AL East, Baseball, Basketball, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, MLB, NBA, New York Yankees, NHL, Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary, Tampa Bay Rays

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 !

====================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

====================================================================================

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.

====================================================================================

===================================================================================

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 .

———————————————————————————————————————————–

(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 ……..

————————————————————————————————————————————-

MLB News

New York Yankees’ news

MLB Scoreboard

MLB Results & scores 15th May 2011

MLB Standings


Probable starting pitchers 16th May 2011

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NHL Playoffs 2011

————————————————————————————————

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

Advertisements
AL East, Baltimore Orioles, Baseball, MLB, New York Yankees, Sports, Tampa Bay Rays

When Johnny Met Manny ……………….


When Johnny Met Manny ……………….

Well holy Moses the impossible has happened and the Tampa Bay Rays are now able to make lemonade out of rat’s pi_s . How else can you explain the idiocy of many of the statements coming from GM Andrew Friedman senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg Granted we know that the organization and team have been beset with financial problems ever since they came into existence and it has been that way ever since . Friedman and Sternberg have continued to berate the fans but have little willingness to spend money but at the same time they’re looking to have a new stadium built at the taxpayers’ expense . And at no time have they actually shown a commitment that they’re prepared to step up to the plate and contribute in part to the building of the supposed new venue. Some solace for the fans eh _____ from two rather conniving individuals who have continued to talk out of both sides of their mouths.

================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal.

Sternberg having made his fortune in the commodities’ market and on Wall St much like any other millionaire owner in the league has a bauble (Rays) that he can parade as his own personal jewel in his crown. And given the success that the organization has had in recent years having twice won the AL East divisional crown . Now having failed to make their presence felt in the MLB playoffs where they would succumb to the Texas Rangers the Tampa Bay Rays in the offseason essentially had themselves a fire sale gutting the team in order to stave off financial ruin. To make matters worse their most storied and beloved player Carl Crawford was signed by the Boston Red Sox and several other players have followed in tow.

Now Friedman and Sternberg are trying to allay the fans’ fears that the team is heading in the right direction even with the moves that have been made. Simply put you can’t dress a sow up as a pig and call it a pig . Neither can you say that the Rays will be able to contend within the AL East especially when the likes of the Red Sox , New York Yankees , Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays will have improved. It’s easy to understand the reason why the division has always been considered to be most competitive in all of baseball . It’s not liable to change at all this upcoming season and it remains to be seen whether or not the coaching staff of the Rays can still have this team playing competitively this upcoming season even with the changes made.

For the fans in attendance at Tropicana Field St Petersburg , Florida this could be a season where that venue will come to be even more so as an elephant’s graveyard where the attendance will if anything border on being bare to say the very least . Instead of that hardcore 15,000 that the organization has come to rely on we could very well see that figure drop below 10,000 . It gives even greater credence to the fact that baseball just doesn’t work in the city of Tampa and it never will. Spin it anyway you want but there comes a time when the fans and in particular Sternberg and Friedman will have to accept the fact that they’re fighting a losing battle. And it certainly hasn’t helped with the continued buffoonery being shown by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , his office and his idiotic impact of the stadium issue for the Tampa Bay Rays . Rather being of assistance to the organization’s plans Selig has been nothing but a hindrance with his nonsensical edicts and public statements on the issue. Telling the team that the only way that they can ever host an All Star Game is to have a purpose built new stadium is asinine, as it was to suggest that he was completely unaware of the whole steroid issue that has been simply rife within the game under his tenure as commissioner !

Now if to create something of a furor and perhaps lure fans into the belief that the good time are here again with them having signed both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez to one year contracts . As to whether not both of these players who are shall we say are past their prime can prove to be productive remains to be seen. But it’s clear that if anything in terms of character they’ll be bringing a great deal with them if not much in terms overall productivity to the Rays.

The two players had unprecedented success as players on the Boston Red Sox having won two World Series and then essentially were either ran out of town or left of their own volition from the organization. Since their departure let’s just say that the fortunes for the Red Sox where GM Theo Epstein and team President Larry Lucchino rule the roost at the behest of principal managing partner John Henry . Can both players contribute to the Rays and make them a competitor within the AL East and throughout baseball will be of interest to the vast majority of fans the print media and broadcast networks who cover the game.

From my own perspective this may well be nothing more than a face saving publicity gimmick but at the same time with both players set to earn in excess of $7.5 million for their effort we could very well see them showing us that they’re not completely past their prime. I do believe however that this team will struggle to be competitive merely because from the standpoint that a great deal will be asked of Evan Longoria and David Price as they try to keep in tact that the momentum that had been created under Joe Maddon’s coaching philosophy. I’ve heard it said that the youth movement on this team will bode well for the Tampa Bay Rays but really given what’s happened in terms of the roster upheavals does anyone truly believe that to be the case ? The Rays may well have been tested over the last few seasons as they saw their glare shine brightly in the public’s presence and perception . But this is a whole new ball of wax and if the truth be told this is liable to be a season where we will see the fortunes of the organization and the team simply falter once again not only from a competitive standpoint but also from a financial one as well.

This upcoming season the team will be on a thread bare budget in terms of salary and once again they will be back in the bottom half of the league in terms of that very aspect. Suffice to say this is one more symbolic point that’s a sad indictment of what’s completely wrong with the game of baseball from an economic and business standpoint as it continues to be about the haves and have nots !

=====================================================================

=====================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez joining the Tampa Bay Rays ? And do you see the team being competitive this season not only within the AL East but across the entire baseball landscape ? Simply chime in with a comment on this topic and what you you envisage this season within baseball.

NB Picture and slide show details .

(1) This file photo taken Sept. 6, 2010, shows Chicago White Sox’s Manny Ramirez during a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit. A person familiar with negotiations tells The Associated Press that Ramirez and Detroit Tigers’ Johnny Damon have agreed to one-year contracts with the Tampa Bay Rays. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, because the agreements had not been announced. Getty Images / Drew Bishop ……….

(2) In this file photo taken Aug. 24, 2010, Detroit Tigers’ Johnny Damon watches from the dugout in the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Detroit. A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez have agreed to one-year contracts with the Tampa Bay Rays. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, because the agreements had not been announced. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ………..

(3) In this Oct. 9, 2010, file photo, Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Rafael Soriano delivers the ball to the Texas Rangers during Game 3 of the American League Division Series baseball game in Arlington, Texas. A person familiar with negotiations tells The Associated Press that the New York Yankees have reached a three-year agreement with Soriano, last years AL saves leader. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……….

(4)Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon talks with pitcher Andy Sonnanstine (21) as catcher Gregg Zaub, left, third baseman Evan Longoria and first baseman Willy Aybar, right, look on during the third inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader against the New York Yankees on Monday, Sept. 7, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Yankees won 11-1. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……….

(5) Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays of the New York Yankees during the game on April 15, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ………

(6) Seen here in a role as a relief pitcher David Price (14) of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox in game seven of the American League Championship Series during the 2008 MLB playoffs on October 19, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. The Rays defeated the Red Sox 3-1 to win the series 4-3 . Getty Images North America / Doug Pensinger ………….

(7) Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg, left, talks to left fielder Carl Crawford during baseball practice Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays host the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ………..

[8] Matthew Silverman, tram President (left), GM Andrew Friedman (center) and principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg (right) are overhauling the Devil Rays. photo appears courtesy of New York Times/ Phillip Diedrich ………………

Alan aka tophatal …………………………..

MLB News ………………….

Tampa Bay Rays’ 40 man roster . Active roster & depth chart

Rays’ roster 2010

Tampa Bay Rays news …….

======================================================================

Jackie O

Eye candy …….. Jackie O courtesy of Smooth Magazine

More of Jackie O …… so what’s not to like ?

======================================================================

Rick Ross ……. feat’g Styles P ……….. “BMF”

=====================================================================

AL East, Albert Pujols, Baseball, Major League Baseball, Sports, St Louis Cardinals, Tony La Russa

Money Makes The World Go Around …………… In MLB It’s Been The Sole Reason To Exist


Money Makes The World Go Around …………… In MLB It’s Been The Sole Reason To Exist

So the season has yet to begin but before MLB has even come into being it appears that the St Louis Cardinals have been given an ultimatum . Negotiate a contract that meets everyone’s needs of Albert Pujols will test the free agency market this offseason. John Mozeliak team GM for the Cardinals knows that in losing Pujols to anyone of a multitude of teams within the league it be disaster for the organization on all fronts. From a financial standpoint it would prove to sheer idiocy on the part of the Cardinals and in all probability it would send the fans in attendance Busch Ballpark in complete uproar.

==============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


=============================================================================

Slide show for your perusal.

Tony La Russa knows full well that without Pujols the Cardinals as a team can’t compete within the NL Central much less the rest of baseball. For the Cardinals as an organization this all comes down to whether or not they’re prepared to break the bank in terms of offering the player what many may well believe will have to be one of the most lucrative contracts in MLB history . That privilege at present belongs to the New York Yankees’ —- Alex Rodriguez with his 10 year $300 million deal . Over the course of his career it is estimated that the Yankees’ third baseman will have earned in excess of half a billion dollars ( $500,000,000) without the inclusion of endorsements from corporate endorsers.

All this comes about not only with the help of A-Rod’s abilities on the field but the sheer added advantage of having Scott Boras as his agent. Boras has been able to cloud the judgment of general managers around baseball for over a decade and the idiocy they’ve shown in merely not looking after the financial wherewithal of their respective organizations. Much of this has been suborned also by the stupidity shown by MLB Commmisioner Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy . And as we all know intelligence has never been Bud Selig’s biggest attribute ! He’s still under the impression that the game and everything it stands for is good as it has ever been . At the same time what little backbone he shows has never been really there as he still cowers under the might of the MLBPA and it still hasn’t ceased.

Now while I’m under no impression that Pujols isn’t worthy of being richly rewarded for his exploits on the field but also his philanthropic efforts of it. If anything Albert Pujols is considered to be the best player in the game and if anything the fans and many of his peers may well be in agreement with this . It’s certainly in most fans’ minds that the game is in need of a clear overhaul when it comes to its financial blue print. The tax sharing scheme which benefits the small market teams around the league by way of revenues that’s shared amongst them by the league’s own mandate. Now it remains to be seen what type of long term contract that Pujols may well seek but it goes without saying that the starting point for those negotiations will have to be a minimum of 7 years and quite possibly in excess of $175 million . Comparable to Rodriguez’s annual salary of $30 million it would suggest that Pujols is still vastly underpaid. But that being said the question one has to ask is when will the over exubrance of the teams and their owners be reined in ? Clearly there are still at a point where they believe it’s in their best interest to carry on as if they’re printing money at will. I understand that’s how the <a href="http://usa.gov/&quot; US government at present constitutes its business as it relates to the governance of the country and dealing with the stark economic issues facing the country but it’s become apparent that they’ve no idea to deal with this acute issue.

Do I believe that Albert Pujols should be the highest paid player in the game of baseball ? It’s a matter of opinion and a great deal of conjecture . Certainly over the course of his career he’s proven to be productive and having won three NL Player of the Year Awards . Pujols has been the consummate professional both on and off the field and he’s proven to be one of the main draws in the game ever since his entry into the major leagues. This has to be a decision that’s made by the front office , Mozelliak , the player’s agent and the player himself as to whether their most prized asset is worth the expense.

Amongst this upcoming season it’ll be interesting how to see how the likes of Jayson Werth performs for the Washington Nationals after their acquisition of the player. And amongst the teams having made their off season acquisitions are the Boston Red Sox having obtained both Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford from the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays respectively. For the latter , the Tampa Rays they will be in for a tumultuous season because of the ” fire sale” that has been taking place within the organization and the public statements now being made concerning the team’s impending future. Principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg and GM Andrew Friedman have been clear that what they are now doing is being done in order for the team to remain financially viable and self sustaining . This has been something of a death knell for the defending AL East division champions who are now seeing their fortunes now scurry down the drain.

And if one thinks that this is only MLB team within the league that where their financial fortunes now lay in waste then consider the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig and team owners would still have us believe that the financial health of the game is a viable one where all of the teams are making money. That’s certainly not the case for those teams are at the bottom of the food chain and are merely fighting for the scraps being thrown its way . How’s that working out for those teams at this juncture ? And although many will throw out the statement recent winners of the World Series have been been varied in large part that may well be true but the vast majority of that period it has been more about the have and have nots as the big market teams have simply had the success that the smally teams simply have not. Skewer it anyway that you want but simply look at the list of champions over the last fifteen years ?

===========================================================================

==========================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

The game has come a long way from its stoic and social issues of the past but now it’s incumbent on Bud Selig , the game’s hierarchy , owners and players simply deal with the prevailing issues now hovering as a dark cloud over their sport. Have they actually done so ? I’ll let you all be the judge of that !

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to Albert Pujols’ request of the St Louis Cardinals to get a contract in place by season’s end or he’ll test the free agency market ? And in your honest opinion should he now become the highest paid player in the game today ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on this topic and and the impending season within the game .

Picture and slide show details …..

(1) St. Louis Cardinals fans wish Albert Pujols a happy birthday as he signs autographs for fans at the Cardinals Winter Warm-up, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011 in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tom Gannam ……

(2) St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols horses around with former teammate Steve Kline as he signs autographs for fans at the Cardinals Winter Warm-up, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011 in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tom Gannam …….

(3) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2009 in Jupiter, Florida. Getty Images /Doug Benc ………

(4) Manager Tony La Russa (10) and Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals stand in the duggout during a game against the Minnesota Twins at Roger Dean Stadium on March 29, 2010 in Jupiter, Florida. Getty Images / Marc Serota ……

(5) Uber-agent Scott Boras (left) seen here with former client Alex Rodriguez at the Yankees Spring Training facility Steinbrenner Field in Tampa , Florida. Boras negotiated in part contracts that will net the Yankees’ third baseman in excess of $500 million over the course of the player’s professional career and this doesn’t include off the field endorsement deals. Larry Goren SMI Inc ……..

NB MLB news

MLB schedule 2011

MLB Standings 2010

Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

============================================================

Jenna Jameson

Eye candy …………… Jenna Jameson retired porn star turned business entrepreneur.

Jenna 1

It’s what they call flippin’ the bird I think !

Baring it all for fans and foes alike . What else is new ?

============================================================

Outkast feat’g …… Killer Mike …. “The Whole World”

=============================================================

AFC West, Allan 'Bud' Selig, Baseball, Basketball, Florida Marlins, Football, MLB, NBA, NFL, Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, Sports

2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was Also An Unmitigated Disaster !


2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was Also An Unmitigated Disaster !

Well there are but three days left before we ring in a year year and the start of another decade and as such 2010 will have left most sports fans enriched with the spectacles that unfolded in front of their very eyes. Now speaking as an avowed sports fan there were times when I simply wanted to turn off the television set or were it an event that I’d attended I was simply hoping for a refund after the money I’d paid out and the event itself hadn’t met my expectation. For me as such having lived in the state of Florida since 1992 , coming from the UK where I’d served in the military and then worked for several years in the financial world for a number well known international financial concerns. I would became enamored with the game of baseball and my support was fully thrown behind the local baseball team which just happened to be the Florida Marlins . South Florida was a buzz when the organization came into its inception and when that first pitch was thrown out by Charlie Hough in the team’s inaugural game it was of great comfort to the fans within the region who’d longed for a baseball franchise. In that time to now I’ ve witnessed the highs and lows of the organization , from seeing them win their first World Series (1997) and then with that team being ripped apart by then owner, businessman H D Wayne Huizenga merely to save a few million dollars at the time we were led to believe. The multi billionaire co- founder of Waste Management Inc , AutoNation and Blockbuster Inc would subsequently become the owner of the NFL’s —- Miami Dolphins having bought the team from the Robbie family.

==================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

==================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

Having torn apart that championship winning team when a great many observers at the time felt that the Marlins could have successfully defended their title left a bitter taste in the palates of the fans in South Florida. If that wasn’t enough for the fans who now felt cheated the idiocy that took place upon the team’s sale to commodities’ broker John Henry ____ had many wondering what the hell was going on within the game and in part with the game’s hierarchy led by Commissioner Allan “Bud” Selig . Henry’s tenure as owner of the organization was short lived but it didn’t stop the ongoing insanity that was taking place at the time. A lease agreement was signed by the organization (front office) with the Dolphins to lease their stadium to accommodate the team’s games throughout the season. That contract was so imbalanced and weighed everything heavily in favor of the Dolphins in terms of revenue streams that the organization (baseball club) would have greatly benefited from. So much so that to this day I still wonder who provided legal counsel for John Henry and his partners at the signing of that lease agreement ? It’s clear that these lawyers could not have graduated from an establishment that actually taught contract law with any great distinction . And as short-lived as Henry’s tenure of the team would be there was little success on or off the field that came the Marlins’ way , be it from a competitive standpoint or a financial one for that matter.

Once Henry saw fit to divest himself of the team it was bought by the MLB hierarchy with a view to either contracting the team or looking for a possible buyer . With the Montreal Expos being disbanded and them being folded the team owner billionaire art dealer and entrepreneur Jeffrey Loria was given a sweetheart deal wherein he sold the remnants of the Expos to MLB and he would then be loaned $38 million dollars by MLB at preferential rates in order to buy the Marlins from the game’s hierarchy ($158 million) having sold the Expos to Selig and his cohorts ……….. in other words all the teams in the league were in essence also part owners of the now defunct Expos and prior to that the Marlins. Loria for his part having bought the team would revamp much of the front office bringing in his trusted aide step-son , Dave Sampson as Team President and with Larry Beinfest as President of Baseball Operations & GM. However rather than look to renegotiate the lease agreement that was in place Beinfest and Sampson sought to leave it in tact even though it was a gigantic financial burden to this new ownerhsip group . Over time it would indeed prove to be costly, albeit that there was beginning to be signs of life on the field of play. A second World Series( 2003 ) would be in the offing but alas history would again repeat itself as the front office would divest itself of the talent that got them to the game’s big show.

Come full circle in 2010 and the Marlins though competitive within the NL East it’s now being ran merely as a treasure chest that’s pillaged by Loria and his general partners while making false claims as to the team’s lack of profitability. That may well be true to a certain extent but much of the claims aren’t valid given the fact that much by way of the game’s tax sharing revenue scheme the Marlins have been able to inflate those figures while at the same time misconstrued facts and then getting the state county and local municipality to finance their new venue that will come into being 2012 on the site of the Orange Bowl in Miami. Once again taxpayer’s monies and the so called bed tax (hotel tax) increased service fees and bonds are being used to finance and construct a facility for a private enterprise that will be in part will be co-owned by a multi billionaire . And with there being little if any out of pocket expenses or escrow monies as a sign of good faith being put up by the present ownership group it has to be said that the local community and governmental agencies have again been duped. Given the economic blight within this state and the unemployment that rate that is now in line with the national average of 9.8% one wonders what the hell local and state governments are thinking when they’re in part cutting many services and furloughing if not pink slipping their staff ? They may well feel that the a new venue will be a boost to the economy but within the state of Florida the game of baseball is on life support when it comes to the interest being shown by the local residents. Spring Training asides other than when the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox are in town there’s minimal support shown for the Tampa Bay Rays much less the Florida Marlins . Hardcore support for the Rays might not even break 15,000 when they are in attendance at Tropicana Field and that figure is even less when it comes to the Marlins and the attendance of fans at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

As spirited a season as the Marlins had it was as such an immense disappointment with the team’s lack of success as much had been expected given management’s feeling at the time. And for myself I disavowed my support of the team once it became known of the lies and complicit underhandedness of Loria and the local politicians in getting a deal done that will end cost the taxpayers and state far more than estimated albeit that proponents of the new stadium are claiming otherwise. Fredi Gonzalez is no longer the team manager and his position has been entrusted to rookie manager Edwin Rodriguez . The team itself now is but bare bones with the exception of All Star _____ Hanley Ramirez and Ricky Nolasco who was recently signed to a three year $26.5 million deal. It’d be safe to say that the aspirations of the Marlins this upcoming season will fall short of expectations as I firmly believe that the team will struggle to be competitive within its own division much less the rest of National League never mind the intra-eague games that will have been scheduled against AL teams .

The 2010 World Series itself brought about the rags to riches story some might say of the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants who actually played like the champions that some wouldn’t have presumed they would be be . Throughout the postseason they set aside the egos and played as a team waylaying whatever obstacle that stood before them and their NLCS series against the Philadelphia Phillies (4-2) became so lopsided that it even had me wondering which team was star laden and had a multi million dollar payroll . Bruce Bochy’s Giants simply took care of the Phillies with consummate ease and then made light work of the Rangers with a 4-1 in a lopsided World Series victory. Enough said !

OK so the Miami Heat in its present format has become ‘the talk of the town’ but last season the team struggled to remain competitive within Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference . In the off-season ‘The Decision’ as it came to be known would bring LeBron James to Miami to play alongside his good friend Dwyane Wade . James for his part played the showman trying to say the right things but at the same time coming across like a child who’d found himself a treasure trove of new toys to play with. Along for the ride also would be Chris Bosh and it immediately created to my mind the comical trio ‘The Three Amigos’ that now cult film that starred Steve Martin , Chevy Chase and Martin Short . As to the pretense by James, that he’s on South Beach merely to win titles that may well be true but in essence it’s all about the money , albeit that he’s taking less money to sign with the Heat ___ endorsement deals will undoubtedly come pouring in once the corporate behemoths align themselves with the player . Team President Pat Riley who engineered this all in conjunction with owner Micky Arison have to be now sweating bullets because should this team fall short of expectations then it’ll not only be Riley who’ll undoubtedly be judged but also LeBron James . And given the player’s less than enthusiastic welcome at such venues as Quicken Loans Arena and Madison Square Gardens this season , is it any wonder the player himself has been somewhat conciliatory to the fans in Cleveland and elsewhere ? James is now about as welcomed in Cleveland as Osama Bin Laden would be at a synagogue while the patrons there celebrated Hannukah !

Now while the Heat as of late have been on a winning spree wherein they sit atop of their division they are by no means as such viewed as the consensus favorites to make it to this season’s NBA Finals . Oddsmakers in Vegas would have us all believe that Erik Spoelstra’s team are a shoo-in as the Eastern Conference representatives but given the play of the Boston Celtics , Chicago Bulls and in particular a revamped Orlando Magic —– team I certainly don’t think that the Heat will have things all their own way ! As good as this team looks on paper I for one don’t feel that their depth can match that of the Celtics who are the team to beat within the conference . Zydrunas Ilgauskas , Erick Dampier and Carlos Arroyo simply don’t cut it for me as front line players who need to be athletic in order to give the Heat a legitimate shot. OK, so the big three night in and night out will be asked to carry the offensive load but there’ll be nights when they will cool off or the possibility of a prolonged injury to one or two of the trio that could take place at some point in the regular if not postseason. What then one might ask and who steps up to the plate at that juncture ? David Stern may well be frothing at the mouth like a hyena who’s just seen its prey fall to the ground having taken its last breath but that envisaged match up against the Phil Jackson’s Los Angeles Lakers is by no means a certainty and as appetizing a prospect as at might be . A ratings’ bonanza yes but an NBA Finals without that marquee match-up and we all might as well watch paint dry. I mean last season’s NBA Finals between the two most storied franchises whilst appealing, wasn’t exactly suspenseful to begin with. Once the Boston Celtics took their feet off the gas pedal they essentially paved the way for the Kobe Bryant and his teammates to successfully defend their title and add a sixteenth Larry O’Brien Trophy to the Lakers’ legacy and cabinet showcase.

At what point of the NFL —- season was it that the San Diego Chargers started to play football ? Midpoint or three quarters of the way through ? Such has been this team’s persona over the past few seasons that sooner or later it had to catch up with them. Starting the season and then slowly progressing to 2-5 with injuries and off the field issues Norv Turner and his coaching staff were asking a great deal of Philip Rivers to lead this team with aplomb and take them back into the postseason . As poor as the AFC West has become in terms of the play , there were spirited signs being shown by Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders . Coach Tom Cable looked as if he had the Raiders heading in the right direction but as we’ve so often come to expect of this team oil and water just doesn’t mix . And suffice to say that’s akin to asking the Raiders to win consistently , so much so, that for the first time in almost five years they’d notched three successive victories in a season. Now if only they could’ve maintained that momentum throughout the season but alas it wasn’t to be as there was a lack of cohesiveness in the team’s play , injury issues and that seemingly problem that always arises, a healthy quarterback who could string together 60 minutes of continuous and consistent play. Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell each had their part to play and at times they were extremely good but more often than not they would fall short of Cable’s and the fans’ expectations .

The AFC West now has a newly minted champion in the Chiefs and much of that credit has to do with GM Scott Pioli , head coach Todd Haley and former cast offs Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel who have the Chiefs playing meaningful football at the right time of the season. Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt but given the fact that Pioli, Haley , Crennel and Weis are fruits that were borne of the New England Patriots’ tree under the tenure of Bill Belichick and owner Bob Kraft is it any wonder that this Chiefs’ organization is now being modeled on that Patriots’ template ? Success there starts from the top and works its way down to the coaching staff and players and beyond and it become a bona-fide success on the field of play. That’s the mantra now being ingrained within the organization by Pioli that hadn’t been apparent with the Kansas City Chiefs in years .

Kudos to Brett Favre , Randy Moss , Chad Ochocinco and Vince Young for showing us all that a narcissistic ingrate much like a leopard never changes its spots. Who could’ve foreseen that Favre would now be deemed a pariah both on and off the field while at the same time bring about the downfall of coach Brad Childress which in essence led to his firing by Vikings’ team owner Zygi Wilf ? If that wasn’t enough we had Randy Moss in the space of three months , played on three different teams during the season . Welcomed back like a prodigal son returning home to Minnesota to play for the Vikings , Moss made himself about as welcomed as Pat Robertson would be amongst a group of Haitian refugees or homosexuals. Suffice to say that the organization cut Moss without him adding anything productivity wise . From the Patriots to the Minnesota Vikings and on to the hapless Tennessee Titans where Vince Young’s relationship with coach Jeff Fisher is now about as combustible as Semtex and nitrolgycerin being placed in the same room would be . If that’s not enough of an indication to tell you how bad things have become then I don’t know what will . Young after a verbal assault on his coach has since been placed on injured reserve then unto the PUP list and was subsequently asked by Fisher to to stay away from the team until further notice . Moss for his part when on the field might as well be catching flies because he’s won’t be catching anything at all in terms of the Titans’ pass offense . Less we forget Titans’ owner Bud Adams still believes that Young has something to offer the team and the fans ? There’s a sucker born every minute and Bud Adams most certainly is one of those ! He might just be one of the worst owners in the NFL present .


When all you have to show for your NFL season are your accomplishments off it rather than for anything that you’ve achieved on it then it has to be time for you take a look at where you’re at in regards to your career. Not so for the Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver Chad Ochocinco who’s had perhaps his least productive year in the NFL since his entry amongst the professional ranks. Lined up alongside what was deemed to be a potent receiving duo of himself and Terrell Owens , Ochocinco has performed like a circus clown simply out for laughs ! Suffice to say that the Bengals’ season went south so fast that you’d have sworn that just like the Titanic this team had hit an iceberg. Coming into the season as the AFC North divisional champions this Marvin Lewis coached team simply didn’t live up to the perceived hype or expectations . And glaringly , both Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco had years that they’d no doubt rather forget. In the case of the always opinionated wide receiver he still talks up his exploits as a top line and being of the elite receivers in the league . Not so fast Chad because the likes of Devin Hester , DeSean Jackson , Larry Fitzgerald , Wes Welker and Andre Johnson now make you look all the more pedestrian ! And if that wasn’t enough the player and his teammate Owens now have host their very own cable talk show on Versus the non-descript sports programmer owned by cable giant Comcast . Now I’m beginning to understand the reason why the content there is so bad alongside that of their newly acquired network station NBC and its affiliated companies. The The TOcho Show is so pallid and a waste of resource that you’ve got to ask yourself which cable executive within Versuse came up with this idiotic idea and has he or she yet been fired by a superior ? Hopefully once the the show has ran its season it’ll be <b< yanked off the air faster than Jenna Jameson has been known to go down orally on an intimate companion.

==================================================================================

=================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

As to the NFC itself well suffice to say that beyond the New Orleans Saints , Atlanta Falcons , Philadelphia Eagles , Chicago Bears and the now rejuvenated St Louis Rams the rest of the conference itself has been less than appealing . It’ll be interesting to see which of these teams does in fact make the postseason how well they’ll fare . But I’m simply hoping that all the teams from both the AFC and NFC make this postseason an exciting one, and one to remember ! Last season’s fairy tale story of the ‘Who Dat Boys’ of the New Orleans and their Superbowl (SB XLIV) triumph (31-17) over the Indianapolis Colts was a welcome surprise and thankfully we all got to appreciate the finesse and greatness that Drew Brees as a player is all about . Can the Saints repeat ? Well we’ll just have to wait and see.

This encapsulates part one of a two part series on some of my most prominent sporting memories of 2010 . Be on the lookout for part two and then by all means chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on both pieces and what if anything was one of your sporting highlights of the year.

NB: Click on the link provided to read Pt 2 in this two part series .

https://abritishman.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/2010-was-a-great-year-in-some-sports-and-in-some-ways-it-was-an-unmitigated-disaster-part-two/

Alan aka tophatal ………………………..

===============================================================================

Candace

Eye candy Candace Pictures appear courtesy of Smooth Magazine

================================================================================


Suelyn-Brittany

Suelyn and Brittany
================================================================================

Jasmine  Black

Porn star Jasmine Black not coming to your local school hall or church anytime soon.

================================================================================

Baseball, MLB, Sports

Take Me Out To The Ballgame


Take Me Out To The Ballgame ………….

Well now that the AL East looks as it’ll go down to the wire between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in terms of a winner of the division . It appears that whomever comes out as the victor could be the presumptive favorite within the AL for the World Series. Whomever finishes in second is guaranteed the wildcard berth for the postseason with the representatives from the AL Central being the Minnesota Twins and from the AL West there it will be Texas Rangers. And while I’m inclined to believe that the Yankees on paper look to have what it takes to win it all. Their play as of late and the fact that other CC Sabathia , Phil Hughes and closer Mariano Rivera there’s little to suggest that their pitching will be able to pull them through. The problem stems from the fact that manager Joe Girardi is unsure what he’s liable to get from his bullpen and number’s three and four starters. That’s uneasy feeling to have even if the team’s offense is clicking on all cylinders. And with merely a week to go in the regular season it remains to be seen whether or not Girardi can get this team focused and where they need to be.

======================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


======================================================================

Slide show for your perusal.

Now much has been made as to the situation concerning the Tampa Bay Rays’ financial viability and the stadium issue. But to my mind all of the posturing and the asinine notion that the building of a new facility is a guarantee that fans will come streaming to a new venue is ludicrous ! Never mind the fact that the local politicians and Rays’ ownership have yet to comment as to how the financing of the structure will come into being . Overt statements such as we can raise the funds needed via the state’s hotel room taxes, a bond issue and other ancillary taxes in order to fund the building of the structure. Now while this appears to be a sound decision I think of it as political suicide given the fact that the state of the economy within Florida and the notion that both Hillsborough and Pinellas County are using this matter as some sort of political hot potato. Meanwhile the Rays’ front office led by owner Stuart Sternberg has been less than forthcoming as to how he envisages the venue being built , its financing and even where it will be built. And once again given the fact that it comes down to taxpayers’ monies being used to facilitate the building of a venue for a professional sports franchise that’s owned by a multi millionaire. One has to wonder what the hell is going on ?

I’m no longer amazed by the simple notion that this is what baseball has come to ! I mean when even MLB Commissioner Bud Selig continues to make the statement that baseball is a viable entity even when he has a number of teams struggling to eke out a profit. Now I’ve read where fans are calling for a shortening of the season and where there ought to be a restructuring of the divisions. Well that’s something that’s not about to happen given the fact that the league’s hierarchy won’t even address the issue as their only concerns are the game’s overall image and that of revenues…… and profits. Now whilst there would appear to be nothing wrong in that over the past six months we’ve seen the Chicago Cubs placed into bankruptcy proceedings and then brought back out of it merely to avert the organization become liable for the debt of its parent company the Tribune Group. Now with the team having been sold to the Ricketts family it remains to be seen whether or not the club will ascend to the lofty heights expected of the new ownership.

Beyond the problems of the Cubs , we’ve also seen the culpability shown by the ownership groups of the Florida Marlins , Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays as they’ve been less than forward with the veracity of the argument they’re making concerning their profitability. Now the Rays are on track to lose between $60- $ 80 million this season alone . And it goes without saying that the Rays have been beneficiaries of the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme but the greatest problem this ball club has, is the fact that absolutely no one turns up to see the team play unless the opposition happens to be their division rivals the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees. Now the league would have us believe that the team’s average attendance for their home games is in excess of 23,000. Far be it for me to state the obvious but even with the renewed vigor of this team it’s rarely that there’s in excess 20,000 fans for a game at Tropicana Field . But as I’ve already stated that’s unless the Red Sox or Yankees are in town and then and only then do those figures bear out the stats stated. It hasn’t been uncommon to see less then 15,000 fans for a game between the Rays and an opponent whose legacy isn’t that of the Red Sox or Yankees. And most certainly if the claims being made by the press , fans and ownership that a new purpose built venue will see a spike in attendance. Well if it’s not happening when the Rays have a winning product on the field then what makes them think that it’ll happen with a new venue ? The idiocy of this ,is that feasibility studies done simply don’t address and the information being used to support the claims that a new stadium would ease the problems we’re now seeing with the organization. What we’re now witnessing is the political gob-speak that has become the excess of our county and state legislators. Now matter how much shitone tries to shovel into a hole before trying to cover it the stench will always remain.

The best step forward for the Rays at this juncture is to go out and do their best in trying to win the World Series . It’s clear that with all of the financial ramifications that are in the organization’s midst and the continued rumors that the team will be stripped to its bare bones in order to remain financially viable. Well it’s clear that the talk and the dire situation of the Rays is very much the same for a number of teams across the landscape of the game. And repeatedly we’re told by Selig that the game is in a healthy state but seriously most fans who claim that they know what the real problems that the game is facing have never really sat down and looked at the financial structure of the teams and how they operate on a day to day basis. If the commissioner’s office is disinterested in dealing with the acute issues that a number of teams are facing then be prepared to see a number of teams either go under or be sold to interested investors who may well have the financial wherewithal to steer those teams in the right direction.

This postseason has a great deal in store for the teams that will be in the midst of going after the World Series and while we the fans can appreciate the revelry of the series as they play themselves out. I for one hope that they’re entertaining from start to finish and that they actually live up to the hype . As to the ongoing problems of the Rays well let’s just say reality has yet to set in concerning the fans , the local community and the mere fact that the talk of the team remaining within the state of Florida. In all likelihood should the team remain within the state things are unlikely to change in terms of the meager attendance at a venue wherever it might be. Curiosity or not the fact of the matter is the Tampa Bay Rays even during its success still is unable to draw fans in vast droves. And any thought that a new venue would bring about a change in the team’s fortune is completely misplaced. No one is prepared to face facts on this very topic and it’s clear to see that Stuart Sternberg and his partners have a clear cut decision to make even with contractual agreement in place concerning the team’s location to remain within Pinellas County.

==================================================================

==================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming postseason and also how do you foresee the ongoing situation concerning the Rays being dealt with ? Chime in with a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support.

Alan aka tophatal …………………… 🙂

=========================

Candace

Eye candy courtesy of XXL magazine ….. Candace

Baseball, Basketball, Major League Baseball, MLB, NASCAR, NBA, Sports

In My Wheelhouse From Where I Sit ….


In My Wheelhouse From Where I Sit ….

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

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

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

==============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===============================================================================

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & Associated Press

Edwards, Keselowski put on probation by NASCAR

By Will Graves , AP Sports Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

==============================================================

To read article in its entirety just click on link provided.
===============================================================

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

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

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

Courtesy of Dallas Morning News

Nolan Ryan testifies: Rangers could lose Josh Hamilton, prospects

By Barry Schlacter / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

===========================================================================
Click on link to read to article in its entirety.

===========================================================================

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

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

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

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

==============================================================================

==============================================================================

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

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….. 🙂

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

Baseball, Basketball, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Cavaliers, MLB, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, New York Yankees, Sports

Tha Crossroads ………. See Ya’ At The Crossroads …….. So You Won’t Be Lonely ……


Tha Crossroads ………. See Ya’ At The Crossroads …….. So You Won’t Be Lonely ……

Well the “epicenter” of the sporting universe will very much this weekend be in the city of Boston . The NBA will have the continuation of the playoff series between the Boston Celtics against the Cleveland Cavaliers . And in MLB (baseball) we have the renewed and very much heated rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees of the AL East .

And for the venues in which both of these spectacles will be showcased for the attending fans and those watching on television. Expect the excitement and action to be riveting in its form and presence. Fenway Park , Boston will take center stage for what is perhaps baseball’s richest and most storied rivalry. The New York Yankees will be looking to keep astride with the division leading Tampa Bay Rays . And it’d be safe to say that the Rays are not only the “surprise team” of the division but they might just be the best team in baseball at present based on their current form. If only their “home fans” were appreciative of that fact in turning out at Tropicana Field , St Pertersburg in droves to show their unconditional support for the team . But alas, they are very much a fickle set of fans , to say the very least !

===================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slide-show for your perusal .

===================================================================

The TD Banknorth Garden Center in Boston will play host to the Cavaliers led by their newly minted regular season MVP _____ LeBron James . And this particular series and game will be “pivotal” for both teams. Tied 1-1 James and his Cavaliers’ teammates will be looking to retake the advantage by winning the first game at the Celtics’ home venue. Not to be outdone however, Doc Rivers knows that if his team are to have a chance against this Mike Brown coached team and keeping the momentum after their ” lopsided” game two victory 104-86 over the Cavaliers. Then the Boston Celtics will have give their fans a repeat performance of their display at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio.

And as surprising at that 18 point margin of victory was , what even be more shocking was the laissez-faire approach taken by Cavaliers in general. Mike Brown’s post-game interview was none apologetic and if anything both he and his coaching staff ought to be held accountable for such a poor display. And the fact that he was unwilling to call out his star player as well as the supporting cast makes you wonder who is in fact ruling the roost there in Cleveland ? Is it “King James” or is it the coach ?

Can we all agree the disdain and contempt that the Red Sox fans have for the New York Yankees’ fans as well as the the team borders on that spirited feud between the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s ? If there’s a more heated rivalry both on and off the field in all of sports. Then I for one have yet to witness here in the United States ! Now don’t get me wrong there may well be one or two other rivalries that would like to lay claim that theirs is comparable to that of the Red Sox and Yankees’ rivalry. But you’d be hard pressed to convince the majority of baseball fans that is indeed the case. What one fans purports to be a rivalry one hand pales into insignificance when measured against of what we’ve all no doubt witnessed between these two teams over the course this rivalry’s existence. I know it’s not allout war but the Palestinians and Israelis could learn a thing a two from this long existing feud. Yankees’ fans can be obnoxious because their self conceived superiority complex. Red Sox fans on the other hand, now feel that after years in the wilderness and now with renewed success. Well in essence , they feel that their time is now to hell with what the Yankees’ fans might think or who the hell they are. As for their contempt of the team , well let’s just if they had a pot urine or fecal matter it would not surprise if they chose to launch it in the direction of an opposing fan or player of a fan ! Do you get where I’m coming from concerning this matter ?

Well what can the fans and viewing public expect to see throughout the series ? A Yankees’ team that’s playing well and in many ways some might say pacing themselves for the long haul drudgery of the season . The Red Sox for their part seem to be back to their winning ways . But this is a team that’s lacking in confidence and the players brought in via trades or free agency have yet to show their worth. As astute as GM Theo Epstein is deemed to be , even he must be somewhat disappointed in the form of Adrian Beltre , Marco Scutaro , Mike Cameron and in particular the team’s DH , David Ortiz . Granted, Mike Cameron is on the 15 day DL . Oh what a surprise that is ? Were he a race horse the veterinarian might well have considered euthanizing the often injured player. If there’s said to be a real disappointment however , then it has to be the inconsistency of the front-line starters in terms of the pitching rotation . Josh Beckett’s ERA of 6.31 is either an aberration or there’s a real cause for concern. I’ll let you be the judge of that if you happen to be a Red Sox fan. On the other hand, if you’re a Yankees’ fan then you’re probably rolling about the floor laughing your a_s off .

How manager Terry Francona and the team goes about contesting this series may well go a long way in telling us about the Boston Red Sox and their real aspirations for the season . His opposing number Joe Girardi knows that with the bulls eye resting squarely on their backs as World Series champions . Everyone within baseball will be looking to take them down and usurp their dominance. With a plethora of high priced stars on the team’s roster . This is a Yankees’ organization that takes “their dominance of the sport” rather seriously. Winning equates with success , which equates with making money. And no professional sports franchise makes money the way that the New York Yankees is able to do. Be it from a business or competitive standpoint their success is unparalleled and unmatched .

====================================================================

Picture gallery . Click on the individual frame to view under close scrutiny.

====================================================================

Well all that is left to say at this juncture , is merely to enjoy the sporting weekend and the revelry of the spectacles as they unfold. Be it in support of the Red Sox , Yankees or Cavaliers or Celtics . Just have fun and hopefully you’ll enjoy the cavalcade of sports entertainment at your disposal. For myself , it may well not so much be about these two series in question. But if anything I’ll be watching to see how the San Antonio Spurs acquit themselves in their playoff series against the Phoenix Suns . They have to erase a 0-2 deficit and still play themselves back into contention. An impossible task ? Not necessarily but given the consistency of their play against the Suns . I’m hoping that they can defend their home-court successfully in order to put my mind at ease. Thereafter, it’s then everything to play for .

Alan Parkins ………………….tophatal ………


Bone Thugs-n-Harmony ……………….. “Tha Crossroads”

============================================

The always sultry Kerry Washington .