind a further indication as to the growing distance as what is seen as social awareness , the divergence where sports and politics are not meant to be aligned.

George Foreman’s criticism of Colin Kaepernick and Kevin Durant is hypocritical and dare I say it asinine , when you consider the boxer claims his friendship with the late Muhammad Ali and his recognition of Ali’s stance, due to his opposition of the Vietnam War .

It seems almost inconceivable that Jon Jones could fail a second mandatory drug test mandated by the UFC in conjunction with the California State Athletic Commission . Having regained the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship defeating Daniel Cormier UFC President Dana White now has to deal with the fallout from the serious ramifications of this latest controversy faced by MMA with Jones’ drug test failure. The champion’s decisive victory over Daniel Cormier at UFC 215 was as decisive as they come and perhaps the best of Jon Jones’ MMA career . What is likely to transpire now will be dependent upon any additional investigation being conducted by the California State Athletic Commission in conjunction with the UFC. Jon Jones could face another lengthy suspension , the second of his career or a recommendation could be made for a lifetime ban from the UFC. Jones and his representative s might well seek to fight any proposed suspension , but any type of explanation from the MMA fighter would prove difficult to accept given his past actions (testing positive for the use of cocaine).

Dana White will now have to use all of his persuasiveness to prove to the fans , that MMA remains a sport beyond reproach and one that is clean . He’s swung and might be in the process of hitting a home run , having now backed the proposed upcoming boxing match between UFC fighter Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather , which is due to take place on the 26th August at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas , Nevada . As a co-promotion between the UFC and Mayweather Promotions , this will be the biggest joint event and most financially beneficial for the UFC in their history. McGregor will certainly earn the biggest payday of his career, earning an estimated $25 million for this fight alone. Floyd Mayweather is likely to earn in excess of $250 million and a great deal more when one takes into account merchandising and overseas’ broadcast rights .

With all of the hype and theatrics used to sell this bout to the masses and Floyd Mayweather now trying to amp this fight even further with his claims , he’s not as quick as he once was in his prime , I am beginning to think the boxing match could end up being a monumental bore or actually turn out to be competitive fight. The former welterweight champion remains an odds on favorite , but as of late there has been a great deal of money being wagered on Conor McGregor pulling off the upset.

Well it appears the lights have yet to go out at the Quicken Loans Arena after all of the tumult and upheaval within the Cleveland Cavaliers’ franchise over the past six weeks. David Griffin was ousted as the general manager , being replaced by Koby Altman . Team owner Dan Gilbert in spite of his denials , suggested all as well within the franchise and that disgruntled point-guard Kyrie Irving remained a part of the Cavaliers’ long-term future. Clearly smoke was being blown up everyone’s ass by the front office , with Gilbert leading the choir. Irving’s relationship with LeBron James had gone sour and the rapport between the two players was certainly non-communicative . A blockbuster trade has come into being with Kyrie Irving being sent to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isiah Thomas . Residual pieces also made up the deal, but the vital pieces in the trade were the point guards , Irving and Thomas. The Eastern Conference will certainly take on whole new shape and I do believe there will be a seismic shift which might not necessarily favor the Cleveland Cavaliers. Isiah Thomas is an exceptional talent , but I do believe the Boston Celtics got the better end of the deal with their acquisition of Kyrie Irving and the other players as part of this unbelievable blockbuster trade.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics will meet during the NBA preseason , with the game taking place on the 17th October at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. They will also face each other during the regular season at home and on the road. It will be interesting to see how the two teams will fare with their new lineups .

So will this be the season where Steve Mills and Scott Perry bring the New York Knicks back from the brink of ruin or will this particular NBA franchise’s tailspin continue ? Having spent over $60 million on Phil Jackson to simply reaffirm that Jackson cannot spot NBA talent let alone spell the word , Perry has been brought in the oversee the roster of the Knicks while Mills runs the operational side of the franchise while still answerable to team owner James Dolan . These are dire times for the New York Knicks as they continue to go through transitional changes which might ultimately make them better . I am not so sure the patience remains with Carmelo Anthony to undergo another season of uncertainty and even less of a chance for the seasoned veteran to win an NBA title . He has seen a number of his contemporaries from the 2003 NBA Draft go on to win a championship ring or win the game’s highest singular award, League MVP . All of these accolades have escaped Anthony’s career resume’ as he toils with an aimless franchise heading nowhere.

The New York Knicks will begin their preseason schedule with a game against the Brooklyn Nets on the 3rd October , 2017 at Madison Square Garden , in New York City , New York . Yet their regular season schedule starts on the 19th October when they will face the Oklahoma City Thunder in a game which could prove to be highly entertaining with a great deal of offense .

There can be no denying in spite of the recent dominance of the Golden State Warriors , the NBA lures in the fans when the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers , Boston Celtics and New York Knicks are doing well. These three franchise might be the most followed in the league because of their respective histories. Yet it is clear as of late , neither Lakers or Knicks have provided their fans with a great deal of excitement in recent seasons. The Celtics ‘ front office might be one o the most underestimated in the game , while we already know both the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are still finding their way. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have been brought in by Jeanie Buss and her siblings to steer the franchise back in the right direction. A great deal of hype has already been put in place with the Lakers’ having drafted Lonzo Ball . If he is the second coming of Kobe Bryant , then the franchise will fare well , but this roster is still in the making and I don’t expect them to be very competitive this season. They might be lucky to win thirty regular season games during the 2017-18 schedule.

With the first game of their regular season schedule taking place on the 17th October when they face the Los Angeles Clippers who this season are likely to struggle having seen the departure of Chris Paul . It should prove to be very interesting to see which of the three NBA franchises in the state of California comes out as the ‘Top Dog’ in the state at the end of this season.

I do believe that the Los Angeles Clippers will be taking a step back this season , even though they will remain the best team in their division , I just don’t believe they are a championship caliber team. There is not enough depth on the roster and it has become increasingly clear , neither Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan are leaders. They are merely overpaid NBA stars showing little sign of maturity and the will to lead by example. Doc Rivers as the head coach of the team as well as Head of Basketball Operations is stretched too thin and needs to relinquish his role as an executive within the Clippers’ organization. Rivers should concentrate on the coaching of the team , while Steve Ballmer works in conjunction with Jerry West , seeking to make this team better. West joining the Clippers’ front office as a special consultant does seem somewhat ironic and eerie especially when you consider his career with the Los Angeles Lakers a nd the fact both of the Los Angeles’ franchises share the same home venue . I would love to be a fly on the wall inside both front offices over the course of this season , as Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka try to outmaneuver Jerry West , Lawrence Frank and Dave Wohl . The Clippers’ front office is top-heavy with far too many front office executives and the coaching staff itself, while there is an abundance of experience to be found. It was clear last season the coaches were not able to get the best out of the team , leading to their dismal showing during the NBA Playoffs .

When it is all said and done , this season for the Detroit Tigers has been glaringly abysmal , with the team failing to show any drive whatsoever. The death of Michael Ilitch was a devastating blow to the organization and now the franchise is left in the hands of the late owner’s family. Chris Ilitch now steps into the role as the Chief Executive and owner of the Tigers , while Al Avila continues in his role of general manager. Where the Tigers now go from here will be predicated on how the season rounds out for the ball-club.

Brad Ausmus and the Detroit Tigers face a tough month ahead while simply playing for pride. Ausmus’
managerial staff
will still try to instill some discipline and sense of purpose into the team. That will likely begin by out-playing the New York Yankees who they face on Thursday afternoon . The game itself should prove to be very interesting given what is at stake for both teams . During the off-season Al Avila will have to make a decision concerning the long-term future of stars such as Justin Verlander , Miguel Cabrera and several others of their highly paid players on the team’s roster. Over the last six seasons the Tigers have very little to show their fans by way of advancing during the postseason . While I don’t believe Al Avila will seek to make drastic changes , there has to be something done to improve this roster or ultimately , the paring down of the payroll must be a priority for the franchise moving forward.

Rich Hill a starting pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers toyed with a ‘no hitter’ in his most recent outing for the team , a game played against the Pittsburgh Pirates . One errant pitch broke up what would have been a career highlight for a player who has come so close to pitching a no hitter on several occasions during his career. The Dodgers would end up losing the contest 1-0, in ten innings . When these two teams are back on the diamond this Thursday evening , the opposing pitchers will be Hyun Jin-Ryu of the Dodgers against Chad Kuhl of the Pirates .

There is no doubt in my mind the Los Angeles Dodgers will run away with the NL West divisional crown, but I will continue to ask the question how good is this team really ? If they are unable to make a deep postseason run ,and play with consistency , then greatness cannot be foisted upon them. It has been over two decades since the Los Angeles Dodgers made an appearance in the World Series and subsequent postseason appearances have often ended in sheer failure on the part of this ballclub. If the Dodgers were to do the unthinkable and win the World Series in 2017, then the media would have a field day reporting the story creating a deal of hyperbole as to the Dodgers’ exploits.



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 Tophatal ….. 08/23/2017

USA Today Sports

In The Pursuit of Happiness

In The Pursuit of Happiness

With the second round of the NBA Playoffs almost in full swing , now would be the time to start assuaging the chances of the teams now left at this stage of the Playoffs. Clearly , last season’s finalists are seen as the presumptive favorites to make a return to this season’s NBA Finals , where many are hoping to see either Cleveland Cavaliers make a successful defense of their title or the Golden State Warriors rebound to reclaim the title they won in 2015. From my own standpoint, while many believe the NBA is need of a dynasty as well as a rivalry to create more excitement within this league. I firmly believe what the NBA is lacking , are truly talented players .

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While no one can deny the astonishing season had by Russell Westbrook , who averaged a triple-double throughout the regular season, the point guard failed to ignite the postseason for the Oklahoma City Thunder , as the team failed miserably in their series against the Houston Rockets . The Thunder’s failings came from the lack of coaching acumen shown by head coach Billy Donovan and his coaching staff . During this off-season I expect there are likely to be several changes made to the team’s roster beyond their own draft selections in the upcoming NBA Draft (2017) .

It would be in everyone’s interests not to make too much of the San Antonio Spurs’ blowout loss to the Houston Rockets in the opening game of their Western Conference Semi-Final Series. The Spurs are far too experienced a team to simply lay down , without putting up much of a fight. Head coach Gregg Popovich is a Master in his role and I would expect him to make the necessary adjustments to negate the strengths of the Rockets in preparation for game-two.

If you’re looking for a definite outsider within the Eastern Conference who could possibly upset the apple-cart, then your best bet could very well be the Boston Celtics who surprised everyone by being the number-one seeds in the conference this postseason. Having dispatched the Chicago Bulls in their opening series with summary ease , the Celtics now find themselves facing the Washington Wizards in their conference semi-finals’ series. Already up 2-0 in the series , a game-three victory would pretty much place the Celtics on the path to their first conference title appearance in eight years . Teammates Al Horford and Isiah Thomas might be the primary reasons why the Celtics now find themselves on their way a possible conference finals’ appearance . During the regular as well as the postseason the two have combined to lead the team to the victories seen on-court.

Trouble in paradise ? Well , in the City of Angels , known to us all as Los Angeles , both of the NBA franchises residing in the city , the Los Angles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers , have seen their fair share of mediocrity during the regular and postseason . In the case of the Los Angles Lakers, it was another sub-par effort from a team completely devoid of leadership and play-making ability . It just seems unfortunate Luke Walton inherited a group of players who have no ambition or pride and in the case of veteran leadership, Metta World Peace has offered little to the Lakers throughout the season. Away from the basketball court, familial tensions reared its ugly head, as siblings , Jeanie Buss , Johnny Buss and Jim Buss squabbled over control of the Lakers. Magic Johnson , was brought in to become Head of Basketball Operations , while Mitch Kupchak was ousted to be replaced by Rob Pelinka as the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers. I guess during this off-season , the Lakers as well as their fans, can hope Magic will be able to talk a high-profiled free agent into signing with the franchise , which in many respects looks more like a lunatic asylum , rather than a professional sports’ franchise.

Billionaire tech entrepreneur Steve Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers for $2.2 billion and since acquiring the franchise , they have failed abysmally during recent NBA Playoff appearances. Failing to get beyond the conference quarter finals and it’s easy to understand how overrated the Clippers are. I think it somewhat asinine , reading comments from clueless NBA fans, who have pretensions of insight concerning this franchise, at times describing the Los Angeles Clippers as one of the few NBA successes of the past six seasons. A highly paid roster of players and clearly with Chris Paul not getting a great deal of help from either Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan , it is easy to understand why the Clippers remain so abysmal.

The significance of the Los Angeles Clippers’ first-round series loss to the Utah Jazz has not been lost to a number of fans. If Gordon Hayward can almost single-handedly outplay the Clippers’ , leading the Jazz to their 4-3 series’ first-round upset . Hayward and his teammates now have the unenviable task of facing the Golden State Warriors in their conference semi-final series.

Steve Ballmer as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers is bound to be displeased with the lackluster effort of his team, but I dare say, he is likely to be peeved with the lack of coaching acumen shown by head coach Doc Rivers and the entire Clippers’ coaching staff . From my own perspective , I believe it is time for Rivers to relinquish his dual role within the organization , as Head of Basketball Operations and just remain in charge of the playing staff as the Head Coach . Rivers is placing even greater pressure on himself and for the moment , while Steve Ballmer remains loyal to his head coach , I can’t help but get the feeling , another season playing second-fiddle to the Golden State Warriors as the second-best franchise based in the state of California will not sit well with the larger than life owner.

MLB prides itself on being the first professional team sport in North America to integrate its players. Jackie Robinson is stated as being the first African-American player to play in a Major League ball-game , but in reality , Robinson was not the first. He was merely the first to play for a professional team in the twentieth century. Jackie Robinson was a the subject of such racial abuse through much of his career , albeit , that we’re told it only related to the his initial years with the Brooklyn Dodgers .

Seven decades after Robinson’s debut, it would appear racism remains alive and well within the game of baseball. We should be reminded , on the night Hank Aaron broke the career home run record held by Babe Ruth , he came under a torrent of non-stop racial abuse , threats of violence aimed at himself as well as his family. Now in , 2017, those taunts are now being aimed at players of African-American ethnicity , though it’s not being widely reported, simply because MLB’s hierarchy would rather keep this all under wraps.

In a recent game between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox , the Orioles’ Adam Jones was subject to a torrent of racial and verbal abuse . Now consider, the fact this game was being played at Fenway Park , in Boston, Massachusetts , and with the Red Sox itself , having several players of ethnic minority on the roster . It does seem somewhat repugnant that Red Sox fans would seek to act in such a way with such repugnant and repulsive behavior. Then again, it should be seen as a sign of the times , when the President of the country , Donald Trump can show his utter disregard for not only women but also minorities in general , with his own outlandish behavior and he is simply given a pass by the public and the media , specifically the right-wing cabal of Conservative leading members of the press. So why would we expect any different from a bunch of inherently racist and insensitive group of Red Sox fans ? If the league hierarchy has failed to even question the behavior of the fans in this incident and when there has been no formal comment from the front office of the Boston Red Sox. I can only surmise they either condone the actions of the fans in question or they are simply apathetic and oblivious to what went on.

If you believe this incident concerning Adam Jones is an isolated situation , you should think again as it has become more common place within the game of baseball . There has been a rise in this type of behavior , though it is not widely reported in the media or through any research done by Major League Baseball , because where its leadership remains middle-aged and predominantly overseen by Caucasians , the last thing you would expect , would be for the league hierarchy to admit there is not a tinge of racism within baseball . There has been a rise in this type of behavior , though it is not widely reported in the media or through any research done by Major League Baseball , because where its leadership remains middle-aged and predominantly overseen by Caucasians , the last thing you would expect , would be for the league hierarchy to admit there is not a tinge of racism within baseball. It is common-place but just as in this game on Monday , MLB’s own coverage of the contest failed to indicate what occurred and the racial epithets directed at Adam Jones. Once again indicating, White America loves to paint this pageantry of all inclusiveness, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth, because they would rather run with the apathy and the nonchalant belief all is right with the world.

Courtesy of Newsday

CC Sabathia backs up Adam Jones’ experience with slurs at Fenway

By Roger Rubin , Special for Newsday

HIGHLIGHTS

‘When you go to Boston, expect it,’ Sabathia says
Red Sox apologize for fans’ racial taunts toward Orioles outfielder

While Major League Baseball and the Red Sox organization reacted with revulsion and condemnation that Baltimore’s Adam Jones was taunted with racial slurs and pelted with a bag of peanuts during Monday night’s game at Boston’s Fenway Park, CC Sabathia had a different take.

“It’s happened to me — not surprising,” the Yankees left-hander said. “It’s bad. You get called names — the N-word, all kind of stuff — when you go to Boston . . . I’m glad that he spoke up. It’s disgusting.”
“I heard something that caught my attention and I’m like ‘I hope I really didn’t just hear what I thought I heard,’ ” Jones recounted in an MLB Network interview. “I’ve played against the Red Sox for 10 years and I understand booing the opponent . . . but not the racial stuff. It [expletive] that it’s still going on in 2017.”

Asked if he’d heard similar accounts from other African-American players, Sabathia replied “there’s 62 of us and we all know: when you go to Boston, expect it . . . I’ve never had it anywhere else except there . . . even shagging in the outfield before the game, sometimes you get it.”

“It’s nothing new to any of us,” Braves outfielder Matt Kemp said. “He let it be known that’s what we go through. I mean, it’s pretty much normal, especially in some of these different cities. I’m not going to name all the cities, but there’s some pretty tough cities where people say some pretty ruthless things. There’s . . . nobody holding anybody accountable for some of the things these fans do.”


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Erwin Santana (5-0, 0.66 ERA) and Dallas Keuchel (5-0, 1.21 ERA) are the two best pitchers in baseball at this point of the season. with both starting pitchers unbeaten in their respective starts for the Minnesota Twins and the Houston Astros . Unfortunately , this is not reflected in the records of either team and where they stand within their respective divisions . The Twins sit in second place within the AL Central , but that division is likely to become even more competitive and congested as the season progresses. Given the fact the Minnesota Twins have struggled to make the postseason in recent years. I do not expect the team in its current guise to be considered a serious challenger for the AL Pennant , much less the World Series . In the case of the Houston Astros , they appear to be as good as advertised , but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were to falter by the latter part of June. With both the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins in action today , 3rd May , it will be interesting to see how the teams fare in their respective games. The Twins will play host to the Oakland A’s , while the Astros have the Texas Rangers coming to Minute Maid Field for a game in Houston, Texas.

There are several milestones likely to be met this season in baseball and for all of the idiocy in print over the length of a home-run being hit. I would like the think the productivity being seen in such cases leads to the outcome of the player producing , is doing so for a team with a winning record or at least competitive within their division . Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is now making a name for himself this season as he leads the team in home runs as well as several other team categories on offense . Let’s just say in spite of the Yankees’ deficiencies elsewhere, it’s good to know they now have someone on the roster capable of producing when it matters. Needless to say, Judge and his teammates still have a long way to go in convincing anyone they are capable of winning the AL East , much less have the aspirations of bringing the franchise another World Series title . The Yankees were in action on Wednesday evening when they faced the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx , New York. An 8-6 victory over the Blue Jays inched the Yankees closer to becoming the first team to twenty wins on the season in baseball for 2017 .

Major League Baseball works professionally within the state of Florida because , with an elderly population, the game does seem to have a lot to offer the fans during the exhibition schedule (Spring Training) . During the regular season , there are sparse crowds in attendance for the home games of the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays . In spite of the statistics provided by the league, it is obvious to even the most knowledgeable of fans, both of the Florida based teams cannot fill their respective stadiums to capacity for a home game. Marlins Ballpark and Tropicana Field have become something of a joke to those in the know. Economic impact for the cities of Miami and Tampa may well be minimal and the combined valuation as well as revenue provided by both ball-clubs pales into insignificance when measured against teams in a similar market size or bigger. From my own perspective , I believe a great deal of the blame for the lack of success with both the Marlins and Rays stems from a lack of real ambition from the respective ownership groups . Granted , pending the league’s approval , the Miami Marlins will become subject to a new ownership group led by Jeb Bush , a former governor of the state, whose partnering with Derek Jeter could see a raise in the profile of the still impoverished Marlins. Meanwhile , Rays’ owner Stuart Sternberg continues to act like a petulant child whose pacifier has been taken away from him.

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I would like to think in the coming months both the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays are able to compete , while the MLB season itself is something the fans can truly revel in. Yet , for all sense and purpose we all know that is not likely to be the case.
As to the incident s which took place during the game between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox, I think it speaks volumes to the never-ending social issue this country has failed to address since its inception and that is the issue of race. It is a telling sign when the President , Donald Trump > can simply make racial bigotry a focal point of his electoral campaign and the apathy of the public is there for all to see. I don’t believe we can expect anything more from a country or its political leaders , when they are simply not willing to show any form of decency or respect of others. The continued banality seen , is something which will remain ever-present and I don’t expect it to change anytime soon !

The NBA Playoffs will continue to be a wild ride , with teams looking to achieve success and for the fans , it will provide some form of happiness or joy as the case maybe.

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Tophatal ……………………… 3rd May 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tophatal …

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My ball, my rules in the NBA

The NBA preseason is now upon us and the reigning league champions the Golden State Warriors will begin their quest to make a successful defense of their title with their preseason schedule as Steph Curry and his teammates seek to make it all once again be a reality. For Steve Kerr , his coaching staff as well as the front office led by co-owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , as they have seen a spectacular rise in the value of the franchise, but also a marked increase in the revenues and attendance levels for the team. With the imminent move to a more fan-friendly and more attractive venue for the NBA’s current champions. The signs are, the Warriors’ ascent to the top of the basketball world has been well thought out and the intent of the franchise to have a lasting and long-term impact on the league.

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Steve Kerr and Steph Curry were recipients in the running for two of the top individual regular season awards of last season , with Kerr coming in second for the NBA Coach of The Year Award , while the point guard won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award after a scintillating season. Curry along with Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala will be relishing to get back unto the court and begin the defense of their title. The NBA Draft itself, saw the Warriors simply bolster their roster, with some young talent and these players are likely to get their chance at some point during the season to shine.

Without a doubt, the Golden State Warriors will have to be seen as the presumptive favorites within the Western Conference to make a quick return to the NBA Playoffs alongside perennial playoff bound and five-time champions the San Antonio Spurs. During the off-season, San Antonio without a doubt were the biggest winners in the free agency market , having acquired Texas native LaMarcus Aldridge alongside veteran power forward David West. Departures from last season’s roster were expected and the losses were certainly outweighed by acquisitions made by the franchise , whose general manager R C Buford has stood stall, showing his executive acumen and one of the many reasons why he has to be considered one of the very best general managers in NBA history.

San Antonio will also see the return of veteran players Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker for another year together , with the trio having won over five-hundred regular season games together as a combination as well as four of the franchise’s five championships all under the coaching tutelage of Gregg Popovich . All three players as well the head coach are future bound and likely inductees into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame joining another Spurs’ luminaries already enshrined in basketball’s most hallowed institution, George Gervin and David Robinson , the two most notable Spurs’ inductees were the starting point for the history of one of the NBA’s most respected franchises. However, it has been the astonishing success under coach Gregg Popovich which has been the template seen , which has led San Antonio to its present time.

The NBA during its preseason schedule will be playing second fiddle to the MLB postseason which begins on Tuesday , while the NFL season though in its infancy has begun to take on a life of its own. Away from the basketball court , there have been some less than palatable story-lines which have come into focus. Former League MVP and Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose finds himself at the center of allegations of sexual assault and battery claim from a female victim. A charge which the player categorically denies and he has been very adamant with his repeated denials of the alleged victim’s claims.

As to how this is viewed by the Bulls’ front office led by GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson . Well, the executives have simply issued what can only be deemed a standard response, with the view , until there has been a legal investigation and legal outcome, the organization will continue to show support for the player.

For Derrick Rose , his failure to make an impact for the Chicago Bulls over the course of last season must come into question given the franchise’s long-term financial commitment to the player , who has missed over 100 games over the past two and a half seasons. This past season, Jimmy Butler stepped up to the plate for the Bulls and though they made the NBA Postseason their foray was somewhat short-lived . Rose for his part was simply a peripheral character in the team’s attempts to make a deep playoff run . The firing of Tom Thibodeau , with his being replaced by Fred Hoiberg as the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls , opens a new chapter for the franchise. It will be interesting to see what Hoiberg and his newly assembled coaching staff brings to the table as the Bulls begin their preseason schedule and then on into the regular season.

Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls will begin their regular season, when they open up with their first game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a contest at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on 27th October, 2015. If the Bulls are to have a chance of prevailing within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference much less against the rest of the league , then it will be predicated upon of the play of Rose and the team over the entire schedule in 2015.

This season there will be a great deal of pressure on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The four-time League MVP had a roster built around a team which had his own personal blessings and specific wishes. The fact that idiot fans , bought into the belief James would be capable of leading the Cavaliers to their first NBA championship solely based on his play was utterly ridiculous. As good as LeBron James over the course of his career in the NBA , certain things were being overlooked by the James’ supporters. A rookie head coach with little NBA or postseason and a team, where the players , other than Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love would be barely thought of as being competitive in comparison to the other lineups around the league.

Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert along with GM David Griffin have a great deal riding on keeping in the good graces of LeBron James and the player’s yearning to bring a title to the franchise. Two appearances in the NBA Finals have ended up in significantly embarrassing series’ defeats each time for James, as a member of the franchise.

What is becoming abundantly clear is the very fact LeBron James remains an impatient individual who seeks not only to be acknowledged by his peers, but also by the NBA analysts and fans as the greatest player of his generation and the greatest player in NBA history. A tall order indeed, when one considers he has fallen short of the accomplishments of his idol , Michael Jordan. While I do not believe it pertinent to make comparisons between players of the past against players of the present. It is clear, James wishes to be seen as the heir apparent to the six-time NBA champion , Finals’ MVP and League MVP . Such comparisons are best made upon the retirement of both subject as it is best then start a meaningful debate over the accomplishments of the subjects in question.

This season might well be the last opportunity for both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to reestablish their legacies with the Miami Heat. The departure of former teammate LeBron James left the franchise in complete disarray. Inasmuch as there was criticism being leveled at James by Heat Executive Alonzo Mourning , what became abundantly clear was the fact the front office became lackadaisical and negligent in failing to bolster an aging roster , believing it best , James as a one-man band could simply lead Miami to another title. With LeBron James’ departure the Miami Heat became a listless team , with neither Bosh or Wade contributing much to the Heat’s mediocre showing and season in 2014 .

During the off-season, Pat Riley and the Heat’s coaching staff led by Erik Spoelstra bolstered the roster through the NBA Draft and free agency . Miami’s rookies will be expected to make solid contributions to the team over the course of the Heat’s eighty-two game schedule. Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson , the two rookies taken in this past draft will get their opportunities this season and I believe Erik Spoelstra expects to see some great play from these two young players. Miami will open up their regular season schedule when they face the Charlotte Hornets on the 28th October ,2015 at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida.

With the recent news that James L Dolan , owner of the New York Knicks has seen fit to relinquish control of the Cablevision , the public company where the Dolan family still has a sizable presence. The questions now being asked are , will the family quite possibly seek to sell their controlling stake in the Madison Square Garden Company which presides over the family’s sports’ interests ? Can the team actually be competitive this upcoming season ? Is it possible for the New York Knicks to be even worst off, than they were last season ? As woeful as the New York Knicks have been this past season under the guidance of Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher as the team sank to new levels of of sheer incompetence while supporters of Jackson are still trying to suggest the former NBA coach has a Master Plan for the resurrection of the Knicks’ fortunes.

To understand the incompetency of the New York Knicks , one simply has to look for an explanation as to the Phil Jackson first round draft pick of Kristaps Porzingis and how Jackson has tried to placate the fans with his thoughts on the matter. There can be no denying the choice had and still has a number of people perplexed and wondering what the hell is going on within the Knicks’ hierarchy and whether or not there is any semblance to be found there at all ?

Porzingis was taken as the fourth overall pick in the first round and is seen as a solid front court player , but in reality , the player is likely to remain a work in progress and not likely to be a major contributor to this team, which is need offensive talent as well as a solid defensive presence. Triangle Offense or not the basketball IQ on this team is way below average and almost a certain obstacle in the way of a franchise where the coaching staff has to be deemed equally incompetent as the players and the front office executives within the organization. The only saving grace for the New York Knicks has been the fact the franchise remains among the profitable of all the teams in the NBA and that remains about it. From my own standpoint, I do not believe the team in its current guise will pose that much of a threat to their divisional opponents or conference rivals this upcoming season.

Speaking of another vastly overrated NBA franchise, has anyone ever wondered where elephants usually go to die ? If there was said to be an elephants’ graveyard in the league, then it would have to be the Barclays Center , home to the Brooklyn Nets . From one year to the next this franchise over the past six seasons has been a monumental eyesore . For all the wealth of Russian billionaire tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov as the Nets’ owner . This organization would not be able to spot talent if the coaching staff of the franchise were given the aid of a flashlight , night vision glasses, if they were left in a darkened room and asked to figure it out all by themselves.

GM Billy King has outlived his usefulness and the only sound decision he has made was the jettisoning of Deron Williams , a player whose talents remain vastly overrated as a point guard . He certainly doesn’t excel under pressure and by no means can he be considered a leader much less the equal of several of his peers within the game today.

With Deron Williams having joined the Dallas Mavericks, it remains to be seen how much of an improvement his addition will be to the team and how competitive they’re likely to be over the course of this season. Dirk Nowitzki remains the best player on the current roster by far. If the Mavericks are to succeed as they seek to win a second NBA title , then it will be predicated Nowitzki’s indomitable play and leadership ability , because none the traits in question , are to be seen even vaguely in any of his teammates.

Two teams with something to prove this season, will be the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. James Harden and Kevin Durant are now viewed as being among the elite players in the NBA and there can be no denying that fact. Both of these superstars are likely to be viewed as early preseason candidates for the League MVP this season. The disappointment of the NBA Playoffs was there for all to see as the Rockets failed to get by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals last season. Harden and teammate Dwight Howard were simply not enough to get by the best team in the NBA during the playoffs. I certainly believe games between the Rockets and Thunder as seen last season and will prove to be extremely competitive.

Oklahoma City Thunder under their coach Billy Donovan will seek to make this season their big opportunity to advance to an NBA Finals for the second time under the ownership group of Clay Bennett and his partners. GM Sam Presti knows it is in the franchise’s best interests to keep the services of Kevin Durant, knowing the player is likely to weigh up his options as an impending free agent in 2016, the Thunder must know their best chance to have Durant within their organization is to have a successful season ,with the ultimate goal being to win a world championship. Kevin Durant and his teammates will begin that quest this season opening up their schedule with a home game against the San Antonio Spurs on 28th October ,2015.

Picture inset with an accompanying narrative to the images . Simply click unto any image to view.

The NBA hierarchy enters this season looking to avail themselves of the best publicity possible , but I cannot help wonder what the biggest controversy is likely to be once the season gets into full swing .

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Tophatal ……

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Long walk of shame or it just happened to be that way …


Long walk of shame or it just happened to be that way

Another NFL weekend has almost come to a close, with only the Monday Night Football game still to be played. Nevertheless, there were some rather surprising results along the way and others , which seemed to be foregone conclusion even prior to their start. If there was said to be a major surprise in terms of the results witnessed, then the San Diego Chargers’ embarrassing and lopsided 37-0 loss to the Miami Dolphins(5-3) proved to be the most surprising of them all. Philip Rivers’ season to date has been one of the most impressive of the NFL starting quarterbacks, going into week nine.

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Rivers and his teammates may well look back on the defeat and see it was a way to jar them out their complacency, yet at the same time, I cannot help but wonder if head coach Mike McCoy and his coaching staff had his team prepared for this contest . Whatever this result might suggest, the Chargers and their fans cannot be entirely happy with the performances on the day. With a bye week in week ten , McCoy and his staff will no doubt assess the team injuries as well as the psyche of his players before they head into week eleven where they will face divisional rivals the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium, in San Diego, California. Tony Sparano and the Raiders are still seeking their first win of the season and their 0-8 record now seems a precursor of things s to come , bringing back memories of the Detroit Lions’ win-less season in 2008, where the team was simply abysmal all year long .

Oakland for its part , put up a spirited attempt to defeat the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday in their game played at Century Link Field in Seattle , Washington. Sparano for the moment remains the interim head coach, but sooner or later,GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis will have to make the decision as to whether or not the head coach is the right man to lead this team for the remainder of the season. The longer this prolonged agony continues , the less likely the Raiders are going to see any semblance of success , much less be reinvigorated with some new-found confidence.

After their victory over the San Diego Chargers I have no doubt head coach Joe Philbinand his staff might feel this was the team’s best performance of the season so far. Though there are still eight games left to the regular season, the AFC East division remains something of a tightly contested race. The New England Patriots after their lambasting of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, New England seem to be in the driver’s seat, leading the division with a 7-2 record, where their two-game lead over the Buffalo Bills(5-3) and Dolphins might well be enough for them to take the division with some ease. Given the way the Patriots dealt with Manning and the Broncos , the momentum for Tom Brady and his teammates has now swung their way.

With only the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets (1-8) having more consecutive losses over their last eight games, it is easy to understand why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) have struggled this season . Four consecutive defeats with the latest coming at the hands of the Cleveland Browns (5-3) has to be perplexing for the Buccaneers’ fans just as much as it has to for Lovie Smith and his coaching staff. Not one player on this Buccaneers’ roster can actually justify their salary , yet alone their contract , but somehow Smith suggests he has continued faith in his players , most notably , quarterback Mike Glennon. To try and put into words how abysmal Tampa has been can easily be summed up by sniffing the odor of a canine’s fecal matter or urine and then making a comparison with the Buccaneers’ performances this season. It’s safe to say, shit and urine definitely do stink , but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now in a ” class of their own” , when it comes to stinking up the joint .

Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play host to the equally forlorn Atlanta Falcons (2-6) in a divisional race, where mediocritywithin the NFC South seems to be the norm for this season . All four teams are no better than a .500 record with the New Orleans Saints leading the way with a 4-4 mark. For Saints’ head coach Sean Payton , he knows his team has been uncharacteristic in terms of their overall play . New Orleans’ 28-10 victory over the equally lamentable Carolina Panthers and you get to understand why the NFC South has become an instantaneous joke this season.

To carry on with the comical side of the NFL this season , at what point will the New York Jets’ front office figure out that Rex Ryan , Geno Smith and Michael Vick have a great deal in common ? GM John Idzik and Ryan have formulated a recipe for disaster this season and I doubt that Julia Childs in her kitchen at the peak of her culinary guile could or would have served up such a meal for a dinner guest , let alone what the Jets have served up for their fans this season ! If Geno Smith is said to be a work in progress , then the Jets’ front office should be negotiating with the quarterback’s agents at RocNation Sports for a return of at least 90% of their money back in terms of the player’s contract.

Drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft , Smith is in the process of making Mark Sanchez’s final season with the Jets seem like a masterpiece painted by none other than Pablo Picasso . In reality though, even Picasso at his very worst, with his artistic ingenuity never made his admirers simply want to throw rocks at his work. Sanchez now commonly known for the “butt-fumble fiasco and legacy can take delight, that his successor has become a complete laughing stock around the NFL, with the print and television media and in the tri-state area now continually criticizing Geno Smith for his poor play. Decision making asides , there is now no upside to Smith as a player , let alone the fans seeing Michael Vick on the field as his immediate backup as a starting quarterback. As if to emphasize this point further , I need only point to the Jets’ 24-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs .

The clock is now ticking on Rex Ryan’s tenure with the New York Jets and as their season meanders on, there seems to be no signs the coach and his staff can actually point to any signs of progress, let alone their being confidence among the members of the roster. Dire consequences await should the New York Jets fall to the Pittsburgh Steelers in week ten, when they play host to one of the AFC North’s leading divisional contenders.

A 13-10 loss by the San Francisco 49ers to the St Louis Rams might not yet have created a scene of panic, but given the fact the Rams have not been truly competitive all season long, suggests to me , the Forty Niners were complacent and are extremely overrated this season. The team have begun to rest on their laurels , and Colin Kaepernick seems to be more concerned over his tattooed adorned arms , than he is with the team’s cumbersome play and their nondescript record in the NFC West. Needless to say, the idiocy of the Niners still being capable of winning ten games, seems further adrift than ever before. Should the Forty Niners fail in their quest for the divisional title and a postseason berth , the accusing fingers will certainly be pointed at not only the players , but certainly at head coach Jim Harbaugh .

We’re number one . Oops ! Sorry , we were number one and now the repercussions of the College Football season are now being felt , as the top contenders start to make their push to be part of the final-four playoff format which will be used to determine the next national champion at the FBS Level (D1).

We’re number one . Oops ! Sorry , we were number one and now the repercussions of the College Football season are now being felt , as the top contenders start to make their push to be part of the final-four playoff format which will be used to determine the next national champion at the FBS Level (D1). While Misssissippi State (Bulldogs) 8-0 still hangs unto the top spot , the belief appears to be they will not be around for the final round and seen as the last man standing. The Bulldogs took care of Arkansas in a competitive match-up that could have gone the Razorbacks’ way, , had they taken advantage of the opportunities offered at the time.

For Mississippi State , if they can simply win out then , they will be part of the inaugural playoff format. Granted, with the rapid rise up the rankings of Oregon , Auburn , TCU (Horned Frogs) and Nick Saban’s rampant Alabama (Crimson Tide) laying swath to their opponents , there is a suggestion the SEC’s presence in the final standings will be overwhelming. One program not part of the discussion is the rapidly falling esteem of the Florida Gators , where Wil Muschamp’s tenure appears to be at end with AD Jeremy Foley intent on prolonging the agony of every Gators’ fan nationwide . Alumni of the program are at the point, where they are calls for an effigy to be hung from the rafters of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida , and home to some of Florida’s greatest triumphs.

To understand the Gators’ plight this season , has been very much a chance to witness what it is like to self implode , while those around you remain calm. Two consecutive losses , before a beat-down of the Georgia Bulldogs and still the victory has not been enough to quell the calls for Wil Muschamp’s dismissal .

Florida’s next scheduled game will pit them against conference rivals Vanderbilt in a contest which could a long way in either resurrecting some respectability to their season or simply prolong the agony.

Kevin Durant , ” out” , Julius Randle and Steve Nash , both on the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster out, have their fans witnessing an impromptu and below par start to the NBA season. The Oklahoma City Thunder will be without their League MVP for two months of their starting schedule , but Scott Brooks as optimistic as ever is hoping the player can make an earlier return to the team’s starting lineup . The fact Sebastian Telfair now finds himself on the Thunder’s roster after a less than solid career in the NBA , has me wondering what GM Sam Presti hopes to get out of the veteran guard .

Still early stages in the season . but already , you have to wonder what to make of the Los Angeles Lakers and their poor start to their schedule . Win-less , with Byron Scott now unsure as to what his best starting lineup ought to be . An 0-4 start for the Los Angeles Lakers and the excuses have begun from the lame Lakers’ fans, who are unwilling to admit the roster has no real depth or talent beyond Kobe Bryant. If anyone thinks an aging Carlos Boozer can add to or make this roster more productive, /then clearly , they, Mitch Kupchak , Jim Buss and their forlorn fans are sadly mistaken. . Defensively, the Lakers are an unmitigated disaster and a complete mess, with their being no real sign the coaching staff or the players know when and where their first win of the season is likely to happen . Giving up on 115 points per game and you can easily understand why the Lakers are simply limping and whimpering their way to perhaps another miserable season.

Kobe Bryant will lead his teammates in their next game on Tuesday night when they face the Phoenix Suns at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California. If the contests between these two teams are anything to go by , then we are likely to see either A a high scoring contest , with their being no emphasis on defense or just a game , error prone in just about every facet imaginable. I am not so sure the Los Angeles Lakers are capable of winning their division (Pacific Division) much less able to garner a playoff berth . A year ago today , I doubt the Los Angeles Lakers would have envisaged a season where they would fall from grace even with the franchise having suffered injuries to several players on the roster throughout much of last season.

DeMarcus Cousins remains the troubled player at the professional level, just as much as he was a wayward, but mercurial and talented player at the collegiate level , with the Kentucky Wildcats where he played for one year with the program . Drafted by the Sacramento Kings, Cousins is now seen as the face of the franchiseand its immediate and long-term future. Now with the Kings seeking to make this season a competitive year for the coaching staff of Michael Malone. If the Kings are to succeed and at this stage of the season, where they appear to be the surprise team within the NBA , playing with a great deal of tenacity. Cousins and teammate Rudy Gay will have to be at the forefront of anything being sought by way of success for the Sacramento Kings.

Currently , with a 2-1 mark seated second in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. A surprising 98-92 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers might not have made everyone sit up and take note, until you realize the Clippers were one of the more consistent performers last season having made the NBA Playoffs . The Sacramento Kings were on the outside looking in, as Chris Paul , Blake Griffin and the rest of the Clippers fell short of their goal of winning an NBA title.

A Monday night contest between the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets earned the visiting team a five-point 110-105 victory at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

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The news in the sports’ world isn’t always refreshing, where the main agenda tends to be more about the unsavory sides to sports’ journalism even when the body of the story isn’t sports’ related. Baseball brought us a stirring World Series finale with the success of the San Francisco Giants . In the NFL the schedule has just moved beyond on its halfway point , with several teams now out of the divisional and conference races. No denying, the walk of shame will be an embarrassing one , no matter how it’s spun. The NBA is now seeking to take the gloss off its NFL counterpart and the press following now being garnered as the season is still in its infancy. No doubt the Lakers’ storyline will be one that is closely followed. Flawed or not , not everyone will be satisfied with formula being initiated. Your thoughts on the manner in which teams or athletes have been performing and where you see them at the end of their respective seasons? College Football in its inaugural year, where the new playoff format comes into being .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) of the Miami Dolphins throws during pregame workouts before his team met the San Diego Chargers at Sun Life Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Getty Images / Chris Trotman …

(2) Running back Lamar Miller (26) of the Miami Dolphins scores a second quarter touchdown against the San Diego Chargers during a game at Sun Life Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Upended on the play is tackle Ja’Wuan James(70) of the Dolphins. Getty Images/ Chris Trotman

(3) Running back Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball during the third quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on November 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images /Steve Dykes …

(4) Running back Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with his teammates after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on November 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Steve Dykes …

(5) Tyler Murphy (3) of the Florida Gators dives over Sheldon Dawson (2) of the Georgia Bulldogs for a touchdown during the game at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images /Sam Greenwood …

(6) Head coach Mike Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs (L) speaks with head coach Wil Muschamp of the Florida Gators before the game at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images / Sam Greenwood ….

(7) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Phoenix Suns at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. Oklahoma City won 103-96 . Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman ..

(8) Teammates Julius Randle left and Kobe Bryant are seen here during the official team photo taken at the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo , California ,. Randle drafted in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft . AP Photo / Mason Porter …

(9) Sacramento Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins (15) is seen here looking to make an offensive play as he is being defended by the Los Angeles’ Clipper DeAndre Jordan during a game between the two teams on the 2nd November , 2014. Cousins has been one of the primary reasons Kings are off to a great start this season , albeit , that the NBA schedule is still in its infancy . AP Photo / Mark Dennis … ….

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tophatal 2014/11/03

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Clash of the Titans and then, we’re left with absolute crap as the case maybe …

Clash of the Titans and then, we’re left with absolute crap as the case maybe

Well, now that we have found out the Dallas Cowboys (6-2) remain what we always knew them to be, an absolute fraud. Let’s see how their docile fans will seek to explain a home loss against the woefully inept Washington Redskins who had third-stringquarterback Colt McCoy starting for the Redskins in this inexplicable loss for the Cowboys. All this from a team, who prior to week eight had been on a six-game winning streak before their Monday Night home defeat to their divisional rivals .

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Dallas remains the leader of the NFC East, but barelyahead of their closest rivals the Philadelphia Eagles (5-2) who they will meet in weeks’ thirteen and fifteen with the first contest taking place at AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington, Texas on the 27th November , 2014. Chip Kelly’s Eagles did themselves no favors in week eight , falling to the Arizona Cardinals. This division is likely to come down to which team shows the most consistency during the final six weeks of the regular season schedule. Last season, it was the Philadelphia Eagles running away with the division, winning it with remarkable ease and on their way to the postseason . Their short and abrupt fall came in the wildcard round as they were felled by the New Orleans Saints in a 26-24 loss in a tightly contested game.

The Dallas Cowboys’ fate still remains in their own hands , or should I say in the hands of Tony Romo ? As he goes, then so does this team , in spite of the remarkable season being put together by the team’s running back De Marco Murray who appears to be on his way to breaking the franchise’s single season rushing record and possibly passing the league’s single season record for yards from scrimmage and the single season rushing mark if he can remain healthy. In week nine Dallas will play host to the Arizona Cardinals in a clash of the top two teams in the NFC , with the winner likely to be viewed as a prohibitive favorite to make the postseason .

If this is to be the year where Jason Garrett can lead the Dallas Cowboys to the postseason, then it will have been a long time coming for a coach, thrust into his position by the Cowboys’ larger than life owner , Jerry Jones , whose ego and largess knows no boundaries. As to what Jones makes of the loss to the Washington Redskins can only be assessed by the statement likely to made be made by the publicity seeking executive and franchise owner. Favorable or not , Jones will seek to put a ” positive spin ” on the result.

With the NFL season having reached the halfway mark , there is no reason to not believe the fates of John Idzik and Rex Ryan remain intertwined with the general manager of the New York Jets and the team’s head coach now on a precipice , where team owner Woody Johnson will have to make a decision about whether or not to retain both individuals. Idzik was a proponent in the drafting of Geno Smith and then promoting him to become the starting quarterback starter in his rookie season. That experiment has come to epitomize the absurdity and incompetence seen both on and off the field concerning the New York Jets this season.

John Idzik’s resume’ is quite impressive when you consider he was integral part and one of the architects who built the Seattle Seahawks’ Superbowl winning roster. He left the front office of the Seahawks to pursue the general manager vacancy with the New York Jets. I guess things haven’t worked out for either Idzik or the Jets at this juncture .

A 1-7 record and it is not difficult to understand the reasons why the Jets are in such a position, bereft of big game play-makers or leadership, without having to listen to the rather imbecilic post-game interviews which are mandatory for the head coaches. In having to listen to Rex Ryan explain away why his team lost seven straight games with neither Smith or any of his teammates being able to show any signs of competitiveness. And that lack of competitivity was on view in the Jets’ disastrous play and the team’s 43-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Now firmly rooted at the bottom of the AFC East this season for the New York Jets has now become a forlorn and an ongoing recipe of prolonged disaster. Self-inflicted wounds, the coaching staff and the team remain at a loss to explain their current situation with Woody Johnson yet to issue a public statement on his franchise’s misfortunes.

Rex Ryan and the New York Jets will get the chance to seek the team’s second win of the season when they travel to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Missouri, to face the Kansas City Chiefs an all AFC contest this upcoming Sunday.

Save the best until last ? Looking at the NFC South and this season ,it might just be the worst division in the entire NFL , given the play of the teams within the division . Not one team , including the NFC South division leaders the Carolina Panthers (3-4) has a winning record this season and it seems likely a sub.500 or just above .500 mark will be enough to secure the divisional crown. As to what this might suggest about the Panthers, New Orleans Saints (3-4), Atlanta Falcons (2-6) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-6) does not leave a great deal to the imagination, other than to suggest , all four teams are extremely bad .

The picture of ineptitude currently being painted in the NFC South, has been on display with the masterpiece put on canvass by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,coached by Lovie Smith , where he and his coaching staff along with GM Jason Licht have shown that they and the team are simply bereft of creativity and intellect both on and off the field of play. Smith has no idea as to who his starting quarterback ought to be from week to week . And he certainly has no idea who he can turn to , to provide leadership among his playing staff. Yet, all of the nonsensical debate by fans as to the real issues bedeviling the team and no one ever seems to talk about the role of veteran leadership. Reverence and stupidity among Buccaneers’ fans, who can and still point back to their championship winning season and the fact Jon Gruden coached the team to the victory in question. Truth be known, a blind man with the insight as to the tendencies of the Oakland Raiders could have coached the Buccaneers to the win . Yet , that seems to show the lack of real intelligence with the fan-base of the franchise and the fact they still rejoice in that year and not the very fact in its aftermath , neither Gruden or then general manager Bruce Allen sought to build for the future.

The front office of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , now under the guidance of the family of the late patriarch Malcom Glazer, seem non too concerned over the team’s travails and the fact the Buccaneers’ sole victory victory this season came in their week four triumph over a less than impressive Pittsburgh Steelers,who at the time ,were an injury riddled team . The Steelers since then, have taken an opposite trajectory to the Bucs and now find themselves in the thick of thingsin a very competitive AFC North division.

A home loss by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Minnesota Vikings in an overtime defeat, suggested even when putting up a gallant effort, this team is simply not good enough to deal with real adversity . I doubt things are likely to get any better for the Buccaneers in their next scheduled game when they face the Cleveland Browns (4-3) at Paul Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio,.

Give Drew Brees the tools to get the job done and he can pick apart just about any team in the NFL. With that being said, this season the New Orleans Saints have been far from being their explosive and overpowering self when meeting their opponents . If nothing else , Brees and his teammates are struggling to gain some traction within the NFC, much less the division . Sean Payton , meanwhile , remains the offense minded guru, playing to the strengths of his renowned quarterback .

The Saints still possess a reliable running game but if you can “stunt that”,then force Brees out of the pocket and hasten his decision making and he can become vulnerable, but he still possesses the mindset to carry his team when it is necessary. Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson have provided the ground game for the Saints with their receiving corps being equally adept , led by Brandin Cooks . Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston. From a defensive standpoint , this is where I believe the Saints have their Achilles’ Heel in not always being able to slow down an opponent . We are likely to see the Saints face such a dilemma, when they take on the Carolina Panthers in a Thursday night game we can only hope meet the expectations of the fans in attendance as well as the television audience watching as the events unfold at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte,North Carolina, as the week nine schedule begins.

It doesn’t seem that long ago Matt Ryan was being hailed as a perennial Pro Bowl quarterback and the face of the Atlanta Falcons’ franchise. Having signed a multi-year , multi-million dollar deal , making the player among the highest paid players in the NFL and among the highest paid quarterbacks , it has to be said Ryan has failed to deliver the goods while showing a lack of leadership for the Falcons. Now the cacophony of criticism being raised and aimed at the quarterback and head coach Mike Smith have reached unnerving proportions. Not only are there now cries for the dismissal Smith, but also for the jettisoning of Matt Ryan . I guess when the fans believe your ” number is up”, then they feel you have to go ?

Failure at all levels in terms of the Falcons’ play beyond the injury issues should not be seen as an excuse and understandably teams will tend to use such a premise . Yet the Atlanta Falcons came into this season with high hopes of winning their division and making a serious push for a postseason berth . Now this team is scrambling to save not only the season, but quite possibly not jepoardizing the future of Mike Smith and his job security. GM Thomas Dimitroff also has to be looking over his shoulder as team owner, Arthur Blank looks on at the continued mess his franchise is now engulfed in. It is pretty much safe to say, the noose is now tightening around the necks of several members of the playing staff as well as among the coaches . Blank has been known to show a great deal of patience and trust as exhibited with Michael Vick . Those days are now long gone and with a new stadium in the offing , there is no way in hell the owner wants an inept on field product with a coaching staff simply bereft of ideas. With millions of dollars at stake , this is the last scenario an NFL franchise owner would desire.

With a bye week , the Falcons can lick their wounds and prepare for their next opponent in week ten, when they look to inflict more pain pain into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season in a divisional clash at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida, against their divisional rivals. A loss fot the Falcons and the cries are likely to get louder and angrier from the fans of the franchise.

Their careers have been intertwined for over a decade and their meetings in the NFL regular and postseason have become legendary. As future Hall of Fame players, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have reached the pinnacle of their respective careers. Brady with threeSuperbowl victories would like nothing better than to add a fourth to his already distinguised resume’ . Manning for his part is a four-time League MVP, with one Superbowl win to his name and the now infamous loss loss to the Seattle Seahawks’ in last season’s rather lopsided postseason finale . That defeat not only surprised a lot of NFL fans but certainly jolted the Denver Broncos (6-1) and their quarterback.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet again in what is likely to be the game of the day , as these two titans of the NFL suit up for another great contest, when the New England Patriots (6-2) play host to the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough , Massachusetts,. The Patriots have shown their flaws this season as too have the Broncos and it would take a foolhardy individual to pick against either of these two dominant quarterbacks . The game itself could go a long way in telling us which of these two teams will be in the driver’s seat within the AFC , with the winner, surely being looked upon as the prohibitive favorite within the conference for the Superbowl .

As Tom Brady and Peyton Manning continue to rewrite the record books with Manning recently surpassing Brett Favre for the all-time career mark in touchdown passes , with the Patriots’ and Broncos’ quarterbacks among the active leaders with career passing touchdowns . The question now becomes which two young quarterbacks currently playing in the NFL will be the next to step up to the plate and provide the league with a player rivalry not seen in this league in a very long time ? Peyton Manning entered the NFL as the number one overall pick in the 998 NFL Draft and Tom Brady was overlooked by several teams in the first round and dropped to the sixth round before he was taken by the New England Patriots in the 2000 NFL Draft . As to what this might suggest about the front office executives , scouts and coaching staff that year, can be best left for another time and a very lengthy debate.

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A winning season clearly aids a franchise as well as their star players and it should be noted, both the Patriots and Broncos have stood firmly by habits which have served the two franchises very well. It will be very interesting to see where these two teams are , a year or two from now . I believe we are now seeing to of the greatest careers ever witnessed in the NFL over the past eighteen years and the accomplishments of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are unlikely to be surpassed, as the level of commitment and excellence is rarely seen among today’s NFL quarterbacks. Your thoughts if any, concerning the points raised within this article and anything else you believe worthy of a mention .

o_O

Picture gallery and slideshow details .
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(1) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys is sacked by Brandon Meriweather (31) of the Washington Redskins during the first half at AT&T Stadium on October 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. A late comeback led by the Redskins’ third string quarterback Colt McCoy gave the visiting team the victory in overtime . Getty Images / Tom Pennington. …

(2) Brandon Meriweather (31) of the Washington Redskins reacts after sacking quarterback Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys during the first half at AT&T Stadium on October 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images / Tom Pennington …

(3) Colt McCoy (16) of the Washington Redskins is chased from the pocket by Rolando McClain (55) of the Dallas Cowboys during the first half at AT&T Stadium on October 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images/ Tom Pennington …

(4) GM John Idzik of the New York Jets who has seen the team off to a 1-7 start to end the first half of the NFL season, placing the Jets at the bottom of the AFC East with only the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) and Oakland Raiders (0-7) with worst records within the conference and league. Idzik has taken the brunt of the blame for the team’s woes but the belief appears to be head coach Rex Ryan is likely to be fired at the end of the season with the general manager also , abruptly , being shown the door . AP Photo / Rachel Davis ..

(5) Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints against the Green Bay Packers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 26, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images / Chris Graythen …

(6) Peyton Manning (18) and Tom Brady (12) share a few words after a game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots during week twelve of last season . The two quarterbacks have met thirteen times over the course of their respective careers in the regular and postseason . AP Photo / Lindsay Archer ….

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I Love Myself “ ….. Kendrick Lamar

Pump it up bro !

You can’t tell me enough about what I already know .

You can’t tell me enough about what I already know .

Week seven of the NFL came and went in almost a blur and once again as in previous weeks the same level of mediocrity remains within the league . A number of the results were not too surprising with the San Francisco 49ers being on the wrong side of a lopsided result, but yet, some apathetic individuals still believe the Niners are a ten to eleven-game winning team at this stage of the season. The team has become ill-disciplined lacking in leadership but above all, the coaching staff and head coach Jim Harbaugh have lost the confidence and the connection between themselves and the players.

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Though the Forty Niners were on the road in their visit Sports Authority Stadium to play the Denver Broncos in Denver , Colorado , were a complete embarrassment to the NFC West based franchise, who now find themselves behind the hard-charging Arizona Cardinals (5-1) who might just be the surprise team within the NFCthis season.

If the problems of the San Francisco 49ers are not transparent to those who doubt that they have issues , then clearly these individuals are nowhere as knowledgeable as they believe themselves to be. At 4-3 it is hard to envisage how the Forty Niners will win at least six of their remaining nine games, given the lethargy shown over their last five games (3-2), where they are currently on a one-game losing streak . With the team on a bye in week eight , their next game will not be until the 2nd November when they host divisional rivals the St Louis Rams . The game should see Colin Kaepernick and his teammates prevail , but a loss would surely put a dent in their season’s ambitions .

Dennis Allen might well have been the first coaching casualty of the NFL season it is my belief Rex Ryan is now hanging on by his fingernails as the New York Jets (1-6) have become mournfully inept and routinely inconsistent under the head coach’s tendencies during their season in 2014. Though they fought gamely against a less than impressive New England Patriots’ team in a Thursday night contest , the game can be best summed up by the lack of creativity shown by the Jets and the very fact that New England was not at its very best. If there is one thing which could also signify the Jets’ season, then it would have to be the playof Geno Smith , the team’s quarterback. Smith’s if anything in week seven, among AFC starting quarterbacks was one of the worst performing starters and when adjudged against the rest of the NFL , one could suggest the player was beyond woefully inept.

Jets’ GM John Idzik is likely to stick with Rex Ryan for the immediate future, rather than firing the beleaguered head coach. Ryan for his part has become somber and somehow unable to explain the reasons why his team has been performing so poorly. In 2013 and 2014 the New York Jets’ draft classes have been not only poor , but the players chosen have not lived up to expectations and now with the acquisition of Percy Harvin , I doubt whether or not the fortunes of this team is likely to change.

When the New York Jets host divisional rivals(AFC East) the Buffalo Bills in week eight, we are likely find out a great deal about the mindset of Rex Ryan’s players as they try to resurrect their season .

There has been little to suggest that the New York Jets were even capable of winning the AFC East and from a defensive or offensive standpoint, the team leaves a great deal to be desired . Rex Ryan’s future I now believe will be judged on a game-by-game basis , and loss to the Bills will seriously impact the decision that could be made by the front office as to his job security.

I do not believe there is or can be, a more inept division than the NFC South this season, with the play of the quartet of teams in question, being far from perfect . The Carolina Panthers (3-3), leaders> of the division have been less than impressive through the six games of their schedule . The Panthers coming off a rather embarrassing loss to the Green Bay Packers are not the dominant team seen in 2013 , where they won their division with consummate ease and then entered the postseason as one of the NFC’s best teams.

Rivera head coach of the Carolina Panthers has seen starting quarterback Cam Newton remain sidelined for much of the season due to a recurring injury which has led to the Panthers’ passing game to be rather indifferent .Newton’s performance in the game against the Packers was less than stellar but the real loss I believe was the organization to allow Steve Smith to leave the franchise and join the Baltimore Ravens in March of 2014 . Smith remains the Panthers’ all-time receiving yards and receptions’ leader , far surpassing his nearest rival in the category. Since joining the Ravens the veteran has simply been able to show that he can still be productive while aiding his team to very good start to their season within the AFC North .

John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens will be looking for build on their lead within the division when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati , Ohio , this upcoming Sunday. For the Bengals and Marvin Lewis this is a “must-win game” , if they are to have any real chance of making the postseason. Joe Flacco has the full complement of offensive weaponry to now make an assault another attempt at a deep playoff run. Something the franchise clearly needs this season , if it is to somehow rid itself of the less than welcomed image after their handling of the Ray Rice debacle .

Baseball’s ‘ Fall Classic now has the two final teams seeking to be this season’s World Series’ champions . Who would have guessed at the start of the season the last two teams standing would be the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants ? This has been the year where just about everything went right for the Royals after almost three decades of being in the wilderness . Opposing managers , Ned Yost of the Royals and Bruce Bochy of the Giants could very well be considered favored candidates as Managers of the Year within the AL and NL , given the success of their teams . If the postseason has taught us anything this year , it has been the divisional champions were simply paper tigers and the teams who won the AL and NL Pennants were deserving of their accolades.

When James Shields takes to the mound at Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri to face the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner , the long await for the Royals’ fans will have ended as the ball-club seeks to win their first title since 1985. I would like to think this will be series, likely to be one of the more memorable World Series’ contests of recent seasons ! Yet , I somehow get the feeling, this might be a contest or should I say a series of games , where one team is likely to perform admirably, while the other simply falls apart, because of the pressure . There can be no denying the Kansas City Royals’ postseason foray has been one of the great stories in recent MLB postseason history , as they remain unbeaten , outplaying their opponents, while not being placed under any great pressure.

As this World Series’ schedule unfolds , it will be interesting to see how the two opposing teams handle the pressure . What we already know and it is , the San Francisco Giants will be seeking to add their own piece of history to the game , seeking to win their third title in the past five seasons. Bruce Bochy has been front and center, managing the teams in question , showing the guile and managerial acumen not often seen by many of his contemporaries .

The College Football season has turned into a barnstormer and burner, with coaching reputations being torn asunder. The angst now seen and shown by fans of the Florida Gators cannot be underscored, as the team has another terrible season , with their being calls for not only the ouster of Wil Muschamp , but also his decapitation . Somehow, I wasn’t aware the ire of the fans were so wrought with anger . Needless to say, Muschamp’s tenure with the program is about to come to an abrupt end once the schedule comes to a close. There is no way AD Jeremy Foley can justify his being retained for another season , given the team’s poor showing in the SEC and their play over the course of this season .

If only to emphasize how bad the season has been for the Gators , consider their showing in their most recent game against the Mizzou (Missouri) Tigers , where just about everything one could imagine going wrong for Florida happened , as the events of game unfolded . I doubt the team has been this incompetent under a coaching Muschamp coaching staff in quite a while . Florida should consider itself considerably lucky the margin of defeat was simply twenty-nine points as the Mizzou Tigers could quite easily have scored fifty against a team, lost in its own ineptitude .

A bye-week for the Florida Gators will provide no respite as the speculation continues to grow concerning a likely successor for Wil Muschamp. Dan Mullen has let it be known , he has no interest in the position or leaving his current program the Mississippi State (Bulldogs) the number one ranked team in the country . Florida’s next scheduled game will pit them against Georgia Bulldogs (6-1) . Safe to say, a win will be utmost on the minds of the Gators’ players and the coachinfg staff , as their season and standing continues to spiral downwards.

The spiraling idiocy of the Florida State (Seminoles) and their handling of the ongoing issues concerning their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston is a case of damage control handling by simply playing with a stick of dynamite or an unpinned hand grenade . At every juncture, the school’s handling has been a template of what not to do. AD Stan Wilcox remains indifferent and clearly out of touch with reality. Now Jimbo Fisher has suggested the latest allegations of Winston signing some 1000 pieces of memorabilia is unfounded and without foundation . The matter has been substantiated with the memorabilia company stating Winston’s signature was authentic . If the player is said to have financially profited from this exercise then clearly he has violated an NCAA edict , but it appears the head coach , Jimbo Fisher is jumping out on a limb coming to the player’s defense . Given the fact, there has been a pattern of behavior with Winston and his behavioral issue, with he and his lawyers are now willing to settle with a victim of a sexual assault and his being charged with theft from a state wide known grocery store chain , it does leave many wondering, what else can go wrong with the quarterback and that is also in light of his recent suspension.

For the Seminoles they remain unbeaten this season , but have now slipped down the rankings to number two in the nation. In their most recent game Florida State overcame a feisty Notre Dame team winning the contest 31-27 . The contest was one , which in many ways has indicated the struggles of the Seminoles this season. Jimbo Fisher’s players have become complacent albeit the coaching staff might suggest otherwise .

There is no denying Jameis Winston is an extremely talented player , but an NFL team isn’t likely to take a flier on him given his recent issues and it does not bode well for his standing for the NFL Draft of 2015 where he is likely to be seen as consensus top-ten first round pick . From my own standpoint, I believe he is likely to meet the same fate as his predecessor of Heisman winners, when Johnny Manziel slipped down the pecking order of quarterback candidates , as he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns . If anything , it was an emphatic slap in the face for the player and many of his protagonists , who felt he would be a top-five pick and the first quarterback taken in last season’s NFL Draft.

The fate of the Seminoles’ season will lay in what they are to achieve between now and the end of the regular season schedule . before the panelists go about making their decisions in the the new formatted playoff system to determine the national champions. Controversial as this may be , it still will not provide a satisfactory outcome for those who prefer the old flawed system or something widely different , with the preference still favoring programs of the major conferences , specifically those who made up the BCS system . Next up for the Seminoles will be a game on the 30th October , when they will face Louisville . From thereon-in, Florida State’s fate lays in their own hands. Are they good enough to make a successful defense of their national title ? That would be dependent upon the various views now part of the whole conversation concerning the topic.

We are now a week away before the opening night schedule of the NBA season with the defending champions the San Antonio Spurs looking to make a successful defense of the title they won with a great deal of ease “downing “ the overrated Miami Heat . With the core of their team back and their newly crowned Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard looking to make this season more emphatic than last year in which the Spurs were so dominant .

With San Antonio returning with a roster intact with a few additions , the real story in the NBA has been the departure of LeBron James from the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers the franchise where James first made his name and where the legend began. The four-time League MVP will be joined also by Kevin Love in a newly revamped roster which will also have point guard Kyrie Irving also a part of the team’s lineup coached by rookie head coach David Blatt. Cleveland is now seen as the predetermined favorites within the Eastern Conference this season to make it to the NBA Finals . I believe the Cavaliers to be a very good team but I am not so sure they are actually good enough to win the conference title outright . Granted , when you have a player of LeBron James’ caliber , things are made a great deal easier , but other than Shawn Marion , Mike Miller and James Jones, there is no one else on the roster with postseason experience, without taking into account the postseason coaching experience of Blatt’s coaching staff .

The Cavaliers will begin their regular season schedule against the New York Knicks at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on the 29th October, 2014. For LeBron it will him give a chance to renew an old rivalry against Carmelo Anthony as well as the Knicks . If their past regular season contests are anything to go by, then these two teams should put on quite a show for the fans in attendance that evening.

Gregg Popovich will lead the Spurs as they begin the defense of their title when they take on the Phoenix Suns , as the Suns seek to make a renewed attempt at resurrecting their fortunes . Suns’ head coach Jeff Hornacek and his coaching staff will use this contest as an initial gauge in their process of improving. Last season the Phoenix Suns were less than competitive within their division and the Western Conference . If Hornacek can instill the discipline he showed as a player with the Utah Jazz and he Phoenix Suns , then the Suns could be well on the way to having a meaningful season in the NBA, but I believe it will remain a work in progress for this team .

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During the past week what event do you believe highlighted as a news’ story has grabbed your attention and piqued your interest ? Also which story do you believe has been the most overblown in terms of reporting ? Chime in with your thoughts by way of a comment as you see fit .

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery.
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(1) Ned Yost(3) of the Kansas City Royals looks on during batting practice before Game One of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 21, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals would go on to lose game one 7-1 to the Giants in first of the seven-games series in the 2014 World Series . Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …

(2) Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers walks in the tunnel with teammates as he prepares to face the Denver Broncos in a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 19 , 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Kapernick on the Broncos would go on to losing the game to Denver 42-17 . Getty Images / Justin Edmonds …

(3) Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked in the third quarter by defensive end Malik Jackson (97) of the Denver Broncos as cornerback Bradley Roby (29) comes in at the end of the play at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Getty Images / Justin Edmonds …

(4) New York Jets’ GM John Idzik left is seen here with the team head coach Rex Ryan . The Jets are off to disastrous start to their season with a 1-6 mark , firmly rooting the team at the bottom of the AFC East without a chance of making the postseason . AP Photo / Mark Thomas ..

(5) Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk (7) scrambles out of the pocket as Florida defensive back Keanu Neal (42) moves in during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. AP Photo/John Raoux

(6) Missouri coach Gary Pinkel , left, and Florida head coach Wil Muschamp chat at midfield prior to the NCAA game between Missouri and Florida on the 18th October , 2014 ,. AP Photo / John Raoux ….

(7) Jameis Winston (5) , quarterback of Florida State is seen here on the sidelines with head coach Jimbo Fisher during a game . The embattled player is having a torrid time both on and off the field, as his reputation has taken a battering , as well as the program’s own problems with their handling of Winston’s behavioral issues . AP Photo / Carter Burris … ….

(8) Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coach David Blatt ,left , is seen here with the team’s general manager David Griffin at a formal press conference to introduce Blatt as the franchise’s new head coach . The Cavaliers embark on a new season with a revamped roster headed by their acquisitions of LeBron James , James Jones , Mike Miller and Kevin Love . Getty Images / Keith Jones .. ….

(9) Jeff Hornacek shows off his shot as he is introduced as he is introduced as the Phoenix Suns’ new head basketball coach during an NBA basketball news conference, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

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Wake up everybody , it’s NFL and College Football time

Wake up everybody , it’s NFL and College Football time

Well , week one of the College Football season has past us by with the number one ranked Florida State Seminoles coming off a rather close victory over Oklahoma State in the first contest of their season schedule . Seminoles’ head coach Jimbo Fisher knows his team will be under a microscope, while quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston will have a great deal to live up to after an exhilarating season for the team in 2013. Within the ACC , I do believe Florida State will once again be the team to beat , with their being very few challengers within the conference about their dominance. In week two the Seminoles will face off against the Citadel in a game to be played at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida this upcoming Saturday when there will be a slew of games on the schedule.

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Elsewhere within the Collegiate Football landscape, erstwhile SEC powerhouses , Florida (Gators) , Alabama , Auburn and LSU (Tigers) will be looking to rebound while seeking to prove the ACC’s ascent will be nothing more than a passing fad. In six of the past seven seasons it has been an SEC program which has been anointed the national champion at the FBS Level in College Football. Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide team are seeking to put in the past a rather demonstrative 2013 season , where they fell apart at the seams in more ways than one. . That disappointment will have disappeared , with Saban coming into this season with a fresh crop of rookies , as well have holdovers in his sophomore , juniors and seniors, as the program seeks to add another illustrious chapter to their well-chronicled history.

Alabama’s pounding of West Virginia with a 33-23 romp was something of a cruise, but the team’s schedule is likely to become a great more difficult in the upcoming weeks. The second game of their season will see them host Florida Atlantic at the Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa , Alabama on the 6th September ,2014. However , their week five showdown against SEC rivals , Wil Muschamp’s Florida Gators will provide fans nationwide as well of the program with the chance to see how far the team will have progressed in their season.

Nick Saban, as he seeks to re-energize Alabama’s standing within College Football and will have to no doubt relieve the memories of last season’s six-point 34-28 loss to Auburn, only to then further compound the lackluster effort with another defeat suffered at the hands of Oklahoma Sooners in the Allstate Sugar Bowl , one of the now meaningless end of season postseason games, which the NCAA and the BCS believes benefits College Football as well as the fans. Well , if adding tens of millions of dollars in revenues to the programs , with very little finding its way benefiting the student athlete , then I am sure College Football does indeed benefit from that type of largesse on a grand scale. The fact of the matter remains, the NCAA’S finances , that of the BCS and major programs are not always opened up for public scrutiny , in spite of claims to the contrary being made by proponents of the present system.

For Wil Muschamp and the Florida Gators, this will be a season where the coach and his staff will have to prove to their fans and the nation at large , the program remains among the elite within the college game. Last season however, was something of a nightmare on all fronts as the players failed to respond on the field , ending the season with a rather lackluster record (4-8) and a poor national ranking at year-end. . Florida will enter into week two , when they will square off against Eastern Michigan in a game that neither side can really afford to lose. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will be the venue for this contest which will be seen nationwide. Tyler Murphy and Mack Brown will be looking to provide the impetus for the Gators’ offense in this game as their opponents will have Reginald Bell , Bronson Hill and Tyreese Russell looking to get the Eagles up and running from an offensive standpoint , while their defense seeks to quell the offense of the Gators.

Perhaps it is me , but I have always felt once the truth became known about how callous, conniving and widespread the cheating had become within the USC Trojans’ program . The rats would begin to desert the vessel, like a sinking ship amidst a turbulent storm in the middle of the ocean . Pete Carroll’s feet barely touched the ground , as he left the football program , but that may well have had more to do with the five-year $35 million offer from the Seattle Seahawks , rather than his seeking to stick around to answer any questions from the NCAA and investigators from the Infractions Committee . Reggie Bush’s Heisman was more tainted than a Petri dish filled with bacterial microbes and former AD Mike Garrett seem to be always nonplussed when asked to explain what was going on within the program he presided over as the athletics director. Carroll’s successor , Lane Kiffin proved to be as effective a head coach as sponge would be in aiding a crew on a capsizing vessel at sea with his record at USC speaking volumes about why the football program almost sank without a trace.

Mike Garrett’s departure brought in Pat Haden to oversee the athletics’ program and to steer it back onto the right path , but it has to be said in the first few months of his tenure Haden allowed Kiffin to run amok in violating several of the NCAA’s rules , but there are some under the impression his reputation is one above reproach and makes him a great candidate to be now seated on the panel, which will bring about changes in College Football and a playoff format in deciding a national champion at the FBS Level . The system is likely to have initial teething problems just like anything else , but it will continue to have its detractors within and outside of the game , because anything which brings about change of this size leading to some programs and conferences getting even less of the revenue pie will ultimately lead to a revolt. Barack Obama in 2008, went behind of the mantra “ change is good” , yet six years later the changes he envisioned have not led to the betterment of the country overall. Can and will the same be said of the proposed changes for College Football?

USC in recent years have fallen upon lean times in terms of success and have not been part of the national championship picture in several years . Last season was an abysmal year all round with Lane Kiffin and his players falling short of the general expectations while the Pac-12 title and championship was never within their grasp. This season and it has been left to Steve Sarkisian to take over the reins as the head coach of the football team along with an experienced coaching staff to assist him in his endeavors . The USC Trojans kicked off their 2014 season schedule with a 52-13 trouncing of Fresno State in a contest that was hardly competitive for Sarkisian’s players. Their week contest will be against the eleventh ranked Stanford Cardinals coached by David Shaw , in a game likely to prove to be one of the highlights of the Pac 12 schedule for the day and the season .

Away from the spotlight of the Trojans’ season, have been the off the field issues concerning two members Steve Sarkisian’s roster , with the ugliness of lies , deception and claims of racial bias among the coaches. Josh Shaw , has been suspended indefinitely for lying about an injury sustained when he claims , he rescued a seven-year old relative from drowning . When pressed to provide further details of the rescue attempt and his alleged bravery , Shaw admitted he lied about the incident and the injuries to both of his ankles , which were sustained during a dare, when he jumped from a second story balcony into a pool below at a motel. As to Josh Shaw’s reasoning behind the subterfuge, I can only surmise the level of education being provided at USC is on the decline and being a member of the football team has nothing at all to do with honesty or intelligence ! Allegations of racism cannot be overlooked, but when it comes from a player, who levels those accusations against coaches as well as the educational establishment , one has to delve deeper to make sure there are no underlying issues or any veracity to those claims. Anthony Brown , one of a bevy of running backs on the USC Trojans’ team has leveled those allegations against the program. Brown’s claims are troubling and the coach has refuted the claims defending himself vehemently against the accusations of racism. Brown has left the program, but it does make you wonder what the hell must be going on at an educational establishment and renowned collegiate sports’ institution still trying erase the memories of their most recent scandals touching the basketball and football programs.

Hard to believe it has been a mere six months since the NFL season ended with the lopsided victory of the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos in the Superbowl . Peyton Manning’s season came to a crashing end, when he and his teammates fell apart at the seams in the NFL postseason finale. Jon Fox and the Broncos will be looking to put that mishap in their rear view mirror, but it will be hard to do so , as they will enter the regular season without the aid of Wes Welker through the first four games of the season. Welker’s four-game suspension for the use of a banned substance (MDMA), amphetamines comes as something of a shock , but his explanation about how he might well have ingested the substance is laughable to say the least. The wide receiver believes his drink was “spiked” , while attending a horse racing event with friends. Having failed the test, it should be noted Wes Welker suffered a concussion in a preseason game while playing for the Broncos. It was the third concussion the player has suffered over the past eighteen months and the tenth of his NFL career.

The Broncos’ will begin their season in what is likely to be a hard-fought game against the Indianapolis Colts, in a contest to be played at Sports Authority Field , in Denver, Colorado ,.

Officially , the 2014 regular season schedule opens up on Thursday night when the Superbowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks begin the defense of their title against the Green Bay Packers , led by Aaron Rodgers . The Packers’ quarterback will be the guests in the boisterous atmosphere of Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington, and this could be seen as a contest of two of the NFC’s heavyweight titans. If the off-season moves and the draft class of Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff are anything to go by, then the Packers are likely to be seen as one of the favorites within the conference and a possible Superbowl contender. Green Bay I believe are good enough to win the NFC North with considerable ease, because I do not believe any of their divisional rivals have the talent to challenge this Green Bay Packers’ team over the course of the season ! The defense and offense re likely to be considerably better than witnessed last season.

It would be fair to suggest the Atlanta Falcons have proven to be a major disappointment in 2012 and 2013 , with the franchise failing miserably in each of the seasons in question when it came to the postseason. Matt Ryan proved to be vulnerable and questions arose as to leadership skills and the money vested in one of the NFL’s highest paid players and quarterbacks in the league. Mike Smith and the coaching staff , will be hoping to rebound from the team’s 4-12 showing last season when the play of the Falcons was a monumental disaster. With a new stadium on the horizon, I seriously doubt team owner , Arthur Blank and the front office would like to see this team fall even further into the depths of mediocrity .

The woes of the Atlanta Falcons were on full display in 2013 and one can only hope their showing for 2014 will be a great deal better than last year. A fresh influx of free agents and a rookie draft class should provide Mike Smith with the tools needed , while Matt Ryan will certainly have to show he is not simply a good regular season quarterback who gets derailed during the postseason. Ryan will have to prove he is capable leading a team deep into the postseason and try to justify the claims he is one of the best quarterbacks to have been drafted in the NFL over the past seven years .

Atlanta will open their regular season schedule with an all divisional contest against the New Orleans Saints when Drew Brees and his teammates will be the guests at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta , Georgia ,. The Saints have not been the NFC South champions since 2011, a season in which the team would make it to the postseason , only to fall in the divisional playoffs. Since then , it has been the Saints as franchise , with one of the league’s most explosive teams in terms of offense. All four teams within the NFC South this season, are likely to be seen as viable candidates as a potential divisional champion, but I believe there will be three teams likely to make the division competitive in the NFL . Those three teams are the Carolina Panthers , New Orleans Saints , Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a toss-up between the Atlanta Falcons and the Buccaneers as to which of the duo will be filling in the final position within the NFC South.

Week one of the regular season of the NFL will merely provide us an appetizer and entrée for the remainder of the season . I would like to think the fans will be satisfied with what is on view and we are thoroughly entertained, after-all it is what we have now come to expect of the NFL over the years .

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Picture gallery.

What if anything, are you hoping to see out of the College Football season and within the NFL? Your comments are welcomed, so by all means chime in with your thoughts as you see fit.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details.
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(1) Jameis Winston (5) of the Florida State Seminoles directs the offense against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first half of the Advocare Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images North America / Ronald Martinez

(2) Jameis Winston (5) of the Florida State Seminoles passes against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first half of the Advocare Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez …

(3) Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators signals to the team to head back to the locker rooms after it was announced that there has been a lightning strike near the stadium and players must return inside after the kickoff of the game against the Idaho Vandals on August 30, 2014 in Gainesville, Florida. The game was then terminated for weather and unsafe playing conditions. Getty Images / Rob Foldy ….

(4) Nick Saban, head coach of the University of Alabama football team . Saban will be looking to make the Crimson Tide once again one of the elite teams within the SEC , as well as back on the national stage, with a view to winning the national title . AP Photo/ Chris Murray …

(5) USC President C.L. Max Nikias (L) , Steve Sarkisian (C) , and USC Athletic Director Pat Haden pose for photos at a press conference introducing Sarkisian as the new USC head football coach at the John McKay Center at the University of Southern California on December 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Stephen Dunn / Getty Images …

(6) USC Trojans’ running back Anthony Brown , whose allegations of the team’s head coach Steve Sarkisian and members of his coaching staff has raised more than a few eyebrows concerning the program this season Sarkisian has refuted the player in essence calling them groundless . Brown has since left the football team of his own volition . LA Times / Hector Ramirez …

(7) Josh Shaw , pictured here was formerly a corner-back with the USC Trojans before being suspended indefinitely by Steve Sarkisian for lying about an injury sustained prior to the start of the team’s season . Courtesy of the LA Times…

(8) Wes Welker , wide receiver with the Denver Broncos and quite possibly the most high-profiled player to have been suspended by the NFL: over the past two seasons to have been suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Welker tested positive for the use of MDMA (‘Molly’) an amphetamine based PED banned by the NFL, which the player claims was “spiked” into his drink taken, when visiting a sports’ event with friends. The Denver Broncos will be without the wide receiver for the first four games of their regular season schedule before he returns in week five for a game against the Arizona Cardinals . AP Photo / Matthew Hurd …

(9) Matt Ryan , right , quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons is seen here with teammate, wide receiver Julio Jones . If the duo are to provide an effective tandem, then it is imperative Jones stays healthy and Ryan performs consistently at a very high level this upcoming season . Getty Images / Paul Matthews …

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It is , all about me !

It is , all about me !

They are willing to talk the talk, but not often enough do they walk the walk. I find it rather disingenuous, when I read or hear an analyst’s or sports’ journalists using an athletes’ background or ethnicity , to suggest that they have been through a troubled life . In recent months. we have seen the hypocrisy of today’s athlete manifest itself in a some ways and following suit, have been the anal retentive fans , through their own ignorance and stupidity seeking to make excuses for the behavior of these athletes. Nowhere has this been more clear than within the NBA and NFL , where there the respective hierarchies seem to be just as idiotic as the players themselves.

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In the NBA , perhaps the player with the biggest image and profile , is that league’s four-time regular season MVP and current member of the of two-time defending NBA champions , the Miami Heat . Globally, LeBron James has become a superstar , and he might now be the closest thing that the fans have seen to Michael Jordan , since the six-time NBA champion walked away from the game for the final time. James, like Jordan, has closely manicured an image that has seen very little major controversy. Granted, Michael Jordan’s private life has seen some controversy, with his penchant for gambling and what was said to be a multi-million dollar divorce from his now ex-wife Juanita Jordan . The former NBA great and current owner of the Charlotte Hornets is now seeking to make that franchise a competitive entity within the league and so far Jordan and the reviews of his achievements have not exactly been favorable.

For much of his playing career , Michael Jordan stayed out of the political fray , choosing not make his thoughts felt on a range of subjects , even when one of his main corporate sponsors Nike Inc was facing charges of using child labor in the Far East to make apparel that bore the Nike and Jordan name . Somehow , the league and then NBA Commissioner , David Stern did not feel it proper to step in and even make a statement on the matter , even when it became abundantly clear that Nike was in fact ethically wrong, without an admission of guilt on their part.

Phil Knight over the past decade , has tried to create a much softer and socially conscious image of the company he founded , which also made him an extremely wealthy individual . Nike remains one of the most recognized names in sports’ apparel manufacturing, with a global presence on all seven continents. Their presence will be seen and felt at the 2014 FIFA World Cup , where they are one of the tournament’s major corporate advertisers. on soccer’s biggest international stage and the world’s second biggest sporting event behind the Summer Olympics, upwards of 1.7 billion people will be watching this month-long tournament to decide international soccer’s next world champion..

Today’s athlete, rarely speaks out on any type of political issue or social injustice. When they seek to do so , their response tends to be either innocuous or actually downright idiotic, almost as if, they are uninformed and lacking an education, much less being knowledgeable on a specific issue. Prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics , LeBron James was questioned about his thoughts on the actions taken by the Chinese government at Tiananmen Square in the Chinese nation’s capital. The player’s response was befuddling and somewhat idiotic , but then again, I would not have expected anything less from someone who now espouses education and being informed. Yet , here is a player, who simply eschewed a college education , because it was widely known that he would have been sanctioned by the NCAA, coming under a great deal of scrutiny by college athletics’ governing body for what is believed to be unsolicited monetary payments made indirectly to James and a member of his family. James for his part , with his battery of advisers , tries to now represent himself as a spokesman for his peers.

In light of the recent controversy surrounding Donald Sterling , it was once again rather amusing to hear LeBron James suggest that if the league hierarchy did not take action against the beleaguered Los Angeles Clippers’ owner , he and many of the peers would take action , by simply failing to show up for the remainder of the NBA postseason . I believe the player’s bark is actually worse than his bite and his stance was nothing more than a show of strength , that in reality , his proposed action would never have taken place.

As great a player as LeBron James is said to be , he has yet to truly step into the fray and be truly vocal on any type of issue. Handing out bicycles as part of a philanthropic effort , means nothing, when on the other hand , you brazenly suggest that your biggest wish, is to become a billionaire and shower your teammates ostentatiously, while within earshot of the Miami home venue , you have over 7,500 homeless individuals, sleeping on the streets , many of them children and US military veterans. A further case can be made, about how out of touch with reality the NBA and their players are said to be. In what was known to be a very emotional case, where the justice system failed miserably , the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman held the nation spellbound for weeks, as the trial unfolded on national television. The failure here, was not only shown by the incompetency of Florida legal system but also the complete lack of intelligence of the jury and the incompetence of the State’s Attorney prosecuting the case. Somewhat reminiscent of the incompetency shown by Christopher Darden and Marcia Clarke , in their handling of the OJ Simpson ” trial “ in Los Angeles County two decades ago. Simpson , as we now know, is incarcerated , for kidnapping and taking two victims hostage , while he and his accomplices are said to have confronted his victims , with a view to gain what was said to be his personal property. You win some and you lose some.

The NBA players’ response, in showing solidarity with the victim Trayvon Martin was to take the action of wearing hoodies and standing to attention in a moment of silence. As to what this ultimately signified , can be best left for the players themselves to answer, in particular LeBron James and his teammate Dwyane Wade , who in the aftermath of their actions could not succinctly explain what was achieved. The tragedy here was that Trayvon Martin’s slaying was just one of countless deaths that have been similar in fashion, to have taken place in the state of Florida during the past eighteen months and it should not matter concerning the ethnicity of the victim. It should be noted also , that prior LeBron James’ entry into the NBA in 2003 , David Stern saw fit to use as a sales’ gimmick the genre of gangster rap to market the NBA brand to America’s youth , while on the streets of Los Angeles , teens and gang members were being needlessly gunned down. Unfortunately, neither Stern, nor anyone from within his odious group of subordinates, saw fit to proffer up an apology. I guess even when you are an autocratic asshole , you see no wrong in your actions, even when they are lacking in taste ? Meanwhile, the players themselves , whose majority remains African-American in its makeup, did nothing, by way of any type of vocal protest against the commissioner’s actions .

The NBA remains a hotbed of controversy , ran by a bunch of incompetent buffoons , where the owners are simply about greed and wealth . Never mind , that you still have a union that remains in complete disarray. No Executive Director and no real consensus, on how they are likely to deal with a legal suit of which they are the defendants and the likelihood of a loss could lead to a multi-million dollar payout in a settlement, should they lose the case.

While LeBron James leads his teammates in a rematch of the 2013 NBA Finals as they seek to make a successful defense of their title against the San Antonio Spurs . Around the league , the coaching carousel began, with the notable rebuff by Steve Kerr , as he turned down the opportunity to become the next head coach of the New York Knicks . I guess that as impressive a head coach as Phil Jackson was said to be , as an NBA Executive he is still steering his way through the maelstrom of continued idiocy within the Knicks’ organization . Adding insult to injury , I believe was the decision to sign an aging Lamar Odom to a team that remains in disarray and where there is no guarantee that the team’s best player , Carmelo Anthony , will be a part of the playing staff for the upcoming season.

As Jackson tries to bring a sense of normalcy to the Knicks after a season of disappointment. Anyone who believes that the eleven-time championship winning head coach can bring about overnight success for one of the NBA’s most famous franchises , will have to wait for a considerable amount of time before that situation is likely to materialize.

Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown , never one not to let his voice be heard , has been extremely vocal and critical of many of today’s top athletes . He has not been afraid to call Los Angeles Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant “soft” and someone caught up in his own self-importance. Brown may well be right , but those criticisms valid or not , this is not the place where such a debate should take place, without both parties being ready to discuss the issue. Bryant for his part is something of a hypocrite by suggesting he does indeed take a great deal of interest in the issues that affect not only the African-American race , but the nation in general . Unfortunately, Bryant’s words mean nothing, when his deeds , mean little and where his own immaturity and credibility continues to come into question and under a cloud of suspicion. . Bryant after the barrage of criticism leveled at him by Brown , tried to suggest that the Hall of Fame great didn’t know what he was talking about . The Las Angeles’ guard may well have not been aware that Brown stood alongside such luminaries as Dr Martin Luther King , Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X , as the triumvirate stood up for equal rights , being at the forefront of the Civil Rights’ Movement and the fight for equality for African-Americans. Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, might well have fallen short in the education of Bryant , albeit , that the player has also lived abroad , in Italy , while his father , Joe Bryant sought to pursue a professional basketball career in Europe.

Kobe Bryant now lives the life of luxury and in no way can he understand the plight of the African-American , much less the economic divide between the rich and the poor in the country at present. Any thought, he understands those issues, have never been mirrored in any action that he has undertaken within the city of Los Angeles , as he has often stood aloof from many of his peers , while seeking out the press only when he believes it right, to belittle the Lakers’ organization led by owner Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak , or a number of his teammates . Less than ten miles away from the Staples Center , a hotbed of violence remains and at no time has Kobe Bryant ever spoken out on the issue of gang violence, that continues to be a pandemic within the city . Brown for his part, has been front and center , in seeking to be a mediator and negotiator , in the stemming of the rising tide of gang violence , rising proliferation in the use of hard drugs . Last I looked, the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, were not voicing their opinions on such issues , but merely looking to try and uphold their pristine images , while selling their overpriced wares to an unsuspecting public. Get the feeling their alleged biggest concerns have nothing at all to do with the pubic at all , but merely a facade created by their agents and litany of advisers and handlers alike ?

The now departed head coach Mike D’Antoni after his abrupt resignation, has left the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise without a head coach for the second time in the space of eighteen months . Now the Lakers, are left in search of another coach, while the playing staff itself has become uncompetitive and old. Bryant is at the end of an illustrious career and it seems highly unlikely that he will be guiding this franchise to another NBA title anytime soon.

In the aftermath of the Jonathan Martin , Richie Incognito “affair” , it was simply amazing to witness the incompetency of the NFL , Roger Goodell and the complete ambivalence of the Miami Dolphins’ organization . Even worse were the actions of head coach Joe Philbin and his coaching staff, who claimed that they were completely unaware of Incognito’s behavior . The fact that a member of Philbin’s own coaching staff, was also subject to a torrent of racial abuse, without his knowing was simply farcical and actually comedic. With Mike Pouncey , also having joined Richie Incognito in orchestrating the abuse of not only that coaching assistant but also Jonathan Martin., leads me to believe that the Dolphins as an organization, was simply bereft of intelligence as well as accountability within the franchise . Say nothing of which, team owner Stephen Ross made the idiotic statement of his wishing to see those involved be punished to the full extent and with every measure possibly allowable by the NFL. The league’s punishment of Pouncey was soft , while Incognito’s career which now seems to be on hold , is likely to find himself back in the NFL at some point in the future . Mike Pouncey for his part, still believes he did nothing while stressing that he has put the episode behind him. As to the idiocy of those who question Jonathan Martin’s soft nature , I wonder how many of those anal retentive fans, believe that racism and misogyny is the right environment for the NFL ? Fu#k you all , with your downright stupidity , complete lack of education and intelligence.

The NFL’s elite players are often seen as their quarterbacks , running backs and wide receivers . We know that the likes of Peyton Manning , Drew Brees and Tom Brady can be seen to uphold that age-old tradition, of having the league be seen in a positive light . It must be said , in spite of the pratfalls of Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy , I am not so sure that the NFL is completely out of the woods as of yet ! Goodell has seen fit to be less than economical with the truth, in dealing with a litany of issues , none more so, than the constant rhetoric of the commissioner and his dealing with veteran players and neurological disorders. Strange as it seems , the hypocrisy does not just stop with the league hierarchy but also with NFLPA (Players’ Union) and the current players in the league , whose whole approach to this issue, remains completely mystifying. Elderly retired veterans of the NFL , are having to cry foul , on how they have been mistreated , with the denial of benefits and only now , has the NFL seen fit to discuss the matter head on . Meanwhile, the likes of Manning (Peyton) , Brady and Brees remain silent on the matter , not wanting to upset the apple cart and that of the union hierarchy. Credibility seems to be lacking all-round , in a number variety of aspects concerning the league’s conduct and practices.

I was once told that the world that we currently live in a world where things have changed and where we now have a dialog between the masses and the races that make up the country . Personally , I believe that simply to be a great deal of garbage , because, when we still have athletes owners simply wanting to behave like assholes , and their actions go unchecked , with the equal stupidity being shown by fans with their ongoing apathy. It simply shows the signs of the country having made no real advancements socially or economically at all. The voices of such luminaries as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith, John Carlos , Arthur Ashe , Bill Russell and Jackie Robinson are now left hanging in the wind , while today’s athletes spoiled by wealth , have nothing meaningful to say.

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Picture gallery .

Do you believe that today’s athlete can be positive, without being seen to hurt their corporate image by simply speaking out on a social issue ? Or should that aspect of their lives, be left private and the public not be made aware of their thoughts on such matters ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) Miami Heat forward LeBron James shoots the ball during practice on Saturday, June 7, 2014, in San Antonio. The team plays Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. James leads the team in scoring during this current series against the Spurs , with things now even at one game apiece (1-1) after Sunday’s narrow two-point victory by Miami . AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(2) Michael Jordan , team owner and Chairman of the Charlotte Hornets , hopes that with a new franchise name and .logo the team can resurrect past glories while seeking to be competitive within the NBA. Getty Images North America / Jeffrey Hodges …..

(3) Phil Knight , founder of sports’ apparel company Nike Inc. With annual revenues exceeding $8 billion , the company is one of the most powerful business enterprises in all of professional and collegiate sports. Knight in recent years has tried to soften the image of the company , while also seeking to make it socially responsible. Nike is a corporate sponsor of some of the biggest names in sports across the globe . UPI / Christopher Mitchell ….

(4) Members of the Miami Heat are seen here wearing hoodies , as they show solidarity and support in the aftermath in the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin . However , very little was achieved by the stance , with the players themselves saying little about the case or the very fact Martin’s death, was one of several, where a young unarmed African-American teen was gunned down by an assailant. The determination the Florida ” Stand Your Ground Law” has become a subject of great debate within the state , with no real consensus about how this statute can be reviewed and changed within the state legislature. Getty Images / Chris Robinson …..

(5) Phil Jackson a SVP & Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks, having been rebuffed by Steve Kerr who accepted the vacant coaching position with the Golden State Warriors. Jackson now seems to be down to secondary alternatives. A person speaking in with anonymity has stated that the former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach has his eyes firmly set on hiring Derek Fisher currently a point guard with the Oklahoma City Thunder . Fisher is said to be keenly interested in coaching within the NBA . but there are those who believe that the Knicks might not be the perfect fit for the veteran point guard. AP Photo / Austin Pearce ….

(6) Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown , left, has been critical of Los Angeles player Kobe Bryant , pictured right . Brown’s stinging act of the player has set of a wave criticism within the print and television media who have come out in support of the NBA players. However, there are those who feel that Jim Brown’s pointed attacks are not without merit and where by comparison it would seem that Bryant and a great many of his peers would shy away from many hot-potato topics merely to appease their corporate sponsors. AP Photo/ Robert Hall ….

(7) Drew Brees , left , and Peyton Manning , two of the most revered quarterbacks now playing in the NFL . During their destined Hall of Fame careers , both players have done a great deal within their respective communities , with their philanthropic and humanitarian efforts , but have rarely placed their names or let their thoughts be known on certain political topics. Even the issue of the denial of rightful benefits to veteran NFL players , neither Brees or Manning were seen to offer their thoughts on the matter. A distinct belief , was with their union being part of the legal suit where in part the NFLPA was a co-defendant in the suit . It was best left to the legal counsel of the Players’ Union to publicly comment on the matter . Getty Images North America / Scott Halleran …..

(8) From left to right Bill Russell , Jim Brown , Muhammad Ali and Lew Alcindor, more commonly known today as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The quartet joined together to speak up vocally on the rights of African-Americans and their struggles during the Civil Rights’ era , with all four being supporters of Dr Martin Luther King Jr . Unfortunately , in today’s world of sports such voices are rarely heard being vocal on any type of real social injustice , because of the athletes not wanting to scare of their major corporate sponsors . Russell , Brown and Alcindor backed Ali , at a time when he was made a pariah for his objecting to be drafted to fight the war in Vietnam, a conflict that the boxer felt was unjust and senseless. Time Magazine …….. all rights reserved .

(9) Arthur Ashe , US Tennis player and a Grand Slam tournament winner, who during his career , became the first African-American , male or female to be ranked number one in the world. Ashe was also vocal supporter for the boycotting of South Africa at a time when the US’ policy on apartheid was favorable , while the rest of the world had began to impose sanctions on the country of South Africa . Yet the idiocy, that Ronald Regan played a part in the political change in the climate of the South African nation remains a complete fallacy and flight of fantasy of ” Reaganites” who try to portray the former President as someone who was compassionate , understood that particular conflict and situation . UPI/REUTERS/ Paul Drew …..

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If we build it they will come ,but what happens if we don’t ? Who gives a fu#k?

If we build it , they will come , but what happens if we don’t ? Who gives a fu#k ?

The NFL yearns for an NFL franchise back in the city of Los Angeles, but here lies the continued idiocy of the issue. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell knows the very fact , the city has severe financial budgetary woes, but still, as usual, the league will try to suggest the addition of a franchise would be of benefit to the municipality and the state . California and its legislature are odds over how to deal with the state’s fiscal issues and Governor Jerry Brown has yet to come up with a satisfactory solution and both legislative chambers in Sacramento , continue to bicker among themselves as who is ultimately to blame for the financial morass. Brown’s predecessor former Hollywood action star Arnold Schwarzenegger was like a ” bull in a China shop” during his tenure as the state’s top elected official, having, not come up with one economic solution for the state’s economic crisis. If that were not enough, the debt has increased, along with a litany of other growing issues for the state, with several municipalities statewide facing severe budget crunches.

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California might well be one of the most populated states in the country and the city of Los Angeles might well have the nation’s second largest advertising market behind New York City , but the underlying issues are , teams that were once domiciled within the city chose to leave for a litany of reasons. Clearly , if those reasons have not been addressed and clarified by the league hierarchy and the primary political leaders at the municipal , county and state levels , then the likely return of a franchise to the city of Los Angeles will not come about for the foreseeable future. Teams such as the San Diego Chargers , St Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders are said thought to be the likely franchise that would benefit from brought to the city , because of the uncertainty concerning their various stadium issues .

The Chargers are currently playing in the archaic Qualcomm Stadium and were team owner, Dean Spanos to uproot the team to move the franchise , then the organization would be subject to a large financial penalty , having broken their existing lease with the city of San Diego, who are the owners of the municipally owned venue. Mark Davis , owner of the Oakland Raiders , long dissatisfied with the O. Coliseum in Oakland, California , would like nothing better than to return to the city of Los Angeles where the Raiders’ name and franchise still resonates with reverence among some NFL fans. Yet, it is my belief, there still remains a deep hatred of the franchise by a large sector of Los Angeleans, because of the antics of Davis’ father the late Al Davis , and how he left Los Angeles, when he took the franchise out of the city under a cloud of suspicion. The Raiders still have a long and passionate fan-base across the nation , but their greatest stronghold remains among the greater Los Angeles area and within the city of Oakland . Whether or not, that would prove to be enough of a lure for the envisioned return of a franchise back in Los Angeles, remains to be seen.

The St Louis Rams had a presence in Los Angeles, when they were known as the Los Angeles Rams , but their later move, to St Louis Missouri, brought about a name change and then the change in ownership, with the franchise now owned by billionaire businessman Stanley Kroenke . His other sporting interests also include the Denver Nuggets , Colorado Rapids , Colorado Mammoth and Arsenal FC of the English Premier League (EPL) , with retailers Dick’s Sporting Goods , also being a part of Kroenke’s other business and sports’ holdings , through his Kroenke Sports Enterprises holding company.

If the NFL can continue without an NFL franchise being within the city of Los Angeles for over a decade , then I see no reason why they cannot continue to be without a team for the foreseeable future ! It is not as if the fans of the league within Los Angeles, have made an impassioned plea to the league hierarchy for the return of football to the nation’s second most populated city . This whole issue has been driven by the NFL , the team owners and specifically of late, by Roger Goodell , who saw his predecessor’s attempts failed miserably , with Paul Tagliabue in the end acknowledging , the time simply wasn’t right for the return of an NFL franchise to the city . What has brought this issue back into focus, have been recent events surrounding the pending sale of the Los Angeles Clippers , which now seeks the approval of the NBA Board of Governors and com league hierarchy before billionaire Microsoft co-founder and former Chairman Steve Ballmer becomes the NBA’s newest franchise owner. Ballmer , if nothing else, now becomes the wealthiest owner in the NBA and perhaps the wealthiest of owner in all four major professional team sports . I guess that when the Clippers meet the Brooklyn Nets during the 2014-15 regular season, both Steve Ballmer and his opposite number Mikhail Prokhorov , can compare notes, concerning the size of their respective fortunes and which of the two franchises , does indeed have the better team ?

The NFL sees the city of Los Angeles as providing a revenue windfall, with what they believe to be untapped resources and the tens of millions of dollars that can be provided as an extra revenue stream . The likelihood also, would also bring about a rise in value of any franchise now residing in the city. That however is purely speculative in nature , with the basis for that coming from this unprecedented value in the sale of the Clippers . Granted, we should not have been really surprised by this all, when in 2013, a private consortium led by Mark Walter , Todd Boehly , Magic Johnson and Peter Guber , paid over $2 billion for the Los Angeles Dodgers , with many suggesting that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , pulled strings behind the scenes, to insure that the winning bid, would be extortionate high and absolutely preposterous . The NFL, like any other business entity, is simply about making money for themselves and their known associates, in this case, the owners and adjunct , joint interests . With billions, reaped annually, in revenues , the league has almost reached its zenith, in terms of exposure with regard to the North American marketplace. And where, there are said to be untapped streams , it is hard to see how the league can actually have a major presence there, without their being a franchise or a large following of fan-base within close proximity. In the case of the city of Los Angeles , the choices within the state, beyond the college programs within the Pac 12 , the craving for the NFL at the professional level is not necessarily hard to gauge, but the question one might have to ask, are the fans ready to accept the alternatives ?

It is hard to put Philip Rivers’ career in the NFL into context , as I believe he was dealt a lousy hand . Were it not for selfish attitude of Eli Manning and the connivance of his father Archie Manning , during the events of the 2004 NFL Draft and the aftermath of the behind the scenes backdoor dealings that were said to have taken place . Manning found himself with the New York Giants and Rivers, having been taken by the San Diego Chargers as Eli’s replacement and the rest as they say , “ is history “ , with the New York Giants going on to success, with their two Superbowl victories and Peyton Manning’s younger sibling leading the franchise to those triumphs. Philip Rivers for his part, has labored over the years , with repeated changes in the team’s lineups , changes in the coaching philosophies of the coaches he has played for and the complete denial of the Chargers’ front office that the supporting cast that surrounded Philip Rivers was never truly good enough. At the same time , when you have the likes of Antonio Gates and LaDanian Tomlinson, as part of your offensive artillery and you are still failing miserably , there has to be something wrong either with the play calling or there just doesn’t seem to any type of real vocal leadership on that team .

Coming off a 9-7 season , in what was a highly competitive AFC West division , the San Diego Chargers’ third place finish might well have been extremely disappointing , but it was not without merit in 2013. Consider the teams within the AFC who made the postseason , but who were nowhere near as competitive as the Chargers showed themselves to be over the course of last season .

Chargers’ head coach Mike McCoy and GM Tom Telesco will seek to have this team for the 2014 season ready to play, with their main aim likely to be, dethroning the Denver Broncos as the divisional champions , with a mindset also in making the postseason . That task is likely to be a very tall order with the Broncos certainly having gotten better with their off-season acquisitions, but also by way of the NFL Draft . The same claims can also be made of both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders , albeit , that the bone of contention remain that the Raiders are likely to find a way to make a complete mess of their season , as they have done for last the decade . Mark Davis GM Reggie McKenzie continue to mystify not only the franchise’s fans but also, the majority of fans and analysts, who cover the NFL. The Raiders’ draft history and trades , still remain a source of ridicule and amazement , with many of those players becoming complete busts in a short space of time , while the franchise has paid out millions in terms of bloated contracts . Oakland will enter into their season with a number of expectations, of which the biggest is likely to be , not to repeat last season’s form or performances that resulted in another last place finish within the AFC West.

While I believe that the AFC West will once again provide the fans with a great deal of excitement this upcoming season . I firmly believe, that the San Diego Chargers could very well pull off a major surprise by making things extremely tough for both the Broncos and Chiefs during 2014 ! As great as Peyton Manning and his teammates were said to be last season , that Superbowl defeat , suffered at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks , was damaging psychologically , as well as physically for the franchise. Seen as the consensus favorites, to waltz through the postseason, that match-up against the Seahawks was further proof , how overrated the Broncos were said to be , with that lasting impression of a downtrodden Peyton Manning exemplifying how disappointed he and his teammates were , with their overall performance against Pete Carroll’s players.

Week one of the regular season, will see the San Diego Chargers pitted against the Arizona Cardinals in a Monday night game played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix , Arizona . The Oakland Raiders will be the guests of the New York Jets , in an AFC contest played in East Rutherford , New Jersey . Denver will host the Indianapolis Colts, in a game, where Peyton Manning will renew old acquaintances, with his former team. Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs will host the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium , in Kansas City , Missouri , in what is sure to be an intriguing contest on the first Sunday of the NFL regular season .

With the teams around the NFL now conducting preseason practices with their organized team activities (OTA’s) , it will be interesting to see how the franchises and their rookies acclimatize to the rigors of this upcoming regular season. In 2013, we were asking, which players drafted , would be making a sizable impact on the season . In 2014 , it is likely to that very same premise arising along with, will this be the last opportunity for seasoned veterans such as Peyton Manning , Tom Brady , Philip Rivers and Tony Gonzalez to have one last opportunity to add to achievements to their illustrious careers with some postseason glory ? This is likely to a season where those questions are likely to be answered , with other areas of drama likely to be thrown in for good measure . What thoughts, if any do you have concerning this topic ? Also, do you believe, that the NFL is in need of a franchise within the city of Los Angeles for the fans there to still show an interest in the league ?

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(1) California Governor Jerry Brown (D-Ca) is being pressured by certain state and Los Angeles’ dignitaries to have a bill introduced within the state legislature that would see the state finance in part the building of a venue that would house a potential NFL franchise within the city of Los Angeles. Efforts , concerning private enterprise have either stalled or are bogged down by bureaucracy or have simply no real interest in the project. Meanwhile , NFL Commissioner is still pressing ahead with his efforts to bring about his bold ambition to succeed where his predecessor Paul Tagliabue failed . LA Times / Ernesto Torres …..

(2) Dean Spanos of the San Diego Chargers is seen here at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego , California , home to the franchise that he owns . AP Photo / Mark Thompson …..

(3) Mark Davis , owner of the Oakland Raiders , whose season in the NFL will come under a great deal scrutiny by fans and analysts in general . AP Photo / Tom Monroe ….

(4) Eli Manning ,left, is seen her with Philip Rivers . The two players were part of the 2004 NFL Draft class , with the pair of quarterbacks creating a great deal of drama during the draft process that year . AP Photo / Mark Fisher ….

(5) St Louis Rams’ owner Stanley Kroenke , seen here alongside the team’s head coach Jeff Fisher as the two discuss with the convened press their hopes for the team’s aspirations in 2013 . It is being reported that Kroenke would indeed be opened to the idea of relocating the Rams elsewhere., if he cannot get a new arena built for the franchise within the state of Missouri . The state’s legislature is not in a position to make the funds available for such a project in spite of calls, that monies can be raised , with small incremental increases in some state fees and services . Something that the state’s governor , Jay Nixon is set against and would likely veto , if he felt that this were not in the best interests of his state. AP Photo / Richard Hart …..

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It’s not Rocket Science , so why turn it into something it is not ?

It’s not Rocket Science , so why turn it into something it is not ?

Was there really any doubt that the Houston Texans were not going to make Jadeveon Clowney to the number one pick in the 2014 NFL Draft ? The South Carolina Gamecocks’ linebacker was a consensus top pick among general managers , analysts , draft geeks and even those, who were not even intense football fans. It is pretty much safe to suggest, that had Texans’ GM Rick Smith chosen to forego the choice of Clowney , then there would have been a number of questions raised concerning the inner workings within the front office of the AFC South based NFL franchise. We all know what Clowney brings to the table as player, even where there have been questions concerning his maturity level.

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The first round of the Draft played out with a little drama, but the greatest surprise of the night might well have been the fact , highly praised Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel had dropped to become the twenty-second pick of the first round , when he was taken by the offensively challenged Cleveland Browns , who were most definitely in need of dynamic passer and someone who could bring back fans to Paul Brown Stadium , in Cleveland , Ohio. Brandon Weeden’s short stay with the franchise was not a memorable one , with the quarterback rarely achieving anything of note during his two-year stay with the franchise. Whether or not Manziel can engineer something of a rebound will be completely dependent upon how quickly the player can acclimatize himself to the rigors of playing in the NFL . Head coach Mike Pettine is likely to use his rookie quarterback throughout much of the Browns’ preseason schedule and then into the regular season .

Johnny Manziel will also have to prove his doubters wrong , many of whom believe that the player because of his size, will not be an overall resounding success in the NFL . My take on it all, we will never know, until Manziel steps unto the turf and makes that first successful pass and his then being able move on from there. One game , is such a small step to take , but it could end up being the first of many , to the level of success that is likely to be achieved . Well, that will be dependent upon the player, his teammates and the coaching staff of the Cleveland Browns.

If the shock of Johnny Manziel not being taken as the first quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft was not enough of a surprise. Then Blake Bortles being the first passer announced, was stunning, given that , the UCF Golden Knights’ passer plays in a newly established conference where the play is still being assessed , are the teams that now make up the American Conference . Blake Bortles has been placed in the not too enviable position, being asked to succeed Blaine Gabbert of the Jacksonville Jaguars and to lead that franchise to some semblance of success.

Gabbert’s tenure , as the starting quarterback, for that particularly moribund franchise, can be best described as being mediocre , if not downright incompetent. Yet for some reason, it was felt that he still offered the best opportunity possible for the Jaguars to win throughout much of last season . Jacksonville’s year-end record was enough to suggest that they are nowhere near where they needed to be and quite possibly team owner , Shahid Khan may well be overreaching and overly ambitious, in suggesting the team would be capable of winning a Superbowl title within five years of his taking ownership of the franchise . The owner now entering the third year of his tenure and I would to think, that Khan’s strategy and plans are now being revised.

Teddy Bridgewater was the second quarterback taken behind Blake Bortles and he too , will be asked to succeed another failing quarterback , in Christian Ponder , whose tenure with the Minnesota Vikings has been a unique failure , beyond the incompetency shown the successive general managers of the franchise and the very fact that Zygi Wilf’s efforts in recent years , have been strictly been about strong arming the state legislature in Minnesota to finance the building of a $ 1.4 billion venue for the franchise , further endangering the state’s precarious financial situation , where they now have a burgeoning deficit and a number of municipalities are having to choose to cut much-needed services within their communities or simply seek bankruptcy reorganization protection. This is now a situation that several cities around the country are now facing, as they are being asked by the hierarchies of the NBA , NHL , NFL and MLB to finance what those bodies claim are newly required venues , while the revenues and profits within football , baseball and basketball are now on the rise . In the case of hockey , Garry Bettman and his teams still find themselves behind the “black ball “ , as well as between a rock and a hard place .

Bridgewater may well be just what is needed for the Vikings and for the team’s long tenured running back , Adrian Peterson , a player of Teddy Bridgewater’s ability could be the make or break decision for the franchise’s most revered player over the past six seasons . It has long been rumored, that Peterson would have sought a trade, if the front office was unwilling to bolster the Vikings’ roster . The departure of Jared Allen may well have been seen as a prudent move, but I cannot help but feel that GM Rick Spielman still has not done enough to make the team in its current guise a legitimate contender within their own division, much less the rest of the NFC as well and the league , itself !

The Minnesota Vikings will open their regular season schedule with a game against the St Louis Rams at the Edwards Jones Dome Stadium in St Louis , Missouri . on the 7th September , 2014 . As what we ought to expect , could very well be determined by what we are likely to witness by the rookies on show that day, when these two teams face each other .

With the first two rounds of the NFL Draft now having passed, the remaining four rounds now become about , teams simply doubling up by way of players they now feel perhaps, may well meet a need , in terms of a third or fourth depth choice on their respective rosters.

Offensive players were said to be in abundance in this particular NFL Draft, by way of the running backs and wide receivers said to be in play. I have no doubt, that players such as Sammy Watkins , Mike Evans , Marquise Lee , Odell Beckham and Kelvin Benjamin will find their way onto the rosters of teams who are in need of very good receivers . The same can be said also , for the running backs seeking to make their mark in the NFL this upcoming season and whether or not they are capable of taking advantage of the situation that they are likely to be placed in. The first running back taken in this particular draft, the Ohio State Buckeyes’ rushing sensation Carlos Hyde , albeit, that there are those who believe that there were number of players at the position with far greater productivity than Hyde has shown over the course his career. Yet, clearly Jeff Fisher , the St Louis Rams’ front office and the Rams’ coaching staff saw something in the player that they believe will be to their advantage , as they set about their season in 2014 , with their preseason and regular season schedule . Hyde will no doubt, be given every opportunity to prove himself a worthy successor to many of the franchise’s great running backs in recent years , most notably the Rams’ all-time leading rusher, Steven Jackson . A tough act to follow indeed, but Jackson no longer part of the franchise, and their being little power to the franchise’s rushing game last season , something is needed to reignite the team and Carlos Hyde may well be the player, in this case.

Trent Baalke , general manager of the San Francisco 49ers , having seen the franchise’s failed attempts in recent years, to add a sixth Superbowl trophy to the Niners trophy cabinet and to bring some joy back to the faces of the fans. Well, the front office executive , is now seeking to stock his team roster, with an abundance of offensive players by engineering a number of trades without yet , delving deep into the NFL Draft. The additions of Brandon Lloyd and during this draft process, in obtaining Buffalo Bills’ receiver Stevie Johnson might on the face of it seem a debatable risk , but clearly, Baalke , team CEO Jed Yorke and head coach Jim Harbaugh believe the moves worth taking. San Francisco’s divisional rivals the Seattle Seahawks reached the pinnacle of NFL team success in winning their first Superbowl , by bulldozing the highly rated Denver Broncos and along the way making five-time League MVP and Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning seem like a rookie in his third Superbowl appearance , in what has been one of the great NFL careers of recent years within the league.

Baalke fully realizes, that the NFC West has now become by far the best division in the entire NFL , with the likes of the San Francisco 49ers , Seattle Seahawks , Arizona Cardinals and St Louis Rams now jockeying for divisional supremacy. Take into account also the caliber of the quarterbacks within the division and you can now understand why that claim is now justified beyond the overall play of the quartet of teams in question. .

Colin Kaepernick the Forty Niners’ starting quarterback has proven himself to be a worthy successor to Alex Smith , who himself, now appears to have made a name for himself with the Kansas City Chiefs . Kaepernick’s failings , if there are said to be any, may well be derived from the fact that he comes across as too brash and arrogant . Yet, he cannot be faulted for the team’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Superbowl XLII(SB47), a game that still remains clouded by the incompetency of the league and host site, the New Orleans Superdome , home to the New Orleans Saints . That debacle still has not been explained adequately by the league office , in spite of the post-game comments made , to the resounding success in the staging of the event . A showcase for the NFL’s biggest game of the season was something of a shambles, with the organizing committee fully aware of the ongoing problems concerning site’s electrical infrastructure and an hour-long interval, as repairs were made to the electrical power generator supplying power to the Superdome.

Over the past two seasons , the New England Patriots have proven themselves to be the class of the AFC East twice succeeding to defend their divisional title, but it has been their postseason forays in 2012 and 2013 , that have many questioning whether or not Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have lost their “magical touch” when it comes to the postseason. The window of opportunity for both to add a fourth Superbowl title to their respective resumes’ seem to be slowly closing , in spite of Brady’s ongoing zeal to seek perfection with each postseason game , and the performances thereof. The Patriots’ quarterback remains one of the most successful passers in postseason history, over the past fourteen years and his three Superbowl victories are unmatched by any of his peers currently playing.

Tom Brady has never been outspoken or demonstrative in making demands of the Patriots’ front office , having placed his trust in the coach , the coaching staff and GM Nick Caserio to do what is in the best interests of the franchise. This draft could very well be the one, where the organization chooses to load up on both sides of the ball , while also availing themselves of the best available free agents on the open market . Caserio has sought to be prudent, in terms of the cap room , in the buildup to the NFL Draft and once the contract negotiations begin for the rookies, you can be sure that he will drive a hard bargain with their respective agents , representing those clients.

Finally , all of the gloating and self-righteous hypocrisy of the NFL remains on show , with the league’s drafting of its first openly gay player. Michael Sam will become of a member of the St Louis Rams , having been drafted in the sixth round by the NFC West based franchise. Head coach Jeff Fisher in addressing the issue , has stipulated that he does not want the actions of organization of the Rams to be the sole focus of this season. Also, he has stated, Sam will be made available to the press to discuss his place on the team and not the social relevance about his sexuality and what this all means to the NFL . Yet , for all of this hyperbole, to the importance of the decision by the Rams , one simply hide the fact the league remains not only homophobic , but it has to be said there still remains a great deal of racism hidden and obviously open in the aftermath of the Richie Incognito “ affair” within the Miami Dolphins’ organization .

In the aftermath of his being drafted by the Rams , Michael Sam was given a congratulatory kiss by his partner of several years , when Vito Cammisano , kissed the player on live television, with countless millions watching nationally and millions more globally . Now, while there has been some public outrage, about the act, and the fact there may well have been children watching the NFL Draft. It begs the question, if children can witness hours of gratuitous violence, during prime-time hours on national or syndicated programming, never mind the fact they also witnessing acts of war where victim’s global conflicts are sometimes being shown. Then why now, of all the situations possible, is there such outrage to the act of Sam kissing his partner ? Political correctness or not , unless one can either be respectful one’s right to freedom of expression , but dare I say it, show an ounce of common decency , rather than allude to the fact that this country remains without an ounce of bigotry . Those espousing such beliefs simply have no goddamn idea in actuality , concerning what is happening in the real world , much less realizing that times have changed , be it for the better or the worse . Common decency and respect ought to overshadow , intolerance and bigotry . Obviously, there are fans of the NFL , who remain ignorant and bigoted , while trying to behind some falsehood created in their own psyche .

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Picture gallery.

Do you believe there were any major surprises, during this NFL Draft? Which teams in your opinion may well have pulled off a coup, in terms of the players drafted and likely to be seen as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl this upcoming season?

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(1) Jadeveon Clowney of the Houston Texans is seen here with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodel , after the defensive line was taken as the number one overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft by the Texans. Getty Images / Loyd Carr ….

(2) Jadeveon Clowney makes his arrival for the 2014 NFL Draft alongside his Mom, Joseanna , to the prelude for the night’s events . AP Photo/ Dinesh Patel ….

(3) Johnny Manziel , thought to be everyone’s consensus pick as the first quarterback taken in this draft , the player was taken as the twenty-second overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. Team GM Tom Heckert hopes that the Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy winner can show the type of form that made him one of the dynamic players at the collegiate level during his tenure with the Aggies . AP Photo / Tom Johnson ….

(4) Blake Bortles is seen here with Roger Goodell . The player was taken as the first quarterback in the draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and is deemed the likely successor to Blaine Gabbert whose tenure with the franchise has been somewhat sporadic and uneven since being originally drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft by the AFC South based franchise. AP Photo/ Tom Johnson …….

(5) Teddy Bridgewater now of the Minnesota Vikings . The former Louisville Cardinals’ quarterback will be hoping to make a successful jump from the collegiate level to the NFL ranks for the Vikings’ organization. AP Photo / Phil Devlin …..

(6) Michael Sam is seen here in a congratulatory embrace, as he shares a kiss with his partner Vito Cammasino after the announcement was made that the SEC Defensive Player of the Year had been drafted in the sixth round by the St Louis Rams . Sam is the first active and openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL . As to whether or not this will be met with a “seal of approval” by ardent Rams throughout this season remains to be seen , but that first preseason home game , as well as regular season contest , should prove to be an indication , as to whether or not the fans will be supportive of Michael Sam. Already those within and outside the NFL have begun to voice their disapproval of the player’s embrace and the kissing of his partner on live television. Courtesy of ESPN @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …………

(7) Michael Sam is seen here addressing members of the convened press as takes questions concerning his thoughts on the upcoming NFL Draft. Sam was taken in the sixth round of the Draft by the St Louis Rams and hopes to be a productive member of the team as they embark upon their season in the NFL . AP Photo / John Pettite ….

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You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink , but you can make it take dump all over the place and still try come up smelling of roses …….

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink , but you can make it take dump all over the place and still try come up smelling of roses …….

Once you get beyond the hypocrisy of the biggest news’ story out now , one begins to realize how asinine not only the media tends to be but also, the fans in general. While, NBA Commissioner , Adam Silver is to be commended on his stance in the lifetime ban given to Los Angeles’ Clippers’ team owner , Donald Sterling . The question remains, if Silver can prove to be that decisive in making his decision , then why was David Stern during his tenure as the NBA Commissioner, that decisive , when prior bad acts by the now disgraced owner , were well chronicled and known to various media outlets as well as to the NBA hierarchy ? It has been this sort of hypocrisy, that has epitomized his tenure as the highest ranking executive and has become synonymous with a league , that no longer has any credibility.

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With that in mind, it should also be noted , that Silver himself, is not without blame , as he has served as Stern’s deputy for several years, before his elevation to his current position as the NBA Commissioner. As to the now public statements, forthcoming from the likes of Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and Orlando Magic Chairman Dan DeVos , throwing their weight of support behind Silver’s position of the banishment of the besieged , beleaguered and now disgraced owner. Once has to ask, where were their voices of outrage and disapproval concerning Donald Sterling’s prior bad acts of racial bigotry, beyond his documented legal woes with the US Justice Department ?

With Donald Sterling’s lifetime banishment, what now becomes the bone of contention, is what will be the next step, that can be taken by the league hierarchy, if as suggested , the Board of Governors , made up of the league’s thirty-two team owners , are seeking Sterling to relinquish control of the franchise he has owned for the past thirty-two years. Having bout the team in 1981 ,for a mere $12 million , he has seen the Clippers’ value appreciate, where its estimated value is in excess of $500 to $650 million , based on current market value . It is likely hard to the hierarchy to force the issue of the team being sold , even if the league manages to garner twenty-five of thirty voted needed to force such a sale. In all likelihood, Donald Sterling may well seek to stymie the process by proceeding to challenge the legality of the league’s maneuver by seeking a legal recourse within the US Federal Court and the justice system . Other than that, Adam Silver’s alternatives are , for the NBA to take full control , purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers and with the league having full control in the day-to-day running of the Western Conference based franchise.

It is my belief, that Silver, will seek out and vet, what he deems, are suitable suitors interested in buying the now controversy ravaged Los Angeles Clippers. Currently , there are known to be two interested parties, movie and music mogul David Geffen of SKG , the movie studio headed up and owned by Steven Spielberg , Jeffrey Katzenberg and Geffen, himself. Another suitor, is said to be, Los Angeles’ based real estate tycoon and billionaire developer , Rick Caruso . Rumored interest from former NBA player Magic Johnson would run counter-culture, given Johnson’s, long-established relationship with the Los Angeles Lakers , where he played his entire career. Yet, in light of his recent criticism of the organization, its lack of direction and the very fact that, GM Mitch Kupchak and principal owner , Jim Buss , are seemingly now at a loss to explain the direction that the franchise is now said to be heading in. I do not believe that Johnson or his partners with the Los Angeles Dodgers , are likely to show any interest, in owning the Clippers !

The Washington Wizards’ clinical dissemination of the Chicago Bulls , in a rather lopsided 4-1 series’ defeat , has the Eastern Conference fifth seed , making their first appearance in the conference semi-finals. Leading the way for the Wizards, was their back-court headed up by Bradley Beal and John Wall , who a duo , simply played their way in the Wizards’ folklore, with their postseason displays for the team , throughout the series. Chicago’s 75-69 home-court loss at the United Center , in Chicago , Illinois, might well have been the most disappointing low-light of the Bulls’ regular and postseason foray. For head coach Tom Thibodeau , what might be deemed a gallant effort during the regular season , now represents absolutely nothing for the franchise, after so much promise was shown during the latter part of the season and the team’s improbable run to the postseason. Now the tough questions , will have to be asked of the Chicago Bulls’ front office . and the desired direction that Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations , John Paxson will take the franchise.

It is widely believed, that Paxson will make an all-out assault , in acquiring highly prized free agent Carmelo Anthony , who has yet to make a concrete decision concerning his own future and whether or not , it lies in remaining with the New York Knicks or pursuing his future elsewhere. Chicago will likely amnesty and relieve themselves of the contract of veteran power forward Carlos Boozer , to make that whole scenario a reality and therein signing Anthony to a long-term lucrative contract at a later date . All signs, seems to point to the fact that, the New York Knicks’ forward would be willing to take less money , to play for a legitimate title contender , which now , the Knicks are not , with their situation being a current mess , in which Phil Jackson , will now have to engineer through the debris created by the financial morass of the contracts assigned to under-performing players now on the New Knicks’ roster . Jackson, will have to use all of his persuasive abilities to convince Carmelo Anthony, that he is able to rebuild the Knicks’ roster around his now disgruntled superstar. I am of the opinion, that the New York Knicks are not only a mess , but the clear lack of due diligence by James Dolan , has led the franchise, into what has become an almost irretrievable situation. At best , this franchise, is at least, two or three years away, from being a legitimate title contender for the NBA championship .

If there is one thing to be said about this NBA postseason , it has been one that has been full of surprises beyond the drama provided by the idiotic antics of Donald Sterling and clear actions of the league hierarchy , as they have sought to absolves themselves any responsibility from reprehensible and absolutely downright boorish behavior of the disgraced NBA owner. Inasmuch , as there has been praised heaped upon the shoulders of Adam Silver , one has to wonder why there has been no real criticism of his predecessor , David Stern ? No one but Stern, is likely to answer that particular question , but considering the ego of that particular executive , I think in all likelihood , he would rather shy away from being broached on the matter !

We are now a month n the MLB regular season schedule and it would seem, that for the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins , theirs is a season , that already seems to be mired in complete mediocrity . Far be it for me to suggest, but with the Astros already firmly rooted at the bottom of the AL West, the likelihood of the team being able to lift themselves to challenge for the divisional title and to challenge the Oakland Athletics , would seem as likely as Bud Selig , now having a “second wind” and deciding, that now would be right time for the reinstatement of Pete Rose , with his made eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Rose is unlikely to be inducted at this juncture , unless the Veterans’ Committee decided to show some altruism and allow the , all-time hits’ leader entrance into that bastion of baseball greatness . As to the prevailing fortunes of the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins, all that one would need to understand , is that this season , Bo Porter and his team are seeking to avoid a fourth consecutive season of bearing one hundred losses .

In the case of the NL East based Marlins , team owner , Jeffrey Loria continues to pull the wool over the eyes of the city of Miami , the fans , while being allowed to do so by the MLB Commissioner , who has allowed the Marlins’ owner to continue his web of deceit and lies with reckless abandonment , without their being any questions being raised, in criticism of Loria’s actions or that of the league hierarchy’s office, itself

The Houston Astros, coming off a 4-3 loss to the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas, where on the mound , the losing pitcher for the home team was Josh Fields (0-3) , leads me to firmly believe that this organization will be in for a long and arduous season ! As gritty and determined, as the Astros might have appeared in this contest, it was clear that the Nationals simply had the upper hand , all along . The two teams will meet again at the same venue, where Jordan Zimmerman (1-1) will take the mound for the Nationals against Brett Oberholtzer (0-4) , in what should prove to be an intriguing contest on Wednesday afternoon , in a slew of games scheduled for the day.

Mike Redmond was thrown into the lions’ den, when he was asked to succeed Ozzie Guillen as the Marlins’ manager and then asked to get this team playing with a great deal of resolve. Guillen’s antics asides, it has been the lack of foresight shown by the front office , that has led to numerous problems for the South Florida based franchise, that has been barely supported as a baseball-club, since the opening of Marlins’ Ballpark in 2012 . Suffice to say, lack of support, woefully inept performances , with the exception being, the continued maturity being shown in the play of Giancarlo Stanton and 2013 Rookie of the Year, pitcher Jose Fernandez . It pretty much safe to suggest , that the team’s failure this season , will actually lead to the gutting of this roster by GM Michael Hill as another face saving exercise by this inept front office , while Jeffery Loria’s incompetency as an owner and his lack of business acumen continues to shine through. Miami’s 9-0 win over the Atlanta Braves , was the team’s best victory of what has been a somewhat desolate first month of the season for the team. Their record of 12-14 bears this out, as has their standing in the NL East and baseball overall. As I alluded to earlier, failure for the Miami Marlins and the rebuilding process starts all over again.

Wednesday afternoon , the Braves will meet the Miami Marlins, at Marlins’ Ballpark , with Aaron Harang taking the mound against Nathan Eovaldi of the Marlins , in what should be viewed as a great pitching contest. Harang, will be looking to prove that his start to the season for the Braves , is no flash in the pan , with the pitcher more than justifying his worth beyond his salary . There is no doubt, that if the Atlanta Braves are to be truly successful this season, then it will be must the offense led by siblings BJ Upton , his younger brother Justin Upton to be consistent over the course of the year, with Dan Uggla , Evan Gattis , Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman playing their part to go alongside a pitching roster that has greatly improved with the signing of right-handed pitcher Ervin Santana , with what he has brought to the table with his experience. It has been the Braves’ pitching along with an NL low team ERA that has the Braves’ weathering the storm, while leading the NL East with the division’s best record.

The introduction of Robinson Cano as the spark , that was seen to be able to ignite the long dormant Seattle Mariners , may well take some time before the fans come to appreciate the former New York Yankees’ star. Years of being on the outside looking in, still has not changed the rigors of not having made a postseason appearance in several years , last dating back to the 2001 postseason and the ALCS of that year. Since those heady days , it has simply been downhill all the way for the franchise and that is in spite of the years of Kenny Griffey Jr , Alex Rodriguez , Randy Johnson and Ichiro Suzuki , all likely Hall of Fame players at some point in the future, albeit , that there will be many who question the right of Rodriguez to included , let alone, his name being mentioned on the venerable list of Hall of Fame inductees .

Cano will be under a great deal of pressure this season to prove the financial commitment made to him by the Seattle Mariners. The player’s departure from the New York Yankees was not taken all that lightly with the fans of the venerable ball-club, when he sought to be overly critical of the organization , stating that he felt disrespected that they were not ready to offer him a long-term deal. Robinson Cano’s agent , rapper and entrepreneur , Jay-z of RocNation Sports , the fledgling sports and artist and entertainment conglomerate co-founded by the artist , was originally quick to suggest that his client deserved a contract that would make him among the highest paid players in baseball , along with deal, he felt was worthy of Cano’s stature. I am not so sure that either Brian Cashman or Hal Steinbrenner would have felt entirely comfortable with an eight or ten-year deal that would make a financial obligation of $300 million to the former Yankees’ player. Given the New York Yankees’ current commitment and the fact that several of their players are now among the highest paid in the game of baseball and Hal Steinbrenner’s wish to pare down team payroll to avoid paying the luxury tax. It has to be said, that the right decision was made by the front office to allow Cano to become free agent during the off-season. Ten years , $240 million and the long-term commitment by the Seattle Mariners now seems to have made both Robinson Cano and his agent extremely happy with the final outcome .

Seattle’s 6-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday, at Yankees Stadium , in New York City, New York, was Robinson Cano’s first visit back to New York to face his former team. It is pretty much safe to say, that he was not welcomed with open arms like a prodigal son by the Yankees’ fans. . A great deal of faith has been placed in Robinson Cano by the front office and specifically the Mariners’ Board of Directors , who believe that the player is the man needed, to take the team deep into postseason. I would hazard a guess, that a great deal more than Cano’s exploits will be needed, if the Mariners are to make their first postseason appearance since 2001.

With the month April , having seen the teams go through their schedule , from here-on in , through May and June , were are likely to see the ball-clubs find some type of consistency to their game . If anything, it will not be until late August, before we are likely to see, the real “pretenders” and likely contenders are said to be, as they seek to be viewed as contenders for the World Series. Is it possible that we could see a repeat champion this season ? Well dependent upon the mindset of the Boston Red Sox and John Farrell’s players, it could make for an interesting year within the game.

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Picture gallery .

Off the diamond , in light of the drama now unfolding within the NBA and the revelations about Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers and what appears to be the selective behavior of the league hierarchy concerning statements attributed to Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos , it will be interesting to see how Bud Selig and his office will seek to address any misgivings that he too , might have about a number of the team owners and their own behavior , as it relates their perceived beliefs and how they are addressed publicly. It is pretty much safe to say , with baseball having shot itself repeatedly in the foot over the past decade , another “black eye” because of an owner’s stupidity would be the last thing that the commissioner would like to deal with at this juncture , given his poor communicative skills and having to repeatedly try to clean up the game’s image , which given his pass record, has been an abysmal failure ! Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to this topic, as you see fit.

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Donald Sterling , the now besieged and beleaguered owner of the Los Angeles Clippers has been banished by the NBA hierarchy from having any association with the franchise that he has owned since 1981. Beyond the lifetime ban , Sterling was fined $2.5 million , a small price to pay for the billionaire , with an estimated wealth of $2 billion. Asides, from his now well publicized racial taunts , the owner is facing a backlash from a number of his peers , the team’s corporate sponsors , as well as from some high profiled current and former NBA players . Somewhat hypocritical , when one considers the repeated utterances from a fellow franchise owner in , Rich DeVos of the Orlando Magic , whose homophobic statements, are now once again coming to light , and with nothing mentioned by Adam Silver or from his predecessor David Stern and their inaction concerning DeVos . AP Photo / Keith Thomas …..

(2) Former Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard talks with Magic owner Rich DeVos during the NBA All-Star Game at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, Sunday, February 26, 2012. DeVos has been recently cited as another NBA owner who should be targeted for disciplinary by the NBA for what is said to be some very unsavory comments made about the gay and lesbian community. Somehow , even after those statements came to light the league hierarchy saw fit to let the Orlando Magic owner’s comments go unchallenged or with any type of public statement coming from the NBA head office. In other words , David Stern , felt it only necessary to step into the fray , if tat the end of the day he could come be seen in some positive light , Devos’ comments clearly angered the gay and lesbian community but the former commissioner did not feel it was worth his time to address the matter or reprimand the owner in any way . Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel/MCT …..

(3) Chicago Bulls’ GM Gar Forman is seen here with the team’s Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson in discussion at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois ,. With the Bulls suffering a humiliating first round series’ loss to the Washington Wizards in the NBA Playoffs , the front office executives will face some tough decisions concerning the roster during this off-season . AP Photo / Matt Harper ……

(4) Film and music mogul David Geffen is rumored to be one of two interested parties wishing to buy the Los Angles Clippers. Geffen is a co-founding partner of SKG Dreamworks , alongside Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg . Joining the film executive in his bid will Larry Ellison , founder of software company Oracle and Oprah Winfrey, who originally issued a stern denial concerning her interest in owning a sports’ franchise , before being approached by her close personal friend David Geffen. If the sale of the Clippers were to take place , with it being approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors , then David Geffen would also be the first openly gay owner of an NBA franchise . REUTERS/ Ingrid Moore ….

(5) Jose Fernandez (16) of the Miami Marlins is seen here celebrating with teammate Giancarlo Stanton after the team’s 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies in a game played at Marlins Ballpark ,in Miami, Florida , on the 24th August , 2013. If the Marlins are to be a real threat within the NL East this season , then it will be incumbent upon both of these players to have a successful season for the team as a whole. Mike Redmond and his coaching staff are certainly hoping that will be the case. AP Photo/ Paul Forbes …..

(6) Atlanta Braves’ catcher Evan Gattis is seen here in a game played at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia,. Gattis is now the team’s full-time catcher with the departure of Brian McCann this past off-season to the New York Yankees as a free agent. GM Frank Wren was not willing to match the five-year $80 million deal offered to the veteran , giving Gattis to show his worth this season and meeting those as sought by the front office. The catcher has proven to be everything that the staff believed they were getting in drafting the player in 2010 . Getty Images North America / Jim Ross …

(7) Seattle Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik is seen here with Robinson Cano and manager Lloyd McClendon are seen here at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington after Cano’s acquisition by the franchise, who signed him to lucrative long-term contract. Cano now has to prove his worth, as the Mariners seek to make their first postseason appearance since the 2001 ALCS. In the later years, Seattle’s record has discouraged and drawing the ire of the fans due to the lack of progress and ambition by the organization. AP Photo / Keith Pettit …..
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