Baseball, Basketball, Football, MLB, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, NFL, Soccer, Sports, World Cup 2010

Opening Up Pandora’s Box You Simply Don’t Want To Know What’s Inside


Opening Up Pandora’s Box You Simply Don’t Want To Know What’s Inside

As a young child were you ever told by a parent or an elder …..” never play with matches and never touch anything that doesn’t belong to you ” ? Well it’s something that I believe that in the cases of both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and David Stern they’ve failed to heed those very warnings. Goodell seems to be delighted with the fact that the 2014 Superbowl will be held at the new $1.6 billion stadium that will be home to both the New York Jets and New York Giants in East Rutherford , New Jersey. The fact that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to be clamoring over this like a young boy who’s discovered his first copy of Playboy has me even more worried. Bloomberg’s craving for the public spotlight borders if not surpasses that of the NBA Commissioner David Stern. But consider this , Bloomberg’s city will have a budget deficit approaching $1.67 billion for the fiscal year of 2011. However, he and the city’s comptroller John C. Liu hope to have the now projected shortfall reined in by 2014. However, by then it’s projected to be in excess of $4 billion . Is it any wonder Bloomberg won an unprecedented third term in office ? He’ll be creating more havoc than the pimps and drug cartel leaders could ever have wished to. You can always rely on a politician to get things done by essentially fu_king things up to begin with !

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Slide show for your perusal .

While the NFL owners are now patting themselves on the back about this latest development. have to ask why now and why the Giants and Jets ? Merely because they’ve a spanking new edifice ? OK , so we know that the economic impact of staging a Superbpowl does mean a great deal of business for the host city and that it can garner it more publicity than it could wish , had they spent the money on marketing their city. The economic impact of staging the Superbowl can mean as much $2billion to the host city over a period of six months prior to and after the event itself. And one can well understand the reason why the cities who’ve staged the event fall over themselves and clamor to re-stage the event when given the chance. But prior to this , did you realize that NFL championship games were hosted by the team who had “the best record” from the previous year ? In the era of the Superbowl all of that went right out of the window. If anything, wouldn’t that have been more of an incentive to teams than what we’ve now witnessed ?
For Jets’ owner Woody Johnson the Jets’ organization along with his counterpart from the Giants , Steve Tisch and his organization . This has to be a more than welcoming occurrence. As it immediately gives both organizations the credibility that they seek .

Now the NFL hierarchy under Goodell’s guidance merely looks at its calendar of cities that’ve successfully staged the event and then announces the winner as they would deem fit. Surreptitiously we’re told that ballots are cast to in order to create the perception of fairness. If fairness is deemed having the owners in a room locking horns and the most influential amongst them simply holding sway , then I guess you could consider it as being fair wouldn’t you Now the ramifications of which will be that all 32 teams in the NFL will feel that they too ought to be given the chance to stage a Superbowl. If the truth be told that scenario will never see the light of day under any circumstance whatsoever ! This is a Pandora’s Box that should never have been open to begin with. But you know what frankly I hope this sh_t rains down on Goodell and the rest of these damn greedy owners to begin with ! The Superbowl whenever it has been staged has never been about the fans but more so to do with the patronage of the NFL’s many corporate sponsors and major partners. Try purchasing a ticket for the very event itself better yet try purchasing a series of tickets for a group of five or six people and see how much the cost sets you back ? Goodell and the owners aren’t and never will be the least bit concerned as to what the fans may well think or how they might feel !

Pardon me for say this but I wasn’t aware that LeBron James’ father was David Stern . For some reason the NBA commissioner is now ready to levy fines upon anyone who apparently says anything as it regards the player’s impending free agency. Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban found this out to his cost and is now $100,000 lighter in his wallet. Considering a fine of that nature, is like a ripple across a pond to someone of Cuban’s wealth. I fail to see what imposing such a fine does in the first place. Cuban, in giving a statement did not go out or seek to influence James, as to making a decision about his future. But from Stern’s mere decision and candor he thought that the owner was bringing undue influence to bear upon the player. David Stern is acting like an autocratic despotic leader whose very command must be obeyed. He’s protecting James as if he were his child. I think LeBron can defend himself as and when needs be ! And in referring to David Stern , we call the likes of Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-Il maniacal in terms of their authority and power ? Stern makes those two despotic leaders seem like mere children at play when it comes to undue use of power !

Tonight the Eastern Conference Final ___ series resumes between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic . With the Magic still steering elimination in the face being down 3-1 in the series . It will be interesting to see the resolve being shown by this Stan Van Gundy coached team . Their play through much of this series has been un-inspirational and lackluster to say the very least. And the fact that there’s not been much of a sighting of Dwight Howard in the series until game four’s explosive output of 32 points and 16 rebounds on the way to the team’s 96-92 victory over the Celtics. You had the impression that the team would bow inauspiciously out the conference finals , making history as the first team that swept their opponents in the opening two rounds of the playoffs and were then swept themselves. In staving off that scenario they still have to force a game five if they’re to at least have a chance of erasing the deficit and playing themselves back into contention.

The one thing we do know is that the Celtics led by Rajon Rondo and their veteran coach Doc Rivers aren’t going to let a one game slide get to them either mentally or physically. And if anything they’ll be looking to close out the series in front of their home crowd at the TD Banknorth Garden Center in Boston , Massachusetts.

If the Magic were the presumptive favorites to win their match-up against the Celtics. Then the Los Angeles Lakers had to have been considered the overwhelming favorites against their opponents , the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals . Now with the series tied at two games apiece. This contest has now become one of intrigue and suspense. And any thought it would be the Lakers now dictating the pace and structure of the contest. Well, let’s just say the most ardent of Lakers’ fans are by no means certain their team” will come out of this series unscathed. This is becoming a dog-fight that I’ve got to believe that the Lakers’ players and their fans want no part of ! Do you think that Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson has Michael Vick’s number on speed dial ?

So the rallying cry has begun to support the US men’s national soccer team as they begin their buildup to the World Cup . Unfortunately, the cry was lost on the players as they got off to an inauspicious start by being completely outplayed and trounced by the Czech Republic team 4-2 . What one ought to consider however , is that the Czechs failed to qualify for the upcoming event to held in South Africa. If this display is a sign of things to come then there’s a distinct possibility that the US team mightn’t make it out of the opening round of the competition.

Coached by Bob Bradley the roster of the squad set to open up their tournament play against fellow qualifiers in Group C ____ England on June 12th ,the day after the opening day ceremony. And that game is being met with a great deal of anticipation as whomever comes out of it with a victory will essence be in the driver’s seat within Group C. A great deal is expecte of the team but I think it best to be realist as it concerns the US team. Ranked 14th in the FIFA World Rankings their play of late has hardly exhibited that. And Bradley knows if they are to indeed to prevail then they’ll have to raise the level of their play on all fronts.

“Respect” is what US soccer says it is looking for . Well , before you get respect you’ve got to go out and earn it and at the same respect others on the same foreboding journey as yourselves. Thus far Bradley hasn’t instilled that into his team and the players have shown very little of that from the outset. Which doesn’t augur well for this team and its fortunes in South Africa. Suffice to say that they had better get it together before they fall at the very first obstacle placed in front of them.

Sooner or later you knew it just had to happen. And for the Tampa Bay Rays all of a sudden that streak that they were on has suddenly become yolk around their neck. Having lost their series to the Boston Red Sox . They look to take the third and final leg of the contest and put themselves back on a winning roll. Now don’t get me wrong when you’re still able to maintain a 5 game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East , that is certainly no mean feat. The thing is , maintaining the consistency of play will be what really matters at this juncture. Any slip ups and it could prove to be costly for the team and in particular the coaching staff of Joe Maddon .

As good as this Rays’ team has been playing and they’ve been playing exceptionally well that their record (32-14) clearly bears this out and why many consider them to be the best team in the majors this season . I get the feeling that if they start to lose their rhythm and concentration then things could suddenly begin to spin out of control. Maddon and his coaching staff certainly has got the players to believe in themselves and each other. And that may well be the sole reason why we’ve not really seen the team go on a prolonged losing streak as of yet. Certainly when this happens to a number of teams we see them inexplicably wilt under the pressure. Not so as of yet for this team and I’m not so sure that we’re liable to see that scenario rear its ugly head. But for the moment we just ought to merely appreciate and relish what it is that they’re doing at present.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Opening up Pandora’s Box can fill you with either a few surprises , things to savor or things that you simply loathe. Here I’ve placed a few scenarios for you to discuss or perhaps you could suggest one or two yourself ? Either way simply chime in with a comment as to what you think as to what’s now happening in the realms of sports as you view it .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………………

Aaliyah ……………”Rock The Boat”

Soccer, Sports, World Cup 2010

Where There’s A Will There’s A Way ………..


The qualifying process is winding down as to the 2010 World Cup , which will be held in South Africa. It is only the second major international sporting event to be held in the country since the removal of apartheid .

Former South African President  ,  Nelson  Mandela  ,  not only  a  supreme  humanitarian  but also  an  avid  sports  fan.  Mandela    alongside  his  successor   Thabo  Mbeki    fought  long   and  hard  to  bring  the   World  Cup   to  South  Africa . Despite   at  times   there  being  prominent  opposition  from  a  number  of   soccer  bureaucrats  across  the  globe.     picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Marcus  Nash  .......................
Former South African President , Nelson Mandela , not only a supreme humanitarian but also an avid sports fan. Mandela alongside his successor Thabo Mbeki fought long and hard to bring the World Cup to South Africa . Despite at times there being prominent opposition from a number of soccer bureaucrats across the globe. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Marcus Nash .......................

And for the country’s former president, Nelson Mandela. This is something that he and many of the country’s politicians have fought long and hard for , in bringing such a prestigious sporting event to the country. The World Cup , alongside the Summer Olympics are the most eagerly watched and anticipated sporting events in the world. A quadrennial event that’s anticipated and will be watched by in excess of 1 1/2 billion people across the globe , once the event gets under way. And for those qualifying nations it does bring a sense of pride for the players, as well as its citizenry. The event itself, is seen as fostering a sense of competition as well as sportsmanship among the participants. But above all , it’s an extraordinary way of getting athletes together to meet on the field of competition at the international level. Something that’s not often seen with regards to any of the major sports within North America. Granted ,the NHL does have the Stanley Cup and there’s also the international governing body’s very own international competition , with its own version of the World Cup. But bearing that in mind in terms of its importance on the international stage , it pales in comparison to soccer’s World Cup.

Soccer  city   in  Johannesburg,  South  Africa.  One of   thirteen  venues  that'll  be   used  to  host   the  games  of the  2010  World  Cup  being  held  in  South  Africa  ,  next  June.    picture  appears  courtesy of   getty  images/   ....................
Soccer city in Johannesburg, South Africa. One of thirteen venues that'll be used to host the games of the 2010 World Cup being held in South Africa , next June. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ ....................

The NBA, for its part and MLB , despite their popularity haven’t fully caught the public’s imagination at the international level the way soccer has. But they are slowly getting there. Albeit, that if anything baseball has fallen by the wayside in terms of Olympic recognition. But the World Baseball Classic for all of its pecularities and the ill-conceived notions of MLB and the sport’s international governing body has done. It hasn’t caught the imagination of the fans globally. Especially when based on viewership of the event domestically and on the global level.

The NBA despite its immense popularity globally-goes out of its way to market its stars individually, rather than their teams. And even with the popularity of its stars at the Olympics and Team USA’s winning of the gold medal in Beijing. It primarily came down to more a marketing of the game’s stars, rather than foistering the popularity of the game and further broaden its base and appeal. And you’d be hard pressed to name but a handful of international players on any of the teams that participated in the games other than those we already know playing in the NBA.

 Nelson Mandela  Stadium  in  Port  Elizabeth ,  South Africa  .   picture  appears  courtesy of  afp/photo/  Pieter   Houizehenhaus  ............................
Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth , South Africa . picture appears courtesy of afp/photo/ Pieter Houizehenhaus ............................

As the host nation, South Africa is an automatic qualifier for next year’s event. And while the fans there are eagerly awaiting the event’s kick-off. The team itself has already began its preparations by hosting a pre World Cup tournament , as well several friendlies against international competition. There is expected to be the usual plethora of teams that are hoping to make their presence felt once the competition gets under way. Brazil as expected are the presumptive favorites for the competition. And as a five time winner of the Jules Rimet trophy (World Cup), they are expected to raise it again, for an unprecedented sixth time. Which would be a record amongst World Cup winners.

Ricardo  Clark  of  the  US  celebrates  after  scoring the  team's   lone  goal  to  secure  a  1-0 victory  over  Trinidad  & Tobago  ,  in  Port  of Spain ,  Trinidad.    picture appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/ Fernando  Llana   ..............................
Ricardo Clark of the US celebrates after scoring the team's lone goal to secure a 1-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago , in Port of Spain , Trinidad. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Fernando Llana ..............................

The aspirations of the US soccer team cannot be understated, as they seek respectability amongst the game’s international elite. Qualifying for the event in South Africa would do a great deal to raise the profile of US soccer , domestically , as well as abroad. And with the growing confidence of many of their younger stars , such as Jozy Altidore , Ricardo Clark and the veteran experience of such players as Tim Howard , Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan. It is hoped that the team will, fare well , in the event next year. It has a clear goal , and that’s at least to reach the latter stages of the event. Anything short of that , would be considered a failure .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and AP :

US moves to the verge of 6th straight World Cup berth

Port of Spain-Trinidad and Tobago-(AP)

Just one more win will give the US its sixth straight World Cup berth.

Ricardo Clark scored in the 62nd minute, and the United States beat Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 Wednesday night to move into first place in World Cup qualifying.

“It’s huge. It’s huge. It gives us a little bit of space when things are getting tight in our group.” Clark said. ” We knew we had to come out in this game and get a win.”

The United States failed to win its first three road qualifiers this year and played a listless first half. The Americans went ahead when Clint Dempsey played the ball wide to Landon Donovan, who cut the ball back to Clark.

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Those teams that’ve already qualified can now set about looking at what may well lie ahead for them. Inasmuch, as the tournament may well seem a long way off. Many of the players are still within the midst of their respective domestic competitive calendars. And any type of a serious injury could very well place their dreams in jeopardy. Coaches and players asides, the fans globally will be cheering on their teams with a great deal of patriotism. Needless to say the more vocal amongst us will most certainly let our voices be heard.

The event itself begins on the 11th June with the preliminary rounds. And ends with the finals being played on the 11th of July. The 32 participants that will be in the tournament , all have aspirations making it to the finals. But as we all know only two can ever make it there. And as of September 10th , there are eleven known qualifiers for the tournament. In no discerning order they are, South Africa as hosts, Japan, Korea (Rep), Netherlands, Korea DPR, Brazil , Ghana , England , Spain and Paraguay.

As an avid soccer fan , albeit that I now reside in the United States and being English by birth. I , for one am hoping that the best and brightest that the soccer world has to offer can exhibit their profound skills with grace. And show the fans across the globe why it is this is the most beloved of all sports, not just in terms of the passion shown, but also when it comes to its popularity and participants worldwide at every level.

And for the people of South Africa and their government . I wish them well in their endeavor of hosting the event. Those who doubted that they could pull this off. Well they can only but witness the passion , grace and hospitality shown when the country hosted the CONCACAF Federations Tournament earlier this year. Hosted in South Africa , the event proved to be an immense success and as a precursor of things to come next year. The nation of South Africa proved to be courteous , graceful and wonderful hosts to all of the participants. When one considers what the country has undergone under previous regimes , prior to Mandela’s ascent to power as President. The changes during and after his reign makes this more than a welcoming sight for a country on the African continent to be hosting such a prestigious event.

* List of teams that’ve qualified for the World Cup as of the 10th September 2009 Click here ………..