Put Up Or Simply Just Shut The Fu#k Up !

Put Up Or Simply Just Shut The Fuck Up !

I’ll say this repeatedly when it comes to the analysis being provided within the sports’ world can be so ridiculous and no amount of asinine jingoism and xenophobia can hide my disdain for many of these commentators. The third major of the season on the PGA Tour The Open has no rhyme or reason when you have the likes of Andy North be ing so ridiculous with his analysis in insisting that the American players have what it takes to be dominant in the majors and win . When it mattered most other than Phil Mickelson no one amongst the American players thought to be in with a chance had the stomach to show what they’re capable of in terms of facing real adversity.


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The British Open is by far the most difficult of the four majors to win and where a player simply doesn’t rely on his talent alone but also with their mental abilities . Well with the workman like effort of Darren Clarke and along the way Ireland secure its second successive major after Rory McIlroy’s historic 2011 US Open win . The course at the R&A’s Royal St George at Lytham St Anne’s , Sandwich , Kent , has always proven to be a very difficult with its numerous obstacles on this par 72 course . And for the competing players who sought to tame the greens and fairways on the fourth and final day of the tournament , well let’s just say if you choose to play with fire then you are liable to get burned .

It would appear while being passionate about the game Andy North’s insight of it tends to be inflated and over the top ! I’d hate to think how he will try summarize Clarke’s win and what it now means to the game . What I do know, it simply will prove that America’s once dominant stranglehold on the game is now slipping . The world rankings would suggest that its upper echelons that tree now is more diversified than ever before . And with the PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club, Johns Creek , Atlanta , Georgia , being the lone major left on the Tour schedule it will be very interesting to see who steps up to walk the walk .

Are my eyes mistaking me ? But scouring the papers in search of the latest tidbit of new within the world of baseball I almost fell out of my seat. But low and behold, it would appear that the once lowly Pittsburgh Pirates are riding high within the NL Central and are out to prove that they’re capable of challenging the likes of the Cincinnati Reds , Milwaukee Brewers , St Louis Cardinals . And what might be even more scary is that Clint Hurdle’s team is playing above .500 ball , enjoying themselves and they could very well be on their way to posting their first winning season almost two decades . Strange as it may seem the eyes of the world now appear to placing a great deal of scrutiny on on this team assembled with a mixture of youth and some veteran experience . Hurdle and his coaching staff along with GM Neal Huntington have to be very pleased what they are seeing from this team and their play this season at PNC Ballpark in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania .


HOUSTON – JULY 17: Center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated by Neil Walker (18) and Alex Pressley (44) after making a sliding catch on a fly ball off the bat of Clint Barmes (12) of the Houston Astros in the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park on July 17, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

If there’s a star on this Pirates’ team then one has to consider it to be Andrew McCutchen the outfielder and the exuberant leader of this young roster . As eventful as the season seems to have be for the Pirates the very thought that the organization could possibly be a part of the postseason now seems to be dawning on their fans as what could be in the offing . From my own standpoint I think that the biggest surprise would be to finally post winning season for the first time in over decade and a half . If that were to happen then you cannot deny Clint Hurdle the NL Manager of the Year Award in having led the team to a winning record for the season . Now over the final two months of the season we may very see the true character of this team and how they acquit themselves down the final stretch of run of the season .

The Pittsburgh Pirates through a great deal of resolve have proved themselves worthy adversaries for their rivals within the NL Central as well as the rest of the National League at large . And though I do believe that the team in its present guise are very good, I simply do not believe that they are good enough to win the division ! However , with that being said with the undoubted character and it appears the maturity being shown , it does bode well for the future of the team. I still have my doubts as to the intention the team’s owner Bob Nutting and his partners as I view the senior partner as being nothing more than a predatory raider or more akin to a vulture hovering above the dead carcass of animal looking to gnaw away at its remains ! For years Nutting has literally complained and plead nothing but poverty as the team has struggled to be competitive on the field of play and also from a financial standpoint. And having bought the team from the McClatchy family every effort we were led to believe would be sought in turning this organization around.


Bob Nutting has made sure that the team’s payroll has remained amongst the lowest in the league but while that facade has continued the team has profited greatly from the league hierarchy’s tax revenue sharing scheme . If only one could simply take Nutting at his word when he continues plead his case that the team isn’t making any money. But the benefits reaped from paring down the the salary of the team and then reaping the dividends of the revenue scheme leads me to believe that the owner has less than economical with the truth ! So much so that now with the team now playing with a great deal more zeal it could very well be that the organization will be forced to become a buyer in the free agency market if they are to prove to their fans that there intent is to win. And with that very deadline due on the 31st July it could determine what we are to expect from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As the NFL lockout continues and with both sets of lawyers for the league and union now intent on working out the legal verbiage for what will be a new 10 year CBA (collective bargaining agreement) , I would like to think that the owners within the NBA and league hierarchy are carefully taking note of the events taking place between the two sides. If it’s apparent that the NBPA is not at all interested in conceding to any of the requests being made of the by the league then the fans will bear witnesses to what very well be a very contentious battle .

Commissioner David Stern and his opposite number within the union executive director Billy Hunter are now looking for the league accede to their wishes. And once again both sides are showing their intransigence while at the same not wanting to back down in the eyes of the public. It seems abundantly clear both sides are underestimating the goodwill and patience of the fans and much like the idiocy shown by their counterparts in the NFL it may well take a prolonged lockout before we see both sides actually come to their senses.

From being a scoring champion to perennial All Star the fall from grace of Tracy McGrady simply has been astounding . Last season the player simply slipped further down in our conscience from that once formidable offensive threat to someone who if anything has become more of an enigma and conundrum all rolled into one. The player this upcoming season should there be one will be a free agent and he has stated that he feels that he can be a contributor to any team willing to take a chance on him.

In 2010 we saw Tracy McGrady as a member of the Detroit Pistons and as we all know the team had a miserable season . GM Joe Dumars had a contentious relationship with coach John Kuester and it has to be said with new owner , billionaire Tom Gores now in place I for one seriously doubt that the Pistons in their present guise will be a team to be reckoned with. Dumars’ own position within the Pistons’ front office could very well become somewhat tenuous as I firmly believe that the new ownership could very well be intent on bringing in someone who they feel that they are more likely to work alongside . Kuester was summarily fired by Dumars after last season’s disappointing record and lack of play all round.

At this stage of his career , as a fifteen year veteran in the league I seriously doubt that Tracy McGrady has that much left to offer a team , other than his experience . Most notably as a player his skills simply have declined to a point where he has become more of a liability rather than an asset to a team . And that to my mind simply doesn’t bode well for any franchise who might take a chance on the player .

The coaching position with the Detroit Piston still remains vacant and with Tom Gores , incoming as the new team owner , there’s no doubt that he will assess the situation and needs of the organization before coming to a decision as to who ought to succeed John Kuester . Joe Dumars may well feel that it is either time to step down or continue to work within the Pistons’ organization in conjunction with the new owner.

And so the Women’s World World Cup comes to an abrupt end with Japan defeating USA on penalties 3-1 in a shootout after regular and then overtime play. What gave anyone reason to believe why the US ought to be deemed favorites is completely beyond me ! They may well have the experience but in straight laced terms , there were not the best team in the tournament and certainly not based on their play ! If truth be known the Japanese having beaten the two best teams in the quarters and semi finals simply showed why they were deserving of this victory. And this is not meant to demean the achievements of the US team in this tournament . Emotions and the fact that with all that the tiny nation had been through in the aftermath of a natural disaster may well have made Japan an heartwarming favorite . But I believe them to be favorites coming into this game solely based on their play. Throughout the tournament you simply see the Japanese team raise the level of their play and wherein they just played to their strengths and showed that technically they were that much better than their opponents and most notably so in the final match of the competition .


Bob Ley (left) , Brandi Chastain and Tony DiCicco discuss the role of nerves in the Final, and how this team fits into the legacy of US Women’s Soccer. Courtesy of ESPN ……..

As is usual in such cases ESPN brings in what they deem to be people with knowledge of the game of soccer . Granted , the game still has its detractors and supporters but in all honesty if they are bringing in analysts with insight , then let it be someone whose bloviated bias won’t be so pronounced that you simply are going to be resoundingly bored by their observations and commentary . And that has certainly been the case throughout their coverage of the competition. Brandy Chastain , Briana Scurry and Tony DiCicco simply have been an adulterated busts as commentators and analysts . No amount of impartiality could be shown by either of the trio even if their lives depended on it . Whether or not you are associated or have been associated with the teams as each have at least have the temerity to provide the viewers with something more than your blatant bias . With the loss came the perfunctory excuses as to their views as to why the US failed but their lack of candor in acknowledging the team on the day was simply outplayed leads me to believe that they viewed Japan as a minor hurdle in what they felt to be a victory that was guaranteed prior to the start of the game ! Don’t get me wrong if you’re going to state a reason why a team ought to win you have also got to be prepared to state the reasons why they could also fail . Something I feel that ESPN and their so called analysts seemingly forget whilst on air !



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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

Contact ….. rapptu@gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Northern Irish golfer Darren Clarke poses with the Claret Jug on the 18th green the morning after winning the 140th British Open Golf championship at Royal St George’s in Sandwich, Kent, south-east England, on July 18, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Getty Images/ Peter Muhly ….

(2) SANDWICH, ENGLAND – JULY 17: during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George’s on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images …..

(3) Scott Van Pelt (left) of ESPN is seen here with co-host Andy North a former PGA Tour professional and two time Major winner . Courtesy of ESPN/ABC ……

(4) HOUSTON – JULY 17: Right fielder Xavier Paul (38) of the Pittsburgh Pirates leaps but can’t make the catch on a home run by Humberto Quintero (55) of the Houston Astros in the eleventh inning at Minute Maid Park on July 17, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images …

(5) HOUSTON – JULY 17: Center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated by Neil Walker (18) and Alex Pressley(44) after makeng a sliding catch on a fly ball off the bat of Clint Barmes (12) of the Houston Astros in the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park on July 17, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images …

(6) Former Pirates CEO Kevin McClatchy and Chairman of the Board Robert (Bob) Nutting discuss the “change of control” within the Pirates ownership. The McClatchy family who owned the team outright sold the concern to Bob Nutting and a consortium of investors in 2007 . Phil Rombach/ Pittsburgh Post Gazette ….

(7) In this April 10, 2011, file photo, then-Detroit Pistons coach John Kuester reacts to a call in the first half of the Pistons’ 112-101 win over the Charlotte Bobcats in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C. The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Kuester as an assistant under new coach Mike Brown, reuniting the duo who worked in Cleveland together. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ……

(8) Pistons’ owner Tom Gores is seen here with the team’s GM Joe Dumars at the Palace of Auburn Hills , Auburn Hills , Michigan, home to the basketball franchise . Gores purchased the team from the Davidson family whose patriarch Bill Davidson died in 2009. AFP/ Chris Gould ……

(9) Tracy McGrady (1) of of the Detroit Pistons drives against James Jones (22) of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 28, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images North America / Mike Ehrmann …..

(10) TOPSHOTS: Japan’s midfielder Homare Sawa (C) celebrates with the trophy and teammates after the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup final match Japan vs USA on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. Japan won 3-1 in a penalty shoot-out after the final had finished 2-2 following extra-time. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ

(11) FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – JULY 17: (L-R) Homare Sawa of Japan winning the adidas golden shoe award as the best player of the tournament and Abby Wambach of USA, winning the adidas silver golden shoe stand on the podium after being rewarded during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final match between Japan and USA at the FIFA World Cup stadium Frankfurt on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Japan against USA 5-3 after penalty shoot-out. Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images ….

(12) FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – JULY 17: Tobin Heath of USA (3rd R) comforts Sahnnon Boxx of USA (R) after failed shooting a penalty during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final match between Japan and USA at the FIFA World Cup stadium Frankfurt on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Japan won 5-3 after penalty shoot-out against the USA. Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images ……

(13) Bob Ley (left) , Brandi Chastain and Tony DiCicco discuss the role of nerves in the Final, and how this team fits into the legacy of US Women’s Soccer. Courtesy of ESPN ……..


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From The Sublime To The Ridiculous And Beyond …….

From The Sublime To The Ridiculous And Beyond …………

Well it goes without saying that the coming week will bring us a great deal of news . First off the upcoming NFL Draft will begin this Thursday the 28th April being staged at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City , New York . The it factor as they say is that quarterbacks are at a premium and the furor over Cam Newton , Andy Dalton , Blaine Gabbert and anyo other collegiate player playing the position , they’re considered to be prime pieces of real estate in a burgeoning market. Well friends , given the fact that commercial real estate and the whole real estate economy is now in the doldrums , when it comes to the quarterbacks that are on display here . I’m not so sure that any team opting to take a qb in the first dozen picks of the first round would be considered a prudent one .


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I’d say this the idiocy of not only carrying on with the draft but at the same there’s a league instigated lockout and is there a thought that the league hierarchy and owners are looking like more the buffoons we now believe them to be right from the outset ? Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith have become the NFL’s answer to that legendary comedic duo Laurel and Hardy with the intransigence that has been shown by between both , as presiding Judge Susan Nelson has mediated over this process . The two sides will not meet again publicly until early May , as Nelson has adjourned this process while she now assesses the presentations from both sides before rendering a binding arbitrary decision . I somehow get the feeling that verdict n will only be met cordially with any form of approval from the side that the verdict is rendered against .

The NFLPA having decertified itself to become a trade association in order to challenge the NFL’s antitrust status took a bold attempt with their decision and maneuver to go down this route . Goodell and the owners saw fit to try and paint the players and their union in a poor light and that effort seems to have failed in the eyes of the public . As to the decision rendered I hope that the two sides will have learned something from this all and that it prove fruitful in any further dealings between the two sides !

I understand that for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig finds that the postseason within baseball is the most exciting time of the calendar year within the game . But if the rumors are to be believed that the league hierarchy and owners are thinking about tinkering with the postseaon schedule by adding to wildcard system . Then I would have to say that the idea is something of an asinine one ! If adding teams to the system is what Selig seeks , then he will most certainly have to seek an agreement from MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner and the union . At the same time I would have thought that Selig , the league hierarchy , owners and the union have far more pressing issues such as , the financial stability and viability of a number of teams around the league . Is it not enough that Bud Selig has had to personally intervene by sending in an independent official to take over the day to day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers whose self absorbed owner Frank McCourt was well on the way to bankrupting the organization with his less than open business deals ?

If McCourt is of the opinion that borrowing some $30 million from the local Fox tv affiliate in order to meet the team’s budgetary expenses for the month of April when the season is barely one month old ___ alludes to the fact that the Dodgers isn’t an organization that is in serious financial trouble then it would suggest that he’s not the businessman he obviously thinks that he is . What I for one would like to know , is when Frank McCourt proposed buying the team from News Corp subsidiary Fox Inc in 2003 what sort of investigation had been conducted by the league hierarchy before agreeing to let the purchase go ahead ? Because had their investigations been absolutely thorough then the hierarchy would have found that McCourt had some serious concerns in light of certain business deals that had fallen through , and wherein certain business entities he’d been dealing with had sought legal recourse within the Federal Courts lodging several suits against the real estate tycoon . But I guess the color of money tends to cloud the judgment even of the most principled of people !

If the changes as proposed does come into being I can only assume that it’s being done in order to foster further interest from the fans of the teams who in large part were never really in with a chance of making the postseason to begin with . This maneuver merely creates an incentive and the illusion that somehow those teams are actually in with a chance. As to the proposal which haven’t yet been made public I would certainly like to know what major changes are about to take place , how and when should the approval be given ___ when will we sit it all come into being ?

Well the silly season has began as the NBA Playoffs creates the excitement we’ve all come to expect . Nonetheless it’s behind the scenes where I for one now find amusing ! . The Houston Rockets and their GM Daryl Morey have seen fit not to seek the return of coach Rick Adelman . But if anything the Rockets’ problems have been fomenting over the past two seasons . Having lost All Star center Yao Ming this past season to a recurring injury and the less than productive tenure of Tracy McGrady as part of the organization you can’t but question the mindset of Morey and that of team owner Leslie Alexander . At what point had it occurred to them that things simply hadn’t been working out with Adelman ?

Surely based on the play of the team not only this season but last season as well , the loss of Yao would play a significant part in how one would view the chances of the team succeeding . You simply can’t think that there’s an easy solution to replace Yao’s productivity and what he brings to a team as merely an aberration . But somehow I get the impression that Morey simply hadn’t planned for such a situation and neither had he taken the opportunity of bolstering the team’s roster in each of the last two seasons when the center was having his injury problems .

If the problems of Miami Dolphins’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall hasn’t been well chronicled enough as it has been already . This latest incident wherein his wife Michi Nogami-Marshall had been arrested and charged with attempted second degree assault in the stabbing of her husband in the abdomen . Though the injury isn’t said to be critical or life threatening , the player had to held overnight in a South Florida hospital . If that hasn’t been enough, given Marshall’s history both on and off the field as it relates to his temperament, that it has now come to this ? A question now has to be asked as to how the Dolphins’ management will view this situation. GM Jeff Ireland and team coach Tony Sparano will no doubt await the results of the police investigation before making any public statement but you can’t help but wonder what they might now be thinking given the team’s poor play and having underachieved last season . Another headache concerning a player whose candor and temperament that in no way represents the undoubted talents that the wide receiver is said to have . So what’s next for the Dolphins and Brandon Marshall at this juncture ?

Any form of violence resulting from any type of domestic abuse cannot be overlooked and here it appears that is the case between the two feuding individuals . Marshall’s wife states that she was protecting herself from an attack by her husband . The way that this now plays out with the law being what it is in within the state of Florida any incident stemming from domestic abuse wherein there’s an act of violence __ one , if not both parties can be placed under arrest dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the actual incident. Character issues come into play once again with the wide receiver but here one simply cannot view this as simply another isolated incident given the fact that while as a Broncos player the player had repeated run ins with local law enforcement there concerning accusations of domestic violence against a previous girlfriend . I view a situation such as this as an issue that the league hierarchy has failed to address concerning the players . Even more so the players’ own union the NFLPA hasn’t a policy in place , relating to giving assistance to their members concerning anger management issues . I understand that the nature of the game demands violence and a great deal of aggression but herein lies the caveat, away from the football these players at times are not able to curtail their aggression and temperament. So in the case of what at times may well be nothing more than innocuous argument can turn into something far more unsavory , as has been the case here between Marshal and his wife.

I’ve always been of the opinion the NFL and its fraternity as a whole would rather have that machismo image on display and anything that tends to blacken its image placed firmly in the background. We’ve had the idiocy of Ben Roethlisberger’s impromptu behavior and the player denying that he’d done nothing wrong in the alleged sexual assault of two women . The player having been given a league mandated initial four game suspension had to undergo treatment for sexual addiction and anger management issues. Having seen his character come under assault the player quietly revamped his image and led his team the Pittsburgh Steelers to a berth in the Superbowl where they end up losing to the Green Bay Packers . They say …….‘time heals all wounds’ but I’m not so sure this is a wound that can be healed as it relates to this incident as it relates to Brandon Marshall and his wife.



Picture gallery .

In light of the topics raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have on these very same issues ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal …………


Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) of the Missouri Tigers throws a pass during the Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.
Christian Petersen /Getty Images North America …..

(2) Blaine Gabbert looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images /Joe Robbins ……..

(3) Former Major League Baseball player Eddie Robinson (L) and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (R) shakes hands while Major League Baseball Players Association Executive director Michael Weiner looks on prior to a news conference in New York, April 21, 2011. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced an agreement Thursday to make annual payments to players who retired before 1980 but did not have enough service time to qualify for a pension benefit via the MLB Players Benefit Plan. Reuters / Brendan McDermid ………….

(4)Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey . AP Photo/ Carl Breslin ….

(5) Rockets’ CEO & President Leslie Alexander . Both Alexander and GM Daryl Morey made the decision not to retain the services of Rick Adelman as coach of the team for next season . Getty Images / Mike Newell ….

(6) Brandon Marhsall seen here with his wife Michi Nogami-Marshall in a post wedding photograph from September 2010 . Courtesy of South Florida Sun Sentinel …….

(7) Rocky (L), the mascot of the Denver Nuggets interacts with Brandon Marshall (R), wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins and his then fiance Michi Nogami as they sit courtside as the Nuggets face the Dallas Mavericks during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 10, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 121-120. Doug Pensinger /Getty Images ……


NB: Although Judge Nelson has sided with the players rendering a verdict the NFL hierarchy and team owners have filed an appeal in the US Appellate Court requesting a stay of the verdict .

Truth , Fact or Fiction …… ?

Truth , Fact or Fiction …… ?

The wonders of the modern media , its journalists and reporters never ceases to amazet at all. It’d appear that rather reporting a story a reporter would prefer to make themselves the story and in large part interject themselves in whatever way possible even when there isn’t a reason for doing so. We’ve all seen it countless of times and more often than not it does proves to be annoying. ESPN’s —- Jim Gray has repeatedly proven the point that he’s no more a sports reporter or journalist than one could consider Snooki from MTV’s reality show “Jersey Shore” to be a doctoral candidate for Harvard University or any other prestigious educational establishment . But somehow individuals such as these two repeatedly crop on our tv screens and continue to make completes asses of themselves !

Gray’s mea-culpa was to call US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin a liar concerning a conversation he had with the PGA Tour professional with regard to his captain’s pick of the US team to play Europe in the upcoming event. Gray insinuated that Pavin had categorically stated that Tiger Woods would be definitely included on the team to play the Europeans . Pavin’s take on the issue was that he would consider the player only on the basis of his form and whether or not he felt that the player would be an asset to the team . Based on Woods’ present form I for one am not too sure the world’s number one golfer would prove to be an asset at all ! Given his most recent finish in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational Akron , Ohio where he finished in 78 th place in a field of eighty golfers. It does beg the question are Woods’ off the field problems still proving to be a hindrance to his form on the Tour ? An impending divorce and the fact that the custody of his children have become an over-riding issue may well have played a great deal in the player’s particular fall from atop the leaderboards on the PGA Tour.


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Now with the final major of the season now starting as of today all eyes will once again be upon Woods as he chases Jack Nicklaus’ total of 18 Grand Slam major tour wins . The PGA Championship from Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler , Wisconsin is the lone major left on the PGA schedule . Apart from the fact that the US teamm will picked with top ten points’ holder getting an automatic berth the captain ( Pavin) is entitled to have his two picks that will be the final makeup of the twelve man field. As it now stands Phil Mickelson is atop of those standings with the next nine players set in place. The event itself will be held in Europe at The Celtic Manor Resort Golf & CC in Newport , Wales. And the European fans will be attending en masse to support their hometown heroes led by their captain Scottish European Tour player Colin Montgomerie . The event will take place between the 1st – 3rd October , 2010 and is expected to be a soldout event with countless of millions more watching worldwide.

Gray’s credibility and his stance at this juncture can’t all be taken seriously especially in light of the fact that his rather tedious and boring interview with NBA player LeBron James was such a complete waste of time and added about as much to journalistic integrity as Jayson Blair’s career has been viewed as being one of prestige in the field of news reporting. What we do know is that ESPN paid $250,000 to James’ representatives for the exclusive rights to the interview in which the player let the whole world know that he would indeed be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to make his new found home and NBA future with the Miami Heat . Credibility comes to those who earn it by carrying out their duties judiciously and who’ve earned the respect of the fans and their peers alike. One sincerely doubts that can be said of Jim Gray amongst the fans of the sports world but on the other hand within the world of the glad handing and backslapping amongst his own. Where the mere morsel of controversy is seen as something worthwhile and of journalistic integrity. One certainly has to wonder how it is that anyone can continue to take Jim Gray and his work seriously ?

As a New England Patriots’ fan I always admired the play of Tedy Bruschi as part of the team’s Superbowl success in winning three Superbowl titles. As an analyst with the four letter network his choices and prognostications while sound at times. He tends to make the most asinine of assertions from time to time and perhaps no more than his most recent statement that the now retired former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive player Derrick Brooks is not to his mind a bona-fide first ballot Hall of Famer . Now to each his own but given the fact that Brooks has been a Superbowl winning player and a perennial Pro Bowl caliber player for much of his entire career. I’ve got to ask myself what hallucinogens has Bruschi been on and also was ESPN aware that when they hired the former Patriots’ player he would prove to be such as idiot to begin with ? Now all kidding asides when you’re going to put such statement out there you’d better have the balls to back it up ! In Bruschi’s case then there was none whatsoever and unfortunately his co-hosts and panelists on the show didn’t question his thoughts on the matter . Once again showing another reason why the sports outlet now has become nothing more than an entertainment medium rather than a source of information and good sports reporting. Has broadcast journalism and in particular within the field of sports really sank that low ? More to the point where are the really salient sports stories that the fans would expect to see being reported ? Instead now we’ve got a bunch of clowns who espouse the idea that they are indeed analysts or journalists as the case maybe and that they’re the best that the network has to offer.

As the NFL season beckons some of the stories that’ll be reported upon will no doubt be bound in very little fact but even more fiction. And that now tends to be the case the vast majority of the time with ESPN ! Be on the lookout for the next Brett Favre story as we’re now liable to hear from the likes of Chris Mortensen and John Clayton that Favre’s hemorrhoids have been playing up and that his surgically repaired ankle is now the least of his problems as it regards his impending future with the Minnesota Vikings . Somehow until Favre is actually suited up in a Vikings’ uniform this will be pretty much the staple as what to expect from the sports broadcast outlet.

When you’re said to be $40 million apart on a contract negotiation I can only surmise that youre agent and the team’s GM are either too drunk to carry out what they’re doing with great effect or that the lines of communication are indeed crossed. Such may well be the case with the ongoing negotiations concerning Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis and the team’s GM Mike Tannenbaum . The New York Jets are said to be offering the player a ten year $120 million contract with what is said to be as much as anywhere between $75 to $85 million plus in guaranteed money . The player and his agent are said to be looking for a 10 year $160 million contract with at least $90 million in guaranteed money and incentives. Now don’t get me wrong but when the NFL salaries are now escalating in line where we’re now seeing the type of salaries being offered to major league ballplayers I’ve got to begin to question the sanity of the teams around the NFL and their respective heirarchies. Never mind what the NFLPA might well have to say about this all because as we all know for them it has and always will be about the money and not much else !

With the Jets’ first preseason game just a few days away there’s talk that Revis is prepared to sit out the entire pre and regular season in order to get what he feels he deserves and that’s to be the highest player at his position and therefore putting him to be paid along the lines of Peyton Manning in terms of a compensatory package. Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders at present is the highest paid cornerback in the league herein lies the caveat the player has a proven track record whereas , Revis after one productive year expects to be paid as one of the elite at his position. Perception is everything but it can also mean absolutely nothing whatsoever ! Whether or not Rex Ryan his coaching staff and the team can do without Revis over the prolonged season remains to be seen. But this much is certain all of Ryan’s brevitas at this juncture now seems to have lost a great deal of its luster if as thought they could be without their much hyped cornerback . Never mind the fact that coach has his team winning the AFC East as well as the Superbowl this upcoming season.

Now that Tracy McGrady has signed with the Detroit Pistons I do believe that this might well be the player’s last hurrah . Once thought of as young phenom, the years and age have caught up to a player whose best years it can honestly be said are behind him. Somehow however he and Pistons’ GM Joe Dumars still feel that the player has something to offer and that he can contribute to the team . From where I sit McGrady should have hung up his spurs long ago. His dwindling ability cannot hide the fact that he’s now playing like a geriatric with only at times rarely showing glimpses of brilliance. Long having been “the lions” of the Eastern Conference the Pistons have seen other pass them by and they’re now having to look at a roster that’s lacking in leadership and real star power. Never mind the fact that in terms of sheer ability they may not have what it takes to usurp many of the now more resilient teams within their conference.

Now with the Davidson family looking to sell the team in order to curtail the estate taxes and Bill Davidson’s wife Karen since her late husband’s death is no longer keen to be a part of what he had established . The Pistons are now said to be looking for a new owner and the NBA hierarchy are now keen to make that happen expeditiously. The only real person to have shown an intense interest in purchasing the team is Detroit Tigers and Red Wings’ owner Michael Ilitch . His main reasons are the fact that he’d like to see the organization remain within Michigan and particularly at the Palace of Auburn Hills where they’re very much , still a fan favorite. He does believe that if the team were bought by an outsider then it may well be relocated and that may well be something that most Pistons’ fans would certainly feel disgruntled with. As to how that would also go down with NBA Commissioner David Stern would also be of concern . But then again Stern and the Thunder ownership certainly made light work of misleading the city of Seattle when the Sonics were moved out of town to Oklahoma City. So at this juncture nothing is written in stone and with a complete certainty concerning the storied franchise .



The truth can be viewed in a number of ways …….. your’s , mine and somewhere in between. As to what the real truth is in any given story what we do know is that for the vast majority of the time most news gathering sources really do go out of their way to make sure that what we’re being told is the truth and that it has some rationale behind it. In the case of the likes of ESPN much of it is merely created to ramp up the interests of the viewers and that’s now become their overall claim to fame. So next time be weary of what it is that they’re reporting but even more so take a keen look at the source of the story and how it is being reported. Much of the time you get a clue as to what’s fact and what is indeed work of fiction. Chime in with a comment as to this and any other sporting topic that as of late has been of a real interest to you. We can then dissect it and perhaps in some way get to the real truth of what’s said to be happening ? Thanks as always for the continued support as it has always been appreciated !


Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………. 🙂

Ravelle’s ………………..“Bolero” as conducted by Andre’ Rieu with his orchestra .


Freida Pinto

Actress Freida Pinto .

You’re Sick ? Go To Your GP ….. You Want Funny ? Go See A Comedy Show ……….. You Want Sanity In Sports ………. Well , That’s Something Else ……….. I Ain’t Got No Answer For That ………….

You’re Sick ? Go To Your GP ….. You Want Funny ? Go See A Comedy Show ……….. You Want Sanity In Sports ………. Well , That’s Something Else ……….. I Ain’t Got No Answer For That ………….

Just when I thought there was sanity within the world of sports . Something ludicrous happens to upset the apple-cart once again. First of all MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is back on his pedestal preaching that the AL East‘s Tampa Bays is in urgent need of a new baseball facility, to house the team and to be also in with a chance of staging MLB’s mid-season showcase, the MLB All Star Game. There’s absolutely nothing like an idiotic commissioner who’s completely oblivious to the dire economic situation facing the vast majority of the teams across the league. You get the impression that either Selig’s head has been buried in the sand , much like an ostrich . Or from the mere fact that he’s been away from the game was just suddenly inserted into the position of commissioner and asked by his members to just do the job without seemingly rocking the boat. Proving to me once again that the game’s hierarchy (MLB) much like the very owners themselves, ‘are a bunch’ of blithering idiots !

Allan ‘Bud’ Selig , Commissioner of Major League Baseball, seated alongside President & Chief Operating Officer  Bob DuPuy . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Roger Scott ……………..
Allan ‘Bud’ Selig , Commissioner of Major League Baseball, seated alongside President & Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Roger Scott ……………..

Given the fact that the Rays have one of the lowest payrolls in the entire league, as well as having a fan-base that is ‘below the league average’. It would appear that none of this seems to matter at all to Bud Selig. He’s entrenched himself with the notion that bigger is better and that money should be of no object to the teams with baseball. Well , Mr Selig , the owners of the Tampa Bay Rays while being wealthy, they haven’t the advantages or the vast financial resources ‘bestowed upon teams’ such as the Boston Red Sox , New York Mets , New York Yankees , Los Angeles Angels or the Los Angeles Dodgers for that matter. Rays’ principal owner Stuart Sternberg has done his leveled best to provide the fans within the community a brand and product that they can support wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, that’s not being reciprocated by those who turn up in attendance for the games at Tropicana Field. In large part, the only time that the Rays plays in-front of a packed sold-out crowd , is either when the Yankees or Red Sox are in town, as part of their regularly season scheduled games. Or when the Rays’ front office decides that a pre-game free admission concert is apt, in luring some additional fans for a game. If that’s not an indication as to how dire the situation is for the organization. Then obviously, as commissioner, Bud Selig doesn’t know what the hell is going on within the game !

Stuart Sternberg (3rd from l) With Partners Timothy Mullen, Randy Frankel, Andrew Cader, Gary Goldring and Stephen Levick
Stuart Sternberg (3rd from left) with Partners Timothy Mullen, Randy Frankel, Andrew Cader, Gary Goldring and Stephen Levick. photo appears courtesy of Sports Business Daily / Jennifer Santieri ............

Suddenly from his podium , Bud Selig believes he can dictate the city of Tampa , the state and to the Rays what’s needed in order for them to be deemed a contender, as a future recipient of being bestowed the staging of an All Star Game. The fact of the matter is , the cash strapped city and the state of Florida with a burgeoning deficit have no place to go but to place the burden of building a new facility for the team upon its residents. And given the fact that statewide the unemployment level is close to the national average of 9.8% . I hardly think that it’s appropriate for this burden to be placed upon the residents of the community as well as the entire state. But an idiot such Bud Selig wouldn’t know this ! He and his moronic minions seem to have no sense of duty or morals when it comes to exacting their form of extortion upon the fans and the general public. One wonders what might happen were Congress and the Senate to rescind MLB’s ‘anti-trust exemption status’ ? That would obviously put the cat amongst the pigeons and have the league’s hierarchy, as well as the owners running for the hills. But alas, both legislative houses appear to be in bed with the league when it comes to this very issue. MLB’s lobbyists on K Street in Washington D.C. would make sure that event would never take place within either legislative body.

Kings' GM Geoff Petrie   seated  alongside team  coach Paul  Westphal  and  the  team's  owners  Gavin  &  Joe  Maloof.   photo  appears  courtesy  of  Associated  Press/   Ryan Murphy  ............
Kings' GM Geoff Petrie seated alongside team coach Paul Westphal and the team's owners Gavin & Joe Maloof. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Ryan Murphy ............

So it has now come to this, wherein the Sacramento Kings has essentially given up on the NBA season ? The Western Conference team within the Pacific Division has raised the ‘white flag of surrender’ , having traded away their best player in , Kevin Martin and three others to the Houston Rockets in order to obtain Tracy McGrady and his rather ‘outlandish ‘ and ‘exorbitant’ $23 million contract. Salary dump on the part of the Rockets and their GM Daryl Morey. McGrady ,himself, had become something of a diversion and malignant cancer within the Rockets’ locker room. As to what this might suggest to the Kings’ fans is open to a matter of conjecture and a great deal of debate. Suffice to say, it wouldn’t at all surprise me if the fans were to begin hanging effigies of the Sacramento Kings’ ownership and that of their front office in the rafters and outside ARCO Arena , in Sacramento.

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Reports: Rockets trade McGrady to Kings

Houston (AP)—Published reports say the Houston Rockets have traded Tracy McGrady and his massive expiring contract to the Sacramento Kings for guards Kevin Martin and Sergio Rodriguez , center Hilton Armstrong and forward Kenny Thomas.

The Kings also reportedly will get forward Carl Landry, Houston’s most productive bench player this season, and seldom-used forward Joey Dorsey.

The deal was first reported by KRIV-TV and the Houston Chronicle early Thursday morning. ESPN.com reported that the New York Knicks will work with the Kings and Rockets on Thursday morning to acquire McGrady in a three-team swap.

The seven-time All-Star is making an NBA-high $23 million this season, the last year of his contract.


Westphal   (right)  seen here   with  Mayor   of Sacramento ,  Kevin  Johnson.    photo  appears  courtesy  of   Getty  Images/  Ivan  Bressloff  ............
Westphal (right) seen here with Mayor of Sacramento , Kevin Johnson. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ivan Bressloff ............

And though the Kings were recipients of not just McGrady but also the Rockets’ productive bench player Carl Landry and as well as seldom used forward, Joey Dorsey. As to the opportunities that this opens up for Kings’ coach, Paul Westphal remains to be seen. But it’s clear with the acquisition of McGrady , which isn’t being viewed as a long term solution to the team’s problems. But it should gives him enough time to assess the roster and that of the commitment shown by the players. For team owners Joe and Gavin Maloof and that of GM Geoff Petrie , these have been exacerbating times. And that’s just not from competitive standpoint but also from financial one as well. The organization has struggled with declining attendance and at the same they’re still at an impasse with the city of Sacramento and the inadequacies of their facility- ARCO Arena. And that is in spite of speaking directly with the city’s Mayor Kevin Johnson on this very issue. Johnson ,himself, was once a player in the NBA and he had quite a distinguished career playing for the Phoenix Suns for the majority of his professional career. The parlance between the two sides with them being unable to come to some sort of amicable agreement , puts the city at odds with the NBA franchise.
And it adds to the possibility that once the Kings’ lease at the ARCO Arena has expired , the Maloofs may well look to relocate the franchise either win another part of the state or move across the country altogether. No doubt city of Las Vegas mayor, Oscar B Goodman , would like nothing more than to welcome the Maloofs and their NBA franchise to the city, as its newest professional sports franchise. With the Maloofs already having ties to the city and the state through their hotel , casino ties as well as several other business interests. The synergistic fit would be of benefit to both parties. But for the moment that doesn’t appear to be on the horizon , as of yet.

<strong> Tracy McGrady (#1)</strong> of the Houston Rockets drives the ball around Tyson Chandler (#6) of the New Orleans Hornets on December 26, 2008 at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to reports on February 18, 2010, McGrady was traded to the New York Knicks in a three team trade between the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Knigs, and Knicks.  photo appears courtesy  of  Getty  Images/  Chris  Graythern .................
Tracy McGrady (#1) of the Houston Rockets drives the ball around Tyson Chandler (#6) of the New Orleans Hornets on December 26, 2008 at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to reports on February 18, 2010, McGrady was traded to the New York Knicks in a three team trade between the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Knigs, and Knicks. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythern .................

As I alluded to earlier , it’s my belief that the Sacramento Kings have given up on the season and the thought of being competitive throughout its remainder. I could well prove to be wrong in my assumption but in all likelihood it’s safe to say that the organization is looking forward to the future and to build the team around their ‘sensational’ rookie Tyreke Evans . It is clear to those with any knowledge of the team and the thought process of both Westphal and Petrie, that this is now best way forward for the franchise. It is sad however, that a player of Kevin Martin’s caliber is lost to the team. As to whether or not a player of McGrady’s clearly declining abilities can reasonably contribute anything to this team , remains to be seen .

Well it appears what semblance of sanity one thought there was within the Knicks’ has left the building, just like ‘Elvis’. Apparently not wanting to be left of back pages of the venerable New York City newspapers and their wonderful sport’s sections. New York Knicks‘ President of Basketball Operations and GM, Donnie Walsh entered into the fray and took Tracy McGrady of the Kings’ hands. And for that the Maloofs and Geoff Petrie will be eternally grateful. As to what this says about the Knicks as an organization, can be best summed up by saying …..’fu_k why did they get rid of Zeke’ ? If he can f_ck up the Knicks, the way that he did , then why the hell did they hire Donnie Walsh to begin with ? I hear can hear Spike Lee now saying, ……… ‘we’re legitimate contenders for the championship . T-Mac’ll ‘take us’ to the promise land’.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

AP source: McGrady to Knicks in three-way trade

By Chris Duncan, AP Sports Writer

Houston (AP)—The New York Knicks have acquired disgruntled guard Tracy McGrady and his massive expiring contract in a three-team swap with the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings, a person with knowledge of the negotiations tells The Associated Press.

The person spoke Thursday and requested anonymity because the deal has not been officially announced.

The Knicks will also get Sergio Rodriguez from the Kings, though the lure of the deal was McGrady and his expiring $23 million contract.

The Rockets will get guard Kevin Martin and forward Hilton Armstrong from Sacramento and forward Jordan Hill , Jared Jeffries and draft considerations in 2011 and 2012 from New York. They’re also relieved to have finally found a taker for McGrady, the troublesome seven-time All-Star they’ve been trying to trade for almost two months.

The Kings will get New York guard Larry Hughes and Houston forwards Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey.

The Knicks have been courting McGrady—or at least the financial benefits of his contract—almost since the moment in late December when the Rockets granted him an indefinite leave and announced they were trying to trade him.

While interested in seeing McGrady play for the last two months of a lost season, New York is more interested in dropping their payroll and becoming a major player in this summer’s free-agent sweepstakes.

Jeffries and Hill will make almost $10 million together next year so by including them in the deal, the Knicks will open enough salary cap space to offer nearly two maximum contracts to the free agents available after the season, starting with LeBron James .

The Knicks and Rockets had reportedly been working on a deal for a while, but couldn’t finish it without involving another team.

Click on the link shown to read Chris Duncan’s article in
its entirety.

God knows what Mike D’Antoni must be thinking at this moment in time ? I mean he couldn’t get the team’s current roster of players to play as a cohesive unit,under his tutelage as their coach. Who in the hell thinks that the addition of McGrady will actually improve this team one iota ? ‘Not I’, said the fly ! And I hear that both Condoleeza Rice and Jessica Simpson feel the same way ? Now that’s the sort of assurance that’s welcoming to the ears of the devoted Knicks’ fans.

With McGrady’s contract now in its final year , it’s quite obvious that the Knicks feel that they’ll be in play to be part of the LeBron James sweepstakes and when he comes up for free agency. But much of that’ll now also be predicated upon the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations taking placce between the NBA hierarchy and the NBPA under the auspices of NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter . The tension between Hunter and NBA Commissioner David Stern seems to be at ‘fever’s pitch’ and but a moment away from reaching ‘boiling point’. And it would appear that the union is unlikely to fall into line and acquiesce to the league’s demands of a ‘20% pay cut across the board that’d be retro-active’ . And this would also take into account maxed out contracts for players with tenure in the league. Call me naive but does anyone really believe the union will allow that to happen concerning its members ? Never mind the fact that Stern keeps on reiterating that the league is on course to lose in excess of $400 million for the fiscal year of 2010 ? Somewhere along the lines the NBA executives and GM’s seem to have forgotten about budgetary restraint for some reason ? They went on spending sprees the way that former Filipino ‘First Lady ‘ Imelda Marcos spent money on her vast array ‘haute-couture’ fashion accessories and shoes. That asides, until Stern allows the NBA’s books to be publicly scrutinized there’s little reason to be believe what he’s saying is true. Much like our Federal legislators and senior government officials, there’s very little to believe what they now say, that actually passes the ‘litmus test’ , when it comes what’s truthful and what is essentially ‘a white lie’ !

Scott Boras   with  client  Johnny   Damon   and    Damon's  wife  Michelle
Scott Boras (left) with client Johnny Damon and Damon's wife Michelle. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Russell Shaw .................

I’ve always maintained that the three most despised people in the world of baseball, are Barry Bonds , Mark McGwire and sports agent Scott Boras . If you need any proof of the latter ? Then consider this, Boras as agent for Johnny Damon , has been unable to land his client with a ‘team’ in MLB. And the reason you may ask ? Well it is this, Boras is under the impression that his client is still worth at least $8-$10 million a year for a player who’s up there in years and declining in talent. But somehow, he and Damon are of the opinion that his client is worth that sort of money in today’s economy and free agency market. One begs the question then what would either Albert Pujols or Joe Mauer be worth ? $15million , $20 million or $25 million a year ?

The asinine attitude of both Damon and Boras doesn’t bear explaining , except to say that they overvalue their self worth through their sheer stupidity and perception of grandeur ! As to whether or not Damon is signed by a team prior to the opening of Spring Training , remains to be seen.

These are but a few of my own observations as to the perceived sanity or lack of it thereof in the world of sports. Is there anything that you’ve observed that has made you wonder what the hell is going on within this particular environment ? Chime on with a comment that you , I and others may discuss within this forum. I look forward to reading your responses in due course.

NB Both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are the respective owners of their own cable sports programming outlets, namely NESN (Red Sox) and the YES Network (New York Yankees). Each of these entities provides both organizations with a vast mountain of cash to facilitate their financial well being and also to replenish their respective rosters as they would deem fit.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………


Drake feat’g Timbaland ….. ‘Say Something’


One  man's  wish  but every  man's   dream  and  that's  to  have  <strong>  Esther   Baxter  </strong>  .  And <strong><em> who  wouldn't  want  to  ? </strong> </em>  I   know   I  would  !
One man's wish but every man's dream and that's to have Esther Baxter . And who wouldn't want to ? I know I would !

All Good Things Must Come To An End ……I Repeat All Good Things Must Come To An End !

It has to be extremely embarrassing for a player of Allen Iverson’s stature to hear a sound byte from New York Knicks’ general manager,Donnie Walsh state….’he’s not in our plans for the future because we’re comfortable with where we’re at.’ That either has to be a damning indictment of the player. Or merely that things for the (2-9) Knicks just aren’t going to get much better, even with Iverson in tow.

Iverson seen here playing  for the Memphis Grizzlies  in  an  NBA game   against the Los Angeles Lakers.  The player  asked to be  released   from  his contract with the  team  and  has   now  become  an unrestricted  free agent.  He had  hoped  to  sign  with the New York  Knicks.  But Knicks' general manager  , Donnie Walsh , didn't  see Iverson  as a  comfortable  fit  for the   team.  Much  to  the dismay of  the  Knicks' fans  who've  had very little  to cheer  about this season   from  a 2-9   team.   picture appears  courtesy  of   ap/phot/ Lori  Shepler  ...............
Iverson seen here playing for the Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The player asked to be released from his contract with the team and has now become an unrestricted free agent. He had hoped to sign with the New York Knicks. But Knicks' general manager , Donnie Walsh , didn't see Iverson as a comfortable fit for the team. Much to the dismay of the Knicks' fans who've had very little to cheer about this season from a 2-9 team. picture appears courtesy of ap/phot/ Lori Shepler ...............

With Iverson, having sought and finally obtaining his release from the Memphis Grizzlies. The player felt that his next step would be to ascertain the interest of the New York Knicks. One has to bear in mind that with the present form of the team. Any addition by subtraction, would probably be in their best interest. And no doubt the intuitive Donnie Walsh , while admiring the player’s gifts and qualities, knew that bringing in Iverson,would only add to the woes of an already beleaguered team.Never mind the fact that the team’s coach, Mike D’Antoni is still struggling to find his best quintet of players to place on the court,for any given period of time. And one thought that their struggles with the hapless Isiah Thomas as their previous coach, was pitiful ? Watch the Knicks now, and tell me if you actually think that they’ve improved one iota, under D’Antoni’s tutelage ?

Courtesy of New York Daily News

Fans cry foul as New York Knicks pass on Allen Iverson

By Matt Gagne Daily New Sports Writer

No one in in his wildest dreams thought Allen Iverson could have transformed the Knicks into a championship-caliber team, but fans were dealt another blow Friday when the struggling franchise passed on the free agent and former MVP.

“What do the Knicks have, two wins?” said Jose Valentine, 24, of Manhattan. “Iverson can win more games than that by himself. He has the heart to play, he loves the game.”

“It’s a bad move,” added Tim Coffey, 25, of Brooklyn. “They could have at least put people in the seats.”

The Knicks take a 2-9 record into Saturday’s basement-dwelling showdown with the Nets, who are a league-worst 0-12 and the only team trailing the Knicks in the Atlantic Division.

In order to read Matt Gagne’s article in its entirety just click unto the
text link shown above

And for Allen Iverson, this must be something of a come down to think that a player of his stature is longer wanted by an NBA franchise. Now all he can but do, is to sit on the sidelines and wait patiently to hear the phone ring from a potential team. He joins the likes of former Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks‘ swing-man Jerry Stackhouse on the sidelines,in seeking gainful employment in the NBA.It’s not so much that the NBA is bereft of talent. But it’s essentially that players, such as Iverson and Stackhouse are no longer viewed as players, who can still play meaningful minutes and still be productive for a team. And for both of these former NBA All Stars, time is most definitely not on their side, given their respective ages and recent health issues.

The big problem now for Allen Iverson , is that given his ego and temperament- will he now, not see that it is in some ways futile and somewhat embarrassing for him, to be seen to be begging for a roster spot on an NBA team. Here we have one of the NBA’s ‘best little men’ to have ever played the game, with multiple All Star appearances and scoring titles to his name, as well as a regular season, MVP award. And now he’s seen to begging like a homeless bum on the streets merely for the chance to play the game that he no doubt still loves.The unfortunate scenario here for Iverson, is that the love is no longer being reciprocated …. as the game ‘no longer loves him’. If it did,then he’d still be playing. But essentially, Iverson’s own actions and his wish to be seen as a starter got in the way of common sense. He’s no longer the player, he once was. And he’s under the mistaken impression that he still is that same player , with a ferocious heart and an unending will to win.

Now if you thought the dilemma that Allen Iverson now finds himself in,
is somewhat complex. Then consider the situation that the Houston Rockets find themselves in, concerning their guard, Tracy McGrady ? Here’s a player who’s essentially been missing in action for the better part of a season, and who chided and berated the team’s executives as well as management,while was injured. Never mind the fact that, having made the postseason without him, he still continued his tirade against the organization. He pointed to the fact that they couldn’t win without him, nor would they stand a chance of winning the NBA title. Way to go, McGrady, there’s nothing like showing not support for your teammates, when you’re taking pot-shots at the management and ownership.

Houston Rockets forward Tracy McGrady, right, speaks with Rockets forward Brian Cook on the bench as they play the Atlanta Hawks during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at Philips Arena, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009, in Atlanta. The Hawks went on to win 105-103. The Rockets believe McGrady needs more time and would risk hurting his knee again if he comes back too soon.    picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Gregory  Smith  ..................
Houston Rockets forward Tracy McGrady, right, speaks with Rockets forward Brian Cook on the bench as they play the Atlanta Hawks during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at Philips Arena, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009, in Atlanta. The Hawks went on to win 105-103. The Rockets believe McGrady needs more time and would risk hurting his knee again if he comes back too soon. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Gregory Smith ..................

McGrady, may well have felt aggrieved that this team was able to make the playoffs without. And the fact that they’d been able to do so, while also sustaining the loss of their All Star center, Yao Ming, shows you how successful this team actually were , in garnering a berth in the postseason without their two super-stars. Furthermore , it couldn’t have escaped McGrady, the fact that the Rockets’ fans had found a new fan favorite in Ron Artest, as well as rising star, Aaron Brooks.And not only that the Rockets were actually playing as a cohesive unit. Something of which wasn’t always the case when McGrady was on the court without the help of Yao Ming. To an extent, he’d matured as a player but there was still that selfish streak about him.Stats seem to matter more,than being a teammate.

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

McGrady wants to play, Rockets say no

By Paul Newberry, AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP)—Tracy McGrady(notes) is eager to play. The Houston Rockets say he’ll have to wait.

The seven-time All-Star had microfracture surgery on his left knee in February, but insisted that he’s fully recovered before Friday night’s game against the streaking Atlanta Hawks.

“Right now, I could play,” he said.

Not so fast. The Rockets believe McGrady needs more time and would risk hurting his knee again if he comes back too soon. The next step is an MRI on Monday.

“We have a difference of opinion,” coach Rick Adelman said. “He wants to play. He’s not ready to play. It’s as simple as that.”

Both sides denied a Yahoo! Sports report that the situation degenerated into a heated argument before the Rockets’ previous game at Minnesota. The report quoted a person close to McGrady who was not identified.

Yahoo! Sports stands by the story.

“I don’t know where that came from,” McGrady said. “We talked but it was nothing that was reported like that. I mean, screaming and all.”

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Over the course of his career there’s no denying that McGrady has been a gifted player. But what he lacked was really playing as part of a team, and the fact that he always felt it best that others deferred to him. He may well have been the best player , while was on the rosters of both the Toronto Raptors and the Orlando Magic.Though it’d be debatable in that regard, considering the Raptors’ roster at the time. But what Tracy McGrady seems to have forgotten is that….one man doesn’t make a team. That’s unless your name happens to be Michael ‘Jeffrey’ Jordan? And last I looked, Tracy McGrady is no Michael Jordan,not by the longest stretch of the imagination. In fact he’s not even good enough to sniff Jordan’s jockstrap ! Less we forget also, that while McGrady was on that Raptors’ roster,he was also playing alongside his cousin and teammate,Vince Carter.Now if memory serves me correctly, I seem to remember ‘Vince Sanity’ being the star on that team ? Do you remember that as well ?

Rockets coach, Rick Adelman, having met with McGrady and the teams’ general manager,Daryl Morey, over the last couple of days. He could not provide the player with any of the assurances that he sought, as to whether or not he was still a member of the organization. And it would be prudent to acknowledge the fact that McGrady is the highest paid player on the Rockets’ roster. He’s due in excess of $23 million for the 2009-10 NBA season. And on the face of it , it would be the financially prudent thing to do concerning the player, in letting him go, once the season is over.He’s become a mild but ever increasing irritant over the last couple of season, while at the same time he’s become susceptible to repeated and prolonged bouts of injuries, which’ve made him less and less a productive factor in the Rockets’ striving to be counted amongst the elite teams in the Western Conference and the rest of the NBA.

It’s counter-productive to keep a player on a roster when you’re not getting anything tangible from them in return. And this has been clearly the case with Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets. He may well feel that he has something to contribute to a team,any team. But at this stage of the game, unless he’s prepared to defer to others and also act like a teammate. Then, there won’t be any room for him at all, there in Houston !

Whether or not he’s prepared to accept something of a lesser role, remains to be seen. But clearly it appears that the player and the organization are at an impasse.

I’d certainly like to think that both Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady still have something left in the tank. And also that they can still play the game at an optimum level. But given both of these players’ demeanor and their predilection to self destruct and blame others for their malaise or mea-culpas. It may well now be time for them both to call it quits and step away from the game that they once graced, somewhat effortlessly. No one wants to remember a super-star behaving like a spoiled brat. But that’s essentially what we’re now seeing from Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady. Merely, because they can’t get their way and play the game of basketball. They seem to forget that there’s no I, in the word ‘team’ team and also that there’s no I, in the word ‘we’.

To my mind as they say ‘ all good things must come to an end’. It’s always best to walk away,quit while you’re ahead,with your head held high and your self esteem intact. Rather than being thrown out like an old unwanted pair of worn out shoes. Is that how they both want to be remembered at this juncture ? What do you think ?