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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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If You Say It Then You Had Better Have The Balls To Back That Sh#t Up !


If You Say It Then You Had Better Have The Balls To Back That Sh#t Up !

I’m always befuddled when I hear a player stand up and make bold statement even if it is meant to rally the troops as they say ! Well no sooner have we heard one statement made now we have the Detroit Lions’ defensive tackle Ndamokung Suh making the claim that the team is quite capable of going …… 16-0 this season . Unless I’m mistaken it wasn’t that long ago Lions went 0-16 ( 2008) to become the first NFL team in history to lose all of their regular season games since the league went to a 16 game schedule. Suh either believes that highly in this team or he is truly naive to think that a quarterback in Matt Stafford who at best is serviceable but has yet to play a full NFL season is actually capable of leading the team to an unbeaten season.

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Slide show for your perusal .

The Lions finished last year with a 6-10 record within the NFC North and actually struggled to make their presence felt within the league as a whole . Statistically as a team the Lions struggled in all facets of the game and from a defensive and offensive standpoint the struggles of the Detroit Lions manifested itself in a multiple of ways . I am not so sure that Jim Schwartz and his coaching staff having gotten a spark of life from this team is now capable actually boldly leading them to aware Suh believes that they can be ! As I’ve alluded to before , Matt Stafford is injury prone and from week to week you simply can’t be sure that he can play a full four quarters without getting a hang nail much less turf toe. For all of the hype that surrounded the player upon his entry into the NFL , there has been nothing that he has achieved that would suggest to me that he now is actually capable of leading this Lions’ team past the current Superbowl champions the Green Bay Packers or the other occupants of the NFC North , namely the Minnesota Vikings or Chicago Bears for that matter ! Most notably the Bears and Packers were two of the teams that made the postseason last year .

This season the Detroit Lions will have their hands full within the NFC and in particular over the course of their season as their schedule unfolds . It is incumbent on the Lions that they get off to good start in order to get some semblance of a rhythm going . The season could very well be shortened given the mere fact that the league hierarchy , team owners and NFLPA (union) are at an impasse in resolving the month long NFL lockout . And as cordial as some owners would like to have us believe that these negotiations are going there’s no real light at the end of the tunnel as of yet . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell whose statements on the existing negotiation process has been minimal at best . New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft believes that only through continuous negotiations between the parties concerned can there be some sort of accord be reached. From my own perspective this has simply been nothing more than an image exercise of which neither party has executed or handled this situation well at all. The NFLPA and league hierarchy (NFL) have simply forgotten that they have alienated the fans but moreover the apparent greed that has set in both on sides has clouded their judgment .

If Suh’s prognostications are to come true then he and in particular his new defensive partner Nick Fairley will have to be fulcrum that holds this defensive line together . The Detroit Lions’ defense as the season progressed were able to shown signs of improvement but their lack of cohesion and inconsistently proved costly when it mattered most. On offense we saw what wide receiver Calvin Johnson was actually capable of alongside his teammate running back Kevin Smith . The two provided a lot of the offense that was produced by the Lions over the course of the season .

Now it goes without saying the Lions will live and die dependent upon the health of Matt Stafford and his overall productivity . And while I’ve no doubt that the player will have his moments t hose moments are liable to be few and far between . The Detroit Lions have remained a conundrum and an engima all rolled into one but the history of the organization and the fact that each Thanksgiving the fans have to endure Lions playing in this traditional seasonal game. And given that this season (week 12) the NFL in its infinite wisdom will make sure that tradition continues in that pairing of the Lions playing the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field , Detroit , with the Dallas Cowboys playing the Miami Dolphins at Texas Stadium , Arlington, Texas . Now don’t get me wrong I am all for tradition where it is warranted but with the apparent idiocy of the NFL hierarcy and their belief that the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions playing their respective opponents on Thanksgiving is the best possible form of entertainment that they could possibly serve up for the fans is akin to asking a vegetarian to become a carnivore because the taste of meat is far better than eating vegetables alone. And that’s with due respect to carnivores and vegetarians out there ! The relevancy of these two teams playing on Thanksgiving each year has lost all meaning for me as an NFL fan as I’d rather view two talented teams actually playing competitive football ! And when I last looked neither the Cowboys or Lions were actually capable of doing that on a consistent basis over the course of a season .

The Lions’ front office led by GM Martin Mayhew has formulated a plan that he and the ownership group led by Bill Ford Jr , as they seek to make this franchise relevant once again. It seems unfortunate to see the Detroit Lions fall so far in the aftermath of the excitement provided by their Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders . And for those of us who have witnessed those lofty days when the Lions actually roared , now if anything they’re like a kitten looking to be fed a plate of milk . Meow , meow !

At this juncture I’d like to say that I hope that Ndamokung Suh isn’t made to eat his words ! It’s one thing to make those bold statements but if you’re simply unable to back it up and the team then becomes an embarrassment on the field of play then once can only hope that the player is prepared to proffer up some form of apology to the fans . God knows, the Detroit Lions simply have done nothing right to indicate they are actually on the road to success , not with the inconsistency of Matt Stafford and a defense that seems to be unsure of itself at any given moment . Suffice to say it will be interesting to see whether or not Suh is made to eat those words .

And speaking of eating words can there be anything more galling than to keep on hearing that the Dallas Cowboys can be viewed as perennial contenders for the Superbowl ? One postseason win in the last decade and an owner in Jerry Jones who still feels that he’s a better general manager than his peers within the league . Chances are Jones on his best day has about as much acumen for spotting college talent bound for the NFL as a blind man could tell you the measurements of aspiring actress Denise Milani . And for those of who’ve viewed the stunning Milani will know that this beauty has the curves in all the right places .

The Dallas Cowboys and Texas Stadium are gigantic as are the egos of half the players on the team . Tony Romo is viewed as a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback but if anything he possesses the spine of a gutless coward . I’ve always maintained that Romo was more a Hollywood ” wannabe” than a NFL player ! And until he applies himself and leads this team by example then the Cowboys will always be considered an also ran or average team at best . This season if anything we will either see Jason Garrett show his real strengths as a coach or we may well see the Cowboys flounder . The NFC East they say is up for grabs this season and if anything the Dallas Cowboys have a chance to prove their worth . Mile Austin , DeMarcus Ware , Jason Witten , Dez Bryant and Romo will certainly have to lay to rest once and for all that they are good enough not only to win the NFC East but also worthy of being viewed as a Superbowl contender . Year in and year out those moronic idiots who provide the NFL analysis at ESPN continue with the hyperbole about the greatness that seems to be the Dallas Cowboys . I sometimes wonder whether or not Jones actually has these as#holes on the Cowboys’ payroll ? Maybe that’s presumptuous of me but then again I may well be wrong !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

If there is an NFL season to be had how do you see both the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions faring ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, right, stands next to defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch during a break in practice drills at Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Mich., Friday, June 10, 2011. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio ……….

(2) Detroit Lions quarterbacks Matthew Stafford, left, and Shaun Hill, second from right, talk with team president Tom Lewand, right, during the team’s annual golf fundraiser, Tuesday, June 7, 2011, in Dearborn, Mich. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …..

(3) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Nick Fairley(1) 13th pick overall pick by the Detriot Lions, during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …..

(4) Jim Schwartz, center, head coach of the Detroit Lions poses with General Manager Martin Mayhew, left, and Tom Lewand team president after a press conference to introduce him as the Lions new head coach on January 16, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Gregory Shamus / Getty North America ……..

(5) Denise Milani and her ample 38″ DD’s . What’s not to like about the curvacious form of this Czech American beauty ?

(6) Care for a peek of Milani’s assets ? There’s always something to like isn’t there ?

(7) Get the feeling that there’s more that Denise has to offer us all ?

(8) Tyron Smith, 9th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ……..

(9) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 19: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) and NFL owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys arrive for court-ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on April 19, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down last month. Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images …….

(10) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 2, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 14-13. Getty Images / Jim McIsaac …..

(11) Miles Austin (19) of the Dallas Cowboys scores a third quarter touchdown on a 3 yard pass from Jon Kitna (3) as DeAndre Levy (54) of the Detroit Lions defends during the game at Dallas Stadium on November 21, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys defeated the Lions 35-19 . Getty Images /Leon Halip ………
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