College Basketball, Kansas (Jayhawks), Shaka Smart, Sports Economics, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary, VCU Rams

Ain’t No Turning Back ……………… Not Now !


Ain’t No Turning Back ……………… Not Now !

Oh what a tangled web we weave when one sets out to try and deceive . Well the berths are now set for the Final Four in the NCAA Men’s National Basketball Tournament and low and behold perhaps the biggest upset of the tournament took place when the lowly Virgina Commonwealth University (Rams ) took down the high and mighty Kansas Jayhawks . As of now about the only people smiling from all of this are those who had the Rams making the Final Four within their brackets and the odds-makers in Las Vegas.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slide show details for your perusal .

Now some might be asking how could this have all gone so wrong for the Jayhawks given their esteemed and well respected program ? But I look at it this way , when you play down or treat an opponent with a certain amount of contempt by not taking them seriously that’s when you tend to be at your most vulnerable and susceptible to a major upset. And most I do believe that was the case here on Sunday with this shocking turn of events and major upset. In all reality who would have viewed that an underdog such as Virginia Commonwealth would be even with a remote chance of taking down Bill Self’s team in what would appear to be with some relative ease. The Jayhawks simply struggled against a team that was stifling on defense and who pressured and harried this Kansas team in to several mistakes turning over the ball in the most inopportuned of moments. But if anything kudos has to be given to the Rams for their resolute defense and the stunning way with which they executed their offense throughout the game (71-61).

As it now stands we have no number one seeds left in the Final Four and with the teams getting ready to lay it all on the line I can’t think of a much better tournament that I’ve witnessed over the last decade as it relates to the NCAA Tournament ! An avid fan of the game at this juncture I for one would like to say that the teams now left vying for the national championship are most definitely deserving of their places amongst the quartet of teams . It has all come down to applying one’s self to the task rather than merely believing in the hype and print media and analysts’ statements being made as to who indeed was the best team in the country. We can all boast or lay claim as to whom we might believe that to be but at the end of the day if your team wasn’t even a part of the Final Four then you have absolutely nothing to be shouting about.

Now with the Final Four and championship title game to be played this upcoming weekend it has to be said that the fans of the game around the country will be riding high looking to see what unfolds next from collegiate basketball’s own answer to a suspenseful movie thriller . What we’ve evidenced since the tournament began couldn’t have been scripted better than any Hollywood script writer giving us a premise and I’d dare say so far as sequels go, one could say that what’s now on offer might just be the NCAA’s answer to that all. I for one certainly didn’t think that a mid major program such as VCU would even have a remote chance in the game but having seen the Butler Bulldogs pull of their own upset in knocking off the Florida Gators I shouldn’t have been at all surprised by this latest result. Major big power conference teams have simply fallen by the wayside in taking their opponents far too lightly , given the level of play in the earlier rounds by their opponents. And much like the idiocy we’ve all witnessed with regard to those teams’ demise , I can’t help but wonder what the NCAA’s Competition Committee might now be making of this all ?

For the broadcast outlets that brought us the game it’s now left to CBS Sports to take us down that final stretch run of college basketball’s biggest spectacle as we finally reach the culmination of the event by crowing a national champion. Sixty five teams originally set out on this noble quest and we’re now down to the Final Four and I can hope that the quartet of teams now left will be able to provide us with the type of suspense and drama that I think we have all witnessed in the earlier rounds of the competition. .

What might be even more surprising is how VCU’s young coach Shaka Smart has his team playing with so much confidence throughout much of this tournament . Kansas for their part just didn’t seem to be able to deal with the defensive resolve of the Spiders as they were harassed each time they were in possession of the ball. If anything you’d be hard pressed to consider which of the two teams in question was from a tier one conference and which was a from a mid level conference as we now seem intent describing many of the mid majors (conferences) nowadays. The divide between the two now seems to be more minute than it has ever been and most certainly the results witnessed in the tournament and over the last few years seems to validate that fact.

The hero for VCU in this game was Jamie Skeen leading all scorers with 26 points and in doing so he led with a great deal of authority with his teammates following en-suite . Eagerly supporting Skeen was Brandon Rozzell the team’s next highest scorer with 12 points but if anything this was more an all-round collective effort by the VCU Rams.

The Jayhawks for their part must be terribly disappointed with the outcome of the game but you can’t but feel how and why did it all go so badly wrong ? Clearly they misjudged the tenacity of VCU prior and during the game , so much so that when it came to the realization that they were in for the fight of their lives , it was all too little , too late as they were never seriously in with a chance of actually overcoming the deficit much less winning this game ! Not even with the contributions of the Morris brothers , Marcus and Markieff Morris did the Kansas Jayhawks seem to put up much of a threat as the duo combined for 33 of the Jayhawks ‘ 61 points’ total . The only other scorer on the team into double figures was Tyshawn Taylor with 14 points . Somewhat of a meager output all round considering the fact that this was team was built upon its offensive prowess , defensive capabilities and being able to switch gears as and when needed . But as I alluded to earlier, for much of the game the Jayhawks simply couldn’t find a consistent rhythm where they could actually get anything going with any semblance of regularity.

Now with the draw known as to who the final quartet of teams will be , it’ll be intriguing to see what awaits the fans of what I for one believe has been an exciting tournament in more ways than one. I certainly do believe that the NCAA Tournament is unlike any other as it provides suspense and thrills right throughout the longevity of the competition ! Not something that can actually be said of the somewhat idiotic BCS Bowl System that’s prescribed to the college football fans out there that this is the best way to decide on a national champion within the collegiate ranks of FBS (D1 Football). Anyone who’s of the belief that’s the best way of deciding on a national champion within the game of football obviously doesn’t see the overall big picture and that this is merely a facade and fraud that’s being perpetrated by the NCAA and BCS in conjunction with one another merely because of the billions of dolllars that comes their way by of a corporate sponsorships and the broadcast rights’ fees that are charged to the networks that cover the game.

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

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

Picture gallery for your perusal .

As of now I for one am looking to see what unfolds over the final chapter of the tournament and to see after history being made with not one number ranked team being left within the Final Four . It’s going to be very interesting to see who will end up being crowned national champion this upcoming weekend between the quartet of U Conn , Kentucky , Butler and VCU . What thoughts if any do have you had on this year’s tournament and do you feel that the competitiveness of the games have been well worth watching ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this any other topic you see fit as it relates to NCAA Tournament . Thanks always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

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

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

😉

Picture and slide show details below .
————————————————————————————————

(1) In this photo provided by Virginia Commonwealth, VCU head coach Shaka Smart celebrates with his team after winning the Southwest regional final game against Kansas in the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 27, 2011, in San Antonio. VCU won 71-61 . AP Photo/Virginia Commonwealth, Scott K. Brown …….

(2) Virginia Commonwealth’s Bradford Burgess , bottom, shoots as Brady Morningstar , left, and Markieff Morris , top, during the second half at the Southwest regional final game in the NCAA college basketball tournament on Sunday, March 27, 2011, in San Antonio. VCU won 71-61. AP Photo/Eric Gay ……….

(3) Kansas’ Mario Little reacts in the locker room after his team lost 71-61 to Virginia Commonwealth at the Southwest regional final game in the NCAA college basketball tournament on Sunday, March 27, 2011, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ……

(4) Kansas head coach Bill Self reacts during a news conference after his team lost 71-61 to Virginia Commonwealth at the Southwest regional final game in the NCAA college basketball tournament on Sunday, March 27, 2011, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …………….

(5) Ed Nixon (50) of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams goes to the basket against the Kansas Jayhawks during the southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 27, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ……….

(6) (L-R) Marcus Morris (22) and Markieff Morris (21) of the Kansas Jayhawks look on during the southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams at the Alamodome on March 27, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ……..

(7) Virginia Commonwealth’s Jamie Skeen, left, drives the ball as Kansas’ Markieff Morris defends during the second half at the Southwest regional final game in the NCAA college basketball tournament on Sunday, March 27, 2011, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

(8) Jamie Skeen (21) of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams goes to the basket against Marcus Morris (22) of the Kansas Jayhawks during the southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 27, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …………

(9) Markieff Morris (21) of the Kansas Jayhawks talks to Jamie Skeen (21) of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 27, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ………

———————————————————————————————

NCAA Results from Sunday’s game .

Kentucky vs North Carolina —- 76-69

Kansas Jayhawks — vs — VCU (Rams) —– 71-61

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

Kanye West …………. feat’g ……. Rihanna …. & ….. Kid Cudi

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

Basketball, Bill Russell, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Los Angeles Lakers, Nate Robinson, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, Red Auberbach, Shaquille O'Neal, Sports, Wyc Grousbeck

Chances Are It Won’t Work Out …………… But Then Again Who Knows ?


Chances Are It Won’t Work Out …………… But Then Again Who Knows ?

The one thing that has perplexed me since the trade deadline has been the play of the Boston Celtics and the decision made by the Boston Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge in the trading of Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson . Now inasmuch as we’re told that this was done to benefit the overall strength of the Celtics’ roster I think in large part that the trade has been to the detriment of the Celtics that has provided a slump in their fortunes where they’re now the third ranked team within the Eastern Conference sitting behind the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show for your perusal .

Though the Boston Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers has stated that this trade was a necessity to give the team depth in strength I do believe that the decision wasn’t a prudent one and it has if anything made the team all the more vulnerable and susceptible in their chances of making it deep into the playoffs much less winning the conference finals or the NBA title itself. The Celitics’ Big Three of Ray Allen , Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in addition to point guard Rajon Rondo have been playing at a level not identifiable with a team that many thought if anything would be viewed as a serious contender for the conference championship as well as the NBA championship. Instead this team has struggled and the fact that Troy Murphy an addition to the Celtics’ roster was seen as an upgrade has me wondering what it is that Ainge was trying to do ! If anything the general manager of this storied franchise must feel that the front office and the ownership of Wyc Grousbeck and his partners who can’t be entirely happy with the current situation but as long as there’s a chance that the team can be thought of as a contender then they may well be satisfied with their predicament.

In the offseason after the playoffs has reached its culmination I do believe that several decisions will have to be made as to the personnel of this team in light of the age of the team’s “Big Three” of Allen , Garnett and Pierce , never mind the roaming mercenary on the team Shaquille O’Neal whose career of late has been one where he’s merely moved for the sake of the money , rather than what he says…… ‘ is the pursuit of a fifth NBA ring , having won four as well as multiple Finals’ MVP’s . O’Neal is no longer the once dominant center within the league and if anything his productivity has slumped over the past few years . Rivers may well feel that his playing a mere twenty to twenty five minutes a game will suffice in the Celtics’ quest for another title.

Last season’s quest where we saw the Celtics fall to the Lost Angeles Lakers </a. in the NBA Finals was one where the team having outplayed the Lakers throughout much of the series they’d would fall apart in game seven where we’d see Ron Artest perhaps play the game of his life and where eventual Finals’ MVP Kobe Bryant would show us why he’s amongst the game’s most accomplished players and has long been considered one of the best players in the game when it matters most , on the NBA’s grandest stage. If that wasn’t enough to show the Celtics and their fans why it is that they can’t afford to be complacent then the 2010 Finals was definitely indicative of that.

This season for the Celtics hasn’t been without controversy for the team with Kevin Garnett leading the way with his flare up with the Pistons’ Charlie Villaneuva in the aftermath of which Garnett would try to negate the response of the press with a rather trite statement concerning remarks made about cancer victims. Garnett has always been something of a lightning rod in terms of his on the court demeanor and often at times his apparent willingness to do whatever it takes to win even if there’s a question as to his sportsmanship.

As an offense the Celtics have struggled and though they’re often viewed as a defensive force it has been here where their struggles have actually manifested itself and much to the dismay of their fans and Rivers’ coaching staff . I’ve no doubt will make the playoffs but I’m not so sure that as of now that they can be viewed as the presumptive favorites to win the conference finals ! As good as the team has been throughout much of the season the loss of Kendrick Perkins may well be too much to bear for this team. You cannot simply alter the chemistry on a team thinking that you can make it better by bringing in players that in terms of their contributions simply have shown that they’ve no real heart. Ainge for his part has been reticent to address the reasons as to the team’s falloff prior to the trade and what it has meant overall.

If the Celtics are to actually make their presence felt over the remainder the regular season and in the postseason , then as of now , they will have to show a great deal more determination . And in terms of leadership then Garnett , Pierce , Allen but Rajon Rondo in particular will have to lead by example if there’s to be any chance of this team simply being in with a remote chance of winning the NBA title . Failure by the quartet to show some form of consistency in terms of their play then you might as well count this team out because they’ve become a mere shadow of what many believed they were capable of achieving .

The Eastern Conference has often been thought of as a conference where the quality of play has been somewhat lacking in quality of its play but if anything with a litany stars now within the conference there’s the feeling that they’re now capable of staying in touch with their counterparts in the Western Conference . Now it comes to the point where we’re going to have to ask the questions as to whether or not the hype created with the Miami Heat ….. will they be good enough to win it all ? Can Derrick Rose assume the mantel of Michael Jordan and lead the Chicago Bulls to unprecedented heights not seen since the Bulls were in their heyday under Jordan in winning six titles during a ten year span. Boston for its part will be looking to add to the legacy of Red Auerbach and Bill Russell the two names synonymous , most associated with success and what the Celtics have been about over the course of their history.

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

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

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the Celtics’ present plight and where do you see them in terms of their chances winning an NBA title ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the Boston Celtics and that of the conference and the NBA postseason as a whole ?

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below.
———————————————————————————————–

(1) Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves center Darko Milicic (31) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 27, 2011, in Minneapolis. Pierce had a team-high 23 points as the Celtics won 85-82 . AP Photo/ Mark Goodson …..

(2) Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jonny Flynn (10) looks to pass around Boston Celtics guard Carlos Arroyo (45) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 27, 2011, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Paul Battaglia ……….

(3) Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett (5) goes for the loose ball along with teammate Paul Pierce (34) and Minnesota Timberwolves center Anthony Tolliver during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 27, 2011, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Paul Battaglia ….

(4) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 19: Shaquille O’Neal of the Boston Celtics with girlfriend Nicole ‘Hoopz’ Alexander sit courtside as they attend NBA All-Star Saturday night presented by State Farm at Staples Center on February 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images …….

(5) Wyc Grousbeck (right) is seen here with Red Auerbach at the team’s headquarters discussing the Celtics’ team . Auerbach who died last season built the Celtics’ dynasty into one of the NBA’s most beloved and successful franchises . Grousbeck is now the senior managing partner in the Boston Celtics’ ownership group . Paul Myers / Celtic Archives / copyrighted material @ all rights reserved …..

(6) Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge (L), managing partner and CEO Wyc Grousbeck (C) and guard Ray Allen celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals basketball championship in Boston June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar ……………..

———————————————————————————————–

NBA News

NBA Results Saturday

Sunday’s schedule & results


Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics history

Boston Celtics front office

Boston Celtics roster

Doc Rivers Head coach — Coaching Staff

Celtics’ team Stats

Team splits

——————————

By all means do take time to participate in the above poll .

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

Eye candy ……………..

——————————————————————————————

Wiz Khalifa ………….. ” Roll Up ”
=================================================================

Billy Donovan, Brad Stevens, Butler Bull Dogs, College Basketball, Duke (Blue Devils), Elite Eight (Elite 8), Final Four, NCAA Basketball Championships, NCAA Tournament, NCAA ............, Shelvin Mack, Sports

Mack The Knife …………………….


Mack The Knife …………………….

Well the Florida Gators when the chances were there to put the game ( 74-71 ) away the Butler Bull Dogs simply outplayed the Gators as Brad Stevens’ team make their second consecutive Final Four in the NCAA Tournament .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show for your perusal.

Destiny was there for the Bull Dogs’ as Shelvin Mack literally stuck the dagger in the backs of the Gators and having impaled Billy Donovan’s team , Mack and his teammates turned and stuck that knife even deeper into the wound as the Gator’s hopes bled incessantly with no way of stopping the flow. Along with that win it now adds further legitimacy as to what Butler has done and in particular it makes the young Brad Stevens perhaps an even hotter prospect as a potential candidate for a NBA coaching position should one become vacant this offseason within the NBA .

This game was as exciting as one would expect and a thriller it turned out to be but at the same time would one say that Butler was a team of destiny ? Or did they simply to their strengths while the Florida Gators fall apart under the mountain of expectations albeit that may well have been the perception of their rabid and vociferous fans ? These are the questions that may well be asked and are still to be answered over the course of the next few days. And while I’ve no doubt that to their credit the Gators under Billy Donovan overachieved with this team . The players to their credit can certainly take something away from this defeat but at the same I don’t think that they can hide the disappointment of this loss and what it meant to them as player but also the Gators’ fans up and down the country.

From my own perspective this tournament has been one to be appreciated from all perspectives but this much I do know seeing the Duke Blue Devils fall (93-77) to the Arizona Wildcats was enough for me to know that this wasn’t to be Mike Krzyzewski’s year to win his fourth national title . So 2012 becomes a another year and another chance to aspire to add to his legacy and that of the Blue Devils’ program.

For Billy Donovan I can’t help but feel sorry for coach and his team as they were never really expected to get this far much less competing with this much competitiveness during the tournament . And for Donovan having won consecutive titles in 2006 and 2007 the coach was seeking to win his third title overall with the Florida Gators. This has been a spectacular run by the coach , this program and what it has done for the school in terms of the publicity gained .

As to the remainder of the tournament the berths have now been set with regard to the Final Four and the teams now chasing collegiate basketball immortality. It has to be said that each of the participants left are deserving of their fate and whatever they achieve from hereon in has to be seen as an added bonus for those teams and their respective fans across the country. Collegiate basketball at the D1 level offers a spectacle unlike any other collegiate tournament presided over by the NCAA or BCS in terms of the FBS and their national championship. The BCS for all of its merits to my mind pales into insignificance in comparison to the NCAA Tournament. And inasmuch as fans across the country have been in awe of the BCS National Championship as a thrilling spectacle is something to appreciate but I for one believe that it elicits nowhere near as enough excitement as that of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . College football may well be the more popular of the two sports by far of which there’s no denial but there’s every reason to believe that while over the course of the season it has the fans showing their passion for the game . This much we do know is that come time for the NCAA Tournament it grabs even the uninitiated amongst us and has in awe and appreciation for the game the teams and all of the excitement it brings .

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

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

Picture gallery for your perusal .

In terms of what you’ve witnessed during the tournament do you feel that it has lived up to your expectations and what if anything are you now expecting to see during the Final Fours and which teams do you expect to be playing for the national title ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

😉

Picture and slide show details
——————————————————————————————

(1) Butler’s Alex Anglin holds up the Southeast Regional Trophy as the team is greeted by fans as they arrive at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 27, 2011. Butler defeated Florida, 74-71 , to advance to the Final Four. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ……..

(2) Butler head coach Brad Stevens talks to the fans that greeted the team at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 27, 2011. Butler defeated Florida, 74-71, to advance to the Final Four. AP Photo/Darron Cummings …..

(3) Erving Walker #11 of the Florida Gators fouls Matt Howard #54 as Chrishawn Hopkins #20 of the Butler Bulldogs tries to block his shot in the second half during the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ………..

(4) Shelvin Mack #1 of the Butler Bulldogs reacts during their game against the Florida Gators in overtime of the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ……..

(5) Shelvin Mack #1 of the Butler Bulldogs dunks against the Florida Gators during the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ……

(6) Head coach Brad Stevens of the Butler Bulldogs celebrates defeating the Florida Gators 74 to 71 in overtime by cutting down part of the net during the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ……

(7) Head coach Billy Donovan talks to Patric Young #4 of the Florida Gators during the second half of their game against the Butler Bulldogs in the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ……

——————————————————————————————-

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Elite 8 results

Final Four

Games scheduled for Sunday 27th March to decide the final two berths

Kentucky Wildcats vs North Carolina

Kansas vs VCU

Already through to the Final Four ……… U Conn and Butler

—————————————————————————-

Brooke  Burke

Eye candy ………… Brooke Burke

—————————————————————————–

Mase ……. feat’g Total …………………. “Tell Me What You Want From Me”

Fredro Starr ….. feat’g Jill Scott ………………. ” I See Your True Colors”
================================================

Alex Rodriguez, Allan 'Bud' Selig, Andy Pettite ., Barry Bonds, Baseball, Jose Canseco, MLB, Roger Clemens, Rusty Hardin, Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary, Sports Econmics, Steroids in baseball, US Attorney General Eric Holder

Who’s On First And Which As_hole Is Running Things As Of Now ?


Who’s On First And Which As_hole Is Running Things As Of Now ?

Well the MLB season is but a week away from Opening Day and already the game and league looks as if it’s off to a rocky start. In the US Federal Court system former San Francisco Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds has now readily admitted that he did in fact use anabolic steroids and HGH in a statement released by his attorneys late Monday evening at 6 pm EST. The player on trial for obstruction of justice and also five counts of perjury faces up to eight years in prison, quite possibly more and perhaps a monetary fine , may well see this as his last act of truth on his part . The fact of the matter , is for close to seven years Bonds has proclaimed his innocence stating that he never knowingly took steroids or any illicit substance without knowing what those drugs actually were . The player claims that his former personal trainer Greg Anderson told him that the drugs , pills , liquids he was ingesting were in fact flax seed oil and a number of other natural supplements. Pardon me for saying this but if at this juncture Bonds expect the public to take him at his word, the veracity of the claims now being made then in fact from the very start he knew that in order to try and evade telling the truth he simply chose to tell a lie in order to profit from his professional exploits monetarily.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show for your perusal .

Now I’ve heard many fans state that they don’t care if the players were in fact cheating by using steroids but I’d simply put forth this question would you be prepared to purchase a car if you knew that it wasn’t mechanically sound be it new or pre-owned ? Then why in hell’s name would you want to purchase a ticket to see a player who’s cheated the fans the public and even himself ? For far too long the problem with baseball is that the owners , general managers , the MLBPA and the players themselves have simply chosen to turn a blind eye to their many problems be it through the cheating of the players or the financial mismanagement within the game overseen by the league hierarchy led Commissioner Bud Selig. And if anyone is any doubt as to the financial viability stability of the game. Now we can all attest to the fact that Selig claims the game is now steroid free but in reality even the commissioner can’t be sure as to the veracity of those claims. I mean this is very same individual who now in large part knows that in large part at least 60% of the teams within baseball are struggling to show some some form profitability.

As to the pending Bonds’ trial I don’t feel that it’s now really necessary to delve into the case any longer. However , the worrying thing about this all has been with number of adjournments and US Appellate Court has led to an exorbitant cost in the case Justice Dept who prosecuted this case from the very beginning . I’d like to think that the US Attorney General Eric Holder and the district attorneys nationwide who are his subordinates use the same sort of veracity in trying cases when it comes white collar crime , major felonies such as homicides , sexual crimes and the upcoming terrorist trials be they through the USCMJ with a military tribunal prosecuting the case on the part of the government and in some cases military attorneys and criminal attorneys representing the defendants. With in excess of $15 million having been spent on the investigation and ongoing trial of Bonds I’d like to think that the public will be getting some sort of accountability from the federal government. But that’d be to expect there to be some veracity forthcoming from government what they wish to let the public know and how much they know at any given moment.

Given that Bonds’ trial is still in its early stages with the jury just having been chose and yet to be seated I do believe that there’s still a possibility and the player and his attorneys could very well seek some sort of plea agreement even with the trial in its early proceedings. Were the player to plead guilty at this juncture it would save the taxpayer a great deal of money rather than once again tens of thousands being spent over again all to no avail, in actually attaining a guilty verdict. But then again we’ve a government who’s burned through money the way that a drunken sailor on furlough would seek some pleasure while on leave.

Apart from Bonds’ trial the public still has to deal with upcoming Roger Clemens’ trial that in shape or form just has to be as comical as that of Bonds’ own prosecutorial dealings. Again we have a player who at each step of the way has chosen to apportion blame for his own misdeeds by blaming others. If it wasn’t his former Yankees’ teammate Andy Pettitte whom he claims has misquoted him when the player told members of Congress in a House Oversight & Government Reform Committee hearing that Clemens told he’d used anabolic steroids . Clemens’ even had the temerity to throw a family member under the bus when during a congressional hearing after his former trainer Brian McNamee claimed that he’d taken a several vials and syringes to the player’s home to inject him with HGH . Clemens says he doesn’t recall such an incident but he had indicated that his wife had taken several doses of botox prior to a fitness photo shoot that both were participants in. McNamee’s own integrity has come into question because much of his subpoaena testimony at times wasn’t that credible . But what in large part may well have sunk his own credibility and integrity because of his narcissistic and somewhat less than candid demeanor . And even though Clemens’ Texas based lawyer Rusty Hardin has pled his client’s innocence and states that Clemens is a victim of venomous slander and libel at this juncture given what we’ve seen of the player’s actions and his sworn testimony gives little credibility to the stance he’s taking.

Clemens like his peer Bonds is a multiple award winner having won the Cy Young Award seven times over the course of his now suspect career. And although many purists still see the player’s on field accomplishments as being historic and setting a precedence . Against the backdrop of the ” steroid era” and the allegations which have since engulfed Roger Clemens I seriously doubt that anyone would seriously believe that the player or his achievements will ever be taken seriously. To my mind if Clemens is to viewed as being one of the faces of the steroid era along with players such as Bonds , Mark McGwire , Rafael Palmeiro , Sammy Sosa and Jose Canseco then Greg Maddux has to be seen as the face of all that was right with baseball during that era as a pitcher and player throughout much of that era and during the post steroid annals.

The game’s image has never been as low as it has been than during labor stoppage of 1994 </b when the season was essentially shut down because neither the union or league hierarchy could agree on a collective bargaining agreement. That lockout proved to be costly for the league and even in light of the summer of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa when the duo led the onslaught for Roger Maris then single season home run record of 61 . The figure has since been surpassed by Bonds with the total of 73 and the player also owns the all-time home runs tally of 762 . Another record that may well have the dubious distinction of being frowned upon and having asterisk placed at its side.

There are and will be so many accomplishments in during the steroid and post steroid era that will come into question in spite of the current drug policy instigated by the league. And I’ve no doubt even in spite of a player’s integrity and character whatever the feat accomplished many will question its veracity . This much I do know that in spite of Bud Selig and that of the league hierarchy’s insistence the game is still fraught with danger and that the next major fallout as it relates to the use of steroids is just around the corner. Alex Rodriguez for years pled his innocence as to the illicit use of steroids only to admit years later that he did indeed use steroids thereby embarrassing himself the New York Yankees’ organization and once again the environment of baseball. When questioned as to the allegations that he may well have been using as recently as 2007 , the player through his legal representatives denied those claims even with the advent of his name being associated Orlando based medical professional Dr Anthony Galen who’s now under indictment by the Justice Department for the illegal trafficking and sale of narcotics to athletes within the world of the NFL , NBA as well MLB . Those investigations by the Justice Department are still ongoing and it remains to be seen what the outcome of the resultant investigations will as the department works in conjunction with the FBI on the case .

While I’m no illusion that the players have to be held accountable for their actions what I’m indeed at a loss to explain is why the sheer ignorance shown by Commissioner Bud Selig , league hierarchy , the owners , general managers , players , coaching staffs and the MLBPA (union) itself in trying to clean up the image of their game when the rumors were rife that there was indeed rampant and illegal use of steroids within the game. Either they chose to ignore the obvious or they were as naive as many of us now believe them to be . The idiocy shown by all parties who took part in the congressional hearings leads me to believe that it was actually combination of both ! And it hasn’t helped that there are fans out there as well have been complicit in this madness because by their thinking we simply ought to let the players do as they please . Well take this into account , while those fans may well have made their outlay to attend the games what in essence have they got back in return that they would even think to be tangible in terms their monies’ worth ? If you merely condone the player’s actions be it the lie or the fact that they’ve simply done nothing wrong in cheating by the use of steroids then in you in fact condone what the game had become and that in essence was the sport was rampant with cheating and wherein everyone associated with it other than the fans profited greatly from a financial standpoint . In return do the fan gain anything ? And what of the young kids out there who see the behavior of the players , many of whom they view as their idol ____ and then think that it’s OK to behave in such a manner not when it just comes to the sport of baseball but then they then think that way way when it comes to their every day lives. Is that really the example that anyone really wants to see being set ?

From my own standpoint I believe all parties concerned have been negligent and complicit in the charade under which the game was played throughout much of the late eighties , well into the late nineties and even into the early part of this decade. The game is still a mess from many standpoints , the steroid era notwithstanding as you have a hierarchy , set of owners and a union whose understanding of being financially prudent rests somewhere between having their heads up their ass while a disaster and engulfs them and they’re looking for some way allay any oncoming tragedy. You needn’t look no further then baseball’s own form of socialism now in place as it relates to their asinine revenue sharing scheme that allegedly benefits the small market teams that repeatedly year in and year out can barely make ends meet . Bud Selig in his alleged infinite wisdom sought fit to have a process in place whereby teams with a payroll in excess of $140 million a year would be taxed at a rate of anywhere between 15-20% on an incremental scale of their gross payroll in order to alleviate the financial shortfalls of those small market teams . However that tax sharing revenue scheme isn’t working in the way that the commissioner envisaged with many of those organizations rather than using that money to bolster their respective teams’ playing staffs ______ the owners and executives instead have actually pocketed those sums as if it were some financial windfall by way of an executive perk and bonus. Doubt my word ? Then merely look at the actions of Bob Nutting and Jeffrey Loria the respective owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Florida Marlins ? They in turn still plead poverty as the financial well being of their organization but have benefited greatly from Selig’s rather odious scheme . And Bud Selig , himself isn’t to be left out of this equation at all because as commissioner between 2006-2009 he was compensated to the tune of $68 million ($68 ,000,000) in cumulative salary , all while a number of teams around the league are said to be struggling . Someone is certainly getting the short end of the stick if not the shaft ! It’s most certainly not anyone within the game of baseball ! Care to guess who ? It’s you the fans who willingly choose to spend your hard earned cash in support of teams who simply don’t care about your well being one iota !

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

By clicking on an individual frame you can view picture in its original
formatted size .

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

Picture gallery for your perusal

As to the impending fate of both Bonds and Clemens what thoughts if any do you have and how do you feel that the justice system is the best place for what might fitting punishment based upon the players’ presumption of guilt or innocence either way ? It’s plain to see were it left in the hands of the games hierarchy things couldn’t be any better or worse dependent upon one’s point of view because baseball’s way of handling things can be best described as being inept and comical to say the very least ! Chime in with a comment on this topic and your hopes this season with regard to the game of baseball and how you view the chances of your team and others within the league ? Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………..

MLB News ………..

🙂

Picture and slide show details below .

———————————————————————————————

(1) Bonds arrives for the his trial at the US District Court for Northern California where the trial will be presided over by Federal Judge Susan Illston . AP Photo Paul Sakuma …………..

(2) A pensive Bonds attends the second day of judicial proceedings in his obstruction of justice and perjury
trial case . Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ……

(3) Brian McNamee, left, in 2008, is expected to testify against Roger Clemens, right, at Clemens’s upcoming trial. McNamee has said that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs. AP/Reuters -Pool photo/ Chuck Kennedy …..

(4) In this picture file from 2008 : Former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens (L) and his attorney Rusty Hardin (R) walk to a meeting with U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) on Capitol Hill , February 7, 2008 in Washington. According to reports, Clemens’ former trainer, Brian McNamee’s lawyers have claimed they have physical evidence corroborating McNamee’s claim of the pitcher’s use of steroids and human growth hormone. Clemens is due to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next week. Getty Images North America/Johnathan Ernst ……..

——————————————————————————————–

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

Rosa Acosta

Eye candy ……………… Rosa Acosta

Amber  Rose

Amber Rose …………… The best sex she’s ver had she says is with herself ? I’d have love to have seen that !

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

Ray Charles …………………. “You’re Cheatin’ Heart” . Rather apt don’t you think as it concerns not only Bonds and Clemens but the players all caught up in this asinine charade and farce ?

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

Basketball, College Basketball, Duke (Blue Devils), Jalen Rose, Jamie Dixon, Michigan (Wolverines), NCAA Basketball Championships, NCAA Tournament, Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary

Brackets ? What Brackets ? Aren’t They Meant To Support Things ?


Brackets ? What Brackets ? Aren’t They Meant To Support Things ?

Well it’s Kaput , Auf Wiedershen , Dasvadiniya , Sayonara , Bonsoir as far as my brackets go in the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament . My choices are as bad in the choice I made in having gotten married after living with the ex for over a decade. Not the wisest of decisions I’ve ever made in my life but I think that I can live with it ! Well she’s gone her way I’ve gone in mine after a somewhat lukewarm divorce and I can say is that I survived. Now on to the tournament itself where we’ve seen surprises and the teams we thought would excel have done so with legitimate ease. Perhaps the biggest surprise however may well have been the quick departure of Jamie Dixon’s Pitt Panthers’ team who many well have felt were a legitimate contender for this year’s title. The Panthers’ demise at the hands of the Butler Bull Dogs in the round of 32 shows us all why we can’t really take anything for granted . That apparent one point loss 71-70 essentially ended the Panthers’ season and that of their fans.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show for your perusal .

Now while I’m under no illusion that there’s still a great deal to play for as far the tournament now goes I can’t help but wonder how many of the fans and their brackets now seem to be panning out ? I’ve heard it said that President Obama’s picks in part are still in tact and that if anything tells me that he’s more concerned with the tournament than the more pressing needs that he , his cabinet , the House and Senate face in dealing with many of the acute issues that the country presently faces. Hell there’s an unemployment rate of 9.5% , the economy a mess , and need we be reminded that the budget deficit is almost 10% of the nation’s $14 trillion ($14,000,000,000,000) economy (GDP) ? But I doubt that the President much less the Congress is that overly concerned with that issue much any of the others that the country now faces as they’re simply only paying it lip service . I’ve yet to see this or any other administration actually make a legitimate attempt in dealing with the fiscal woes of the country. Hell the vast majority of the idiots in Congress wouldn’t know the difference between balance sheet and baking sheet !

As I alluded to earlier there were surprises to be had once the tournament commenced on the 15th March 2011 with a litany of games that started the ball rolling . The tournament now kicks into high gear because from hereon in it’s all about the glory acclaim and fan worship for the teams now left to compete. And at this moment in time I for one don’t feel that there’s a clear cut favorite that stands out in spite of what many analysts are saying . If anything they’d rather make those comments solely for the sake of making them to elicit some commentary from the fans and beat writers alike covering the tournament nationwide. What might be more different in the coverage of this season’s tournament is the fact that it is being shared by broadcast and cable networks alike . You have the primary programmer in this case being CBS who in conjunction with TNT , Tru Tv and TBS are sharing the television. However, CBS will take over the scheduling once the tournament comes down to the Elite 8 , Final Four and the championship game itself. Though I’m not totally against this , it does as such throw my planning completely out of the window unless I’m fully aware as to the scheduling of the games to be televised and in particular the ones that are of interest to me .

As an avowed Duke Blue Devils’ fan I’m looking to see whether or not Mike Krzyzewski and this Duke team can become the first to successfully defend a national men’s title in two different decades since Krzyzewski , himself , accomplished the feat in 1991 and ’92 . Having won it all in 2010 defeating Brad Steven’s Butler team 61-59 , this would be Krzyzewski’s fifth title overall in his illustrious career and perhaps further cement his career as one of the best coaches ever in collegiate basketball . Perhaps someone ought to remind the outspoken and now somewhat ridiculous Jalen Rose the pride of playing for the institution doesn’t come down to color but character and integrity ? His denigrating of African American players past and present who’ve played for Duke speaks to his stupidity and lack of respect not only for some of his peers but also how little respect he has for his race and in particular the environment he’s eschewed as it relates to the background of the players he’d chosen to denigrate as well as the program. And less we forget his alma-mater Michigan is not without controversy as it relates to the basketball program and that a teammate of his at the time Chris Webber was embroiled in some NCAA violations while attending the school.

Now with many of the top seeds still remaining in the tournament and the thought being that it’s now about viewing who stands the best chance of making it through to the Elite Eight amongst those contenders left. Among those left as #1 seeds are Ohio State , Duke , #2 seeds —- North Carolina and San Diego State and Florida the two time national champions under coach Billy Donovan . The coach will be looking to add a third title to his resume’ in the last five years having won national titles in 2006 and then repeating 2007 . Adding a third title for the young coach and this team at this stage of his career would be a remarkable feat. But that’d be predicated upon the Gators being able to get by the BYU Cougars led by the nation’s leading scorer and one of the main candidates for Player of the Year Jimmer Ferdette .

These series of games will go a long way in telling who amongst the likes of Marquette , Florida State , Arizona , Wisconsin , Ohio St, Butler , Kansas and Kentucky are likely to proceed on to the Elite Eight . And at this juncture many a fool and his money have been easily parted but that’s certainly not the case for those who still have their brackets in tact. I’d dare say that this is the one time of the year with regard to a sporting event where the whole nation is engrossed such an event. Other than the Superbowl I for one can’t think of any other sports’ event that literally has the viewers and nation at large so engrossed. Most certainly it becomes the water cooler topic amongst employees at work who are either discussing the merits of their picks or where they went wrong in making those picks. I know that’s definitely the case for myself amongst my colleagues at work but also my own close personal friends outside of the work environment. Gladly, it hasn’t taken a toll on my personal relationship although the girlfriend whose interests in sports lay somewhere between the AVP Women’s Tour (Beach Volleyball) and perhaps once in a while the odd NFL game that might just have Tom Brady on view. For some reason she thinks he’s the closest thing to an “Adonis” there is in the world of sports ?

There have been some outstanding players on display during this tournament and I dare say that we’ll be hearing a lot more about the likes of Jared Sullinger , Jon Diebler , Nolan Smith , Kemba Walker , Kyle Singler , Kyrie Irving and a slew of other players who will be parading their skills for not only the fans but the NBA scouts , general managers and no doubt coaches who’ll be watching the latter stages of this tournament with a great deal of interest . It gives many of these players in question another chance to showcase their talent with a view to making and then taking that inevitable next step to the professional ranks. I know this for fact , the NBA and the NCAA wouldn’t want it any other way. Because it’s a mutually beneficial thing for all parties concerned from a competitive and financial standpoint !

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

By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted
size.

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

Picture gallery for your perusal .

As to the the tournament itself , how do you see the whole thing panning out how are your brackets now holding up ? For myself it simply imploded within the first two rounds of the tournament. Beyond that I can only redeem myself if Coach K and the boys pull through . So I’m now hoping that will definitely be the case , hoping for something good ! Chime in with your thoughts on the tournament and which teams or players have impressed you the most ?

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

NCAA Sweet 16 Draw games scheduled for 24th and 25th March , 2011 .

Picture and slide show details below .

————————————————————-

(1) Butler guard Shelvin Mack , right, fouls Pittsburgh forward Gilbert Brown (5) during the second half of the Southeast Regional third-round NCAA tournament college basketball game, Saturday, March 19, 2011, at the Verizon Center in Washington. Butler defeated Pittsburgh 71-70 . AP Photo/Alex Brandon …..

(2) Andrew Smith (44) of the Butler Bulldogs puts up a shot against Ashton Gibbs (12) of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Verizon Center on March 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. Butler won the game 71-70. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(3)Members of the Pittsburgh basketball team including Nasir Robinson (35), Ashton Gibbs (12), and Brad Wanamaker (22) walk off the court following their loss against Butler in the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Verizon Center on March 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. Butler won the game 71-70. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images ……….

(4) Nolan Smith (2) of the Duke Blue Devils talks with his teammates in the second half while taking on the Michigan Wolverines during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ………

(5) Darius Morris(4) of the Michigan Wolverines and Kyle Singler (12) of the Duke Blue Devils go up for a rebound alongisde Jordan Morgan (52) of the Michigan Wolverines during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …….

(6) Billy White (32) of the San Diego State Aztecs and Juan Fernandez (4) of the Temple Owls look for a rebound during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 19, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ………..

(7) Jared Sullinger (0) and Jon Diebler (33) of the Ohio State Buckeyes look on from the bench late in the second half against the George Mason Patriots during the third of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ………

(8) Scottie Wilbekin (5) of the Florida Gators drives for a shot attempt against the UCLA Bruins during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Florida won 73-65 . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

————————————————————–

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

Eye candy ……….. Sybilla

—-

Temeca Freeman

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

UB 40 ………….. “Higher Ground”

—————–

UB 40 …. feat’g ……… Chrissie Hynde ……….”Breakfast In Bed”

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

Boxing, Don King, Hon Elijah Muhammad, Joe Frazier, Madison Square Garden, Muhammad Ali, Nation of Islam, Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Vietnam War

The Fight That Was The Beginning And The End Of Heavyweight Boxing


The Fight That Was The Beginning And The End Of Heavyweight Boxing

It’s hard to believe that it has been forty years since the first of their trilogy of legendary fights that took place between then reigning world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier and challenger Muhammad Ali . On the 8th March 1971 it was then the biggest fight in boxing history and the newly released Muhammad Ali would challenge Frazier for his title at Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York . Premium seat tickets at the time were sold at the unheard of price of $150-00 apiece . Today $150 at a marquee PPV  (pay per view ) title fight wouldn’t even place you within 100 feet of the boxing ring. ==============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=============================================================================
Slide show for your perusal .

Ali had just been released from prison as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War and be that as it may he took his stance on a principal which was a great deal more than those who simply chose to evade not serving their country by fleeing the US to places such as Canada , Mexico and even Europe having had their callup from the US military as part of the military draft. That fight itself would largely introduce the world to Don King as a boxing promoter as it was he who promoted that fight and many of the others that had covered Ali’s career over the years. Apart from being a promoter at the time King also was a manager and the ultimate showman . His panache for the extraordinary as well as the ridiculous became a selling point that simply had the fans wanting more . And with Ali as his primary box office draw both would paydirt ;over the ensuing years as the promoter tied his sail to Ali’s mast , even though Ali was managed and trained at the time by Angelo Dundee .

Ali’s three and a half layoff away from the sport enforced upon him after his sentence was seen in some circles as unjust , whereas others viewed it as appropriate even though at the height of this , much of the hypocrisy was still going on as it regard the rights of African Americans within the country . Many would like to have seen him still incarcerated at the time but with him having served more than half his sentence and with it being challenged within the justice system , his release after a successful appeal saw him return to his chosen career. Going into the the fight as the underdog many believed that the former champion who’d been stripped of his title stood a remote chance of winning against one of the most feared boxers of the era . Frazier was nobody’s fool in the ring and his plan was simple ………. knock you out or be knocked out.

The fight itself was well marketed by Don King and his associates and the fact that it was televised made the event all the more special at the time. Now in this day and a fight of this magnitude can only be seen the vast majority of the public and fight via PPV , and at an exorbitant cost I might add ! In light of that fact and with the whole world wanting to see and what to make of Ali’s return to the ring the stage was set for a fight that many believe would not have come about. We all knew of Ali’s repartee` and the fact that he was the first real trash talker within the world of sports and boxing . He’d usually make light of an opponent, more so to get under their skin more than anything else . And often that trash talking worked , as it made an opponent feel ill at ease even before entering into the ring. It was something that’d later be followed up by a young champion within the division that many would either come to love or hate and that would be Mike Tyson . A fighter’s career who we’d all at one time or another would come to follow with a great deal of expectation even if in the end we’d come to despise what he would indeed come to stand for because of his demeanor in and outside of the ring. Tyson despite his character flaws may well go down as one of the greatest heavyweights ever in the history of boxing . As to where he’d stand amongst the all time greats within the category and in the annals of boxing itself, who’s to really say ? We can only really judge the fighter from his record in the ring and the accomplishments achieved there.

The Ali Frazier fight was referee’d by veteran fight referee Arthur Mercante Sr whose acumen within the ring as an official was respected the world over. And the fight itself wasn’t without controversy from the start in spite of the protests from those who felt aggrieved that a draft dodger was being given legitimacy to resurrect his professional career while American military fighting men were laying down their lives in the sacrifice of their country. If there was anything to be learned from this era it was that the country wasn’t merely just divided along social line but still very much to an extent along racial lines as well. And it certainly hadn’t helped that Ali having converted to Islam was also seen as something of a demagogue and a radical. The Nation of Islam had made its presence felt , albeit that one of its most prominent voices Malcolm X had long since departed at the hands of an assassin’s bullets. The fact of the matter was that the outspoken Ali a staunch supporter of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad , leader of of the Nation of Islam took his vows seriously as a convert to Islam and would as such show his devout faith to the religion . That alone simply flew in the face of ‘White America’ and all that it stood for at the time . In retrospect things haven’t changed all that much when one thinks about the whole xenophobic intolerance now being shown towards Muslims of any creed be they Arabs or otherwise. They’re in large part viewed as jihadists  whose sole wish is to see the death and destruction of America ……………… but in all sincerity it’s no different to the intolerance also being espoused by alleged Christians who sit in judgment upon US military servicemen who’ve died in vain serving this country in two wars now being waged in Afghanistan and Iraq .

The fight itself took on an intensity all of its own with Ali having lost some of his quickness he made up for with a certain amount of guile within the ring . Frazier for his part took the fight to Ali right from the start looking to wear down the challenger with whatever shots he could take aim with at his opponent. Hooks to the head and body were thrown with devastating effectiveness and he would catch Ali off guard several times in the earlier rounds of the bout. There were those who felt at the time , if Ali could withstand those first five or six rounds of this fifteen round battle then in the latter part of this fight he could very well prevail if his stamina didn’t let him down. The early rounds, both men sought to use their respective skills to outdo each other , Ali with his legendary right jabs , swift movement when needed and Frazier with his equally stunning body shots . Each would make their mark and it wasn’t long before the fans knew that this bout wasn’t simply just any other title fight but something special in the making .

In fact the trilogy of fights between the two have stood the test of time and if anything are the fights which all else are judged by down the years to this day. These fights spoke not only about the greatness of Ali but also the respect which Frazier would later be held by his former nemesis and now close friend. There may well have been a great dislike between the two at the time as to what they each respectively meant to the fans of that era but there’s no denying that both men served the sport well with their prowess and appeal. The latter rounds of this bout would prove fortuitous for the champion as we would begin to see the challenger grow weary due to the lack of stamina and the fact that Frazier’s punches were beginning to take its toll on Ali . Certainly through rounds eleven through fourteen that was most certainly the case as the challenger was repeatedly caught with several devastating blows that many other fighters would not have withstood. But this was what separated Ali the fighter from any other heavyweight of his era or since , he could withstand an amazing amount of punishment and still make light of it and come back and actually eke out a win. However on this night it wasn’t to be as Joe Frazier would have the final say with the punch that would effectively seal the fight for him when in the final thirty seconds of round fifteen he would knock Ali down to the canvas for the first time of his professional career with a devastating right hook. The stunned crowd at Madison Square Garden and those watching around the globe must surely have been shocked by what they’d just witnessed but in essence it shouldn’t have really come as a surprise to anyone who was on hand for this bout.

Inasmuch one may well expected Ali to pull off the upset it was far too much to ask of the fighter who’d been away from the ring for over 3 1/2 years for anyone to have expected to overcome ring rust and effectively regain his sharpness on the way to regaining the world heavyweight title. The two more fights within this trilogy over the ensuing year of both fighters’ careers would come to define the best that heavyweight boxing had to offer at the time. Ever since then the sport of boxing has long yearned for an undisputed heavyweight champion who was as dominant as Ali over the course of his career. We have had champions , undisputed within the division but none as dominant or more of a showman than Muhammad Ali was in his prime. You may agree or disagree with that statement but his record does speak for itself. What other fighter of that generation or since can one actually say that about within the heavyweight division of boxing much less any other division for that matter ?

In truth the sport of boxing now seems to be on its last legs and even though we now have Manny Pacquiao  reigning over the sport as its best pound for pound fighter, it has to be said that Pacquaio is now in the waning moments of an esteemed career with very little else left to prove . He now takes fights merely for the sake of taking them against opponents who aren’t really that much of a challenge for him . Within the heavyweight division itself the champions there are merely fighting to be recognition and have little talent if a modicum at best of what can be described as the worse era of heavyweight boxing in the annals of the sport’s history. To put it bluntly I’d rather not even bother to actually mention the names of the actual title holders , simply out of respect to you all because I personally don’t believe that you actually want to be bored with that fact at all ! Suffice to say , you can simply Google words present world heavyweight champion and find those very names out for yourselves.

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

By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size . =============================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal

.


What thoughts if any do you have on the careers of both Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier as professional fighters and where would you rank them amongst the all time greats within the heavyweight division of boxing during the modern era and pre modern era ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on this topic and anything related to the sport of boxing and I’ll do my utmost to respond to your comments in a timely and orderly manner ! Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details below.

———————————————————————————————————-

(1) Frazier (right) connects with a right to the jaw of Ali in their world heavyweight title fight at Madison Square Garden in March of 1971. The two would later go on to fight two more times in their storied careers that’s now intertwined forever because of the trilogy. David Hume Kennerley  @ copyrighted material all rights reserved

(2) Ali takes a left hook from Frazier that would send him to the canvas in the fifteenth and final round of their WBA WBC world heavyweight title fight. Referee Arthur Mercante would convene the mandatory count which the challenger would beat to resume the fight in the dying seconds of that final round. Corbis Images @ copyrighted material …… all rights reserved .

(3) Ali seen here falling to the canvas after the left hook thrown by champion in the 15th round of their now classic world title fight . David Hume Kennerley @ copyrighted material ……..

(4 This color perspective from the cover of Sports Illustrated captures the emotion of the event at Madison Square Garden as Frazier lands the left hook that immediately sends Ali the challenger to the canvas of their world heavyweight title fight. Tony Triolo / SI ……….

(5) The two former pugilists Joe Frazier (left) and Ali seen here are now firm friends . Ali now suffering from Parkinsons Disease now converses through an intermediary or tries to respond by drawing somewhat childlike pictures in order to communicate . Steve Kranitz/ Wire Images Inc. …….

(6) Don King seated (left) is seen here with Joe Frazier and the convened press to publicize his fight with Muhammad Ali which was held at the Araneta Coliseum , Metro City, Manila , Philippines . The fight would come to be simply known as “The Thriller In Manila” for which the champion would lose his title to Ali , having to retire in the fourteenth round of their fifteen round title fight. AP/Reuters/ Ronaldo Massaquoi ……………..

(7) Referee Arthur Mercante Sr guides Joe Frazier to a neutral corner before beginning his mandatory count over Ali seen here lying on the canvas in his world heavyweight title attempt to win back the title from then champion , Joe Frazier . AP Photo/ Nicholas Neville ………….

———————————————————————————————————

Alan aka tophatal  http://tophatal.wordpress.com/ Joe Frazier’s career record 32 (27 KO’s) -4-1  Muhammad Ali’s career record 56 (37 KO’s) -5-0  Ali vs Frazier Verdict unanimous 15 round majority decision Frazier. Titles at stake WBA & WBC heavyweight titles for the then undisputed champion Judges : Bill Recht  , Artie Aidala and Arthur Mercante …….. Referee: Arthur Mercante

—————–

By all means take time to participate in the above polls by casting a vote . ==========================================================================

Curtis Mayfield ……………”People Get Ready ” . Don’t hate appreciate ! =============================================================================

DeMaurice Smith, Drew Brees, Labor Disputes, NFL, NFL Lockout, NFLPA, Peyton Manning, Sports, Tom Brady

It Ain’t What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It …….. That’s What It’s All About ….


It Ain’t What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It …….. That’s What It’s All About ….

Well it has come about and the NFL has now its first work stoppage in almost twenty five years. In not being able to reach an amicable agreement at the twelfth hour having twice extended the cba — ( collective bargaining agreement) for which its expiry date was midnight Thursday 10th March , on Friday at 5 pm NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in agreement with the NFL owners issued a public statement saying that there would indeed be a labor stoppage. In effect the 2011-12 season now becomes null and void pending any foreseeable changes in the future.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show for your perusal .

Goodell’s counterpart NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith held his ground saying that unless the owners were prepared to accede to their wishes of opening up their books for further scrutiny then there could not be in clear conscience any reason to proceed with the deliberations and mediation that was being overseen by FMCS Director George Cohen . NFL Chief Legal Counsel Jeff Pash expressed his disappointment with the union’s position stating that the best place to conduct the proceedings is at the negotiation table and not the legal system. However for their part the NFL knew full well that all avenues would be sought by the union from the outset and that was the sole purpose of the union decertifying itself in order to take legal recourse against the NFL in the US Federal Court System challenging their antitrust status . With that process quite possibly taking some time before a trial date can be set three of the game’s most widely recognized players have lodged an injunction against the NFL seeking to stop the lockout now being instigated by the league.

Tom Brady , Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have filed a motion in the US Federal Court to overturn the NFL’s decision . But it remains to be seen whether or not they’ll be successful in their challenge pending a court decision by a Federal Court judge. . The two sides at this juncture remain so far apart that one cannot but question the fact that there was little else that one could have expected but for there to be some sort of inaction leading to the present situation. At the crux of it all was how much the NFLPA was willing to concede to the demands of the league without the NFL or owners actually giving that much up in return.

Many fans in and outside of the game have stated their wish to see some sort of settlement in place that would be of benefit to both sides while others simply wanted a lockout not realizing the harm that it would actually do within each of the markets where the NFL has a presence. Many have said it won’t actually do that much damage but bear this in mind a prolonged lockout not only harms the image of both the union and the NFL but it now creates widespread uncertainty and an economic collapse within NFL market place in terms of the local communities. For stadiums that are owned by the municipalities they now see another revenue source completely dry up and a further hindrance to their already tenuous existence in terms of the budgetary expenditure. Those communities with the economic impact of the NFL will lose in excess of $5-$7 billion . That sum doesn’t include direct revenues to the NFL itself but merely within the economic market place of those cities where the NFL is present. I’ve had one patron state that the NFL doesn’t add any presence to a community at large in terms of what it gives back . But the fact of the matter that statement comes from a person whose business acumen at best is probably marginal. With that now comes the fact that there are likely to be 100,000 jobs at risk through various sectors of the community , small by comparison when one thinks that labor force is of the nation is 145 million people and of which there are now approximately almost 14 million unemployed in the nation as a whole . Those jobs in question range from the parking attendants at the grounds to those within the hospitality , retail industry and numerous large and small business that rely on the NFL on game day in terms of business. But you’d be hard pressed to actually persuade an individual to believe that when their view of the situation is so myopic and in essence they merely don’t look at the overall big picture .

Stadiums that are municipally owned creat a deal of revenue for the cities in question during the regular NFL season with that comes a source of funds that in part can go towards improving services and the infrasttucture when spent prudently. The fact of the matter is given the dire straights of cities where the NFL has a presence any form of a financial hindrance in the present economic climate doesn’t help at all , in spite of claims being made to the contrary. One only has to look at the idiotic claims that were being made after the government bailout of the domestic automotive industry. Had both GM and Chrysler been allowed to fail the entire work force of both companies as well as another 2,500,000 jobs tied to the industry would have been at risk as well as the financial outlay that every taxpayer in the country would have to incur with the fact that both companies would then pass on their pension obligations to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation which would have to pay the pension benefits of current and former employees of both companies after their failure. That agency (PBGC) is a government ran concern that insures the pension benefits of employees of public companies that have dissolved into bankruptcy.

Even though the NFL is a private enterprise it doesn’t negate the fact that this stoppage will have still have an adverse effect on the economy. And when one considers that a government agency was asked to intercede in this situation it only adds to a situation that was very serious to begin with . Both sides have been culpable and the fact that the intransigence shown each side has bordered on being ridiculous and infantile only adds to the fact that there was such a gigantic impasse between the two .

To my mind, the real issue from the beginning was the NFL’s unwillingness to deal squarely with their own culpability in not reining in their expenses. There were so reliant on their corporate patrons tie in with the major broadcast networks in terms of television rights that they simply forgot that there always tends to be an economic downturn and that one ought to plan ahead rather than simply spending well beyond one’s means. And now that they’ve found themselves in the midst of a crisis which they as such help create through their own greed and then simply allowing the union to wield an axe over their head they’ve now resorted to an act that’s not liable to win them any friends at all. The union for its part also has to accept a great deal of responsibility for this mess and not solely lay the blame at upon the NFL hierarchy. NFLPA President Kevin Mawae and Executive Committe member Charlie Batch have gone on record as saying that they’re quite prepared to return to the negotiating table so long as the NFL is prepared to work judiciously towards a proposal that is equitable for all sides in this process. Somehow I ask myself how the hell can they simply not work this out given the fact that at stake here beyond a $ 9 billion a year industry you also have the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people who are reliant upon the NFL for a living . Never mind the cities who now may well have to look at other means of making up for the loss revenues that the NFL places in their coffers each regular season game.

Added into this mix we now have the broadcast and radio networks who also provide coverage of the NFL and how they now go about making up for the losses that they’re now liable to incur. ABC/ESPN , Fox , NBC , CBS and the NFL’s own NFL Network are able to charge advertisers premium ad rates during televised games and with there now in all likelihood being no regular televised season there now sits an empty void within their respective television schedules . Without those revenues we may well see some sort of curtailment as to the content in terms of programming provided up to a point. This now becomes another one of the ramifications of this proposed work stoppage and the ensuing fallout from it all.

For the team owners such as Jerry Jones , Robert Kraft , Al Davis , Art Rooney II , Pat Bowlen and Woody Johnson it remains to be seen whether or not they have the presence of mind to rethink their present stance and relay that to Roger Goodell , rather than the intransigence that’s now being shown by the league and owners . It certainly begs the question was Roger Goodell simply outwitted by his union counterpart DeMaurice Smith or was he merely that naive to think that the league and owners as such, had the upper hand ? Somehow I get the feeling that Goodell’s predecessor Paul Tagliabue would certainly not have taken this stance even at the wish of the owners . And therein lies the difference between the two , as Goodell is beholding to the owners even if they are as such , his employer , that he’s simply forgotten that even with their input he too has to provide some semblance of common sense in the midst of the dissension taking place. Instead I get the impression that the NFL Commissioner is way in over his head ! I’ve said this one of my patrons concerning Roger Goodell and how he conducts himself in public as the executive face of the NFL . To my mind while he gives of the air of someone who appears to self assured , I can’t help but wonder whether or not he’s actually capable of pleading a case on its merits ! Certainly any counsel that he’s been provided with over the course of these deliberations has been nowhere near good enough and the PR battle that the league waged , was a losing effort in the way they tried to effectively communicate with the press and public at large.

At times watching Roger Goodell take the dais to give a speech with regard to the NFL is akin to watching a politician give you the latest updates as it relates to a particular piece of legislation up for a vote within the Congress. More often than not they tend to use far y too many words when just a few will just do nicely.

The image of both the NFL and NFLPA has now sank to an all time low and in the advent of this being the first stoppage that the game has had since 1987 I get the impression that the inevitability about this action would have happened no matter what the issues were from the outset. At no time during the start of this process when the league first chose to opt out of the collective bargaining agreement did I for one really feel that either side wanted to actually reach an amicable settlement. There was a war of words from the start and in terms of attrition , well neither side was really up to the task of working out their differences as it related to the issues. If that were the case then surely they would have met far more frequently over the ensuing months after last September when the league issued its statement that they would indeed opt out of the collective bargaining agreement that was due to expire on the 3rd March 2011 , but then was extended to its last deadline of the 10th March. From November until the federally appointed mediator intervened the two sides had only met formally twice and the informal meetings between the two sides were usually conducted between subordinates of both Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith. And in reality those informal meetings were never productive or actually offered any real insight as to what was really happening between the two sides. Need I really say that there was in effect a pissing contest going on between these two leaders ?

Now we’ll have the tv pundits offering their insights with their own so called sources of information letting us know what the real impasse between the two sides was really about. But let’s be really blunt here …………….. for the two sides it was always going to be about money and who indeed was going to get a bigger slice of that $ 9 billion piece of the pie ! That in effect was the be all and end all of this whole negotiation process and none of the other so called side issues that we were led to believe making up this whole negotiation process. An eighteen game schedule was a none starter and the talk about union benefits and increase for current and retired players was simply a ploy all along. If either side were really concerned about issues such as players’ benefits as it relates to retired players then I can categorically tell you this that both sides would’ve done their damndest to get a deal done long ago before the cba had expired. The league has never cared about the well being of its players and neither too for that matter has the NFLPA ! Smith’s own predecessor Gene Upshaw all but said it himself in words that can be attributed directly to him ………. “I’m not here for the older guys I’m here for the young guys who’ve put the game on the map ” . If that’s not a sad indictment of the NFLPA and what it stood for under Upshaw then someone tell me what is ?

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

By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original
formatted size .

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

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the this NFL mandated stoppage and will it now affect the view that you have towards bot the NLFPA and the NFL ? Also do you believe that any legal action taken by the players singularly or the union will be successful within the legal system ? And will you as such miss not seeing NFL football for the 2011-12 season ? Simply offer up a comment as to your own thoughts on the matter .

Picture and slide show details below .
—————————————————————————————————————-

(1) Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, left, and Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys talk as they leave after negotiations with the NFL Players Association involving a federal mediator broke down without an agreement Friday, March 11, 2011 in Washington. AP Photo/Alex Brandon …….

(2) Former NFL player Don Davis departs after failing to reach an agreement in labor talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFLPA has filed for decertification and will no longer be the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the players. Players will now be able to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images ………..

(3) NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith addresses reporters after the league and the NFL Players Association failed to reach an agreement in labor talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a labor dispute as a deadline looms at the end of a 7 day extension of talks. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images ……

(4) WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 11: Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen departs after failing to reach an agreement in labor talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFLPA has filed for decertification and will no longer be the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the players. Players will now be able to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images …..

(5) Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt (R) departs after failing to reach an agreement in labor talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFLPA has filed for decertification and will no longer be the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the players. Players will now be able to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images ……….

(6) WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 11: NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash & Chief legal counsel addresses the media at a news conference outside the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFLPA has filed for decertification and will no longer be the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the players. Players will now be able to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……….

————————————————————————————————————

Alan aka tophatal …………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

NFL news

NFL team owners

List of NFL General Managers

NLFPA Executive Committee members

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

Bananarama …………… feat’g ….. Fun Boy Three …….. “It Ain’t What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It”
==================================================

Xenia Tchoumitcheva

Eye candy ………. Xenia Tchoumitcheva

Raquel Reign

——————————————————————–