AL East, Baltimore Orioles, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Mark Teixeira, MLB, New York Yankees, Sports, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays

Spend Big Live Big And You Too Can Be Successful …Well That’s The Credo Lived By In Baseball ………………..


This cannot be the time for fans of baseball to think that the game is back to where it ought to be. With the New York Yankees simply announcing that they’re able to go out and spend in excess of $420m on three players.  The world is of the belief that all is right within the game. Nothing now could be further from the truth. 



A J Burnett  and  newly acquired teammate    C C Sabathia of  the New  York Yankees ...................
A J Burnett and newly acquired teammate C C Sabathia smile for the press after the announcement is made by GM Brian Cashman as to their acquisition by the franchise .................

A J Burnett  and  newly acquired teammate   C C Sabathia  smile  for  the cameras  after  their  acquisition by the Yankees was announced to the press by Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Matthew  C Cushman ………………………



Whilst no one can complain of  this latest development it has to be said that the teams within the AL East may well be looking at this with some trepidation.  Well perhaps not the Boston Red Sox.  But most certainly the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles have to be  thinking to themselves what is it that they have to do in order to become competitive with the likes of high flying and big spending Yankees.  Neither of the teams in question possesses the sort of financial acumen that the likes of the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox have within their means.




At some time in the foreseeable future  the commissioner’s office  will  have to contemplate whether or  not it is  feasible  to consider a salary  cap within the game.  Albeit that this will present a dilemma for a number of teams.  Especially those with  the financial  wherewithal  of the  Red Sox and Yankees. Big  market  teams  being what  they  are  can  afford  to  spend lavishly  on players  whom they  feel  with  be of  benefit to  their  teams.  Unfortunately this is  not  the  case  for  the  majority of  the  teams  within  major league  baseball.  And it is  something  that  Bud Selig  and  the  team owners  certainly  have to face, despite  their  passionate  belief  that  the  game  is  in  a healthy state.




With revenues in excess  of  $6.5bn a year  it can be  said  that  the game  still isn’t  where  it ought  to be  when it  comes  to complete transparency  and  accountability  by  the  league  and  the  franchises themselves. And although  it is  a private entity  the hierarchy of the   game  itself  relies  heavily on the goodwill of  the public  and  the  communities within which it has a presence. But  if  this policy is to be  accepted  by all of  the  teams within  the  major leagues.  Then it has to be  done in such a way whereby it is  equitable  for  all.  It’s something  that  not  even  the  owners  can agree to  let  alone  the  commissioner’s  office.  For much of  his  tenure  Allan ‘Bud’ Selig  has  been  nothing more  than a  mouth piece  for  the  owners  and  when  needed  most  to be assertive.  He  was  almost  as docile  as  a  church  mouse.   So  why  would  we  expect him  now  to be  assertive  ?  He  had  to  be  dragged  kicking and  screaming  into  the  twenty  first  century  when  addressing  the  steroid  issue  as  he  himself  appeared  to be oblivious  as to  what was  happening  around him.  It  was patently  obvious  what  was  happening  but  he  and his  minions  chose  to  ignore it .   





Angels' first baseman Mark Teixeira fields a ball during the ALDS game between the Boston Red Sox and  Angels.  Teixeira  was recently  acquired by the New York  Yankees.  ........................
Angels' first baseman Mark Teixeira fields a ball during the ALDS game played between the Los Angeles Angels and the Boston Red Sox . Teixiera was recently acquired by the New York Yankees and was signed to an eight year $180m contract.

Angels’ first baseman Mark Teixeira fields a ball during  the  ALDS game  between  the  Los Angeles Angels and  Boston  Red Sox.  Teixeira was acquired by  the New York Yankees and signed to an eight years $180m  contract. With the acquisition the team now possesesses four of the 5 highest salaried players  in Major League Basbeball.  picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Mark  Tannenbaum …………….






He may well  feel that  when a team like the New York Yankees  can  go  out openly  and  spend  a  quarter of a billion  dollars  much  like a family spends on an entertaining evening   out.  We  may  well  think of it  as an evening’s entertainment for the  family.   But  for  the Yankees  it’s merely  nothing  more  than a day at  the  office. With the sort  of  financial  acumen  that’s  within  the realms of  the  Yankees  and  Red  Sox  is now  placing an even greater obstacle on the majority of  the  teams  within the  game.  They  in no way  can match  these  teams for  their financial muscle  or success.  Between  the two  they’ve won  six of  the last eleven   World Series .  And  as much  as  many  will  say  that  there’s  a  balance within the  game  more so  than any of  the  other  major  team sports.  One   would  also  say  that  when  it comes  to  the  financial  viability  of  their   teams.  Those  within   the game  of baseball  are in even more of  precarious  position than  that  of  their  counterparts  in  basketball,  football and perhaps  hockey.  The  latter  we  know  are still  trying  to create  a sound  business  structure  under  which  they  can  operate  with  some semblance  of  normalcy and success. There’s something  that  baseball can  learn from the  pratfalls  made  by the






With these  uncertain  economic  times  it’ll  now  be  very interesting  to  see how many of the  teams  operate.  A  number of the  game’s  major  corporate sponsors  are  already  cutting  back on their  expenditure  and  exposure  within the  game.  And it’s  going to  become all too  apparent  as  to how  it’ll  end  up affecting many  of  the  teams  within the  game.  And  with  that’ll  come  the  uncertainty  of  the  fans  themselves  and  how  they  choose to  spend  their  discretionary  dollars.  If it comes to choosing  to feeding  their  families  and going to a game ?.  Then  the  family  will  win  hands down  each  and  every  time. Again that  is something  that the  league  will  most definitely  have  to  think  about for  the  foreseeable future.




The  signing  of  CC Sabathia , AJ Burnett may  well  have  made  everyone sit up and  take note  as to  how serious the New York Yankees  are about reacquiring  their position at the top of  the  food chain.  But  it  also  sets  about a  dangerous  precedence  about  the haves and have-nots  within the game. Their  signing of  Mark  Texieira  sets  about an  even  bigger  indication  as  to the direction that some are  able to  afford themselves  whilst  others  are  not.  They  say “‘all is  fair  in love  and  war ………”   But  it’d  appear  that  when it comes to  the  game  of professional  baseball all  semblance  of  common sense on the  part  of  the owners  as  well  as the  league and  players  themselves are  falling  on deaf  ears.  What they perceive as sound economic sense  and a guarantee as to  the aspirations  of success  is merely nothing  more  than  a  bold  face  charade  to lure  the fans through  the turnstiles. In order that their coffers  are  filled  and at the same time the cycle  of  greed and avarice  on  both sides  continues amongst  the players  and  league alike.  Whilst  the  fans and  consumers  alike  are  thrown up a  diluted and often mediocre  product  on the  field of play.   




tophatal ……………………………………….


NFL, Sports

All Is Not Lost It’s Still Business As Usual For The Pats ……….

My growth hasn’t been stunted  but I’m of  the  opinion  that  the New England  Patriots in their  efforts to  seal  another win  of  the  AFC East division are limping  all  the  way  to  the  finish  line.  Their  overwhelming victory  of a beleaguered Oakland  Raiders’ team  leads me to believe  that  they’ll either  scamper across the  line  or  fall  flat on their  face having  dragged  themselves there. Say nothing of  which  the New York Jets and  the Miami Dolphins have  made the race for the  division all the  more  interesting to say the least.


Ellis Hobbs of the Patriots is congratulated by a fan after the  player's TD in Oakland against the Raiders ...........

Ellis Hobbs of  the New England Patriots is hugged by  a fan after  the player’s  95 yd  TD run  in  a game  where  the Pats triumphed 49-26 over the Oakland Raiders in an AFC game  played  in Oakland, Ca. picture  appears courtesy of ap/photo/Tom Mangold  ……………


We had been left for dead after Pro Bowl quarterback  Tom Brady went down  injured for the  season.  And what  with  last season’s  debacle in the  Superbowl still fresh  in  everyone’s  minds.  It was the belief that  in order to  redeem  themselves this season they’d  either have to  make it  back into the playoffs or  at least try  and  show  everyone  that they were still capable  of showing  their  prowess on the field. Rather than  being the butt of  everybody’s  jokes concerning Spygate.  Obviously with  that  being   ever present  in  a number  of  people’s  minds  and the  stain  therein  still not having  disappeared. I’m  one fan of  the  Pats who’s  hoping that  they can  redeem themselves  this  season.


Morris and  Welker  celebrate after  Morris'  TD against  the Raiders ..........

Sammy Morris of the  Patriots celebrates with teammate  Wes Welker after Morris’ touchdown  against the  Oakland Raiders during the game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Martin Richardson  ……………………


Well  on Sunday  with  the  three teams ( Pats, New York and Miami Dolphins) being  in  a tie  atop of  the  division  it  was a  chance for either of the  three to  separate themselves from the  rest of  the division or at  best still  be  in a position whereby  everything would  be  on the  line  quite possibly  at season’s end. Though the advantage  within the division and conference sits squarely  with  the New York Jets.  And though we’ve  seen  all three teams slip up  somewhat  they’ve managed to maintain some semblance  of competitiveness as the  season has progressed.  The Dolphins have proven that last season’s 1-15 record was  just an aberration that’s forgotten.  And  the beating that they handed out to the Pats earlier on in the season  all but  assured their fans that this is now a team to be reckoned with. This isn’t your grandmother’s Dolphins anymore. Coach Tony Sparano along with  President  of  Operations Bill Parcells has  the  team heading in the right direction. The New York Jets for their part have  been rejuvenated  as the  Brett Favre Show has  come to town.  It’s the same old Brett Favre  but in a new style of clothing. The same cavalier attitude that we’ve  come to know of  Favre  is still  here with the player today.


Randy Moss  celebrates  his touchdown  against  the Raiders ..

Randy Moss(81) celebrates his touchdown against the  Oakland Raiders in Oakland ,California .  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/George Nitkin ………


Much has been said of the ongoing problems of the Raiders and  the fact  that this season  their problems have  manifested themselves to enormous proportions.  And  the team’s principal owner Al Davis seems to be botching  the day to day operations  of  the franchise  by seemingly being too overly involved in the franchise’s operations. With Tom Cable now leading  the franchise for this season and one can only summize  that  at season’s end there may well be  a change  for the franchise  as far its coaching  opportunities are concerned. It wasn’t that long ago  that  the Patriots  were  in a similar position as  that of the Raiders.  And as the team struggled a resolve  was in place  that if the franchise  were  to improve  then  they’d have  to  have  the right people  in place  from the executive  positions  on downwards.  If there’s been one failing of  the  Raiders it’s  been the fact  that  hasn’t  been put in place  by  its hierarchy. And if they’re to fare well in the future then Davis will have  to relinquish control of  the franchise to someone who  has the  knowledge  to place  on the right footing.   The Patriots  have  the template  as  how this can be achieved with owner Robert  Kraft, GM Scott Pioli alongside coach  Bill Belicheck.  As they say the rest is history. 


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Boxing, IBF, IBO, Sports, WBO, World Heavyweight title

Punch Drunk Apathy ………


In the world of boxing as it now stands  there are the have’s and have not’s.  In the heavyweight division it has now become about  the apathy therein.  The fighters there are about as devoid of talent and character as there’s ever been witnessed within the sport.  What was once viewed as the most prestigious division within boxing has now become a place where there’s  said to be a plethora of boxers who are  without talent and even it can be  said poise.


Germany Boxing Klitschko Rahman

Klitschko defends his  IBF,IBO and WBO crowns  against former champion Hasim Rahman of the United States in the SAP Arena, Mannheim ,Germany. picture appears courtesy  of ap/photo/Daniel Maurer ……………


On Saturday night in Mannheim, Germany Wladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine defended his title against the  former champion  Hasim Rahman of the United States. Rahman, himself hasn’t been the same fighter who many of us saw dethrone Lennox Lewis for the title in the latter part of the nineties.  Since then he’s buffered around the division  propping up his record with even less meaningful bouts.  The fact  that he was a challenger here  for Klitschko’s IBF and WBO crowns is even more astonishing given the current scene of the heavyweight division. And  less we forget not to cheapen the fact Klitschko’s lightly regarded IBO title was also on the line. 



Referee Tony Weekf of the United States intervenes to save Rahman from further punishment  during the  bout in the seventh round ...............

 Referee TonyWeekf  of  the United States intervenes to  save Rahaman from futher punishment  during the  bout in the seventh round. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Daniel Maurer ………………………..


Klitschko is viewed by many as perhaps  the best heavyweight on the scene at present.  But in reality  it doesn’t say much  for the talent that’s now out there within the division.  Nonetheless things are  what they are and  fans of the sport will have to grin and bare it. It should also be noted  that Klitschko’s brother Vitaliy holds one of the other belts within the division. And as much as some may desire to see  both  brothers  face each other in the ring.  It apparently  won’t be happening anytime soon.  Such was the pledge  made to their  mother  concerning  their  ambitions.


Klitschko lands shot to the head  of  Rahman .........

Wladimir Klitschko takes to offense in landing a shot to the head of  Hasim Rahman during their title bout. picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/Thomas Lohnes ………….


Boxing has known its’ ups and downs and it may well be that the sport is going through one  of those languid periods where  things’ll sort themselves out. But how long must the paying  public be asked to put up with  the diatribe that’s now taking place within the heavyweight  division ? So political and  fractious has the sport become. That  in  many respects  the  powers  that be are all too  oblivious as to  what’s happening therein.  The governing bodies as they are along  with a number of promoters seemlessly feel  that as long  as their  share of the pie doesn’t become too  miniscule then the status quo can remain as it is. Were it not for such attractions as Oscar De La Hoya , Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny  Pacquiao  the  death knell  would  be being signalled for the sport as we now know it. And  unfortunately within the heayweight division itself  it  most  certainly doesn’t  bode  well  for the  future when you’ve still got fighters such as Evander Holyfield, Riddick  Bowe  and  James Toney still feeding  from the trough and of the belief that  they’re the ones who can bring back  some respectability to the  division.


Both Klitschko  and Rahman  land punches during the third round

Both Klitschko and Rahman  land  punches during  the  third  round of their title bout in Mannheim, Germany. Klitschko would go on to win the bout with a TKO in the seventh round. picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/Daniel Maurer ……………….


Saturday’s night bout between  Klitschko did nothing to stave  off the belief  that  the sport  boxing amongst the heavyweight division is in extreme dire straits. So much so that  I wouldn’t put it past some to joke that the  Federal government  would  be  at the  point they’d enter into the fray to bail  out the  sport in one form or  another. Such as  are  the machinations of the Federal  government as we know it at present.  Any self inflicted problem that’s in need  of  an assist and  you can be sure that  the  government’ll be on hand for  the assist.  It’s safe to say  however that  when it comes  to the consumer however  the  help  needed  when necessary  isn’t at  all forthcoming.  Klitschko  for his part  proved to many that as champion he’ll do his  best  to  live up to  the part.  Unfortunately  other than what little  prowess  he  has in the  persona of  a fighter  is about as appealing  as damp cloth soaked  in pig’s blood. For the better part of  six rounds we saw that he was technically  sound as a fighter.  But other than that  we learned  nothing of  him by  way  of  his demeanor  in  or  outside of the ring.


Klitschko showing even more aggression than usual pins Rahman against the ropes in the sixth round

Klitschko showing even  more aggression than most are accustomed of seeing from the fighter pins Rahman against the ropes during their bout. picture appears courtesy of getty images/bongarts/ Lars Baron …………………


Rahman during the bout was  never  able to  land a meaningful shot against the champion and what was even more surprising was that he allowed his opponent to dictate the pace and flow of the bout from start  to finish.  Nonetheless for the German crowd who’ve grown  accustomed to  treating the domiciled Ukranian as one of  their own. They were  more than pleased to see  him come away with a victory  against the  American at the  end  of seven rounds.  Referee Tony Weekf had  to intervene during  the seventh  to save  Rahman from further punishment when he was unable to defend himself adequately.  Part and parcel of what is also wrong in a bout such as this  was that Rahman wasn’t even  considered by many a worthy challenger let alone  the number one ranked contender.


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Basketball, NBA, Philadelphia 76 er's

Sixers Say Goobye To Mr Cheeks ……………

Well it’d appear that  another NBA franchise has  seen fit to  fire their coach.  And  the Philadelphia 76 er’s have decided  in  jettisoning their coach  rather  than keeping him until  midway through the season.  That  being said  it was  expected  that this team would  be contending within the Eastern Conference  and their division as a  whole.  But  they’ve  been a  disappointment  and  underperformed much to the dismay of  their  fans  and  the  public at large.
Andray Blatche of the Wizards  is fouled by  Samuel Dalembert of  the  76 ers'.......
Andray Blatche of the Wizards is fouled by Samuel Dalembert of the 76 ers’…….

Andray Blatche of the Wizards is fouled by Sixers’ player  Samuel Dalembert  during the game played  between  the two  teams.  The 76rs’ would go on to win the game 104-89 . picture appears  courtesy of  nbae/getty images/ Thomas Rassmussen ……………

Much like another  statistic Maurice  Cheeks  was thrown to the wolves  in spite of  the fact  that  the  team’s  malaise  didn’t rest upon his shoulders but  that  of a  team  that has yet  to find its stride.  Their big money signing of  Elton Brand has yet  to  show  the  prowess upon  which  he was a desirable commodity prior to the start  of the season.  But thus  far the All Star hasn’t  put up  the  numbers  that  many  expected would become the norm. That  being  said  Cheeks  is now the  fifth coach to have been fired this  season.  And we’ve barely  reached  the  quarter mark  of the  season.
Brand blocks  a shot by  Darius Songaila  ..............
Brand blocks a shot  by  the  Wizards’ Darrius Songaila  during  the third quarter of  the  game  played  in Philadelphia.  picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/Tom Mihalek  …………..
In the Atlantic Division  they sit at  the bottom  of the division having posted a 10-14 record. And already  they’re  twelve games behind the  high  riding  Boston Celtics, who lead the division with a 22-2 record and  are 10 games  ahead of their closest rivals  within the  division the New Jersey Nets.  And as we know the fans  in a city like  Philly  aren’t  always  forgiving of their  sport’s  franchises  when they  prove to be a disappointment.  They  have  a way  of  showing their  dark side  which can be  very  disconcerting  for  even  the  most  discerning  of  individuals.  The  team  was built  with an  eye on  the future  and  in  some  eyes  they  were  viewed  as  a  team that could contend.  They showed much of  that  promise with their gallant display  in the  postseason  last  year.  Albeit  that they  lost in the first round of  the playoffs.  It  was felt  that they  could build on the future and  the  nucleus  was in  place  with a young roster  of  players  led  by  Andre Iguodala , Samuel Dalembert  and  the  veteran leadership  of  Andre Miller.
Wizards 76ers Basketball
Sixers’ interim coach  Tony DiLeo calls for a timeout during the first quarter in the  Sixers’ game  played  against the Washington Wizards. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Nate  Campbell ………………


But the promise  that  was  shone in the latter  part  of  the season and  into first round of  the  postseason has been  nothing  more than aberration  for the  most part  this season.  They’ve  struggled  on both sides  of the  ball  and it  can be said that  there’s a lack  of confidence  from the  team. But most  of all  it hasn’t  helped that  Elton Brand  hasn’t brought  about  the presence  and leadership  sought  as  a perennial  All Star. As alluded to before the sole responsibility of  the team’s problems hasn’t stemmed from the  lack of coaching  ability of  Cheeks.  But  the lack of  a  cohesive presence  by the  team on the court. Interim coach Tony DiLeo has been entrusted  to lead this team now  as the  coach and it has  to be said  that he’s  been entrusted with  none too easy of a task  at  this juncture. If  he’s to succeed then the team will  have  to  respond  and show a great deal  of  consistency.  And for a first  time coach with  next  to little coaching experience. It has to be said that  his chances  of  success  border on slim at best.


Wizards 76ers Basketball

Elton Brand of  the  76ers makes the jump shot over the  outstretched arms  of the Wizards’  Antawn Jamison.  Brand  would have  a very good night  offensively for his team on their homecourt  scoring  27 points for the  team. picture appears  courtesy of ap/Tom Mihalek ……………


Cheeks may well have been shown a great disservice by the franchise and  with  General Manager Ed Stefanski and the fact  that it was his decision to abruptly fire the coach. Surely he  could’ve waited given the circumstances  that the  team found themselves ?   They’d  yet  to see the  team  play with all of their main starters  being  on the court  at the same time.  But these  decisions when made  can never  be reversed.  Cheeks may  well go  on to rebound from this  all and find himself in a new position at some  time in the future.  He’s well respected  coach  whose  knowledge of the  game  is  unparallelled. And he  also has the  respect  of his  peers as well  as players around the league. So one can summize that he will  find  himself with a  position of  some capacity  around the league.


Juan Dixon makes  an attempt  at  deflecting  the  ball  away from Lou Williams of  the  Sixers

Juan Dixon of  the Wizards  makes  a  gallant  effort to deflect  the  ball away  from  Lou  Williams  of the  Sixers  during  the  game which the  Sixers  would go on to win 104-89.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Tom Mihalek  ………………


For  their part  the  Sixers  have proven to be something  of  a  real  disappointment to  their fans and fans in general around the league.  Much  was  expected  of the  team.  Having made  the postseason  they gave  a real  accounting of  themselves albeit  that  they lost in the  first  round.  But  there  was  much  promise shown by  the team and it was felt  under  the tutelage  and leadership  of  Cheeks  that  they would  do well  this  season.   Alas with injuries prevailing  and  no real  consisistency  to  their  play.  We’ve  seen  the  team  underperform  to  such  an  extent  that  their  poor  record  seems  a microcosm  of the  real  underlying problems  within the franchise. 


Interim coach Ed Tapscott of  the  Washington  Wizards ........

Interim coach  Ed Tapscott  is on the sidelines  as  his Washington Wizards’ team takes on the  Philadelphia 76 ers  in  a  game  played in  Philadelhia. picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/  Tom Mihalek  ……………


And as much  as we’d  like to  regale  about the  fact  that  the  Eastern Conference  doesn’t  seem  to possess a number  of  quality teams. It has  to be  said that  one of  the  problems  behind  that may well  be from the  mere  reason  that  many of  the  franchises  therein  have  a nucleus of  young  players  on their rosters. The inexperience  is showing  and  at  the  same time the rigors  of  playing  within the  NBA  has alredy  began to set  in. The Boston Celtics and  the  Cleveland  Cavaliers are  the  class  of  the  conference.  But  where  we see  much  of  the  competitive spirit  being  shown  by  the  Western  Conference   week in week  out.  There  you have the  likes  of the  Los Angeles  Lakers , San Antonio Spurs New Orleans HornetsDallas Mavericks ,Utah Jazz and the Phoenix  Suns.  Comparatively  one  could say that  the  East  doesn’t  possess  that sort of  quality  ? 


76ers Cheeks Fired Basketball

 GM Ed Stefanski introduces Tony DiLeo as  the  team’s new interim head coach for  the rest of the season. picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/Tom Mihalek  …………….



Last night we saw  the  Sixers show a great  deal  of resolve in overcoming  the  Washington Wizards.   Their win was encouraging for interim  coach  Tony DiLeo. And one would hope  that with it comes  a renewed  passion by  the  players  and  the  organization as a whole. And with GM Ed Stefanski make  the decision that the franchise will now have  to  live  and die with. It doesn’t  bode  well for the team where  in  the city  of  brotherly  love  the fans aren’t  always  enamored  of  their teams  when it comes  to  their professionals  sports’ franchises.   For Cheeks  who’s  a   well  respected  coach and  admired  by  his  peers , he’s  well  remembered  within the city  and  much  beloved as  a favorite  son.






tophatal  ……………………………

Boxing, Welterweights

Pleas Oscar No More Excuses You Were Beaten By The Better Man ……….

For all of the functionality of the sport of boxing and we know that the sport is made up of stars  and their egos. It can be said that  last night’s bout between Manny Pacquiao and  Oscar De La Hoya had all that one could’ve envisioned from two of the biggest stars in the sport.  De La Hoya one again trying to prove that  he’ll willingly take on anyone as long as the price is right. But not all too willing  to admit  when  he’s made  a  profound mistake. 


Manny Pacquaio the WBC lighweight champion throws a right hand to the head  of  Oscar De La Hoya  during their none title bout held in Las Vegas, Nevada. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Eric Jamison….


Well for Oscar  last  night that  held through  as  he was unwittingly surprised and  beaten  by his Filipino opponent in an 8th  round TKO in their none-title  fight.  De La Hoya unable to answer the bell  for  the ninth round just sat  on  his stool  as  Pacquaio  was later  announced  the  winner.  Much to  the joy  of  fans in attendance  who  were supporters  of the victorious  Filipino ,  Manny  Pacquiao.  


De La Hoya stands ground as Pacquaio  throws a right  to the head of his opponent during the fourth round of  their fight. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Eric Jamison ……………



Now for De La Hoya comes some  home truths  as  to the future of his career.  He  may  well  think of  himself as the savior  of the sport during  these turbulent times.  But  if  anything this particular  loss  has  proven that he’s  now way past  his prime  once and for all. And though a rematch may  not be out of the offing  , I’d  think  that  after tonight’s decision  it wouldn’t prove anything  were Pacquiao enter into  such a discussion.  Such was the lopsided  of the bout that  De La Hoya  has  to admit  at no point was  he in a position to conclusively win the bout outright. H  certainly  didn’t take the pace of the fight  and if  anything  it was Pacquiao who  held the  upper  hand right from the start and through  much of the duration of the bout.


De La Hoya connects to the  head  of Pacquiao  during their welterweight  bout in Las  Vegas on Saturday  night. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Ethan  Miller ……………..


Businesswise De La Hoya  comes  out a winner as he was co-promoter of the the event  through  his  Golden Boy Promotions Inc, alongside Bob Arum of  Top Rank Inc.  And with Arum  the promoter  of  Pacquiao  proving  to  be victorious  it’d appear  that everyone  came off  a winner in this  PPV event.  With  the price of $54.95 being charged  for subscribers to the event. It  can be  said  that it was more than a profitable night for all.   Both the Arum and the De La Hoya camp  were  hoping  for in excess of  2m buys  for  the event as that  would bring  a whopping $110m alone  in  terms of  the  PPV revenues. And  less one  forgets we also  have  the paying  members  of  the  public  in attendance  plus the  concessions  to  be  accounted. In light of  that we could well hear  that  this  bout  being close to if  not  surpassing the  take of  the previous  highest  grossing   PPV bout.  Which  again  De La Hoya was  a  part of  when  he  faced  Floyd  Mayweather  Jr.  That  fight  took in over  $160m  in gross  revenues  inclusive  of the  PPV total.  Business  is  business and  when it comes to  the  financial pulling  power it would appear that  in the worldof  boxing  no one has that  power  other  than  De La Hoya himself.  He knows it  and he craves both  that  and  the limelight that  it brings.  And for a fighter  that  it’s  said  has  earned purses in excess  of $275m  and counting  over the  course of  his career. Another $10 or  $20m  mightn’t do  him anymore  harm when it’s all said  and done.


De La Hoya is hugged by his Filipino opponent  Manny Pacquiao after a surprising end to their much heralded bout.  Pacquiao was  declared the winner  by a TKO  after De La  Hoya  was unable  to answer the bell for the ninth round. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Mark  J Terrill  …………………


The fact of the matter is the more Oscar continues to fight albeit  that he’s willing to take on  allcomers as  long as he feels that  he’s in with a chance of beating that opponent. He’ll  fight and it will  have  nothing to  do with his legacy  as  it’s now  become  nothing  more than about the money at the end of the day.  Well  those  days  now may well be coming  to  close  after  what’ll be viewed as a much heralded loss against an opponent he  was favored to  beat. 


Oscar De La Hoya  on his stool ringside  looks  across at his opponent  Manny Pacquiao during the interval of the fifth round of their  fight  held at the  MGM Grand  Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. picture appears courtesy of getty images/Jed Jacobsohn …………….


The outcome to  many  may not have been surprising  at  all when one considers the punching power of Pacquiao. What may have  surprised many in the audience and  those  viewing by  PPV was the abrupt way that the fight  ended.  De La Hoya seemingly unable  to defend  himself with any great authority looked tired and old  in the  ring. And what might’ve  been viewed an advantage for him in terms  of him  fighting  at  a weight that  he’d seemingly  become accustomed to.  In  many  respects  for  Pacquiao  it was he who looked the  more  accustomed  fighter  at the welterweight division  than  De La Hoya.  For  Pacquiao to  move up  two weight  classes and still sustain such power and  aggression  is compliment to the fighter and  his profound skills.  And for  De La Hoya it now appears  that those days  if being  the big draw in the sport are  now coming  mercifully to an end. If ever a  fight  and  the way in which  he  was defeated ouhgt  to signal an end to  an illustrious career.  Then  this was that  fight without a doubt !


Manny Pacquaio  of the Phillipines celebrates  his 8th round TKO victory over  Oscar De La Hoya with the  accompaniment of his country’s  Vice President  Noll De Castro standing  to his left. picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/Jae C Hong  …………………..


The future now is so bright for Pacquiao  that it’s  now extremely  hard to see how  he could  top this feat. Not only  has he tamed a legend  but  he beat  that  legend  ever  so convincingly. The excuses from  De La  Hoya’s  camp  may  well be rife.  But  it’s plain to see that  Oscar is no longer the supremely gifted fighter he once was  or  he that  he  himself  thinks he  still is.  


Manny Pacquaio connects with a left hook to  the body of Oscar De La Hoya during their welterweight bout in  Las Vegas  on Saturday  night.  picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Ethan Miller  …………..


No one can deny  the acclaim that  De La Hoya has  brought  the sport  and the rewards that he’s attained from it. But at the end of  the  day old Father Time has cought up with a fighter whose  better days are most certainly  not ahead of him  but  if  anything  he can actually  see those days for  himself  have  passed  him  by and he can view them  through a  rear view mirror.  Slowly as they say all  good  things must come to an  end.  And now is the time Oscar to call it quits once  and for all. No amount of excuses  can  be  made  for the  severity and abruptness  of  this loss.  And  even if  he makes the claim  of wanting  a rematch against  Pacquiao.  Is there  really  anyone of  the opinion  who’d view the  outcome any different ?  Oscar you’re  good  but on this night Manny was markedly  better.  And  he  was so  by a very wide margin !


A forelorn De La Hoya looks on duriing the interval of  the third and fourth rounds as his trainer Ignacios Beristain implores his fighter to keep his guard up. picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/Mark J Terrill ….


The public may well  clamor for a rematch and  most definitely it’s  not out  of the realms of possibility that Oscar might want  to redeem himself against Pacquiao. But the fact the matter  he  threw  his hat into  the ring once too often an  this time  around he was found to be  wanting.  As alluded to before this may mark  the end of an  illustrious career  once and for  all.  But  there’ll be those  around  De La Hoya advising him  otherwise. The  cash cow that is  Oscar De La Hoya  brings along  with him  much  more  than the  sport itself but also  name recognition.  And  at a time when  the  world  is undergoing an economic  crisis  it  is  the big marquee names that  the fans are  interested  in.  And not  the  bottom  feeders  within the sport as whole.  One can understand  that at this juncture  there aren’t  many recognisable names within the sport.  Merely  from the  lackluster  talent  and  in many  cases  many  of the titlists being  unwilling to  face each other or  major contenders.  With  the sport being so fractured  it can only  left  to the  likes of  De La Hoya  and  Pacquiao  to offer  the fans what  they  so  desperately  crave.


 A broken and beaten Oscar De La Hoya  looks  on  after his loss to Manny Pacquiao in their  welterweight bout held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Nevada.  picture appears courtesy of ap/phot/Mark J Terrill  ……………………..


Surprisingly though what  I now  crave to  see  Oscar ride off into the sunset  once and  for all. For if he still really has anything to offer the sport.  Then  it can be done by  involving himself in the promotional  side of the  sport. And in nurturing  future  talent that the  public may  well be  interested  in seeing.  I’d rather see him now doing that than viewing  him  flailing  inside the ring with skills being questioned and being ridiculed by the fans. If nothing else  we tend to remember  our heroes when they’re more  so on top.  But when they’re on the decline we tend not to look at them  so deservedly with  the reverence  with which we once held them. 





tophatal ……………………….

NFL, Sports

There’s No Such Thing As Trouble In Paradise When It Comes To Terrell Owens………It’s Always About Him ……..

Well we know first hand that there appears  to be rumblings  of disatisfaction amongst the  Cowboys as of late. Much  of  this has to  do with players Patrick Crayton , Roy Williams  and the perennial self centered it’s me  and  no one  else  but  me  Terrell Owens.  All three players  happen to be part  of  Dallas’  offensive arsenal of wide receivers.   

Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo is sacked by  Steelers’ defensive player James Farrior  for a loss of yardage on the play in the game played in Heinz Field, Pittsburgh.  The Steelers would go on to defeat the Cowboys 20-13. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Paul McCambridge  …..


And for  a team that  has in some people’s eyes  this  season has  underperformed. The why’s and wherefore’s as  to this  latest reverberation has got many wondering who’s minding  the  ship ?   Insomuch as  we had  owner Jerry  Jones questioning the  resolve and  courage  of his  running back Marion  Barber. Due to the  fact that  the  player wasn’t suited  up in the team’s  20-13 loss 3 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It adds to the situation if we’re  now going  to see  this  team  melt down  right  before our  very eyes again this season ?  

A somewhat somber  look on the face of  Wade Phillips after his team’s loss to  the Pittsburgh Steelers  which  now leaves  the team on the cusp of  the  wildcard entrants looking  to make the playoffs in the NFC.  The Dallas Cowboys were projected  as  a Superbowl contender  and favorites to represent the NFC.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mark  Rogers ……………..


The NFC East as  a division is viewed as  the  NFL’s elite  and with the  New York Giants(11-2)  seemingly running roughshod over their opponents in and outside the division this season. It can be  said that Jones and  his  gaggle  of high profiled players must  feel somewhat  aggrieved that  the limelight  doesn’t seem to be on them. That’s unless one counts  the off the  field  incidents  and antics of  cornerback  Adam Pacman Jones  this seaon ? 


 Tashard Choice(23) of the  Dallas Cowboys tackled for a loss by  the  Steelers’ Troy Polamalu during  the  fourth quarter in the game played  at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh , Pa.  picture appears courtesy of  getty images/Gregory Shamus ………………..


The Cowboys  for their  part have  proven how invaluable a player  quarterback Tony Romo is to their  cause. Without him  on the field  as their signal caller  they’re  at  best just  another  bearly above average team. With him being out  for  a number of games due to  injury. It was left  for the team to be guided by journeyman Brad Johnson. Yes the  same  Brad Johnson who guided the Tampa Bay  Buccaneers  to  victory  in the Superbowl over  the Oakland Raiders.  That  being said Johnson for  his part has  proven that  all that  glitters is  not gold.  He’s  merely a player whose  best  days  are  behind him  instead ahead of him.  And  with the erstwhile  virtues and presence of  Jason Garrett as the  team’s  offensive coordinator.   Even Garrett knew  that  he was in for an impossible  task. Owens for  his part  hasn’t  come out and directly  pointed a finger  at  his quarterback  but  he’s clearly prepared  to make it  known  that the  fault if  any is not  his as  to the  inconsistencies  of  the team.


 Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger evades the tackle of  the Cowboys’ linebacker Bradie James(56) whilst teamate Greg Ellis looks on. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Gregory Shamus ……………………


So what is now troubling is  the fact that  Owens along  with  the sortie of  Crayton and  Williams are  now seeking to question the  play calling of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. And  the very fact that tight end Jason Witten is  getting even greater  productivity and  action  in terms of the  plays on the field.  For his part  the coach  Wade Phillips  sees the situation as nothing more  than the players placing  their own input  as to team strategy.  Whatever concerns there might  be  one can clearly see that  the  soap opera setting that surrounds  Terrell Owens never  wanes.  If he’s not  part  and  parcel of  getting the  attention on the field. Then more certainly than  not  he’s bound to  make  sure  that  he’s part  of  it  off  the  field.  But most definitely  not  necessarily  for  the  wrong  reasons.  That  being  said what other player within the NFL at  this  moment  in time  can be  equally as annoying  as  he is  brilliant ?  


Tony Romo attempts a pass to wide receiver Terrell Owens during the game played  against the Pittsburgh Steelers. picture apears courtesy of getty images/Gregory Shamus …………………


Owens for his part has  had somewhat of a productive season thus far but  that  being  said they’re obviuously not  in line with the expectations of the player himself. Fifty five receiptions on the season, with 9 touchdowns and 848 yards receiving to any  other player  that would equate to a productive year. But for Terrell Owens  he may  well be  view it as being  sparse  given  his undoubted and considerable talent.  With that being said if  he’s now about  to implode when the  team are  in need of him most. Then it doesn’t augur well for  the remainder of the  season with  just  three games remaining for them salvage  some semblance  of success.  At (8-5) the Dallas  Cowboys sit second within the NFC behind their fiercest rival the New York Giants.  And seemingly on the outside  looking in  the team now must   maximize their potential and play above their ability.  The playoff race  amongst  the teams in question looks as  if it  will turn into  an outright dogfight.  It  doesn’t help  the Cowboys’ cause  that both the Philadelphia  Eagles and Washington Redskins  are  still  in the picture  within the division.  A failure to make the  playoffs  at this point  would be an immense disappointment for the franchise.  And  with them moving into a new multi-billion dollar state of the art  edifice next season. The  ramifications of that alone would be felt.  This season now comes down to the do or die attitude of the  team and  not merely  about  the wiles of one  player  who  feels that he’s not being  best  served  by  a teammate or  the  offensive  coordinator. 


Tight end Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys dives in order  to  make the first down in the  game against the Pittsburgh Steelers played in Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa. picture appears  courtesy of getty  images/ Gregory Shamus  ………………………..


The underlying  problems  that this  team  has  is a lack of  real  leadership on or off the field  and  it’s  cohesiveness if any is  but  an inconsistency of  highly overpaid players. Who when they’re at the  best  play exceptionally well  but  when  faced  with  adversity  they tend  to cower like  children who are  afraid of the dark. If it’s one thing  that  can be said of the Cowboys  they’re  no  different from  any other professional  sport’s franchise with grandiose ideas  but  who as  of  late   haven’t  lived up to their  past success.   Jerry  Jones would have  you believe  that the franchise is the  only  show in town  and  that the NFL would  be the  worse off without them.  But  when as  a franchise you’ve  not  won  a postseason  game  in  almost a decade and  counting.  Is  anyone  really  concerned  with  what  you’ve got to  say  let  alone  that   of  a  player  who  knows  that  his own  window of  opportunity is quickly closing  for  the one thing  that  covets above all else.  And  that’s  a  Superbowl  ring.  Owens  may well  think  of  himself  of  winner but until a  team that he  plays  for  lifts the  Lomardi trophy.  He’ll  merely  be viewed  as  nothing  more  than a  malcontent who craves  the  attention  of all  be  it  on  or  off the field  of  play.





tophatal  ………………………………………


Do You Want To Know How Easy It Is To Look Bad ? Then Look No Further Than The Oakland Raiders ………..

Far be it for me to say but  I think  that we  can all agree that  the  Oakland Raiders  have  had  a mediocre season thus far.  And  last night’s horrendous loss to  the San Diego Chargers  34-7 certainly gives credence  as to  how far the  team has fallen.   With the upheaval that has taken place  within the franchise again with them having to fire another coach  in  Laine Kiffin. Only  to replace him with  Tom Cable  tells you  all you need to  know  what has been  going on  and will continue  to go  on within  the franchise.  And  until own principal  owner Al Davis relinquishes the  reins to someone  with  more media savvy  and player personnel knowledge when  it  comes  to the  franchise.  Then the  fans of the Raiders as well  as the  rest  of the NFL will have  to  put up with a great  deal of diatribe on and  off the  field for the  foreseeable future.




Raiders’ running back Darren McFadden evades the attempted tackle of the Chargers’  Stephen Cooper in the fourth quarter of the  game played last night. The  Chargers would go on to defeat  the  Raiders convincingly 34-7. picture appears courtesy of ap/Lenny Ignelzi ………….



For the league and in particular  the AFC West where  it can be best  described as a  shifting  magma of  ineptitude. So pitiful  has been the  division that the only  thing that  staves off criticism of  the entrants therein. Is that the teams in  the NFC West other than the  Arizona Cardinals are playing a  whole  lot worse.




Riaders’ quarterback  JeMarcus Russell(2)  tries  to get off a pass  as he’s being pressured by the Chargers’ Shaun Phillips (95) in a game played between  the two teams  in San Diego, California. picture appears courtesy of ap/Denis Poroy ………………..



As to the fortunes of the  Raiders'(3-10) opponents  last  night. The San Diego Chargers(5-8) they’re faring only  slightly  better than their divisional counterparts. And  to  say  that they  might  be the most disappointing  team in the NFL this season would be an  immense understatement. They were believed to be  a playoff contender  and  most likely  the  AFC representative  in the Superbowl. But with the loss of  Shawn Merriman to injury.  And the fact  that Pro Bowl running back LaDanian Tomlinson has had an indifferent season as well as lingering  injuries and quite  possibly some self  doubt.  It hasn’t  gone well  for coach  Norv Turner’s  team despite the ladership  on the field of  quarterback Phillip Rivers.  There’ll have to be divine intervention  if the Chargers are  to make the  playoffs. And at this juncture  that is unlikely to  happen at all.




Dareen Sproles of the San Diego Chargers flips  the  ball  having  scored a  touchdown  on  an 18 yd reception tossed  by quarterback  Phillip Rivers. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Lenny Ignelzi …………..




Last night’s game  however  gives  the Chargers something  to look  forward to if  they’re able  feed off this victory.  With a playoff spot seemingly  oput of  the  reckoning , all they’re now playing for pride and slef respect. They ran roughshod over the  Raiders’ defense and  manhandled  their offense  with  such meticulous  efficiency.  That it reminded  everyone as to how  good  this  team can  be , albeit  that they were playing against  Oakland.  Who more  often than  not nowadays mounts  a challenge  to an  NFL  team  as about  as frequently as Halley’s Comet  makes  an  appearance.




Vincent Jackson of  the  Chargers  catches a 59 reception for a touchdown as fans  react  to the score. picture appears courtesy of ap/Denis Poroy …………………..



The NFL world has prognosed and  diagnosed the  woes  of the  Raiders. And we  all know  what ails the team. It has been  their  inability to play with  any  semblance  of  consistency and the added fact that  despite the  alleged talents of  quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Of whom  it can be  said he’s still  quite a ways  away from  being the finished  product that’s desired  in an NFL quarterback. He’s meant  to be  the  face of the franchise along with running back Darren McFadden.  But  it  appears that it’s McFadden who’ll have to be the workhorse  as well  as  the  on the field leader of  the  franchise.  For if  nothing else Russell’s  attributes as a player  and leader  are coming  into question. A lot  has been  placed upon  his  large frame  and  thus  far he’s been  unable to  meet and  live up  to those expectations.  And unfortunately  when his  backup  Andrew Walter is unable to fare any  better.  It shows  us all  how dire the  situation  is  for this team  offensively.




Andrew Walter of  the  Raiders is about to be tackled by the Chargers’ Shaun Phillips  for  loss of  yardage in the  game played  against their  divisional rivals. picture appears courtesy of ap/ Lenny Ignlezi  …………



But it’s also on  the other side of the ball where  the  team has  also  been  woefully  inept. And opponents  of the Raiders have been  able to feast  upon  a defense  that’s as  porous as  a wet sponge.  Not only  are they  susceptible  to giving  up large chucks of yardage  in  the passing  game  but  defensively when it comes to  stopping   the  run they’re as equally adept at making their opponents  look  like world  beaters. As can be borne out  by  the  team’s  statistics.  




Linebacker Derrick Burgess (56) cernter stands on the sidelines  along  with teammates William Joseph(96) and Gerard Warren(61) as  the  clock winds down during  the game. picture appears courtesy of getty images/Harry How  ………………..



And if the Raiders’ record of 3-10 isn’t reflective  of them  being a bad  team. Then even their most loyal and  devoted  fans  who  keep on returning  each year  in the silver and  black  have got to be disappointed with the frequency with which they’re  able  to maintain  this unsurpassed  legacy of  mediocrity for the franchise. There  was a time  when  watching  and  supporting  the  Oakland  Raiders was meant to be fun.  And  no  doubt  for many  of their most trusting  and loyal  fans  it probably  still is.  But  one now can’t help but wonder  if quite possibly  a number of  them  are  now becoming  neurotic  and  psychotic  by  what  is  being  displayed by a team  that they’d  come to love. As  voiciferous as they  are  there’ve got be times  where a vast  number  of  them  have  got to question whether  or  not  it’s still viable  to continue  supporting the  the team. Consider this  they’ve not posted a winning regular season record in five years and are  about  to embark  on another  this  year,  making it a sixth consecutive  season of double digit losses.   That if nothing  else  tells  how  far this  team  has fallen  from grace since their last Superbowl appearance in 2003 which  ended in a lopsided 48-21  loss  to  the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.





Raiders’ quarterback JeMarcus Russell is  taken  from the  field on  a motorized cart having suffered an injury during the  game played  against  the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Ca,. picture appears courtesy of  getty images/ Harry How ……………………



Though I’m not shuddering to  think that  the  Raiders will continue  with this sheer ineptitude as to  play and their  off  the  field  predicament. It doesn’t  augur  well for  the fans of  the  game let  alone  the  franchise.  By yesterday’s evidence alone  in the humiliating  loss  to the San Diego the  road less traveled  by  the Raiders  has  been one  filled with  potholes  and  various  other  obstacles  some  of  their  own  making  and others which  aren’t.  But  it  doesn’t  get away  from the  fact  that  when  they  look  bad it continues  to tarnish  the legacy of  a once  proud  franchise.  And  that’s something  that  they’re now having to learn to live with.




tophatal …………………………