Basketball, NBA, Sports, Sports Economics

Money Troubles ………….. And You Thought It Simply The Congress And The Government Who Fu_ked Up ?

Money Troubles ………….. And You Thought It Simply The Congress And The Government Who Fu_ked Up ?

Well it seems that NBA Commissioner David Stern will leave no stone unturned as he seeks to push the NBA Players Association into a corner. Not content in trying to renegotiate the collective bargaining agreement which is due to expire at the end of the current upcoming NBA season. Stern and his union counterpart Billy Hunter the NBPA Executive Director are so far apart with regard to the ongoing negotiations that this is just a mere tip of the iceberg that the chasm seems to be getting wider with each passing week.


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Slide show for your perusal.

In order to seek out public empathy and as something of a PR stunt Stern issued a proclamation that the league hierarchy will seek concessions totaling $850 million from the players in order to stave off financial disaster. That sum equates approximately to just over $28 million per NBA franchise . And when one considers that the NBA is on target to lose in excess of $450 million this year alone one can understand the reason why David Stern is adamant that there’s no room to maneuver from this dire situation. Remarkably while all of this takes place I can’t help but wonder if the league is pleading poverty then how is it that the Miami Heat in one fail swoop can land such big money free agent targets as LeBron James and Chris Bosh ? And bear this in mind the Miami Heat as a business concern lost $45 million in 2009 , much of that derived from lower gate attendance for their home games and even less from concession sales.

As we’ve come to expect from many of the franchise owners across the four major sports now seem to be pleading poverty under the financial strain where they’re now said to be under. What I find so outrageous and actually ridiculous is the idiocy of the fans out there who’d rather state that the economy is one of the main reasons why many of the sports franchises are having so many inherent problems concerning their revenue streams . Many of these franchises rather than tightening would rather spend far more than they’re said to be earning and st the same make the fans and the public their scapegoat. Stern for his part seems somewhat oblivious over the last two years as to what has been going on within his sport from an economic standpoint. And if you thought that the NBA was awry with the miscues made then simply look at the problems now arising within the NFL and MLB ? I found it somewhat asinine and extraordinary when I heard noted New York Daily News journalist Mike Lupica make the claim that baseball and its situation is perhaps the healthiest of the four major sports given the fact that the game itself doesn’t have an ongoing labor dispute . Either Lupica is completely unaware as to the financial limitations that the game is undergoing and the mere fact that less 35 % of all teams are actually making an operational profit without the benefit of some sort of assistance from league’s hierarchy from their tax sharing revenue scheme. And also bear in mind the fact that during the ALCS and NLCS games we were able to witness the fact that several of those games were not sold out. We were also made aware that the television ratings for many of these games were minute and less than had been hoped for by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig .

The NFL and its problems are now so acute that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , his union counterpart NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae . Intransigence from both sides could well bring about the first labor stoppage in the NFL in the last eighteen years. Such a situation would do irreparable harm to the NFL’s image and no doubt alienate the fans of the game. Now we might opine as to how both sides can best address this ongoing situation but it’s becoming abundantly clear that however this pans out for the league and on their ongoing efforts to find some common ground with the union . The fact of the matter common sense isn’t being shown by either side as they simply choose to berate each other without really listening to what either side really has to say.

Now while I use this scenario to show symbolic and how completely out of touch the public really are with what is actually going on around them . The idiocy I continue to hear is that we’re told Republicans know how to run a business . The truth is Republicans much like their political opposites the Democrats rarely know how to run a business successively without some political connivance and assistance from the government. Big government or little government corruption remains the same and comes in many guises so don’t believe the idiotic rants of the pundits out there merely making statements without having any knowledge as to what they’re actually talking about . Consider this, at the taxpayers’ expense arenas and stadiums are being built with at times very little if any monetary contributions coming directly out of the pockets of the owners but somehow when big public corporations are allowed to act so egregiously there’s no public outcry. Also consider the actions of Fannie Mae , Freddie Mac , Bank of America , Wells Fargo and Ally Bank and their actions concerning the foreclosures happening across the country ?. Although there are hundreds of billions of dollars at stake and the near inaction on the part of the Federal government one has to ask where’s the public outcry here and with that of the major professional sports franchises and the actions of their respective governing bodies when they choose not to limit their exorbitant spending ?

Now one might ask what really needs to be done for the governing bodies to actually get their house in order ? And the same argument can be made for the Federal government itself as they tend to merely fill the air with nothing more than platitudes and false promises. We’re now hearing of elected officials and those aspiring to be elected to municipal, state and federal government is that in making promises…… they seemingly know that they cannot keep. Fiscally conservative and being political expedient are oxymorons from this and a bygone age and it becomes an acronym for the bullshit that they want the electorate to subscribe to. If the federal deficit and national debt can’t be even addressed by the government despite their assurances that they will deal with this then what else ought we to expect from them ?These midterm elections will bring us more of the same without anything ever really changing other than perhaps a new group of blithering idiots entering political office and going about their merry way still screwing things up at the expense of the taxpayer.

Now while I’m not against free enterprise and capitalism what I am against is the complete gullibility shown by those who are of the belief that there’s no reason for the government to intercede when there’s been a clear misuse of the public’s trust and taxpayers’ funds . But then again having the government intercede and then act with the appropriate authority and show some semblance of common sense is akin to having a blind man guide you to safety by walking through a mine field . Clearly at this juncture any common sense being shown by anyone through clear clarity just isn’t going to happen.



Picture gallery for your perusal.

Given David Stern’s request to the NBPA (players union) do you feel that he will be successful in the union acquiescing to his wish of making those concessions ? Or do you foresee the situation where the NBA could also be going down the road where you could envisage there being an ongoing and prolonged labor dispute ? And what thoughts if any do you have with taxpayers being repeatedly asked to fund the building of stadiums across the country when there are far more far urgent needs within the economy at large ?


Alan aka tophatal ………………………. 🙂


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BCS, College Football ........, Sports

Who Wants To Be #1 ?

Who Wants To Be #1 ?

Much like the NFL __ College Football has become topsy turvy this season and we’re seeing the same thing happen in terms of the supposed top teams slipping up .And the very fact that over the past two weeks neither two teams that’ve sat atop of the rankings have actually been able to remain there longer than one week. Firstly it was the Alabama ( Crimson Tide) running into the buzz saw that was the South Carolina Gamecocks . If that wasn't enough of a surprise to see this Tide team completely exposed as something of a fraud and then consider what happened this past weekend with the Ohio State Buckeyes as they were simply man handled by the Wisconsin Badgers in their subsequent 31-18 loss. And with the first BCS rankings now having been announced it will be interesting to see what arises between now and the end of the regular season within college football.


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While it would be true to suggest that there are no truly dominant teams this season within college football I do believe what we’re now seeing is an ugly dilution of the talent pool and some rather inexplicable coaching faux-pas’ where blunders by coaches and their staff had led to some of the upsets we’ve seen with a number of highly ranked teams that were thought to be in with a chance of national championship aspirations. And as good as many of the teams are thought to be amongst the BCS rankings I’m of the belief that until the season pans out we’re still liable to see a number of these teams in question make a misstep or two over the coming weeks. Schedules being what they are there’s a tendency for not only complacency to set in but also the fact that injuries may or may not play a part in how far these teams will ultimately go. Furthermore while we can all debate a number of team’s aspirations and the mere fact that a mockery is made of their schedules it does beg the question how best to resolve a the situation where the likes of Boise State’s credentials comes into question. The team’s ___ schedule is one that is simply padded with some lesser lights viewed as sacrificial lambs and a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) schedule that one might view as being as competitive as trying to discern the IQ between Sarah Palin and Delaware Tea Party backed Republican Party senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell. Not much there from either if truth be known and the same can argument can be made for the competitiveness of WAC !

Given what we know and the fact that it’s now being alleged that much of the conjecture concerning the Boise’s schedule stems from the fact that the team doesn’t play in what is considered to be a top tiered conference nor do they tend to schedule what’s considered to be an elite program on their schedule. The SEC , Pac-10 , ACC , Big East , Big 10 , Big 12 are long considered to be the creme-de-la-creme of college football’s elite conferences and within those conferences and divisions there are a number of highly competitive programs. Boise State on the other hand, while now being looked at as a national contender by some analysts there’s a belief that until the Broncos’ schedule is competitive enough where they’re not only playing many more elite programs , we’re liable to simply view the Broncos as just another team that while amassing impressive stats they’ll fall short of what the mainstream fans and pundits desire to see from a championship contender.

I find it somewhat ironic that the Broncos’ state they’re not getting any respect from the BCS pollsters and the writers who cover the program. However it’s come to light that while overtures have been made by Nebraska and Ohio State to schedule Boise as part of their schedule it has since come to light that the Broncos refused those very same overtures requesting Boise play either the Cornhuskers or Buckeyes. The Broncos have supposedly demanded that they be paid in excess of $1million from each school merely to turn up and participate in those games. If that’s not enough to suggest how ludicrous it has become when as it concerns big time college football and the high stakes that are in play . Then clearly we now know that it comes down not only about what’s purportedly about the game itself but also how much money there is awash within the game today !.

From my own perspective while I’ve always maintained that there ought to be a playoff system installed at the end of the college season it’s clear to see that the conferences that make up the BCS has no interest at all in instituting such an approach as it would merely cut into the ‘tens of millions of dollars’ that are derived from the system that’s already in place for the five major season ending bowl games and the lesser tiered games that come into play.

It seems somewhat strange that even with the outcry for there to be changes to be made within the system what we have still creates a great deal of controversy but yet we’re told that this is the best that BCS community can offer the fans . Somehow that’s like being told that the cure for the common cold is nothing more than drinking some concoction made possible by a snake oil salesman.

And while I for one do believe that there are a number of teams with the aspirations to viewed as a national championship contender. The one thing I think that we might all foresee is the mess that the current system will create come season’s end. Computer algorithms and the preference of the pollsters may well play more of a part in deciding who plays for the national championship than anything one might derive of what has taken place on the field of play. It’s hard to think that we may well end up with at least one unbeaten team when it’s all said and done at the end of the regular season. Especially given the results that we’ve all witnessed thus far.



By clicking on a frame you can see the picture in its original formatted size.

What if anything has been of a surprise to you in the college football season ? And do you as such have a preference as to which two teams you’d like to see play for the national championship ?

NB: Click on the following links provided to view pertinent information .

Football College Conference standings

BCS College Football Rankings ……

Week 7 College Football results


Alan aka tophatal …………….. 🙂


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Football, NFL, Sports

Flawed …….. A Diamond In The Rough or Cubic Zirconium ?

Flawed …….. A Diamond In The Rough or Cubic Zirconium ?

You simply knew that it’d be only a matter of time before the charges of fraud would be thrown up against a number of teams within the NFL after their fast starts to the season. We’ve now seen both the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs exposed as teams that are indeed flawed and who have if anything have over-achieved. Albeit that we are only five weeks into a sixteen week NFL schedule. Mindful of that however, I do believe that for these two teams it hasn’t been so much about them over achieving but more so about them catching lightning in a bottle and surprising their early season opponents that caught many of us by surprise.

Texans’ coach Gary Kubiak knows that if his team is to fully gain the respect and display the talent that an undoubted number of analysts around the NFL believe them to have , then they will have to step up not only their game physically but also mentally. The Texans’ coaching staff as well will have to instill a great deal more discipline into this team in each phase of their game. It’s all well and good having a potent offense when given the chance can put points up on the scoreboard with the regularity of the speed of a pendulum . But that simply counts for nothing when the defense is now liable to give up points as if they’re trapped in quicksand and simply can’t get out of their own way in repeatedly making mistakes and giving up the ‘big plays’. That seems to be the norm with the Texans and it is something that Kubiak will have to address if the team is to have any real success at all this season.


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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

Todd Haley and the Chiefs may well have surprised a great many people around the league with his team’s fast start to the season . But to my mind much of the success is derived from the fact that during the off-season Haley added to his coaching staff by hiring Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel to become the offensive and defensive coordinators of the team. Reassembling a group who along with Haley and team GM Scott Pioli were responsible for the unprecedented success that was attained by Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. It seems that the pupil has learned well from his Master? But with this being a very young team the Chiefs have had their growing pains and it has began to show after their first loss (19-9) this season to the Indianapolis Colts. Now with that being said given the fact that the Chiefs play in the none sensical division of the AFC West where from week to week you can never be sure what you’re going to witness by way of the football being played there. This type of start to the season where 4-0 makes your team appear to be world beaters does create the perception that there’s competitive football being played within that division. In essence nothing could be further from the truth as one simply has to bear witness to the hilarity of what took place between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers this past weekend. The Chargers simply threw away a game (35-27) that they very much had within their grasp and if anything for coach Norv Turner, here’s simply another example rearing its ugly head proving once again why it is he can never win a big game when it really matters .

The Oakland Raiders much like the rest of the teams within AFC West can never seem to run together a series of performances where one can really look at this team and say …. well this is a team that can actually play and win their division outright. Instead much like the other occupants within the division their goal at present is merely to proffer up games where they’re playing exceptionally well or in large part their game and that of the coaching staff is mind numbingly pitiful ! But as I’ve always state what’s purported to be football within that division is mind numbingly painful.

And speaking of mind numbingly boring isn’t it bad enough that the circus still meanders around the league and the talk still is about Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings ? Now with the arrival of Randy Moss the talk is everything is back on track but I preface this by saying that all the bravura of the player’s arrival certainly won’t alleviate the pressure on the Vikings. This team will only go as far as Favre can take them without imploding. The funny thing is having arrived home I thought I’d take in some of the pregame coverage of Vikings vs New York Jets’ game at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. With the latest faux pas on Favre and the allegations leveled at the player where he supposedly left several inappropriate sexually explicit messages and pictures which were to sent a sideline reporter in the employ of the New York Jets. Is it me but when you have a coeterie of aged misogynystic males together how is it that they cannot differentiate the inappropriate behavior of a fellow male ? The analysts on ESPN’s coverage were aware that the player had apologized for the distraction of the ongoing investigation and it’s been confirmed that as part of the apology he expressed his sadness in his behavior concerning the incident that involved Jets’ sideline reporter Jenn Sterger, while the player was still with the Jets. But here you had Mike Ditka, Keyshawn Johnson, Chris Berman and Tom Jackson trying to excuse his behavior by simply glossing over this incident. Strange these very same individuals last year were questioning the actions of Donte’ Stallworth after he killed a pedestrian while driving under the influence. Now we have perhaps the NFL’s most high profiled player whose inappropriate behavior these analysts sought to gloss over by by acting that this was something that isn’t at all serious. Where’s the common decency and are these very same individuals simply out of the loop when it comes to the fact women are being sexually assaulted predators at a rate that statistically is quite scary ? One may not look at the actions as being a form of assault but given the fact that the player’s actions weren’t solicited by the victim and the actions itself are a crime then what else is there to question at this juncture ? Less we forget also there’s a second allegation that has arisen concerning the player’s sexual advances and inappropriate behavior concerning two female masseuses who at the time in the employment of the Jets organization. Pattern of behavior on Favre’s part or can we once again merely excuse this as simply being sophomoric behavior and the act of a player thinking that this is all desirable by a female because of who he is ?

Favre’s actions may not be viewed acutely dangerous but then again what the hell was the player thinking to begin with ? Was he under the impression that his victim would be happy with his idiotic behavior ? Granted until some action is taken by either the NFL or Jets’ front office makes their findings public much of what we know is open to a great deal of conjecture and speculation.


Now one could gloss over this incident and deem it none cataclysmic but I view it this way were the female in question, your wife , sister or mother how would you view Favre’s actions and what has been alleged ? Clearly this isn’t simply about an error in judgment but a player who thought himself above the law and the fact that his actions were felonious and an act of pornography. Doubt my word then simply look at the statutes as it covers the act using of a cell phone for promoting pornography ? Favre and others out there may simply think that this was simply a joke but given where we are now at when it comes to technology and the use of social networks as a mean of criminal activity. Isn’t it about time common sense prevails and an individual actually uses their brain matter functionally ? And we should also remember that given the seriousness of the problems that recently arose concerning the behavior of several Jets’ players and their inappropriate behavior towards TvAzteca sports reporter Ines Sainz. The players and several assistant coaches were sexually overt and suggestive towards the reporter and it wasn’t until a formal complaint had been lodged with the NFL and the Jets’ front office that any action had been taken by the league hierarchy and the Jets . So those of you who merely gloss over the actions think carefully about what it is that you’re condoning.

From my own perspective I was never one to buy into the hype concerning Favre and the Vikings merely because I simply don’t view Brad Childress as a very good coach ! He seems incapable leading this team and in commanding respect from the players. And from what we’ve seen between he and Favre’s relationship , it has been tenuous at best. And this season it’s liable to get a great deal more heated should things become uncertain. The pressure on both as well as the team to succeed has become all consuming. The window of opportunity for the Vikings is now and it is imperative that they win if both Favre and Randy Moss are to ride off into the sunset with a Superbowl ring adorning their fingers and almost certain candidacy for the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Having seen some of the highlights of the game (24-21) between the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers I was at a loss to see why it was that Carson Palmer was being lauded over as one of the better quarterbacks within the NFL. Granted a Heisman Trophy gives a player some credibility when they come out of college and enter the NFL . But the bust itself isn’t the item on the field each Sunday afternoon , it’s actually the player them-self. Palmer and the Bengals were favored to defeat the Buccaneers handily. Instead we saw this team simply out-gain the Bucs on the ground with their running game but nothing tangible to show for it at the end of the day. The Bengals “bungled” their way and as they simply allowed the Buccaneers ease their way back into the game ____ and eventually ended up winning the game. Marvin Lewis and his coaching staff are either complete blithering idiots or they simply haven’t got the wherewithal to do what’s needed in a game plan. Merely needing to clock manage in the closing minutes of the game Lewis and Palmer felt that aerial onslaught would be enough to guide them to a win. In doing so Palmer would needlessly threw a pair interceptions and as they say the shit…… ‘merely hit the fan’.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

Surveying the NFL at present and on the face of it a number of teams simply haven’t lived up to the perceived hype that many were expecting. And though the thinking is that parity makes the game the league a great deal more competitive I look at the coaching pedigree of the coaches around the NFL . The players on the field may well be the ones gaining the glory but the truth of it all is the fact of the matter is without the right coach and front office in place a team can’t really attain success at any level. And in this day and age in professional sports where it’s about there here and now it’s so hard to determine the teams that are the diamonds in the rough that through polishing will become the finished and genuine article , and then of course there are the cubic zirconiums out there. Well those are the teams that aspire to be diamonds but the illusions are being created that they’re the real deal. And if the truth be known within the NFL at present there seems to be more cubic zirconiums than there are real diamonds.

What teams at present to your mind have come as a real surprise and specifically which teams do you feel can either turn their seasons around to rally back and perhaps become a legitimate contender within the NFL ?

NFL Standings by Conference

NFL Standings by Division

NFL scores from Week 5

NFL Team Statistics through week 5

NFL Week 6 schedule

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………………… 🙂



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Basketball, NBA, Sports

They Do Things Big In Dallas Except Win ……… That Is ! Well In The NBA That’s The Case

They Do Things Big In Dallas Except Win ……… That Is ! Well In The NBA That’s The Case

I don’t know that this upcoming NBA __ season I can buy into the fact that the Dallas Mavericks can be a championship contender within the league. They might just be one of the worse kept secrets within the NBA and season in , season out as they repeatedly fail to live up to potential. And much like their NFL counterpart in the Dallas Cowboys they have an opinionated owner who simply believes that he knows more than most without actually knowing anything at all. I know that they do things big in Texas, from the size of their ten gallon hats to the loopy air headed-ness of the blond females who tend up being crowned Miss Texas. But amongst the professional ranks of sports over the last decade there’s been little of worth or note that has actually come out of the state from that specific standpoint. And for Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones it has been their their respective persona that fans tend to notice rather than anything that’s been achieved by their respective teams.


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Each year the Cowboys are anointed as the team to beat within the NFC and as is their way they find a way to continually disappoint . A decade plus and they’ve only recently won their first postseason game in that time but yet the idiotic panelists continually regale us with how good they are and will be . Isn’t that like trying to make an argument that for all of the good that Adolf Hitler tried to do in making Germany a progressive country during WWII some good came out of it ? Clearly Hitler had his moments but his biggest moment was the fact that he led his country to defeat albeit that he wasn’t around to see the final days of the war itself. And that is how I symbolize the travails of the Cowboys within the NFL and their wish to ascend back to upper echelons of the NFL.

In the case of the Dallas Mavericks it’s been about an organization wherein their owner Mark Cuban has lavish all expense to make this team better and it has come to no avail. One NBA Finals appearance and they were subjected to one of the most humiliating Finals series defeat in recent memory. Not only were they schooled by Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat but this entire team was made to look like a group of aging geriatrics playing against a group of physically gifted athletes. Don Nelson who presided over the team at the time as its coach, he and never instilled any discipline into the team and his coaching mantra seemed to be…. try outscore your opponent without actually playing little if any defense at all. I don’t know what other coach within the professional sporting ranks has ever subscribed to such tendencies but clearly it hasn’t worked for Nelson over his storied coaching career. And this mantra it now appears still exists today with the Mavericks under their current coach Rick Carlisle. And unfortunately for all of the technical prowess he’s shown the Mavericks as a team they still haven’t the wherewithal to play defense in an NBA game. We may see flashes of it from time to time but in essence it has all been too inconsistent.

From a leadership aspect also this Mavericks’ team doesn’t seem to possess someone who can readily stand up and lead by example. An aging Dirk Nowitzki is now not only showing his age but he’s also breaking down with far more regularity than a three legged race horse trailing its opponents as it nears the finish line in an arduous race. And be that as it may , say what you will about Jason Kidd but flashes of brilliance from this point guard can’t hide the fact that this team’s window of opportunity has long gone. The Mavericks’ opponents not only within its division have gotten better but so too have their opponents within the Western Conference. And anyone of the belief that the Mavericks are still a legitimate contender within that conference really needs to survey the rest of the West to see what has really taken place there in the past two years. We’ve seen the rise of the Oklahoma Thunder who in Kevin Durant might just be the fourth best player in the entire NBA after in no discerning order , Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dywane Wade. Never mind the fact that in tandem with his teammate Russell Westbrook the two could well be one of the best offensive tandems in the league. Given time and experience I fully expect this young team and the organization to have a great deal of success in the foreseeable future.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

As to the impending future of the Dallas Mavericks I don’t truly see this team in its current guise contending for an NBA title and at best they may well make the playoffs but beyond that I just cannot see them contending alongside the Los Angeles Lakers,Miami Heat , Orlando Magic much less success starved teams as the Portland Trailblazers or Oklahoma City Thunder . I could well be wrong but I doubt it given the evidence of this team’s struggles over the past few years . The Dallas Mavericks are a very good regular season team but come the postseason you just simply know that the wheels on this vehicle are going to fall off and their ambitions become derailed. Like I said they tend to do things big in Dallas ….except win !

Chime on in with a comment as to your thoughts on the Mavericks’ upcoming season and what you expect to see from this NBA season ?

NB: Dallas Mavericks’ roster

Dallas Mavericks’ front office

Alan aka tophatal ………………. 🙂



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Golf, PGA, Ryder Cup, Sports

And No Not Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining !

And No Not Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining !

There is nothing gallant about losing when the quest itself could have been avoided had the right preparations been in place for the team to actually strive for a win. But now these are and will be the rather asinine stories that will be written about the so called ‘gallant and bravura effort’ put forth by the US Ryder Cup team after their loss of the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor Golf Course in Newport, Wales , this past weekend. Rain delays prolonged the play wherein the singles matches were actually played on Monday instead of on Sunday on what was effectively had been a three day event being turned into a four day event.


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Slide show for your perusal.

Coming into the final day of the contest the format was for the four balls to be completed and for the singles match-ups to be played with the Europeans holding a 9 1/2 to 6 1/2 point lead over the US team. And for opposing captains Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin this was all about determining whether or not their strategies would reap the dividends in the match-ups made in these finals singles matches. A great deal of criticism has been leveled at Pavin and his handling of this US team and much of it has stemmed from the fact that so many of his players were rookies and all but one player had a winning record in the Ryder Cup format. That in of-itself would prove to be something of a crucial disadvantage for the team and no matter how one spins it the motivation and leadership expected from seasoned veterans such as Jim Furyk , Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods simply wasn’t there to make this competition worth remembering or a worthwhile endeavor on the part of the Americans.

Now the writers and US commentators covering this event will have us believe that this was by all means a gallant effort by this US team. But in all actuality nothing could be further from the truth . Albeit that there was some inspirational play by Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler in their singles matches, the writing was already on the wall in terms of the inevitable outcome of the event. While the Europeans’ lead wasn’t an insurmountable one , you simply knew that all they had to do was to retain that lead and then eke out the points needed to make the victory secure. Needing only to obtain 5 points out of a possible 12 to win back the Ryder Cup , Colin Montgomerie’s team went about their task diligently while the support of the European fans were there in droves to show their support for their hometown heroes.

Now while there has been criticism being leveled about both teams in the past as to the unsportsmanlike conduct in previous events this series of matches throughout this tournament has been played with a great deal chivalry by both sides. However one got the feeling that this US team could have done with a bit of boisterous support and some true grit being shown by not only their supporters but also from a number of players on this team. Instead what we got to see were but a few brief moments of heroics before this team succumbed to the inevitable and then with unabashed shame we saw the emotions of Hunter Mahan come to fruition , wherein he took responsibility for the team’s loss having not been able to secure a point in the finals’ singles match that would have led to Team USA retaining the Ryder Cup.

When it’s all said and done this wasn’t about how the Cup was lost but the fact that this US team wasn’t at all good enough for the task at hand. Although the spin-meisters will be in full swing trying to point out that this was a gallant effort by the team having come so close with the final margin of victory being a mere 1 point (14 1/2 – 13 1/2) the truth of the matter was the Europeans were expected to win and win they did.

Now in 2012 the Ryder Cup is due to be played in the United States at Medinah G&C, outside Chicago , Illinois___ and it will be interesting to see whether or not any changes will be made by the PGA as to how the US team is actually made up and what sort of input is made by the team captain as to who his alternatives will be . This much we do know Phil Mickelson’s record in the Ryder up format is not one to be admired as he now has the dubious distinction of having lost more games overall and has the worst points’ total of any American who has ever represented a US team as a member. And all this from the supposed number two player in the world ? This kind of puts into perspective the idiocy shown by such analysts as they sought to make light of this by pointing out what a tremendous effort was put forth by this team. Well there was little here to feel proud of , given the fact that there was no leadership forthcoming from the seasoned veterans on this team and a captain who for all sense and purpose who was completely out of his depth. But hey , this is the sort of stuff that the writers and analysts will tend to harp on about rather than trying to point out the reasons for the failures of a team . And you tend get the distinct impression that in reality the US are ”sore losers” when it comes to team sports where their dominance comes into question .

Now while the Europeans will bask in the glory of having won back the Ryder Cup in home soil at the same time you get the feeling that they will be out to rigorously defend the trophy in 2012 . The chances are that by then the US team in place to challenge for the trophy will be one that no doubt will be more determined to play with a great deal of pride and honor as to the thought of representing their country. It had been long maintained that a number of US players felt that this particular team event wasn’t a worthwhile cause because there was no prize money to be earned . But at the same time it is these same players who are now preening themselves like Cheshire cats at the mere thought that they will get the chance to participate in the Summer Olympics when the game makes a welcome return to the grandest of all stages in front of a worldwide audience of billions. Makes you wonder what all the fuss has been about doesn’t it ?

From my own perspective I do feel that while the biennial event has its followers and its popularity remains intact. It can only remain this way if the level of competition that goes with it is of the highest order . Over the years the level of commitment appears to be there but the telling ingredient that at times seems to be missing is that the play of the teams can either be exhilarating or just plain mediocre. Here it was a little of both with a certain amount of naivete and false bravado being shown by US team captain Corey Pavin as his team was convincingly outplayed from start to finish. History may well show that Pavin captained this team but what it will not show any in great detail are the mistakes that he made strategically. This cloud certainly didn’t have a silver lining and about the only thing did may well have been the rainbow that shone in part after the torrents of rain that fell over the Celtic Manor course that essentially dampened the ardor of the US team and its resolve in trying to retain the Ryder Cup.



Picture gallery for your perusal. By clicking on each frame you can view the picture in its original format.

Your thoughts if any on how the US team lost the Ryder Cup and do you feel that there needs to be a change in the format as to how the players are selected for the US team ? Criticism was leveled at Corey Pavin for having so many rookies on the team and the fact that only one player on the squad had a winning record in this type of format. Simply chime in with a comment as to your opinions if any on the event itself or perhaps the sport of golf in general .

NB Click on the links below to see the profiles of the respective teams and details for the 2012 Ryder Cup event .

Team Europe

Team USA

Player results at the 2010 Ryder Cup …..

Ryder Cup 2012 …..

Alan aka tophatal …………………………..


Courtesy of Smooth Magazine …….. Stephanie

Baseball, Major League Baseball, Sports

Who’ve You Got In The Fall Classic ? It’s Anyone’s Series To Win Should They Want It Enough …………

Who’ve You Got In The Fall Classic ? It’s Anyone’s Series To Win Should They Want It Enough …………

OK so here it is at last the ‘Fall Classic’ and baseball’s playoffs are upon us , the ALDS and NLDS begin. My biggest thought now is this really what the fans will want and appreciate ? That being said it goes without saying that the meltdown by the San Diego Padres and their season coming down to the last few weeks where their play was so inconsistent. One has to ask one’s self how could it all have gone so wrong in such a short period of time ? And then we have the Atlanta Braves who with their esteemed manager Bobby Cox are looking to make his last appearance in the postseason a memorable one . Could we be in with a fairy tale ending after all ? Stranger things are known to have happened and it’s not as if much was actually expected of this Braves’ team much less them making the postseason with a revamped team.


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Slide show for your perusal .

Well the usual suspects are there in the guise of the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. That being said of that triumvirate the most pressure might just be on the Rays and Yankees , given the Rays’ financial situation and that of the Yankees with the loss of their esteemed owner George Steinbrenner. From my own perspective I’m just hoping to see several entertaining series with the best teams prevailing throughout.

In the NL I do feel that the whole playoff scenario is the Phillies to lose ! I doubt that there’s a pitching rotation in the playoffs that is the equal of their starting triumvirate of Roy Halladay , Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. And while everyone may well point to the Rangers’ starting duo of Cliff Lee and C J Wilson or the Yanees’ CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes . There’s no way in hell that any of the other teams can match that firepower of a starting lineup in terms of a pitching rotation ! However as a precursor , the postseason isn’t simply just about pitching , as offense carries its own weight also in the equation .

The match-ups themselves make for an interesting scenario by way of the pairings as we have the Tampa Bay Rays taking on the Texas Rangers and where the New York Yankees will be taking on the Minnesota Twins. And is anyone certain that we’ll see the Yankees successfully come through the divisional rounds of the playoffs given the woes of their pitching as of late ? The Rays and their series against the Rangers pits a combustible offense in that of the Rangers against that of the Rays and their all round balance and a manager in Joe Maddon who tends to be systematic in his management style . The Rangers will counter that with Ron Washington and a team whose change in ownership wherein Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg are looking to ring in a new era which is totally different from that of the rather dour tenured reign of Tom Hicks and what some might deem was one of the most idiotic reigns ever of a baseball franchise. What Hicks brought to the Rangers was nothing but controversy and a great deal of debt and for those assholes out there who still think of Hicks as being an entrepreneur and consummate businessman. Consider this , Hicks and each of his sporting concerns have been on the brink of bankruptcy over the last five years. And this simply proves that because you have millions or billions as the case maybe it doesn’t automatically make you primed to be the “best owner” of a professional sports franchise.

The NLDS has a quartet of teams each with a storied history and the feelgood story here might just be the fact that Braves’ manager Bobby Cox in his last managerial season could just go out with a bang should the team actually manage to make it to the World Series. Unlikely as this might be there is a feeling given the right set of circumstances and the drive of a young team hoping to send this renowned manager out with a second World Series title. The Braves will take on the San Francisco Giants led by manager Bruce Bochy whose team essentially ended whatever hopes that the San Diego Padres might have had of making the postseason. And as intriguing as this series might appear on paper many feel that the Giants should be able to deal with the Braves with a great deal of ease. I wouldn’t go as far as to suggest that it might be that easy given Cox’s postseason experience. He’ll have his team motivated, primed and ready to play with a great deal of heart and the outcome could be a great deal more interesting than some would hope.

In the other NLDS game we’ll see the Phillies take on the NL Central division winning Cincinnati Reds. And for Reds’ manager Dusty Baker this might well have been a season of redemption after his failures with the Chicago Cubs . This series has everything that a fan of the game could wish for . The Reds have an offense that on its day can be as good as any within baseball (MLB) but there’d be those who’d state otherwise. In this series I do feel that the fans could be primed for a surprise if the Reds play up to their undoubted potential. Scott Rolen , Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto could make this a series to remember for the Cincinnati Reds’ fans. The Phillies on the other hand will be looking not only cement themselves as the ‘class of the National League’ by looking to win their their third consecutive NL pennant should the scenario take them that far. And most definitely for manager Charlie Manuel and GM Rueben Amaro Jr this will go a long way in vindicating the organization when many felt that they’d made a big mistake in letting Cliff Lee go by trading him to the Seattle Mariners.

Now as much as the fans here in the Tampa Bay area are rejoicing with the fact that the Rays won the AL East divisional title . It has to be said all of the excitement in the world won’t be able to hide the fact that should this team not prevail in the postseason then the ramifications will be there for all to see . Stuart Sternbberg and his partners now are in the midst of what might just be the most important year in this ball-club’s existence. Needing to have more than just a successful run throughout the playoffs the ays by my own estimation do need to win the World Series if there’s to be a remote chance of the team remaining intact for next season. We’ve either read or heard about the financial problems that the organization has had. Winning they say is everything and now more than any other time in its history it is incumbent upon the club to have a successful run to the World Series. Though anything short of that might not be viewed as catastrophic within the baseball world or for the fans of the team, although those within the locale might deem it as being something of a disaster. The financial vagaries of the game makes it something of a financial boon for a small market team when they make it to and win the World Series. For the Rays in 2008 it was their moment to shine but unfortunately then for the team , the final outcome wasn’t as envisaged. This time around it’s all or bust for this Rays’ franchise.

As to the reigning World Series champions this is the part of the season where they’re usually expected to shine. The New York Yankees and their series against the Minnesota Twins might not be as clear cut as some may well believe it to be . Anyone who’s seen the Yankees final season regular game series against the Kansas City Royals will know that the team’s pitching isn’t anywhere as feared as many would feel that it will need to be. With the exception of CC Sabathia , Phil Hughes , Kerry Wood and the ever consummate Mariano Rivera ___ there’s been little to suggest that all is right with the Yankees’ pitching. But then to write off the Yankees would be to do so at your peril. The Twins for their part will be without Justin Morneau but there to captain the reins will be Joe Mauer and the guiding hand of their manager Ron Gardenhire. This series could be something where there’ll be either a great deal of intrigue or we could just see one of these teams completely overwhelming the other . It could all come down to not just the play of both but also the managing philosophy of Gardenhire and Joe Girardi and how they’ve prepared their teams for the divisional series’ play.



Picture gallery for your perusal.

If anything do you feel that the postseason will bring about a great deal of excitement and which teams do you foresee making it to the World Series ?

Alan aka tophatal ……………………. 🙂

NB: For the latest news within MLB simply click on the link provided below .

ALDS match-ups
New York Yankees vs Minnesota Twins
Tampa Bay Rays vs Texas Rangers

NLDS match-ups Atlanta Braves vs San Francisco Giants
Philadelphia Phillies vs Cincinnati Reds

Texan Tom Hicks whose ownership of the Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers and Liverpool F.C. club has amassed in excess of $2.0 billion worth of debt with little more than $1 billion of assets. Hicks has been able to obtain refinancing for the soccer team in order to stave off financial ruin and the unwanted advances of several potential bidders who were showing interest in the Premiership soccer club. .



Hot Latina Larissa Riquelme a staple of Maxim Magazine .