What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

Well now that the MLB season is slowly progressing towards its halfway point and with the league’s midseason showcase event due in July with the All Star Game being hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field , in Phoenix , Arizona. It well be interesting to see how the teams come into the break in terms of their overall form .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show for your perusal .

The standings at present reflect that Philadelphia Phillies seem to be intent on running away with the NL East . They currently hold a 5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the division and though it’s way too early to suggest that they will be playing for the NLCS during the postseason but it would appear that the only thing that can derail the Phillies’ season would be their own complacency . Within the NL Central and NL West it would appear the races there are too close to call between the top two teams within each division . Tight races tend to add a great deal more excitement to the season and there’s no doubt in my mind that’s what the fans really yearn . And that is liable to be the case at present within both of the divisions in question .

Within the AL it’s business as usual within the AL East where the Boston Red Sox are now prepared to show that their recent form isn’t merely an aberration. On a two game winning streak and winners of nine of their last ten games the Red Sox now look as if they’re look distance themselves from the rest of the division. Their 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field was certainly a hard fought win but that’s simply the mindset of what now is the most competitive division within baseball. This division to my mind will most certainly provide the wildcard entrant for AL without a doubt unless there’s a monumental meltdown by the runner up to the winner of the AL East.

As was the premise with the NL Central and NL West well once again here too the races may well be too close to call within the AL Central and AL West . What we can be certain of within both divisions is that the teams won’t be giving up until the divisions are mathematically out of their reach in terms of winning or possibly attaining that lone wildcard berth .

Now as much as I know that Commissioner Bud Selig the league hierarchy in conjunction with the team owners have proposed expanding the playoffs’ format by adding two more teams within each league . I certainly believe that the hierarchy’s biggest issue is to deal with the financial problems now engulfing a number of teams within the league rather than adding to the playoffs and further elongating the season far more than it needs to be. I mean it’s not as if Selig has actually shown the propensity for being proactive on any issue unless he’s dragged kicking and screaming , then being forced to make a decision. Simply look at the morass created by Frank McCourt with the Los Angeles Dodgers ? If that’s not enough of an indication to show mind numbingly slow Selig was in acting , given the fact that it had been widely reported that the franchise was financially troubled . Then clearly Bud Selig along with the owners and league hierarchy were in fact so naive but perhaps even more so , too damn stupid for their own good .

I’m not about to try understand the fascination with Ricky Rubio and the fact that the player now says he’s ready to play in the NBA . Granted , having been drafted in 2009 by the Minnesota Timberwolves , the player sought to forgo joining the organization and play an additional two years in Europe where the financial inducement there was far greater than the front office could have offered with a rookie contract. Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn now feel that the player having made the decision to join the team can provide them with the form and maturity that simply belies his age.

In the aftermath of a horrendous season the Timberwolves now have to deal with the disatisfaction of their incumbent coach Kurt Rambis and the mere fact that neither Glen Taylor or David Kahn have assured their beleaguered coach that he’ll be asked to return next season. With there not being a plethora of viable candidates out there to succeed Rambis should he be relieved of his duties . I would have thought that the the general manager and team owner would want to reassure the coach that his job is safe. Furthermore , with the NBA Draft due to take place on 23rd June I certainly would have thought that a coaching upheaval would be the last things that this franchise now needs . But herein lies the idiocy of how the Timberwolves have simply acted , as if in a vacuum and perhaps one of the reasons why they’ve simply had little success over the last five years. Beset by rather asinine personnel decisions made not only by Kahn but also his predecessor Kevin McHale this organization has never gained any traction in terms of success .

With the Minnesota Timberwolves having the number # 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft it will be interesting to see the decision made by the organization. As such there isn’t a genuine consensus number one pick but the thought is that the two most desirable players could well be Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams . From there , it’s anyone’s guess as to what format will be then taken in terms of the players taken in this Draft .

As the NFL work stoppage has already entered its ninetieth day I can’t help but wonder what the optimism amongst the team owners , league hierarchy and players appears to be about ! Hell, both sides have already alienated the vast majority of fans to begin with . And no amount of public statements coming from both sides concerning the progress now being made can simply hide the fact that what we have are two groups of greedy fucking bastards ! The average salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million per year with the median salary $770,000 and the average career span being approximately three and a half years . I understand that the players are entitled the highest possible salary available to them given the inherent risks of the game . But herein lies my question do they try and identify themselves with the fan out there ? I’ve heard a number of players during this stoppage state their issues are no different from that of any employee in the work place . Personally, I seriously doubt that the working fan who attends an NFL game can actually identify with the likes of Tom Brady , Peyton Manning or even Reggie Bush for that matter when their salaries run into the millions each season . Whereas as the average salary nationwide is approximately $44,000 per year , one can well understand that fan can hardly identify with a player who’s compensation package , endorsements notwithstanding can easily exceed $15 million a year.

From a fan’s standpoint , at this moment in time I couldn’t really care if the NFL starts on schedule as planned on the 8th September 2011 . Once this dispute came into being with a stoppage the NFL simply lost me and many others as long term fans . I’m of no doubt that they will however do their utmost to lure us all back with some form of inducement that we might too unbelievable to turn down . It has already began with a number of teams around the NFL in many cases offering deep discounts on for the purchase of season tickets and game day tickets in a number of instances .

So the US Open golf tournament is underway and all of this without the game’s biggest draw in Tiger Woods . The stage is set at Congressional Golf Club in Bethseda , Maryland for any one of a number of players to step into Woods’ shoes and show the fans they can become the main draw for the event . From my own standpoint the moment made the announcement that he wouldn’t be participating in the second Major of the season I simply knew that the tournament could either become a monumental disaster from spectators yearning for excitement . As it now stands the leaderboard for the tournament midway through two rounds isn’t exactly awe inspiring . Rory McIlroy leads the event with an eight stroke lead at -11 (11 under par). And to think that a patron stated that the player’s meltdown in the year’s first Major The Masters was simply because he wasn’t good enough . I guess when your knowledge of the game borders on the level of Palin’s knowledge of jurisprudence and the number of members seated on the US Supreme Court I guess you simply have to take that for all it’s worth ? Sitting solely in second place is Y. E. Yang at -3 , in third place is Robert Garrigus at .-2.

There is still two more rounds to be played in this tournament but if McIlroy is able to keep his composure with the pressure bearing down on him then it is my belief that he can win this tournament and cement his credentials as one of the best young players on the PGA Tour . Having already established himself on the European Tour as well as a member of a winning European Ryder Cup team the future bodes well for the young Irishman . In an earlier article I had intimated that I firmly believe that the US Open could be won by a foreigner as I felt that the US born players have now simply become too disinterested in their national championship and in large , the Majors themselves . With there being vast sums at stake on the Tour schedule and total prize money in excess of $ 225 million it begs the question are they actually interested in winning or merely cashing a check for a top twenty finish ?

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

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

Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

Picture and slide show for your perusal .

—————————————————————————————————————————-

(1) Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard (6) celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Florida Marlins in the fifth inning of a baseball game on Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Phillies won 3-0 . AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr ….

(2) PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: during the game against the at Citizens Bank Park on June 16, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 3-0. Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images ….

(3) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays steals second base as shortstop Marco Scutaro (10) of the Boston Red Sox is late with the tag during the game at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(4) Pitching coach Jim Hickey (48) of the Tampa Bay Rays talks with pitcher David Price (14) during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Red Sox would go on to defeat the Rays 4-2 Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(5) Spanish basketball player Ricky Rubio gives a press conference on June 17, 2011, at the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona, to announce that he was leaving the Catalan team to make his debut in the NBA next season at Minnesota Timberwolves.
AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGO /Getty Images …

(6) Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Houston Rockets during a game on April 13, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images …

(7) T’wolves’ GM David Kahn (foreground) and the team’s owner Glen Taylor answer questions from the convened press at a team press conference. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/ ap/photo/ Martin Geshell ……………….

(8) Tom Brady and Peyton Manning shake hands after an NFL game . The two celebrated quarterbacks are amongst the highest paid players in the NFL . Getty Images/ Jim Rogash ……

(9) BETHESDA, MD – JUNE 17: The handwritten scores of Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in the press room during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images ……

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland swings from the bunker on the ninth hole during the second round of the 111th US Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON ….

(11) Y. E. Yang, of South Korea, watches his drive from the fourth tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Friday, June 17, 2011. AP Photo/Eric Gay …..

————————————————————————————————————————-

Sports News in general

MLB News

MLB Schedule 3 days at a glance

MLB Scoreboard

MLB Results 16th June

MLB Probable starters

MLB Standings

MLB Standings wildcard

NBA News

NBA Draft

NBA Draft Order 2011

Minnesota Timberwolves history

Minnesota Timberwolves news

Minnesota Timberwolves front office

Minnesota Timberwolves’ roster

Minnesota Timberwolves team stats

Coach Kurt Rambis

NFL News

PGA Tour news

2011 US Open Leaderboard

Have Balls Will Travel ……………… Anyone For Tennis ?

Have Balls Will Travel ……………… Anyone For Tennis ?

Well the first tennis Grand Slam event of the year has already got the ball rolling on both the Men’s and Women’s Tour . The ATP covers the men’s where the dominant factors are Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer the world number’s one and two in the ATP rankings . The Australian Open as always is the first of the four Grand Slam majors that encapsulates the French Open , Wimbledon and the US Open .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show gallery for your perusal .

On the women’s side on the WTA Tour the new number one ranked player is Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark albeit that in many eyes a grand slam tournament without Serena Williams is very much like having a four course meal without one of the main hors-d’ouever starters. But with the younger of two Williams’ sisters not a participant it will be left to Venus Williams to carry the familial torch.

Now while the eyes of the tennis world be upon the top two men in the game I’m of the belief that unless both walk into a trap then these finals will be about two pre-eminent players of their generation and perhaps the best two players in the game over the last two decades. Their joint resumes alone is most certainly a testament to that, with each having won a career Grand Slam having won each of the four majors . Nadal will now have the privilege of trying to emulate what only Rod Laver has been able to achieve twice over the course of his esteemed career and that’s to try and win the Grand Slam as it’s designated to be and that’s to win all four majors in a calendar year . There’s the idiocy being paraded out there by observers that Federer’s game is on the decline but like any other player on the circuit players will have ebbs and flows over the course of their careers never mind that they’ll also become susceptible to injuries and that’s something that hasn’t been mentioned in any of the blogs I’ve read concerning the player.

But take this as a fact Federer and Nadal have been participants in 23 of the last 25 tennis Grand Slam Finals either facing each other or another top 10 player at the time . Those being Juan Martin Del Potro and Novak Djokovic who’ve won the two Slam Finals where the names of Federer or Nadal weren’t etched on the trophy. And that’s meant to be a decline in Federer’s career as a singles player ? Less we forget also that the former Swiss number one has made it to 23 straight Grand Slam tennis semi-finals ? Am I missing something here and where what the hell have these individuals been watching and what is that they base their actual thought process on if not the facts that are in front of them ?

The earlier rounds so far for both the men’s and women’s singles competition hasn’t brought about any great surprises as of yet but you can be sure as the second week approaches at the Rod Laver Center in Melbourne , Australia we will be in for a plethora of surprises . The one thing that I feel is abundantly clear is that on the men’s side of the game the once dominant US no longer has a male player of any real note that can challenge for any of major slams on the circuit. Andy Roddick is no longer a real presence on the ATP Tour and simply going through the motions and I can only surmise that marriage and the domesticity it brings with being married to SI model Brooklyn Decker has softened the player somewhat !

If there are to be any challenges offered to the duo of Federer and Nadal then it could very well come from Novak Djokovic , Andy Murray , Fernando Verdasco , Gael Monfils to name but a few . But as I alluded to earlier that would be predicated upon either Federer or Nadal seemingly losing interest and falling into the trap of perhapos of misjudging an opponent. The reality here is given both players’ slam experiences it’s very hard to envisage that happening. Between them they have won a combined 23 Grand Slam Finals and have appeared in 27 altogether. Do you get the feeling that the two know what they’re doing when they’re on the grandest of stages in the men’s game ?

Although the top ranked Caroline Wozniacki has yet to win Grand Slam major her career has been marked with very good tournament wins and 2010 she showed a great deal of consistency and there’s justification as to why she’s ranked number on the WTA Tour. Granted the absence of Serena Williams waters down the competitiveness of the event in the women’s singles but nonetheless it now becomes something of a wide open event where you can pick a winner from amongst the remainder of the top ten in the rankings and feel there’s a cause to be made for each . Certainly Kim Clijsters , Venus Williams , Samantha Stosur and Maria Sharapova can be looked upon as a threat in the competition and perhaps deny Wozniacki the chance to win her first Grand Slam singles title. Sharapova to my mind having been injured hasn’t really played herself into match fit competition but given her experience she could derail the ambitions of others given the right set of circumstances and even with her being outside the top ten she’s still good enough to beat any of the top ranked players on her day. Caroline Wozniacki needs a Grand Slam major win to justify that top ranking on the WTA Tour as it adds legitimacy to her career also. As to whether or not she can achieve that in this tournament remains to be seen but here’s the clear chance for her to justify that to the public and for tennis fans around the globe.

Tennis if anything has its place in the pantheon of sports on the world stage and without the tete-a-tete and rivalry brought about by the likes of Federer and Nadal we’d be left with a cumulative void. There’s nothing coming along from within the US men’s game to suggest that they can regain dominance in the men’s game. And apart from the tradition of the Davis Cup a team even where there too they’ve fallen on hard times _____________ there’s not much else for them and the fans to really look forward and that’s in spite of the changes now being made at the ground level and up within the USTA to seek a change in fortunes and the nurturing of young talent at every level within the game on the domestic front.

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

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

Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on Australian Open and how do you see things panning out in the men’s and women’s singles competition ? And as as such do believe that the US men’s tennis can once again become a dominant force on the world stage with the players that it currently has within the ATP Tour rankings ? Simply chime in with your comments .

NB Picture and slide show gallery details .

(1) Gael Monfils of France plays a stroke during his third round men’s singles match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland on the fifth day of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 21, 2011. Warwinka leads by two sets to nil as play continues. AFP Photo/William West _______ Photo credit should read William West/AFP/Getty Images ….. copyrighted material …… @ all rights reserved

(2) Kei Nishikori of Japan serves against Fernando Verdasco of Spain during their round three men’s singles match on the fifth day of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 21, 2011. Verdasco won 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 . Getty Images /Nikolas Ashfouri ………..

(3) Melbourne , Australia ,. Rafael Nadal of Spain serves in his second round match against Ryan Sweeting of the United States of America during day four of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images …….

<p (4) Roger Federer of Switzerland serves in his third round match against Xavier Malisse of Belgium during day five of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Federer would go on to defeat Malisse in straight sets . Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images ………

(5) Andy Roddick of the United States of America shakes hands after his third round match against Robin Haase of the Netherlands during day five of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images ……….

(6) Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark plays a forehand in her third round match against Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia during day five of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images ……..


The Australian Open Schedule & Results ——

ATP Men’s Rankings

……………………………. WTA Women’s Rankings ……

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………..

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

Courtney  Black

Eye candy …………… Courtney Black and pictorial montage to follow.

Courtney parades her wares courtesy of King Magazine .

Courtney  4

Balls are meant to be played with and Courtney most definitely knows how to do that !

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

U2 ………………. “One”

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

Round Up and Sounding Off ……………..

Well the sporting weekend seems to have been filled aptly by the comings and going of the World Cup and here stateside by the US Open which was won by Graeme McDowell of Ireland. The last round of the US Open was about as enthralling as watching paint dry as we saw the three biggest names in the world of golf mount a challenge that bordered on being comical . Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods had the tournament for the taking but they couldn’t mount a serious enough challenge. And in third round leader Dustin Johnson , one seemingly knew that the pressure would come to bear on someone who essentially has never been the pressurized atmosphere of chasing after and winning their first major Grand Slam golf tournament. As admirable as Johnson’s game was , his crumbling in the final round was reminiscent of Jean Van der Velde’s inexplicable meltdown at the British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, in 1999. Needless to say but Van der Velde has never been the same player since. One can only hope that Johnson’s psyche won’t be adversely affected by this!

The 110TH US Open would become the Irishman’s first major victory and the fifth overall of his career. Needless to say that he now becomes the toast of Ireland.

Not so long ago the Tampa Bay Rays were the talk of baseball and seemingly they were being viewed as the team that had finally arrived amongst the “big boys” of the AL East . Well now things have become to falter for the team and the 5 ½ game lead that they had over the New York Yankees has now become a one game deficit and barely a further game ahead of the fast closing Boston Red Sox in third place within the division. Now it’s too early to say how things will pan out but it’s clear to see that if the Rays are to stop this slight drop off . Then things will have to take a quick turnaround as to their play. Furthermore they may well need to enter into the market to get themselves a big bat to assist with the offense. But given the team’s budgetary constraints the latter scenario is unlikely to materialize.

For their part, the New York Yankees find themselves in first place and everything appears to be clicking on all cylinders.But if the rumors are to be believed then it’s quite possible that they will make a swoop come the trade deadline and make a play for Seattle Mariners’ pitching ace Cliff Lee . In acquiring Lee that would simply add to the Yankees’ bountiful treasure chest while leaving their fellow competitors within the division somewhat in awe shall we say ?

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show for your perusal .


Can we now say that with the first round phase of the World Cup at but at an end we have had our shocks and surprises ? And for the ingrate and asshole who would come calling me names for merely stating a fact . Please go back to sucking on your mother’s tit rather than making a complete ass of yourself. You know who you are and I’d rather not embarrass you any further other than to suggest that Italy as the reigning world champions simply aren’t doing themselves any justice at present. Likewise France , England and the USA have shown what can happen when you seemingly become complacent when facing an opponent. All four teams and the supposed hype and expectations surrounding them has manifested itself by the teams being humbled by lesser opponents. Needless to say excuses will be made by those who seek to take that route. But I for one just look upon it from the mindset that when you become complacent and think that your superior to an opponent without taking them seriously. Then when you get hoisted on your own petard and you have absolutely no one but to blame but yourself. As for the bitching and whining concerning the officiating won‘t change a thing at this juncture. Well here too just as in the NFL , NBA , MLB and NHL the game of soccer is no different and can be filled with controversy. Needless to say that the game between Slovenia and the USA was enough of a reminder of that. A controversial 2-2 tie leaves the US in need of a win and England or Slovenia a loss to assure the team of making it to the next phase of the competition.

Now the real comedy of errors that has transpired in the competition has been to see the runners up from the 2006 World Cup fall apart like a crumbling building with its facade laying waste on the ground in South Africa. French coach Raymond Domenech has a mutiny on his hands. With the French Federation seeing fit to send home Nicolas Anelka after his profanity laced tirade at his coach. What has since transpired with the team refusing to part take in the usual morning practice because of Anelka’s expulsion. And then another all too public meltdown with team captain Patrice Evra getting into a verbal squabble with associate trainer and senior French delegation official Robert Duverne . Let’s just say that for things to get worse for the French team can only provide us all with more comedic drama .

After the team’s poor play and 2-0 loss to Mexico it has to be said that fallout from this all shouldn’t have really surprised anyone. The tournament has a way of bringing out the good and bad in everyone. And one can only imagine what the French publications are saying back in France concerning the undue embarrassment that the team caused the nation. Suffice to say that if the French team has any pride left within them then they will come out and show it and at the same time offer their host and fans a profound apology for their less than professional behavior.

With the final round of games to be played in the opening round group phase there is a great deal on the line for a number of teams. For myself watching what little of the event that I’ve taken interest in watching. I’ve got to say that I have been none too impressed with the play of England who’ve proven to be an absolute embarrassment in their two opening group games played. This is a team that is completely devoid of creativity and leadership. Team coach Fabio Capello seems to be no less involved in the team’s failings as the leadership now being shown by BP’s CEO Tony Hayward and his handling of BP Gulf disaster oil spill , that has him now being viewed as one of the most despised men in America. Nonetheless, BP’s Human Resources Department and executive board members are standing by their man at present. Much as in the same way that the FA seems to be standing by Capello. The question has to be asked but for how much longer , should the team fail to win their final group match against Slovenia this upcoming Wednesday ?

Patrice Evra the French captain and French assistant coach and delegation official Robert Duverne are seen here in the midst of what would turn out to be a heated verbal exchange between the two.


I for one won’t be at all surprised should Capello’s team fall short , as I’ve said as much in my previous posts concerning the team. They were vastly overrated and built around the premise that they were good enough to win the tournament outright. None of their achievements in qualifying and then their play in the opening two games of the tournament justified the faith that was being shown in the team. And furthermore, the odds makers were simply looking for a way to get the bettors to part with their monies in offering such favorable odds concerning the team. Suffice to say that they’re going to be ultimately the winners.

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

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

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything for you has made the sporting weekend all the more interesting ? If as such there was an event that seemingly caught your attention in the world of sports ? Chime on in with a comment by all means .

Alan Parkins …………….. aka tophatal ………………..

TI …………….. “I’m Back”

Sex Shouldn’t Be Less Important Than Sports …………. Confessions of A Sports Junkie And Couch Potato


Sex Shouldn’t Be Less Important Than Sports …………. Confessions of A Sports Junkie And Couch Potato


Well the NBA Finals for this season has reached its last hurdle and at the end of tonight’s game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. We will either be crowning a new NBA champion or the the Los Angeles Lakers will have successfully defended their title in defeating Boston Celtics . Momentum is with the Lakers and in all likelihood should they prevail then Kobe Bryant will have won his second successive finals’ MVP award . This much we do know however, as good as these finals have been in terms of the Nielsens’ ratings . The series itself, can’t exactly be described as having been exciting and especially not in the mould of the old Celtics , Lakers finals’ series of old that you watching Bird and Magic go at each other with it all on the line .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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


Slide show for your perusal .

The series is now tied at (3-3) three games apiece and both coaches Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers will be looking to add to their own legacies as well as that of their respective teams . And the feeling now being purveyed around the league is that this just might be the last hurrah for Jackson after an astonishing coaching career. Rivers has widely expressed the fact that he’d like to take a year’s Sabbatical away from the game to be with his family , given the undue pressures of the game . And in many respects that is more than understandable.



What we do know concerning both of these coaches each different in so many ways . It is that they both have a healthy respect for the game and that their players have a healthy respect and an unbounded loyalty to both Jackson and Rivers. Both men are also respected by their peers around the league and no doubt by the vast majority of NBA fans.


At this juncture I’m sure that it’s safe to say that there’s bound to be a bi-coastal bias as well as that “East Coast” “West Coast” supremacy thing in terms of who we’d like to see win this series. Well thankfully , this isn’t wrapped around the inane stupidity shown between the rival coasts when it comes to rap music. But then again I’m sure that there are a few Celtics and Lakers’ fans who’d like to bust “a cap” in each others’ ass ! And given the degree of animosity that there’s said to be between the two sets of fans. I’m wondering why it is that we’ve never seen any violence between the two groups ?


If tonight’s game is expected to go as I deem it might , then I do feel that the Celtics will come gunning right out of the gates expecting to take the Lakers off-guard ! If they are able to do that solidly throughout four thoroughly competitive quarters. Then I would expect the Celtics to prevail ! If not then look for Kobe Bryant to put on an offensive display like only he can in the game today. Don’t get me wrong I do feel that Bryant is the best all-round player in the game today ! And though LeBron James has been anointed by the NBA writers as the league’s MVP . It’s not even close between the two when it comes to showing leadership qualities and that zeal to win. LeBron plays to his public whereas, Bryant is a cold blooded assassin ! His mantra is , fu_k you get out of my way or I’ll run your ass over. LeBron hasn’t even learned how to spell those words as of yet. Plus he’s still probably psychologically damaged from knowing that his mother has been having sex with one of his teammates.


At the culmination of tonight’s series a lot questions will be answered about both of these teams and the ultimate directions that they’re said to be going in. A triumph for the Lakers and another storied chapter will have been written concerning one of the teams most beloved franchises. A triumph for the Celtics and in all probability comparisons will have begun to be made about Kevin Garnett , Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to Bird , McHale and Parish . The latter triumvirate who had unparalleled in winning multiple championships for the Boston Celtics.


It’s the height of summer and thankfully the chatter concerning Brett Favre continues to be light. However, the NSA in conjunction ESPN have been monitoring the player’s every move. If he so much as takes a sh_t outside his abode then you can expect the cable outlet to report it. What would the life of Mark Schlereth and Chris Mortensen be like without them regaling us with the latest snippet there is on the player , bowel movements included ? Chris Mortensen reports that Brett Favre was seen leaving an I-Hop where he was seen having the lunch special before leaving for the men’s room and then returning to finish his meal. Upon inspection of the cubicle used Mortensen was able to ascertain that his fecal matter stank and that his urine was indeed yellow. These things and more will be brought to you courtesy of ESPN and Mortensen. They go after these type of stories with a real zeal and fervor. After all that is what good journalism is meant to be about isn’t it ? Well in the eyes of ESPN this is purportedly good journalism. Only marginally better than that of the other noted news gathering agencies CNN and Fox News . But that’s a story for another day .


And that same zeal is now being used to report Tiger Woods’ every move this week, as he embarks upon trying to win his fourth US Open (17th_20th June) which this week is being held at Pebble Golf & CC in Pebble Beach , California. Woods’ sternest and staunchest test will come in the guise of his closest competitor in the world rankings ,__ Phil Mickelson . And having won The Masters at Augusta National , Mickelson will be looking to win his second major of the season . In doing so he’d edge closer if not supplant Woods at the top of the world rankings. And given Woods’ poor play this season there’s every reason to believe that the player will struggle to recapture the form that vaulted him the top of world golf rankings. Woods’ off the course problems have provided more news for the sports pages and news in general than anything that he’s strived to achieve on a golf course this season. And when you know that something like that is happening to a player Woods’ stature then you can be sure that there is indeed something seriously wrong.



As to whether Woods can pull himself out of this rut, wherein not only are the fans now questioning his abilities as to his return to form. But some are even wondering whether or not we’ll ever see him win another major tournament not only for this year but also as a way to ease the stress and burden which he now finds himself. Many of you are already aware as to what brought about Tiger Woods’ amazing fall from grace. Now the player is trying to reinvent himself and repair that tattered image. One way of actually getting many of the fans back on his side would be to have a very good showing at Pebble Beach and quite possibly winning the tournament. But his struggles mirror that of his unwillingness to be held accountable for his actions and speak openly as to his underlying issues. And until he’s that open then his struggles will continue manifest itself with continually poor play on the course and in the tournaments entered. Sunday’s culmination of the event shoul be enough to tell us a great deal about what’s now still happening with Tiger Woods.


As an expat Brit now residing here in Central Florida , I’ve got to admit that I’ve looked forward to and relished the start of the World Cup in South Africa. As an avid fan of the sport and a staunch supporter of England . I was expecting a great deal more than I’ve now witnessed from the team in their opening game in Group C against the USA . Suffice to say that this may well be the poorest team ever sent to represent the nation at the World Cup. Coach Fabio Capello looks as if he’d assembled the team by using a pin and merely sticking the said instrument down a list of names offered to him by a blind man !


About the only thing that one can say about the team’s performance in eking out a 1-1 tie against the USA , was that the performance was about an inept a showing as one would expect from a team that played without any pride or passion. A loss or another poor showing and this team might as well pack their bags and take the first flight home back to the UK. And it certainly hasn’t helped their situation in knowing that Slovenia the sole winners within the group were able to defeat Algeria in their first opening match 1-0 . Goals, a victory , productivity and team cohesion are certainly things that the England team is finding it hard to come by. And most certainly a lack of leadership from an authoritative figure on the team.


And where we to ask Capello who in fact is meant to be the leader on this team I seriously doubt that he could point to one player and unequivocally say that this player was in fact the the leader on the team. One would be hard pressed to believe him and anything he’d be saying. He knows that the press and fans alike are extremely unhappy with the team’s play. And it hasn’t helped that he’s stuck steadfastly by the poor performance of goalkeeper Robert Green after his inexplicable “gaffe” in the game against the USA. What’s even more asinine is to read the explanation of bloggers who are supporters of England writing within this forum , explain this all away as an unfortunate mistake by the keeper in letting Clint Dempsey’s shot completely evade him. Let’s put it this way, the velocity of the shot from Dempsey was so innocuous that a child on a tricycle could’ve sped past it !


Now with the impending Group C games set to resume as of the 18th June with England meeting Algeria and the USA meeting Slovenia . The outcome of both games could have a bearing as to which of the two teams could quite possibly face elimination in the first round of the World Cup. So high have the stakes now become for both England and the USA that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about should either team be eliminated at such an an early juncture when so much more had been expected.

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

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

Picture gallery for your perusal.


Well these were the mere scribblings of an avid sport’s fan who loves his sports passionately but most certainly loves sex a great deal more. Couch potato or not when duty call this one hombre` who drops the remote and answers the call of the carnal pleasures most avidly and passionately. So what’s your excuse then ? Chime on in with a comment as usual . And as of now I’m chiming out . Boom shack-a-lacka homies !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………………..


Dre Dre ….. feat’g Snoop Dogg …………….Ain’t Nuthin’ But G Thang

Takes And Sporting Takes ……………..

Takes And Sporting Takes ……………..

There’s not much else that can be said about the life of John Wooden that hasn’t been said. His life is an open book and his achievements are legendary . But if anything what may well have been this coach’s greatest achievement was the fact that not did he turn out so many outstanding players but also so many outstanding human beings who turned out to be productive citizens . If that isn’t enough of an indictment as to Wooden’s stature and greatness then simply put I don’t know what is !

Well the NBA Finals have started and based on the evidence that we’ve all witnessed so far it looks as if the Boston Celtics may not be around all that long. The perception that this would be a very entertaining series doesn’t seem to be materializing at all. The defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers have all but made the Boston Celtics look like an aging quartet of geriatrics . And for Ray Allen , Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace this all seems to be coming to fruition. The more athletic Lakers have simply taken it to the Celtics and put them in their place. And it could well be that the Phil Jackson coached Lakers are looking to avenge their defeat at the hands of the Celtics from the 2008 NBA Finals .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show gallery for your perusal. Use arrow indicator to direct the flow and speed of the
slide show gallery.

Should the Lakers prevail in the series then it would garner the team its sixteenth NBA title and gain Jackson his eleventh NBA title as a coach. In doing so it would place the illustrious coach in the same stratosphere as the “Wizard of Westwood”, John Wooden, as the two most successful coaches in team sports. Wooden won ten NCAA basketball titles as a coach and one as a player.

Now call me naïve but much has been made as to the travails of Tiger Woods as of late and his poor showing in The Players’ Championship (Ponte` Vedra Beach,Fl) was about as bad a performance as we’ve seen from Woods in years. With his private life awry it appears that Woods’ world is now upside down. And with Phil Mickelson’s win at The Masters , we now might have a rivalry worth following in the world of golf. But then again I may well be wrong. Woods for his own part hasn’t necessarily made things easier for himself as of late having parted ways with his swing instructor Hank Haney .

With the US Open (Pebble Beach Golf Club, Pebble Beach, California ) now but a few weeks away, it appears that Woods is at a crossroads in his career. And things are now spiraling out of control and it appears that Tiger Woods has no real answer as to his dilemma.

Whatever your take on the baseball season it has to be said that the surprises and disappointments have been profound for a number of teams . The Baltimore Orioles are mired in a mediocre season have fired their manager Dave Trembley and replaced him with Juan Samuel . And for all sense and purpose based on the team’s first display under their new manager , things aren’t likely to take a turn for the better. This is still a poorly performing team that is lacking confidence and whose owner might just be in a situation where he has all but given up hope of having anything approaching what one might deem a successful season. Owner Peter Angelos and GM Andy MacPhail have shown a preponderance of simply turning from one disaster to the next , as the Orioles continue not only to disappoint their long suffering fans. But the idiocy of the announcement being made by the executives that they’re about to turn the corner, shows about as much hope as trying to ascend Mount Everest with but a pocket knife and string. Things are continuing to get worse for the Orioles and there’s no sign that they’re about to get any better anytime soon.

With Ken Griffey Jr’s announcement that he has retired from the game that he’s graced for two decades, seems to have brought us to a moment where we are still in awe as to the player’s abilities. To my mind , Griffey was simply the greatest player” of his generation !. That’s with due respect to the now infamous steroid enhanced Alex Rodriguez. Multiple All Star and Golden Glove winner as well as the AL MVP in 1997 . Ken Griffey Jr has given us moments to savor. Watching Griffey’s swing of the bat was and still is one of the sweetest in the game and his prowess in the outfield was second to none. With Jr’s retirement, it now leaves us with perhaps only Albert Pujols , Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki as the three players from this past decade whom we might look at and say ……….”well they’re clean” . But then again in this day and age in the era where under Bud Selig’s custody the game of baseball has been a complete fraud in terms of many of the players’ performances. You simply can no longer look at a player’s achievements without questioning those accomplishments.

The biggest joke may well the less than honest observations on the game made by so called journalists covering the game. I personally have no respect for the likes of Buster Olney or Peter Gammons . They’re self serving lap dogs who’ve done the sport a great disservice but this is merely my opinion on the matter. As they’ve never shown the perspicacity to even cover the “steroid era” in depth and state their own thoughts with the readers or fans as to the shame and dishonor that certain players have brought to the game. But then again what would you expect from two individuals who are about as superfluous as they come . While Gammons and Olney come across as insightful and as authoritative a duo on the sport as one would hope to find. It appears that both of these writers would prefer not to bite the hand that feeds them in terms of the hierarchy of MLB . And when you observe signs such as this , then for all sense and purpose you can take it to the bank that their thoughts on the sport are about as worthwhile as a piece of fecal matter found on a sidewalk.

Well it appears that the NFL season though just months away. It appears that free agent wide receiver Terrell Owens has yet to find a home. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Owens’ agent Drew Rosenhaus will be doing his level best to find his high profiled client a home. And for Owens, whose best years are now behind him rather than ahead of him. It’s becoming increasingly clear that there might not be many takers for the now declining skills of Owens . But yet somehow the player still believes that he can contribute to a team given the right environment.

Now as you know the closer we get to the start of the NFL preseason the more ramped up the stories will become concerning ESPN’s fodder and staple over the entire preseason. If Brett Favre has a problem with flatulence , you can be sure that ESPN will be reporting it. OK , so I might be going a bit overboard concerning that the cable network might be reporting on Favre’s flatulence. But then again, when hasn’t the network known to sank to lowest common denominator ? The network’s lust for the former league MVP borders on being idolatry . But then again, what’s a bit of idolatry when at any given moment at your choosing you can afford to take down that deity should you choose to ? But that would be the last thing on ESPN’s mind at any juncture ?

Now don’t get me wrong Brett Favre in his glory years was a player of extraordinary gifts and a passion for the game. But Favre’s passion while unabated , his gifts have declined. Doubt my word , then simply look at his performance in the waning moments of last season’s NFC championship game against the eventual Superbowl champions the New Orleans Saints . And while it has to be said that Favre is clearly a better option than that of Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson of the Minnesota Vikings . One now gets the impression that if Favre can’t take the Vikings to the “promised land” this upcoming season , then more likely than not this will be the last time that we’ll see the player helming a team as its quarterback. That being said Favre’s preponderance for playing the fool and holding a team ransom as he ponders his future is about well intentioned as the Taliban’s wish to commit to a peace deal with the United States.

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

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

Picture gallery. Click pictures individually to view in original format.

Well these are but a few of my takes and sporting takes as it relates to the world of sports. Has there been anything of late that has you wondering what’s happening in the world of sports that quite possibly is for the betterment of the game as you see it ? By all means do chime on in with a comment as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

NB: At the original time of my writing this piece the result of game two of the finals was not yet known. But in light of the Celtics attaining a 103-94 victory in game two the series is now leveled at 1-1 .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………..

Santana ………………. “Samba pa ti”