The   Fallout Could Lead to A Breakout   …

So  we’re  now  at a  point  in the  sporting  calendar  where  there’s  a  vast  array  of sports’   activities   taking  center-stage  and  usual  the  non-stop   cycle   of the  NFL  (National  Football  League) continues  with  activity.   Reigning  Superbowl  champions  have  all  of their  ducks  lined  up  in a  row   , having  signed  several  players  from their  championship  winning  roster  to  new  deals  ,  with  their  Superbowl  MVP  ,    Tom  Brady  also  agreeing to  a new  deal at an almost  bargain  basement  price   by  his  own standard s  .    Brady  will  head  into the upcoming season seeking  an unprecedented  eighth  Superbowl  ring , having  won  six  with the  New  England  Patriots  and  his  seventh  with  the  Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers    , for the  franchise’s  second  Lombardi  Trophy  in their history.

(1)
Tom Brady, currently a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .

Beyond what has been taking place by way of the league and the teams seeking to position themselves for the upcoming NFL Draft and salary cap issues , we have seen the retirements of Alex Smith , Philip Rivers and Drew Brees, with all three veteran quarterbacks having varying degrees of success for their respective teams . One team looking to take advantage of this all will likely be the New York Jets after their recent foray with the trading away of quarterback Sam Darnold . More likely than not the Jets will seek to draft a quarterback to replace Darnold who simply did not meet the expectations of the franchise during his stay .

Trevor Lawrence could very well be taken as the number one overall player and most certainly be among the top quarterbacks taken by the end of the first two rounds of this upcoming Draft.

JANUARY 07: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after his teams 44-16 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi’s Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Things have become testy since the All Star Game with their being a plethora of uneven results . One thing is certain no envisioned that the Los Angles Lakers would be struggling to remain among the top-five teams within the Western Conference . With LeBron James by far the best player in their lineup , it will be interesting to see how the team fares over the remainder of their schedule . Next up for this Frank Vogel coached team will be two games on the road against the Dallas Mavericks . The first of the duo of contests will take place on the 22nd April , 2021 .

The Lakers’ in division rivals the Los Angeles Clippers are vying for one to the top three seeds within the Western Conference , but it has been the resilient play of the Phoenix Suns which has been a great surprise to everyone over the past ten days. Led by Kawhi Leonard the Clippers will be in action themselves with several games of note . An upcoming contest against the Houston Rockets should tell us a great deal about this Clippers’ roster .

Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors .

Can Steph Curry lead the Golden State Warriors back into postseason contention ? That’s an intriguing answer for a team without one of it’s best players in Klay Thompson. The Warriors can make into the NBA Playoffs by way of the play-in factor , a new addition to the playoffs due to a shortened regular season schedule brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic . Golden State for it’s part will be looking to play with the real consistency . In their next game the Warriors are due to meet the Denver Nuggets at home on Friday , 23rd April .

Far be it for me to suggest , but I get the feeling that while the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers are seen as the teams to beat within the Eastern Conference , one team which is being overlooked just happens to be the Milwaukee Bucks , but given their recent failures in the postseason it would be easy to write them off once again . Yet for all sense and purpose the Bucks led by two time League MVP , Giannis Antetokounmpou seems to have his teammates playing the way Head Coach Mike Budenholzer has sought . This team is quite capable of overcoming the deficit within the conference and ending up as the top seed . Next up for the Bucks will be a game against the 76ers as par of their regular season series. The contest should tell us a great about the intentions of both teams and the directions they’re said to be heading .

LeBron James has been playing with the level of someone who belies his age James and the Los Angeles Lakers as the reigning NBA champions are having an extremely tough season . It seems unaccustomed for this team to be having issues within the league at present , but injuries as well as inconsistency has played it’s part in the Frank Vogel coached roster . James and the Lakers have an upcoming game against the Dallas Mavericks , having lost to Dallas previously in their most recent match-up on the 22nd April .

Time may well be running out for both the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers to really prove their credibility within the NBA and their championship aspirations. High payrolls notwithstanding it is becoming pretty clear that there’s not a great deal of real consistency needed .

Alex Rodriguez having not been able to make a successful attempt to become a MLB team owner, but the former New York Yankees’ player has joined a consortium with a view to buying the Minnesota Timberwolves , where owner , Glen Taylor is seeking to sell the franchise , but under which retains control while the new ownership group acclimatizes to their fiduciary responsibilities . Rodriguez and his partner , Marc Lore an e-Commerce executive and CEO of Walmart’s e-commerce operations, purchased the Timberwolves for a reputed $1.5 billion .

What else needs to be said about the Los Angeles Dodgers at this juncture ? This weekend there will be a full cluster of games to be played . Dave Robert’s has a team playing with a great deal of aplomb with his coaching staff being at the top of their game . Roberts will have his team ready for a fairly tough weekend schedule where they will be playing the San Diego Padres . On the mound as opposing pitchers will be Yu Darvish of the Padres against Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers .

Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels is off to another terrific season for his team . It will be interesting to see what transpires this weekend as the Dodgers face the Houston Astros .It will be Andrew Heaney facing off against Zack Greinke . .

There are several great games scheduled for both Saturday , 24th April , as well as Sunday , 25th . One of the contests for today (Saturday) pits the Boston Red Sox against the Seattle Mariners with these two AL teams seeking to position themselves within their respective divisions and league . On the mound for the Mariners will be Chris Flexen as he faces Nathan Eovaldi of the Red Sox . While the Boston Red Sox are riding high their divisional rivals the New York Yankees are struggling to to make their presence felt having posted an 8-11 record as of the 23rd April . Manager Brett Boone and his team of his priced stars will be looking to placate themselves of their inauspicious start to the season . To round out their current series the Yankees will be in action today when they face the Cleveland Indians on the road . The opposing pitchers will be Gerrit Cole of the Yankees facing off against Shane Bieber of the Indians .

Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves and reigning NL MVP .

Early leaders in various statistics provides us with something special to expect over this season within baseball . I would like to think that the major awards for this season will go to credible candidates .

What if anything are you hoping to bear witness to this season within the world of sports ?

Tophatal …………

Sports News in general

NFL Draft 2021

NBA standings

MLB news ….

MLB weekend schedule …

Change Is Good, Being Willing To Adapt , Not Necessarily So …

Change Is Good, Being Willing To Adapt , Not Necessarily So …

There’s a growing suspicion within the NFL teams , that within the league this season have failed because of a wide variety of reasons . From my own perspective , it usually comes down the same things , injuries and the unwillingness of some coaches adapting to change and the changes which come with the game . In the end it tends to cost someone their job. Clearly, that was the case with the dismissal of Ron Rivera as the Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers . Several games this season were lost by a few meager points while their injury woes continued . The team has been without their starting quarterback of the past few seasons, Cam Newton. In his place, Kyle Allen has stepped up to the plate and played admirably in spells , but at the end of the day , when the team fails , someone had to be blamed and in this case the blame was placed on the shoulders of Ron Rivera . Panthers’ GM Marty Hurney and the team’s billionaire owner David A Tepper will undoubtedly have Norv Turner takeover as the Head Coach for the remainder of the Carolina Panthers’ regular season schedule .

………

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

……

Slideshow.

In week thirteen the Carolina Panthers will be in action against the Atlanta Falcons in a divisional match-up of two failing NFC conference teams. This game will take place on Sunday afternoon.

Ron Rivera might not be the only Head Coach to lose their job by season’s end and the clock is now ticking as to the fate of Dallas Cowboys’ Head Coach , Jason Garrett . If Garrett cannot lead this team to at least the NFC Championship Game , then in all likelihood Jerry Jones will call for his dismissal . Garrett and his game-time decision making has been an absolute nightmare for the Cowboys this season. Other than Dak Prescott , Ezekiel Elliott and a somewhat slower version of Jason Witten , this roster is simply not good enough to play consistent football at the highest levels expected. The NFC East division in which the Cowboys plays, remains the laughing stock of the NFL. A loss this weekend when the Dallas Cowboys are set to face the Chicago Bears , could set the tone for the calling of the head of Jason Garrett.

With the off-season of Major League Baseball now not quite in full swing , the teams are now lining up to ink the names of the marquee free agents now on the market, signing them to new big-time deals . Zack Wheeler was let go by the New York Mets , as the starting pitcher joined the Philadelphia Phillies , whose 2019 season was one of sheer woes all along the way. It will be interesting to see what Wheeler can provide for the Phillies this upcoming season. Seasoned veteran pitcher Cole Hamels is now off to pastures new , having joined the Atlanta Braves after his spell with the Chicago Cubs . Atlanta having won the NL East this past season and advancing the MLB Postseason , where they fell to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLDS , brought about an abrupt end to their postseason foray . This will be the season where the Atlanta Braves are to be judged by the team assembled under the managerial staff of Brian Snitker .

It has been over a decade since the New York Yankees last won the World Series and with the likely induction of Derek Jeter as the latest Yankee into the Hall of Fame in 2020. You would have to believe that the front office and owners would like to see this team succeed once again. . With a team payroll just shy of $200 million , principal owner Hal Steinbrenner is looking to keep that figure below MLB’s luxury tax threshold . . Aaron Boone as the team manager has yet to make any major personnel decisions adding to the player-roster to date . Their Spring Training Schedule will likely provide the managerial staff time to assess some players who will be invitees and those newly acquired.

The failure of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the MLB Postseason signifies that you can’t continue to over spend and then have nothing to show for it by way of anything tangible. . It will be interesting to see if the Dodgers enter what could turn out to be a wild free agency market of available players. . With Gerrit Cole being among the biggest of the free agents still available , the Dodgers could make a play for the AL starting pitcher who still remains an interesting option for his current team the Houston Astros . It has been over three decades since the Dodgers won the World Series and their postseason sojourns since then have been abysmal . . This year will tell us a great deal about this team it’s mindset as well as that of the managerial staff .

Veteran forward Carmelo Anthony who’s return to the NBA , saw him joining the Portland Trailblazers , where he has been one of the major highlights of the team’s season to date . Over his last six games Anthony is proving that his sea-legs still have a long way to go. As a member of the 2003 NBA Draft Class , considered to be one of the best over the past two decades. It’s still hard to imagine that this player has never won an NBA title . It will be interesting to see how the Trailblazers fare through the month of December and over the rest of their regular season schedule. Their next two games , will see the Blazers in action against the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma Thunder in two consecutive home games at the Moda Center in Portland Oregon.

As the season enters it’s Christmas Schedule , the teams vying for the best records will undoubtedly be looking to prove a point. . There will be five games being played, highlighted by the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the Los Angeles Clippers , as two of the league’s best players face off against each other with LeBron James of the Lakers facing Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers.

Well , so much for the New York Knicks and their season to date , with the team among the worst in the league and their record being so bad . It is hard to find a compliment that befits the Knicks , other than to suggest they have some real issues. There is nothing to suggest the Knicks can win their division much less compete within the Eastern Conference. Up next for the Knicks will be a game against the Indiana Pacers at their home court of Madison Square Gardens , New York City , New York.. The team’s Head Coach David Fizdale has struggled to get the best out of his players while the front office is clearly already bereft of ideas. There are rumors now amidst that Fizdale will be fired after the Knicks’ dreadful start . His replacement is likely to someone currently on the coaching staff or Knicks’ President Steve Mills may well seek to hire a former coach, who’s now currently on the staff of another NBA team .

It was meant to be a rematch, with the fans there in attendance for the Heavyweight Title bout between Anthony Joshua and champion Andy Ruiz was meant to be something competitive , Instead , the defending champion , Ruiz put up a poor display , losing the title he won convincingly in their first fight . With Joshua reclaiming the belts , he can now look forward to a possible about against the winner of the upcoming bout between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder . If the anticipation is what it is , then the potential unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder could be the biggest fight in recent boxing Heavyweight history. I fully expect Wilder to get the better of Tyson Fury in their rematch which is scheduled for the 22nd February , 2020 , though the venue has yet to be set. . In all likelihood the venue could very well be the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vega, Nevada,.

Chime in with your thoughts concerning the subject matter raised.

Tophatal …. 12/06/2019

…………

NFL news …..

…..
MLB news ..

MLB transactions ..

2019 MLB standings ..

NBA news ….

NBA standings (division) .. and conference standings ..

December regular season schedule ..

Yahoo Sports Boxing …

……….

………..
Picture gallery . By clicking on an individual frame you can view that image along with the accompanying narrative.

The Old Man And The Sea ………

The Old Man And The Sea

Of late, with all of the political in-fighting , backbiting and basic nonsense that seems to encapsulate the landscape of American politics on the domestic and international front . I’ve begun to take a look at some of the asinine things now out in print within the various news’ formats and social media platforms. The latest piece de resistance would appear to be the issue of what is meant to be ‘ White Privilege’ . From my own perspective I simply believe it to be the social basis, whereby Caucasians will continue to cling to power , be it politically, socially and economically. The fact that in large part, they feel it is being perpetuated by minorities when in fact, minorities have never been seen or be treated as their equal is somewhat perplexing, but here we are at a point in the nation’s history, where a President can simply be bold enough to insult a panacea of ethnic groups and it’s seen as his right as freedom of speech , while he also claims to be uniting the country as a whole.

Last I looked , President Donald Trump had little understanding of the rule of law let alone the Constitution. Be that as it may, nine months into his Presidential reign , his supporters remain staunch in their support while his detractors continue to look for ways to take him down.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slide show.

Away from the political landscape , the World Series is now in progress and the two best teams in baseball are now providing the fans with what should be an exciting series. I believe this series could and should go to a full seven games given the abilities of the two teams, the AL’s Houston Astros and the NL’s Los Angles Dodgers . The Dodgers have the highest payroll in the game as well as being among the best supported teams in baseball. Dave Roberts and his Houston counterpart, AJ Hinch could be up for managerial honors in 2017 , given their achievements this season. As for the teams themselves, after the first two games , they’re now square at one game apiece with game-three set to take place on Friday night at Minute Maid Field in Houston , Texas. The opposing pitchers will be Yu Darvish of the Los Angeles Dodgers against Lance McCullers Jr of the Houston Astros.

Not to take away from the spectacle of the World Series , but the other big story within the game has been the New York Yankees making the decision not to renew the contract of team manager Joe Girard . His four-year contract was due to expire and it was thought the front office might well be leaning towards a renewal . It wasn’t to be and after ten years in charge , Girardi is out the door and no chance his making another $16-$20 million over the next four years. Luckily enough with vacancies now in Washington with the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia with the Philadelphia Phillies, Girardi has his pick of two viable alternatives. Though I do expect there to be one or two more possible vacancies coming up within the next few weeks.

Joe Girardi was able to guide the New York Yankees to a World Series’ title in 2009 , but since then, their appearances in the postseason have often ended in failure before the Fall Classic itself. Brian Cashman general manager of the Yankees’ organization is also in the last season of his existing contract and the siblings controlling the ball-club, Hal Steinbrenner and Hank Steinbrenner have not expressed their sentiments in keeping Cashman in his current role. If changes are to be made concerning the roles of the manager and general manager then now would be the time to do it. Gary Denbo was allowed to leave the organization to join Derek Jeter within the front office of the Miami Marlins , where Jeter now serves in the role of Chief Executive Officer while Denbo serves in his capacity as Vice President, Player Development & Scouting .

In terms of a new manager, where the New York Yankees go from here is anyone’s guess , as they could promote from within to fill the vacancy left with the departure of Joe Girardi or they could go out and seek a more high-profiled name to succeed Girardi. One thing is certain , the core of this roster , where several of the younger players made their mark this season. It leaves this ball-club in a very healthy situation, though I do believe several of their highly overpaid veterans ought to be shown the door because of their lack of productivity. I don’t believe there can be any justification for the return of CC Sabathia , Matt Holliday , Jacoby Ellsbury , Michael Pineda and Aroldis Chapman . I know that the Yankees like to do things a certain way , but when you’re shelling out over $20 million a year and getting very little in return . Then , there comes a time when you have to rethink your strategy entirely.

Ideas above their station and the belief, they continue to remain relevant . It has been several years since the Florida Gators were striking fear into their opponents. This season , the only thing being struck are the players’ egos , as they realize they’re way in over their heads, while the coaching staff of Jim McElwain looks to take down not an opponent, but fans who have become sick and tired of the mediocrity shown by the team . After a recent game , McElwain could be seen berating a fan who called for the dismissal of the entire coaching staff. It’s funny , I was under the impression some college coaches were thick-skinned. Clearly, Jim McElwain’s skin is softer than a baby’s ass and is of a really delicate nature . The loss to Texas A&M brought about the capitulation of the Gators’ season and the end to their postseason hopes of a playoff berth. Up next for the Florida Gators will be a game against the number three-ranked Georgia (Bulldogs) to be played at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville , Florida on Saturday 28th October , 2017 .

Nick Saban will continue to rewrite the history books in terms of modern College Football . His legacy is there for all to bear witness to. With the number one ranked team in the nation , Saban has Alabama (8-0) firing on all cylinders as they look to have another unbeaten season. Their upset loss in the national title game to Clemson were what dreams are made off as Clemson in a game of cat-and-mouse , beat their more well-established opponent . The path to this season’s national title game will be a pleasant one for Alabama , as they have nothing else left to lose , other than their dignity. Dabo Sweeny and his fans knows that the program still has a great deal to live up to . In week nine Clemson will to face Georgia Tech . Alabama for its part will be looking to make it nine consecutive wins in a row when they take on LSU (Tigers) on the 4th November , 2017 .

The number of unbeaten teams in the NBA now stands at three , with the Los Angeles Clippers (3-0) , Portland Trailblazers (3-0) and the San Antonio Spurs (4-0) being the only franchises without a loss. Pretty much safe to say by the end of the season all of the teams will have suffered a defeat . On Thursday night there were five games taking place with the most interesting being the contest between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics . For the Bucks, Giannis Antetkounmpo has lived up to the expectations based on his performances of last season for the team . This season Antetkounmpou has proven to be equally effective alongside a considerably improved starting lineup. The next game for the Milwaukee Bucks will be a match-up against the Atlanta Hawks on the road at the Philips Arena in Atlanta , Georgia on October 29th .

At this moment in time I believe Giannis Antetkounmpo to be one of the top-ten centers in the league and among the best forwards now playing !

It will certainly be interesting to see what the Milwaukee Bucks are capable of achieving this season within their division as well as the league overall . I don’t see them a s fifty-win team, but they are certainly able to play themselves into contention, f we see the coaching acumen of Jason Kidd rise to the fore. He is by far in a way one of the most innovative coaches in the league today , though not yet on the plateau of Gregg Popovich , the five-time championship winning coach. Popovich has been able to coach All Stars , but he has also been able to groom and develop talent turning them into All Stars . Those claims cannot be made for the likes of Phil Jackson , Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra , because they were handed the keys to a Ferrari and then merely asked to take it for a spin before going on their respective journeys. Doubt my word , then simply look at the facts ?

Gregg Popovich continues to be a miracle worker and his record is remarkable. This season the San Antonio Spurs are without their best player , Kawhi Leonard , but somehow they remain in contention . Once Leonard is back in the starting lineup , then I expect to see this team really challenge the likes of the Golden State Warriors , Houston Rockets , Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder within the Western Conference . As contentious and competitive as that conference continues to be , by contrast the Eastern Conference will remain mediocre. Those who are on the know cannot deny that very fact. Popovich will lead the San Antonio Spurs out for their next game against the Orlando Magic , as he seeks to win the one thousand one hundred and fifty-fifth regular season of his professional coaching career.

Injuries we know tend to plague a season no matter what the professional sport and it is the case once again within the NBA. How the teams fare will be dependent upon what the coaches seek to do in rearranging their lineups from day to-day. Midway into month-three of the schedule , I believe the teams will have found their rhythm while playing some competitive basketball.

So all of the hoopla and hype cannot hide the fact of what we already know , the Miami Dolphins are not a very good team . Having lost Ryan Tannehill for the regular season , the front office saw fit to seek out the retired Jay Cutler , offer him a one-year $10 million deal . Adam Gase seemingly had no faith in Matt Moore who led the team to the postseason in 2016 , in one of the Dolphins’ most recent appearances. Cutler’s lack of consistency has derailed any hopes they may have had within the AFC East as well as obtaining a postseason berth within the AFC . The team’s defense cannot mask the fact they’re simply not that good to begin with. With Jay Cutler now suffering an injury , it would appear team owner Stephen Ross will continue to tow the league line by having nothing to do with Colin Kaepernick . This might well come from the fact in recent weeks under the advice of his legal counsel , Kaepernick has filed a grievance within the US Federal Courts with the charges of collusion by the NFL and team owners . There may well be grounds for the suit, but the preponderance of proof will be by that of the plaintiff and his being able to prove his case. However , what has been glaringly obvious team owners have paid this issue very little lip service , while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to hide behind a great deal of rhetoric while in the background. What also is astoundingly clear, the NFLPA leadership and their Executive Director DeMaurice Smith have shown very little support for Kaepernick.

The Baltimore Ravens played host to the Miami Dolphins in a Thursday night game played at London’s Wembley Stadium . This match-up proved to be eventful as Joe Flacco was lost the Ravens , even though they routed their opponents in a 40- 0 clubbing of Miami. Matt Moore’s performance itself was far from satisfactory and it should tell you something that prior to the start of the game , Miami had seen fit to sign David Fales to a contract. As I alluded to earlier , I do believe there are grounds for Colin Kaepernick to proceed with his suit against the NFL. Now his detractors are likely to suggest that Kaepernick is not that great a player if you base it on his play during 2016 , but I would suggest he is far from being the worst quarterback in the league last season and his statistics would be favorable over number of players in the league who have played two or more games in the league during this season . If we really want to make comparisons concerning the ability of Colin Kaepernick and how he measures up against Jay Cutler and Joe Flacco , perhaps we might take a look at their statistics .

As for understanding the reasons behind Colin Kaepernick’s stance , let’s just say when it comes to real activism by the NFL , it tends to favor their making money and placing what they believe to be a pristine image rather than actually taking a noticeable stance. As for the issue of privilege , be it Black or White , let’s just say that whole issue has never been addressed in the true sense of the word . Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones suggests that the players on the Cowboys’ roster are his property. Last I looked, in spite of their current mediocre record , the Cowboys wasn’t a plantation , but I am beginning to deduce Jones’ slave mentality approach is something that might be shared by several of his fellow owners .

Donald Trump’s idiotic rants calling for the NFL players to be fired from their teams for showing a lack of patriotism when the national anthem is played., indicates he has no concept as to the rule of law , let alone the issue of free speech ( freedom of expression) , yet he considers it appropriate to denigrate people of color and the families of fallen war veterans , using the language and tact you’d come to expect of a highly uneducated person. My bad , I forgot his education at Brown University and Wharton Business School actually allows him that privilege. Bigoted ‘white privilege ‘ run amok . Jerry Jones like Donald Trump , they don’t lack candor , but what they do lack, is respect for another person’s right to express themselves freely. What might be even more hypocritical about the owner , has been his willingness to support players on his team who’ve ran afoul of the law under suspicion for acts of battery , spousal abuse and even felonious assault. The reason behind his support , simply from the fact, it would lessen the chance of the Dallas Cowboys winning a game.



Picture gallery.

Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit with regard to the points raised within this a rticle.

Tophatal …….. 10/26/2017

—–

MLB news

—-

NCAA Football (FBS)


NBA news

NBA schedule

NBA standings (division)

NBA players’ stats

NFL news
Continue reading “The Old Man And The Sea ………”

Long Time Coming ….

Long Time Coming

In the aftermath of another gun tragedy , we have the President making a complete @ss of himself once again. One year removed from the Pulse Nightclub Shooting , Donald Trump and his minions were once again looking to place the blame at the doors of a terrorist cell in the responsibility for the Mandalay Bay Resort shooting in Las Vegas , Nevada , without their being any evidence to substantiate his thoughts. Bear in mind his recent criticism of the Mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico smacked of a petulant child , who doesn’t wish to told of their bad behavior. It seems that the President would rather make comments without first taking in all of the facts and it has led to justified criticism of not only himself but also members of his Cabinet and inner circle of advisers .

—-

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


——
Slide show.

Away from the daily bind of national news , the NFL is still in a state of discord as the impasse has been widened by Donald Trump’s comments about the players as well as his calling for players who fail to stand when the national anthem is being played, he states that they ought to be fired . Clearly , for a failed former owner of an AFL (American Football League) franchise , a league which is now defunct, there is a great deal that the President simply doesn’t understand about the NFL and how it conducts business. Perhaps he also needs to be reminded , the US Congress allows the league (NFL) to remain tax-exempt due to their antitrust status ? As for the NFL itself, perhaps due to indifference, lack of quality games or just the fact , fans are sick and tired of sports now being embroiled in politics, viewership is down for the games televised. Comparisons with regard to game attendance can be measured in a number of ways . If things carry on as they are , I believe the NFL will be able to weather the storm. In reality however, the attention and memory span of the fans remains exceedingly short in terms of history and acts of social activism when it comes to athletes.

We’re now four games into the NFL season and several teams have failed to meet expectations , including the reigning Superbowl champions the New England Patriots (2-2) . Sixteen and 0 (16-0) won’t be ion the cards for this season as I believe the team will be no better than 11-5 or 12-4 . Quarterback Tom Brady isn’t his customary self , but what might be more worrying is the fact the Patriots’ defense has become so complacent and lackluster. Bill Belichick and the team will be back on the field this weekend for their week-five contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night , 5th October, a game being played at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida.

Through one hundred and sixty-two games, we saw a great deal of inconsistency as well as mediocrity from baseball’s teams. Divisions were up for grabs and there were no real major surprises when it came to the divisional honors . Teams making the wildcard berths were something of a surprise , with the New York Yankees perhaps being the biggest surprise of them all. Personally, I didn’t feel the team was up to the task of challenging within the AL East , as I felt their pitching was so vulnerable. However, a glorious season from Aaron Judge who led the AL in home runs , as he was ably abetted by teammates Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorious .

Having made the MLB Postseason the New York Yankees will find themselves up against the Minnesota Twins in a single-game eliminator , with the winner moving on the Divisional Round of the postseason. The NL Wildcard game will see the Colorado Rockies taking on the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday 4th October .

There is no doubt in my mind the two favorites within the NL , the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are on a collision course meeting in the NLCS , but first , both will have to get past their respective opponents in the divisional round of the postseason. They have been by far the two best teams within the NL and that is with due respect to the Washington Nationals , but at the end of the day , these two big-market teams seem destined to meet in this championship series.

A giant shadow has been cast over the entire Atlanta Braves’ organization with the abrupt resignation of GM John Coppolella . The ball-club was under investigation by baseball’s league hierarchy after it was revealed that Coppolella might well have been making illegal payments to procure players through the international market-place . If the league’s investigations substantiate these allegations , then there could very well be some serious ramifications for the Atlanta Braves. They could be severely punished for Coppolella’s actions, something which I find to be completely idiotic and asinine. Atlanta’s season was simply underwhelming , with the players rarely showing any competitiveness during 2017. Over their last ten games of the regular season the Atlanta Braves were a paltry 3-7 in those contests . Brian Snitker might well be shown the door as the Braves’ manager after such a disastrous season, where Sun Trust Park was sparsely attended in the ball-club’s first year of usage of the venue. While there seems to be a great deal of praise for the Braves’ farm system , considered to be one of the top-five farm systems in all of baseball. Even if John Coppolella was the principal architect of the system , it begs the question what has he done to acquire those players and others over the past three years ? This is something which baseball needs answers to and I don’t believe that Atlanta is the only organization operating under such a guise . They just happen to be the first ball club caught by the league.

Never let it be said that Derek Jeter will always seek to be a popular owner . In what will be his first role as one of the lead partners which purchased the Miami Marlins . Jeter is promising to make what will be the first of some very unpopular decisions . The former New York Yankees captain and star has let be known things are going to change , with the likelihood , several players on the current roster are likely to be traded. Atop of that list could very well be Giancarlo Stanton , the team’s highest paid , best and most popular player. Stanton still has ten years remaining on his current contract which pays him an average of $25 million a year. Details show that the slugger will be paid in excess of $28 million in 2018 if he remains on the team’s roster.

The Miami Marlins remain an unprofitable franchise, while also being among baseball’s least supported teams , when looking at the attendance figures for this and last season . From my own standpoint , I believe the $1.26 billion purchase price paid was far too much. Outgoing owner Jeffrey Loria will walk away with more than a pocket filled with cash., as he laughs all the way to the bank. Baseball fans are left scratching their heads, as another deceitful owner dupes the league hierarchy into stupidity. Rob Manfred remains as gullible and as out of touch as his predecessor , Bud Selig .

First and foremost Derek Jeter and his partners have an obligation to turn things around off the field as well as on the field. If it means stop the hemorrhaging of red ink by slashing payroll , then so be it , even if it means the for the sake of not being competitive for a couple of years.

Someone is going to be mighty upset this season within the world of basketball . The NBA off-season has been littered with trades sending players to new destinations . For some teams , they will be on the rise , while others will be at a standstill or simply regress. Take my word for it , neither the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks will be winning more than thirty games this season. Their respective rosters are lightweight and will become insignificant by mid-season, just as they were last season . LaVar Ball might be singing the praises of his son, Lonzo Ball who was drafted by the Lakers. In some circles the young rookie is seen as the second coming of Magic Johnson . Tall praise indeed , but the team is nowhere as good as some might believe them to be. This will be a learning experience for Lonzo Ball and his teammates over the course of the regular season and at the same time , I am not so sure how Luke Walton will acquit himself. It was all well and good , being on a championship winning team with the Golden State Warriors., but when you take a step backwards and down, simply because , the heralded name of the Los Angeles Lakers is meant to mean something. You just have to remember it has been almost a decade since the Lakers made their presence felt around the league. The team would defeat the Boston Celtics (4-3) during the 2009-10 NBA Finals .

Even if the Los Angeles Lakers are waiting for LeBron James to bring his considerable talents to the City of Angels, I for one don’t believe the four-time League MVP will be coming to a team that is sparse on talent in so many areas of its game. Beyond Lonzo Ball , there  isn”t one player who one might suggest is a real game-changer by any stretch of the imagination . Granted all of the hype concerning Ball has more do with one or two games in the Summer League than his appearances for the Lakers in the preseason to date . Front office executives Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka will be under a microscope this season. The Lakers have three more preseason games to find their groove before hitting the ground running, to begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Los Angeles Clippers in their home season opener .

Well, we had the hype , then the gripe and now the retirement. Floyd Mayweather (50-0) made light work of his opponent Conor McGregor (0-1) , with both fighters bringing home a six-figure payday from a fight which was short on excitement and thrills. The fact that UFC President Dana White chose to make refunds to fans who felt they had been misled and cheated with this alleged extravaganza . McGregor’s debut as a boxer was basically a sham , with the Mixed Martial Artist barely showing any boxing skills whatsoever. It was this type of incessant hype and bravado brought to the spectacle , which caused the fans to feel that they had been cheated. This fight was a frigging farce from start to finish and it should be seen as nothing more than that .

So let me get this straight , Adalaide Byrd , wife of a senior executive within the WBA was allowed to be a ringside judge at a world title fight between Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘ Canelo’ Alvarez ? This bout was well on its way to being one of the fights of the year , but the official result was somehow concluded to be a draw. Golovkin  clearly won the fight , but Byrd’s scorecard suggested the fight in her eyes was a ‘draw’ . Pardon me for saying this , but what the fuck is going on in the world of boxing ? Overpaid and over-hyped fighters and now this , a fucking judge , who on her best day couldn’t differentiate a dog’s ass from a hole in the ground.

Saul Alvarez and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya are clamoring for a rematch and somehow while I think it is a possibility , I do hope that the proposed rematch is not staged in Las Vegas or anywhere in the state of Nevada ! The city and state may well be the Mecca of the boxing world , but it is also one of the most corrupt places on the planet , bar none. It’s not just the sport but just about everything the state represents along with the State Athletic Commission .

Andre Ward was a world champion in two weight divisions and he retired as an unbeaten champion. His decisive win over Sergei Kovalev for the World Light Heavyweight title was enough to seal his legacy . Ward was certainly one of the best boxers of his generation, but sadly, with his lacking the charisma and his bringing his religious faith with him into the ring. It did not provide for a great spectacle for the ordinary boxing fan. However, were we to only discuss his professional career, then we would have something to genuinely talk about. Andre Ward had a promising professional start in the world boxing , being a successful amateur and as well as a > former Olympic competitor. How Ward will be judged by boxing historians as well as the fans will be open to a great deal of debate and conjecture .

Jon Jones has twice climbed to the top of the Mixed Martial Arts’ world, having twice won the UFC Light Heavyweight Title , but as with his career, he is now open to the question . ‘ Are you a cheater Jon Jones ‘ ? Jones in his most recent bout challenged former champion Daniel Cormier , won the bout decisively with a technical knockout (TKO) , only to then to told, he tested positive for a banned substance. A second mandatory test nullified the first test result , but the USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) recommended to the UFC and California State Athletic Commission that the right result be stricken from the record and be shown as a no contest.

Jon Jones (right) is seen here prior to his second fight against Daniel Cormier for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title. Jones won the fight , only for it to be later revealed that he failed a drug test . This has been the second time the MMA fighter has failed a test under the UFC . A second test sample however came back negative but the damage had already been done to Jones’ reputation. He was stripped of his belt the bout was declared a no contest and he now faces a second suspension. Many of his contemporaries are calling for him to receive a lifetime ban by the UFC. If that were to happen the sport and in particular the UFC would lose one of its biggest attractions and stars

While Dana White has not recommended Jones be suspended , many of his contemporaries and former UFC stars are calling for a lifetime ban for the two-time former champion. Having won the belt in the octagon , Jon Jones has been stripped of the title and Daniel Cormier has regained the Light Heavyweight Title belt by default .

The UFC is now in a state of disarray , as two of its biggest stars at decisive points of their respective careers. Conor McGregor needs to remain in the UFC and away from the world of professional boxing, while Jon Jones has to rethink his whole professional mindset and whether or not he continues his professional career as an MMA fighter under the UFC banner.

Picture gallery. Click on an individual frame to view that picture along with the accompanying narrative.

Which current or most recent sports’ story do you believe has been the most important, where there is substance to it all along the way ?

Tophatal …….

USA Today News

NFL news

MLB news and MLB Postseason schedule

NBA news

Boxing news (Yahoo Sports)

—-

UFC news

 

If You Snooze You Lose …….

If You Snooze You Lose …

So while the NFL becomes a battlefield and we have the President (Donald Trump) chiming with his own thoughts on the issue of patriotism. Let’s pause for thought, he calls players who choose not to stand “sons of bitches” , but clearly won’t appreciate it is within their right not to stand . Bear in mind , neither Donald Trump or his administration thus far, specifically the US Defense Department seems to have a problem paying out millions of dollars annually merely to have the national anthem paid the league’s regular season games. Am I missing something here ? I guess not !!! The league itself has got off to an inauspicious start and as usual idiots were quick to make prognostications without actually looking at the teams in depth.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slide show.

At long last the New York Knicks awoke from their slumber and their first act under the leadership of Scott Perry was to make the decision to trade Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for a bag of Juju beans and pot of gold. I will be exact , Anthony was traded for Enes Kanter , Doug McDermott and a second round unconditional 2018 NBA Draft pick . This trade has Sam Presti coming off looking like damn genius. From my own standpoint, this simply makes the Knicks even more vulnerable while the Thunder becomes a top-five team in the West Conference and a possible contender for the NBA title this upcoming season.

Last season , the New York Knicks were woefully inept in just about every facet of their game and it begs the question, where the hell does this franchise now go from here ? Is Jeff Hornacek as the team’s Head Coach , still able to get the best out of his players and specifically this newly revamped team ? Hornacek is in way above his head and I don’t believe the New York Knicks will be competitive enough this season to win their division much less be considered a playoff contender. This Knicks’ roster is extremely poor , with a lack of scoring after the departure of Carmelo Anthony.

The New York Knicks’ loss becomes the Oklahoma City Thunder’s gain, with the Western Conference becoming a great deal stronger than their Eastern rivals. In all likelihood the reigning champions the Golden State Warriors will be the prohibitive favorites to repeat as champions for the upcoming season . The team’s depth might be even better than last season, with much of its core remaining intact. It will be interesting to see how the Golden State Warriors will fare during their regular season meetings with the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. The first of those meetings will take place on the 22nd November on the road when the two meets for the first time as part of their regular season schedule.

If Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson are to turn around the recent lack of fortune for the Los Angeles Lakers , then these two idiots had better start reading the NBA handbook concerning league conduct , rather than believing they and the franchise are above the league’s rules. It wasn’t by coincidence the NBA hierarchy slapped the Lakers with a rather punitive fine , but I believe Johnson and Pelinka’s actions in trying to lure Paul George to sign with the franchise , when the player had yet to state his declaring status , smacked of sheer conceitedness. George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder by the Indiana Pacers , much to the chagrin of the Lakers , most notably their executives GM Rob Pelinka and Head of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson.

The Los Angeles Lakers will enter this season with one of their weakest teams in franchise history. While there has been a great deal of ballyhoo concerning Lonzo Ball , the rookie has yet to play a game at the professional level . Summer League asides , it will be interesting to see how Ball will seek to break down some of the best defenses in the league , when playing on a team that is actually devoid of in-depth talent . Luke Walton and his coaching staff are likely to have a problematical season as the Lakers seek to find a groove. I for one don’t see a vast improvement on the twenty-six wins by the franchise last season and they will be lucky if they are able to improve on that figure by a significant margin.

Lonzo Ball and his teammates will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Los Angeles Clippers , which will be the Lakers’ home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California . With the Clippers also in a state of disarray after the abrupt departure of Chris Paul , it could very well be that the City of Angels’ two NBA franchises will be mired in mediocrity this upcoming season. The relationship between Doc Rivers and Chris Paul might well have reached breaking point and with the lack of defensive prowess on the Clippers last season and their fall from grace in the NBA Playoffs might well have been far too much for the veteran point guard to bear.

Somehow the Los Angeles Clippers will try to prove themselves a better team without Chris Paul than they are a team with him. Paul was the glue that held the team together last season and he provided the Clippers with the leadership they were sorely lacking from seasons past. When Steve Ballmer purchased the Clippers for $2 billion , it was hoped the erasing of Donald Sterling’s ownership would be gone for good , bringing about a new era of sanity within the organization. Instead , it has brought about a great deal of intrinsic complacency, far too much power with Doc Rivers not only being the Head Coach but also Director of Basketball Operations . Lawrence Frank might well be the President of Basketball Operations , but I doubt he has that much say in the personnel decisions made for the organization. Far too many Chiefs and not enough Indians . Hall of Fame player Jerry West has since been added to the mix as a Special Consultant . A similar role which he had in being the architect in the successful resurrection of the Golden State Warriors. Needless to say, if both Rivers , Frank and Michael Winger fail to heed the advice provided by the legendary player then the fortunes of the Clippers will sink further into the abyss.

A great deal is now being asked of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan , to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to glory , but I am not so sure either player has the maturity or temperament to get the job done. In the NBA Playoffs of last season the Clippers gave us a glimpse as to why they remain vulnerable and very much overrated . Defense is not a word in their vocabulary and it never has been with Doc Rivers leading the charge as the Head Coach . When the Clippers begin their regular season schedule , it will be interesting to see how this team fares through their first ten games.

It never ceases to amaze me when I read some of the idiotic comments by fans concerning a number of teams within the NBA ! More often than not, there hasn’t been a great deal of thought put into their assessments never-mind the statements made. Recently I read a comment by an avid sports’ fans , in which the individual stated the “window of opportunity” continues to close for the San Antonio Spurs . Less I am mistaken , with twenty straight Playoff appearances, a feat that has not been matched by any other NBA franchise in league history , then there has to be something wrong with the mindset of the individual. Need we be reminded that along the way , the Spurs have won five NBA titles under Gregg Popovich as the team’s Head Coach ? Popovich’s coaching staff is considered to be one of the best in the league and throughout the years a number of his former assistants have gone on to hold head coaching positions around the league. RC Buford has also groomed a lot of executive talent, who have since moved on to hold similar positions as a general manager within the NBA. I don’t believe there are any other teams around the league with that type of credibility as an organization and then you weigh in the consummate class and professionalism shown by Peter Holt . Nothing else needs to be said at this juncture.

It has been over a decade and a half since the San Antonio Spurs had a sub.500 season in the NBA and not win their division. Things began to change in terms of the franchise’s recent history when the Spurs made future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan their first round draft pick from the 1997 NBA Draft . Duncan’s career with the franchise are what legends are made of and it is a testament to the player’s legacy that he is held in such high esteem by his contemporaries . Having retired from the game at the end of the 2015-16 season , Duncan is a franchise leader in so many statistical categories with the San Antonio Spurs. His five NBA titles in tow with Gregg Popovich are symbolic of his legacy and this franchise.

The team which Tim Duncan left behind has now evolved with Kawhi Leonard seen as its leader, but veterans Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli remain part of its core. Leonard has become one of the league’s elite players , having twice won the NBA Defensive Player of The Year Award , his game has now evolved , with his becoming efficient on both ends of the floor.

As long Gregg Popovich is at the coaching helm of the San Antonio Spurs, then this team can never be written off. Only a fool would continue to underestimate the Spurs at their own expense. Last season San Antonio had the second-best record in the league , with only the Golden State Warriors having a better record while going on to win their second NBA title in the last three years. If the Spurs are to compete within a much more formidable Western Conference this season , then their games against stalwarts such as the Warriors , Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder should go a long way in telling us about the team , in particular Kawhi Leonard’s teammates LaMarcus Aldridge , Patty Mills , Pau Gasol , Danny Green , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli.

The San Antonio Spurs’ preseason will consist of will consist of just five games , before embarking upon their regular season schedule beginning on the 18th October when they face the Minnesota Timberwolves at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas .

When Tilman Fertitta agreed in principle to buy the Houston Rockets for a reputed $2.2 billion , the sale price got everyone’s notice. The Rockets are not considered a big-market team , but the exploits of James Harden this past season has placed the franchise back into the stratosphere. Outgoing owner Leslie Alexander wasn’t desperate to make the sale , but he felt in order for the Rockets to move forward , now was the right time and Fertitta was the right owner to make it all possible. With Chris Paul having joined Houston in a totally inexplicable trade , the Los Angeles Clippers’ loss will be come the Rockets’ gain , their greatest gain over the past three seasons that is for sure. There is no doubt in my mind the Western Conference will literally take their opponents in the East this season and simply beat the living crap out of them all season-long !!

James Harden scored against everyone almost at will , keeping up a frenetic pace , to such an extent , it had everyone wondering was there anything else he wasn’t capable of doing last season. The Rockets will be a contender this season and there is no doubt in mind they are more than capable of beating the very best that the East will have to offer. As to their contemporaries within the West, that remains to be seen , but this will be a very interesting season for the franchise. Harden and his teammates will begin their regular season in earnest when they face the Golden State Warriors on Opening Night , 17th October in a game being played at Oracle Arena in Oakland , California .

So LeBron James is giving fans in Cleveland assurances that he won’t be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers anytime soon. Personally, I don’t believe it is a long-term commitment from the player , as his relationship with Dan Gilbert has continued to sour , without taking into account the rumored disintegration of his friend ship with former teammate Kyrie Irving . The point guard was traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isiah Thomas . On paper the trade might seem to be equitable, until you take into account Thomas is coming off an injury and off-season surgery. The Cavaliers’ front office failed to use due diligence and threatened to rescind the deal , only to be forced to go ahead with the transaction after some intervention from the league hierarchy and the fact Kyrie Irving made it known he had no wish to remain in Cleveland. The Cavaliers remain the team to beat within the East, but I don’t believe the team in its current guise will have it all their own way within the East over the course of this season !

The Cleveland Cavaliers will have to come out of the starting gates firing on all cylinders , because I believe they will be in for a world of hurt if Isiah Thomas cannot find his footing , because to my mind , Derrick Rose has absolutely nothing left in the tank , whereby he can be productive for the Cavaliers. This much was evident with his play last season for the lackluster New York Knicks. Thankfully, the Cavaliers play in a weak division and a continuously mediocre Eastern Conference. If they qualify as a top four-seed, then the NBA Playoffs within the conference should not prove to be that much of a problem.

Not one , not two , not three , not four , but at least six NBA titles. Well that was the notion of the Miami Heat when they signed LeBron James as a free agent, as the four-time League MVP would join close friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . Heat executive Pat Riley was hailed as a genius and history was quickly made with the franchise. Four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals , yielded two victories , but then things began to get sour as Riley refused to bolster the roster , much to the chagrin of James. What LeBron failed to understand , while the Miami Heat were winning , the ever-increasing payroll could not keep abreast of the franchise continuing to hemorrhage red ink along its bottom line . It’s still something LeBron James is still not able to fathom in Cleveland with the Cavaliers having lost in excess of $80 million over the last two years.

Dwyane Wade after a nostalgic return to the state of Illinois , where he played last season for the Chicago Bulls , has agreed to a buyout of his contract , then chose to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It had been rumored Riley would have been interested in signing Wade , with the seasoned veteran becoming the team’s leader. The fact that this did not take place speaks to the volume of resentment I still believe there is between the player and the Heat executive . Behind the scenes, Pat Riley has often been ruthless and brutal , but in public he tries to come across as a likable character. Machiavelli has nothing on this particular executive . Like a moth to a flame it appears that everyone wants to be with LeBron , while the player himself has always tried to tell us he’s never played on a Super Team .

John Paxson and Gar Forman of the Chicago Bulls now have the unenviable task of trying to persuade the long-starving fans of the Bulls, they are on the right track to rebuilding this franchise. The glory years of the Jordan led teams to six NBA titles are a thing of the past and it appears an imminent return to those halcyon days are nowhere near apparent. Chicago’s best player of last season Jimmy Butler was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves , with the belief that a fresh start behind a youth-oriented lineup would be the way ahead. A sighting of Dennis Rodman wearing a wedding dress , professing his love for all things magical now seems to reverberating around the city of Chicago . Lamar Odom now has his eyes on becoming a pharmacist , dispensing medical marijuana to those desperately in need and Bulls’ owner , Jerry Reinsdorf is now on the brink of having a nervous breakdown. Guess what ? You snooze , you lose .

—-

Picture gallery. Click on picture to view that frame and also read the accompanying narrative.

Which things are you most looking forward to as the NBA preseason and regular season beckons ? Do you believe the Golden State Warriors can make a successful defense or their NBA title ? Also which NBA Rookie do you believe will have the biggest impact on the league this upcoming season ?

Tophatal ….

Similar subject matter: https://tophatal.wordpress.com/category/NBA

NBA news

NBA preseason schedule

NBA regular season schedule begins 17th October

2017 NBA Draft

NBA transactions

NBA team payrolls (cap)

Top salaried players (2017)

NBA standings (conference)

One step forward , two steps back ….

–While the NFL world continues to show its idiocy , the sheer bewilderment and utter stupidity of sports’ fans over the stance taken by San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to stand for the national anthem. When one considers the fact many of Kaepernick’s detractors are basing their criticism not only on race , but also their belief the player is a self-absorbed narcissist , speaks volumes as to the impasse which now can be seen in the nation along racial lines in large part, but also among the African-American race , questioning the player’s loyalties. Criticism has also come from current and former NFL players and also from within the political arena. Yet, those with their criticisms somehow seem to have forgotten athletes such as Muhammad Ali , Jim Brown , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Althea Gibson , Jackie Robinson , Bill Russell , Dave Bing , Arthur Ashe , Jack Johnson and several other prominent activists , who also happened to be athletes , questioning the direction of the country as to the ongoing social injustices taking place. Throughout history , athletes have questioned the social ills of this country , but it would appear , given the continued racial divide , its felt better that they be seen and not heard, especially if they just happen to be a minority.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

This story still rages on and somehow, no one questions he behavior of Maine Governor Paul LePage his calling for a race war and the gassing of the Democratic members of his state legislature . Somehow this type of behavior can be overlooked by a leading state executive , but the moment an athlete does something not deemed befitting within his normal parameters he will be questioned as to his loyalty and patriotism. One can consider the sheer and utter stupidity also of former New England Patriots’ safety Rodney Harrison and his claims of Colin Kaepernick not knowing what it is like to be growing up as a young black man in America , but his being from a white privileged background. Unfortunately, this was something of a rather asinine statement from the retired veteran , who had he chosen to do some research into Kaepernick’s background , he would find that the quarterback had been born of a white mother , African-American father and was placed into the adoption system at an early age , because of the criminal activities of both parents. The player would be adopted by a Caucasian family and raised as their own, without his ever being denied his racial ethnicity by his adoptive parents . Harrison has since apologized for his statements and with good reason.

With the beginning of the 2016 NFL regular season less than forty-eight hours away, teams are now settling themselves in for the onslaught for a long and arduous season. Chip Kelly has made the decision to install Blaine Gabbert as the starting quarterback for the team and while the speculation remains Colin Kaepernick will likely be traded or his career in the NFL coming to an abrupt end. I have to question whether or not Kelly will reconsider his position should the team start to lose with alarming regularity to begin their schedule ? Outside pressure is also being brought to bear on the current situation befalling Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers with the Santa Clara Police Department stating they are not prepared to provide safety and security protection for the public for any games at Levi Stadium , home to the Forty-Niners , if the player is in the team lineup . One also has to wonder at this juncture, if the San ta Clara Police Department would be still willing to continue their strike action after it was revealed the Niners’ fullback Bruce Miller attacked a seventy-year old man in a vicious assault. Miller has since been released by the organization

Chip Kelly and his coaching staff will prepare the San Francisco 49ers for the opening game of their regular season schedule when they face the Los Angeles Rams . Blaine Gabbert might well have done enough to convince Kelly he is ready for this game , but Gabbert’s track record in the league is far from desirable . . From my own perspective , I believe the Forty-Niners are likely to struggle this season as I have no confidence in Chip Kelly as a head coach . It was an act of desperation on the part of Trent Baalke and CEO Jed York to hire the embattled head coach after his failures in Philadelphia with the Philadelphia Eagles .

The NFL season will likely be filled with controversy throughout much of its schedule and to my mind given the premise , this league loves controversy and willingly courts it with as avarice as one would expect of a sports’ entity built solely as a profit making behemoth .

In what will be his final year of an already Hall of Fame worthy career Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz will be hoping to leave the game of baseball on a high. Ortiz and the Red Sox are in the midst of a very tight AL wildcard race where absolutely nothing can now be left to chance , with there still be so much left on the line . John Farrell and his managerial staff will prepare the team for their scheduled game on Tuesday afternoon when they face the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park in San Diego , California .

The Boston Red Sox will be looking to make inroads into the divisional lead of the Toronto Blue Jays within the AL East . David Ortiz has been lucky enough to lead a very good Red Sox team which has seen many of their younger players stepping up to the plate. Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr have been ever-present with their play, while Rick Porcello leads the league in wins among starting pitchers in the Majors . Boston could prove to be among the most dangerous teams in the playoff hunt given their recent play , but a great deal of that will now be predicated upon the performances seen over the remainder of their regular season schedule in the month of September. David Ortiz for his part has been showing the form which has made him one of the most feared sluggers in all of baseball over the past ten years . Ortiz is considered to be among the front-runners for the AL MVP Award , an individual award the seasoned veteran has never won. Should the Boston Red Sox make the postseason , then I expect the team to hit a rich vein of form and be among the most competitive of the AL teams. Fans of the game know quite clearly what David Ortiz is capable of doing when he’s playing at the top of his form . As he leads , so the rest (teammates) will follow.

The Chicago Cubs are slowly making g believers out of everyone and that gratitude has to be placed firmly upon the shoulders of team manager Joe Maddon and his managerial staff . Maddon has seen his team run away with the NL Central division, having already secured their place in the postseason.Yet , the goal appears to be with the team , win out and win convincingly over their opponents as they round out their regular season schedule. On Tuesday night the Chicago Cubs were matched up against the Milwaukee Brewers in a game being played at Miller Park , in Milwaukee , Wisconsin. The two most impressive players on the Cubs’ roster this season have been Kris Bryant and Jake Arrieta , but a solid mention should also be given to Jon Lester who has been stellar as the number two starter on Chicago’s pitching rotation .

Joe Maddon and his team will renew their ongoing series with the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday afternoon looking to further increase their lead over a divisional rival. A one-hundred win season doesn’t appear to be beyond the Chicago Cubs , with the ball-club having already notched eighty-nine wins to their credit , with only twenty-four games left on the remainder of their schedule. As recently as 2008 and then again in 2015 , the Cubs came close to achieving that mark only to end up with ninety-seven victories in each of those seasons and also making the postseason . This year the ball-club will be hoping to make it to the Holy Grail with an appearance in the World Series itself and they will be looking to atone for the years of mediocrity since their last appearance in the ‘Fall Classic’. The Chicago Cubs’ highest pinnacle in the game came in 1908 when they claimed the World Series , with a series’ victory over the Detroit Tigers .

Prospects , prospects and even more prospects . At this time of the year with teams failing their passing grades , it becomes the time of the call-ups from the Minor Leagues and into the Majors. All of a sudden after several years of misspending and this season with there being a lack productivity from their offense, the New York Yankees have taken it upon themselves to flip the script and see what their youngsters can provide for this team. From my own perspective , I feel that both Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman have shown little faith in the farm system of the Yankees. Granted , this season , Luis Severino has stepped up to the plate as one of the few bright spots on the team alongside Masahiro Tanaka , Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez . There can be little doubt the New York Yankees are a long way off from where they need to be , in spite of the claims of Girardi the team is still in with a chance of making the postseason. Should they make it , then it will be a short-lived appearance during the early rounds.

Currently 3 ½ games out of a wildcard berth , the New York Yankees would have to pray the five teams ahead of them in the wildcard standings, will have an absolute meltdown over the next three weeks. Of late the Yankees have been playing above average ball, going 6-4 over their last ten games .

Joe Girardi seems extremely optimistic , but I do believe it is the only approach he can take for this team to the postseason, given the resounding disappointment they have been . At the start of the season there was a great deal of hope surrounding the Yankees. Mark Teixiera was thought to be injury-free and Alex Rodriguez after a stellar 2015 , the feeling was both of these All Stars would be producing . Instead, for the better part of this season , Teixeira has been on the DL , while Rodriquez has simply whiffed at everything sent his way over the strike zone. It was not at all surprising the decision was made by front office to release Alex Rodriguez , bringing to an end one of the most controversial careers in baseball over the last decade. Mark Teixeira formally announced that this season would be his last in Major League Baseball and his leaving the game sooner than expected. One could understand the reason why Brian Cashman and members of the Steinbrenner family came to the decision , given the financial commitment to both of these veterans at the start of the season exceeded $40 million .

As the New York Yankees wind down the remaining games on their schedule for the month of September , it is easy to suggest this ball-club is now playing for a sense of pride and self-respect. On Wednesday evening the Yankees will be playing host to the Toronto Blue Jays in a game to be played at Yankee Stadium , in the Bronx, New York . Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays will be on the mound as the starting pitcher against a yet to be named opponent.

Is there anything that the Tampa Bay Rays are able to do competently other than to lose with alarming consistency ? Derek Shelton the team’s hitting instructor was fired and Chad Mottola was promoted from their Minor League System to succeed Shelton. I am not so sure what that will actually achieve for a team which has now lost their best player , Evan Longoria and the productivity he brings to the table for the Rays. Pitcher Chris Archer has only shown fleeting moments of brilliance and somehow in one of the more asinine moves of the season GM Matt Silverman traded Matt Moore to the San Francisco Giants and in the aftermath of the deal, he made the announcement the team was better for the trade , with the acquisition of the players brought in to facilitate the transaction . I have to wonder at the direction this ball-club believes it is heading in , never-mind the ongoing issue of seeking a new stadium , which will come at the taxpayers’ expense.

Kevin Cash and the Rays’ managerial staff have a team which is deeply devoid of talent on many levels . A last place finish within the AL East appears to be on the cards along with possibly the worst record in the AL . Something of which seems to be reminiscent of the old days when this franchise was regular seen as the “laughing stock” around the game of baseball under former owner Vince Naimoli and during the early years of the ownership under Stuart Sternberg . If there was any doubt as to how bad things have been going for the Tampa Bay Rays , then you only have to look at the team’s play over the course of the season their losses and the number of series won.

Kevin Cash and the managerial staff will be preparing the team for today’s game when the Tampa Bay Rays take to the field to face the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida . I expect the contest to follow the current and regular season series between the two teams , with the Rays once again falling to their divisional foe. From hereon-in whatever unfolds for the Tampa Bay Rays will be predicated upon the mindset of the team and managerial staff.

—-


—–
Picture gallery . There is an accompanying narrative to each frame . Simply click unto that picture to view.

While the idiot sports’ fans , general public and media continue to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick it does seem somewhat asinine they have no sense of history and the fact athletes in the past have questioned social injustices taking place throughout the nation’s history , specifically over the last six-plus decades. For a country which professes to take injustices and seeks to address them with reverence , it is becoming abundantly clear this is all nothing more than a fallacy .

As the regular season of baseball comes to a close which teams do you believe will have the most to prove and are likely to viewed as contenders for the World Series ?

🙂

Tophatal ….. 2016/09/07
—-

NFL news

Week one of the NFL regular season schedule

MLB news

MLB schedule three days at a glance

MLB standings (divisional) and wildcard standings

A Swing and A Miss ….

A Swing and A Miss ….

Well, we’re just passed one-quarter way through the MLB schedule for this season and already there has been a managerial casualty , unlikely to be the last of the season . Fredi Gonzalez’s dismissal as the manager of the Atlanta Braves was not that much of a surprise, given the fact the team possessed the worst record in all of baseball. Elsewhere , the Chicago Cubs have caught everyone off-guard with their resolute play while leading the NL Central . Already , there has been growing discussion as to which players have been performing well and should be considered among the front-runners for an appearance at the All Star Game which is being held at Petco Park , home to the San Diego Padres . It will be interesting to see which players will obtain the largest tally of votes within the AL and NL for baseball’s mid-season showcase event.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

Several teams this season will be under a great deal of assessment from the fans as well as the analysts at large , most notably the New York Yankees who are still in transition after the retirement of former team captain Derek Jeter . This team seems to have lost its direction , while there appears to be no apparent leader , or anyone capable of showing the leadership qualities often seen by Jeter at his very best. Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi and his managerial staff have been nonplussed by the lack of competitiveness shown by the players and I fully expect there to be some major shakeups among the playing the staff , if the team is not in a position to be challenging for the AL East divisional title or a wildcard berth during the waning months of the regular season schedule. Over their last ten games the New York Yankees have posted a 7-3 record , but still placing them third within the division, 5 ½ games behind the Baltimore Orioles (26-16) .

On Tuesday afternoon the Yankees will be playing host to the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium , in the Bronx , New York . On the mound for the New York Yankees will be Nathan Evoldi (4-2, 4.44 ERA) against R A Dickey , the Blue Jays’ knuckle-baller. The contrasting styles of the two starting pitchers should make for an interesting contest.

If the Yankees are to have any chance of winning the AL East then their play will have to be far more competitive than the fans have seen this season and it is especially true against their divisional and AL rivals . It remains to be seen whether or not Joe Girardi can win the second World Series’ title of his managerial career with the first coming in 2009 when the franchise won their very last world championship .

Robin Ventura and the Chicago White Sox (27-19) have made a solid and surprising start to their season , but over their last ten games the team has been far from impressive with a 3-7 mark , leading an AL Central division where the reigning World Series champions the Kansas City Royals are within striking distance of the division leading White Sox. Ventura is in his fifth season as the manager of the Chicago White Sox , having succeeded Ozzie Guillen who had been fired by former GM Ken Williams after what was thought to be a great deal of dissension and off the field issues between the manager and front office executive. Team owner Jerry Reinsdorf backed Williams’ decision wholeheartedly and the hiring of Ventura was something of a formality. The White Sox manager and his staff will be hoping the players can meet the expectations of their fans and the front office , as their postseason appearances over the past six seasons have been rare. In fact Chicago’s last appearance came in 2008 when they made it to the divisional round of the postseason that year . Their subsequent 3-1 series’ loss to the Tampa Bay Rays ended their postseason sojourn for the year.

The Chicago White Sox will be preparing to take on the Cleveland Indians at US Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois on Tuesday evening, in a meeting of the top two teams within the AL Central . Chris Sale of the White Sox will be seeking to become the first ten-game winner in the Majors this season. Sale remains unbeaten (9-0) , heading into the game against the Cleveland Indians and it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his spectacular start to the year.

During his astonishing career Ichiro Suzuki has hit some highs in terms of his personal achievements in the Majors . The one thing missing from the player’s mantelpiece is a World Series’ ring and title. He has been lucky enough to have played for three famed ball-clubs , but his postseason forays have been noticeably paltry , primarily because neither the Seattle Mariners , New York Yankees or Miami Marlins have made that much of an impact in the postseason over the past five years . Ichiro is now in his first second season with the Marlins , where he is seen as one of the team’s seasoned veterans . The player now stands on the threshold of joining a select group of players with 3,000 career hits and a career batting average of .300 or more . One should also remember at the height of his career he was also one of the best outfielders of his generation and though not as athletic as when he first entered the Majors in 2001 , winning the AL Rookie of The Year as well as ALMVP . Ichiro is still able to pull of a spectacular defensive play and showing why he is so respected among his peers.

Miami Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly has inherited a team filled with talent , but they have yet to meet their potential and whether or not the players are able to do so will be dependent upon the motivation brought by Mattingly and his managerial staff . With established stars such as Ichiro Suzuki, Giancarlo Stanton , Jose Fernandez , Marcell Ozuna , Wei-Yin Chen and Christian Yelich . it is hoped this will be the season where the Marlins prove to be competitive enough to take on all-comers. Having won two World Series during their history , it could be said the franchise has far exceeded expectations during their two decade existence , but with a relatively new stadium , baseball within South Florida has yet to grab hold of the community at large .

The Miami Marlins still have sparse attendance levels for their home games and being on the road does not appear to have whetted the appetite of the fans of the teams they tend to be playing in those contests. Baseball in the state of Florida at the Major League Level is about as popular as a bikini contest featuring grossly overweight females who believe themselves to be supermodels on a catwalk. Both images have about as much appeal as watching paint dry in the hot sun. Playing in the non-competitive NL East , the Marlins will find themselves this season as perhaps the fourth best team in the division, behind the Washington Nationals , New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies . Holding up the rear would be the Atlanta Braves , whose season continues to be abysmal .

The Miami Marlins will be looking to make inroads into the divisional lead of their rivals when they play host to the Tampa Bay Rays at Marlins Ballpark, in Miami on Tuesday evening. Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays when he faces Tom Koehler of the Marlins.

Call me naive, but you will have to prove a hell of lot to me in order to justify being paid $28 million a year , as is the case with Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers . Granted , the remaining two years on the player’s contract is guaranteed by his former team the Los Angeles Angels . Yet, I get the feeling neither team will be the benefactor in this deal. Hamilton has yet to play a full season for the Rangers ,ever since his return back to Texas. During the time-frame in question his productivity for the Texas Rangers has bordered on being mediocre. All this from a player who still believes the Angels did not come to his support after his sobriety issues once again hit the headlines. Josh Hamilton’s fall from grace was of his own choosing and twice before , the Angels came to his support , by assisting the outfielder get into a rehabilitation program for individuals who suffered with alcohol and chemical dependency (drug abuse). Somehow this must have escaped Hamilton’s attention, when he harangued the Angels’ organization , directing his vitriol at former general manager Jerry Dipoto and team owner Arte Moreno .

Courtesy of ESPN

MLB Rumor Central: Will Josh Hamilton return to Texas in 2017 ?

Any hopes that Josh Hamilton would provide a late-season boost for the Texas Rangers ended Monday when the club announced the 35-year-old outfielder will have left knee surgery.

Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers (Getty Images/ Bill Butler)

Hamilton, already on the 60-day disabled list, has only 170 regular-season at-bats and eight home runs since being re-acquired in a trade with the Angels last year.

General manager Jon Daniels said Hamilton intends to play in 2017, which will be the final year of his five-year, $125 million contract. There is no guarantee, however, that Hamilton’s return will be in Texas.

“We’re not ready to address that yet,” Daniels told Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News.

There is little financial risk in bringing back Hamilton since the Angels will be picking up all but a small portion of his remaining salary. The Rangers, however, might balk at using a roster spot on Hamilton since they will have no idea on what they will get in return. Texas was left short-handed by Hamilton’s injury issues this spring, contributing to its pursuit of free agent Ian Desmond.

==========================================
Click on link to read in full.
——————————————————

Josh Hamilton is now on the Texas Rangers’ disabled list (DL) and will be lost to the team for the rest of the season . Due to become a free agent in 2018 , I certainly don’t believe Jon Daniels would be willing to sign the player to a long-term deal as the risks far outweigh the advantages . Hamilton is no longer at the peak of his career and he has never provided any sense of leadership or maturity with any team he has played for. A player like Josh Hamilton has been a great disservice to the game of baseball , in spite of the accolades feted on the outfielder. Unfortunately, baseball has become such a parody of all the things once thought to be pure about the game , it is easy to understand why it has been bedeviled by scandal and lack of leadership and incompetence throughout its history. There are those who still to suggest the social significance of the footsteps taken by the sport , but at the end of the day it has counted for absolutely nothing.

Hector Santiago of the Los Angeles Angels will be on the mound when he faces Colby Lewis of the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Stadium in Arlington , Texas on the 24th May , 2016. A continuation of the current series between these two long-established AL teams.

Perhaps it’s too early to start talking awards and the leading contenders for AL MVP, NL MVP , Cy Young Award , and Rookie of The Year . But there are several extremely great candidates for each given their productivity for their respective teams. In the AL for MVP , it could come down to the usual list of suspects with among the front-runners , Miguel Cabrera , Mike Trout , Josh Donaldson , Robinson Cano , Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr . All of the players mentioned have stood out for their teams and they are one of the major reasons why those clubs have been prominent in the standings. In the NL we have Ben Zobrist , Ryan Braun , Yoenis Cespedes , Bryce Harper and Nolan Arenado to name but a few. It would be safe to say no matter which way you try to disseminate the argument , Clayton Kershaw remains the best pitcher in baseball by a wide margin . His success this season has been staggering and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher looks as if he is certainly the guy to beat in the NL for this year’s Cy Young Award. In the AL , you can take your pick from Chris Sale whose season just seems to be getting better with each game. His challengers could come from among the following candidates , Rich Hill , Jose Quintana , Danny Salazar , Chris Tillman and Josh Tomlin . Among the Rookies within the NL and AL , it will come down to the consistency shown these youngsters over the course of the season and their quest for Rookie of The Year honors within each league .

Joe Maddon has been a very good manager and in recent seasons he has shown why he is so well-respected among his peers. Having won the AL Manager of the Year while with the Tampa Bay Rays , it is quite possible he could be the leading contender for this season’s award within the NL. The Chicago Cubs are still flying high and have not been truly tested to date within the Majors , while having being among the best of the teams within the National League. Buck Showalter has the Baltimore Orioles leading the AL East and looking to make their way back to the postseason. The team has been playing with a great deal of resolve with Manny Machado showing why he is one of the best short-stops in the game. As the Orioles’ manager Showalter has been able to resurrect the fortunes of the franchise and make them relevant once again. All that is now needed , is a prolonged postseason run and their chance of winning World Series title. If this is to become a reality , then the effort from the players will have to be a concerted all-round push over the course of the season. Showalter remains my personal favorite to win his fourth AL Manager of the Year Award !

By clicking on an image you can view the frame in a reformatted size along with a narrative.

What are your impressions of the first-quarter of the MLB season and which teams do you believe to be in danger of falling from grace and which do you believe are firm contenders for the pennants this season as well as the World Series ?

Tophatal ….. 2016/05/24

🙂

MLB news

MLB schedule three days at a glance

MLB probable pitchers (24th May)

MLB standings (divisional) and wildcard standings

This week in baseball history

On this day in MLB history

MLB free agents (2017) and available free agents

MLB team payrolls

Highest paid salary (base 2016)

MLB postseason history

Too late the hero …

They came they saw and thought they would conquer , instead the heavily favored Carolina Panthers laid a monumental goose-egg as they were outplayed , outcoached and made to look ordinary in their loss to the Denver Broncos. For their part, the Broncos avenged their horrendous loss of two years ago, when they fell asleep at the wheel in their embarrassingly lopsided defeat to the Seattle Seahawks. Panthers’ quarterback , Cam Newton the presumptive League MVP was harassed all game-long by the Broncos’ defense, with Vonn Miller having an exceptional game , while being named Superbowl MVP.

Too late the hero

They came they saw and thought they would conquer , instead the heavily favored Carolina Panthers laid a monumental goose-egg as they were outplayed , out-coached and made to look ordinary in their loss to the Denver Broncos . For their part, the Broncos avenged their horrendous loss of two years ago, when they fell asleep at the wheel in their embarrassingly lopsided defeat to the Seattle Seahawks . Panthers’ quarterback , Cam Newton the presumptive League MVP was harassed all game-long by the Broncos’ defense, with Vonn Miller having an exceptional game , while being named Superbowl MVP. The resulting 24-10 win by the Denver Broncos, brings to an end one of the best seasons seen from an NFL franchise in terms of their defensive capabilities seen during the regular and postseason . Denver’s defense was exceptional and their play-making ability exhibited in the Superbowl was nothing short of spectacular.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

For Peyton Manning , the question remains, does he now bow out on a career-high , having won his second Superbowl or does he return for one more year with the Denver Broncos ? Certainly, he will be getting advice from his family and closest friends but I believe Manning also seek advice from Broncos’ Head of Operations and former quarterback John Elway , whose career with the franchise have been etched in Denver Broncos’ folklore. Denver came into this game as the overwhelming underdogs , but when it mattered the most, it was the defense who stepped up to the plate to make this victory all the more satisfying for their fans and the organization.

This off-season , I have no doubt John Elway , the front office and the coaching staff of Gary Kubiak will go about assessing the team’s needs in the run-up to the 2016 NFL Draft . With notable free agents on the roster who will undoubtedly be looking to get paid , one could reason , Elway will not be rushed into things concerning the Broncos’ roster and their off-season dealings. Having been the architect of this team , drafting and acquiring free agents to bolster the roster , adding depth to the team overall. It could be said , Elway should be taking as much credit for this success , as the players on the team.

There was a solemn note to this Superbowl with John Elway acknowledging words of appreciation for team owner Pat Bowlen who was unable to attend Sunday’s event. Bowlen has been the ever-present figure presiding over the franchise almost from its very start. Ill-health has taken its toll on this much revered owner and it seems only fitting that the Denver Broncos’ greatest player was the person offering Bowlen , his best wishes.

Carolina Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera , obviously disappointed with his team’s loss , was the first to acknowledge this was a learning experience for his players . In his post-game interview the coach praised his opponents while stating his team will get better and they have learned something from this loss. The disappointment on the faces of the Panthers’ players was there for every one to see and the gut-wrenching way with which they discombobulated, was all the more unbelievable. Mistimed efforts by the receivers , Cam Newton being harassed and pressured played a part in the Carolina Panthers’ downfall. Furthermore, with Ron Rivera’s coaching staff not adapting the to Wade Phillips’ defensive strategies have me wondering , did this have more to do with Panthers not figuring out they were going up against the NFL’s best defensive team during the postseason ? As good as the Denver Broncos were said to be defensively, Carolina through their sheer desperation simply had no real answer , their world came crashing down because they lacked composure and an unwillingness to change or battle their opponent head on.

With the result of the Superbowl now known , we will see how the NFL Draft pans out as the teams make their choices on Draft Day. The Tennessee Titans will have the privilege of making the first pick in the upcoming draft and it will be interesting to see the decision made by the Titans’ front office as they seek to fortify a roster around the skill-set of Marcus Mariota . The only way is up for the Titans after another disastrous season in the NFL and while Mariota was able to show signs of leadership and composure , when the surrounding cast appears to be nothing more than mediocre , then there is not a great which can be done and that was clearly the case for Mike Mularkey and his coaching staff . Mularkey replaced Ken Whisenhunt who had been fired earlier in the season after the Titans’ inauspicious start to their schedule . There are a litany of issues which needed to be addressed by the Tennessee Titans during the off-season and while one can only hope to see some signs of improvement from the AFC South based franchise, I am of the opinion they are likely to struggle again this upcoming season !

Over the last ten years the Dallas Cowboys have sought ride into the postseason on the shoulder of Tony Romo . Suffice to say, I believe Cowboys’ owner and GM Jerry Jones has spent way too much time hyping up the franchise while making a great deal of money over-charging fans for a rather mediocre product ! Romo’s postseason malaise have been well-chronicled along with his continuous excuses and the very fact he is no longer able to play a regular sixteen-game schedule . During this off-season the quarterback will once again be undergoing surgery, having re-injured his shoulder. Can we just say , if Romo were a race horse who repeatedly suffered the same injury , he would have been euthanized ? Head coach Jason Garrett , continually the ‘pet poodle’ of Jerry Jones , is simply proving whether or not he has on-field talent, slight or genuinely very good , he cannot get the best out of those players , much less truly indicate he has a modicum of coaching acumen. The losses suffered by the Cowboys this past season were as just as much the players’ fault as it was Garrett’s and his ill-prepared coaching staff’s .

I have never really been enamored with the Dallas Cowboys and this constant belief they are ‘ America’s Team’ . It is said , if you tend to spread the message long and loud enough , then people are likely to believe it. Well, I do believe the Cowboys alongside the New England Patriots are the most despised teams in the NFL , while also being the most hated in North American professional sports !

It would be a safe bet to suggest , when Tony Romo was lost the Dallas Cowboys during the season, their year was essentially over. Neither Matt Cassel or Brandon Weeden as Romo’s under-studies were able to get the job done as the team’s starting quarterback, replacing the Pro Bowl player . Cassel was never consistent enough and Weeden was simply out of his depth.

The losses suffered by the Cowboys this past season were as just as much the players’ fault as it was Garrett’s and his ill-prepared coaching staff’s. Dallas having finished their season with a 4-12 record will have the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. If their first round draft based on the team’s needs are anything to go by, then there is a very distinct possibility Jerry Jones will likely take a quarterback , but this purely based on speculation from my own perspective ! The Cowboys’ needs are vast and varied and given Jones’ inclinations , just about anything is possible. One can only hope this upcoming season the Dallas Cowboys will have their game faces on , rather than being dressed in clown costumes and performing like the NFL’s answer for ‘comedic relief’.

Not one to pour salt into the wounds ,but in the aftermath of another deplorable season if all the fans of the St Louis Rams can feel excited about is their imminent return to the greater Los Angeles area , then it is to their shame. Rams’ owner and eponymous billionaire and husband of Ann Walton-Kroenke , of the Walton family fortune . Stanley Kroenke , as the owner of the NFL franchise has presided over a disaster since he acquired the team and this move can and should be seen as nothing more than to take away your attention away from what has been another year of just incompetence from the top on down . Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff appeared lost and the players seemed to be lost all season long. There was but one bright spot to this team and it was the play of their rookie running back Todd Gurley . While others might be calling for the names of Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston for the NFL Offensive Rookie of The Year . To my mind , Gurley made enough of an impact to have outshone his contemporaries from the 2015 NFL Draft class ! Whether or not the Rams’ running back wins the award remains to be seen.

Jeff Fisher and the St Louis Rams never seemed to be in control of their own destiny from the start of the season , right until its very end and their 7-9 record was reflective of that very fact . Poorly led on the field of play, their quarterback play it has to be said , neither Nick Foles and Case Keenum were up to the task of leading this team.

Stanley Kroenke having bought a large parcel of land outside the town of Industry , California will now seek to build a stadium which will in all likelihood will be publicly financed, while the surrounding area for the stadium will be for commercial and residential use , all under the umbrella of one of Kroenke’s commercial enterprises. While the Rams’ fans in Los Angeles might not seem perturbed with the use of public funds to aid one of the richest men in the country with one of his whims, it plainly speaks to the ignorance of the fans of the NFL in general and their lack of economics. As to the NFL hierarchy , well with the move having been approved, this is one more feather in the cap for Roger Goodell , whose own image is in need of something positive . His leadership of the NFL has been one of the poorest in living memory and perhaps among those of his contemporaries within MLB (Bud Selig and Rob Manfred) , NHL (Gary Bettman), NBA (David Stern) and NASCAR (Mike Helton).

If the St Louis Rams’ season was said so monstrous , then for the Oakland Raiders theirs was simply dire and one where there was little of note to take seriously. Jack Del-Rio did all he could without their being anything to show for it at the end of the day. Now with team owner Mark Davis and GM Reggie McKenzie having met with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson , CEO of Sands Corporation the entertainment and gaming conglomerate with a major presence in Las Vegas , Nevada as well as throughout much of the Far East . Adelson proposes the building of a vast stadium for the Raiders , along with a mix of commercial and residential real estate . As to what the NFL will make of this all , given their given wish not to be closely involved with the gaming industry , is somewhat hypocritical , when one considers professional football is a major source of revenue for the industry. Something the league hierarchy is well aware of and lately, several influential owners have been pressing Roger Goodell to loosen his stance with regard to their being no association.

Personally, I believe the league and the gaming industry to be hypocritical , as are the laws which prohibit wagering on sports’ events around the country ! The US Justice System and the States Attorneys’ General have bigger fish to fry , than seeking to punish with impunity , the gaming industry and those who make a living from it.

Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie’s meeting with Sheldon Adelson also took in the local political dignitaries, along with senior members of the Las Vegas City Council . If their weight is thrown behind such a proposal , it will be interesting to witness how the NFL will seek to dissuade its members from allowing the relocation of the Oakland Raiders. While I have no problem with NFL franchises seeking to move , I do have a problem with team owners believing it best for municipalities , county or state governments to be at the beck and call when it comes to the financing of stadiums ! Less we forget , the NFL remains a tax-exempt organization , where only the teams , and the league’s employees are taxed. Bear in mind also, in 2014 , Roger Goodell’s salary exceeded $25 million dollars , and were he a player in the league that year, he would have been among the highest paid in the NFL . I am sure when the next CBA (collective bargaining agreement) meeting is due to take place between the union (NLFPA) and league hierarchy , the issue is likely to be raised by its leadership and Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . I mean is there any way Goodell can truly try and justify his salary ?

.

Tophatal …….. 02/08/2016

By clicking on a single image below you can view that picture in a reformatted size alongside an accompanying narrative.

NFL news

Superbowl 50 recap and game statistics

NFL honors (awards)

Carolina Panthers news

Denver Broncos news

2016 NFL schedule

NFL free agents and teams’ projected salary cap (2016)

Top capped NFL players (2016)

This month in NFL history

On this day in NFL history

—–

If at all interested do take time to take part in the poll seen below .

—–

Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and bestow greatness upon those who are deserving of it …

Major League Baseball made their formal announcement for the inductees of the 2016 Hall of Fame class , with Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Piazza leading the list of nominees for the class. Among the list were also, holdovers from 2015 , where the likes of Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds , Mark McGwire , Gary Sheffield and Roger Clemens were the most recognized of the names .

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

First time nominees for the 2016 class provided the fans with new names , many of whom like Piazza, Sosa, Bonds , McGwire, Sheffield and Clemens were closely associated with the steroids’ era of the late eighties and through last decade and entering into this decade. While the stoicism of the BBWAA continues to be one where they consider themselves the bastion of all things pure about the game of baseball. What cannot be denied has been the mere fact the Baseball Writers’ Association (BBWAA) has been hypocritical in their addressing and reporting the issues and evidence of the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs within baseball.

While there will be continued claims the players who ran afoul baseball’s archaic rule were not breaking the law, what was paramount once the were rules in place, players simply ignored the rules and a rampant epidemic ensued, with a widespread pandemic use of banned substances at the Minor League Level as well at the Major League Level (MLB) . During Bud Selig’s reign as the Commissioner of baseball , his apathy knew no boundaries as the ball-players eschewed the rules and cheated their way to fame, glory and a great deal of money while defrauding the public and obliterating some of the most hallowed records in the game of baseball. Selig’s successor Ron Manfred appears to be walking the same path as his predecessor and the claims made by Bud Selig , that baseball now has the most stringent testing policy in all of professional sports is as comical as it sounds.

Ken Griffey Jr’s long anticipated Hall of Fame induction was a certainty , as the player’s career and the fact he remained untainted by allegations of steroid use added to the aura which surrounded the long-time Seattle Mariners , Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox standout outfielder and multi-faceted All Star. What seemed inconceivable about Griffey’s balloting, was the fact he failed to garner a unanimous vote with three judges failing to cast a vote in his favor. Only Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver in BBWAA history has garnered more votes, but Griffey leads by way of the percentages received .

Mike Piazza’s career has been well-chronicled and he is considered to be one of the best offensive powered catchers in baseball history. Like Griffey, he was never able to capture that elusive World Series’ ring , though each made postseason appearances at various points of their respective careers. With these modern-day icons entering the Hall of Fame , one now has to ask the pertinent question , at what point will either the BBWAA and baseball”s hierarchy truly seek to address the issue of steroids still being proliferating the game of baseball and when will the Players’ Union (MLBPA) actually seek to themselves address the issue , deal with the underlying problems and educate their members as well as the players at the Minor League Level as to the inherent dangers of misusing steroids and other banned substances? It was never dealt with by former Executive Directors Donald Fehr , the late Michael Weiner or , Wiener’s successor and current union Executive Director Tony Clark .

In 2017, the list of eligible players due to be part of the year’s ballot for induction into the Hall of Fame will once again have the players who failed to obtain the required seventy-five percent of the voted for enshrinement will be once see another crop first-time eligible nominees as well as holdovers . I am inclined to believe those players will not make the cut once again and among the fresh faces on the ballot, it will be difficult to truly suggest a case can be made for several of the players viewed as eligible. The most likely candidates to receive the votes assuring their induction would appear to be Vladimir Guerrero, Jorge Posada , Trevor Hoffman , Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Mussina . Their careers I believe , should assure them of induction, but again, given the pomposity of the BBWAA , nothing is guaranteed or even written in stone.

Far be it for me to suggest the off-season shakeups which took place , with a number of players finding new homes , having declared their free agency and we witnessed the type long-held belief, baseball’s front office executives and owners are nowhere as smart as they believe themselves to be. The Los Angeles Dodgers with their $300 million payroll of last season will enter 2016 , with a newly revamped roster , new managerial staff with Dave Roberts succeeding Don Mattingly as the team’s manager. Less we forget also, Zack Greinke opted for free agency and then signed a six-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks . From my own perspective, while the addition improves the look of their starting pitchers’ rotation, it doesn’t mean the Diamondbacks can be considered legitimate contenders for the NL West. The division I believe remains the Dodgers’ to lose , unless we see the reemergence of the San Francisco Giants , who in 2015 failed miserably in just about every aspect of their game.

This upcoming season in baseball should be an eventful one , with these two divisional powerhouses Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants likely to entertain their fans throughout their seasonal meetings as witnessed last season. These two ball-clubs will begin their regular season schedules with Dave Roberts taking the Los Angeles Dodgers crosstown to meet the Los Angeles Angels in a game to be played at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim, California on 2nd April, 2016. The Arizona Diamondbacks will be play host to the current World Series’ champions the Kansas City Royals , while the San Francisco Giants will play the Oakland A’s at the O.Coliseum , Oakland , California ,.

The talents of Mike Trout are being wasted , while he remains the focal point of the Los Angeles Angels and as good as the Angels were last season , with Trout and his teammate Albert Pujols pounding out hits and home runs with such regularity. You have wonder why Mike Sciocsia and his managerial staff failed to guide the team to the MLB postseason . It was widely felt Mike Sciocsia would have been fired , but instead , it was GM Jerry DiPoto who abruptly left the organization , disillusioned that he was being undermined by the manager as well as not having the total support of Arte Moreno , billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Angels.

Billy Eppler has since succeeded DiPoto as the general manager and the Angels were not major players in the free agency market during the off-season. What we are likely to see from the Angels, are refocused efforts, with an emphasis on youth , with the offense built around Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Personally, I believe the real weakness with the Angels has and will remain their lack of depth among the pitching staff. Their relievers and starters have to be more consistent throughout the season rather than showing a great of inconsistency.

The past two seasons have indicated to us how good the Kansas City Royals just happen to be and their emphatic triumph over the New York Mets was one of the most lopsided World Series played over the last ten years. Terry Collins’ Mets team were never in the running for the NL East based ball-club to win the series. The pitching and hitting for the New York Mets was ineffective and there was never a player on the roster ready to lead by example. In the case of the Royals there was an eagerness about the team and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the greater good , while playing as a team .

Kansas City Royals’ GM Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost will enter this season looking to fortify their position as the best team in baseball. Kansas’ biggest challenge could come from the likes of the New York Yankees , Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers over the course of their schedule in 2015. Having lost Johnny Cueto to free agency with the pitcher joining the San Francisco Giants , thereby strengthening what will be a very good pitching staff. Moore will will undoubtedly seek to bolster the team’s own pitching rotation during the off-season. Pitchers and non-roster invitees will be invited to Spring Training which is just over six weeks away.

Whatever is now happening with the Cincinnati Reds the blame for the team’s woes this past season are firmly being placed at the door of GM Walt Jocketty and his inability to acquire and draft players capable of creating a team which can compete the NL Central much less within the rest of baseball. The Reds have not a made recent postseason appearance in a number of years and the thought of relevance concerning the organization is whether or not Pete Rose will ever be reinstated or ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame. With Rose’s rejection to be reinstated within baseball, it has all but closed his chances of receiving the game’s biggest honor , beyond winning a World Series , is being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Rob Manfred doesn’t believe there has been enough contrition on the part of the former Cincinnati Reds’ manager and player.

As to the Reds’ continued woes , the managerial staff seems beside itself and while Joey Votto remains the focal point of the team, there is a common belief Walt Jocketty is on the verge of having a fire sale, gutting the roster and simply going with players from their farm system as well as retaining players who are inexpensive in terms of their salaries . The payroll for the Reds this upcoming season will be among the lowest in all of baseball .

Bryan Price will enter his first season as manager of the Cincinnati Reds hoping to imbue the team with confidence and the belief they are are capable of competing with the best the game has to offer. The first month of the team’s schedule should tell us a great deal about the team and whether or not Price has the Reds on the right track. Cincinnati will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday 4th April , 2016 at Great American Ballpark , Cincinnati, Ohio,.

Out with the old and in with the new as Don Mattingly comes into town, expected to do great things in resurrecting the fortunes of the Miami Marlins . Mattingly leaves behind a $300 million payroll team of the Los Angeles Dodgers to now steady a capsized vessel known as the Marlins , where the payroll of the team is now a minuscule. Since 2012 , the struggles of the Miami Marlins have been well-chronicled and a year during which former manager Ozzie Guillen led the team into an abyss while portraying himself as a bigoted buffoon , repeatedly exhibiting the type of behavior often associated with someone who shows a great deal of ignorance . A last-placed finish within the NL East forced the hand of the front office leading to his dismissal and the implosion of the roster during off-season of that year. Many of the high-priced acquisitions were sent packing elsewhere and the roster since then has been completely been completely reassembled along with managerial turnover having been equally indecisive.

The biggest news’ splash made by the Miami Marlins was their decision to sign big league slugger and their All Star player Giancarlo Stanton to a multi-year $325 million deal , making the player among the highest paid individuals in baseball. Stanton for his part has been productive for the franchise and perhaps the sole reason to watch the team play, albeit, they have for the moment still been able to retain their NL Rookie of The Year pitcher Jose Fernandez . Yet, it doesn’t mean GM Michael Hill isn’t willing to listen to offers for their young star , in spite of the often mistimed releases from the front office concerning updates regarding Fernandez.

Heading into this season it will be interesting to see what Don Mattingly and his managerial staff will have to offer this Marlins’ team by way of their managerial ingenuity and what the players themselves will seek to do once on the field. Miami’s biggest obstacle to winning the NL East and securing themselves a postseason berth , will undoubtedly come from the newly revamped roster of the Washington Nationals , who have to be seen as the preseason favorites to win the division as well as quite possibly the NL Pennant . With a new manager in tow , Dusty Baker taking over the managerial duties and Bryce Harper now proving himself the best all-round player in the NL , all signs could very well be pointing to an exciting season for both of these two teams.

For Bryce Harper having come into his own last season, showing prodigious talent and maturity , the player will now seek to have another emphatic season , while trying to impress upon Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo he is worth being offered a long-term deal tying him to the Nationals and the organization’s aspirations of winning a World Series. Scott Boras , Bryce Harper’s agent, will undoubtedly seek to make his client the highest paid player in the game and a multi-year $400 million deal will likely be sought by the agent. Mike Rizzo and the Nationals’ owner , Ted Lerner might not be willing to pay a King’s ransom while the ball-club seeks to remain viable and enlarge its fan-base .This could very well be the year where records within the game are set to be broken. but not necessarily for the right reasons.

An exciting year awaits within baseball, if the teams believed to be good enough can meet or exceed the expectations of the fans and analysts alike . The Kansas City Royals will be hoping to hold unto their crown while seeking to fend off all challengers seeking to dethrone them as World Series champions. Which players and teams do you believe will prove to be dominant this upcoming season ?

Tophatal ….

Follow Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com , Twitter.com & Pinterest.com

NB : Images seen below can be reviewed in a reformatted size alongside a narrative by clicking on an individual frame .

MLB and MLB news

MLB transactions and December transactions

2015 MLB postseason schedule

2015 World Series

MLB schedule (important dates)

2015 MLB Postseason

MLB teams’ payroll

Baseball Hall of Fame

2016 Hall of Fame Class

Eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2017

This week in baseball history.

On this date MLB history

======

 

I Got Game , What You Got ?

I Got Game , What You Got ?

In the world of sports where athletes are times more often than rewarded for their mediocrity , it remains confounding when many of these stars, then seek to gain even more notoriety for the off-court of field antics than anything they have yet to have achieved during their active playing careers. It would appear to be the case now with the Memphis Grizzlies’ veteran Matt Barnes, who but at one time played for both Los Angeles’ based NBA franchises the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow .

Now something of a journeyman within the NBA , Barnes has never been the meaningful or an integral part of any team where he has played. Now seeking to emblazon himself in the minds of the masses, Matt Barnes is on a quest to let the world know about his private life and the fact he has dated pop sensation Rihanna. Last I looked the singer had notched up her own fair share of male suitors which have included current San Diego Padres’ slugger Matt Kemp , rapper , Drake and his erstwhile nemesis Chris Brown . No mean feat by the singer , until you realize, she actually garners more press than the aforementioned names combined and has been more successful from a talent and commercial standpoint. Which begs the question, is Matt Barnes really that much of an asshole ? Yes indeed, he is that much of an asshole and a great deal more .

With the upcoming season of the NBA not due to begin until the opening regular season tip-off , opening night 27th October 2015, much of the off-season and heading into the preseason has been about what various teams have sought to do to bolster their rosters. The Golden State Warriors rode on the crest of an emotion alongside great coaching to win their first NBA title in four decades. Unfortunately , rather than seeking to praise the franchise for the achievement , the press and in particular anal retentive fans, have sought to make excuses for the defeated NBA Finalists the Cleveland Cavaliers and their superstar guard LeBron James. James for his part in spite of his heroics was never seriously in with a chance of winning his third straight NBA title. There was way too much pressure on the Cavaliers to succeed and clearly the inexperience of head coach David Blatt played a part in their downfall beyond the loss of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love during the NBA Playoffs.

LeBron James has been lucky enough to know the front office of the Cavaliers are willing to do just about anything to facilitate the player’s whims , including seeking to acquire just about anyone willing to play a secondary role to the LeBron James traveling circus. Cleveland is likely to be among one of the top draws on the road as well as at home during the upcoming regular season and it is also clear they will be a major ratings’ draw when it comes to a television audience. The Christmas Day scheduling of the rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena is a clear indication of how orchestrated and self-important the NBA now believes itself to be.

While I have no doubt the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will each have a role to play in this upcoming season , where both teams will likely be challenging for divisional honors within their respective conference. I do believe that the West will be the better of the two conferences on display , as has been the case over the last eight seasons.

With Marc Gasol choosing to remain with the Memphis Grizzlies , it will be interesting to see what this team has in store for their fans this upcoming season. Gasol will be the focus of the roster alongside Zach Randolph and Vince Carter , who after all of these years within the NBA still believes he has something to offer a team. There was a time when Carter was among the most explosive and dynamic players within the NBA , but over the last few years , his productivity has declined. Head coach David Joerger and his coaching staff will have a great deal to prove this season if they (Grizzlies) are to be considered among the top teams within the Western Conference throughout the year. Memphis will tip-off their regular season schedule with a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the 28th October,2015 at the Fedex Forum , in Memphis , Tennessee,.

So much for the hype behind the return of Phil Jackson and what he might be able to offer the New York Knicks by way of his basketball acumen. This past season showed the Knicks to be as bad a team to be found in this league. Embarrassing and simply asinine, might not be enough to describe how bad the New York Knicks just happened to be. What might now be even more befuddling concerning the Knicks were the choices made by the front office during the most recent NBA Draft. Still trying to figure out who Kristaps Porzingis just happens to be? Try looking at his team bio with the Knicks and then ascertain why he was actually chosen as their number one pick in the first round . Someone needs to explain , how a front office led by Phil Jackson, general manager Steve Mills and the coaching staff of Derek Fisher believes Porzingis is a better choice . ahead of players such as Willie Cauley-Stein , Frank Kaminsky , Justice Winslow and several other players many believe to have greater talent than Kristaps Porzingis.

Consider the fact , Knicks’ fans in attendance of the NBA Draft immediately began to boo the choice of the Latvian star whose experience with the Spanish League giant Sevilla was said to one of the main reasons he was drafted by the Knicks. Given New York’s failure to draft anyone of note who has contributed to the franchise over the past five seasons, it easy to understand why the franchise remains such a mess. Phil Jackson’s legacy can solely be judged on his achievements as a head coach , but as a front office executive, he still has his training wheels firmly strapped to his feet . Very much the same can be said of Derek Fisher as a head coach along with his aimless staff of coaching assistants. There are jigsaw puzzles with over one thousand pieces, which could be better assembled than the mess put together by Phil Jackson. Knicks’ fans start kissing your own proverbial @sses , rather than coming up with the regurgitating excuses of Jackson having a plan of action.

Carmelo Anthony may well have chosen to remain in New York because of the money , but the past two years for the player have been wasted years in terms of his talent and the fact the front office has failed miserably in placing around him the talent necessary for the New York Knicks to win consistently , much less make their presence felt in the NBA Playoffs . I do not believe there is anything more which needs to be said about the New York Knicks , where we know their Achilles’ Heal will remain their lack of defense and the fact beyond Carmelo Anthony there remains little to this roster by way of the offense. The Knicks will begin their regular season sojourn with a game against the Milwaukee Bucks coached by their former point guard Jason Kidd when the two teams meet at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee , Wisconsin, on the 28th October, 2015.

Kobe Bryant will enter this season as the highest paid player in the league while on a Los Angeles Lakers’ team likely to be heading nowhere and not as competitive as their fans might believe them to be. Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss , as the senior owners of the franchise along with GM Mitch Kupchak have been culpable in presiding over what has been unmitigated disaster over the past four seasons for this once proud organization. The more Lakers’ fans tend to talk about past glories, rather than deal in the reality of here and now . It is more borne out by the fact , they have simply become delusional and unwilling point the finger at where the responsibilities lay for the Los Angeles Lakers’ fall from grace. Bryant is no longer the player who once reigned supreme over this league and flashes of momentary brilliance cannot hide the fact this aging veteran is now several years past his prime. Yet fans of the Los Angeles Lakers remain optimistic the player can win a sixth NBA title , matching that of his personal icon Michael Jordan .

After a horrendous season in 2014 , it is easy to understand why the Lakers’ fans and the team would like to place it in their rear-view mirror . The Los Angeles Lakers much like the New York Knicks have been feeble in their attempts in drafting players with a competitive zeal, clearly evident in 2014 , 2013 , 2012 and 2011. Granted, this year and their choices of D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr, in round one , to be followed by Anthony Brown have yet to bear fruit. The feeling however, appears to be , this will be a work in progress as Byron Scott and his coaching staff embark upon this regular season. I believe through their first twenty-five games of the season , will provide us with enough of a gauge to see how the Lakers are likely to fare during 2015.

Scott and the Lakers will open their regular season with a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles California on the 28th October.

Picture gallery. Click on image to view accompanying narrative.

Tophatal ………

Editor’s advisory note

NBA

NBA schedule important dates

NBA tip-off opening night schedule

NBA news

NBA transactions

NBA team payrolls

Highest paid players (salary 2015)

Milestones possible within the NBA this season.

Assists

Points

Games played

Total rebounds

Defensive and offensive rebounds

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

Are we not amused ?

Are we not amused ?

Well the sports’ world is now abuzz after it was revealed New England Patriots’ quarterback , four time Superbowl winner and three-time Superbowl MVP , Tom Brady was uncooperative and unwilling to aid the NFL inquiry into Deflate-Gate . Further exacerbating the matter was the fact Brady is said to have destroyed his cellphone , rather than turn it over to the league’s investigators . Personally, I believe Brady to be an ass in such an instance,because surely he must have understood the league would still have been able to access his texts sent to certain individuals said to have involved in this whole sordid affair. His pleading his innocence all along, has fallen on deaf ears , with only his faithful and loyal followers still thronging to his support.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

The Ted Wells’ Report into Brady’s actions covering the events of the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts was said to be very in-depth , leaving no stone unturned as to the player’s actions. There has yet to be a formal statement made by anyone concerning the player’s four-game suspension and his possibility of appealing the suspension either through a tribunal or through Federal District Court of Appeals . The likelihood of that now happening does seem remote, but yet Tom Brady and his legal representation might not be willing to go down without a fight. The evidence against him is not vague and he actually risks a great deal more than his legacy, should be lose in this legal process.

Brady’s own teammates may well still come out in support of the player, but we have yet to hear from the likes of Chandler Jones, Rob Gronkowski , Julian Edelman , Malcolm Butler , Rob Ninkovich , Devin McCourty and the array of other players from the Patriots’ Superbowl winning roster. Bill Belichick, GM Nick Caserio and team owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft will now seek to do some damage control, but it is hard to imagine how this organization can now seek to deflect any of the negative image done to the Patriots , as well as the NFL in general .

For his part, Roger Goodell, might well have come off as an executive finally exuding some intelligence and authority, but it has been his unwillingness to act proactively, which more often than not, has led to the continued negative image and view of the NFL by the fans as well among some of their major corporate sponsors. While the league does remain popular, the off and on the field antics of the players by way of their conduct continues to affect the brand and sport and adversely. Unfortunately, among the players and the leadership of the union (NFLPA), there has been no one willing to take a stance and address player misconduct and the lack of genuine sportsmanship among the fraternity of players. Inasmuch, as the fans continue to point to the popularity of the NFL and Roger Goodell’s insistence that the growing revenues of the league makes the brand more popular than ever , along with the ratings. One has to question the goals of the league and the direction it is said to be now heading in.

With the likelihood of Tom Brady missing the first four games of New England’s regular season schedule, it will be left to Jimmy Garoppolo to lead the team during the preseason and regular season as the second-year quarterback gets to prove his worth to the coaching staff of Bill Belichick. The head coach I believe has implicit faith in Brady’s understudy and it will be interesting to see how the player fares in his first professional in regular season game. His baptism of fire last season was relatively mild , and Garoppolo showed himself to be capable , though not spectacular. If he is unable to prove himself adept enough to lead the team , then problems will arise for the Patriots over the course of the preseason and regular season schedule. With only Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo on the quarterbacks’ depth chart, an injury to the understudy would prove to be alarming and a catastrophe for the team. There is the likelihood, Belichick will seek to secure himself a veteran free agent quarterback as insurance, should that premise arise.

The NFL kicks off the preseason with its annual Hall of Fame game and for 2015, the contestants will be the Pittsburgh Steelers facing the Minnesota Vikings in a game to be played on 9th August, 2015 at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio,. Ensuing games for week one of the preseason schedule will take place on 13th , 14th , 15th and 16th August and 16th August, encapsulating sixteen contests during the first of four consecutive weeks of exhibition games. New England will open its preseason schedule with a contest against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium , Foxboro’, Massachusetts, in what will be Jimmy Garoppolo’s first preseason start of 2015, where his backup will be Matt Flynn , signed during the off-season by the Patriots. Other games on the schedule, will offer fans the chance to see the Detroit Lions playing host to the New York Jets , the Dallas Cowboys on the road against the San Diego Chargers , Washington Redskins facing the AFC’s Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium , in Cleveland Ohio.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees among the players , will be Jerome Bettis , Tim Brown , Charles Haley , Junior Seau, Will Shields and Mick Tingelhoff . Granted, with the death of Seau, this season’s recipients of one of the game’s highest accolades will be tinged with a great deal of sadness.

With the revelation by the Hall of Fame and NFL jointly , whereby they will not allow or grant access to the members of Junior Seau’s family , permitting them to make an acceptance speech on the late player’s behalf, at his posthumous induction. It begs the question what it is that the league hierarchy and the Hall of Fame as an institution are seeking to do or hide? Seau’s death as tragic as the circumstances are known to be, it has been the league’s lack of being forthright in addressing the issue of chronic neurological injuries suffered from playing in the NFL , which has led to the ongoing controversy which surrounds the game. Add in the fact , Tony Dorsett, a Hall of Fame running back is now suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease as well as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and one has to ask,what else is this league (NFL) still willing to hide from the fans at this juncture ?

Will Shields, third from right, and Mick Tingelhoff, second from right, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in August. Other inductees, from left, are running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Tim Brown, defensive end and linebacker Charles Haley and executive Bill Polian . On the right is executive Ron Wolf . Also being inducted is the late Junior Seau, who was represented by son Tyler, center. A family member of Junior Seau will not be granted permission to speak at the late player’s induction into the Hall of Fame , in Canton, Ohio this weekend . Both representatives of the Hall and NFL , state this is policy and should not be viewed in anyway as a distraction or a rebuff of Seau’s family or his accomplishments as a player. Courtesy of the Associated Press .

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , might well now suggest the league is doing more than ever before to address the issue chronic neurological injuries suffered by NFL players and pointing to the fact the league will be breaking ground on a retirement facility in Ocoee, Florida, which will provide and house retired NFL veterans in ailing health. This will be the first of several heath facilities to be built around the country over the next several years , which also have experienced medical staff on call to care for these retired players. These centers will also provide residence for a number of players in poor health and will all be funded by the NFL. As to the league’s appealing a judge’s verdict of their settlement with the plaintiffs (retired players) who sought damages against the NFL for brain injuries suffered during their careers. The $ 1 billion offer by the league , seems something of a mere pittance for a sports’ hierarchy whose revenues exceed $7.8 billion annually and has increased each year over the past decade .

When you’re good , you can be extremely good in the NFL , but if your front office continues to show poor judgment, then you can but only hope there is light at the end of the tunnel. Last season , both the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bays were simply atrocious all season long. With the teams finishing with regular season records of 2-14 , it begs the question how bad was the league this past season ? Suffice to say, the league hierarchy continues to sell the fans a bill of sale on goods and a brand , that from one season to the next swings back and forth like a pendulum. The hype remains utterly ridiculous, while the exploits of rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham might well have been spectacular , the season for the New York Giants was simply a disaster. Eli Manning now appears to be on the downside of a career that seemed destined to be bound for the Hall of Fame.

Two Superbowl victories can add luster one’s career resume’ , but take away those two postseason victories in the big game and what are you actually left with concerning his regular season career ? Eli Manning and the Giants were a train wreck on and off the tracks in 2014. No leadership to be seen from the quarterback and even less from the coaching staff of Tom Coughlin . The off-season has seen some changes in the team’s roster alongside their influx of rookies and free agent acquisitions. Odell Beckham will likely remain a great part of the Giants’ offensive focus , as the sophomore wide receiver will be looking to improve upon last season’s performances. If that is to happen, then Eli Manning will have to be back at his very best if the New York Giants are to be seen as a prohibitive favorite for the NFC East divisional title. The difference remains something of a joke , with only the Dallas Cowboys showing z any real guts and resiliency during this past season.

Coming off a 6-10 season in 2014 it easy to understand why Giants’ fans might well still feel a sense of disappointment with a third place finish within the NFC East. The team lacked confidence , leadership and were simply woefully inept throughout much of last season. I am not so sure we are likely to see enough of an improvement to believe the team will be viewed as contenders within the division much less the conference or even the possibility of winning their fifth Superbowl title. Their preseason is unlikely to prove much of a pointer , as they enter into regular season when they open their schedule with a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium in Arlington, Texas on 13th September, 2015. Eli Manning’s record against Dallas since his entrance into the NFL with the exception of his postseason contests against his divisional rivals. I am not about to suggest this will be Manning’s last season with the Giants, but anything short of a postseason berth and the likelihood, will be the organization must seek to move in another direction without the franchise’s career passing yards’ leader .

,

Picture gallery. By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in a reformatted size along with accompanying narrative.

Hackensack, New Jersey 8/28/14 quarterback Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants watches the game from the sidelines after being removed from the game in the first quarter of a preseason football game as head coach Tom Coughlin coaches at MetLife Stadium on August 28 , 2014. Paul J. Bereswill

In light of the reported evidence found by the league’s investigators, do you feel the punishment meted out against Tom Brady is just or do you believe it has been something of a witch-hunt against the player and the New England Patriots because of prior bad acts ? Also what are your expectations for this upcoming season in the NFL ? Feel free to leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

😛

Tophatal …….

Editor’s advisory notes

🙂

NFL

NFL news

NFL photos

NFL transactions

NFL preseason schedule (2015)

NFL regular season schedule (2015)

2014 Regular season standings

This date in NFL history

On this day in NFL history

Can I have some cheese with that whine ?

Can I have some cheese with that whine ?

In the aftermath of the fallout of the Cleveland Cavaliers having lost their encounter in the NBA Finals after their humiliating game six debacle to the Golden State Warriors. It would appear the LeBron James’ apologists are coming out in droves to the defense of the player and his having lost a second consecutive Finals’ series in light of the Miami Heat’s embarrassing loss to the San Antonio Spurs . James’ legacy though not in tatters, is now becoming somewhat languid, even when idiots are still trying to make comparisons to basketball legends Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

Five consecutive NBA Finals’ appearances with two wins and three rather embarrassing losses has to be needling for a player now yearning to be seen as the best player in the history of the NBA. Statistically , James ranks up there with some of the all-time greats and his Finals’ average for this ranks among the highest in NBA Finals’ history , but even that wasn’t enough of itself to stop the Warriors from marching on to their first NBA title in forty-one years.

With the triumph , Golden State’s head coach, Steve Kerr has joined a select few of coaches who have won an NBA title at their first attempt while having won a title as a player. As to what this outcome might suggest about the continued struggle of LeBron James and the fact he was unable to guarantee a title for the city of Cleveland and in particular for the Cavaliers’ fans, might have more to do with the complacency of the organization as well as the team and the player himself.

James faced an impossible task from the outset , with the loss of Kevin Love in the early rounds of the NBA Playoffs and then seeing teammate Kyrie Irving’s postseason come to an abrupt end. Fans and the media alike, seem to have forgotten also , Cleveland’s head coach David Blatt was still a rookie head coach, with no NBA coaching experience , but yet he was being asked to imbue his coaching acumen on a team, while going up a head coach with vast playoff experience as a player , with Kerr having won five NBA titles during his playing career with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs.

For David Griffin and Dan Gilbert, this off-season will prove to be an extremely tough one for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ franchise , as they look to assess the team’s roster and its needs moving forward. Clearly , Griffin will have to aid David Blatt in seeking to improve the roster by adding players who complement the skill-set of LeBron James.

I have no doubt the four-time NBA League MVP is a great player and undoubtedly the best player of his generation , most certainly the best player to have entered the NBA since 2003. While we have seen the ascent of players such as Steph Curry and Kevin Durant , the issue which now plagues the NBA is that, there are no team rivalries of any merit and there is most certainly no player rivalry matching the combative rivalry seen between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics created the unprecedented intensity seen between two of the NBA’s most revered franchises. We are unlikely to see that type of rivalry or intensity again, between two teams during postseason play much less during the regular season. As to the view that LeBron James and the Cavaliers might now be the best team in the Eastern Conference. who can prove to be dominant for years to come . Well, that would be predicated upon how much longer James might well be willing to prolong his career. We seem to forget James has now been in the NBA for twelve years having been drafted during the 2003 season with perhaps the best NBA Draft class of the last fifteen years. He has been able to rewrite history with many personal feats, but as we know, the great players tend to be judged by the championships won as well as their singular accomplishments.

During the NBA off-season there will be a number of major moves made without taking into account what is likely to place during the upcoming NBA Draft . With the Minnesota Timberwolves having the first and overall number one pick in this draft, for everyone else , things should then begin to fall into place , unless a team makes a decision to trade up or down during the proceedings.

For this season’s NBA champions the Golden State Warriors they can now sit back and bask in their triumph if only momentarily and then proceed in the next step and that is to somehow make this team better. Undoubtedly, they were by far in a way the best team in the Western Conference without a doubt , their regular season record simply showed they were also the best team in the league during the regular season. It was then emphasized during the NBA Playoffs and then rubber stamped with their decisive slaying of the Cleveland Cavaliers to close out the postseason with their title triumph. Nothing else really needs to be said beyond congratulating Andre Iguodala on winning the Finals’ MVP Award and to reiterate why Jerry West is the best front office executive in the NBA , if not in the league’s history.

For team owners’ Joe Lacob and Peter Guber this has proven to be a triumphant two years, during which, since having acquired the team, this organization has simply been on the ascent and must now be considered the best NBA franchise in the state of California and they certainly have to be considered among the best ran teams in the entire league. The ignominy of not having won a title in four decades is now gone and their future now seems bright with Steph Curry , Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and veteran Andre Iguodala , hero of the series’ deciding game six of the NBA Finals. It will be interesting to what steps are likely to be taken to bolster the Warriors’ lineup during the off-season , with their likely to be some attrition , with some players leaving for elsewhere or likely traded.

For Steph Curry this has been the season where they player has now proven himself to be one of the league’s elite players and now a perennial All Star , while also now having the team seen as an early favorite for next season’s championship in spite of this idiotic insistence the Cleveland Cavaliers will remain the team to beat in the NBA . Cleveland plays in a mediocre division and conference , where their only threat appears to be their own complacency , if nothing else.

Best record in baseball and now all of a sudden the legacy of the St Louis Cardinals has now become all the more perplexing as the conversation now encompasses claims that a senior official within the organization may well have initiated the hacking and information being acquired from the Houston Astros . All the more salacious until you consider Jeff Luhnow , general manager of the Astros, was once a senior executive with the Cardinals. The FBI is still in the midst of an ongoing investigation and John Mozeliak has issued a formal statement insisting any wrongdoing by anyone found to be at the center of this allegation will be fired from the employment of the St Louis Cardinals. Hard to believe that one of baseball’s most revered organizations is now at the center of such a scandal , though not unimaginable when you consider absurdity of this all , with the federal government’s investigative arm has also been at the center of the current investigation concerning soccer’s international governing body FIFA.

Joseph ‘ Sepp’ Blatter’s resignation from the top executive position within the organization , not without merit, has me wondering if we are likely to see the same situation arise with the St Louis Cardinals.

John Mozeliak as the general manager of the NL Central based franchise has to be seen as being proactive in the midst of this all, while the reputation of the ball-club takes a hit . Yet, , in the midst of this all , my question has to be , why is anyone actually surprised by this at all ? It is not as if baseball has ever been a sport that has been above reproach , let alone at any time during its history had an ounce of integrity , much less leadership of any kind among its most senior ranks.

When it is all said and done, the sport (baseball) remains something of a farce, still wrapped in its own self-importance as to where its stands socially and for that matter , as America’s pastime and one of its most beloved sporting spectacles.

Will the wagons be circled around the St Louis Cardinals as baseball seeks to protect one of their own or will there be cooperation between the ball-club and the FBI as the agency completes its ongoing investigation ? Rob Manfred has yet to issue a public statement on the matter , but I suspect he will be monitoring the situation intensely , perhaps even more so than anything that his predecessor Bud Selig has known to have done when it came to any grave situation which has tarnished the reputation of the game. Yet , if for no other reason , why should we expect Manfred to take any type of proactive stance , given his unilateral backing of his predecessor repeatedly on a litany of actions. The commissioner’s biography suggests he was at the centerpiece of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement and the alleged suggestion, has been through his actions whereby baseball and the union have a very close relationship. This has to be the furthest thing from the truth given the ongoing tensions between the MLBPA and the league hierarchy.

For the moment I do not believe this latest baseball scandal will do anything to derail the Cardinals’ present dominance of the NL Central as they look to prove themselves worthy as a legitimate contender for this season’s World Series . It will also be interesting to see how this is all viewed by baseball’s fraternity and the players themselves who if anything have always remained reluctant to speak openly on a litany of issues affecting their sport, if only to gloss it all over as non-important. I guess the steroid era and all of its glow should also be deemed that way along with the media’s lack of due diligence in truly delving into the matter with any great degree.

Mustering together a band of stars and now for some reason the San Diego Padres have placed the blame for the team’s follies on their now fired manager Bud Black . Interim manager Pat Murphy takes over the reins while the front office assesses his progress over the remainder of the season. Padres GM A J Preller now has to deal with the fact San Diego has failed miserably this season , while the money vested in his players have simply brought about nothing tangible on or off the field of play. A 3-1 victory over the equally abysmal Oakland Athletics and you now have to ask , where to the Padres now go from here ? Well, next up, San Diego will match their wits against the Arizona Diamondbacks , who they meet at Chase Field , Phoenix Arizona .

In recent weeks pitcher Chris Sale has been putting up some astonishing numbers for the Chicago White Sox , but it has been of no avail for the last placed White Sox who sit at the bottom of the AL Central where the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins sit atop of the pile , with the Detroit Tigers 5 ½ games behind the division leading Royals. Robin Ventura and his managerial staff will be hard pressed to have this team playing with a great deal of resolve given their present predicament. The failure of the White Sox remains twofold as they have simply been unable to show any consistency throughout the season and it would appear the front office and the likelihood changes will have to be made at some point during the season , should the team not fail to show any type of renewed and competitive form.

Chris Sale might be considered the leading contender among the starting pitchers in the AL for this season’s AL Cy Young Award , but with still a great deal to play for I doubt by season’s end he will be among the front runners for the awards ! A seven-game losing streak has come to symbolize the dreariness and lack of commitment from the Chicago White Sox this season. When they take on the Texas Rangers at US Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois , on Friday , it will be interesting to see what these two teams will have in store for each other when they come face to face. This will one of a slew of games taking place as the weekend schedule begins in earnest on the 19th June.

Recent success has been fleeting for the Chicago White Sox with their last appearance in the postseason coming in 2008 , where they made it to the ALDS , losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in four games. World Series’ success came by way of their whitewash of the then NL Central based Houston Astros in 2005. A decade on and it would appear the memories of that particular triumph are already long forgotten.

With the second of golf’s Majors now underway, the US Open being staged at Chambers Bay Golf Club , University Place in Washington State. The topic of the moment has been the abysmal first round showing of former world number one ranked golfer Tiger Woods . His ten over-par eighty (80) has been his worst score in a Major and most certainly among the worst of his playing career in the PGA. As to what this might suggest about Woods and his play at present , has more to do with his mental state and physical play. He may well still be a major attraction on the Tour , but he is far from being the best player in the world much less among the top American player of the moment.

Tiger Woods is simply a major draw, in name only , and that might now be the only thing he has to his advantage. The expectations are no longer one, where he is likely to torch a course with a blistering round and an amazing array of stroke play. Instead , as witnessed during his play in the first round at Chambers Bay, mistimed shots and errant play , seemed to be in his bag of tricks on Thursday. The second round gets underway on Friday and Woods sits some fifteen strokes behind joint leaders , Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson , who lead the tournament with a five under-par 65.

(11)

Tiger Woods reacts to his tee shot on the eighth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Thursday, June 18, 2015 in University Place, Wash. At one point during his first round Woods’ triple bogeyed a hole leading to his 10 over par score of 80 in the US Open. AP Photo/Matt York

Tiger Woods has now become a mere shadow of his once dominant golf persona and his personal life is once again is in complete disarray , with the ending of his relationship Olympic skier and world champion Lindsey Vonn. It was revealed that Woods had a relationship with a therapist , while his so called relationship with Vonn was said to be ongoing. Back to his old ways , where golf now seems to be taking a back seat and where he has actually mastered his stroke play off the course , while his play on the course has now become an excuse and with his usual ongoing rhetoric and pragmatism for his recent follies . Whine on Tiger , just simply whine on and perhaps you would also like some cheese with that as well ?

Picture gallery . By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in a reformatted size along with the accompanying narrative.

Do you believe it a necessity for athletes to make excuses for their errant or at times underwhelming play , when it leads to either individual or team failure ? Or is it now something that fans should now come accustomed to ?

Tophatal

Editor’s advisory notes

NBA

NBA news

2015 NBA Finals

—–

MLB

MLB news

MLB schedule

MLB probable pitchers

MLB results 18th June

MLB standings (divisional)

MLB standings (wildcard)

PGA Tour

PGA Tour news

PGA Tour schedule

Build your $hit upon a mound and let the stench take hold …

Build your $hit upon a mound and let the stench take hold …

The travesty of this sports’ weekend was highlighted by the biggest hyped sporting event in recent years . When it was all said and done the welterweight title fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was an immense disappointment , with the Filipino fighter losing a unanimous decision to the Las Vegas based Mayweather . The two fighters would split a reputed $350 million purse , with Floyd Mayweather getting the larger slice of the payday . What this bout suggests about the state of boxing might well be summed by Pacquiao’s post-fight interview , when the states he suffered a shoulder injury prior to the fight and that it prohibited his movement and ability to throw effective punches. Perhaps I might have missed something here , but at what point did having an excuse make up for a mediocre performance coming from the Filipino fighter ? For all of the perceived hype, this fight fell so way short of expectations , it simple does not bode well for the future of the sport.

===========================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


===========================

Slideshow.

As to where this now leaves the sport of boxing , is now open to a great deal of conjecture , speculation and to my mind a great deal of justified pessimism . Manny Pacquiao’s future remains uncertain and a rematch against Floyd Mayweather now seems highly unlikely . Mayweather’s record remains intact and it is my belief he seeks to reach a perfect record of 50-0 , with his now having forty-eight victories (48-0,26 KO’s) . The unbeaten fighter may well take some time off before announcing his next bout , likely to be against a contender for welterweight title and their chance to place a dent in his legacy.

(1)

Floyd Mayweather , left looks to evade a punch from Manny Pacquiao in their welterweight title fight held at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada . The fight was a unanimous decision favoring Mayweather whose record remains intact. Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach are now making excuses for an extremely poor performance with the Filipino fighter claiming a shoulder injury prior to this fight. Getty Images Photo/

If there has been one thing the opening month baseball (Major League Baseball) has proven to me and that it is not worth basing an impressive start as a reason to believe a team will be contender at the end of the season . A case could be made too many people bought into the New York Mets way too soon , only to see the NL East based ball-club fall back to earth in their recent contests . A thirteen-game win streak has now become a boondoggle for the Terry Collins’ managed team , as the Mets’ players now look even more vulnerable than ever.

At 16-10 the New York Mets are 3-7 in their last ten games and it easy to understand why this team is nowhere as good as first advertised, but there you have it , hype up a team for long enough and sooner , rather than later they usually come crashing down back to earth . With no game to be played on Monday , the Mets will next take to the field when they face the Baltimore Oriolesat Citi-Field in Flushing, New York on Tuesday , with Bud Norris of the Orioles on the mound to face seasoned veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon.

There is no denying entering into this season , all eyes would be on New York Yankees’ slugger and perhaps baseball’s most despised player, , Alex Rodriguez, Having recently “clubbed” his six hundred and sixtieth home run the player recently surpassed Willie Mays , as he slowly moves up the game’s all-time career home runs’ list . With the Yankees recently announcing their decision not to fulfill their obligation to pay Rodriguez a $6 million bonus, you have to wonder if there remains any love lost between the player and the franchise. It’s pretty much safe to say, without the player’s performances this season the ball-club would not be leading the AL East , a division I believe to be no longer the most competitive in all of baseball ! Pitching remains a weakness for this team and there remains the likelihood Joe Girardi will seek to improve the pitching staff and roster overall at the trade deadline.

(4)

New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts after flying out to right field during sixth inning MLB baseball action against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto on Monday, May 4 , 2015. Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP

An 8-5 victory over their perennial divisional rivals the Boston Red Sox at this point of the season might not indicate a great deal, but many may well read into it , seeking to imply the Yankees are back to their best . Taking their game on the road, the New York Yankees will be the guests of the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday afternoon when these two teams meet at the Rogers Center in Toronto , Ontario,. A win for the visitors would merely provide them with a morale booster as they seek to reestablish themselves as an elite team within the game of baseball.

So the NFL Draft and all of the idiocy usually seen at this time of the year was once again there for all to witness. All of the suspense was really in essence, nothing more than the league and analysts trying to elicit suspense, when the inevitable was already known. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers never really left the fans in any doubt as they made Jameis Winston the number one overall pick as well as being the top quarterback taken in this draft. Things quickly played out once Winston and Marcus Mariota came off the big board , with the picks coming in rapid succession . Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht were placed under a great deal of pressure and the need to get it right was utmost in their minds. .

(5)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round draft pick Jameis Winston , center, holds his jersey as he stands with general manager Jason Licht , left, and head coach Lovie Smith , right, during a news conference Friday, May 1, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. Winston, a former Florida State quarterback, was the first overall pick. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

With fans and NFL analysts now seeking to assess which teams had the best and the worst draft classes , I firmly believe they are at a loss to come up with any type of succinct assessment of the teams’ choices and how successful they were said to . These players will either be able to play in the NFL or they won’t and should that be the case , then they will be quickly found out.

From my own standpoint , for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the only way is up , after a disastrous season where the team was a league worst 2-14 . This season, I believe they will be no better than 5-11 , 4-12 at their worst , and a case could be made if Winston’s baptism of fire does not tell us about the temperament of the player , then his chances of being a success will be greatly diminished. The failure of Johnny Manziel and his descent into rehab and simply idiocy told a great deal about the Heisman Trophy winner , but even more so about the sheer incompetence of the Cleveland Browns’ front office and their failure to use due diligence before taking Manziel in the NFL Draft of 2014 .

New York Jets’ head coach Todd Bowles must be wondering where he now goes from here. He takes over a team, which was an abomination throughout much of last season. Geno Smith remains an abomination and anyone who still believes he has the ability to play in the NFL they had better watch game film on the Jets’ quarterback. The fact New York Jets sought to take another quarterback in this draft, indicates Smith’s time with the franchise, may well be coming to an abrupt end. .

Bryce Petty was taken in the fourth round and the likelihood appears to be, if Petty beats out Geno Smith and others on the Jets’ depth chart , then the rookie will be the starting quarterback for the upcoming season.

Someone will need to explain to me the idiotic antics of Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly as during the off-season he made the decision to implode the team’s roster . Not content with trading away the starting quarterback from last season, in return he received player whose career has been injury riddled and filled with inept performances . Nick Foles becomes a St Louis Rams’ starter, with Sam Bradford landing in Philadelphia and likely to be as ineffective with the Eagles as he was with the Rams.

It is hard to explain, how Chip Kelly believes the machinations and maneuvers during the off-season will equate with success. Yet, there are supporters of the former Oregon Ducks’ head coach, who believe his coaching style best suits the NFL . My thoughts on it all, if the Eagles are so poor as a defensive unit , how in God’s name does anyone believe he can lead this franchise to a Superbowl victory? At no point during his coaching tenure with the Eagles, has Kelly been able to have the team finish as a top-five defense . As the old adage suggests , “ defense wins championships “ .

The goose that laid the golden egg and is now off to the races with no one really standing in their way. Steph Curry the newly crowned League MVP now have Western Conference NBA Playoffs all to themselves . Of the four remaining teams within the Conference Semi-Finals , this Steve Kerr coached team might just be the most balanced of the quartet. The Warriors could very well end up with a trifecta of NBA seasonal awards , with GM Bob Myers having been named NBA Executive of the Year , to go alongside Curry’s regular season accolade , with the only major award left , to be crowned this season’s NBA champions .

(7)

OAKLAND , CA – MAY 04: Stephen Curry (30) of the Golden State Warriors accepts the Maurice Podoloff Trophy during the 2014-15 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award ceremony at Oakland Convention Center on May 04, 2015 in Oakland, California . If last season’s recipient Kevin Durant’s acceptance speech was emotional then Curry’s acceptance was equally humbling , touching and as rewarding . To listen in its entirety , click unto <a the link shown .Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Golden State made easy work of their first round opponents the New Orleans Pelicans sweeping them aside 4-0 with utmost ease. In the first of the two conference semi-finals’ contests Golden State will square off against the Memphis Grizzlies . Having taken care of game one with a home victory , it would not be out of the realms of possibility to believe the Warriors will be looking to “ sweep” the Grizzlies out of the Playoffs as the conference number one seeds look to complete their second consecutive postseason sweep of the NBA Playoffs.

No denying, the pressure is now bearing down on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers with a great deal expected of this team and their head coach David Blatt. Taking care of the Boston Celtics should have proven to be a morale booster , but the loss of Kevin Love might have well put a damper on those prospects. Now James and his teammates face a daunting second round task when they go up against the Chicago Bulls led by Jimmy Butler and a rejuvenated Derrick Rose .

(9)

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers before Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Chicago Bulls during the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 4, 2015 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Nathaniel S Butler / Getty Images North America

Filled with a great deal of anticipation, game one of the series lived up to the expectations. but the outcome did not go the way of the hosts , with the Cavaliers falling to their guests, the Bulls at the Quicken Loans Arena , in Cleveland, Ohio,. If the unthinkable were to happen , with LeBron James having to relive another nightmare , were the Cavaliers to lose this series , questions would undoubtedly be raised and asked about the mentality of this Cleveland team, and of the four-time League MVP. . I would hate to think how the fans in Cleveland might treat the embarrassment of seeing the “ Prodigal Son” having returned to bestow upon them a promise ___winning a title, only for the team to fail against one of their most noted adversaries .

Coach of the Year for this year and Al Horford one of the league’s unsung heroes , there seems to be a perennial theme going on here , but in the case of the Atlanta Hawks it might be such a good thing. Based on their record, the Hawks were the best team in the Eastern Conference, yet they struggled in their first round series and they have carried on where they left off. If it is the Hawks’ intent to implode during their series against the Washington Wizards , then they are certainly going the right way about it , with their embarrassing home loss to John Wall and his teammates.

During the regular season there was a resiliency to the Atlanta Hawks, but in the NBA Playoffs there has been a vulnerability about the players, that you simply get the impression the dominoes are about to fall, with everything cascading down around their ears. These two teams will meet on Tuesday evening at the Philips Arena in Atlanta , Georgia with the Hawks looking to level the series at one game apiece (1-1), before heading to the nation’s capital for game three .

For Randy Wittman and the Washington Wizards , were they to pull off the upset of a Conference Semi-Finals series’ win , I do not believe it would as big a surprise for many fans. All season long, as good as the Atlanta Hawks were said to be , there was something not quite right concerning the mental toughness of this team. Granted, the Eastern Conference has always been a weak conference , with the play tending to be borderline mediocre and where the coaching is believed to be passable. Yet at the end of the day, there are but a few players within the conference who truly stand out as being game changers , let alone superstars .

=========================


==========================

Picture gallery (By clicking on an individual frame you can view the picture in reformatted size alongside a narrative) .

For the moment , fans are now left to ponder what might be , what has happened and how they can make any real sense of what the rest of the year’s sporting calendar is likely to present us. This past weekend , what if anything do you believe was the single least enjoyable event ? .

🙂

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Twitter.com

Tophatal’s Blog Pinterest.com

🙂

Boxing news (USA Today)

Boxing results 2nd May ,2015

MLB news

MLB schedule

MLB probable pitchers

MLB results 3rd May

MLB standings

MLB standings (wildcard)

MLB free agents

🙂

NBA

NBA news

2015 NBA Playoffs

NBA results 4th May

NBA schedule 5th May

NFL

NFL news

2015 NFL Draft

NFL transactions (April)

—-

Editor’s note

===================================

[youtube.com=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8Cg572dafQ]

Flo-Rida feat’g Sage the Gemini ….. “It’s goin’ down for real “ (GDFR)

Walking a mile in someone’s shoes, isn’t as easy as first thought

Walking a mile in someone’s shoes, isn’t as easy as first thought

With the NBA Playoffs still taking shape , several teams have now made it to the next round with the conference semi-finals set to begin as of Tuesday , 5th May. Yet, the biggest story of the Playoffs has nothing to do at all with the play of the teams, but the rather surprising decision was the firing of Scott Brooks by the Oklahoma City Thunder front office , led by GM Sam Presti. The decision had the blessing of the team’s best player Kevin Durant , who acknowledged Brooks’ contributions to the franchise’s success and his own growth and success as a player and as a draftee by the Thunder.

(2)

Billy Donovan, having formally been introduced as the new head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder , answers questions from the convened press at the Chesapeake Energy Center , Oklahoma City , Oklahoma . Donovan has signed a lucrative five-year deal with the franchise, The main objective for the Thunder will be to secure the services of Kevin Durant signing him to a max contract , building the roster around the reigning League MVP and teammate Russell Westbrook . AP Photo/ Chris Wright

Scott Brooks should not be solely to blame for the team’s missing of the NBA Playoffs , with the loss of Kevin Durant due to a season-ending injury. A loss of this magnitude , would have a profound effect on any team, but somehow this all seems to have been overlooked by the front office as well as the senior partners who make up the ownership group of the Western Conference based franchise.

====================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


====================

Slideshow.

Sam Presti has been quick to hire a successor to Scott Brooks, with the organization formally announcing the hire of Billy Donovan , the two-time NCAA National Tournament championship winning coach of the Florida Gators . If Donovan brings along with him the type of coaching acumen seen with the collegiate program , then the continued success of the Oklahoma City Thunder would seem assured. Kevin Durant for his part , I believe will remain with the franchise , rather than seeking to opt out of the final year of his contract with the franchise !

Of the first round series still in force, perhaps the most competitive and thrilling might happen to be the Western Conference series between the Los Angeles Clippers and the defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs. The series has been encapsulated by the play of two seasoned veterans, point guard Chris Paul of the Clippers and power forward, Tim Duncan of the Spurs.

With their series tied at three games apiece (3-3) the series’ deciding seventh game will be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on 2nd May, 2015 in front of a sellout crowd likely to be cheering on the home team. For Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers the emphasis will be about having his players prepared as they meet the onslaught likely to be thrown at them by Gregg Popovich and this Spurs’ team . These are two evenly matched teams , competitive at almost every position on the court , but it all now comes down to willpower and being able to meet adversity square on , without flinching. History indicates, the team winning game six of a Playoff series’ more often than not , takes with them the advantage going into the deciding contest and it would appear the advantage now lies with the Los Angeles Clippers. Yet, it would take a bold individual to believe the San Antonio Spurs can be counted out of this series altogether.

When Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls went down to what was believed to a season-ending injury , no one believed the former League MVP would be making a return to the team’s lineup during the NBA Playoffs. Rose has been instrumental in getting the Bulls into the position, where they have made it to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals , having destroyed the Milwaukee Bucks in their series (4-2) , with an emphatic game-six win , where the margin of victory, was an astounding fifty-four points with the 120-54 destruction of the Bucks.

Old rivalries will be renewed when the Cleveland Cavaliers play host to the Chicago Bulls in game one of their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals’ Series . Nemesis’ LeBron James and Derrick Rose may well go head to head , but I believe the play of Jimmy Butler will be so pivotal in this series !

The Cavaliers will be without Kevin Love for this series, after the player’s injury, suffered during the series against the Boston Celtics in what appeared to be a provocative and deliberate attempt by the Celtic’ Kelly Olynyk to injure the Cavaliers’ power forward . Olynyk denies the claims, his intent was to injure the player, with the game officials failing to act and the league hierarchy failing to penalize Kelly Olynyk . The NBA Playoffs will once again be questioned, as to ongoing ineptitude of the officiating and the league’s failure to act.

I have never been enamored with the NBA’s referees, as I believe them to be far too willing to be part of the problem, rather than simply showing their acumen and knowledge of the game. Inconsistent officiating, with the ongoing stupidity, first shown by former NBA Commissioner David Stern, to repeatedly back the referees, has simply indicated the NBA remains behind the times and that Stern’s all too autocratic rule, has now led to the ruination of not only the NBA , but also the quality of the game itself.

I was once told, is was not David Stern’s fault for the lackluster quality of the play within the NBA , but almost at every juncture, with regard to the countless rule hanges made over the past fifteen years, Stern’s imprints have been there for everyone to see. Only a complete idiot, would believe the now retired league executive , was not to be faulted.

Fate may well deal someone a blow this season, with regard to a number of the regular season NBA Awards to be handed out . Mike Budenholzer won the NBA Coach of The Year Award . Andrew Wiggins was named NBA Rookie of The Year and Kawhi Leonard beat out Draymond Green for NBA Defensive Player of the Year , but the the league’s most important regular season individual award might well end up being a bone of contention, once the recipient has been announced for the League MVP. Leading contenders for this season’s award, are Steph Curry, James Harden , Russell Westbrook and the four-time League MVP winner, LeBron James .

For LeBron James , I believe this might well be his most crucial season yet in the NBA , where as the two-time Finals’ MVP and the perennial face of the NBA since 2003 , and the pressure will be on the All Star to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title , in what would be the first in the franchise’s history. James’ legacy has been set, wealth accumulated and global icon status few North American born athletes have reached over the past decade , with the exception of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Floyd Mayweather and Kobe Bryant .

It would be remiss to believe that the Cavaliers are likely to have their way with the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals’ Series. With the loss of Kevin Love , I believe this tilts the scales slightly towards the Bulls and the fact, Tom Thibodeau is a vastly more experienced coach than his Cleveland counterpart David Blatt . Cavaliers’ point guard Kyrie Irving will be expected to raise the level of his play in this series if the Cleveland Cavaliers are to prevail.

If LeBron James and his teammates do fail, then the crescendo likely to heard will be deafening, and one of criticism not only of the player (James) , but also the fact the roster was essentially made up of mercenaries acquired to be at the beck and call of James’ self-absorbed ambitions, with his seeking redemption after last season’s NBA Finals’ comedic fiasco against the San Antonio Spurs.

=======================

=======================

Picture gallery. Simply click unto a frame to see it formatted along with a narrative.

As the NBA Playoffs have progressed which player , players , team or teams, have impressed you the most ? Finally, which pairing in the NBA Finals, do you believe will offer a compelling and competitive series ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit.

🙂

Tophatal

Facebook.com : Tophatal’s Blog

Twitter.com : Tophatal’s Blog

Pinterest.com : Tophatal’s Blog

——–

NBA

NBA

NBA news

NBA Playoff Picture

NBA results 30th May,2015

NBA schedule 1st May

NBA Standings Eastern Conference (Playoffs)

NBA Standings Western Conference (Playoffs)

Chicago Bulls news

Los Angeles Clippers news

San Antonio Spurs news

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

——————

Editor’s notes :

 

Imagine things getting really bad, before entering the 2015 NFL season, it’s not as far fetched as it seems


Imagine things getting really bad , before entering the 2015 NFL season , It’s not as far fetched as it seems

Over the last few days, I have been inundated with so much work, leading my group of research analysts within our section of a large department within the firm where I am currently employed . Trying to stay abreast of the news’ stories in the world of sports is not unlike sifting through a bucket full of fecal matter , looking for the feel-good story of the moment. In the world of golf , Tiger Woods is still trying to figure out if he can still play the game, much less compete at a high level. Well , based on his season , thus far and in 2014 .

I think we can all agree, Woods’ game has sank to an all-time low , without idiots still suggesting that he’s the ticker that still moves the needle within the sport. That was true at the height of his game , when he was winning tournaments at more than a thirty per-cent clip. That has not been the case in over four years , but you would be hard pressed to convince the idiots , who are still sipping from the porcelain pot that Woods continues to defecate and urinate in. . Such has been the apathy of the anal retentive sports’ fan who can be found in the country.

===========================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


============================

Slideshow.

In the NFL , the off-season has proven to be more of a surprise than any of us could have imagined. Needless to say , many may well be questioning the moves made by Chip Kelly as he has literally made the decision to tear apart his roster of last season, seeking to build a team more to his liking and built around what he believes will make the Eagles winners. Trading away one of the best performing quarterbacks in the NFL over the past two years, is not a convincing way of assuaging and trying retain the loyalty of a fan , especially a Philadelphia Eagles’ fan, who are known to be not only weary , but also lethal to players, whom they believe are not fit to wear an Eagles’ uniform. Nick Foles’ departure was not only a shock , but has many questioning, who is now running the show in terms of player personnel decisions. Is Kelly, as the head coach or is it GM Howie Roseman ?

In 2015, I am not so sure the Philadelphia Eagles will be a force to be reckoned with , not if Chip Kelly is relying on Sam Bradford to be the quarterback to lead this Eagles’ team ! In what I believe to be a puerile NFC East division , the likelihood of their being competitive football being played there this season , will be dependent upon the coaching acumen of Chip Kelly, Tom Coughlin , Jason Garrett and Jay Gruden . If they should fail, then things will be simply mediocre throughout much of the season .

If there is one thing we know to be true and it is the very fact , no matter how hard they try to rid themsleves of the label of being inept. The Oakland Raiders will not fail to confound us by simply making it a reality. The Raiders over the past six seasons have been the epitome of a franchise waywardly heading nowhere , while casting off head coaches like a quick change artist , changing from one outfit to another. The same can be said of the litany of players who have come and gone over that time-span. Jack Del Rio has been brought in by GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis , with a view to his being able to turn around the fortunes of one of the NFL’s most downtrodden franchises in recent years.

Consider the fact , Oakland has not won the AFC West or made the NFL postseason in over eight years , and only then can you comprehend how bad things have been for the organization. Then take into account , in recent years , profitability for the Raiders , has been hard to come by, in spite of their having some of the most loyal fans in the entire NFL . Yet , the franchise remains one of the most valuable in the NFL .

Oakland’s last appearance in the postseason came during the 2002 season when they won the AFC championship game , only to then fall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superbowl , who were being coached a former Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden . In the subsequent years , abject failure has been the name of the game, while one or two players have made something of a name for themselves donning a Raiders’ uniform.

While I believe Jack Del Rio to be a good coach , I am not so sure if is the right coach or capable enough a being to lead, what in all likelihood will be at its core , a team filled with players who were cast-offs from elsewhere. Add in the fact, the team’s quarterback , Derek Carr will be asked to place the Raiders on his inexperienced shoulders , having had relatively little success in the NFL during his short career . It might be far too bold a suggestion to make , but in this upcoming NFL Draft the Oakland Raiders cannot afford to fail .

Jim Harbaugh’s departure from the San Francisco 49ers was a clear case of a front office dissatisfied with a head coach, who simply had lost control of a team , which lacked discipline and one where many of the players thought themselves above the law , while having inflated egos . The issues of Ray McDonald and Aldon Smith have been well-chronicled without delving further into the less than amicable relationship which had deteriorated during its final days between the Niners’ former head coach , GM Trent Baalke and team CEO Jed Yorke. Photo opportunities featuring Harbaugh and Baalke or Harbaugh and Yorke , had become a rarity. It has to be said, when the two senior executives are said to be distrustful of their head coach , they are in fact sending a clear message, that his tenure , is about to be cut short . No amount ill-conceived diplomacy and well-wishing, upon Harbaugh’s departure could hide the fact, Trent Baalke and Jed Yorke wanted Jim Harbaugh out of San Francisco , faster than a high-speed train.

San Francisco’s demise last season was as much of their own making as was the inconsistency shown by quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his teammates throughout much of the season . Kaepernick for his part having had initial success with a Superbowl appearance, making the postseason in each of his first two seasons in the NFL, fell back down to earth in 2014 , with uneven performances during the Niners’ schedule. While I believe the quarterback played a part in the team’s obvious inconsistencies , the majority of their problems came from the lack of discipline instilled into the team by Jim Harbaugh as the season began to spiral out of control.

Harbaugh is now in charge of the Michigan (Wolverines’) program , seeking to place that school’s footballing glories back upon a pedestal where their fans believe it belongs.

For the San Francisco 49ers, their upcoming season under the leadership of a new coaching staff led by Jim Tomsula could prove to be rather interesting for a number of reasons beyond the new head coach’s lack of experience. If the Forty Niners cannot overcome the continued and recent ascent of the Seattle Seahawks , their ongoing and growing confidence. Then , there is every belief , that it will be Pete Carroll and the Seahawks once again walking away with the NFC West divisional crown with effortless and consummate ease.

There is no denying, while in college Reggie Bush had a sensational career ,but unfortunately, a great deal of it, was built upon a web of deceit and lies , carried out with such bravado and countenanced by the atheletics department of USC (Trojans) while Mike Garrett was the Athletics Director of the program . Garrett played the role of the unassuming unknowing administrator , when in all probability , he was aware as to the machinations , all consuming , wheeling and dealings , which denoted academic fraud within the basketball and football programs , beyond Bush’s acceptance of money from known and unknown parties , while a student athlete at USC . The fact, Pete Carroll left the program, with such speed, all under the guise of accepting the millions of dollars thrown at him by Seahawks’ owner and billionaire entrepreneur Paul Allen can be read in a number of ways. None of which, has Carroll smelling like a bouquet roses and looking good at the time of his departure, with his refusal to provide any insight as to what he he might have known about the allegations at the time , surrounding Reggie Bush and number of other players under his tutelage as head coach of the football program.

With Garrett fired , Pat Haden was brought in to clean up the mess , with Lane Kiffin being hired to succeed Pete Carroll . Kiffin’s tenure at USC was riddled with inconsistency and a great deal of controversy , with the coach having repeatedly stretched the limits of what was deemed acceptable by the NCAA concerning a number of growing infractions , all of which Lane Kiffin claimed, he felt were within parameters set by not only the school, but also collegiate athletics’ governing body. Playing the fool , obviously came easy for Kiffin , and he still acts like a fool , while a member of the coaching staff of Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide of Alabama .

Reggie Bush’s first five seasons in the NFL were spent with the New Orleans Saints where his successes were fleeting and nondescript . Now with his fourth team of his nine-year career, having entered the NFL as a first round draft pick of the Saints in 2006 . Bush now hopes to resurrect his stalled career having 0532i signed one-year $2.5 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers during the off-season. I am not so sure what Bush can bring to Niners at this stage of his career and I certainly don’t believe him to be a better running back than Frank Gore , who San Francisco allowed to leave as an unrestricted free agent , with Gore joining the Indianapolis Colts. What that might suggest about the Forty Niners , might well have a bearing as one of the reasons why this team didn’t to get anything meaningful done during the course of last season. If the coaching staff believed Frank Gore was unproductive , then there has to be something seriously wrong with their mindset. Aging veteran or not, Gore was not one of the primary reasons San Francisco failed so miserably, ending their season with an 8-8 record .

Heading into this season Colts’ GM Ryan Grigson will have to deal with the issues of extending the contracts n of head coach Chuck Pagano and their perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck. You would think , the choice would be an extremely easy one to make . Yet, for some reason Grigson has found a way to bring about extreme tension between himself and Pagano as well the player, who has guided the franchise to playoff appearances in each of his first three seasons in the NFL. It might not take a rocket scientist to assist the general manager to make a quick decision, but if he is need of help , then there are several hundred of these engineers and scientists to found at Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) as well as on the campus of MIT . WTF !

Luck will be in the final year of his original four-year $22.5 million deal signed as a rookie in 2012. Don’t laugh , but by comparison, Jay Cutler last season earned almost as much as Luck has made in his first three seasons in the NFL . You have to pat on the back the decision-makers within the Chicago Bears’ front office for having the temerity of not only offering Cutler that outrageous seven-year $126 million deal , but also the asinine notion of current Bears’ head coach John Fox , whose opinion appears to be Cutler can still guide the Bears to a great deal of success at this stage of his career . Given a choice between Jay Cutler and Andrew Luck , even if I were blindfolded , I would still be able to pick Luck over Cutler, while smelling the stench which still can be tracked, by the fecal matter the Bears’ quarterback calls a career .

The obstacles now facing the Indianapolis Colts will be getting past the New England Patriots be it in the regular season or postseason . Clashes between the two franchises became synonymous with the careers of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning . There is no reason to believe the Colts will be seriously challenged within the AFC South this season . The Tennessee Titans are still struggling to find an identity , the same can be said of the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars , who were among the least competitive teams in the NFL last season .

A great deal is now being made of the NFL Draft and the choices to be made by the teams seeking become relevant within the league. Clearly, with so much conjecture and debate over what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will do as the team with the number one pick in this Draft. The possibility of the Buccaneers not choosing either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston , two players believed to be the consensus two top picks in this year’s draft could come as a shock. Yet , this might not be as big a surprise as pundits believe it will be. Personally, I simply do not put much into the machinations of the NFL calendar at this time of the year ! These college players will either prove to be good or extremely bad and by no means ____ is it a guarantee, a player taken as the top pick is a guarantee of success. The last player taken as the number one pick to have led his team to the Superbowl , was in fact Eli Manning taken in 2004 by the New York Giants . Two Superbowl victories coming from the arm of Manning sealed his legacy, but since that victory, the Giants’ quarterback has not been consistent or led the team another postseason appearance since 2007. Make of it what you will.

========================


=======================

Picture gallery . Narrative can be seen by clicking on an individual frame .

What do you believe will be the likely outcome of this NFL Draft by way of the player taken as the number one overall pick ? Based on the needs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , do you believe it is imperative the franchise take a quarterback or a player of need at another position ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be of relevance to the subject matter.

🙂

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Twitter.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Pinterest.com

Advisory notes :
—————-

PGA Tour

PGA Tours news

🙂

NFL

NFL news

NFL transactions (March 2015)

NFL Draft (2015)

NFL free agents 2015

Top salaried players in 2015

Top capped players 2015 (top-thirty players)