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Another Day Same Old Story …….


Another Day Same Old Story …….

Slowly but surely we’re being told that the NFL and NFLPA are inching towards an agreement concerning the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement . What I find completely unbelievable about this whole episode is the very fact that the league and union have said little about they will do to meet the needs of the retired veteran players around of NFL. At no time during these deliberations have I heard or has it been reported as to what the NFL’s intentions are concerning to meet that of the players in question. I will continue to maintain that the NFL much like the union which says they represent all of their members simply do not care about the players in question.

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Hall of Famer Carl Eller and a number of his peers have filed a civil suit in Federal Court challenging the NFL and concerning the ongoing negotiations and the mere fact that little if any input has been allowed to be interceded in what might well be a binding agreement as it relates to the collective bargaining agreement. Much of what has now transpired now seems like a comedy of errors that couldn’t have been scripted by a Hollywood writer had it been first brought up as a premise . Roger Goodell and his minions have been given a considerable dose of reality , as too have DeMaurice Smith and the executive members of the NFLPA .

I am no longer enthralled as to whether or not there will be a regular season as the NFL has lost my complete and utter respect ! The asinine behavior by all of the parties concerned has me now simply wondering what else is there left for the league to do to leave its image in tatters ?

Well now that the season has resumed after the All Star Game , an event which in all honesty was about as mesmerizing as a political debate between two candidates who are about as insightful on the issues as they allegedly believe themselves to be. The game itself , with what was said to be at stake and you have to wonder why it was that the effort from the AL was so lackluster ? I can only imagine that their reason for participating was merely obtain their roster incentives from their respective teams . After that mediocre display by the team it simply served notice that the players are not in the least bit concerned with what the fans may well have thought .

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Infielder Sean Rodriguez (1) of the Tampa Bay Rays tries to turn a double play as Brett Gardner (11) of the New York Yankees breaks it up during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……..

Now a number of patrons and contributors within this medium have suggested a number of ways to improve the event . And while many of the suggestions are valid I believe that what is actually needed is for there to be more of an input from the managers around the league and actually less from the fans in terms of the voting for the ballots of the All Star teams ! That being said after the low ratings for the televised broadcast on Fox I can’t help but wonder how Bud Selig and the league hierarchy now might view this rather disastrous event that is often seen as one of the major highlights of the MLB season. Rumor has it , that next season in staging the All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium , home to the Kansas City Royals rather than stage a game of the league’s current stars they will consider the staging of a soft ball game between the wives of the players who’ll be scantly clad . Perhaps that might incite and elicit even more viewers than the benign ratings obtained by Fox and the MLB Network .

Baseball has become bereft of creativity and ideas that now even with the team owners showing their stupidity and a union that has been enabled because of the sheer ineptitude of the league hierarchy. The game is losing is fans simply because the top executives within the game no longer considers what made baseball all the more appealing , instead they look to cater to one common denominator and that is to their corporate sponsors rather than to the fans .

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Infielder Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees gets out of the way of an inside pitch from the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

In what might be considered a series that very well defines their season the Tampa Bay Rays are hosting the New York Yankees . Given the tightness of the race within AL East where six games separate the top three teams within the division . It is imperative that the Rays get a win under their belt in the opener , in order to place further pressure on the Boston Red Sox and Yankees who sit ahead of them within AL East. For all sense and purpose most definitely the wildcard entrant the AL will come from within the division , so there is a great deal at stake for both teams as to the outcome of this series .

Joe Maddon as manager of this team along with his coaching staff know that they will have to be at their very best over the ensuing months . Much has been made concerning the team as of late and whether or not Andrew Friedman the team’s general manager will be a major player as the trade deadline approaches on the 31st July .

The are now rumors now resonating through the grapevine that would suggest that there’s something in the offing and that in all probability a player on the team’s current roster will be traded . All signs point to the fact that BJ Upton whose contract expires at the end of this season could very well be the player in question to be off-loaded . Now it goes without saying that the player is a desirable target for a number of teams seeking an offensive presence to add some potency to their lineups to their respective rosters. And as with any team now looking to off-load salary it now seems as if the dye has been cast by the front office as the financial constraints placed on the organization has been stifling the competitiveness of this team. I don’t know that the front office can continue in the apparent direction that it seems to be heading in much longer , merely because of the fact no matter how many steps forward they seem to be taking , they tend to take even more steps backwards . I certainly don’t believe that principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg actually believes that the team will be aided by the league hierarchy be providing any assistance to the organization as they seek a new venue. A great deal has been chronicled on this matter and it goes without saying that the longer this issue remains unresolved the more protracted it will somehow become .

Over a long an arduous season a great deal is expected of team over the course of the year . It will certainly be no different for the Tampa Bay Rays and many of the other teams seeking to make the postseason . Certainly the races around a number of the divisions are now heating up and though I have heard it said that a 5 or 8 game margin isn’t a great deal to overcome but it is something of a rarity to see such a deficit be erased over the closing months of the season .

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Designated hitter Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated by pitchers James Shields (33) and David Price (14) after scoring a run against the New York Yankees during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

From my own perspective as it concerns the Tampa Bay Rays , this is a team that is full of youthful vibrance looking to excel at the highest level and that is epitomized by players such as Evan Longoria , James Shields , David Price , Sam Fulds , Matt Joyce and others on this roster . They have an excellent manager in Joe Maddon whose coaching staff seems to excel in bringing out the best in young players and in getting seasoned veterans such as Johnny Damon to play as if their careers are on the rise once again. Damon if anything has been a leader of this team in more ways than one , willing to impart his considerable knowledge amongst his teammates in order to make them better. And much of that has been on display throughout the season as the Tampa Bay Rays have played with a great deal of zeal as they look to make themselves known within the division.

What is undeniable given the effort of this organization is that they will do their utmost to exhibit everything needed to fulfill the wishes of their fans . But slowly the inevitable does appear to be happening and it is that some of them now are willing to accept that this may well be the closing chapters of a saga that is coming to an end . The optimists out there simply believe that the best thing that can happen is for the team to simply move across the bay into the downtown area of Tampa and all will be OK. The reality however , suggests that in light of economic climate even such a proposed move is by no way a real guarantee of financial success for this organization. Also , bear in mind that the league hierarchy under Bud Selig has done little to aid the team in its efforts as they seek to resolve the ongoing issue of a new facility. As I alluded to earlier , the league is simply bereft of ideas on all fronts , from its image , to how best to aid its teams that are now said to be having numerous financial difficulties and to where the fans are beginning to have an immense distrust of the hierarchy and owners.

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Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays catches a fly ball against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Tropicana Field on July 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

In what might have been a truly damning indictment as to the problems that the Tampa Bay Rays now face as to the plight of their situation , during last night’s game there was a prolonged stoppage. The game was halted due to the fact that there was a electrical problem that caused an outage where a number of the stadium lights went out at Tropicana Field . As archaic as the venue appears to be fans of the Rays simply feel that this is the team’s home and where they belong. However , the on air analysts covering the game for ESPN , John Kruk and Barry Larkin likened the venue to a gaping pothole that never ceases to cause problems . Both alluded to the fact that a number of players around the league simply dislike playing at the field and each throughout the course of their careers would simply wish they were playing elsewhere rather than being at Tropicana Field . Joe Maddon when questioned by Tim Kurkjian about the issue of the lights going out during at the game told the reporter that this was merely one of the things that they continue to put up with and that this was simply a way of life for this organization. At the game’s resumption you couldn’t help but wonder what other comedy of errors would now await the fans in attendance , never mind the national television audience watching.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

With the MLB season having resumed how do you see things panning out for the teams within the AL East ? And what thoughts if any do you have as to the future of the Tampa Bay Rays long and short terms , as it relates to their competitiveness and whether or not they remain within their current locale ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

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

Contact ……… rapptu@gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) FILE – This April 14, 2011 file photo shows retired Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame football player Carl Eller, who represents former players, arriving at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis. Eller and lawyers for retired NFL players joined labor talks with representatives of owners and current players, Tuesday, July 19, 2011 in New York, as signs mounted that the league’s lockout might almost be over. AP Photo/Jim Mone ….

(2) NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah, right, pauses as he speaks to media in Washington, Monday, July 18, 2011, as talks to end the NFL lockout continued. Carl Francis also with the NFL Players Association is at left. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster ….

(3) NFL player Association executive director DeMaurice Smith along with NFL Payers Association president Kevin Mawae, left, speaks to reporters outside a law firm where contract talks ended, Friday, July 15, 2011, in New York. Significant progress on a major sticking point in the NFL labor impasse soaring rookie salaries during marathon talks Thursday raised hopes that a tentative agreement in principle could perhaps come within 24 hours, according to two people familiar with the negotiations. AP Photo/Louis Lanzano ….

(4) New York Yankees, from left in front, Robinson Cano, Eduardo Nunez, and Mark Teixeira celebrate the team’s 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in a baseball game Monday, July 18, 2011, in St. Petersburg , Fla. AP Photo/Mike Carlson …

(5) New York Yankees’ Russell Martin reacts after taking a walk to force in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning of a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in a baseball game Monday, July 18, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. AP Photo/Mike Carlson …

(6) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JULY 18: of the Tampa Bay Rays of the New York Yankees during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

(7) Infielder Sean Rodriguez (1) of the Tampa Bay Rays tries to turn a double play as Brett Gardner (11) of the New York Yankees breaks it up during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……..

(8) Infielder Casey Kotchman (11) of the Tampa Bay Rays takes the throw at first as Curtis Granderson (14) of the New York Yankees gets back safely during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …..

(9) Infielder Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees gets out of the way of an inside pitch from the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

(10) Designated hitter Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated by pitchers James Shields (33) and David Price (14) after scoring a run against the New York Yankees during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(11) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays catches a fly ball against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Tropicana Field on July 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……
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Savor The Moment …………….


Savor The Moment ……….

Well as baseball enters the run into the midseason break for MLB’s All Star Game I look over the scene of the standings and I feel that between now and season’s end in September we could be in for one or two surprises . A number of teams are jockeying for the positions that could prove to be fruitful and for myself I’ve simply been looking forward to the play of the Atlanta Braves and their assault on taking down the rampant and division leading Philadelphia Phillies within the NL East .

If the Atlanta Braves are to chase down and pass the Phillies then their play will have to be at a phenomenally high level . And for manager Fredi Gonzalez and his coaches will no doubt have to get this team playing with a rhythm and passion that is the equal to that of their rivals within division . It is my belief that the wildcard entrant for the National League (NL) will actually come from within the division as I do not believe that any of the apparent contenders within the NL Central or NL West will be there when it really matters !

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The team has a two game home schedule against the Colorado Rockies before facing off against their divisional rivals the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia on Friday . And though there’s a four game margin between the two teams in the standings anything that the Braves can do to cut that deficit makes the scenario all the more enviable for the Atlanta Braves’ fans and the belief that they could quite possibly win the NL East.

With Chipper Jones being the elder statesman on this team he leads by example . And for what may well be the player’s penultimate season his crowning achievement would be to lead this team into the playoffs and quite possibly winning the World Series would be a wonderful way to end what may well be a Hall of Fame career .

Alex Gonzalez (2) of the Atlanta Braves fields a grounder against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on July 7, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……

From an offensive standpoint this team has all the prerequisites in place with Dan Uggla , Jones , Jayson Heyward , Brian McCann and Alex Gonzalez supplying much of the needed offense to make this team a contender . The team’s pitching and its depth in particular has to be admired with seasoned veterans Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson being the primary starters but they are also ably assisted by Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens who is having an extraordinary season and is considered to be amongst the front runners for the NL Cy Young Award for this season.

With the events of the All Star Game being a fan favorite it will be very interesting to see how this all plays itself out there at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona , this upcoming weekend . As to the immediacy of the games now taking place as I alluded to earlier it certainly will be interesting to see how the teams acquit themselves over the ensuing days .

NFL season or not I’m at my wit’s end with the never ending fumbling and bumbling that seems to be going on between the two sides. The NFL and NFLPA along with the coterie of lawyers representing both sides, this whole episode now resembles a crime procedural drama that we often now see as part of the usual litany of programs that now seems to stagnate the landscape of broadcast and cable television. Could things get any worse at this juncture as the two sides look to reach an accord ? Too many lawyers in one room to my mind usually spells danger or some apocalyptic catastrophe that is bound to take place. The paeans and NFL analysts of ESPN and Foxsports seem to salivating like prepubescent schoolboys who’ve just witnessed viewing their very first Playboy centerfold spread as rumors abound that the league is said to close to reaching a binding agreement as to a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement).

As an avid fan of the New England Patriots I certainly am looking forward to the differences of this team from this season and my impressions of them from last year ! From what can only be described as a disappointing postseason foray watching the team wilt under pressure against the New York Jets simply was like a reoccurring nightmare of watching a child being scolded for wetting its bed having just been put to bed .

Bill Belichick and his coaching staff will have their work cut out for them this season as the Patriots seek once again to be a resurgent force not just within the AFC East but across the whole NFL .

A 14-2 record within the AFC from last season gave the impression that the team was on its way to something impressive and perhaps a fourth Superbowl in twelve years . But the Patriots fell short through their own complacency and lackadaisical approach of several players on the team . Belichick often viewed as a mad scientist or some might even say a narcissist now realizes that he can no longer ride on the coat-tails of his previous triumphs.

And for players such as Tom Brady , Wes Welker , Danny Woodhead and to my mind the defense will now have to step up their play and simply prove to the fans that last season’s faux pas were just an aberration and nothing less . If not , then the presumed belief that this team can be viewed as a perennial contender for postseason play will prove to be nothing more than a myth.

The team’s upcoming season schedule should prove to be intriguing with a number of their inter divisional games against conference foes a lot more intriguing . Their main nemesis now appears to be the New York Jets within the AFC East and any defeat of that team in light of last year’s postseason effort would prove to be rather welcoming. And I would dare to say that for Wes Welker after his jab at the Jets and their coach Rex Ryan he would wish to atone for that rather infantile gesture and those remarks. If you’re going to trash talk you had better have the balls to back that shit up to begin with rather than ending up falling flat on your ass ! As was the case in that now infamous postseason game .

Consistency during the regular season is one thing but it has and will always be the postseason where it all matters the most . And in the preceding two years up until last year the Patriots have been one of those teams who have shown that they are capable of winning when it matters most .

The NFL Draft saw Belichick along with GM /Consultant Floyd Reese and Nick Caserio decide to make some prudent choices that should complement this roster and to bode well for the future of the organization. If there’s one thing we can all tend to agree on it is that the Patriots rarely make mistakes when it comes to the NFL Draft . Over the years especially under the tenure of Scott Pioli who’s now with the Kansas City Chiefs in his capacity as that organization’s general manager the New England Patriots were able place themselves amongst the elite of the NFL

I am looking forward to what I believe will be an exhilarating year within the NFL given the uncertainties that have and are still taking place ! There now seems to be some common sense prevailing but I have always been of the opinion when you have too many legal minds in a room scrutinizing all of the legalese placed within what will be a binding legal document there’s also a tendency to miss many of the really salient points that do need to be addressed ! We were being informed that this was all to with labor issues that needed to be addressed but in reality it was all to do with one side wanting to derail the others’ wish to have an even bigger slice of the pie . Hell, if this were really about a real issue such as player’s benefits and in particular those of the recently and long retired players within the NFL , then I firmly believe that Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith representing the NFLPA would have been more sincere in dealing with situation ! Instead it really has been a pissing contest between the two sides as they let the vitriol and utter stupidity get the better of them !

The season could be a preamble of what we could expect because before it even starts there’s bound to be a great deal of uncertainty with there being so many problems that will undoubtedly crop up. It is being rumored that one of the issues is that of restricted and unrestricted free agents and how best to use the franchise tag . Furthermore , the owners it is being reported have discussed having a roster of up 90 players (inclusive of the practice squad) which would be whittled down to the customary 53 players . The stage is set now for what may well be a season of comedic proportions wherein practices as conducted away from the usual facilities with rookies and first teamers could well have the fans wondering whether or not it wouldn’t have been better to abandon the season altogether . From my own perspective the first three to four games of this upcoming season could be one where we will see football being played at a rather dull level in terms of execution from the teams ! But in reality a season of sorts in the NFL is far better than having no season at all . And that’s even with Baltimore Ravens’ player Ray Lewis being of the belief that the NFL fan will be running wild in the streets committing all sorts of crime . But then again Lewis of all people should know a thing or two about committing a crime !

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as you would deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Picture and slide show gallery details .
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(1) Alex Gonzalez (2) of the Atlanta Braves fields a grounder against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on July 7, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …

(2) Mark Ellis (14) of the Colorado Rockies scores on a wild pitch against Eric O’Flaherty (34) of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 7, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……

(3) ATLANTA – JULY 7: Manager Fredi Gonzalez (33) of the Atlanta Braves discusses a call with Umpire Scott Barry during the game against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on July 7, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …

(4) Chipper Jones (10) of the Atlanta Braves hits a 3rd inning home run against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on July 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……

(5) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick takes notes after a touchdown by Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …..

(6) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks to throw as his offensive line holds back Miami Dolphins defenisve tackle Randy Starks (94) and linebacker Cameron Wake (91) during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Charles Krupa ……

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Deadlines Are For Idiots ………………


Deadlines Are For Idiots

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I’m not so sure that I can really take much more of the idiocy now going on with regard to the impasse between the NBA and NBPA . Two sides that now seem on course for what could very well turn out to be a contentious divide between the two parties . David Stern and his union counterpart Executive Director Billy Hunter . At the same time union President Derek Fisher and the Executive Committee are intent on not cowering to the demands of the league hierarchy and team owners . In the midst of this all Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver have tried their utmost in trying allay the fears of the fans who are of the thought that there will be a lockout and labor stoppage .

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Coming off what has been one of the better NBA Finals in recent years between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat . And as we know the Mavericks would prevail over the Heat winning that series 4-2 with Dirk Nowitzki being named Finals MVP . It’s interesting to see that Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban in spite of his team having won the series he has had little to say about what may well be the impending lockout . I’m not about to suggest that this lockout can’t be averted but given the mess created by the NFL and the labor dispute which has now entered its third month , in effect over 100 days, I’m beginning to think that even there also there has been even less common sense shown by all of the parties concerned . Roger Goodell has been outmaneuvered by a truly worthy nemesis in DeMaurice Smith a former patent and labor attorney with DC law firm Patton Boggs LLC .

Now with a great deal at stake for both sides it appears that the team owners and league hierarchy now feel where they’re at the point where they can now see light at the end of the tunnel . And as of now the light being shone can’t be seen because of the ineptitude having been shown by both parties during their ongoing deliberations.

If the NBA team owners such as Jerry Buss , Michael Jordan , Donald Sterling , Rich De Vos , James Dolan , Joe Maloof and Micky Arison have sat back looking for the league hierarchy to lead in the ongoing deliberations. It seems strange that it has been left to Stern to take the lead but in reality it shouldn’t be as a surprise to anyone given the autocratic rule by the commissioner . Slowly but surely the mess created by the league hierarchy as well as the owners and their general managers has me wondering what other forms have idiocy have now taken place under David Stern’s reign ! The NBA has a soft salary cap of $57 million but somehow more than 2/3 of the teams within the league have sought to exceed that figure . Now it’s quite obvious with a downturn in the economy the NBA has been affected adversely and much of that has come down to the very fact the league and union has simply chosen to run amok with regard to their excessive spending . Teams have simply sought to buy their way to success and in large part it has been an immense failure for the vast majority of the teams . With the league now on course to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2011 and having lost a cumulative $750 million in the last two years it has to be said the owners and Stern have some pressing issues to resolve.

The revenues shared between the league and players is split on a 53/47 ratio deriving from approximately $3.77 billion . The league hierarchy would certainly like to see that figure lowered but with Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher steadfastly clinging to the belief that it would not be beneficial for their members to be giving concessions to the NBA . Much of what we’re being led to believe now happening between the union and league hierarchy is something akin to modern day comedy of errors . Things have yet to take a truly contentious fervor but it could well be heading that way with David Stern now taking the lead in the deliberations and wanting to come off looking like the hero . And for Stern any photo op that has him being front and center in the public eye makes him all the more appealing for the public’s perception of him .

If there ever has been a reason to simply have little faith in the Congress then the ongoing stupdity being shown by the House of Representatives , Senate and the President’s administration in trying to raise the debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion ($14,300,000,000,000) has me wondering how much longer the two sides can actually remain in denial . Sen Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) have simply stuck by the fact that tax cuts will be the one thing to stimulate the economy , create jobs and the lessening of government regulations in all facets of commerce , government regulatory authority will go a long way in adding to the vibrancy of the economy . Pity that they chose to ignore the mere fact that tax loopholes will remain in place and also that the numerous committees within both legislative chambers have simply let lobbyists write and rewrite many of the regulations that have placed the economy in the shit-hole that it is now in ! I’ve no real faith in either party given the ongoing stupidity being shown by Democrats and Republicans ! China as the country’s greatest creditor holds in excess 17% of nation’s government bonds and considerable debt . But the herein lies the caveat a great deal of these bonds also held and other governmental financial instruments are in the hands of some of the nation’s largest financial institutions and insurance companies . Think New York Life , Bank of America , Morgan Stanley , Prudential Insurance , JP Morgan Chase and GE Capital .

Even amongst the Democrat cabal of idiots led by Sen Harry Reid (D-Nv) whose own knowledge of the economy can be best described as man whose idea of being firmly abreast of a situation, is try and persuade you that his aides have advised him thoroughly on the issues . Well that’s like saying I’ve just been told a bedtime story by my teacher because Reid like any of his peers within both legislative chambers were never that bright to begin with , especially where it concerns the US economy and its underlying problems !

Any maneuver now either way be it the raising of the debt level and austerity measures in cutting a number of programs will simply be like throwing shit up against a wall to see what will actually stick ! For far too long each successive Presidential administration has chosen to ignore to this acute problem simply thinking that its creditors would continue to buy its treasury bonds because of the added security that the US was a safe haven . Well that’s no longer the case, in spite of what Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke continues to say merely to calm the financial markets because the country is now completely bereft of ideas as to how to deal this problem . It’s simply using a Band Aid to cover a hemorrhaging stomach wound and as the exsanguination of the country is now in place , who’ll be left to mop up the blood ?

Should the debt ceiling be raised even with the proposed spending cuts sought by Republicans and a number of conservative Democrats certainly won’t stave off any great fears of a tailspin of US the economy. Speculation asides , all that needs to be done are for the top credit ratings agencies ( Moodys , Standard & Poors ) to downgrade the US government’s credit rating from AAA to AA + or AA- (minus ) and this would send precipitous seismic waves in the financial markets around the globe , as there would be a great deal of uncertainty about the government’s ability to pay down its debts much less make principal or even the interest payments due .

The ensuing mess we’ve seen created here with regard to the NFL , NFLPA , NBA , NBPA , the present US administration and both legislative chambers of Congress simply shows us that common sense no longer prevails within sports but also within the dizzying heights of politics . And no doubt there are those amongst us who are prepared to ask the question why should I care ? Well you ought to care one way or another as many decision about to be made will certainly affect us one way or another in our every day lives .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the ensuing negotiations said to be taking place between the NFL , NFLPA , NBA hierarchy and its union counterpart the NBPA how do you view each situation ? And what of the government’s own handling of the debt crisis where do you see things ending up there ? Do you really care at all or have you simply chosen to ignore it all ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

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

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(1) David Stern (right) and Billy Hunter seen here in June 2005 having just reached an accord on the NBA’s then existing CBA (collective bargaining ) agreement which is due to expire midnight June 30th 2011. AP Photo / Gene Kershaw ….

(2) NBA Commissioner David Stern (right) is seen alongside NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver speaking to the convened press . AP Photo / Mark Richmond ….

(3) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, right, speak to the media outside of the Ritz-Carlton hotel after addressing players during the NFLPA rookie symposium on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 in Sarasota, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ……

(4) NBPA President Derek Fisher in line with his Executive Committee and player representatives have steadfastly stood by in their determination not to make any concessions to the league hierarchy and owners unless they are prepared to reciprocate in kind . AFP/ Photo / Marcus Pruett …….

(5) Michael Jordan , left, majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats and general manager Rod Higgins watch an NBA summer league basketball game between the Bobcats and the Orlando Magic in Orlando, Fla., Friday, July 9, 2010. AP Photo/John Raoux ….

(6) Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team’s new head coach Mike Brown (2nd L) poses with team owner Jerry Buss (2nd R), Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss (L) and general manager Mitch Kupchak after a news conference in Los Angeles, California, May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson ….

(7) Sen Mitch McConnell seen here alongside fellow Republican members including Sen Jon Kyl (R-Az) [right] addressing the convened press on the nation’s debt ceiling issue as well as that of the President’s healthcare reform plan of which GOP is totally opposed to . AFP/Photo/ Richard Curtis ….

(8) Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) is seen here addressing members of American Conservative Union Foundation a Conservative political Think Tank and lobbyist’s group. AP/Photo ……..

(9) Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke (foreground) listens briefly as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (right) speaks quietly in his ear . Courtesy of Financial Times of London / Keith Parsons …..

(10) Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers (L), Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Dr. Christina Romer (2L), Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner (C) and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke (R) listen as President Barack Obama (2R) speaks after a daily economic briefing in the Roosevelt Room of the White House March 23, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama said the administration’s plan to purchase toxic assets from banks is a move in the “right direction” to unlock credit markets. Romer and Summers are no longer a part of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers having stepped down to pursue other outside interests . Getty Images /Pool Archives …….

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Albert Pujols, Baseball, Basketball, Billy Hunter (NBPA), David Stern, ESPN, Football, Gregg Popovich, Jim Tressel, Major League Baseball, MLB, NBA, NFL, NFL Lockout, NFLPA, Ohio State (Buckeyes), Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary, St Louis Cardinals, Terrelle Pryor, Uncategorized

Are You Up For That ?


Are You Up For That ?

Ah get a litany of lawyers in a room to try and draw up an agreement between two parties as part of the resolution process in a negotiation is like extracting several teeth without the use of a pain killer . Neither side will be truly happy at all even when you’ve been told that a compromise has been reached . Inasmuch as the NFL negotiations have been going on for what appears to be in an indeterminable period of time. It’s hard to believe that the owners , league hierarchy and players represented by their union NFLPA are actually any closer to a real compromise . Granted , ESPN has made it their sole purpose of keeping us abreast of each and every whiff any move that that has taken place . But for me, this whole episode has been one complete and utter bore ! So much so , that with the NFL having already alienated much of their fan-base I seriously doubt why it is that these arrogant and pompous assholes would actually create the perception that at any time they have actually cared what the fans think !

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If as is to be believed that the league and all parties concerned will have an agreement in place by the 15th July at the latest then what can the NFL offer the fans this season . A slew of preseason games as usual where in large part we will see the new draftees try to show us why it is that the teams went out and drafted them in the first place . At the same time we may well get to see none other than Terrelle Pryor try and make believers out of us that he has in fact changed and is ready for the rigors of the NFL and all that it brings . Fast cars , loose women and plenty of money . Oh I forgot, Pryor was already use to that with his days served under Jim Tressel at Ohio State . So what will be new for the player ? Well first out having signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus as a client you can be sure that the ubiquitous agent will be doing his utter best to hype up his client as if he were the second coming of Joe Montana . But then again when hasn’t Rosenhaus never not been known to do that for any of his clients ? In the right environment the agent could sell oil to the Arabs right from their very own wells at a reasonable price and they would still feel happy about the transaction .

With Pryor having left Ohio State and having declared himself eligible for the NFL’s Supplemental Draft it will be interesting to see if there are any teams out there interested in acquiring the player . I am sure that there will be but as to who they might be remains to be seen .

Well the NBA Draft is almost upon us and environment is rife with a great deal of speculation as to will be the top pick in the draft . With the Cleveland Cavaliers having the privilege of that pick along with another in the top ten it will be interesting to see how Cavaliers GM Chris Grant goes about rebuilding the roster in the aftermath of LeBron James’ departure and their rather lackluster season within the Eastern Conference . From my own standpoint I do believe that Bryon Scott as the team’s coach has a monumental task to undertake as the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be a team without a sense of real purpose . The fans within the city may well have had the last laugh in seeing the player and his team the Miami Heat succumb to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals . But that asides it has to be said that the situation while on the face of it may well appear to bleak it could well be a number of years before we can actually view the franchise as a legitimate threat to win an NBA title .

Being an avid San Antonio Spurs’ fan I’ve read a number of blogs within this medium suggesting that GM R C Burford may well seek to trade Tony Parker or use the player as bait in moving up in the order of the NBA Draft. While on the face of it seems a reasonable thing to do . I would point to the fact that the player throughout much of the regular season was the team’s most productive player by far in terms of their offensive output . But what might be even more asinine would be for Burford to actually believe it feasible to acquire an aging Vince Carter to add to this team. The team doesn’t need to get older but simply more athletic with the younger players on this squad actually stepping up their game and actually contributing more . But given the sheer ineptitude shown by the Spurs this postseason I for one am not so sure that the fans won’t be in for more of the same should they make the playoffs this upcoming season . As great a coach as I know Gregg Popovich to be if these players aren’t motivated to get the job done then their ass ought to be kicked to the curb . And yes that includes veteran player Tim Duncan as well !

I don’t know if at this time of the season any team can really afford an injury to one of their most prominent players on their roster . In baseball this seems to be the anomaly that repeatedly tends to either add an incentive to the rest of the players or simply saps them of all of their confidence . This could very well be the case with the St Louis Cardinals and the loss of their All Star slugger and first baseman Albert Pujols for what we’re led to believe could be a minimum of six weeks due to a fractured right arm/wrist . Given the player’s productivity and what it means to the team over the course of the season any loss of this magnitude has to be profound for the organization

The St Louis Cardinals now appear to be in a tenuous dog fight in terms of seeking dominance within the NL Central . While trying to fend off the resurgent Milwaukee Brewers they also have to deal with a Cincinnati Reds team that would like to show the fans that their appearance in last season’s standings and their appearance in the postseason were by no means a fluke .

If the Cardinals are to have any chance of the team even winning the division much less obtaining the wildcard berth as the NL representative then the likes of Matt Holliday , Coby Rasmus , Ryan Theriot and Lance Berkman in particular will have to raise the level of their play over the ensuing weeks while Pujols remains on the DL . If the Cardinals can weather that storm and stay at least within two games of the division leaders then the loss of Albert Pujols mightn’t be as grave as one would have first thought . It will be however down to Tony La Russa to have his players believing that they’re still in with a fighting chance and that the loss of Pujols is not in vain .

And here was I thinking that the idiocy of the NFL labor negotiations had become a real farce ! Now I’m being proven wrong by the sheer ineptitude now being shown by the NBA team owners , league hierarchy and the NPBA (union) . Were it not for the asinine behavior continually being shown by the Obama administration of the government , the House and Senate I could have sworn that this wasn’t indeed the US but some third world country on the African continent ! Somewhere or should I say somehow , the NBA and the union seems to have found themselves in a total divergence when it comes to an according concerning their collective bargaining agreement that is due to expire at midnight on the 30th June. Suffice to say, that if an agreement of some kind is not reached then in all likelihood the fans of the NBA could see a lockout of the players . Bring on the dark days of Summer I say ! Can anything else go wrong that already hasn’t when it comes to the world of professional and collegiate sports ? I’ll leave that for you all to decide !

Courtesy of AP & Yahoo Sports

Union: Owners still demand too much in NBA talks

By Brian Mahoney , AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP )—Union officials said Wednesday that NBA players and owners are about $7 billion apart over a 10-year span in their most recent proposals, a significant gap to close to avoid a work stoppage.

So far apart in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement that union president Derek Fisher(notes) said when players are briefed on the state of the talks, they are in “total disbelief” and ask why they even bother having meetings.

“When we put our spreadsheets up, we put it on the board, we lay it out, everybody’s at a loss for how to even begin to close this gap,” the Lakers’ guard said.

They have only until June 30, when the current CBA expires, and they’ll take another crack at it during another session Friday.

But as they continue to disagree over issues relating to the salary cap as well as the enormous gap in economics, it becomes clear how difficult it will be to avoid a lockout.

“Their demand is gargantuan and we just can’t meet it,” executive director Billy Hunter said.

Hunter and Fisher decided to meet with reporters after being caught off guard Tuesday when NBA Commissioner David Stern revealed details of the league’s latest proposal during a press conference after a bargaining session. Both sides had largely kept specifics from the media during the negotiations.

Yet Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver laid out their proposal for what they called a “flex cap,” in which teams would be targeted to spend $62 million in salary, but could exceed that number through the use of exceptions to an unspecified level before the ceiling kicked in.

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If what we’re being led to believe is that the two sides are so far apart , as in trying to alleviate this issue with both parties aren’t able to come to an agreement , wherein they can successfully reach an accord as to how best to equally split a projected revenue stream of $ 7 billion over the next decade then there’s something seriously wrong with the thinking of parties . Not unlike the idiocy we’re now seeing concerning Democrats , GOP and the President as they try to rein in the runaway spending and an ever deepening deficit and national debt . Can I get a what , what here ?

I’ve never really been enamored with David Stern as the commissioner of the NBA and I simply do not trust anything that has been set forth by NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter or anyone from the union’s executive committee led by union President Derek Fisher . Both sides at present would rather have a pissing contest , seeing who best can actually write their name in the sand . Can any of these bumbling oafs actually see the forest but for the trees ? Then one has to consider that should a labor stoppage now begin in earnest where does it leave the players now awaiting the commencement of tonight’s NBA Draft ?

Now as we head on into the dank dark days of summer no doubt hoping to enjoy a season of fun in terms of what sporting offers there are to be had . I’m not so sure that we are all expecting will actually be that satisfactory to begin with . I mean simply look across the collegiate landscape to see the machinations that have taken place there ? I’m sure that Jim Tressel if he had it to do all over again would have preferred to have had a tattoo on the end of his member, asking all those who view it, to pull ! But instead, it was left to Prior and several of his now former teammates to blow that bitch asunder for us to actually know that collegiate athletics has always been a complete joke to begin with ! Needless to say those devout fans of USC would like to tell us otherwise .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you would deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, left, hugs his wife, Candice Romo at his annual football fundamentals camp at Burlington High School, Wednesday, June 22, 2011, in Burlington, Wis. They were married May 28. Romo graduated from the school. The two-day camp is for athletes entering grades 7-12. AP Photo/Journal Times, Mark Hertzberg …

(2) Woody Johnson, left, owner of the New York Jets, talks with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(3) Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, second from right, and others grab a bite to eat during the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …..

(4) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(5) Terrelle Pryor ended his silence Tuesday — for exactly 97 seconds. Pryor (right) is seen here with his agent Drew Rosenhaus and Rosenhaus associate Robert Bailey (left). AP Photo / Michael Croft ……

(6) FILE – This April 29, 2011 , file photo shows San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, right, talking with guard Tony Parker, of France, during the first half of Game 6 against the Memphis Grizzlies , in a first-round NBA basketball playoff game, in Memphis, Tenn. Parker is backing off earlier comments to French media that San Antonio realistically has no more chances to win another championship. The comments came a few weeks after the 61-win Spurs were upset in the first round by eighth-seeded Memphis. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ……

(7) ST. LOUIS, MO – JUNE 22: Lance Berkman (12 ) of the St. Louis Cardinals double up Ryan Howard (6) of the Philadelphia Phillies at Busch Stadium on June 22, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Phillies would go on to defeat the Caridnals 4-0 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

(8) Starter Cliff Lee(33) and Carlos Ruiz (51) both of the Philadelphia Phillies congratulate each other after beating the St. Louis Cardinals at Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 22, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……

(9) St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols stands in the dugout with his left arm in a soft cast during the Cardinals’ baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies pm Tuesday, June 21, 2011, in St. Louis. Pujols will be out 4-6 weeks after being injured on a play during a game against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …

(10) NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, gestures as he sits next to Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver , following a meeting between team owners and the NBA players’ union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, in New York. Both sides made new proposals in a 3 1/2-hour meeting on what Stern said was an important day in the league’s labor talks. The collective bargaining agreement expires June 30. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews ……

(11) Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Derek Fisher holds a press briefing following a meeting between team owners and the NBA player’s union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in New York . AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(12) Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, holds a press briefing following a meeting between team owners and the NBA player’s union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in New York. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(13) These recent handouts provided by their respective schools or overseas team, show 2011 NBA basketball draft prospects. Top from left are Nolan Smith, Duke; Malcolm Thomas, San Diego State; Trey Thompkins, Georgia; Klay Thompson, Washington State; Tristan Thompson, Texas, and Jeremy Tyler, Tokyo Apache. Bottom from left are Jonas Valanciunas, Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania); Jan Vesely, Partizan Belgrade (Serbia); Nikola Vicevic, Southern Cal; Kemba Walker, Connecticut, Derrick Williams, Arizona, and Jordan Williams, Maryland. AP Photo / File …….

(14) Toronto Raptors new head coach Dwane Casey , left, and general manager Bryan Colangelo pose following a basketball conference in Toronto on Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Casey was hired as coach of the Raptors on Tuesday, nine days after the Dallas assistant helped the Mavericks win an NBA title. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young ……

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Billy Beane, Dwyane Wade, Football, LeBron James, Lew Wolff, MLB, NBA, NFL, Oakland Athletics, Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Terrelle Pryor, Uncategorized

Can’t Knock The Hustle …………


Can’t Knock The Hustle …………….

Well in the aftermath of the NBA Finals series loss it seems just about everyone has an opinion on what went wrong for the Miami Heat . I see it as nothing more than the following ….. the fans were sold a bill of goods and it was hyped up with amped up so completely that a snake oil salesman couldn’t have done a better job. Pat Riley sold this crap for all it was worth and LeBron James and Dwyane Wade simply made us all believe that the team could get by on simply turning up in the Finals . Well it’s now over and done with and arguably this might be the most embarrassing series loss in NBA Finals’ history. A patron of mine would suggest that this loss was in no way as humiliating as the Los Angeles Lakers’ series loss (4-1) to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals of 2004 . But I simply look at this way, an aging Lakers’ roster that had four future Hall of Famers , Karl Malone , Gary Payton , Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal , wherein two of those players (Malone and Payton) in particular were somewhat past their prime simply made this Heat loss more improbable .

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The Dallas Mavericks are crowned as champions for the 2010-11 season and quite rightly so , as they sought to win this series on its merits rather than simply being there merely as a sideshow and be the Heat’s whipping post. The oddsmakers in Vegas simply went with style over substance , hence looking lure in those sucker bets of those who thought that the Heat would sleepwalk their way through the NBA Finals . Can’t say that I blame as there’s a reason why there those monstrous edifices are being continuously built in Las Vegas ……… the House always wins .

As the postgame autopsy begins we now know that “Three Headed Monster” doesn’t necessarily work when the superstars that are surrounded aren’t all on the same page alongside the supporting cast . I mean you can either buy into the hype LeBron James being “the best player” in the league but given what I’ve now seen that argument has become so weak and overplayed that it no longer warrants being part of any discussion concerning the NBA ! The self anointed King is merely a prince without a crown and kingdom. As for Dwyane Wade his ass should simply be thankful that his legacy hasn’t been questioned but the jury could still be out on that . Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra this offseason will certainly have to assess the roster and the damage done because there’s no doubt in my mind this organization and team is now in a state of shock even if on the exterior they’re not showing the signs.

It wouldn’t surprise me now to see Hollywood mega producer Jerry Bruckheimer bring in the cast of hit show ” CSI Miami” to investigate whether or not a serious felony crime had been committed during the 2011 NBA Finals . Care to who guess the villain of the piece may well end up being ? I’m sure David Caruso’s character Horatio Caine will provide us not only with a succinct and successful investigation but seeing the villain being taken away in handcuffs would be fun . But alas , I think we all know where the guilt will ultimately rest here, in lieu of this debacle ! All fingers point to the King and his cabal of aides . Suffice to say while in Dallas , Texas the fans there are cheering on their team , it wouldn’t suprise me if they’re also laughing at James and his supporting cast. And what of the former fans of LeBron James in the Cleveland area ? Get the feeling that they’re simply loving this as well ? And even if at the time I thought it rather idiotic with Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert making the claim …” that the Cavs will win a title before the Heat “ ……… who are we now to make light of that statement ?

Well now that Terrelle Pryor has escaped the prying eyes of the NCAA and Ohio State having left school to ply his trade and wares in the NFL . I can’t help but wonder how his new agent Drew Rosenhaus will sell his client as viable and potentially a game breaker who knows how to win. Don’t get me wrong I liken Rosenhaus to his counterpart in MLB —- Scott Boras . These two sports agents to my mind have represented the seedier sides of both sports and nothing that they can do , short of donating their combined wealth can convince me that they represent what is good about professional sports in general through the eyes of an agent.

Pryor will come with a great deal of baggage , character issues and the fact that honesty isn’t one of biggest traits but somehow Rosenhaus will try to convince a team that his client is well worth a look at . With the player not being part of the NFL Draft that took place in April , he’s now eligible for the supplemental draft where he’ll no doubt be joined by other unsigned college free agents and other college talent (from lower subdivisions) not taken in the draft. And while there’s no denying that Terrelle Pryor is a talented player I’m not so sure that if taken by an NFL team it will be at his desired position of quarterback . If anything he could be asked to change position and become quite possibly a tight end or wide receiver but it is obvious to those who have an acute awareness as to business acumen of Drew Rosenhaus , he will sell his client as a bonafide NFL ready quarterback capable of leading a team if given the chance.

From my own perspective I believe that there will be a team willing to take a flier on Pryor purely out of desperation . But amongst the teams who may well be in need of a quarterback without having or wanting to pay a premium price then Terrelle Pryor may well be their best option .

The thinning of the herd has now began amongst the managerial casualties within baseball. Bob Geren was summarily fired by the Oakland Athletics but the inherent problems of the organization solely shouldn’t laid squarely on a manager who has in reality never been given the weapons to get the job done. This team has struggled this season and their record (28-39) within the AL West is a clear indication of that . If anything I for one find it extremely difficult to see how the fans can simply think Geren is primarily to blame for the team’s woes given the fact that team owner Lew Wolff has about as much of an ambition to win as Anthony Weiner (D-South Brooklyn) to admit that he’s not only sexual deviant but also someone who’s not fit to hold any sort of political office much less be a legislator in Congress . Granted , GM Billy Beane has been entrusted to turn things around but how much longer should the fans really be asked to tolerate the ineptitude being shown at this juncture ?

Beane has done his utmost make the best out of a bad situation but even now I can’t help but wonder how much worse things will have to get before there is enough outrage from the fans wherein some action will be taken. Instead they stand steadfast in their support of the team while its ownership group looks on merely laughing at them . Well it’s not as if they have shown any concept or the perception that they feel their pain but instead it’s been the same old story as usual without there being any real signs that the organization is actually on the cusp achieving anything of merit. OK , so one can praise the fact that they’ve a talent crop of young players throughout their farm system and some top prospects that given time will prove to be productive . But in the game of baseball from a business and competitive standpoint it’s about what is happening now on the field of play , rather than what could possibly happen two or even four years from now . And given the financial impediment of this organization and its unwillingness to actually spend money I seriously doubt that many of the players the fans are now yearning to see at some point in the future will actually be with the organization at that time in the future !

The frailties of the team this season has manifested itself in innumerable ways from the team’s lack of defense to the inconsistency of the pitching and offense . And now with Bob Melvin being entrusted to take control and guide this staff it will be interesting to see how the team fares over the remainder of this month and the rest of the season .

With the core of this team being a group of youngsters with some veteran presence sprinkled in for added surety one can understand the struggles that the team has gone through . Injuries asides , as is the norm with any organization the Oakland A’s have had their fair share of ups and downs . this season but at the same time players such as Coco Crisp , Josh Willingham , Cliff Pennington , Trevor Cahill , Carlos Gonzalez and others on this roster know that there is still something to fight for even if the belief amongst the masses is that the team really doesn’t stand that much of a chance in attaining some semblance of success this season.

I know of some passionate fans of the Oakland A’s who’d like nothing better than for Lew Wolff to out the team up for sale . And I for one would relish to see that event actually take place as I do feel that in large part in spite of the alleged business acumen of some the team owners in baseball . I for one feel that the majority of them on their best day wouldn’t know the difference between a balance sheet and baking sheet ! I’d even go so far as to suggest that the general managers within the game aren’t that far behind the owners with regard to that issue as well ! To further emphasize that point who in their right mind given the environment at the time would agree to trade away a player and still be on the hook for the greater part of their salary some five years later after that trade had actually taken place ? This is but one of many asinine business concepts that has taken place within the game and that is completely suborned by baseball’s hierarchy . I can hear agent Scott Boras now in the aftermath of the Alex Rodriguez trade from the Texas Rangers to the New York Yankees with then Rangers’ ownership group led by Tom Hicks and George Ken Gillette you’ve been had suckers “ . It has only been recently that the Rangers have been able to untie themselves from that particular financial debacle .

If there are said to be any interested parties now pursuing the purchase of the Oakland Athletics we’re not being informed publicly of any such premise but I am sure that the fans of the team would willingly accept anyone at this juncture if it meant to quick removal of Wolff and his partners expeditiously . I mean having to endure his tenure as owner of this organization I would guess could be compared to a form of Chinese water torture ! But those are merely my own opinions as the present predicament surrounding the A’s at present . The fans deserve a great deal more than this from the ownership group but unfortunately Wolff doesn’t feel it necessary to reciprocate at all .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

At some point I know that this all comes down to making money more than anything else but surely the fans deserve more from the athletes and owners given the fact that it is the fans who are actually paying the price of admission for these sporting events ? Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within the piece .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com ……

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, left, looks on as Dwyane Wade answers a question during a basketball news conference, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 in Miami. Instead of hosting Game 7 of the NBA finals on Tuesday, the Heat packed up their stuff for the summer. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …….

(2) Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra gestures as he speaks during a basketball news conference, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 in Miami. Instead of hosting Game 7 of the NBA finals on Tuesday, the Heat packed up their stuff for the summer. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …….

(3) Conceitedness on the part of Macy’s and the Miami Heat ? For the second time in five years the retailer made a mistake of this magnitude . An ad for Macy’s proclaiming the Miami Heat as NBA champions inadvertently ran in the Miami Herald Monday, June 13, 2011. The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat in Game 6 in Miami Sunday night to win the NBA Finals 4-2. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(4) Dirk Nowitzki (L) and Jason Kidd (R) of the Dallas Mavericks hold the MVP and Larry O’Brien Trophies after defeating the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals, at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida on June 12, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON …..

(5) LeBron James (left) and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat answer questions after the Heat were defeated 105-95 by the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann ……

(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 17: Executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer (L) and actor David Caruso (R) attend the CSI Miami 100th Episode Cake Cutting Party at Raleigh Studios on August 17, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Life Magazine / Getty Images/ Michael Buckner ……

(7) They’re already on the case CSI Miami unit members at a club that James and Wade are said to frequent . LOL,LOL !! Courtesy of CBS / Jerry Bruckheimer Productions Inc.

(8) Buckeyes’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox …

(9) Sports agent Drew Rosenhaus whose latest client is reputed to be Terrelle Pryor . The hard sell now begins for the agent luring the interest of teams around the NFL . AP Photo Kevin Neill ……

(10) Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin left, argues with first base umpire Brian O’Nora after a MLB baseball game with the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Sunday, June 12, 2011. Chicago won 5-4 . AP Photo/Paul Beaty …….

(11) Hideki Matsui(notes) #55 of the Oakland Athletics bats against the Chicago White Sox on June 12, 2011 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Athletics 5-4. Photo by David Banks/Getty Images …….

(12) Wolff is seen here with former manager Bob Geren . AP Photo/ Nick Warner ……

(13) Bob Melvin is introduced to the press as the new manager of the Oakland A’s after the firing of his predecessor Bob Geren by GM Billy Beane (right). Courtesy of CSN ……………

(14) The A’s ballpark one of baseball’s most heralded places of pageantry and a part of the ballclub’s folklore . Courtesy of mlb.mlb.com…….

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Running On Empty …………..


Running On Empty

I’m finally beginning to calm down given the situation concerning the NFL lockout as it pans out and the fact that over a prolonged period we have the team owners now saying that they are closer to a compromise. The season starts on the 3rd September and I fully believe that it will not start as the NFL believes as planned . The situation now stands where the players are having to plan their own workouts as there have been no preseason OTA’s and the new draftees aren’t able to be meet with the coaches and their respective trainers . To further emphasize the situation those very same draftees have yet to sign their contracts with their respective teams .

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Slideshow for your perusal .

With the owners , NFL hierarchy now meeting with their union counterparts led by NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , union President Kevin Mawae the grandstanding by both sides continues unabated and at the same time this only further exacerbates the whole situation . Now as many of you are aware I reside in the central Florida area where the three NFL teams within the state are the Jacksonville Jaguars , Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . This past season all three teams in their own determinable way had what one might deem a modicum amount of success . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers missed the postseason having missed the playoffs having fell by the wayside in posting a 10-6 record within the NFC South and failing to dislodge the New Orleans Saints who finished ahead of them within the division. For coach Raheem Morris this was a splendid sophomore season as he and GM Mark Dominik were able to make great strides as this team made the type of improvements one wouldn’t associate with such a young team.

The foundations were laid in Buccaneers’ bright season because of the exhilirating play of quarterback Josh Freeman who simply showed that he’s now becoming one of the more dependable and young reliable players at the position within the league. And one only has to look at the strides made by Sam Bradford , Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan . Morris and his assistant coaches have simply gotten the players to buy into a simple system and that’s to play hard , enjoy the game but above all be held accountable for executing the play. Freeman for his part is seen as the leader on this team where he’s also ably abetted by a veterans such as Kellen Winslow Jr and Ronde Barber . On offense the play of running back LeGarrette Blount and wide receiver Mike Williams have made this Buccaneers so much more of a talented team to watch for their fans. If nothing else this upcoming season for the Tampa Bay Buccaners should be something special . And it bodes well for the organization as a whole as they look to become a contender within the conference and for the Superbowl . From a defensive standpoint the traits instilled into the Buccaneers still remain but simply with more aggression and finesse not seen before . Granted , there have been those inconsistent displays but the players have learned from that and it bodes well for their immediate future.

If anything I was somewhat surprised that Jaguars’ coach Jack del Rio simply was allowed to keep his job ! Given the mediocre season had by the team and the mere fact the coach and his staff simply did a lousy job . And simply put , I not so sure that the upcoming season we’re liable to see any type of improvement the team compared to last season .

In the AFC South where the Jacksonville Jaguars reside they have to contend with the Indianapolis Colts as well as the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans . I now firmly believe that if Del Rio cannot leaf this team into the playoffs this season then team owner Wayne Weaver in conjunction GM Gene Smith will have no other course but relieve the coach of his duties . Some may well feel that it is all too little , too late , and they would obviously be right but because of the NFL hierarchy enforced lockout I believe that a number of teams around the league seeking to make a managerial change sought not to because of the financial ramifications involved . Having to pay a coach that you have just fired when he still has a year or more left on his existing contract and then having hire and formulate a new multi year deal for a new coach can end up costing an organization countless millions. Simply ask the front office of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers about that ? They are still paying former coach Jon Gruden two years after his abrupt firing and Gruden is now being handsomely paid by ABC/ESPN to provide both networks with on air college , NFL analysis and commentary . Not bad eh ?

If there’s one thing I learned from last season within the NFL it is that there’s a tremendous falloff from the top tier of quarterbacks and those at bottom tier of the ladder ! And anyone who witnessed the play of the quarterbacks on the Dolphins’ roster will know exactly what I am talking about . Chad Henne and Tyler Thigpen at best are moderate backups within this league but somehow coach Tony Sparano believed that one if not both were reliable enough to lead this beleaguered team .Given the frailties of this team on both sides of the ball the Miami Dolphins simply did their utmost to disappoint their fans as well as their celebrity investors who are led by principal owner managing partner Stephen M. Ross . The owner in conjunction with GM Jeff Ireland have seen the promise first shown when Bill Parcells was brought in as a consultant , simply disappear as the team has struggled to find an identity . Parcells is no longer involved with the organization at all , having chosen to retire to a much calmer environment, where the rigors of the NFL would be the last thing on his mind. Now it is left to Sparano and his assistants to guide this team back into some semblance of competitiveness .

With the ongoing lockout showing no signs of dissipating a shortened season now may well become a reality . And in many respects it may well benefit a number of teams around the league . For the Miami Dolphins this may well prove to be fruitful but on the other hand given the fact that players aren’t allowed on team facilities for any sort of organized training activities because of the work stoppage , there’s no doubt in my mind that all of the NFL teams will be impeded and we may well have to endure some really bad football during what might be league induced shortened season. And for the Miami Dolphins their opening schedule for the 2011-12 season starts off with an divisional rival game against their AFC opponent the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium in Miami , Florida , on the 12th September 2011 .

Tony Sparano may well be in for a season where he and the coaching staff will come under a great deal of scrutiny. The Dolphins have essentially become a “one trick pony” with little to show other than their ” shot gun offense” . And even then, once they were found out by the opposing teams they were found wanting in showing any form of creativity on either side of the ball . That if anything out to be enough of an indicator as what one might expect from this team over the course of the season. There’s a great deal of expected of the team throughout this season and their task won’t be made any easier given the fact that within the division apart of from New England Patriots you also have a hungry New York Jets’ organization wanting to prove that they ought to viewed as perennial contenders within the NFL . The Buffalo Bills will simply want to hang tough while Chan Gailey and his staff will assess the strengths and weaknesses on the roster as he looks to make them a resurgent force within the division and league as a whole .

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Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on an individual frame you view that picture in its original formatted size .

Though the reverberations of this lockout has yet to be felt but we already know that a number of teams around the league are having some form of hardship though it hasn’t been well publicized . In a number of cases it has been noted that a number of teams have taken to actually cutting the salaries of their coaching staffs which has led to throng of opposition by the NFL Coaches Association as the coaches as such are caught in the midst of this saga. The idiocy of this lockout hasn’t been lost on the fans and the vast majority feel that that both owners , league hierarchy and the players are equally to blame . And now while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his opposite number DeMaurice Smith seek some common ground and accord you simply get the feeling that this pissing contest is actually far from over . Both sides are actually out of gas , running on empty and simply looking for the other as such to cave in first .

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, right, throws a football as teammates watch during an unofficial workout at Bergen Catholic High School, Friday, June 10, 2011 in Oradell, N.J. The workout gives the players an opportunity to practice together during the NFL labor lockout. AP Photo/Julio Cortez ……

(2) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) greets Adrian Clayborn, 20 th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …..

(3) Buccaneers’ number one draft pick Adam Clayborn (center) is seen here alongside Bucs’ team coach Raheem Morris (left) and GM Mark Dominik (right) at the team’s headquarters at One Buc Place. Dominik and the coach have made sure to fill the Bucs’ roster with players they deem that will be able to add quality and productivity to the team . Courtesy of St Petersburg Times .

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Blaine Gabbert ,, 11th overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, holds up a jersey during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ….

(5) Head coach Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches his team play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason game at Raymond James Stadium on August 28, 2010 in Tampa, Florida. J Meric / Getty Images North America …

(6) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Mike Pouncey, 15th overall pick by the Miami Dolphins, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …….

(7) Miami Dolphins’ coach Tony Sparano (left) is seen here with the team’s owner billionaire real estate mogul Stephen M Ross at the team’s headquarters at Sun Life Stadium , Miami , Florida. Sparano will have a great deal to prove this season if he’s to retain his position with the Miami Dolphins . Miami Herald / Walter Michot ….

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Now For The Good News ………………..


Now For The Good News ………………………

Well perhaps the biggest story of the weekend had to be that the death of Osama Bin Laden had finally bitten the dust after a covert operation by the US military that took out the terrorist who was being harbored in Pakistan just outside the nation’s capital of Islamabad . What I find somewhat ironic is the mere fact that the attack took place so close to a military academy where many of Pakistan’s top military officers are trained in amongst other things military strategy and the use of intelligentsia in warfare . So much for that nation being a willing ally on the war on terror , the government of Pakistan and its military have been complicit and suborned Bin Laden’s safe refuge but in reality Barack Obama and his predecessor George W Bush were too damn afraid of saying …….. what in reality anyone who had one iota of common sense had known all along as ….. they simply didn’t want to alienate the Arab world in particular those countries who they state were their allies on the war on terror. Well now that the head of the snake has been chopped off the question remains where do we go from hear ? There there are likely to be retributory acts of violence in retaliation for Bin Laden’s death and you can be sure that any one of a number of organizations that were aligned with Al Qaeda will want to assume the mantra and doctrine of the terrorist group. And what does this now for Bin Laden’s most trusted follower Ayman Al-Zawahiri who is now likely to assume control of the terrorist group. Will he also be pursued hopefully with as much tenacity as Bin Laden was ?

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Having had several friends (with the US military) serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq as well as a younger sibling serving in Kabul with the British military I’ve got to say that this news was most welcomed. And having served myself on active duty as a member of the Royal Marines I have to say that warfare is nothing to shy away from even when you’re thrust into the midst of it at a young age. For those who are still serving and those about to serve the country in whatever undertaking being thrust upon them I’d just like to say thanks and remain safe !

Well on to things just as heart warming I hope , and that’s the sporting landscape as it now appears to be. After three utterly monotonous and boring days thankfully the NFL Draft is finally over ! Seven rounds and some 250 plus picks by the NFL’s teams and already questions are being raised as to who the winners and losers are ? Hell who the fuck knows who will be ultimately a winner and who’ll be a loser ? Until these players actually hit a field , play a first down in the NFL regular season it’s mere speculation and conjecture . Good , and although I watched none of the draft coverage by ESPN I can only surmise that the analysts and hosts on hand had a great deal to talk about . This much I do know there’s only so much one can take of Chris Berman , Mel Kiper and Todd McShay without wanting to blow a damn gasket !

It goes without saying that while everyone is said to be feeling all warm and fuzzy with the Draft , consider the stupidity of the situation of the NFL at present ? The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Susan Nelson’s original verdict in favor of the players and in effect the NFL lockout remains in place . Judge Kermit Bye’s decision which has literally thrown a cog in the works and as of now although this apparently looked upon as a major problem . Anything that in essence prolongs this stoppage makes the whole issue of the 2011 season starting on time now seems even more remote. The NFL team owners for one thing are said to be happy that Judge Bye’s decision went in their favor as it now gives them the upper hand they will in this ongoing effort. If anything as this all plays itself out the fans are becoming even more disgruntled with the present situation as they’re being alienated by the stupidity that’s now being shown by both parties . The NFLPA through their own spokesman have stated that the decision was merely a partial victory for the league and they’ve vowed to fight on during in this ongoing episode. Any bets that there will actually be football by the opening week of September 3rd the opening weekend of the NFL season ? I wonder what odds are now being laid in Vegas at present ?

The NBA postseason continues with its usual bluster and the Miami Heat seem to be intent on making quick work of the Boston Celtics with Dwyane Wade showing why it is that the regular season 3-1 series loss and meetings between the two teams meant absolutely nothing. In game one of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals Wade and his team literally took the Celtics to task on their home court at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , comfortably winning the game 99-90 . Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 38 points and who was also ably assisted with 25 points from teammate James Jones . And though it’s early days yet , expect this series to be a highly competitive and physical one . Would you expect it to be anything else ?

Ah, how the rich tend to look for sympathy when their plight can’t be seen in a happier light . Over the weekend Frank McCourt gave an interview as to his impending plight now that the league hierarchy has essentially taken away the reins from him as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner. Now as good as the team has been playing of late with both Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp at present having All Star caliber seasons. I can’t help but wonder what might happen should the team going into something of tailspin and start to lose consecutive games or for that matter series !

McCourt for his part when pressed by the journalist as whether or not he had in fact had contravened any league rules in the conduct of the Dodgers’ day to day business dealings was adamant he and no other executive had done anything that has contravened any league mandated rules . In the eyes of Frank McCourt it appears it is a matter of perception as to what those rules might be and whether or not any were actually broken. The Dodgers’ owner stated that Bud Selig’s appointed intermediary former US ambassador to Japan J Thomas Schieffer and he had a very cordial meeting and that Schieffer stated that it would not be his intention of interrupting the working environment of the ball club . Can’t say that if I were in Schieffer’s place I’d have said anything to the contrary , given the fact that the Dodgers are in a financial mess and anything coming from out of the beleaguered owner can’t be viewed as having a bearing on the truth as we know it to be at present. This episode appears to be heading for what one might view as a contentious situation as McCourt has vowed to fight any intention of the league hierarchy to force him to relinquish the reins in owning the team. Personally, from a fan’s standpoint whether or not Frank McCourt retains control of this team I couldn’t at all care , because I’ve always been of the opinion that MLB baseball and the team owners are a clueless bunch of individuals ! . Were they passengers on the Titanic I believe that they’d have been making comments on how wonderful the iceberg that they were about to hit is , rather than realizing the impending disaster that is within their midst . I’ve had one patron of my site state that baseball is lucky that it doesn’t have a labor issue to resolve but here’s the caveat to his thought. It is indeed true that the MLB doesn’t have a labor issue to deal with but what it does have is a financial quagmire that’s about engulf it like quicksand has ben known to entrap an animal and stifle it of its very life blood . At present the owners and league hierarchy are too dumb to admit that fact until they’re actually up to their necks in quicksand . And when that happens we could very well see them looking them looking for a life jacket with none to be found.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Ayman Al-Zawahiri (left) and Osama Bin Laden (center) are seen here delivering one of those rather radical Islamic fervent anti West statements . Bin Laden’s death now leaves something of a vacuum within Al Qaeda but it appears Al-Zawhiri will assume the role as the organization’s leader . Now word as of yet officially as whether or not the US government will go after Al-Zawahiri with the same fervor . BBC.co.uk …….

(2) At least they had something that they had to agree on and that the death of Bin Laden was a necessity . President Barack Obama and his predecessor President George W Bush are seen at the White House on the day Obama succeeded Bush at President . AFP/Reuters/ Gil Hughes ……

(3) Denver Broncos vice president John Elway, center, talks about this year’s NFL Draft after it concluded his is flanked by head coach John Fox, right, and general manager Brian Xanders during a news conference at the football team’s headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Saturday, April 30, 2011. AP Photo/Ed Andrieski ……

(4) James Hill standing with Kermit Bye (left), judge of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald W. Vande Walle at the ABA 2010 Midyear Meeting in Orlando, Fla. West Law Publishing .

(5) MIAMI, FL – MAY 1: Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat shoots against Ray Allen (20) and Glen Davis (11) of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(6) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat hshoots over Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics during Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images ……..

(7) Paul Pierce (34) , Jermaine O’neal (7) , Ray Allen (20) , and Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics talk during game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images ………….

(8) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier heads toward first after hitting a single during the seventh inning of their Major League Baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, May 1, 2011, at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, California . With that single, Ethier completed a 27-game hitting streak. The Dodgers would go on to lose to the Padres 7-0 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …………

(9) Chad Qualls (50) of the San Diego Padres and catcher Nick Hundley celebrate a 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …….

(10) Will Venable (25) of the San Diego Padres skips away from the tag of Dioner Navarro (30) of the Los Angeles Dodgers to score a run for a 6-0 lead during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ……..

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