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

Can’t Knock The Hustle …………


Can’t Knock The Hustle …………….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com ……

Picture and slide show details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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 …………………

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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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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 ………….

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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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The Rays Are For Real But Who Knows That They’re There ?


The Rays Are For Real But Who Knows That They’re There ?

Did I miss something but since when did having a farm system that’s the envy of team owners and general managers was a guarantee of success ? I don’t care how good the talent may well be , what indicates how good the players or player might be comes about in the astuteness of the manager , his coaching staff are and whether or not they’re able to communicate with the players under their command.

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We’ve a litany of teams within baseball at present trying to justify and resurrect their legacies and show that they’re now competent to compete with the best of the best within the game. When abject mediocrity becomes the norm and the so called purists merely accept it as being the norm to my mind speaks of utter stupidity more than anything else ! Over the past few seasons I’ve seen the highs and lows within the Tampa Bay Rays’ and the fact that GM <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/tb/team/exec_bios/friedman_andrew.html””&gt; Andrew Friedman has done his very best to make this team and organization competitive . The Rays this season thus far have been simply exceptional away from home posting the best away record within the league . And with a bevy of young and exciting prospects over the past few years this is an organization that is not only looking to the future but also the immediacy of the here and now . Team manager Joe Maddon and his coaching staff certainly has this team playing at a high level with there being a distinct possibility that they could in fact be challenging for a wildcard berth at least should things fall their way. But in the game of baseball you simply don’t rely on luck but you make your own by playing and beating the teams on your schedule . And over the coming months the Rays will be severely tested by those teams not only within AL East but also across the whole baseball landscape.

Team owner Stuart Sternberg has had his litany of problems not only with the hierarchy of baseball but also with the Pinellas County Commission as well as the city of St Petersburg and the evolving issue of Tropicana Stadium and its immediate future and that of the team being domiciled there. Now while fans are petitioning for the team to remain within the local area I’ve heard little about how the governmental agencies will actually pay for the financing of a new venue for the team . Especially when one considers that both Hillsborough County and Pinellas County face budget deficits and the same can be said of the state government . Governor Rick Scott has yet to fully come out and commit to the financing of a new venue for the Tampa Bay Rays , albeit , that we do know that the state legislature had agreed that the financing for a new venue for the Florida Marlins would take place and that the new venue would be built on the site of the Orange Bowl in downtown Miami.

The Rays have been playing so well that it’s now resonating not just amongst their own fans but it appears that the rest of MLB is actually sitting up and taking note of this team. In spite of their missteps in the postseason last year and in 2008 the organization and team in large part has continued to make strides even if there have been a few missteps along the way.

The team now embarks on a three game series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan . And against a Tigers’ team that hasn’t seemed to have found a consistency to its game that I think that we could quite possibly see the Rays take two of three in the series . And on the mound the Rays will have their young phenom Jeremy Hellickson pitching against Phil Coke in what is liable to be a thoroughly entertaining game between two teams with postseason ambitions of their very own. It will be very interesting to see whether or not Evan Longoria can get out of his present slump and add some vital pop to the Rays’ offense . Within the league overall the Rays are a disappointing 23rd batting a .241 average but within the AL they are eleventh amongst the fourteen teams there. The AL leaders in terms team batting average are the Cleveland Indians batting at .25 points higher with a .266 average .

If anything what we do know about the Rays as a team is that Maddon and his staff impresses upon his players to be versatile in every aspect of their game . And from a defensive standpoint the Rays are sound and competent as ever . They rank second only behind the Atlanta Braves in fielding percentage and that if anyting gives you something of a true indication as to how competent in the field the Tampa Bay Rays are. That may well be the one asset that their front line pitchers can rely upon when the game is on the line and there isn’t that many runs on the board in support of their cause.

As a fan of the game and seeing the disdain shown to the organization by Bud Selig in particular , as there’s nothing more I’d like to see than the Rays actually making it to the World Series , winning the whole damn ‘shebang’ and then telling Selig to …… ” go f_ck himself and the horse he rode in on ” ! As the game’s highest ranking official the audacity and mendacity he’s shown in telling the ownership group of the Rays led by Stuart Sternberg that they are simply not fit enough to host an All Star Game because their stadium issue has yet to be resolved . But rather than acting as a conduit that could seemingly assist the Rays in their endeavors in dealing with both the city of St Petersburg , Pinellas County and Hillsborough County the commissioner has simply acted like the class bully belittling the efforts of the Rays , castigating and chiding the the municipal and country governments involved in the issue. And we wonder why the game is actually bereft of any common sense when it comes to there being any intelligence being shown by the game’s hierarchy ? So much so , that St Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster has stated that he found dealing with Selig more of a pain than actually dealing with a political foe or ally for that matter . I’ve never had that much implicit faith in anything that Selig has done with regard to the game , the blow-back from many of his decisions , has made him the laughing stock of the sports world .

As to what the season now holds for the Tampa Bay Rays we can only observe from afar make our own prognostications , simply watch as the whole spectacle of the season simply plays itself out . It could be well be a great deal of fun watching things unfold for the team and the game as a whole . And what’s not to like about that at this juncture ?

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What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece and MLB as a whole ? 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) Tampa Bay Rays’ Sean Rodriguez, right, steals second as Florida Marlins’ Omar Infante, left, waits on the throw during the eighth inning of an interleague baseball game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Sunday, May 22, 2011. AP Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan …..

(2) Tampa Bay Rays’ pitcher James Shields, left, is greeted by catcher Kelly Shoppach after pitching a 4-0 shutout against the Florida Marlins during the ninth inning of an interleague baseball game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Sunday, May 22, 2011. AP Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan ……

(3) Tampa Bay Rays’ Casey Kotchman slides safely into third base after hitting an RBI triple, as Florida Marlins third baseman Gregg Dobbs (29) awaits the throw during the third inning of an interleague baseball game at Sun Life Stadium, Sunday, May 22, 2011, in Miami. (AP Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan ……

(4) Florida Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez left, makes the tag as Tampa Bay Rays’ Elliot Johnson right, attempts to steal second base during the second inning of an interleague baseball game at Sun Life Stadium, Sunday, May 22, 2011, in Miami. (AP Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan ……

(5) Tampa Bay Rays’ James Shields pitches against the Florida Marlins during the first inning of a baseball game at Sun Life Stadium, Sunday, May 22, 2011, in Miami. AP Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays’ Evan Longoria draws a walk to load the bases in the eighth inning during an interleague baseball game in Miami, Saturday, May 21, 2011. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …..

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Phew I’m Glad That’s Over …….. !


Phew I’m Glad That’s All Over !

Well the sporting weekend was filled with a litany of stories that may well have found its way into your time spent resting and taking anyone of a number of events on offer. Both the NBA and NHL playoffs are underway and as those episodes play themselves out the fans there I’ve no doubt will be thoroughly entertained. Now I’m not nor have I ever been that much of an enthusiast when it comes to the game of hockey and I doubt I ever will be ! Suffice to say that when it comes to being physical in such a way when the opposing players are throwing down and landing punches like effeminate school girls I’d rather throw my weight behind a good mix up in a martial arts dojo !

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Slide show for your perusal.

In what is allegedly said to be baseball’s biggest rivalry the Boston Red Sox and their divisional arch rivals the New York Yankees met in a three game series which the Yankees hosted at Yankees Stadium . Having lost the the first two games 5-4 , 6-0 respectively the Yankees were looking to redeem themselves in Sunday’s game in front of a soldout crowd and a national cable broadcast on ESPN .

Much has been made concerning the New York Yankees this season and the frailties of this team in particular with their pitching rotation whom many believe to the team’s Achilles’ heel. If anything with both of the losses in question it simply wasn’t about the weakness of the pitching but also that the bats wents extremely cold for the Yankees . Last night’s game in light of the furore created by the team’s veteran catcher Jorge Posada has pretty much summed up how things could very well go for the Yankees this season .

Posada is having a brutal season batting a mediocre .165 , much to the dismay of the player and the coaching staff led by Joe Girardi and hitting coach Kevin Long . That being said it was somewhat inexplicable the way in which the player informed GM Brian Cashman that he wouldn’t be able to play in Saturday’s game. His excuse seemed to be contrived , with him suggesting that he was suffering from a back-ache and that his head wasn’t where it needed to be. Pardon me for saying this , but if you’re unwilling to suit up when it’s all on the line and your teammates are counting on you then you have no part being on that team ! Either Jorge Posada was genuinely hurt or he wasn’t but for him to take umbrage when Cashman made it public to the press before the game that he wouldn’t be playing , I find it rather naive on the part of Posada ! After-all it was his decision to withdraw from the team and not face their AL East rivals the Red Sox . Now in light of that , it now appears that there’s a great deal of friction and an apparent rift between the player and the upper levels of the executive heirarchy of the New York Yankees . This I believe is what tends to happen when things become contrived and the players who feel that they ought to be treated with deference from their peers within the locker room . Posada, if he’s to be seen as a veteran and an example to the younger players on this Yankees’ roster then he ought to act accordingly , and not like some infantile child who has had his pacifier taken away from him.

I’m not about to suggest that after this Sunday loss ( 7-5 ) which gave the Boston Red Sox a clean three game sweep in this series that the season for the New Yankees is now up in the air as that would be rather asinine ! The Yankees’ situation won’t be made any easier knowing that they now have to face a red hot Tampa Bay Rays’ —- team that has the best away record (13-5 ) in the league this season and whose confidence at a real high. Having lost that game to the Red Sox the Yankees saw their lead within the division erased with the Tampa Bay Rays now leading the AL East with a 23-17 mark with the Yankees two games behind and the Red Sox a mere 3 games behind the division leaders. Things are hotting up within that division and there’s a great deal to play for , nevertheless I do believe that it’s still too soon to write the Yankees off at this juncture but I do believe that the chasm that has now been created between Jorge Posada and the front office could well be irrevocably broken . With Cashman having stated that he’ll approach the commissioner’s office to see what , if any punishment can be levied against the player , you simply get the feeling that Posada could be on his way out with the Yankees unless there’s a contrite apololgy from the player to the organization. The chances of that happening might just be diminishing by the second given the demeanor shown by Posada and his own remarks in light of the series loss.

This two game series between the Yankees and Rays at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida could go a long way in telling us about the direction that both teams are now presently heading in. The Rays need to win and win consistently if they’re even to be thought of as legitimate contenders within the division much less a wildcard entrant or for that matter to have a legitimate shot at the World Series Series . It’s a near on certainty that the wildcard entrant from AL will undoubtedly come from the AL East unless there’s a major surprise to come from within any of the other divisions . At this juncture with how the teams are now playing nothing can be taken off the table as of yet .

I don’t know about you but with all the talk of the Miami Heat strolling their way to the NBA title this season , I’m so glad they were given that proverbial wake up call ! Last night in their conference finals game opener against the Chicago Bulls played at the United Center in Chicago showed us why the Bulls should be written out of this series based on their so called inexperience . Complacency I believe has already has set in with the Heat especially amongst the role players on this team !

The Miami Heat showed why there are still many flaws on this team none more so than on defense as the Bulls laid an almighty can of whup ass on the self absorbed Heat . This game may well have started off as a sprint with the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ looking to stamp their identity on this game . But as good as LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are said to be , on the night Luol Deng , Derrick Rose , Taj Gibson , Joakim Noah and Ronnie Brewer simply better , as the Bulls took the Heat behind the woodshed and fuc_ed them proverbially in the ass ! Statistically the Bulls won this game by being aggressive and simply beating up on the Heat on the boards (45-33) on both ends of the floor .

Inexplicably the Heat were simply no match for the Bulls and the idiocy came about even further when the Heat had six players on the floor during this game but somehow the officials , Dan Crawford , Michael Smith and Ken Mauer as incompetent as we’ve known the referees to be didn’t call a technical against the Miami . Inasmuch , I had expected the Heat to win game one I certainly didn’t believe that they would be upended and embarrassed in the way that they were on the Bulls’ homecourt . But as I alluded to earlier , there’s a complacency about this team that I don’t believe that Erik Spoelstra or Pat Riley can deny . I think that there’s connivance and a belief about the Heat that having beaten the Boston Celtics with effortless ease they may well have felt that they would walk the Bulls like a hot knife through butter. Well it’s game on bitches and you’re now going to be in for a hard fought battle and one hell of a war .

The result a 21 point defeat ( 103-82) of the Miami Heat simply ought to remind us all that we ought to also take note that the Bulls did also sweep the Heat in their regular season meetings 3-0 . And though one could allude to the fact that the Heat as a team weren’t playing cohesively as a unit you simply cannot discount those results as being a one off at all ! The Heat were beaten and albeit that the regular season tends to mean nothing at all once the postseason comes around , you can’t deny that this would be the last thing that Miami Heat would have wanted at this juncture . And that’s to be in a battle where they’re expected to win soundly ____ but instead they’re now in the midst of what could turn out to be guerilla warfare and they’ve simply shown that based on last night’s display they simply haven’t the arsenal to compete against their younger foes.

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece and as such what sporting even over the weekend had your undivided attention ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as usual for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) VANCOUVER, CANADA – MAY 15: Mason Raymond (21) of the Vancouver Canucks skates after the puck on the forecheck against Joe Pavelski (8) of the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on May 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks defeated the Sharks 3-2 . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(2) Chris Higgins (20) of the Vancouver Canucks makes contact as he screens goaltender Antti Niemi (31) of the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on May 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks defeated the Sharks 3-2 . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(3) Teammates, including catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia congratulate Boston Red Sox Kevin Youkilis, second from left, after he led the Red Sox to their 7-5 victory over the New York Yankees for a three-game sweep in their baseball series at Yankee Stadium Sunday, May 15, 2011, in New York. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, right, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez join in the celebration. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ……

(4) New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez watches his seventh-inning RBI double in the Yankees baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, May 15, 2011 in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(5) David Ortiz (34) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates a home run in the fifth inning as Russell Martin(notes) #55 of the New York Yankees looks on and J.D. Drew (7) of the Boston Red Sox gets ready to bat during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images …..

(6) Brett Gardner (11) of the New York Yankees is caught in a run down against the Boston Red Sox during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……

(7) A woman holds up a sign supporting New York Yankees five-time All-Star and designated hitter Jorge Posada one day after Posada pulled himself out of the lineup in the Yankees baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium Sunday, May 15, 2011 in New York. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Posada apologized to him in a face-to-face conversation. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(8) Jorge Posada (20) of the New York Yankees cheers his team on from the bench against the Boston Red Sox during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ….

(9) From left to right Kurt Thomas (40), John Lucas III, Joakim Noah (13) and Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls celebrate late in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls won 103-82 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(10) Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat reacts as he coaches against the Chicago Bulls in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/ Gregory Shamus ……..

(11) Chris Bosh (1) and Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat talk on court against the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Gregory Shamus/ Getty Images ……..

(12) Kyle Korver (26) of the Chicago Bulls reaches for a loose ball against LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ……..

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MLB Results & scores 15th May 2011

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Probable starting pitchers 16th May 2011

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NBA Playoffs 2011

NHL Playoffs 2011

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Fabolous …… feat’g …….. Nate Dogg ……” I Can’t Deny It”