Bob Arum, Boxing, College Basketball, Don King, FIFA World Cup (2010), Geno Auriemma, Golf, NASCAR, Oscar De La Hoya, PGA, PGA Tour, Sports

2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was An Unmitigated Disaster ….. Part Two !


2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was An Unmitigated Disaster ….. Part Two !

The alphabet brigade still remains and the sport of boxing now is no better of than it was four years ago ! The pre-eminent fighter in the world isn’t a heavyweight nor does he happen to be North American. It is in fact a Filipino, Manny Pacquiao (52-38 KO’s 3-2) who is now a multiple world champion in eight different weight categories and quite rightly considered to be the best pound for pound fighter on the planet . He hasn’t been challenged mentally or physically by an opponent in years and it’s safe to say that without Pacquiao, the sport of boxing would become an elephant’s graveyard. Having made tens of millions financially from an immensely successful boxing career Manny Pacquiao’s skills show no signs of diminishing as evidenced in his ferocious beating of his last opponent Antonio Margarito in a fight that the referee Laurence Cole should have stopped to save the Mexican American fighter from further punishment. Margarito had welts over both eyes and a broken right orbital bone that had swollen to the size of a golf ball in their title fight that ended in a unanimous decision loss to the famed fighter.

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Slide show for your perusal .

With Pacquiao now perhaps leaning closer towards retirement , that one last big pay day that he’d hoped for in a super fight against arch rival Floyd Mayweather isn’t about to take place anytime soon. Especially not with Mayweather now facing legal troubles and the possibility of serving up to 35 years on a litany of felony charges ____ in prison courtesy of the Federal Court system within the Bureau of Prisons . Through his promoter and matchmaker Bob Arum , Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Shane Mosley in mid 2011 in a bout that will no doubt garner Pacquiao another lucrative payday but in all honesty at the end of the day the padding his fight resume’ against an over the hill Mosley is absolutely meaningless and an insult to boxing fans out there. But that’s now the state of the sport where the fans rarely get the fights they really want to see , instead we’re given that constant drivel of hapless and less than capable fighters and then we’re asked to pay at times in excess of $45-00 for the privilege of seeing such a spectacle even with an undercard of up of these upcoming bouts. Is it any wonder that the sport is now considered to be on its last legs ? So much so, that now mixed martial arts events by promoters such as Bellator , Strikeforce and UFC are now all the rage and capturing a larger slice of that once desired male demographic from within the sport of boxing. The sport itself is now finding a captive and receptive audience amongst female fans as well .

The boxing heavyweight scene has become a de-facto who’s who of rather marginal East European boxers who’ve essentially carved out a niche market for themselves . Atop of the heap are the Klitschko brothers , Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko who between them share four of the five recognized belts ratified out there. The lone none European heavyweight title holder is the Englishman David Haye who’s not really known on the North American continent, albeit that he was at one time the cruiserweight champion of the world . Another weight category created by the international governing bodies of the sport not only to create money but in large part to counteract that great divide from light heavyweight to heavyweight division where the fighters are now extremely larger.

If the sport is to remain prominent with its fans then the various promoters out there who control the dominant North American market will essentially have to be proactive making the most lucrative fights possible , rather than rehashing old fighters and serving them up as one big spectacle with a rather mundane story line as a prelude to what more often than not turns out to be a complete embarrassment. Consider this, an aging Evander Holyfield is still of the belief that he can regain the heavyweight title while slowly approaching his fifth decade. Given that the fighter now is merely fighting to stave off bankruptcy, legal entanglements concerning alimony and child support payments it’s easy to understand the reason behind this charade. In the meantime promoters such as Bob Arum ( Top Rank Inc ) , Don King ( Don King Productions ) and Oscar De La Hoya ( Golden Boy Promotions Inc ) continue to foist upon us fights that in large part don’t really capture the public’s imagination. If this situation continues then the sport will most definitely meet a slow and painful demise.

College Basketball saw the re-ascent of Duke (Blue Devils) to the top of men’s game having won their fourth NCAA National title with coach Mike Krzyzewski at the helm for all four . The program is now the most preeminent there is within the game and that’s with all due respect to the legacy achieved under the late John Wooden with the UCLA Bruins . The Blue Devils’ 61-59 victory over the Butler Bulldogs had the nation perhaps wanting the underdogs to win but that wasn’t to be the case as the team led by Kyle Singler would go on to a heart warming victory in the tournament. For Butler , coached by Brad Stevens , this placed his program firmly on the map and one that’s now admired nationwide. It’s safe to say that Stevens now hope that his team can repeat that feat this upcoming season .

For Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils’ program it’s pretty much safe to say that they’re now the pre-eminent college program in the country in terms Duke’s legacy under their esteemed coach. Krzyzewski to my mind would do the famed Wooden proud . Inasmuch as we can remember his feats over the years the lack of recent UCLA success would suggest that the Bruins while still remaining competitive still have something a mountain to climb to get back to the summit of the game they once ruled with such dominance. Duke now sits atop of the national rankings unbeaten at 11-0 while also leading the ACC .

In the women’s game the U Conn Huskies remain dominant under the tenure of their coach Geno Auriemma and having surpassed the astonishing feat of the UCLA Bruins’ 88 consecutive wins the Huskies are now sitting at 89 wins and counting . The unthinkable may well happen with this team reaching the century mark and perhaps along the way successfully defending their NCAA Women’s Basketball title this season . Stoutly led by standout players Maya Moore and Tiffany Hayes it has to be said that there’s the belief that this team may not be seriously challenged in their quest in attaining both feats. And inasmuch as Auriemma has bemoaned the fact that his team and in particular the women’s game gets very little respect in the eyes of the public and press apart from the loyal Huskies’ fans up and down the country. I do believe that the coach ought to be simply thankful that he and the team are getting some ink in the print media and from the ever watchful eye of cable networks such as ESPN . Womens’ basketball doesn’t really resonate amongst the mainstream in the way that it does with the men’s game either at the collegiate or professional level. The NBA reigns supreme and meanwhile the WNBA struggles to capture a meaningful audience via its programming on either ABC or ESPN. Suffice to say that the Nielsen’s ratings barely garner a blip on the scale when the women’s basketball games are being televised .

It’s safe to say that soccer’s 2010 FIFA World Cup staged in South Africa captured the world’s attention and in particular that of the USA , with the team having qualified for the event. FIFA Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter and the Executive Committee having chosen the country to stage the world’s most popular sport and second most watched televised sporting event behind that of the Summer Olympics sought to broaden the appeal of the game globally and within the continent of Africa itself. For the country itself, it meant a sense of pride given its most recent history of apartheid under successive white Afrikaan’s regimes until the the successful election of Nelson Mandela as President and then his thoughtful process of peaceful reconciliation amongst the masses.

With the country now being led by incumbent President Jacob Zuma there was much indeed to feel proud about but given the fact that Blatter and a number of his hierarchy remained naive , somewhat intolerably silent concerning the sexual assaults , and murders of several female soccer players in the years leading up to the staging of the event , I found it somewhat insidious in the fact Blatter chose to remain silent on this very issue while speaking out about racial bigotry and violence being espoused by fans in the direction of the male players who happen to be of ethnic minority. How is that any different and less heinous than a female being raped, attacked or murdered by males within their country merely because of their alleged sexuality if they happen to be a lesbian ? As unthinkable as this might have appeared to be it was an occurrence that happened with increasing regularity in South Africa albeit that during the staging of the event nothing was reported to any such event having taken place.

Long admired as the masters of the glorious game Brazil was viewed as one of the prohibitive favorites for the tournament alongside Spain , France , Italy and Argentina . The United States coached by Bob Bradley were seen as one the outsiders that very well have been in a position to pull off a major upset. Though not endowed with a world class outfielder they did however possess one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Tim Howard . The player himself makes his home in the rough and tumble world of the ultra competitive English Premier League (EPL) in England. Other than Howard the face of US soccer over the last decade has been their multi faceted and well respected striker Landon Donovan who played alongside former English international David Beckham for the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS here in the United States.

Both England and the US were drawn in the grouping for the divisional round (Group C) of the tournament and I was of the opinion that while both countries qualified on merit I could see neither going beyond the quarter finals of the competition. Neither team was really endowed with a great deal of talent and that’s in spite of the jingoistic fervor being shown by the domiciled US fans whose broad base and knowledge of the game of soccer ranks up there alongside Sarah Palin’s geopolitical knowledge when it comes to world affairs. It’s safe to say that when a US fan is trying to tell you that the US’s offensive capabilities are vast based on the fact that other than Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan’s international experience , then I’ve truly got to ask the question why the interest ? It’s not as if the game itself has found a long term foothold amongst the masses. US Soccer President Sunil K Gulati and MLS Commissioner Don Garber are still struggling to get the game to resonate with the fans domestically. Broad based coverage of the MLS domestic league are as such scheduled around the wishes of ABC/ESPN to televise the games as and when they see fit and the appeal of the teams playing in the chosen fixtures. The talent is still developing and one would be naive to think that the US is now a major powerhouse on the international soccer stage. Gaining respect, albeit in small steps , nonetheless their showing in the tournament was filled with some success but it all ended too briefly merely from the fact that as a team they were lacking creativity on offense and in the midfield where much of the work needs to be done in order to be effective. they showed little signs of real creativity. Think of it as Brady marshaling his teammates as they seek a third or fourth down in the red zone .

The plight of the English team was certainly no better and the complacency showed in the true lack of effort by not only the players but also on the part team coach Fabio Capello and his coaching staff. To add insult to injury Capello left off his final squad the talented young striker and midfield player Theo Walcott who the coach described as ill equipped to deal with the rigors of international play. Bearing in mind that Walcott had been performing well for his club side (Arsenal) in the Premiership (EPL) I found the coach’s statement completely asinine and without merit ! But somehow he found time to include a veteran such as Peter Crouch whose best years were far behind him. It’s no wonder that once the wheels on the bus started to deflate no amount of excuse could be made for the poor showing of the team in the World Cup. Thankfully the woes of both England and the US team weren’t as embarrassing as that of the heavily favored French squad that argued vehemently with and against their coach leading to dissent after their lackluster effort in a game (2-1 loss) against South Africa . The internal turmoil would not end there with one player being sent home after his profanity laced attack against the coach. Overnight this became a PR disaster of seismic proportions for the French Soccer Federation as well as the French government whose Health and Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot offered her sincere apologies to the South African government and to FIFA after the televised events that took placed involving coach Raymond Domeneche and several French players. The French squad would soon exit the tournament with their tails between their legs after their unmitigated disaster in failing to qualify for the latter rounds of the Word Cup.

Teams who were excelling as the tournament progressed , did so by sticking to a game plan and playing with a great deal of dexterity. The raucous crowds attending the games came from all corners of the globe and with many of them having found a new to toy for their accompaniment in creating a cacophony of noise …………..the vuvuzelas became the instrument that would create some uproar amongst the purists of the game. South African natives themselves are use to the noise created by the instrument and it has become a way of life with the regards to their use at sporting events be they small or large.

Holland , Germany , Spain and Brazil would excel over the course of the tournament but once it became clear that the Brazilian team wasn’t what many had come to expect, their fate was soon to be sealed. In large part that was due to complacency in taking lightly the challenge of opponents who they thought were beneath them. The World Cup Final itself pitted Spain , the number two ranked team in the world at the time against their European counterparts Holland . And after ninety excruciating painful minutes of regular play the game went into overtime. Rarely were there any really scintillating moments throughout the game and the thirty minutes of overtime proved to be fateful as Spain’s Andres Iniesta would prove to be his country’s hero in scoring the only goal ( 1-0 result) that would lead his side to winning their first World Cup title. A billion followers of the sport of soccer can’t be wrong but I do feel that this event while proving to be a success in terms of its staging on the African continent for the very first time , it somehow left little to suggest that the game itself can take a real foothold here in the United States. The final game itself while creating some suspense it was on the whole something of a boring event in of-itself. While no doubt Dutch and Spanish fans may well wholeheartedly disagree with my statement , I can’t help but wonder if they had it do all over again would they willingly sit and watch that events unfold in front of them given that they knew what the end result would be ?

It’d be safe to say that the events surrounding Tiger Woods’ fall from grace would play a significant part to his season on the PGA Tour in `2010. Woods for all of his sexual dalliances , inappropriate behavior and his then less than contrite apology simply dug himself a whole that not even Harry Houdini could’ve escaped from. Far be it for me to say but Tiger Woods’ performances on the PGA Tour circuit lacked all the drama we’d come to expect from the world’s top golfer. If anything there was more excitement to be had in listening to the ingenues who came forward to state that they had sex with the player. From escorts to , hostesses and porn stars , females came out of the woodwork like termites from a piece of rotting wood. And along the way many of them parlayed their notoriety to gain some financial well being . Rachel Uchitel and Jamie Jungers were but a few who made their stories public and if you just happen to curious enough and something of a voyeur then in due course there will be sexually explicit movie detailing Woods’ exploits that will be marketed by one of his paramours through the distributor and purveyor of adult entertainment _____ Vivid Entertainment . Curious to see whether not the actor portraying Woods will be using as much wood as he laid to those noted conquests ? ‘Four …….. nine iron being used ‘.

Fourteen Majors and some seventy plus wins worldwide and it’s easy to see why Woods has been the most dominant golfer over the last decade plus and of his generation. A career Grand Slam and all the acclaim in the world made him the marketer’s dream , and the titans of Madison Ave in conjunction with international sports management agency IMG made Woods the most marketable athlete on the planet , the first to earn $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) in endorsements and career earnings. And when you’ve made that sort of ‘bank’ you probably do feel impervious and would like to think that you can do anything possible. What Woods seemed to forget is that there’s a cause and effect , for every action there is a reaction. It was only a matter of time before the veil came down on the charade that has been Tiger Woods’ persona. And it’s asinine to think that Woods tried to apportion much of the blame on the media after the sordid allegations became public knowledge ! What the hell did he actually think was going to happen , he’d be given a free pass ? Nigga’ please ?

Winless on the Tour in 2010, Woods’ play veered from at times being brilliant to downright horrendous over the course of the year, in which we saw him withdraw from The Players’ Championship and could only garner two top ten finishes in any of the four Majors (The Masters , The PGA Championship , US Open and The British Open ), with that occurring in The Masters and U S Open where in both cases he finished joint tied four fourth place. Uncharacteristically also Woods would withdraw The Players Championship held at the TPC Sawgrass , Ponte Vedre Beach, Florida.

Tiger Woods would also lose his world number one ranking as he would be passed by Englishman , Lee Westwood atop of the World Rankings . Westwood has yet to win a Major but he’s been very consistent worldwide on the PGA and European Tour events.Woods’ goals no doubt for 2011 will be regain the form that saw him with regularity on the Tour and at the same time refocus his efforts on being a better human being and a parent. As to whether or not he can surpass his idol Jack Nicklaus , garner the four Majors needs to equal Jack’s feat and then add another to make it nineteen, remains to be seen. He’s still young enough to do it but it now all comes down to his will and composure as to whether or not he can achieve that feat.

The Ryder Cup notwithstanding Tiger Woods’ contributions on the PGA Tour in 2010 can be best described as being mediocre . But to others at the lower end of the totem pole on the Tour I bet at times they wouldn’t mind being in Woods’ position without the sexual pecadilos I might add and all of the intrusiveness of the paparazzi that comes along with it !

I’ve never been really much of NASCAR fan , way too many left turns ! And what the hell might I ask is boogity , boogity boogity ? Is that some sort of dumb ass ‘Redneck speak’ for I’ve got a hard on for Lil’ E ? Speaking of which can someone remember the last time that Dale Earnhardt Jr won a Sprint Cup Series race ? I guess not ! He’s way too overpaid for what modicum of talent he does have. For an unprecedented fifth consecutive year Jimmie Johnson has won the Sprint Cup Series Championship and along the way seemingly create an even greater divide between himself and his peers. The only drivers now ahead him with more titles on the sport’s pre-eminent circuit are Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt Sr . Seven to be precise, is the total held by each of these all-time greats within the sport and it remains only a matter of time and the desire shown by Johnson if he chooses to emanate or even surpass those feats.

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The unfortunate thing here is that the sport has now reached its maturation point and whereas viewership and attendances are on the decline , the fan appreciation of Johnson’s feat isn’t being appreciated by all. Other than his own following I truly doubt that the vast majority of NASCAR fans like the guy to begin with ! It’s been suggested that Johnson has no character , he’s not really affable or he’s simply not rambunctious enough. Screw that ., the guy simply wins and he’s begun to make a habit with an ever increasing consistency ! As to NASCAR’s own hierarchy led by Brian France and Mike Helton , though they’ve now got a dominant face for their sport they’re still all too reliant Dale Earnhardt Jr to be the face that arguably reigns over their sport. Far be it for me to suggest but when you simply have a guy who of late has shown marginal talent at best in the practice of his craft, then why the hell is there a need to have him as the face of your sport ? You’ve got the most dominant driver of this era now within your midst and he’s garnering about as much respect as Rodney Dangerfield jokingly said he could attain being a comic. What’s up with that ?

This now ends part two of this two part series concerning my own sporting observations concerning some the events that took place across the landscape of sports during 2010 . What events if any caught your attention over this calendar year and what wishes if any would you like see take place in 2011 as an event ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support !

NB: Pacaquiao’s scheduled bout against Mosley is due to take place at the MGM Grand Casino & Resort in Las Vegas , Nevada on the 7th May 2011 .

Auriemma’s U Conn Huskies’ team had their winning streak snapped at 89 by the Stanford Cardinals team . The Lady Cardinals were in fact that the last team to beat U Conn in 2008.

NB: Click in the link provided to read Part 1 of this two part series . https://abritishman.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/2010-was-a-great-year-in-some-sports-and-in-some-ways-it-was-also-an-unmitigated-disaster/

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….


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Vida Guerra

Eye candy ………. Vida Guerra . Any takers ?

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Jesikah

More of the same ………………… or perhaps something more enticing ? Jesikah Maximus .

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Stephanie Kyoko

And still a little bit more just to simply entice you. Stephanie Kyoko courtesy of Smooth Magazine.

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In My Wheelhouse From Where I Sit ….


In My Wheelhouse From Where I Sit ….

It feels like the dead of winter and not much is happening in the world of sports. I don’t want to go on a political rant as that wouldn’t solve anything at present. Isn’t it enough that we’ve got two political parties at present that are bout as much use as a fart in a thunderstorm. ?

Less we forget also that the members of Congress would seemingly make the members of the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels seem like mild mannered businessmen . To say that they’re not devious or corrupt would be to suggest that Paris Hilton would have some credibility if we were to call her talented. Which of course no one would ever suggest that the “celebutante” was indeed talented !

Interesting read ___ “dwindling attendance” for NASCAR events ………who knew ? Shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone who’s a keen follower of the sport to begin with. NASCAR President Mike Helton and CEO Brian France over the past five years seem to have forgotten about the fans while they’ve chased after corporate sponsorship dollars the way that a “hooker” chases after her “John “ in order that she’ll always be well rewarded for the services rendered. Never mind the fact that the race events themselves are now becoming about as exciting to watch as seeing two pachyderms mate ! Suffice to say seeing Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards dog each other out after their little tête-à-têtes on the track makes them appear about as masculine as Richard Simmons would be deemed to be, if he were still dancing and sweating to the oldies.

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Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & Associated Press

Edwards, Keselowski put on probation by NASCAR

By Will Graves , AP Sports Writer

NASCAR docked star Carl Edwards 60 Nationwide Series driver points, fined him $25,000 and placed both Edwards and Brad Keselowski on probation through Dec. 31 following their last-lap antics at Gateway International Raceway.

Jack Roush, owner of Edwards’ No. 60 Ford, was also docked 60 owner points after the latest run-in between the feuding drivers ended with a chain reaction accident that left Keselowski’s No. 22 Dodge in tatters and another nine cars sustaining damage last weekend.

Edwards and Keselowski were battling for the lead on the final lap when Keselowski nudged Edwards out of the way coming out of Turn 2. Edwards returned the favor a few seconds later, sending Keselowski into the outside wall coming out of Turn 4. Keselowski slid toward the inside wall before being struck by several opponents, his car a shattered mess as it crossed the finish line in 14th while Edwards celebrated his second win of the season.

Though NASCAR has publicly encouraged drivers to police themselves by encouraging a “boys, have at it” philosophy, director of competition Robin Pemberton said Keselowski and Edwards took things a little too far even though Edwards maintained afterward he was not at fault. NASCAR disagreed.

“We felt like at that time they had stepped over the line of what we would consider to be good, aggressive, healthy hard racing,” Pemberton said.

That’s nothing new for the two Cup and Nationwide regulars. Keselowski and Edwards have a long-simmering rivalry dating back to the spring Cup race at Talladega in 2009 when Keselowski nudged Edwards out of the way—and into the catch fence—to collect his first Cup victory.

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Now as the sport tries to pick up the pieces after the debacle of the travails of the domestic automotive industry. We’ve seen each of the domestic manufacturers cut back to some extent on their commitment to NASCAR . Albeit, that they’ve still a presence there but given the health of all three companies Chrysler ,__ Ford and GM no one can really say that they’re all out of the woods as of yet. As to the Sprint Cup season within the sport well once again Dale Earnhardt . Jr continues to disappoint and no mount of excuses can now be made for his poor showing overall . But his most ardent fans as always will continue to stick with him come what may. If his last name wasn’t Earnhardt one seriously doubts whether or not the press , TV media or fans like would be the slightest bit concerned. But Earnhardt Jr has a “family legacy” to uphold. One of which he hasn’t proven to be successful at in the highest echelons of NASCAR and that‘s with him now being a driver with perhaps one the most powerful teams in the Sprint Cup Series , Hendrick Motorsports .

Baseball and its owners are a proud bunch but inherently “the owners” are now coming cross like a bunch of buffoons given their unprecedented wealth couldn’t manage lemonade stand much less run a professional sports franchise ! Now with the death of New York Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner the legacy of running the storied franchise is now left to his sons Hank and Al Steinbrenner to keep in tact and the keep the success going. No tough task given the resources to be had within the ball club. But the same can’t be said for at least 28 other teams around MLB. Who other than the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have such vast revenue streams whereby they can literally spend at will ? Luxury tax revenue sharing or not it hasn’t stopped either of the baseball behemoths from doing as they please.

Come the trade deadline __(31st July) both the Red Sox , Yankees and several other teams with a chance to make their presence felt in the postseason will be looking to acquire the players needed to put them over the top. Think of it in large part as renting a player for the short term in order to attain the success sought.

Courtesy of Dallas Morning News

Nolan Ryan testifies: Rangers could lose Josh Hamilton, prospects

By Barry Schlacter / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

Fort Worth _Tx,. – Rangers president Nolan Ryan testified at a bankruptcy hearing Wednesday that financial pressures are hurting the club and could prevent it from keeping slugger Josh Hamilton, whose contract is up this season.

“I don’t know that I want to be there [if] Josh Hamilton doesn’t come back next year,” Ryan testified.

Ryan said the cash shortage is affecting the team’s trades and its need for a new video board and forced it to close a summer-league farm team in the Dominican Republic.

He wants the court to keep the Aug. 4 date to auction the team, while lenders want the date put off to allow rivals to put together a higher bid than the $575 million offered by Ryan and Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg.

Under cross-examination, Ryan said he was unaware that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael Lynn could order Major League Baseball – on which the bankrupt AL West leader has been dependent – to loosen its purse strings.

“I want you to know,” Lynn later assured Ryan, “this team is going to get through this season, win the pennant and the world championship – and the bankruptcy is not going to interfere with that.”

Hamilton, an all-star outfielder, could see his $3.25 million earnings rocket to $8 million to $10 million if he goes to salary arbitration bearing such awards as American League MVP and the Triple Crown, Ryan testified.

The bankruptcy put a “very expensive cost” on the recent trades for pitcher Cliff Lee and catcher Bengie Molina, Ryan testified. Though the deals also brought in $4 million in cash, this didn’t compensate for the loss of minor league talent, Ryan testified.

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While this has been happening the ongoing saga of the ongoing sale of the Texas Rangers seems to be taking a nasty turn for the worse. The preferred choice of the league hierarchy is that the team be sold to a consortium led by former Rangers’ player Nolan Ryan and noted sports attorney Charles “Chuck” Greenberg. The fact the current ownership led by senior partner Tom Hicks is unwilling to sell the ball club in order to meet the team’s and his own debt obligations to his creditors has me wondering why the hell hasn’t Bud Sleig and his office intervened in the ongoing fiasco ? Bluntly put Bud Selig is no more a businessman than George W Bush could be considered to be a noteworthy politician, much less a Head of State. But somehow both have been lauded as being good for their respective endeavors. Pray , do tell what either has achieved that has been noteworthy much less of benefit to either fans of the sport or that of the country that can be viewed as being tangible and having a lasting effect that will be of benefit to everyone ? Don’t take too long in coming up with an answer mind you ?

Come what my the situation now rearing its ugly head in Texas will go a long way in telling us not only about the health of the game from financial standpoint but also how weak a leader Bud Selig has been as baseball’s commissioner. In Selig, to my mind he can’t retire from his post quick enough as far s I’m concerned ! The game needs someone with authority and who at least has a great deal of business acumen rather than a blithering idiot who continues to hang his head out in the wind just to see which way it is blowing before he can come to a decision !.

The Summer League in basketball (NBA) gives a number of undrafted players to shine ,blossom and prove to the GM’s who overlooked them that they made a mistake in not drafting those players. It also gives several players who’d spent time recuperating from injuries to prove that they’re now back and ready to show their worth to their respective franchise with regard to the rigors of the upcoming season. Thankfully, while this is going on the talk of the “newly anointed trio “in Miami can perhaps take a back set? There hasn’t been this much talk bout three human beings since the three wise men went in search of Jesus Christ prior to his birth. Now there’s no star in east nor has God commanded the trio of Bosh , __ James and Wade to go forth and do good deeds. But the way that the three are now being fawned over you would guess they were placed in their present situation through divine intervention.

For the sake of the Miami Heat fans I just hope that God loves this because as we all know he doesn’t like ugly. Things could actually turn out this way should “the team” fail to live up to expectations. Winning seventy plus games in the NBA season is nothing if you can’t land the brass ring of winning an NBA title at the end of it ll. And that is what is expected of this team and I’m not just talking about winning a single championship multiple ones over the years to come. That’s the least that is expected of this Heat team and of the architect who created this grand scenario, team President Pat Riley . They screw this up and about the only thing the fans of the Heat and NBA are liable to say bout the trio ……… and that would be to question their manhood , parenthood and anything else that’s possible without seeking to be overly personal in their criticism.

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So this has been my little view of the sporting landscape at present . What if anything has you keenly looking over that specific scenery at present ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….. 🙂

Marvin Gaye ………………… ” What’s Going On/ What’s Happening Brother”

Basketball, NASCAR, NBA, Randy Moss, Shaquille O'Neal, Sports

Oh Yes Here Comes The Silly Season ……….. And It Includes NASCAR’s The Chase For The Cup , Shaq’s Asinine TV Show


Unless I’m mistaken , NASCAR’s regular season schedule has now come to a halt. And we now have the final-four postseason races for the 2009 season , that ends with the sport crowing its Sprint-Nextel Series’ Cup champion. And for all of the hoop-lah created by the sport and its fans. The tension that they’ve tried to build up has been about as suspenseful as being read the story of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. And while I don’t doubt the immense popularity of the sport across the country and seemingly across various demographics. It’s easily recognizable that the sport has now reached its zenith in terms of its popularity domestically. Now as the sport’s hierarchy seeks to further its presence on the global front. We’re led to believe that the sport can gain some further traction and resonance with a new-found fledgling of true budding NASCAR fans.

Juan Pablo Montoya of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing .

It has done its very best to lure the ever growing Hispanic market into the fray and with the popularity of Juan Pablo Montoya -his accessibility and the fact that he’s qualified for the final stages of the postseason. It bodes well for Brian France and Mike Helton , who oversee the sport under the NASCAR banner. And though it would be doing NASCAR a disservice in being critical of in their drive to lure fans of ethnicity and in particular the African American race within the sport. It’s been something of an uphill battle for the sport’s hierarchy thus far. They initially went about this haphazardly .Albeit , that they now have NFL star Randy Moss , who’s competing in NASCAR , as an owner in one of the lower echelons of the sport- the Truck Series. He’s had some semblance of success within the series and his fervor and passion for the sport hasn’t gone unabated. His Randy Moss Motorsports team has been at the forefront of NASCAR’s drive to lure the fans of color to the sport. And in particular those of the African American persuasion. And at the same time NASCAR also has its very own diversity program in place- which is proving to be something of a success .

NFL  star , Randy Moss (right)  and  business  partner , David  Dollar  of   Randy Moss  Motorsports Inc   pose  alongside  the #81  Moss  Motorsports   Chevrolet  during  the  announcement    of   his  vehicle's  entry  in  the  Craftsman  Truck  Series  .   The  venue  was  at   Daytona  International  Speedway  ,  Daytona  Beach , Florida,.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  getty images/  Geoff Burke ...................
NFL star , Randy Moss (right) and business partner,David Dollar of Randy Moss Motorsports Inc pose alongside the #81 Moss Motorsports Chevrolet during the announcement of his vehicle's entry in the Craftsman Truck Series . The venue was at Daytona International Speedway , Daytona Beach , Florida,. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Geoff Burke ...................

As I alluded to earlier NASCAR went about trying to lure the African American fans with about as much aplomb as as would be befitting a group that they’ve been oblivious to in recognizing their many contributions to the sport over the years. And it most certainly didn’t initially help their cause when the interest shown by former NBA star Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson was summarily brushed aside with their feigned interest in Johnson’s wish to enter the sport as an owner. Communications and PR wise it was an immense blunder on NASCAR’s part. But they’ve learnt from those mistakes and continues to do their utmost to make all fans welcome to the sport.

Randy Moss discusses his passion for NASCAR on ESPN‘s sports magazine program E:60.

As to NASCAR’s winding down to its regular season schedule and the upcoming postseason events. Well , there’s been about as much excitement created-as that of watching paint dry. Granted, the sport has its colorful cast of characters. But in all honesty , without its most popular Dale Earnhardt Jr not competing in the postseason. The ensuing events will create about as much excitement as watching a performance of Britney Spears or Ashlee Simpson lip syncing to one of their odious pop songs. The fans of the sport will no doubt tune in for the events as they take place and even in this dire economic climate. The faithful fans will turn out in some quantity to cheer on their very own. But as it’s been widely acknowledged that the sport has been seeing a decline in attendance for many of its events at the Sprint Cup level. The feeling is that some changes will have to be made with regard as to how NASCAR determines it champion in its highest echelon event. They’ve tinkered around with this system since its inception. And yet it has not been to everyone’s satisfaction. Though the drivers have seemingly remained mute on the topic. The fans for their part in general have accepted it up to a point. But there have been those who’ve voiced their displeasure as to the competitiveness and veracity of the system.

One has to  take  the  good , the  bad  and  the  ugly . O'Neal  and  James  auditioning  for  ' Dancing  With The Stars'  ......maybe .  Or  just getting  some  work  in  before  the  seriousness   starts  with  regard  to  the  upcoming   NBA  season.  It'll  be  make  or  break   for  both stars as   well   as  for the  Cavaliers'  organization.  They've   got  a  lot  riding  on the  success  of  the  duo.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Daniel   Garrard  .......................
One has to take the good , the bad and the ugly . O'Neal and James auditioning for ' Dancing With The Stars' ......maybe . Or just getting some work in before the seriousness starts with regard to the upcoming NBA season. It'll be make or break for both stars as well as for the Cavaliers' organization. They've got a lot riding on the success of the duo. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Daniel Garrard .......................

There was a case at one time, where one could state unequivocally that Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most dynamic athletes in the NBA. In his younger years the fifteen-time All Star was also viewed as a dominant and some might opine an athletic individual. Nowadays, that would most definitely be the furthest thing from the truth. O’Neal, never one not to allude to his own perceived greatness. In truth however, over the last five years , he’s been doing it all with smoking mirrors. OK, it’s agreed he’s won with Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. The latter of whom, made a much greater contribution in the Miami Heat‘s effort to win its only NBA championship-than O’Neal,, himself, is prepared to acknowledge. Granted ,he made the guarantee to the Heat’s fans that he’d secure them a championship. But having done so, he outstayed his welcome and inexplicably became something of a pariah amongst the fans and organization in Miami.

Shaquille O’Neal takes on the NFL’s Ben Roethlisberger and tries to prove his worth as a football player. Tonight’s episode of his show -you will get to see O’Neal go up against multi- Olympic champion swimmer , Michael Phelps in the pool.

After his sojourn with the Phoenix Suns, where his domicile with the team brought about some excitement amongst their fans. But added very little as to the team’s competitiveness and hopes of making the postseason. O’Neal now finds himself on his way to Cleveland to play alongside the ‘anointed one’ LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. And now there’s the added incentive for Shaq to play alongside James and guide this team to its first win of an NBA championship. It has to have been the primary reason that , the franchise’s owner, Dan Gilbert and GM Danny Ferry made the splash to acquire the player. With the clock ticking on James and his desire win a championship with the franchise . And the very fact that he’s not yet prepared to address his future with the team as to whether or not he’ll stay or pursue his career goals elsewhere. This season will be make or break for the Cavaliers-as well as for both ,LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal.

O’Neal in the ring with former world boxing champ Oscar De La Hoya.

Last season’s disappointment of being dispatched by the Dwight Howard led Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA postseason ,was a bitter pill to swallow for James and his teammates. And the thought is with the addition of O’Neal . It will be enough to put the team over the top. But much of that will be predicated upon O’Neal’s wish to be first, a team player and at the same time defer to James. Never-mind that O’Neal’s health and fitness will come into play. And even with his performances with the Suns having been somewhat lackluster. There is the strong belief that this may well be all the motivation he needs to prove the naysayers wrong as to his declining form and zeal for the game. But I for one wouldn’t bet on it. Shaq’s been mailing it in and the whole world knows it ! And the very fact of the matter is , he has been robbing several franchises blind with his antics and his lack of professionalism when it comes to the game !

LeBron James talks about his new teammate Shaquille O’Neal and the expectations ahead for the duo.

Now we’ve been regaled with his laughable efforts to prove that he’s an athlete who can perform at the highest levels in certain sporting endeavors. His ABC reality show ‘Shaq vs.’ is about as welcoming a respite as having teeth pulled without the use of novacaine. It’s embarrassing not only for O’Neal but also for the athletes participating in the facade. O’Neal as always , the consummate class clown but even the class clown eventually has to grow up and act with maturity. Something that O’Neal has failed to exude at this juncture. For the athletes such as Albert Pujols, Michael Phelps ,Oscar De La Hoya, Kerri Walsh and Ben Roethlisberger , amongst others. It may well have been fun to be around Shaq and to have participated in the concept. But in actuality unless they were very well compensated by ABC and the thought of raising their profile alongside Shaq was deemed to be necessary. The endeavor has been an entire waste of time. Was there anyone actually watching ? So much so , it’s understandable to me why ABC would want to place this piece of garbage on the network. It can remind us why , we are appreciative of real athletes who can consistently perform at the highest level. Shaquille O’Neal hasn’t done that in years . And that’s why when it comes to the silly season we’re asked to put up with more than the human condition can bare.