Little Shop of Horrors …….

Little Shop of Horrors ….

So there we have it, the NBA Playoffs were something of a failure, ,while the NBA Finals become abhorrent bore and blur. In the aftermath of it all , we had the NBA Draft with all of the uncertainty and drama you would expect at this time of the year. Now comes the idiocy of the fallout , with the teams now trying to position themselves for the upcoming season. Teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers , New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers have found themselves in situations which were of their own making . Phil Jackson after three seasons of complete incompetence on and off the court , came to an agreement that he and the Knicks’ organization would part ways. Three years and being paid almost $60 million in salary and Jackson was unable to achieve anything of note. Team owner James Dolan whose continued stupidity remains boundless, now seems to be in agreement that the Knicks will also have to part ways with Carmelo Anthony . The player has agreed to waive his no-trade clause , while still being owed $54 million on the two remaining years on his existing contract.

Carmelo Anthony’s wish is to join a legitimate contender among the teams he’s said to consider joining would be the Cleveland Cavaliers where his friend , LeBron James is the team’s leader and face of that particular franchise.

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Unfortunately, for the Cleveland Cavaliers to consider acquiring Carmelo Anthony , a third team will be needed to make such a deal a reality , while seeking to remain under the league’s salary cap structure. One should also bear in mind the Cavaliers are coming off-season where they lost money , while also having one of the largest payrolls in the NBA , all in their chase for success. The tumultuous fallout from their loss to the Golden State Warriors was embarrassing enough without then having to witness the dismissal of the general manager David Griffin . There clearly was a difference of opinion between owner Dan Gilbert and his lead front office executive , but for LeBron James , this could very well be the last straw in what appears to be uncertainty within the franchise. Suffice to say, for the moment , James will remain with the Cavaliers , waiting to see the next move to be made by Dan Gilbert.

Away from the NBA, the sports world has provided some fascinating stories , with boxer Manny Pacquiao having lost his WBO Welterweight Title to challenger and little known Australian fighter Jeff Horn . In this title fight which had its own controversy , the champion failed to deliver in the challenger’s backyard of Brisbane, Australia . There may well have been questions about the officiating and the judges awarding Horn a unanimous victory, but to my own mind , this was one of Manny Pacquiao’s worst performances of his career . Whether or not there is a rematch, which is a clause in the contract of the dethroned champion, I am not so sure Pacquaio can come back and avenge such a humiliating loss.

Bob Arum , Manny’s longtime promoter and adviser clearly wants his client back in the ring purely from a financial standpoint. I firmly believe it is time for Manny Pacquiao to retire from a boxing ring once and for all. Teddy Atlas , one-time boxing trainer and now a respected analyst , should stop with his continued whining that this verdict was a travesty. There have been far more egregious and outrageous decisions and verdicts rendered in a boxing over the past decade. Somehow , Atlas must believe this has been the first verdict of its kind given in a boxing during his lifetime. Teddy Atlas should get back to the basics and start to question the integrity of the sport.

An even bigger circus extravaganza due to take place in a boxing ring will be UFC fighter Conor McGregor facing unbeaten welterweight Floyd Mayweather . This bout is likely to be the most viewed PPV event in boxing history as well as the highest grossing boxing match in the sport over the last two decades. Mayweather is likely to net over $300 million after expenses and McGregor is likely to earn in excess of $50 million, the biggest payday of his professional career. If you like the attraction of viewing a freak-show then this might be the event for you.

With less than a week to go before MLB’s mid-season extravaganza of the All Star Weekend , there are a number of teams jockeying themselves into position for the second-half of the season. There is a full slate of games on for this weekend , beginning on Friday afternoon. With the divisional standings being as they are, the most interesting series features the New York Yankees taking on the Milwaukee Brewers , with the Brewers seeking to cement their lead within the NL Central . I have to admit , I am presently surprised by the Brewers’ play this season and also by the lack of competitiveness shown by their divisional rivals the Chicago Cubs , who as the reigning World Series’ champions have shown themselves to be extremely fallible . The Cubs will be in action today when they face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field in Chicago , Illinois.

If Joe Girardi really wants to prove his worth as the New York Yankees’ manager , then he has to have this team playing with a great deal more zeal. The Yankees find themselves looking up at the Boston Red Sox within the AL East and this is a Red Sox team buoyed by the productivity of the youngsters on their roster as well as by some of their seasoned veterans . The Boston Red Sox will be on the road to face the Tampa Bay Rays , while the New York Yankees will be taking on the Milwaukee Brewers .

Never let it be said that baseball has ever had its financial house in order or that the league hierarchy has a sense of purpose. The Miami Marlins currently are in dire straits, suddenly find themselves in the midst of some real intrigue as potential bidders for the ball-club are falling by the wayside faster than leaves falling from a tree during Fall . The latest consortium to drop out of the bidding and the ludicrous asking price of ‘$1.3 billion ‘ was the once favored group led by billionaire venture capitalist Wayne Rothbaum . The entrepreneur’s patience may well have ran thin with his own partners which included Tagg Romney , son of former GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and also Jeb Bush , the other notable high-profiled partner among the list of investors which made up the syndication group. Marlins’ team owner Jeffrey Loria has come down considerably from his extremely ridiculous original asking price of $2.1 billion for the sale of the team.

Courtesy of the Miami Herald

Marlins sales efforts receive more setbacks

By Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald bjackson@miamiherald.com

The Marlins’ attempts to complete a sale in the next couple of weeks received a significant setback in recent days, with the Wayne Rothbaum/Tagg Romney group dropping out of the bidding and Derek Jeter’s group losing a billionaire investor, according to a report Thursday on the New York Post’s web site.

Meanwhile, Miami businessman Jorge Mas remains interested in buying the team but has not yet made a formal bid and values the team at less than owner Jeffrey Loria’s $1.2 billion asking price, a person close to Mas said by phone this week.

Loria recently rejected a $1.1 billion bid from the Rothbaum group, the Miami Herald reported last week. Loria originally asked for $1.3 billion but is now willing to accept $1.2 billion, according to a source briefed on negotiations.

But Rothbaum ultimately was unwilling to raise his offer, despite the Marlins encouraging him to do so. The Marlins had been under the impression that negotiations would continue.

Two people who have had involvement with the Rothbaum group said Thursday afternoon that they had not been informed that Rothbaum and Romney had dropped their pursuit of the team. The Marlins declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Jeter lost a key member of his investment group, Chicago billionaire Richard Chaifetz, according to The Post report.

Chaifetz was uncomfortable with Jeter seeking control while not investing much money in the team, The Post said.

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This season the Miami Marlins have not fared that well in spite of the contributions from Giancarlo Stanton , Christian Yelich , Marcell Ozuna and others on the team. Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly will seek to get his players back in stride this weekend when they face the San Francisco Giants in a three-game series beginning today. A series’ win against the Giants would be a tremendous boost to the team’s morale and it would go a long way in taking the minds of the fans off the issues now faced by the organization off the field. Never-ending uncertainty , is not the way for the ball-club to proceed forward and even if Jorge Mas is waiting in the wings with his own bid , I seriously doubt that will be enough to secure and deal with the real underlying issues for this baseball franchise.

While I know there will be heightened anticipation concerning this season’s All Star Game , from my own perspective, the second half of the season will certainly tell me more about the direction the teams are heading in.

UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes makes the second defense of her title when she faces the division’s number one challenger Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 213 this Saturday , 8th July , 2017. Nunes and Shevchenko headline the card for the night , but there are several intriguing bouts which make up the under-card for the night. If things go to form then I expect the champion to make a successful defense of her title as well as beating her opponent for the second time in their two meetings.

It is hard to say where Amanda Nunes now goes from here should she make a successful defense of her title. Perhaps enticing the return of Ronda Rousey who she defeated with ease might be an option , but with their being only three weight categories in Women’s MMA under the UFC banner , Nunes’ options are not clearly defined.

At this time of the year there isn’t a great deal happening on the North American sports’ scene. Was anyone really interested in who won the Stanley Cup ? In reality , was there anyone actually watching the series on NBC ? The NFL continues to cast its giant shadow across the sporting landscape , but until the preseason comes into being , the fans simply wait for the latest breaking news and for the drama which tends to unfold.


 


Picture gallery . Click on frame to read the accompanying narrative.

What if anything has been the biggest sports’ story you have been intrigued by over the past ten days ?

Tophatal …… 2017/07/07 03:06 pm

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NBA news

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USA Today Sports (Boxing)


MLB news and weekend schedule

MLB results 6th July and MLB divisional standings

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UFC news

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29 thoughts on “Little Shop of Horrors …….

  1. Jeffrey Loria has once again proven why he’s one of the most deceitful and corrupt individuals in all of baseball and among the owners within the game. Clearly overpricing the Miami Marlins as he seeks to sell the franchise , he has rejected the sole bid left on the table after the previous two interested parties dropped out of the process . This situation has to be deeply disturbing for Major League Baseball and its hierarchy led by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred . The Marlins’ ball-club was originally priced by an investment banking group for a ridiculous sum of $2.1 billion . Bear in mind the Miami Marlins’ doesn’t have the revenues or generate the profits to be even remotely considered a big-market team on any level. Over the past five seasons their record has been abysmal along with the attendance record. Now with the value of the franchise having been lowered considerably , Jeffrey Loria and the front office staff have refused the $1.1 billion bid from Miami businessman Jorge Mas .

    Needless to say , I firmly believe Jeffrey Loria has no idea what he is doing . He has been enabled throughout his tenure as the owner of the franchise to be corrupt , even resorting to cash inducements to local politicians within Miami Dade as well as the city of Miami , in order to get Marlins Ballpark built at the taxpayers’ expense .

    Miami Marlins’ team owner Jeffrey Loria .

    At present the Miami Marlins are not even competing within the NL East much less as a wildcard team . Furthermore the productivity of the team has been abysmal all season long. This team has not been lucky to win a regular seasons against any of the opponents faced in 2017. Manager Don Mattingly and his managerial staff are completely out of their depth and Mattingly has provided very little inspiration to the playing staff at all .

    Miami Marlins news

    Tophatal ….

  2. Today’s games within Major League Baseball and the ensuing results on the day. With only two days before the All Star Game it will be interesting to see how the divisional standings pan out before the teams resume for the second half of the season.

    The Houston Astros are the second best team in baseball as their record reflects and they lead the AL West by a considerable margin , largest divisional lead in all of baseball. Houston is in the process of closing out their current series against the Toronto Blue Jays . The visiting Astros would come away with a lopsided 19-1 victory for their biggest win of the season .

    With the Los Angeles Dodgers now in a groove having won twenty-six of their last thirty games . It is easy to understand why they have sent six players to this year’s All Star Game representing the team and the National League . The Dodgers were in action today as they beat up on a totally demoralized Kansas City Royals’ team whose chances of making this season’s postseason seems to be over and done with .

    MLB news

    MLB results 9th July

    Tophatal ……………….

  3. Not happening anytime soon and I don’t care what the fascination might be but there’s no way in hell I would sign veteran center Andrew Bogut to any sort of contract ! At his peak , Bogut was never a player able to dominate or prove to be productive. He’s un-athletic, awkward and bring little to the table on either end of the floor at this stage of his career. Coming off the bench and offering minimal minutes might be the best alternative .

    Courtesy of NBA.com

    Andrew Bogut feeling good in recovery from leg injury

    By Steve Aschburer @steveaschburner

    When we last saw Andrew Bogut on the NBA stage, he was on the floor at Quicken Loans Arena, grabbing his left shin and cringing in pain. His stint as a rebounder and rim protector to help the Cleveland Cavaliers late in the season and through the 2017 playoffs lasted all of 58 seconds, snuffed by a fractured tibia when he collided with a Miami player in his March 6 debut.

    Former number one overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks from the 2005 NBA Draft , Andrew Bogut.

    Nearly four months later, Bogut is finishing his rehab and nearing NBA free agency, which begins Saturday at 12:01 a.m. ET.

    In a phone conversation from his native Australia, Bogut, 32, said he plans to resume jumping and full basketball workouts within three weeks. His injury did not require surgery, and he shed a custom carbon-fiber cast a few weeks ago.

    “The big one was getting cleared to jog. And then just ramping it up week by week,” said Bogut, 32, a veteran of 12 seasons who started 2016-17 with Dallas before being included in a trade-deadline deal with Philadelphia for Nerlens Noel.

    Waived by the Sixers, he signed a $385,000 deal with Cleveland in hopes of returning to the Finals for the third straight year (he went in 2015 and 2016 with Golden State). His injury ended that plan for both Bogut and the Cavs.

    “Rehab’s been good,” he said. “I feel strong, everything feels good. But the full explosive stuff will be about another three weeks.”

    To head off any concerns about his leg, agent David Bauman has sent copies of Bogut’s medical clearance and bone scans to interested teams. Bogut said they have a “laundry list” of more than 10 teams with whom they’ll talk, and added that he isn’t worried the injury will dissuade anyone.

    “I don’t feel like this injury will hurt me long-term, because the bone will heal stronger than it was before,” he said.

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    Andrew Bogut may well be looking to sign on with a legitimate contender , but all of those teams would already appear to have their big man in place . As a twelve year veteran of the NBA this former number one overall pick from the 2005 NBA Draft might be considered one of the biggest busts in league history .

    NBA news

    Tophatal …………………….

  4. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are having excellent seasons for their respective teams in baseball this season and Judge is looking every bit the part as the best player on the New York Yankees’ roster this season. Last night in the Home Run Derby as part of the All Star Festivities which climaxes tonight when the two players will take center-stage in the All Star Game itself. It will be interesting to see if either will be able to lead AL or NL All Stars to the title game.

    Aaron Judge put on a spectacular display of power-hitting to overcome Giancarlo Stanton in the Home Run Derby and providing the fans with one of the best contests over the past five years .

    When the regular season resumes on Friday it should provide for an interesting second half of the schedule. By comparison to last season the teams got off to a rousing start .

    MLB news

    Tophatal …………………..

  5. It now seems that the Boston Red Sox have given up on Pablo Sandoval as they have designated the third baseman for assignment. Sandoval has failed to meet the expectations of the Red Sox front office and in particular that of Head of Operations Dave Dombrowski . Boston acquired Pablo Sandoval from the San Francisco Giants as a free agent and signed him to a multi-year , multi-million dollar deal . During his time in Boston Sandoval has failed miserably with the bat as well as defensively for the ball-club.

    Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval who has been designated for assignment by the team’s front office.

    Courtesy of ESPN Sports

    Red Sox designate Pablo Sandoval for assignment

    By Scott Lauber ESPN Staff Writer

    The Pablo Sandoval era is over in Boston.

    Sandoval was informed Friday that he has been designated for assignment, the Red Sox announced. The move effectively terminates one of the worst free-agent signings in franchise history, although the Red Sox still owe the 30-year-old third baseman approximately $49 million through the end of the 2019 season.

    Boston has 10 days to either trade or release Sandoval.

    “I thank the Boston Red Sox for the opportunity and I remain positive that with the love and support of my family I will continue on with my career,” Sandoval told ESPN’s Marly Rivera.

    Sandoval said he is currently in Miami, where he will remain training and working out, preparing for the next step in his career.

    The Red Sox signed Sandoval to a five-year, $95 million contract after the 2014 season. He was coming off a stellar postseason and a third World Series title with the San Francisco Giants and was pursued aggressively by both the Giants and the San Diego Padres.

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    The Boston Red Sox will find it hard for any takers , given the size of Pablo Sandoval’s contract and the years left on the deal . Boston will be in action as they resume the second-half of their regular season schedule. The team is due to start a three-game weekend series against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park , with game-one taking place today, 14th July , 2017.

    MLB news and today’s schedule

    MLB standings

    This week in baseball history and on this day in MLB history .

    Tophatal …………………….

  6. In what can only be seen as an act of desperation and with their season not exactly on fire the New York Mets appear to be on the verge of calling up former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow . This move comes with the blessing of front office executives Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi . With the team’s offense being woefully inept over the course of this season , this last act will either implode or explode , setting the Mets off an exciting run or it will be doomed for failure. From my own perspective I still believe Tim Tebow doesn’t have what it takes to be a major success in the Big Leagues. Passing success in the NFL came and went in the blink of an eye.


    Tim Tebow of the New York Mets.

    Though Sandy Alderson has been shooting down the notion of Tim Tebow being called up from the Minors , there remains the belief at some point this season it is likely to happen.

    On Friday the New York Mets began the first of a three-game weekend series against the Colorado Rockies in a series which they have to win if they are to have any chance of a shot at a postseason berth. Saturday and these two teams will resume their series with game-two at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York . On the mound for this particular contest will be starting pitchers Tyler Chatwood of the Rockies against the Mets’ Seth Lugo .

    Currently , the New York Mets are languishing so far behind the Washington Nationals whose lead in the NL East is a very comfortable one that it seem improbable they will relinquish it anytime soon. Mets’ manager Terry Collins has a great deal to prove over the remainder of the season and should the team fail , I believe it could very well lead to his dismissal as the manager .

    Sandy Alderson will now have to assuage the New York Mets’ roster moving forward and decide whether or not they will become sellers or buyers at the non-waiver trade deadline . At this point last season the Mets were not playing with a great deal of conviction.

    New York Mets news

    Tophatal ………….

  7. The long awaited return of Mike Trout to the Los Angeles Angels’ lineup came about with the two-time AL MVP showing his prowess and what invaluable asset he is to his team . Having spent almost two months on the DL , Trout’s return was more than welcomed by his teammates as well as the managerial staff of Mike Scioscia . Trout and the Angels are in for a tough second half to the season . Mike Scioscia and his players have a three game series which began on Friday with their facing the Tampa Bay Rays in game one . Saturday afternoon the two teams will meet again at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim , California . It will be interesting to see how Mike Trout and teammate Albert Pujols fare against the Rays in the series.


    Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels .

    With the Houston Astros running away with the AL West and having the largest divisional lead in all of baseball . It will be interesting to see if the Los Angeles Angels can make up any ground on the division’s leaders. If the Angels are to make any headway in the coming weeks , then the remaining games in the month of July and heading into August the team will have to play at a high level .

    If Mike Trout’s career continues as it has been since his entry into the Majors , I certainly believe he is Cooperstown bound as a future Hall of Fame player. Whether or not it is as an Angels’ player , only the future knows what lies ahead.

    Los Angeles Angels news

  8. The ouster of Phil Jackson as Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks should not have come as a major surprise . His three years in charge has brought nothing but abject mediocrity , while their continually clueless fans continue to expect miracles. If there was one thing clear , it was the fact Jackson’s annual salary of $20 million was a complete waste in comparison to the salaries of the players on the Knicks’ payroll. Team owner James Dolan was equally bereft of leadership acumen as Phil Jackson was in assessing player talent as well as the coaching staffs of Derek Fisher and Fisher’s successor Jeff Hornacek . There was no unique reason behind the New York Knicks’ failure this past season. It was abundantly clear the team lacked leadership and Carmelo Anthony was incapable of providing that as a veteran player on the roster.

    As you would expect, there remains apathy among the New York Knicks’ fans especially the idiots who come up with the notion that players don’t seek it as a destination to play. Yet somehow both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah ended up on their roster this past season ? Am I missing something here ? I know the NBA is a business and the players are at times powerless , but in reality when it comes to money and the idiocy shown by an organization , everyone in the world knows the New York Knicks show a preponderance of simply doing stupid things and making ludicrous deals . It has been an inherent part of their culture for the past decade .

    Steve Mills now assumes the position once held by Phil Jackson as the franchise has brought in former Sacramento Kings’ executive Scott Perry to become the general manager. Perry’s first order of business now becomes a decision concerning the futures of Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis , long considered the two best players on the Knicks’ current roster.

    Scott Perry (right)

    Carmelo Anthony is owed $54 million on the remainder of his current contract and a team looking to acquire the veteran would have to be willing to give vital pieces on their own roster or figure out a way to involve a third team to facilitate such a deal to avoid salary cap issues.

    NBA news

    New York Knicks news

    Tophatal …………..

  9. Results from Saturday’s games in Major League Baseball . These are troubling times for the Detroit Tigers and at some in the coming weeks front office executive and GM Al Avila will have to make a decision as to whether or not this ball-club will hold a fire sale , gutting the roster and simply call up players from the Minors .

    Over their last ten games the Detroit Tigers have been pedantic . Today the team will be in action when they face the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan. The game will be the final leg of their current series .

    Yesterday rookie Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers hit for the cycle , first by a Dodgers’ rookie as the player adds another distinguishing feat to his young career in the Majors. Bellinger and the Dodgers were playing against the Miami Marlins as he went on his offensive onslaught for the Dodgers . The Marlins were simply demoralized in this game as nothing went right for the home team.

    Cody Bellinger could join teammate Corey Seager as the third pairing to have won back-to-back NL Rookie of The Year Awards for the Dodgers. There can be no denying Bellinger is having an outstanding season .

    Corey Seager (5) and his teammate Cody Bellinger .

    The Miami Marlins will be looking to exact some form of revenge when they resume their series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday afternoon.

    MLB probable pitchers

    MLB standings

    Tophatal ………………….

  10. MLB’s trade waiver deadline comes up later this month and there are likely to be a lot of sellers , with teams in the postseason hunt quite possibly looking to be buyers. Already we have seen the reigning World Series champions the Chicago Cubs make a big splash and acquiring the Chicago White Sox’s pitcher Jose Quintana . Cubs GM Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein believes the addition of Quintana will provide a major boost to a pitching rotation which has failed abysmally this season.

    Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs’ managerial staff have definitely slipped with regard to the acumen shown last season . Complacency has set in and the club rested on its laurels. Now the Cubs find themselves scrambling within the NL Central as well as a postseason berth . On Sunday afternoon the Chicago Cubs will end their three game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland .

    If the Chicago Cubs are to have any chance of a postseason berth then the months of August and September will have to be positive ones with series’ wins against the opponents they will face.

    Chicago Cubs news

    MLB results 16th July

    Tophatal ………………….

  11. In recent months there have seen some very impressive performances from some of the best starting pitchers in the league . The Washington Nationals whose lead in the NL East is one of the largest in all of baseball have seen some great performances from several members of their starting lineup . Pitchers Stephen Strasburg , Max Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez are among the team’s statistical leaders for the Nationals and the main reason behind their success.

    Dusty Baker and the Washington Nationals’ managerial staff will be looking to increase their divisional lead with their upcoming games this week . The Nationals will be in action today , Monday 17th July when they face the Cincinnati Reds at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati , Ohio. Stephen Strasburg will be on the mound to face the Reds’ Scot Feldman .

    The Washington Nationals’ closest divisional rivals are the Atlanta Braves (45-45) who are 9 1/2 games behind the NL East leaders. Atlanta will also be in action today when they face the all too lethargic Chicago Cubs (46-45) whose season appears to be spiraling out of control . It will be interesting to see what the Cubs bring to the table in this series .

    MLB news

    MLB probable pitchers 17th July

    MLB divisional standings and MLB wildcard standings

    Tophatal ………………………

  12. The hype continues alongside the demands of an overbearing parent , who truly believes his son is destined for greatness. To my mind LaVar Ball is proving to be a hindrance to his son , rather than a parent seeking to guide his son, Lonzo Ball through the real pitfalls of being a player in today’s NBA .

    Lonzo Ball (left) and LaVar Ball.

    Having been drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers , Lonzo Ball will have to prove himself while being viewed as the face of the franchise for years to come. With Magic Johnson , former Lakers’ great now guiding the organization is his new-found executive role alongside GM Rob Pelinka . I do believe the Los Angeles Lakers will have a long road ahead of themselves in the coming years. The roster in present guise , I do not believe will be capable enough of competing within its division , much less be good enough for a playoff berth within the Western Conference . Even if their hope is to sign a marquee free agent in 2018 , unless head coach Luke Walton suddenly becomes Pat Riley and Phil Jackson all rolled into one, then there is no way in hell the Lakers will be winning an NBA championship anytime soon.

    Courtesy of the Washington Post

    LaVar Ball says son Lonzo is showing shoe brands ‘what they could have had’

    By Scot Allen, Washington Post

    If the $495 Big Baller Brand ZO2 shoes make another appearance on Lonzo Ball’s feet in the NBA Summer League, it won’t be until Monday’s championship game. Ball, the Los Angeles Lakers rookie and No. 2 overall draft pick, ditched his signature shoe for a pair of Nikes on Wednesday and had the best game of his young career. The point guard has worn a different pair of shoes in every game since.

    After scoring 14 points with nine rebounds and seven assists in Saturday’s win over the Nets while wearing Steph Curry’s Under Armour Curry 4s, Ball took the court in Sunday’s semifinals against the Mavericks in a pair of Jordan XXXIs.

    So what gives?

    “You insinuated to me yesterday that this is all part of a master plan. Are you trying to start a bidding war here?” ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth asked Ball before Sunday’s game.

    “Something like that,” Ball said.

    Ball’s outspoken father, LaVar, who created Big Baller Brand, offered a little more insight into the thinking behind his oldest son wearing Nike, Adidas and Under Armour over the past few days.

    “It’s making a statement to the brands of what they could have had with an open mind,” Ball said in a text message to ESPN’s Darren Rovell. “The players are the brand ambassadors. The brand is nothing without the players.”

    [“I don’t ever want to be like LaVar Ball”: What it’s like parenting a No. 1-ranked 9-year-old]

    LaVar Ball also said he’s still open to Lonzo signing a shoe deal with a more established brand.

    “If the price is right,” he told Rovell. “Quite frankly we are officially in the shoe game, and are a billion-dollar brand either way.”

    Lonzo Ball had 14 points, 10 assists and four rebounds in the first half of Sunday’s game, as the Lakers built a 62-40 lead. He headed to the locker room briefly in the third quarter with calf tightness before returning to the bench. Ball finished with 16 points, 10 assists and four rebounds in the Lakers’ 108-98 win. Los Angeles will play Portland on Monday.

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    Lonzo Ball has met some expectations , but playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in the Summer League doesn’t remotely meet the competitive nature of a regular season game in the NBA , which is something the rookies of last season can attest to within this league.

    From my own perspective , I believe if the Los Angeles Lakers can win more than thirty-five games for the upcoming season, then their fans and the organization can consider the season to be a success.

    NBA news

    Los Angeles Lakers news

    Tophatal ………………………

  13. Between now and the 10th August , I believe there will be a flurry of trades taking place within Major League Baseball . If last season was anything to go by , then expect there to be a repeat effect of players on the move.

    Yesterday’s results are certainly bringing about a realism to the season . With several games on the schedule for Tuesday 18th July , it will be interesting to see how the teams fare. Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are riding high as the best team in baseball and they are scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox in an away game at US Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois. While I don’t believe the Dodgers will be buyers at the trade deadline, it would not surprise me if they were to make some minor changes. GM Farhan Zaidi and Andrew Friedman would still like to have some sort backup plan in place.

    Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles certainly have a great deal to prove this season. The team has lost its way and they are barely competitive within AL East . Showalter’s players will be in action today when they face the Texas Rangers at home . This is a game where I expect these two teams to be evenly matched. It will certainly come down to the gravitas of the pitching staffs in question.

    There is no doubt in my mind Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is as good as advertised . Judge leads the slugger to Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins for the number of home-runs at this point of the season. The Yankees for their part will be pitted against the Minnesota Twins and where they will face an old foe in Twins’ starting pitcher Bartolo Colon .

    The New York Yankees will need to have a very strong run to end the month of July and play at an equally high level also during August and September if they are to have any chance of winning the AL East .

    MLB news

    MLB standings

    MLB probable pitchers

    This week in baseball history and on this day .

    Tophatal …………………..

  14. Over the past three days we have seen some interesting results in the world of baseball . With the fervor of teams looking to make an assortment of deals to bolster their rosters , things are suddenly taking shape within the league.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers could be on route to their best regular season finish over the past eight years based on their current record . Manager Dave Roberts’ will be preparing his team to face the Atlanta Braves at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, California ,. While the Dodgers are seeking to increase their lead in the NL West , their closest divisional rivals the Arizona Diamondbacks (55-40) will be in action against the Washington Nationals . The Nationals have a great deal to move and nothing less than an NLCS Pennant appearance will be seen as a success to their season. Carrying a rather large payroll it is now or never for the franchise.

    I don’t believe it would be foolhardy to suggest the Chicago White Sox (38-54) have abandoned their season while looking ahead to 2018. Rick Renteria and his managerial staff have presided over a team which lacks competitiveness . The White Sox will find themselves in action against the Kansas City Royals on Friday evening .

    MLB news

    Tophatal ………………..

  15. Pain and torture now awaits as teams look to round out the month of July . Starting with this weekeend’s schedule of games beginning on Friday 21st July , we should witness several interesting series unfold over the next three days. Carlos Martinez and the St Louis Cardinals will face Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs in a three-game series beginning on Friday between these two NL Central divisional rivals. The series could go a long way in telling us about the direction of both teams at this stage of the season.

    An interesting week also lies ahead as the non-waiver trade deadline awaits and with several teams having already made some moves , who can say what is likely to happen next ?

    MLB news and results

    Tophatal ……..

  16. Golden state was the best team. Period end of discussion. MLB Dodgers have the best record. Boston is on the upward tick. Yankees the downhill slide. Houston is a nice surprise. KC? who knows inconsistent.

    1. Bobby Gee

      The Golden State Warriors were consistently the best team in the NBA , all season long and throughout the NBA Playoffs . Those critical of their success, were naive , because they have spent way too much time with their lips pressed firmly against LeBron James’ ass .

      In baseball I haven’t been overly impressed with the play of the teams , even the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros . These are teams , who during the postseason tend to lose their way as has been exhibited over the last four years .

  17. Troubling times for the San Francisco Giants and team manager Bruce Bochy , who has seen his team taper off over their last ten games played. Bruce Bochy and the front office led by Brian Sabean will certainly have to address the issues concerning this team . It doesn’t seem all that long ago when the Giants were riding high, having won three World Series’ titles in six years. Several moves made by Brian Sabean have proved to be unsuccessful in recent seasons. The two most productive players on the Giants’ roster this season are pitchers Mark Melancon and slugger Buster Posey .

    The San Francisco Giants are in the midst of a weekend series against the San Diego Padres . These are the type of series the Giants will have to win if they’re to have any chance of making the postseason. Saturday and Sunday these two teams will be in action against each as their regular season meetings resumes .

    San Francisco Giants news

    Tophatal …………..

  18. Results from Friday 21st July and how things played out within the divisions . Today’s games should provide the fans with some thrilling contests to watch. Attendance levels in comparison to last season seems to be meeting league expectations.

    Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees will be facing Ariel Miranda and the Seattle Mariners in a game to be played at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington.

    Julio Teheran and the Atlanta Braves will be on the road to face Rich Hill and the Los Angeles Dodgers . This is a game which is of vital importance for both teams at this stage of the season.

    MLB news

    Tophatal …………………….

  19. So unless you’ve been living under rock , the shocking news now circulating within the NBA is that Cleveland Cavaliers’ point guard Kyrie Irving has demanded to be traded from the team. With a couple of years still left on his contract , Irving is not in a position to demand where he would like his ultimate destination to be. Yet, you can be sure he is likely to pique the interest of several teams seeking a productive point guard. ESPN continually known for their never-ending stupidity rather than journalistic integrity , have reported that San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich is prepared to offer up two-time NBA Defensive Player of The Year , Kawhi Leonard in exchange for the Cavaliers’ point guard. It is at times like this where I begin to wonder why the sports’ broadcast outlet actually exists. It’s clear with dwindling viewership and a stale content , they really have little to offer the consumer at just about every level imaginable.

    Cavaliers’ point guard Kyrie Irving . The player has demanded a trade and it has set off a frenzy of inquiries from several teams around the league.

    It is not clear what may have prompted the decision by Kyrie Irving , but it was widely known David Griffin the former general manager for the Cleveland Cavaliers , was mulling over a possible trade of Irving. How this might have sat with LeBron James is not known , but it is becoming abundantly clear within the organization , there is a great deal of discord. Griffin’s successor Koby Altman has now been placed in a position where his first executive decision could very well have a long-lasting effect on the franchise moving forward.

    Koby Altman , GM of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers’ future is not as bright as everyone might believe it to be. LeBron James can become a free agent in 2018 and it is by no means a certainty the player will resign with the franchise that drafted him in the 2003 NBA Draft as the number one overall pick. Where Cleveland now goes from here is solely dependent upon not only Koby Altman , but also team owner Dan Gilbert and LeBron James himself. The Cavaliers have continually bowed to James’ wishes, which have been more short-term . than view through a lens the franchise’s long-term future. It has cost the Cleveland Cavaliers dearly over the past three seasons with Cleveland fallen foul to the league’s luxury tax , while also hemorrhaging losses totaling of $100 million over the past two seasons .

    NBA news

    Tophatal …………….

  20. We put the “D” in dysfunctional and that is what the Texas Rangers have been over the last eight years or more. Now without hope of really competing for AL West divisional crown or even a postseason berth , it is rumored the owners are willing to listen to offers for their ace pitcher Yu Darvish . The Rangers have essentially hit rock bottom and this team has lacked direction and leadership. GM Jon Daniels has clearly seen that drastic measures will now have to be taken even if it is likely to face a backlash from the fans as well as quite possibly the managerial staff of Jeff Banister .

    Changes in ownership or management have not been to the advantage of the Texas Rangers and now seeing their divisional rivals and instate combatants the Houston Astros really excel this season is not something I believe to be something they like.

    Yu Darvish’s career with the Texas Rangers has been nothing short of spectacular . Darvish can become a free agent in 2018 and this possibly the reason why the Texas Rangers might be willing to trade the player , knowing they could get a sizeable return in exchange for one of the AL’s best starting pitchers over the past four years .

    Courtesy of Dallas Morning News

    Cubs among teams reportedly interested in Rangers’ Yu Darvish as he prepares for key start

    By Evan Grant Staff Writer @ Evan P Grant

    Things are happening.

    Yu Darvish will pitch Friday for the Rangers against Tampa Bay and will likely do so in front of more scouts than usual. Another interested party, GM Jon Daniels, will be on hand and watching, too. That is, if he’s not too engrossed in his phone. And the phone is starting to ping.

    With the Rangers in a deep slump and the wild card now becoming a longer shot, the wheels of a potential Darvish trade are starting to creak. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reported early Friday that the Rangers have started to “gauge” interest in Darvish should they move in that direction. Also on Friday, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reported that the Chicago Cubs have inquired about Darvish’s availability.

    Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers.

    Both fall under the heading of “due diligence.” Teams have been told the Rangers don’t plan to make a decision on their direction until the start of the week, at the earliest, but the four-game sweep at Baltimore and a two-spot plunge in the wild card standings has them being pushed into the “sell” corner.

    What the Rangers must ascertain over the next few days — before Darvish’s next scheduled start on July 26 — is what his market is. And that may not be determined until Oakland’s Sonny Gray moves — if he does. Gray is more attractive than Darvish to most contenders because he’s three years younger (he’s nearly 28) and under control for two years after this season.

    If forced to give up a strong package of prospects, teams would prefer something more than a rental player. Gray may be a slightly lesser pitcher than Darvish, but is still an upper-rotation starter. The extra control makes him more attractive.

    ———————————————
    Click on link to read in full.
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    Several of the top teams in baseball are likely to show interest in Yu Darvish and if the rumors to be believed , then the Chicago Cubs might well pursue the Rangers’ ace. Theo Epstein Head of Baseball Operations for the Cubs is not afraid to take the gamble , but I also believe Dave Dombrowski and the Boston Red Sox are likely to be part of the conversation concerning the number of interested parties for the Japanese star. If the New York Yankees feel it would be in their best interests to take on Yu Darvish for the rest of the season as they look to challenge the Boston Red Sox within the AL East , then look for Brian Cashman to possibly offer up one or two prospects alongside a player on the roster thought to be superfluous to the team’s needs.

    The Texas Rangers will be finishing off their current series against the Tampa Bay Rays . On the pitchers’ mound for today’s game will be Tyson Ross of the Rangers against Jake Odorizzi of the Rays.

    Texas Rangers news

    Tophatal ………………….

  21. So just when you thought the idiocy of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ drama was all behind us we now have the latest breaking news and the franchise’s general manager Koby Altman looking to make a big splash , by possibly making a trade that will send disgruntled point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics in exchange for their All Star Isiah Thomas . If there’s one thing that’s known, Danny Ainge is not a fool and he is not about to break up a roster that on paper is perhaps now the best in the Eastern Conference . Boston’s signing of Gordon Hayward certainly gave them even greater depth and competitiveness. It is also abundantly , neither Wyc Grousbeck or the Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens are prepared to let Isiah Thomas go , when they know the player and Hayward offers them the best chance to win.

    As good as Kyrie Irving is believed to be , he is not a big time player , nor is he consistent enough as was the case during the Playoffs for the Cleveland Cavaliers .

    Cleveland Cavaliers news and Boston Celtics news

    Tophatal ……………..

  22. Over the last four days the signs appear to be the teams in baseball have suddenly begun to realize things are indeed up for grabs. With the non-waiver trade deadline being just a few days away , there are likely to be far more sellers than there are buyers for some prominent players.

    Today’s schedule will offer the fans several games of real interest. Kevin Cash and the Tampa Bay Rays will be looking to see if they can make some inroads into the divisional lead of the Boston Red Sox . Things are most certainly heating up in what was deemed to be baseball’s toughest division the AL East . Less than five games separates the top three teams within the division and all three ball-clubs are in action today .

    The Tampa Bays will be facing the New York Yankees with Chris Archer of the Rays taking on CC Sabathia of the Yankees on the pitchers’ mound. Meanwhile divisional leaders the Boston Red Sox will be in action against the Kansas City Royals on Friday 28th July for the beginning of a three-game regular season series.

    This has to be the season where the Los Angeles Dodgers have to win out and make a deep postseason run to the World Series . Far too often in their recent appearances the Dodgers have been like a deer caught in headlights when going up against an opponent. Firing on all cylinders this Dave Roberts’ managed team has been playing at a heightened level of expectation. The team will be facing the San Francisco Giants at home beginning on Friday night. This series should prove to be a very interesting one for both teams .

    MLB news

    MLB standings

    MLB probable pitchers

    Tophatal ……………….

  23. Kansas City is stay close to Cleveland. The Royals took three out of from Boston. Now the guys have dropped two straight to Baltimore. KC is hot right now.

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