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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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 Story Itself Says A Lot About The Player …………


The Story Itself Says A Lot About The Player

As feats go, the milestone of Derek Jeter approaching the 3,000 hit plateau to become the New York Yankees alltime hits’ leader would suggest that the players’ legacy is set. If nothing else the perennial All Star seems well on the way to becoming a first time ballot Hall of Famer . There has been nothing to suggest that Jeter’s name has been tinged by any major controversy relating the steroid era or anything else for that matter. He has seen this organization through its highs and lows over the course of his fifteen year in Major League Baseball . And while the New York Yankees seem set to write their own history this season by looking to dominate the competition within the AL East . It bodes well for the Yankees’ fans that the team’s captain is still as determined as ever to win . Jeter has led by example and his teammates seem determined to follow and not let their leader down.

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Last season would suggest that the player has something of down year in terms of his productivity for the team . There have been a number of issues concerning the team this season those questions arise around the Yankees’ pitchig which is and has been very suspect this season . A J Burnett , CC Sabathia are appear to the only reliable pitchers on the roster and one would suspect that over the course of the season they will become all the more dependent upon their middle relief pitchers and closer <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=121250&quot; Mariano Rivera .
That being said it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see GM Brian Cashman make a mad rush to acquire a highly sought after player merely as a rent deal until the end of the season and beyond should the Yankees be in with a sniff of making the postseason.

And no doubt while the eyes of the baseball world are on Jeter as he looks to pass another historical plateau in the game it has to be said were it anyone else not named Jeter I seriously doubt that the interest in the achievement would be there ! In this era where the game of baseball has simply been accompanied by the misdeeds of a number of players through their prolific misuse of steroids and other illicit substances the game has become tainted and some might say even lacking in appeal. Granted , fans are still cheering on their teams but look at the situation around the entire league at present . The undue burden of a slack economy has led to lower attendance for a number of teams around the league , never mind the financial mismanagement by owners of their respective teams . The game needs a real pick me up and it appears that the closer Derek Jeter gets to this feat the more eager we all are to see him accomplish that hallowed achievement . Say what you will were this Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez on the cusp of attaining 3,000 hits , I seriously doubt that the vast majority of us would be at all be interested in the accomplishment . Such has been the disdain for both players and their actions over the course of their respective careers that it’s great to know that the game still has its real heroes !

While Jeter has been lucky enough to play his entire career with the Bronx Bombers and serving them well over the course of his career. One has to ask even with his abilities would he still have succeeded and reached the height he has achieved were he playing for a lesser team ? Fate has a way of dealing an individual certain things and then what you make of what elements dealt to you in one way or another can denote whether or not you will succeed within that environment. Ability alone but also being around like minded individuals who share a common purpose can also be of great assistance in ascertaining that will to succeed . I do believe that in the case of Jeter he would have succeeded be it with the New York Yankees or St Louis Cardinals in approaching this feat . On the other hand however , in the case of winning multiple World Series titles I think that would simply be open to discussion and a great deal of conjecture !

At present Derek Jeter having amassed 2,990 hits, he is now but ten hits away from reaching 3,000 and becoming the 28th player in league history to attain that historical feat. This record I do believe has become a bench mark within the game along with Cy Young’s 511 wins which will never be reached in the modern era of the game . The single season and all time home run records though still recognized are tainted and that has been the misnomer now within the game as baseball’s hierarchy simply hasn’t the gusto to do what many believe to be morally right and have those records stricken from the books. But then again what would you expect from a league hierarchy led by a bumbling oaf to begin with ? MLB Commissioner Bud Selig simply has become a lap dog for the team owners and someone how cowers in the corner like a scared child the moment the MLBPA stomps its feet !

In all likelihood Derek Jeter will reach this landmark in any of the upcoming series on the New York Yankees schedule during the month of June . The team has a four game series against the Cleveland Indians starting the 10th June before embarking on a three game series against the Texas Rangers . There’s a distinct possibility that the ten hits needed could be attained over the course of these two consecutive series. If not , then Jeter has a chance of accomplishing the feat against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field during an intra league game. But the thought that the player could very well reach the 3,000 hit plateau at Yankees Stadium would indeed be something special in front of a raucous crowd and most notably his immediate family and friends . Especially were the feat to be achieved d in either of the aforementioned series against the Indians or Rangers for that matter .

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Given the era that we are now in with regard to baseball how do you view the achievement of Derek Jeter reaching the plateau of 3,000 hits within the game ? And what thoughts if any do you have with regards to the single season and all time home run records achieved by Barry Bonds ? Simply chime in with your thoughts as you see fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New York Yankees’ CC Sabathia hands the ball to manager Joe Girardi while leaving the game during the seventh inning of a baseball game at against the Boston Red Sox Friday, June 10, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ….

(2) David Ortiz (34) of the Boston Red Sox crosses to score on a Jed Lowrie (12) triple in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees on June 9, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images …..

(3) Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees celebrates scoring with teammate Curtis Granderson (14) after Granderson’s home run in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox on June 9, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty …….

(4) New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter hits an RBI double in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Wednesday, June 8, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ….

(5) Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees gets the force out against J.D. Drew (7) of the Boston Red Sox during their game on June 8, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……

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It Seems To Be A Sign Of The Times …… Good Quality Coaches Could Soon Become A Thing Of The Past ….. Have You Looked At The NBA Lately ?


It Seems To Be A Sign Of The Times …… Good Quality Coaches Could Soon Become
A Thing Of The Past ….. Have You Looked At The NBA Lately ?

As the postseason of the NBA continues with the Finals now in place between the Eastern and Conference representative the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks . And for the first time in three years we will have a coach raise the Larry O’Brien trophy whose name will not be Doc Rivers or Phil Jackson . The two contending coaches in the 2011 NBA Finals are Rick Carlisle of the Mavericks and Erik Spoelstra of the Heat. With the retirement of Phil Jackson there are now only two active coaches in the NBA to have won a title of which Rivers is one and the other being the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich a four time NBA champion winning coach as well as a recipient of the Coach of The Year Award .

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It seems inconceivable to an extent that in this day of age that we’re told is parity in a number of sports but there are certainties that we tend to know will remain as is . Dynasties aren’t necessarily a thing of the past but I do feel that the talent level within a number of professional sports has dropped off somewhat but to my mind the most troubling thing is the lack of truly talented coaches within the professional ranks . I think that is particularly true within the NBA , most certainly the NFL and definitely within MLB . Each season we’re led to believe that the drafts within MLB , NBA and NFL is literally filled with exceptional talent and it merely is a matter of being prudent in assessing players . Given the fact that these drafts are usually a hit or miss endeavor and the fact that a large financial investment is tied to acquiring a player I would have thought it not only prudent that an organization be especially sure that the players they acquire meet their competitive needs.

The mantel of assuming the reins from Phil Jackson will now be undertaken by former Cleveland Cavaliers’ coach Mike Brown . Filling those shoes will be an enormous task for Brown and knowing that he will be under constant scrutiny not simply by the local media in the Los Angeles market but across the entire NBA landscape at the national level. Brown’s reign with the Cavaliers had its moment of success but in the advent of the LeBron James’ saga and his departure from the franchise the ball club fell apart . Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert chose not to retain the coach and soon hired Byron Scott to assume control of the team. And for Brown’s successor his task will be not that easy given their season endeavors their utterly abhorrent play .

With the upcoming NBA Draft set to take place on the 23rd June and the rather asinine Draft Lottery that took place last month gave the perception the NBA is trying its hardest to give the fans something that they actually need or want . Isn’t it bad enough the whole spectacle to begin with only assures a quintet of teams at the bottom of the food chain a one in five chance of obtaining that number one overall pick ? Simply give the team with worst record in the league that top pick and be done with it ! .

The Houston Rockets in their infinite wisdom saw fit to hire former Boston Celtics’ great and Hall of Famer Kevin McHale . Now anyone with the remote insight as to McHale’s career as an executive and then coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves will simply know that his track record isn’t that impressive. And from my own perspective I can only surmise that team GM Daryl Morey and owner Leslie Alexander were hard pressed to find a suitable candidate . But given the fact that it is now rarity for a franchise not to hire retread rather than a first time coach . Consider the number of stops over the long and varied career of Larry Brown and how things have panned out wherever he has been a coach ? Granted , he won an NBA title with the Detroit Pistons in defeating the star laden Los Angeles Lakers in what turned out to be one of the most lopsided series Finals in recent history. But Brown’s years with the New York Knicks were the embodiment of an inept front office led by team owner James Dolan and then GM & President of Basketball Operations Isiah Thomas and a team that simply were not good enough , much less had the desire to win. Never mind the fact that Brown as a coach looked as if the game has passed him by. And it would be more of the same during his tenure with the Charlotte Bobcats and team owner Michael Jordan . .

Success within any professional sport isn’t simply defined by winning as making money seems to the predetermining factor for an owner. But it’s extremely good to have the two go hand in hand . I’ve long held the contention that the NBA has now become so myopic and that’s simply due to the fact that the league hierarchy led by David Stern has lost sight of what made the NBA so enjoyable to watch for the fan. Now the players have become larger than life characters and the teams have in essence taken a back seat role in the midst of this all as Stern and his minions seek global domination for the brand . And while this goes on the talent level within the league also consistency dips to great highs and or exceedingly deep lows . The coaching itself isn’t that far behind , so much so that I for one now believe that the coaching talent within the NBA is now at an all-time low ! The fans may well continue to debate the greatness of Kobe Bryant , LeBron James and the now somewhat idiotic comparisons and contrasts that are being made to Michael Jordan and the aforementioned duo. That debate if anything should actually take place once those present day contemporaries’ careers are over , rather than it being conducted now in the public domain. Isn’t it bad enough that we have idiots such as Jason Whitlock and Scottie Pippen throwing their weight behind this topic ? If anything Pippen may well have alienated himself with many of his former Chicago Bulls’ teammates and in particular the city of Chicago. The less said about Whitlock on the other hand gives credence that he has and always will be an utter blowhole and an unabated ass !

In many respects the issues with regard to the falloff in the coaching talent lies in the fact that a number of the general managers around the NBA themselves , in large part are not very good at what they’re being paid to do. Many of them simply have primarily a business background but there are number of them that have had less than stellar careers in the NBA as a player. Simply put this isn’t simply about the coaches themselves but also about the aptitude of the general managers and the owners who make the decision in the hiring of a coach. Obviously they all want to win thre cost can be very expensive if the hire turns out to be an exceptionally inept applicant .

The NBA is no exception to the rule and with regard to this instance of the falloff in the coaching talent but I simply didn’t it expect to become so acute ! Consider this , once Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich call it quits within the league we may well have only one active coach having won an NBA title . Good or bad for the league ? I will let you be the judge of that !

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Chime in with your thoughts on this topic and anything that you feel pertinent to the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal …………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki (41) goes up for a rebound against the Miami Heat during Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball game Thursday, June 2, 2011, in Miami. Nowitzki shook of an injury to his non-shooting hand and gave the Mavericks new life in the NBA Finals. The Mavericks defeated the Heat 95-93 to even the best-of-seven series to a game apiece. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …….

(2) (L-R) LeBron James (6) and Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat answers questions from the media during a post game press conference after they the Heat lost 95-93 against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Two of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 2, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann …..

(3) Dirk Nowitzki(notes) #41 of the Dallas Mavericks lays the ball up agains the Miami Heat in the second half in Game Two of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 2, 2011 in Miami, Florida. AP Photo/ David J Phillip/ Getty Images -Pool ……

(4) The Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) goes for a slam against the Dalles Mavericks during the NBA Finals game 2 on the June 2, 2011 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images …..

(5) Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers is seen here with his opposite number Phil Jackson . The duo between them have won collectively 12 NBA titles as coaches of their respective teams . Over the course of their respective coaching careers their teams have made 16 NBA Finals appearances. Getty Images/ Scott Murphy …..

(6) From left to right Miami Heat team President Pat Riley introduces Erik Spoelstra as the team’s new coach in early 2009. Also inset is owner Micky Arison far right . AP Photo …………..

(7) (L to R) Chris Wallace , General Manager of the Memphis Grizzlies, Shane Battier and Ishmael Smith of the Memphis Grizzlies address the media during a press conference to announce their trade to the Memphis Grizzlies on February 25, 2011 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Getty Images / Joe Murphy ….

(8) Cleveland Cavaliers’ GM Chris Grant (left) listens as the newly installed team coach Byron Scott speaks with the convened press at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio . AP Photo/ Steve McKinney …..

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I Wanna Be That Guy But Not The Guy Who Succeeds The Guy


I Wanna Be That Guy But Not The Guy Who Succeeds The Guy

Well the Phil Jackson era is now said to be over in Los Angeles with the Lakers having said good bye to their much beloved coach for the second time over that coach’s illustrious career . And under the auspices of the team’s owner Jerry Buss , senior executives EVP Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak have hired former Cleveland Cavaliers’ coach Mike Brown . Surprising as it may seem I felt that the organization would stayed in-house and hired one of Jackson’s assistants either Jim Cleamons or Brian Shaw , with the latter in most circles believed to be have been the heir apparent to Phil Jackson. But as the saying goes …… ‘ out with the old and in with the new ‘ . As this clearly seems to have the mantra best felt that would serve the Lakers’ hierarchy and the team as they now move forward.

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Now there’s no denying that Brown has some big shoes to Phil when one considers Phil Jackson’s legacy within the city and with the Los Angeles Lakers . Five NBA titles over the course of his tenure with the organization and seven appearances in the NBA Finals . Not bad at all but it’s going to be one hell of an act to follow for an experienced coach such as Mike Brown. From my own perspective I think that the hire is a good one although as I alluded to earlier I felt that Brian Shaw would be Phil Jackson’s successor. I’ve got to wonder whether or not Kobe Bryant perhaps the team’s most respected player had any say as to the organization’s next hire might have been . The player himself , hasn’t yet issued a formal statement as to Jackson’s successor but Mike Brown , himself , has made it clear that this is still Bryant’s team . And if anything the newly installed coach will have to prove his worth to the player , who may well have felt somewhat slighted that his former teammate wasn’t hired . That being said , I do believe that there’s room for two to co-exist and form a successful partnership . As to whether or not it is as successful as the one that was attained and sustained between Bryant Phil Jackson remains to be seen. Certainly if Mike Brown is able to continue the level of success achieved by Phil Jackson by winning at least a pair of titles , his hiring will undoubtedly be viewed as being an initial and instant success.

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There is no denying that the fallout in light of the demise of the Lakers in the postseason with their series loss (4-0) to the Dallas Mavericks was if anything a surprising one. One might be even more inexplicable was the lackluster effort of the team by anyone not with the last name of Bryant . If you could tell me that the likes of Pau Gasol , Lamar Odom , Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum would be an absolute non-factor in the series I would be laughing at you ! But low and behold this was the type of effort where the Los Angeles Lakers were complacent , they looked old and simply didn’t give a damn ! OK you had the atypical postgame interviews from the players but in reality I believe that the players were not only dumb founded but they were outplayed in absolutely every facet of the game ! Mike Brown has a tough off season ahead of him as he and Mitch Kupchak will have to assess the needs of this team and also look to get rid of the dead weight on this roster . I certainly do believe that this might be the last time that we will see Derek Fisher in a Lakers’ uniform ! And certainly the Artest experiment has to viewed as a ‘ dud’ after his postseason travails this year. Steve Blake cannot be considered a starting point guard in this league , at best he’s simply an adequate backup. As for the so called role players on this roster well let’s just say that they knew their role in during this series against the Mavericks . They were bitch slapped and showed their immaturity during the series , enough said I think !

Given the expectations of the fans in Los Angeles the scrutiny with which Brown will be placed under and his every moved analyzed and judged . I just hope that he has the mindset and temperament to last the length of his contract . I’d hate to see him flame out much as in the same way that Rudy Tomjanovich did in his shortened tenure with the Lakers ! Egos asides , anyone who undertakes such a task in coaching an organization such as the Los Angeles Lakers with all of the brouhaha , then having to deal with the Hollywood A list celebrities , fans seated at the Staples Center and all that it brings , that type of pressure cooker atmosphere can’t be at all good for one’s psyche .

As I alluded to earlier I believe that the Lakers will have to look to bolster this roster be it through free agency or through the NBA Draft . From my own perspective these crop of players within the draft seem extremely short on real talent with one or two exceptions . The Lakers for their part do not have a draft pick in the first round of the upcoming draft having traded the rights to that pick (25th) to the New Jersey Nets . However, in the second round they will have multiple picks which ought to prove to be fortuitous for the organization if they make prudent choices .

Now don’t get me wrong I have the utmost respect for former Florida Gators’ coach Urban Meyer . But in all honesty his departure from the program the second time around left a great deal to be desired . Health issues or not, Meyer flip flopped as to whether or not he was departing in the same way that John Kerry and Mitt Romney would go about making political decision in order to seek out the public’s sympathy. What might be even more asinine was in light of his departure he still wanted to remain a part of the program’s decision making process even in the advent of his successor being named ! The AD of the school’s athletics program Jeremy Foley knew that he had to cast his net far and wide in order to seek out a high profiled and proven coach. The hiring of former Texas Longhorns’ assistant Will Mushchamp seems to have gone over well amongst the fans of the Gators and it has been met with a great deal of positive vibe from the state’s sports print , radio and television media that cover the football program .

A great deal is being asked of Will Muschamp in having to succeed a successful coach . Urban Meyer’s record with the Florida Gators simply speaks for itself , with two national titles , two SEC championship game titles and a number of All Americans , never mind the recruits to the NFL from one of the most respected programs in the SEC . In light of that one has to admit that last season was something of a disappointment for this program. Having finished the season 8-5 within the SEC Eastern Division a non BCS Bowl appearance in the Outback Bowl against Penn State was in reality all the team had to show for the year .

One of the main reasons I believe for the letdown last season with the Gators was the loss of Tim Tebow to the NFL and the mere fact that Meyer simply hadn’t adjusted or completely comprehend the magnitude of the loss would mean to the team overall. John Brantley , Tebow’s understudy along with Jordan Reed and Trey Burton may well have been viewed as suitable replacements but it was belied in the fact that their statistics and performances didn’t bear that out. However , in saying that I also felt that there was a great deal of complacency which the coach at the time would fail to admit . And with such teams within the SEC as Auburn , Alabama , South Carolina , Arkansas , LSU and Mississippi State all looking to show their dominance within a powerful conference you can well understand why it is that the Florida Gators have to be a formidable team in all aspects .

Muschamp along with his coaching staff will most certainly look to assess the roster looking for its strength and weaknesses. And certainly from a defensive standpoint I expect to see an improvement by this team . It will also be interesting to see how the juniors and seniors on the team perform this upcoming season . I’ve no doubt that we will see an improvement in the play of Chris Rainey , Jeffrey Demps , Moses Jenkins , Deonte Thompson , Jonathan Bostic and Dominique Easley . If these players can instill a sense of leadership and maturity then I firmly believe that the Gators can be seriously challengers within the SEC and quite possibly for a major BCS Bowl berth .

Now as many of you are aware Florida Gators fans are about as passionate as they come and in terms of bragging rights within the state especially when you have the likes of Florida State and the Miami Hurricanes no one when it comes fan worship wants to left on the outside looking in . College Football within the state in terms of its supports plays second fiddle only to the NFL with baseball (MLB) bringing up the rear . The passion for the game at the collegiate level is almost as bright as an incandescent light bulb. And speaking as an outside observer looking in I have seen heated debates between all three sets of fans . So much so, that I would never want to interject and make a case for any of the teams in question . Hence the reason I feel that there will be so much pressure placed on Will Muschamp to succeed and should he fail by the program’s own lofty then there’s no doubt in my mind that he will be ran out of town faster than a registered sex offender in a rural town. Does anyone remember how Meyer’s predecessor Ron Zook was treated not only by the Gator fans but also the print , radio and television media across the state ? He was persona non grata and a pariah within three years of accepting the position , solely because he was unable to win with any great consistency . The fact that he was one of hell of a recruiter simply didn’t seem to matter to the press or the fans at all as he relinquished of his duties as coach . It was unfortunate however that he had to succeed a coaching legend , Steve Spurrier . I know winning is meant to be everything but it also takes time for the coach to acclimatize himself with his players and the environment of that program but within collegiate athletics and in particular college football , winning means everything not only terms of the success it brings the numerous financial bounties and the notoriety for that sport.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal ………….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) EL SEGUNDO, CA – MAY 31: Mike Brown, (L) the new head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, shares a laugh with owner Jerry Buss (C) and Buss’ son Jesse Buss after Brown’s introductory news conference at the team’s training facility on May 31, 2011 in El Segundo, California. Brown replaces Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who retired at the end of this season. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images…..

(2) Jim Buss, (C) executive vice president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers, team owner Jerry Bus and player Matt Barnes listen to new coach Mike Brown’s speech during his introductory news conference at the team’s training facility on May 31, 2011 in El Segundo, California. Brown replaced Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who retired at the end of this season. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(3) Mike Brown, the new head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, speaks during his introductory news conference at the team’s training facility on May 31, 2011 in El Segundo, California. Brown replaces Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who retired at the end of this season. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images …..

(4) Phil Jackson, coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, leaves after his last official Lakers news conference at the team’s training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(5) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves a news conference at the Lakers training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(6) Jackson (left) is seen here on the sidelines along with his former assistants Brian Shaw (center) and Jim Cleamons during an NBA game earlier this season . Courtesy of ESPN …..

(7) GAINESVILLE, FL – APRIL 9: Coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis of the Florida Gators direct play during the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2011 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(8) Running back Chris Rainey (3) of the Florida Gators runs upfield during the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2011 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(9) Quarterback John Brantley (12) of the Florida Gators runs upfield during the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2011 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……..

(10) Will Muschamp, center, the new head coach for the University of Florida’s football team and his wife Carol, right, are escorted to the media room by Florida’s athletic director Jeremy Foley, left, where he is to be introduced to the media at a news conference in Gainesville, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 . Muschamp comes to Florida after being the coach-in-waiting at the University of Texas since Nov. 2008. AP Photo/Phil Sandlin ….

(11) Tim Tebow (left) is seen here with Urban Meyer celebrate the second of the duo’s two national BCS titles . AP Photo / Robert Phillips ….

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NBA Draft 2011 takes place on the 23rd June 2011

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Uncategorized

Have You Had Your Can of Whup Ass Today ? As Prescribed To The New York Yankees ………


 
 
 

 

Have  You  Had   Your Can  of  Whup  Ass   Today  ? As  Prescribed  To  The New York  Yankees  ……………..

 

 

 

Well  the Tampa Bay  Rays  opened their  season   home   opener  for  the  Major  League Baseball  season   with the raising  of   their  American  League  Championship  Series’  banner.  With  the  fans  in  attendance  there  at   Tropicana Field  in  St Petersburg, Florida.  This  had  to be  the  most  exciting  thing   to  have   befallen    the  team  since  their   unbelievable  playoff   run  and   appearance  in  last   season’s    World  Series. 

 

 

rays-fans-cheer-as-the-alcs-championship-banner-is-raised-before-the-game-against-the-new-york-yankees-at-tropicana-field-st-petersbirg-fl2
Rays' fans cheer as the ALCS championship banner is raised prior to the game played against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field St Petersburg, Florida. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Al Messerschmidt ..............

 

 

 

 

This  time around  in the  opener   they  would  be  facing   divisional  rivals   the  New  York  Yankees.  Of whom  it  can  be said  with  their   plethora  of  highly   paid  stars   . Absolutely   no  one  last   night  knew  what  was  about  to  unfold  before  their   very   eyes within  the  stadium.   Suffice  to  say  that  the end  result  did  not disappoint the  home  fans.   As  to  those  New York  Yankees’  fans  in  attendance  one  can  only  surmise    that their  visit  to  St  Petersburg  can  only  be  offset  by the  face that  some  in  attendance view the Rays  as  their  second  love  when  it  comes to  showing   support   for a  team ?    Well  within  the  state  of   Florida  known   for its  snowbirds   and   transplanted   residents  from   farther   afield. If you’re   not  supporting  the  Yankees or  Boston  Red Sox  . It’s   deemed  that   you’re   at all  astute   when  it  comes  to  the  game  of  baseball.   But  I  digress   I’m a   Florida  Marlins’   fan  an   proud  of  it and  I’m  English  to   boot.    So  what’d  that  make   me  ? 

 

rays-players-celebrate-their-victory-over-the-new-york-yankees-in-their-season-home-opener-the-game-ended-in-a-15-5-rout-of-the-yankees2
Rays' players celebrate their victory over divisional rivals the New York Yankees. The Rays routed the Yankees (15-5) in a lopsided win. picture appears courtesy of getty images/Al Messerscmidt ..................

 

 

 

 

What  took  place  between  these two   teams   last night  won’t   go  a   long  way  in  determining  anything  at this juncture   as  to  what’ll  happen  at  the end  of the  season.    Other than   to  suggest    that this   Yankees’   team  despite  its   high  payroll  and  roster of  stars.  It is  by   no  means   a   team  in  the  true  sense  of  the  word.  It’s  merely   a  gathering  of  forces  gathered   together  for  the  sole  purpose  of   trying  to win  a  championship.  Unfortunately  the  architects  of this   exercise   in acquiring  the   talent  they did.  They  seemed  to  have   forgotten  before  you  call  an  assembly   of  players   brought  together  as a   team.  There   has to be  cohesiveness  ,  communication   and    above all   real leadership  from   within to  begin   with.    None of  that  was  evident   last  night  as   the  Yankees   were   thoroughly    outplayed  in   every facet of  the  game. 

 

 

ramiro-pena-and-robinson-cano-of-the-yankees-collide-infield-as-they-drop-a-fly-ball-pop-up1
Ramiro Pena and Robinson Cano of the Yankees collide infield a they attempt to catch a pop up fly ball. They would fail in the attempt. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Al Messerschmidt..........................

 

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Beijing Olympics, Sports, Uncategorized

You’ve Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself ….Welcome To Beijing, China


Well with   a   little   less  than   six   weeks  from  the  opening  ceremonies   for the  Olympics   in  Beijing. The  Chinese   government    and    in  particular  that of   its  Ministry  of  Environment      has  has seen  fit  to  mandate  that  all    manufucturing   plants     within    three   hundred  miles  of the  city   will  be   shut  down     if  not  during the  entirety  of  the  games. They’ll  be   indeed    shutdown   for   most  part   while  events  are  taking   place     in   outdoor  venues. 

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A  construction site    for   a  newly  built  steel   mill    for the   Shougang  Capital  Iron  &  Steel  Plant  in Caefodian,  Hebei  Province,   China.     The  plant  sits   some  220km  southeast  of Beijing  and   has been    noted  to  be   one of the    worst    polluters  within  the  province.   picture courtesy  of  Getty Images/Andrew  Wong  …………… 

 Such   is  the   insistance   of     the   government     that  this   has  been   mandated  and   will be  strictly  adhered  to  by   all  of  the  companies     within    the  areas    dictated.     Much    has  been   made  of the    fact  that  the  Chinese  capital   of    Beijing   home  to a   population   of some  eighteen   million  inhabitants    and     pollution   therein     created  large   scale    by  the    traffic  as  well    manufacturing   and  chemical    industries   that    dot  the  surrounding  provinces.    The   cautionary  tale  that    is  being  taken    is  that  many   athletes   that  will  be   competing     in  many   of the  events  to  be  held     outdoors   will  be  subjecting  themselves   to  an anomaly  of  health   risks  and   dangers .    

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The Shougang  Capital  Iron &  Steel  Plant   up  and   running   with  the    plumes  of  smoke  arsing  into  the  skies   above.   picture  courtesy  of  Getty Images/ Andrew  Wong  ……….. 

The  fact  that   for  a  little   over   17  days  the  eyes   and  the  ears  will   be  on  the   world’s   most  populace   country    will   not  be  lost  on   the  Chinese  government  or  its   people. Pride   if   nothing  else   will  be   uppermost   in  their    minds   as they  set  about    proving  to  the  outside   world   that  they  can    handle    such  an  event.     And  though  there  have been   concerns   raised    as to the    political    climate   in and   outside  the  country  as to    China’s    influence in   the  affairs  of   Sudan   and   the   province  of Tibet .   It  can  be said   that   we  were  all   aware   as   to   what   might   unfold   once   China  had  the   winning  bid   for  the ’08 Olympics   in  Beijing .   It  wasn’t  if    we’d  not been   forewarned.     

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The  Shougang Capital   Iron  &   Steel  plant     one  of  the  largest  steel   manufacturers   in   Hebei  Province  in  China.     As   you  can  see   the  skies    though   on  appearance   clear.  It  goes without  saying  that   this  isn’t  a   common   occurence as to  what   can  be  expected    from the  mill  when  it is    in   full   production.   picture  courtesy  of  Getty  Images/Andrew Wong… 

The   country’s   ever   growing  political  influence,   economic   might  and   burgeoning  presence   on the  world   stage   was  to  be   expected.   In  less  than  a   decade     this  country   has   become  the   world’s    manufacturing    plant   for   an   abundance   of   goods   ranging     from   high  end   electronics,   aviation   parts,    petro-chemical processing ,   micro  chip   processors     to   other  vast  arrays  of   goods   that  the   Western   hemisphere    just   can’t  seem  to  get  enough of.  Many  of these   products   are   being   produced   at the  behest   of    large    western    corporations   who’ve    deemed  it    fit   to   move   their    domestic   manufacturing   from  their    own  home   countries    to  China    in  order   to  make use   of  the     abundance   of  cheap   labor    and   the  untethered  attention    that  tends   to  be   in place .  And   how   the  Chinese  government’s  lax    approach  in    how  it    doesn’t  strictly   adhere    to   environmental    issues.  Countries   in  the   West   may  cast  blame   upon   China  but    that  wouldn’t   be   the   case   had   it   not    engratiated  the   country   with   the  will  and  the way    to   adopt   what they   themselves    had   done   for  so  many  years. 

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Fireworks    explode  under the   dark  skies   of Beijing at the  Olympic  Stadium  at the  rehearsal   for  the   opening   ceremonies   for   the   upcoming  Olympic   games.   The  stadium   nicknamed   ‘The  Bird’s  Nest    was   one  of  the largest    construction    projects    ever  to  take    place  in  mainland   China.   picture courtesy   China  Photo  News Agency/  Getty Images ………..

 The   Olympics    itself   will    be  the  chance   that  China    seeks  to   impress  upon  the  world    that  it  is  now  indeed   ready   to   join  the    outside  world.   For  so  long   it has kept   itself    very   much    insulated   from     of  the   world’s    citizenry   in  one  form  or  another.    But  with its  ever   growing   economic   clout  and   political   sphere of    influence.  It may   now  view  itself   as to   the  equal     of  the United  States.     As   the   US’s    largest    creditor   it  most  certainly   now   must  feel  that   way.    And   if   nothing   the United States    knows  that   it  needs    China  as much   as  China  may   well    feel   that  it  needs   the  US    as   an   economic  trading   partner. 

photo

One  of  the   many   splendors  of   the   city    of Beijing   is that  of    The Forbidden  City .  Which’ll   no  doubt   become  a   tourist   attraction   for the   hundreds   of   thousands    who’ll    no  doubt    be  visiting  the   country   for the  games. picture  courtesy  of Getty  Images/Andrew  Wong ………. 

The  concerns  that’ve been  brought   to   the  attention  of  the  government    have   not gone   unnoticed.   And   the  mandated   instructions that  are    being    past   down    will  affect every   aspect  of   manufacturing    production  within   the   surrounding    provinces of Hebei , Shangdong, Henan and  Tianjin.   Biejing  municipality  the   country’s   second   largest   city  of   after   Shanghai   will   become the  centerpiece    of  the   spectacle   that   at   least   will  attract  the   attention   of   at  least   half   the   world’s    population     in   terms   of    televsion   or  radio.  And   NBC    here  in   the  US  as   sole   broadcaster   domestically  of  the event   will   go   about   giving the    public   in   excess of   1200   hours      of  broadcasts    incorporating   almost  every  aspect  of the  games.      Though  it can  be   said  that   not all  of   it    will be   palatable   for   consummaation  for  even  the  most   discernable   of   the   viewing   public  here   in  the  United States.  Out  interests  may   only   lie   with    the  homegrown   athletes   that  we    know   and    who’ll   be  competing   for   the  US.     

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Yao  Ming  competing   for  a   China   in   pre  Olympic   warm  up   tournament  game  against  Serbia  in   a   venue   in  Hangzhou,  Zheijang province  China.     The  game   was   in  part   for  the  Stankovic  Continental  Champions   Cup  tournament.   picture courtesy  of China  News Agency/ Getty  Images………….

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