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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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Football, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, NFL, NFL Lockout, NFLPA, Sports, Sports Commentary, Stephen Ross, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Uncategorized

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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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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The Tipping Point ……………


The Tipping Point …………..

Once the Superbowl (SBXLV) wraps it will be interesting to see what comes about once the postseason ends . I’ve never placed much stock in the Pro Bowl which once again was held in Honolulu , Hawaii after last year’s rather idiotic experiment in having the game a week before last season’s Superbowl .

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Slide show for your perusal .

This NFL ___ season wasn’t one without controversy as we saw the return of Michael Vick to the grandest of stages as the player had something of a reawakening in his career. For the fans of the Philadelphia Eagles it was something of a surprise . They saw the rebirth of a player who after his incarceration many believed that he’d struggle but instead the player had something of an exceptional season as he lead the team into the postseason. They would come up short but it gave coach Andy Reid something to think about as he now has to make a choice between Vick and Kevin Kolb , whom Reid initiated would be the team’s starter during the preseason . Now the only thing that will be of concern to Reid is whether or not Vick will be re-signed to a long term contract and whether or not Kolb will remain as a member of this team .

Kolb’s performances during the season if anything were unimpressive and to my mind I think that it won’t be for the lack of trying but Kolb may well be traded by the Eagles. If the Philadelphia Eagles are to prevail this upcoming season , should there actually be an NFL season then this team will most definitely have to raise the level of their play. As good as they appeared to be it’s easy to take note that without the play of Vick this team wouldn’t not be where they were at the end of the season. Consistency was the key that the Eagles lacked and if anything this will be the thing that Reid and his staff will have to work on.

If ever there was a team that during the season you simply knew that after the idiocy that transpired both on and off the field you couldn’t wait see the train wreck that would be the aftermath. Mike and Kyle Shanahan simply led the Washington Redskins from one abyss into another. And for the fans in attendance at Fedex Field in Landover , Maryland what they saw throughout much of the season bordered on being a comedy of errors. Donovan McNabb the veteran quarterback was placed into an impossible situation with a team that was so poor and lacking in creativity on both sides of the ball.

At no time could anyone consider this Redskins’ team of being at all competitive and for Mike Shanahan who’s being paid a king’s ransom to resurrect the fortunes of the Washington Redskins it has to be said his first season was a poor one
by any stretch of the b imagination. And for Kyle Shanahan as the team’s offensive coordinator it has to be said that the experience he brought to the organization bore nothing on the field by way of the team’s competitiveness. Dan Snyder the team’s owner who’s not averse to spending money as a business owner has spent in excess of $70 million on managerial salaries since he assumed control of the Washington Redskins. And in that time he’s yet to see the fruits of that labor as the Redskins have simply been set adrift at sea in the midst of repeated tidal waves as they’ve floundered from season to season.

As an avid and passionate New England Patriots’ supporter I’ve got admit that for me their season was a complete disappointment and their loss in the divisional rounds of the playoffs to the New York Jets if anything proved to me how ill prepared the team and in particular Bill Belichick and the coaching staff were .

The failings in this Patriots’ team as such were too many to mention and it goes without saying that even with the post game apologies coming from Belichick and Tom Brady there was simply nothing there to truly indicate that the team and coaching staff went into the game with any real confidence against the New York Jets. From being the presumptive favorites to being kicked to the curb like a whimpering dog essentially summed up the Patriots’ season . Now it goes without saying that Belichick will no doubt look to strengthen the team by way of the upcoming NFL Draft . But herein lies the caveat are the Patriots still able to compete at the highest levels of the NFL ? Or is the team as such, one which now is one that’s simply now very good during the regular season but once the postseason
comes about they’re merely like a deer caught in headlights ? As of now I’m not so sure what the identity of the New England Patriots is meant to be ! I’m not totally at a loss for words but it has me wondering what’s next for the organization as a whole ?

I don’t think of it as being senseless but I’ve yet to see a real explanation as to why there has to be a franchise in the greater Los Angeles area . The city may well be the nation’s second largest advertising market but in reality if the calls from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and others calling for a return of the NFL is a valid one then I for one would like to know what proposals does the mayor himself have in order to enable this return ? It’s all well and good to be making proclamations but in all honesty when your city is running a $3.5 billion deficit and the state itself is so burdened with debt I’d like to know how he intends to as such pay for this all if there’s going to be a partnership between the public and private enterprise to make this come into being ? That’s the real problem with politicians who merely like to hog the spotlight and then make the most asinine of statements and that’s something that Villaraigosa simply knows how to do with immense regularity .

If it is Roger Goodell’s wish to bring an NFL franchise back to Los Angeles and it clearly is , then it won’t be something that will be happening anytime soon. As much we’ve heard rumblings of an imminent return to the area it appears that though the team owners are behind such a move they’ve made no apparent public statement wherein we’re being led to believe that such a move is imminent. The relocation of a team is quite possible but with there apparent talk that either the Jacksonville Jaguars or San Diego Chargers would be those teams — it doesn’t appear that the owners of those respective franchises have been forthcoming with regard to making a public statement on the issue. Neither Wayne Weaver of the Jaguars or Dean Spanos of the Chargers have been privee in letting the public know what their intentions ultimately will be.

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he cost of bringing a completely new franchise to the area, with a franchise fee and then a stadium could set a potential new owner back at least $1 billion and that’s clearly an obstacle than any potential new owner would look to assess before contemplating such a move. And while there are said to a number of parties looking to bring a franchise to the Los Angeles area at the culmination of this all may well be what input if any there’d be from the city’s government from a financial standpoint by way of inducements in terms of tax allowances and their cooperation in being a partner to any potential franchise owner. If that’s not clear from the start then the possibility of there being a franchise in Los Angeles might just be nothing more than wishful thinking at this point.

For you as an NFL fan what was as such has the main highlight of the season and with regard to there being the possibility of a new franchise in Los Angeles do you believe it to be feasible to bring a team to the city ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter.


Picture and slide show details

(1) Honolul , Hi ,. Michael Vick (7) of the NFC Philadelphia Eagles looks for an open receiver during the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 30, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii. NFC won 55-41 over the AFC. Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images ….

(2) Kevin Kolb (4) of the Philadelphia Eagles tries to avoid a sack from Anthony Spencer (93) of the Dallas Cowboys on January 2, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 14-13. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ….

(3) Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (center) of the Washington Redskins works on the sideline with quarterbacks Rex Grossman (8) and John Beck (3 )in the fourth quarter of a game against the New York Giants at FedEx Field on January 2, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. The Giants won the game 17-14 . Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images …….

(4) Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan makes a point with a referee in the fourth quarter of a game against the New York Giants at FedEx Field on January 2, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. The Giants won the game 17-14. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images ……

(5) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots looks on near the end of their 28-21 loss to the New York Jets in their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Elsa Martinez/Getty Images ……

(6) City of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Vilaraigosa seen here with a number of his political supporters and aides having recently been returned to office by the electorate in the city of Los Angeles , California . Villaraigosa is one of the major political proponents for seeing the return of an NFL franchise to city . He’s been short the substance behind his call but says that having a franchise back in the city will reinvigorate it economically. Alas, he doesn’t seem to know however, how to deal with the most acute of issues facing his city and that is one of a multi billion dollar budget deficit . Picture courtesy of Richard Meyer _________ copyrighted material ……..@ all rights reserved

NB: NFL News ……..

Alan aka tophatal ……………………….

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Delicia Cordon

Eye candy ….. Delicia Cordon

I’d pull up to her bumpers !
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Erykah Badu ………… “Window Seat"

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Give A Dog A Bone ………………….. But You Don’t Have To Beat The Dog With It


Give A Dog A Bone ………………….. But You Don’t Have To Beat The Dog With It

Well it had to happen ‘Chowder fans’ are now in mourning having seen the New England Patriots lay down like a dog that’s just been beaten half to death by Michael Vick . Only in this case it wasn’t Michael Vick doing the bludgeoning but the New York Jets led by Mark Sanchez and that fiery coach Rex Ryan .

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Slide show for your perusal .

For those of us who sat and watched what many may well have felt would be something of a lesson in how to close out this AFC divisional game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets . If anything what we saw was a gunshy and shell shocked Patriots’ team that simply had no answer for a thoroughly physical Jets’ team who simply came to the party fully ready to lay waste to the Patriots in their home venue Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts ,. And if you were under the impression that it was simply just the Patriots’ players who were ill prepared in this game then one had to wonder what was going on with the mindset of Bill Belichick and his coaching staff .

The game itself came down to a comedy of errors but more on the part of the Patriots and the sub standard play of Tom Brady and the offense . But to simply lay the blame soley on the offense would be remiss as the defense itself was simply left hanging in the wind as Jets’ offensive players , LaDainian Tomlinson , Shonn Greene , Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes had the best of their divisional rivals. Brady had what could be best described as the worse day of postseason career in the playoffs. He was laid bare by an offensive line who simply did nothing to protect him and to witness him being harried and hustled into making several mistakes in the game was like watching a rookie perform in his first postseason playoff game. Sacked five times during the game this was a day that Brady and the Pats’ fans like myself probably wished that there could be a do-over. But instead as we know when it comes to the postseason it’s simply one and done if you fail to make it the promise land .

This was to be the Jets’ day and rightfully so as Mark Sanchez led his team with authority and it augurs well for them now as they face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game . This 28-21 result if anything would give you the impression that this was a close game but in reality it simply was never that close to begin with . In large part it was simply one way traffic and that was evident throughout much of this game as New England was outplayed by the more eager Jets. And all of the smack talk over bragging rights that took place before the game now resonates even more and if anything it has cut like a dagger through the heart of the Patriots’ fans who may well have felt somewhat betrayed the team’s performance .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

As to what the future holds for the Patriots after this devastating loss it remains to be seen what Belichick and in particular the front office may well decide to do. Having posted a league leading 14-2 record those performances during the season. The season itself for the Patriots was filled a great many highs as well as lows but if anything the regular season is one thing what really counts as we all know is the postsason and the the quest for the Superbowl . That’s what all 32 teams within the NFL start their season on that inimatable quest for one of professiobnal sports most illustrious team prize.

Patriots’ owner Bob Kraft the front office must now know that if this team is to be thought of as a perennial contender for the Superbowl and it has become abundantly clear that Belichick was if anything complacent in the team’s preparation in the postseason. The thinking is that the New England Patriots are the ever consummate team of professionals but herein lies the problem with the Patriots they’ve been the dog that has uncanny habit of being simply annoying that you’re tempted give it a whack with a bone. And this divisional game against the Jets the Patriots got beaten with that bone so profusely that I seriously doubt that they’ll make a quick recovery from this painful onslaught !

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For the remaining teams the Chicago Bears , Green Bay Packers , New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers this postseason could be one to savor . So far we’ve been given a great deal of intrigue , suspense and thrills. There’s been surprises and shall we say one or two shocks ? Now all that’s left is to determine which team will be raising the Lombardi Trophy at Cowboys Stadium in early February .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the the divisional games this past weekend and what if any were your thoughts on the performances of both the New York Jets and New England Patriots ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this topic and the upcoming games .

Alan aka tophatal …………………………

Picture gallery and slide show details

(1) New England Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty speaks with the media while cleaning out his locker at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Monday, Jan. 17, 2011. The New York Jets defeated the New England Patriots, 28-21 in the AFC divisional playoff game Sunday. AP Photo/Stew Milne …….

(2) New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez ties trash bags filled the belongings from his locker while cleaning it out Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The New York Jets defeated the New England Patriots, 28-21 in the AFC divisional playoff game Sunday. AP Photo/Stew Milne ……

(3)Foxboro , Ma,. Drew Coleman (30) of the New York Jets tackles Wes Welker (83) of the New England Patriots during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Elsa Martinez /Getty Images ….

(4) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick answers questions from the media during a news conference Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The New York Jets defeated the Patriots 28-21 in an AFC divisional playoff game Sunday. AP Photo/Stew Milne ……..

(5) New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, center, reacts near the end of the Jets’ 28-21 win over the New England Patriots in NFL divisional playoff football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Winslow Townson …….

(6) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots looks on near the end of their 28 to 21 loss to the New York Jets in their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa Martinez /Getty Images ………

(7) Braylon Edwards (17) and Santonio Holmes (10) of the New York Jets celebrate on their way to defeating the New England Patriots 28 to 21 victory over the New England Patriots during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……

[8] Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots and Mark Sanchez (6) of the New York Jets walk off the field after the Jets defeated the Patriots 28 to 21 their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images ………

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Jazz ingenue Esperanza Spalding ……. “She Got To You”

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AFC East, Dallas Cowboys, Football, New England Patriots, NFL, Sports

All Things Must Come To An End ! Even The Good Ones ……….


All Things Must Come To An End ! Even The Good Ones ……….

All good things come to and end it’d appear that calmer heads ruled the day as Jerry Jones made the decision to fire his much maligned incumbent head coach Wade Phillips. At 1-7 one might ask why it took Jones so long to come to a decision where clearly it was evident that Phillips had lost control of a Dallas Cowboys’ team that had for all sense and purpose was “mailing it in”. Highly overpaid athletes who as such couldn’t strap it all on and play hard for 60 minutes. I’ve often heard it said that NFL players are tough and some of the best athletes on the planet. Pardon me for saying this if the Cowboys are meant to be the basis for that argument then I feel everyone who subscribes to that premise really needs to pull their head out of their ass. This current Cowboys’ team couldn’t match the tenacity of teams past who wore a Cowboys jersey with pride. What we’re now witnessing are a bunch of high priced primadona players. As for Phillips his sacrifice was to fall on the sword without Jones being prepared to accept responsibility for this gaffe and the team’s fall from grace.

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Slide-show for your perusal.

Jerry Jones believes that the team can somehow rebound and play with a great deal of pride. Phillips’ offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will now become the interim coach of the team and he’ll be assessed by Jones as to whether or not he’ll become Wade Phillips’ successor. From my own perspective this might just be the only appropriate thing that Jones can do while he gauges the interests of former coaches Jon Gruden , Bill Cowher and quite possibly from the college ranks Mark Dantonio , Chip Kelly , Gene Chizik , Les Miles and quite possibly Jim Harbaugh of Stanford . Though from what we all know of Jones it’s highly unlikely that he’d be willing to hire a coach from the college ranks unless he knows that he won’t have to acquiesce any power whatsoever to his new hire.

Jason Garrett was originally meant to be their heir apparent to Phillips and while his title was in essence the team’s offensive coordinator he had also been assigned the title of assistant head coach. Collectively however, I do think that while much of the blame lays squarely on the shoulders of Wade Phillips and Jerry Jones , I do feel that Garrett simply has shown that as a coordinator and assistant coach he’s simply brought nothing at all to the table. This team lacks leadership, accountability but overall the Cowboys lack complete purpose and the will to win !. And given the inept display by the team in their 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers it’s easy to see why the Dallas Cowboys have become one of the biggest jokes of the NFL season. Other than the hapless 0-7 ___ Buffalo Bills has there been a more maligned team and none sensical story of this NFL season ? Granted we’ve had so many idiotic prognostications as to why the Cowboys ought to have been viewed as a preseason favorite for the Superbowl . I must’ve missed something here because this is the same Dallas Cowboys’ team that hadn’t won a playoff game in over decade and whose presence last year in the playoffs lasted almost as long as a sobriety rehab stay of Lindsay Lohan. Mauled and manhandled by the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC divisional playoff game it is easy to understand the reason why I personally think that this team is vastly overrated !

How in God’s name can a 6-1 team look so inept in every facet of an NFL game ? Given the premise that the New England Patriots were now being viewed as the best team in the AFC record wise. It was clear that they were going to be in for a rude awakening . And that came about in the Patriots’ humiliating 34-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns where former Patriots’ offensive coordinator , now coach of the Browns Eric Mangini and his coaching staff out-coached Bill Belichick . If the postgame interview and statement by Belichick was anything to go by then it’s clear that the Patriots’ coach in his own naivete took the Browns far too lightly. The New England Patriots were outplayed in every facet of the game and defensively this team still has its flaws , as they were continually exposed in the team’s pass and run defense. And if that wasn’t enough Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense were so inept that it is inconceivable that they actually ended up scoring fourteen points in this game. To top it all , Browns’ quarterback Colt McCoy had what might have been the best performance of his career in the NFL since his entrance, leading his team with a great deal of aplomb. Assisting him in that endeavor also was his teammate Peyton Hillis who racked up 184 yards on 29 carries , scoring 2 TD’s (avg 6.34 yards per carry). And if that wasn’t cause for concern it’s clear that this Patriots’ defense has a long way to go if the ambitions of Belichick are to be met in his aim to win a fourth Superbowl championship as a coach joining former Steelers’ coach Chuck Noll as the only four time winning Superbowl coach of the modern era in the NFL.

Within the AFC East the division has become something of a competitive one and it can no longer be viewed as the Patriots’ domain . Rex Ryan and the New York Jets have now become a welcome foe for the Patriots and with a rejuvenated and always forceful Miami Dolphins now looking for some semblance of respect from their divisional rivals as well as the rest of the teams within the AFC. It has to be said that whoever makes it out of the division as its divisional champion will be considered to be one of the favorites within the AFC for the Superbowl 45 (SBXLV).

If the Patriots are to get back on track then their next game against conference opponents the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh this upcoming Sunday will be a stern test of their resolve. They’ll be meeting a Steelers’ team having hit its stride and playing some of the best football in the league on both sides of the ball. Ben Roethlisberger having returned from his four game NFL mandated suspension has been guiding the team as its signal caller and with Troy Polamalu and Rashard Mendenhall having banner seasons it has to be said that this will be a tall order that is being asked of the Patriots to rebound from their loss to the Cleveland Browns. Mike Tomlin will have his team prepared to face whatever Bill Belichick has to throw at him strategically . This may well be one of the better games on offer in Week 10 of the NFL and it could go a long way in determining whether or not the Patriots are “for real” and whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers are capable of making another return to the Superbowl in chasing down what would be their quest for a seventh Lombardi Trophy triumph.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the decision of Jerry Jones to fire his coach ? Do you feel that it was a knee jerk reaction on his part and do you feel that under interim coach Jason Garrett the team will fare any better ? With regard to the New England Patriots do you feel that the team will be able to rebound from their rather inexplicable loss to the Cleveland Browns and some defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers this upcoming weekend ? Simply chime on with a comment on the issues raised within this piece and any other NFL story that was of interest to you this past weekend. Thanks as always for your continued support as it has always been appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………… 🙂

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Ali Milan

Eye candy Ali Milan . I’d definitely lick her ta-ta’s and other jiggly bits !

Baseball, Basketball, Florida Marlins, Football, MLB, NBA, New England Patriots, NFL, San Antonio Spurs, Sports

Ooh Child Things Are Gonna Get Easier ,Ooh Child They’re Gonna Get Brighter , Gotta’ Keep Your Head Up .. !



Little somethin for my godson Elijah and a little girl named Kerim

Some say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots
I give a holler to my sisters on welfare
Tupac cares, if don’t nobody else care
And uhh, I know they like to beat ya down a lot
When you come around the block brothas clown a lot
But please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up
Forgive but don’t forget, girl keep your head up”

Lyrics to the song ‘Gotta Keep Your Head Up’ by Tupac Shakur

Now it goes without saying that the year 2009 has to have been one of great joy and no doubt costing us a great deal of heartache as it came to comings and goings of our team or teams , as the case maybe. Well, most certainly for me it was. Although I’m still pinning my hopes that the New England Patriots can acquit themselves well in the upcoming NFL playoffs. If not then , I guess that I’ll just have to deal with it. Fear not, I won’t be committing suicide or anything near as drastic as that. I’m more liable to drown my sorrows with a bottle of alcohol and reminisce as to what went right my teams and what indeed went wrong. Only then, will I have a really clear picture as to why things unraveled so, for my teams.

New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) picks up yardages after pulling in a Tom Brady pass as he is hit by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox (21) during the first quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday afternoon, Dec. 27, 2009.
New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) picks up yardages after pulling in a Tom Brady pass as he is hit by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox (21) during the first quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday afternoon, Dec. 27, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Stephan Savoia ................

In the NFL as many of you will no doubt be aware I’m an avid follower and supporter of the New England Patriots. Call me any of the following adjectives if you must, stupid , naive , crazy. I’ll be able to take it. It’s what we Brits do best but not always , as I’m not your typical soft spoken Englishman. I may well have been born on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and a subject of Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. But that’s as far as it goes with regard to my British background. As my ancestry is steeped in the traditions of the Caribbean and its islands. Both of my parents are natives of Jamaica . And for the younger part of youth, I initially lived there for the better part of 7 years.

Jamaica’s ‘greatest musical ambassador and export’ to the culture of the world. Bob Marley and his iconic group ‘The Wailers’ . Here they’re seen performing one of their biggest international hits ‘ Natural Mystic’. As a youngster I must admit that I went through the phase of mysticism and the Rastafarian faith and culture. Ever in search of something meaningful to life. Something that I still adhere to, today. ‘Jah , Rasta far I’ !

At the age of ten I returned to the United Kingdom with my younger brother to finish my formal education in Britain. My sister remained behind , living with my maternal grandmother for the next six years , before she too would join me , my younger brother ,father and mother in our home. Those years apart from my sister brought the siblings closer together as we advanced into adulthood. And for good reason, as it meant as a familial unit we could come to rely on each other when there was in fact a great problem. None perhaps more so , than when my father decided to up and leave his family to be with ‘his mistress’. What ensued from there made and the family and I ,a much closer unit than I could ever have imagined. No father there as a guide, for me and my brother . And no father figure as such , for my sister to dote on. Needless to say, it was our mother who ended up filling both of the roles, any child accustomed to having both parents around would need. And she fulfilled those obligations admirably.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and New England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss (81) hug after Moss caught a Brady first-quarter touchdown pass during an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday afternoon, Dec. 27, 2009
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and New England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss (81) hug after Moss caught a Brady first-quarter touchdown pass during an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday afternoon, Dec. 27, 2009 . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo / Stephan Savoia ......

At (10-5) with the lone game remaining against the Houston Texans, this upcoming Sunday (Week 17). The team can take flight in knowing that it has already sown up the AFC East division, having garnered a wild-card berth in the playoffs. But this ought to be not a great deal to shout about for this Bill Belichick coached team. As their form as late, can be best described as erratic. From one game to the next you just can’t be sure which Patriots’ team will turn up. The one that exudes confidence and at times has played like champions. Or the one that for some lame ass reason tends to stoop to the level of a lesser opponent and who in the end comes off looking like a fraud. That’s the dilemma that I, as a Pats’ fan sees before me. Whether or not those views shared by other Patriots’ fans , I cannot be all that sure . But in all likelihood I know that there are some of us out there who are very much concerned with the unevenness of the team’s play throughout much of this season. I can only hope for their sake and that of the fans the ship is righted before it sets sail into the playoff against its first round opponent !

Admittedly two greats of the game the legendary Bill Russell and the Spurs’ Tim Duncan sit down for an chat about their personal observations of the game.

As Tim Duncan gets older, the more cerebral he becomes as a player. He may well be that one or two steps slower but he more than makes up for it with his more than agile basketball IQ. If there’s a better player in the NBA at present playing the position of that ‘power forward’ and hybrid center’ , then by all means name him and make sure that you’ve got the facts to back up the veracity of your argument. The San Antonio Spurs may not be the dominant force it once was but they’re still a team to be reckoned with. And in Gregg Popovich , they still possess one of the more astute and well rounded coaches in all of the NBA. Other than Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers, Popovich is the only coach in the league to have won multiple titles posted on their career resume’ as a coach. It paints in stark contrast as to what has happened in the rest of the NBA. Long tenured coaches in the NBA nowadays, is now becoming something of a rarity , with the exception of Jackson , Popovich and Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz. A very select and rare breed indeed !

San Antonio, Tx,. December 29th ,2009. Richard Jefferson (#24) of the San Antonio Spurs drives to the basket against Damien Wilkins (#3) of the Minnesota Timberwolves in a  game played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. picture appears  courtesy  of  NBAE/ Getty  Images/  D. Clark  Evans  ....
San Antonio, Tx,. December 29th ,2009. Richard Jefferson (#24) of the San Antonio Spurs drives to the basket against Damien Wilkins (#3) of the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ D. Clark Evans ....

This season I expect the Spurs to contend within their division and the Southwest Division of the Western Conference may well be the most competitive in all of the NBA. It is now stacked with teams from top to bottom that possess a great deal of talent. And in all likelihood it will take something of a dog fight for more than one if not two or more teams from the division to make the playoffs. The Dallas Mavericks, Spurs , Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets and now a resurgent Memphis Grizzlies are all looking to stake their claim that they are indeed playoff material and NBA championship contenders. And of the teams within the division , the Spurs are the lone winners of an NBA championship. As a matter of that they’re the only multiple winners of a championship outside of the Lakers within the Western Conference. And as of now , the Mavericks’ owner, Mark Cuban will do whatever it takes to make that a reality for his team to land its first NBA championship. He’s become the George Steinbrenner of the NBA but with a much more odious personality. Brash and outspoken, Cuban doesn’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks of him , just as long his name is in the spotlight. And for NBA commissioner , David Stern that has become a bone of contention. Especially given Cuban’s constant criticism of the league and its game officials.

The Los Angeles Lakers are quite rightly deemed the team to beat in the Western Conference. And as the defending champions that’s where everyone will take aim. But with the now confidence enriched Lakers and that of their All Star guard and regular and NBA Finals’ MVP in Kobe Bryant looking to repeat as champions. I do believe that things will be considerably more difficult for not only the San Antonio Spurs in derailing the aspirations of Bryant and his teammates. But it’ll also be the same for the entire NBA. And that is with due respect to the likes of the Eastern Conference’s Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks. As the only way to derail the Lakers at this juncture, would be if someone were to pass on a communicable and deadly bacterial form of a disease unto Kobe Bryant. Now don’t get any ideas out there as this would be deemed a felony, punishable by a several years in prison , if found guilty. Think about it , do you really hate Kobe Bryant and the Lakers that much ?

Hanley  Ramirez  seen here  at  the plate   for  the  Florida  Marlins  in an  NL  game   played at  Dolphin  Stadium  ,  Miami ,  Florida.   picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/ Alex Bustamante  ...................
Hanley Ramirez seen here at the plate for the Florida Marlins in an NL game played at Dolphin Stadium , Miami , Florida. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Alex Bustamante ...................


If you drink it and it doesn’t kill you, then you’re fine. That’s how it is with myself and the Florida Marlins. I wasn’t tempted by Eve to bite of the forbidden fruit, or in this case drank of the wine that is the Marlins. In MLB , what you see is what you get with a vast array of the teams. The Florida Marlins aren’t glamorous but they are by no means the poor man’s Donald Trump. They’re mid tier to low market team who just happens to reside in one of the top 25 ad markets in the US and that’s it. Any appearance of grandeur is lost on the franchise. Their owner Jeffrey Loria , though a billionaire several times over is essentially a spend thrift. And anyone who knows of his previous exploits as major league baseball owner with the ‘now defunct’ Montreal Expos , should know exactly what I’m talking about. ‘Shout-outs’ to my man mceezy, over at doin-work.com It’d appear that’s something that he’s not accustomed to doing when it comes to an in depth research on an issue.

Dan Uggla congratulates teammate Jorge Cantu on his home run hit during the spring training game played against the New York Mets. New York would go on to win the game 5-4 in a game played in Port St Lucie , Florida. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Alex Bustamante ....................
Dan Uggla congratulates teammate Jorge Cantu on his home run hit during the spring training game played against the New York Mets. New York would go on to win the game 5-4 in a game played in Port St Lucie , Florida. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Alex Bustamante ....................

In the NL East the pecking order now appears to be the Philadelphia Phillies and everyone else in no discerning order, with the exception of the moribund Washington Nationals. They’re now beginning to make competitiveness within baseball seem like an all ‘too dirty word’. With the continued mediocrity of the Pittsburgh Pirates , Kansas City Royals and the Washington Nationals. Major League Baseball can now be happy that it has its own trifecta of piss poor major league teams. And for God’s sake please don’t bring up the use of the word prospects as the rationale behind the ineptitude. That argument has now become mute, archaic and completely devoid as to its veracity. If only we had someone within the upper echelons of baseball’s hierarchy to figure this all out ? But unfortunately baseball Commissioner, Bud Selig is too busy counting his salary from 2008 and that was an estimated $17.5 million for that year alone. What the fu_k ? Not even Steve Ballmer , the CEO of Microsoft pulls down that sort of cash each year. And we all know how big Microsoft is as a company , don’t we ? And people question my resolve when I say that there’s indeed a financial imbalance within the game of baseball. Well look no further than Bud Selig , to see one of the ‘biggest miscreants and frauds’ within the entire game.

Marlins'  manager   Fredi  Gonzalez (left)  seen  here  alongside   his   All  Star  slugger   ,  Hanley   Ramirez   in  the  dugout   of   NL  game .     picture appears  courtesy   of  Miami   Herald  / ap/photo/  Hector  Barroso   ............
Marlins' manager Fredi Gonzalez (left) seen here alongside his All Star slugger , Hanley Ramirez in the dugout of NL game . picture appears courtesy of Miami Herald / ap/photo/ Hector Barroso ............


As I alluded to earlier the pecking order within the NL East is he Philles and everyone else thereof. We have free wheeling , dealing and exorbitant spending New York Mets, the Washington Nationals , the Atlanta Braves and last but not least the Florida Marlins. And for Marlins’ manager, Fredi Gonzalez , each year that he has this team remaining competitive. Then each year that it is, he also gains more experience and no doubt the confidence of his players as a team.


The Marlins, albeit that they’re very much a young team they do possess on their roster several bright and up and coming players who’ve essentially taken the opportunity given to them and have begun to prove themselves. Add in the fact that they also have one of the most ferociously talented players in all of baseball in, Hanley Ramirez. And you can well understand why it is I am excited to see this team on the baseball diamond. Ramirez’s presence only adds to the confidence of the team overall and his teammates feed off that confidence. This team can contend with the likes of the Mets and Phillies , if they apply themselves to the task at hand. But it’d be easy to overlook the team’s frailties as well. And that comes in the lack of real consistent every day pitching from the rotation. As good as I and many others may well deem it to be. I’d be remiss to think that they all have to do is to rely on the offensive presence of the likes of Ramirez, Jorge Cantu , Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin , Cody Ross and Emilio Bonifacio to see them through each game. It has to be a collective effort all round . And it has to be done with regularity on a day in, day out basis. That’s what separates the good teams from the bad teams and the bad teams from the woefully inept. Consistency has always paid dividends and that is what the Florida Marlins must now strive for . In time everything else falls into place.

Renowned art   collector ,  business  entrepreneur and Florida Marlins'  owner   Jeffrey  Loria .    The owner  while  harboring   his   delight  in  knowing that   finally  the  ball   club  will  have  its  own   state  of the  art  venue  to  call  their   very  own.  Loria   has been  less  than   fortright as  to the  financial  obligation the   organization  is  willing  to  incur  in  order  to  get  the   stadium  built.   picture  appears    courtesy  of  Damian  Chiapa       copyrighted   material   @  All   rights   reserved  ...................
Renowned art collector , business entrepreneur and Florida Marlins' owner Jeffrey Loria . The owner while harboring his delight in knowing that finally the ball club will have its own state of the art venue to call their very own. Loria has been less than fortright as to the financial obligation the organization is willing to incur in order to get the stadium built. picture appears courtesy of Damian Chiapa copyrighted material @ All rights reserved ...................


I have been lucky enough to witness this ball-club win two World Series championships in the very first decade of their existence. And there’s not that many major professional sports franchises that one can actually say that about , in this modern era. But more is the pity that the game itself can’t be played on an even footing . It might perhaps further the allure of the game instead of detracting from it .

Financial nuances asides the tumult that has beset the Florida Marlins being the only major league franchise to call its own home venue. The franchise only derives of its revenues through concessions and souvenir sales at Landshark Stadium Stadium.(formerly Dolphins Stadium- owned by the Miami Dolphins of the NFL) Much of this asinine juxtaposition comes from the lack forthright action by Bud Selig’s office and none commitment of Marlins’ owner in making a full financial obligation in getting a new stadium built. Since they’re coming into inception the Marlins have continued to play in the same venue. Here you can the political grandstanding by all parties involved. Herein the Miami City Commission.


These are but my thoughts and feelings to three major professional sports franchises that I for one wholeheartedly support in good and bad times. And I’m not one sugar coat my feelings about them when I know that their fortunes are heading towards the outhouse. As is my right I’ll be openly critical of ownership on down. I’ve a vested interest in seeing them do well, rather than seeing them being proverbially being used as a fire hydrant for every canine that wants to urinate on them. And that’s something that some fans would rather not question about the teams that they support. Instead they sit around and play the optimist. What use is that when you’re continually being sold a ‘bill of goods’ that offers nothing tangible in return ?


In good times as with the bad maybe the only thing as a supporter you can do …..”is just to keep your head up ’cause things are gonna get easier and things are get brighter” .

Tupac Shakur’s rendition of his seminal hit, ‘Keep Your Head Up’

NB: Click here to read the entitled piece ‘If We Build It They Will Come’. The piece deals with the politicking , the in fighting and all of the intrigue of the vested parties that looked to finalize the building of a venue for the Florida Marlins.

🙂

Bill Belichick, Football, Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, NFL, Sports

Odious , Simply , Bloody, Marvelous …..


I don’t know whether or not to laugh or cry at this juncture. But suffice to say that the NFL lived up to its appeal of ‘anything can happen on any given Sunday’. Oh my God, that’s an Oliver Stone ‘movie’. No conspiracy theorists here however. Alas, the New England Patriots are finally showing signs of life but I sincerely doubt that it’ll be enough to sustain them throughout the playoffs. As a divisional winner they’re guaranteed a wild card berth. And as good as this team was perceived to be, they are nowhere near as good as the teams of old.

Foxboro , Ma,. December 27th 2009. Tom Brady (#12) of the New England Patriots celebrates with Kevin Faulk (#33) after Brady threw a second touchdown pass to Randy Moss against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Foxboro , Ma,. December 27th 2009. Tom Brady (#12) of the New England Patriots celebrates with Kevin Faulk (#33) after Brady threw a second touchdown pass to Randy Moss against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Simply put ,Bill Belichick is trying to plug holes into ill fitting pieces of a jig saw puzzle that in effect is still missing several much needed pieces. That has definitely got to be the case concerning the defense and how inexplicably inconsistent they’ve been this season. The Patriots had the pleasure of having their way with the Jacksonville Jaguars. And here’s a team that one now has to wonder how long their owner, Wayne Weaver , can continue to put up with Jack Del Rio as the team’s coach ? It’s safe to say that the cries …..’we want Timmy , we want Tim Tebow‘ won’t be enough to save Del Rio from the impending fall of the axe across his neck. Let the bloodletting begin. At this juncture it’ll be left to Weaver and the rest of the Jaguars’ hierarchy as to the final decision that will be made.

Foxboro, Ma- December 27th:  Sammy Morris (#34) of the New England Patriots gains yards against the defense Anthony Smith (#20) and Reggie Nelson (#25) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Foxboro, Ma- December 27th: Sammy Morris (#34) of the New England Patriots gains yards against the defense Anthony Smith (#20) and Reggie Nelson (#25) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

The Patriots for their part are beginning to show ever growing cracks in that once invincible armor and it certainly hasn’t helped that Tom Brady hasn’t been playing up to his own lofty standards. But then again when watching Brady at his best , you realize how good he really is and why it is that the organization has been so successful. And much of that had a great deal to do with the insight of former GM, Scott Pioli , who now ply his trade as the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. And one would hope that the relationship between Pioli and Chiefs’ coach, Todd Haley won’t be as testy and icy ,as it was rumored to be between Belichick and Pioli towards the end of the general manager’s tenure with the New England Patriots.

David Garrard (#9 ) of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks for an open man against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 35-7.
David Garrard (#9 ) of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks for an open man against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 35-7.

Courtesy of the Patriots Journal

Patriots Journal: To rest or not? That was the question to Belichick

By Shalise Manza Young , Journal Sports Writer

Foxboro-Mass,. — Bill Belichick has a philosophy on whether to rest some of his key players for this Sunday’s regular-season finale, and it’s a rather familiar one:

“I do what’s best for our football team. That’s my philosophy,” he said Monday.

That was pretty much all Belichick would say in his late-morning news conference about how he’ll approach personnel decisions for the game against the Texans.

He added that he had not yet made any decisions, as he and his coaching staff had just wrapped up their review of New England’s win over Jacksonville.

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Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches the final minutes of action against the Jacksonville Jaguars after a Patriots' 35-7 win at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches the final minutes of action against the Jacksonville Jaguars after a Patriots' 35-7 win at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Sunday’s game between these two AFC representatives show why the teams are heading in opposite directions. New England sits atop of the AFC East with a 10-5 record and are assured of winning their seventh AFC East crown in the last nine years. The Kansas City Chiefs for their part are in the San Diego Chargers’ dominated AFC West. Where if you get two competitive games between the contestants within the division you’re bound to be crying ‘foul’ . So god-damn awful is that division , that I continually ask myself why are there games scheduled between the occupants to begin with ? Because I know for damn sure that no one from the NFL’s hierarchy will be willing to give me or the fans a legitimate straight forward answer as to how bad the division really is.

 Randy Moss (#81)  of the New England Patriots reacts on the sideline after he caught his third touchdown pass of the day against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Randy Moss (#81) of the New England Patriots reacts on the sideline after he caught his third touchdown pass of the day against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

And it’s now pretty much safe to say that the Chiefs (3-12) will be fighting it out amongst themselves with the lowly Detroit Lions (2-13) and St Louis Rams (1-14) for the privilege of obtaining the number one draft pick in the NFL Draft of 2010. Oh to be a fly on the wall in the war rooms of those particular organizations. Suffice to say, things cannot get any worse than they are now. Absolutely not, well at least I’d like to think so !

 Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots shakes hands with Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars after a Patriots' 35-7 win at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots shakes hands with Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars after a Patriots' 35-7 win at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

New England had their way the Jaguars, rolling them over on their way to an emphatic 35-7 win at Gillette Stadium , Foxboro, Massachusetts, on Sunday afternoon. For the Patriots’ this was a welcome win on a cold and blustery day.
At best the Patriots can end up with an 11-5 record at the end of the season ,garnering them the number four seed in the AFC. As an avid Patriots’ fan I’m hoping that it’ll be enough whereby they can use their playoff experience to acquit themselves well this postseason. If they can hit a rich vein of form over the ensuing weeks however, there’s no reason to believe that they can’t upset the apple cart and throw a ‘monkey wrench’ into the ambitions of the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals who are ahead of them in the NFL’s AFC seedings.

 Randy Moss (#81) of the New England Patriots catches his third touchdown pass of the day against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Randy Moss (#81) of the New England Patriots catches his third touchdown pass of the day against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

I know the limitations of the Patriots but I’m also fully aware as to what they’re capable of doing when they actually set their minds to it. The problem being is that will the team collectively be in unison when they’re needed to be at their very best ? If not then this postseason could end as swiftly for them as a sudden cold Nor’easter has been known to suddenly envelope the New England area. And that as we know is never a pleasant thing to begin with. In other words it can be odious but yet it can also be simply bloody marvelous. It just matters whether or not you’re on the receiving end of it all ?

NB: All pictures herein, appears courtesy of either AP/Photos or Getty Images

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