Tag: Brian Cashman

Love ’em Or Hate ’em They’re Still Baseball’s MVP


Love ’em Or Hate ’em They’re Still Baseball’s MVP

They’re the team that everyone either loves or hates as there’s no in between when it comes to the New York Yankees . Having won an unprecedented 27 World Series titles this is an organization that simply doesn’t rest on its laurel as it strives for excellence , the way that a new born baby thirsts for knowledge having taken its very first steps. Well for the Yankees this season may well be one where they’ll have to take baby steps as they try and figure a way out to be battle their way through the AL East and the rest of the AL as a whole . Never mind the fact that in the postseason that AL pennant isn’t a sure thing as some would like to believe.

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So much is expected of the team by their erstwhile fans that any slight hiccup won’t be necessarily tolerated but then again when it comes to being a fan of this organization you’re either thought of as being obnoxious or simply devout in your belief that they are the best thing in the game bar none ! In the AL East boasting a 27-21 record they (lead) stand a mere 1/2 game ahead of their most hated rivals the Boston Red Sox with the Tampa Bay Rays 1 1/2 games behind in third place. And as we have come to expect this division as usual will become a highly contentious and competitive one throughout the course of the season . So much so that to my mind I do believe that the wildcard entrant for AL will most definitely come from within this division ! To some that might not be a foregone conclusion but it has become a rarity for the wildcard to come from outside the division. That being said anything is possible and the improbable has been known to happen within the game , so why not this season ?

Coming off a convincing 7-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium the team now has a three game series facing the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. That series promises to be a very interesting one with the Mariners looking for some objectivity to their season given the inconsistency of their play overall . It remains to be seen whether or not Eric Wedge and his coaching staff can turn things around with this team and make the competitive within the AL West . Parent company Nintendo through its US subsidiary Nintendo USA have made a mockery as owners of this ball-club . Ambition and the will to win it would appear are the furthest thing from their mind. And it’s a pity to see the talents of Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez being wasted by an organization that simply is bereft of creativity and intelligence within their front office . It may well be that I’m proven wrong but I sincerely doubt it at this juncture !

In the Yankees 7-3 victory over the Blue Jays , pitcher , Mariano Rivera made his 1,000th pitching appearance for the New York Yankees a team record for the most appearances by a pitcher in team history and with it came his 572nd save for the team , the most ever by a pitcher and the most ever for a single team. Add in the fact his teammate Derek Jeter also looks to add to his own valid legacy within the organization as he approaches the 3,000 hits plateau . He now stands at 2974 a club record . But that in of itself isn’t the primary reason that both of these dominant figures within the Yankees’ dynasty still play the game. This duo have epitomized what the game has been about in terms of integrity and the fact that they’re well respected by their peers as well as the vast majority of baseball fans across the game’s panacea. I doubt the same can be said of the most recent players to have donned the Yankees’ pinstripes over the last decade and a half !

As the season unfolds and with it approaching the month </a? of June it will be very interesting to see how the team handles itself and whether or their pitching which I believe to be their Achilles’ heel can still be a threat . Beyond CC Sabathia and closer Mariano Rivera , there is nothing that would lead me to believe that this picthing rotation is a scare to anyone within the league ! Granted , there’s plenty of offense within this lineup with the likes of Curtis Granderson , Mark Teixeira , Alex Rodriguez , Nick Swisher , Robinson Cano and even that wily veteran Andruw Jones who seems to have found a new lease of life with New York Yankees. And that’s even with Jones platooning the DH position with Jorge Posada who seems to be undergoing struggles of his own , not just mentally but also physcially as well.

The one thing we can be sure of concerning the Yankees with the advent of both Hank and Hal Steinbrenner having taken over the reins from their late father George Steinbrenner III , no stone will be left unturned as this organization chases glory , no matter what the expense is said to be. GM Brian Cashman even though he’s said to have become somewhat frugal in terms of the team’s payroll we all know when push comes to shove he’s been given the go ahead this organization usually goes after a target and they usually end getting what they want even if it means having to overspend or delve into their top 10 prospects or for that matter within their minor league farm system in order to acquire a prospective free agent or to implement a trade. Money is of no object with a cash cow such as the YES Network there to provide the organization with a monetary treasure chest and the very fact that the team is still the biggest draw in the game by far let’s you know why it is that the organization remains the financial behemoth that it is . One of the most recognized and most valuable professional sport’s franchises in the world the organization hasn’t let the financial imbalance within the game impede its relentless steady march away from their MLB competitors. So much so, that I for one cannot see how the MLB league hierarchy led by Commissioner Bud Selig can actually come to a decision , wherein they will ever try to mandate a hard salary cap within the game of baseball. And it certainly isn’t as if the team owners within the game possess the common sense to actually realize that it may well be needed if they are to stave off financial ruin for some teams .

While the Yankees are in the midst of their usual perfunctory season their crosstown neighbors , the New York Mets continue to do their best impression of the Titanic. What that organization and team brings to the game in terms of competency bears about as much comparison to the genuine belief that either the Democrats or Republicans in Congress actually has any idea as to what ails the country at present . It’s now being widely reported that hedge fund manager David Einhorn has bought a $200 million stake in the team . Given the Mets’ financial situation and the very fact that cash liquidity is needed with the organization and its two most prominent owners being defendants in a civil suit that involves team President Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon and their involvement in the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme scandal . I’ve got to ask myself what assurances were given to Einhorn that his investment is indeed safe ? Two hundred million dollars is nothing to be sniffed at and with the plaintiffs in this case said to be seeking the return of somewhere between $700 million to $ 1 billion said to have been received by the duo through an associate company under their ownership and command __ Sterling Equities Inc . I can only believe that Katz and Wilpon have assured Einhorn that his investment will not be at risk. But herein lies the caveat as the mediation process unfolds Katz and Wilpon have been economical with the truth and they certainly haven’t been completely compliant with the requests of the plaintiffs’ attorney in this suit .

Irving Picard representing the plaintiffs has stood steadfast in suggesting in that the defendants ( Katz, Wilpon , Sterling Equities et New York Mets) were aware the profits received were part of Madoff’s scheme that has defrauded some 7,000 plus investors of some $59 billion . Do you get the feeling that this story and the case still has a long way to go before it all comes to a satisfactory conclusion ? It’s not as if anyone is actually concerned with the achievements of the Mets on the field of play at present . With Wilpon in his recent interview granted to Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker Magazine gives you every reason to believe that the beleaguered owner must be at his wit’s end if he is now criticizing several players on the team . But then you simply cannot buy the sort of stupidity shown by Wilpon and then GM Omar Minaya as well as former manager Jerry Manuel ! The actions of that trio during the team’s slide into mediocrity might well give hope to the likes of the Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners . But would that be asking too much also of the teams mentioned ? I will let you be the judge of that !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the points raised within this piece how do you see the New York Yankees’ season going and are you of the belief that they can make a serious challenge and quite possibly win the World Series ? And what thoughts if any do you have on the investment made by David Einhorn in the New York Mets ? Has he been duped into a false sense of security or will his investment in the team be a worthwhile one ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter .

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera delivers against the Toronto Blue Jays during the ninth inning of a baseball game in New York, Sunday, May 1, 2011. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(2) New York Yankees’ Andruw Jones hits a two run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Wednesday, May 25, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ………..

(3) New York Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada hits a double in the ninth inning off of Toronto Blue Jays closing pitcher Frank Francisco in the ninth inning of a baseball game that started a rally of runs to defeat Toronto 5-4 on Tuesday, May 24, 2011, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek …..

(4) Mark Teixeira (25) of the New York Yankees celebrates with his team after hitting a game winning RBI in the ninth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images ……

(5) Alex Rodriguez(13) of the New York Yankees looks after striking out against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images ……

(6) Derek Jeter (2) 2 of the New York Yankees hits a two run single in the seventh inning to tie the game a three against the New York Mets on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets 9-3 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……

(7) David Einhorn President, Greenlight Capital : The 39-year-old fund manager for the hedge fund Greenlight Capital has brought short selling into Wall Street’s lap with his public criticism of Lehman Brothers (LEH), the embattled Wall Street bank that has seen two top executives resign and its shares plunge roughly 50% since Einhorn made public his short position in April. His $6 billion fund has also waged a long-standing open battle against Washington-based small-business lender Allied Capital (ALD) since 2002; Allied’s share price has fallen by half since 2007. Getty Images / Paul Sprouse ……

(8) (L – R) Saul Katz, CEO of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon , chief operating officer of the Mets pose for a photo during Alderson’s introduction as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Andrew Burton / Getty Images North America …….

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It’s Not Always About The Money But Common Sense And Where The Heart Takes You


It’s Not Always About The Money But Common Sense And Where The Heart Takes You …..

I don’t know if I should feel nonplussed or bewildered by the naivete shown by some people be it from a lack of intelligence on their part or just sheer stupidity. It’d appear that several baseball fans many of whom are Texans and writers of a certain blog post are surprised that Cliff Lee has chosen rejoin the Philadelphia Phillies rather than opting for more money that had been offered by both the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers . The Yankees with their burgeoning pockets and vast financial resources in reality had met their match in the Texas Rangers who were backed financially by several noted Texas billionaires and the fact that team President Nolan Ryan and CEO Chuck Greenberg had recently negotiated a $3 billion television deal (20 year) with a prominent cable and broadcast outlet.

The Yankees who’d upped the ante in this ever increasing stake of ‘chicken’ went as far to offer the player an option of a six year $150 million deal which was something of a sticking point originally for Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman as he was reluctant to offer Lee’s agent Darrell Braunecker such a deal on behalf of his client, with an option for a seventh year.. The Rangers’ for their part may well have felt that they had the inside track given that the player and his family were happy being in Texas and with his home being relatively close in his native state of Arkansas . Ryan for his part along with manager Ron Washington and GM Jon Daniels had hoped that with Lee’s performances in the postseason and his camaraderie with his teammates that a decision would be something a formality. What many hadn’t realized was that the Phillies along with their GM Ruben Amaro Jr. had been in contact with the player and his agent gauging his interest in returning to the Philadelphia Phillies where he’d played for the team last year.

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Another determining factor in Lee’s decision to forgo the chance of playing for the Yankees was the treatment received by Lee’s wife and family at several of the games attended by them in the ALCS when the Rangers took on the Bronx Bombers for the AL Pennant at Yankees Stadium . Typically up to their somewhat obnoxious behavior for which an apology hasn’t been forthcoming from anyone within the Yankees’ hierarchy Lee’s family was subjected to a torrent of verbal abuse and profanity, some of which was directed to his children and in particular his son who happens to be a leukemia survivor but who still has some health related issues because of the illness. If that wasn’t a precursor to perhaps one of the reasons why he chose not to join the Yankees then I can’t think of another pertinent reason.

The Yankees as always are viewed as the presumptive favorites to win the World Series year in and year out . But given the fact that we’ve now begun to cracks in their armor many believe that the team is now on something of a downslide . Their pitching remains suspect beyond their ace CC Sabathia and with an aging Mariano Rivera one can never be sure what you’re now going to get. Beyond that there also seemed to be something of a cooling of the relationship between team captain Derek Jeter and Cashman while that player’s contract was being negotiated . Tensions rose and it appears that Cashman rather callously sought to offer Jeter an out if he didn’t feel amenable to the team’s offer . Calmer heads prevailed but you got the feeling that although denials have been forthcoming there was reason to believe that all wasn’t well within the …….’ house that Ruth built’. And beyond Sabathia and Rivera one has to also look at the Yankees’ pitching roster and realize that the effectiveness and resilience one had come to expect just is no longer there. Andy Pettite remains but a back spasm or shoulder injury away from having a prolonged stint on the disabled list and does anyone truly fear Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes for that matter ?

What we do know is that the Yankees’ offense remains prodigious in the regular season with the like of Robinson Cano , Nick Swisher , Alex Rodriguez and Jeter setting the trend. But things seems to have dropped alarmingly this past postseason wherein Rodriguez was non- existent and little or nothing was seen from Swisher or Curtis Granderson during the postseason albeit that they had their way with the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS . What we can be sure of however is that the Yankees will once again resort to whatever means necessary to strengthen their roster. And one can assume that managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner can’t have been too pleased seeing their divisional arch rivals the Boston Red Sox acquire both Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez this off-season . Suffice to say that things will be highly combustible and competitive in the AL East this upcoming season .

As I alluded to earlier the Texas Rangers with their now vast financial backing may well have felt that they were major players in the ‘Cliff Lee sweepstakes’ but clearly what they hadn’t counted on was a third party entering the fray and bidding for Lee’s services. And as resourceful and amenable as they were to the player it was becoming clear that he wasn’t necessarily happy with his tenure in Texas. So much was placed upon his shoulders as the mainstay and ace of the team and in terms of a reliable enough rotation to back him up beyond C J Wilson and closer Neftali Feliz there wasn’t a great deal there that was awe inspiring as can be witnessed from the rotation’s and team’s overall performances in their World Series’ loss to Bruce Bochy’s _____ San Francisco Giants . That too could have weighed heavily on Lee’s mind and the mere fact also that the Giants dealt with them with such ease . For Reuben Amaro Jr this is a coup-de-gras as the Phillies now possess quite possibly the most formidable pitching staff in all of baseball headed up by Roy Halladay , Roy Oswalt , Cole Hamels , Joe Blanton and now with the addition of Lee and less we forget the Phillies’ wily veteran Jamie Moyer who can still befuddle batters with his pitching after two decades plus in the game . Never mind taking to the account the bullpen and closer Brad Lidge . Does anyone now not believe that Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel , his coaching staff aren’t now licking their chops and can’t wait for Spring Training to come around ? The Phillies once again have to be viewed as the prohibitive favorites in the National League and that’s with due respect to the reigning World Series champions the San Francisco Giants .

For the Rangers’ fans or for that matter any baseball fan out there just because the money being bandied about is seen as grotesque it doesn’t always mean that the player is willing to pursue that treasure trove . Clearly this wasn’t simply a decision taken by Lee to be simply about the money because it all boiled down where he felt comfortable and perhaps where he felt the best opportunity to win actually lay. Merely because the Yankees have the cash doesn’t make them the perfect fit or the ‘perfect team’ for that matter ! If anything in spite of their success what they seem to have a problem with a great deal of the time is to truly function as a team when it really matters most. Unequivocal success or not the New York Yankees showed that this past postseason when placed under undue pressure they are not always able to rise to the occasion .

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As to the immediate future of the Texas Rangers they will now have to rethink their whole strategy moving forward and how best to proceed. The Phillies for their part now have the prized free market acquisition of the off season and simply feel that a five year $120 million contract is money well spent on their part given the vagaries of the market and the ambiguity that has taken place this off-season concerning the ever escalating salaries now being paid. And for Cliff Lee can anyone truly fault him for the decision that he made given the opportunity that now arises ? Chime in with your own thoughts on the matter anything else concerning the baseball off-season that caught your attention .

NB: Click here for the latest MLB news

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Alan aka tophatal ……………………… 🙂

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Keyshia-Dior

Eye candy ………. Keyshia Dior

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It’s true good things do sometimes come in small packages and a package like Keyshia certainly doesn’t come any better ! Chime on in with a comment about her if you so wish .

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Image ? Image And A Self Conscious League


Image ? Image And A Self Conscious League

I found this story somewhat unbelievable when I’d heard that Detroit Lions’ President Tom Lewand has plead guilty to a DUI charge . Now far be it for me to suggest that it should just be the players that be held accountable for their actions both on and off the field of play. The image conscious NFL has been somewhat none compliant on this issue concerning the team executives . Had this been an NFL player pleading guilty to these serious charges then the story would be front and center with everyone opining on the matter. Instead it has been placed at the foot of the sports pages almost nowhere to be seen.

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Courtesy of The Detroit News

Lions’ Tom Lewand apologizes for ‘very, very serious mistake’

By Tim Twentyman , The Detroit News

Roscommon, Mich. –Tom Lewand stood in front of 83rd District Court Judge Daniel L. Sutton in Roscommon on Friday and admitted his guilt.

Charged with driving under the influence June 25, the Lions president pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while visibly impaired, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to six months of probation, received a $532 fine and will have to complete an “intensive” outpatient alcohol recovery program. He is also not allowed to consume alcohol while on probation.

If Lewand does not complete the program or violates probation, he could spend 60 days in jail, according to Sutton.

“I’d first like to thank Judge Sutton and prosecutor (Mark) Jernigan and Sheriff Stevenson for their professionalism and efficiency in dealing with this matter,” Lewand said afterward. “As I said before, I offer my complete apologies for my actions. I take full responsibility for them.

“I’m glad that this portion of those consequences for my actions is completed and I look forward to coming out of this a stronger and better person as a result of it.”

Lewand was stopped the night of June 25 by Roscommon County sheriff’s deputies on M-55 after deputies saw his Lincoln MKX moving erratically while exiting the Limberlost bar and restaurant near Houghton Lake.

Lewand failed a sobriety test, and when he refused to take a breathalyzer (PBT) test, he was handcuffed and arrested. The charge of failing to take a PBT test was dropped as part of the plea deal.

Lewand was in Houghton Lake attending the 30th annual Kolo Golf Outing, a charity event founded by Bob Kowalkowski, a former Lions offensive lineman who died last September.


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Commissioner Roger Goodell has been playing his cards close to his chest where no one can see them . And now when “the image” of the NFL is at its lowest up comes a story that would have most asking what the hell is going on ? An NFL executive being charged with drunk driving and the league itself has yet to issue a statement on the matter. Never mind that the Detroit Lions have not issued a statement on the matter but rather a curt apology from Lewand and that has been it. Why oh why am I not surprised by any of this at all ?

Call me crazy but now that the LeBron James’ saga is now over perhaps the most disappointed individuals are none other than the Cavaliers’ fans . But what I found most surprising was the fact that comedic actress Betty White had an opinion on the matter and the actress was very eloquent in her thoughts on the matter. White went so far as to suggest that she’d have spent the night with the young superstar if it was enough to entice him to remain with the team . Pardon me for saying but this might well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back as LeBron probably didn’t want it to get that the cause of him remaining in Cleveland was the fact that he bedded the octogenarian actress. Way to go LeBron , you missed out on a glorious opportunity but that being said could you have handled Betty to begin with ?

Hold unto your horses but the New York Yankees lost out on obtaining Seattle Mariners’ starting ace Cliff Lee . The two sides couldn’t agree on the compensation sought by the AL West team. And instead Lee will make his way to the Texas Rangers within the Mariner’ own division. As to the Yankees they may well now pursue other opportunities in terms of acquiring a starting pitcher to add their already burgeoning roster of pitchers. And it appears that team GM Brian Cashman won’t let this minor occurrence get in his way of strengthening the roster of this team. As good as they’ve been Cashman knows that nothing can be overlooked not when you’ve got both the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays chasing you down within the division __(AL East) . Now when it’s all said and done the defending World Series champions would like to make another return to the postseason and thereby successfully defend their crown. Nothing less is expected from the organization where success is deemed the pinnacle and where “failure” is seen as not an option.

HBO the much vaulted cable network more widely known for its dramatic staple and first runs of box office success movies is also home to rather influential niche in the sport of boxing. Especially within the heavyweight division but recently the head of the sports programming Ross Greenburg has stated the cable network is no longer interested in televising fights within the heavyweight division as the public interest is no longer there. Now that statement should not come as a surprise to anyone with a keen interest in the sport. But given the lack of credibility within the division and wherein the two best heavyweights refuse to meet each other in an undisputed unification bout because of familial ties. This decision will have some serious ramifications for the sport as HBO and its parent company Time Warner are one of the primary sponsors of PPV. And without that to hang its hat on then the division and the various international governing bodies within the sport are at something of a loss. And for champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko the big paydays that they’re both no doubt looking for won’t be forthcoming, not unless they are prepared to fight each other in an undisputed title unification bout. The fighters , their managers and respective promoters have simply made a mockery of the division and the pretext that the problem as to the malaise within the division has nothing to do with them is a complete misnomer. As it has everything to do with and the diabolical situation within the heavyweight division.

The fact of the matter is that the division has not had an undisputed heavyweight champion since the retirement of the British fighter Lennox Lewis in 2004. And since then the championship has found itself in its various forms in the hands of the Ukrainian, Klitschko brothers. Ability wise , watching either brother fight is a rather mundane and at time painful experience . A tooth extraction without the use of anesthesia would be far less painful than watching either Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko. And such is the scene of heavyweight boxing that there are no real credible opponents within the division and that’s with due respect to WBA champion David Haye .

Well known and legendary promoters Don King and Bob Arum once the most gregarious of showmen seem to be more interested in dividing the spoils between them in the lighter divisions. And for King this would be something of a come down given the stable of credible heavyweight fighters that he’s either managed or promoted over the years. And Bob Arum for his part , well his main concern is to create the buzz and promote what has been described as what will be the biggest fight in boxing . The proposed bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao promises to be that and a great deal more . But as of yet no concrete timetable has been set as to where the bout will be staged. This much we do know however , it will be by far the most anticipated and biggest grossing fight in history without a doubt. And the fight itself will be co-promoted by Top Rank Inc , Golden Boy Promotions Inc in conjunction with Mayweather’s own fledgling promotional company.

Everyone involved in that aspect of the bout will end up being a winner. At $49-95 per viewer and with an anticipated 2 million buys expected the gross via the sales only here in North America will top $100 million and when one takes into account the international interest that figure is liable to double without taking into account ticket sales and merchandising .

A $200 million grossing fight would be unimaginable but it is in the offing should this proposed bout take place. One would expect both fighters to be handsomely rewarded for their exploits and suffice to say that having fought then retirement could very well be beckoning for both fighters. With Pacquiao pursuing a political career in his native Philippines and Mayweather looking to cross over into the business side of the sport , boxing could very well face some lean times ahead.. Say what you will however much of this malaise within the sport has been brought about by the lack of authority from the various international governing bodies and their unwillingness to do what is inherently best for the sport.

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If sport is so much about its image then why is it a great deal of the time when there’s something inherently wrong , so why is it that the proper authorities are so slow to act ? The answer could well lie in the fact that those who are actually in power either have very little intelligence or they are for all sense purpose merely a puppet while it is the marionette who is indeed pulling the strings . Your thoughts on the topics raised in this piece are welcome and I will do my best to respond with a succinct and clear answer. Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………… 🙂

Chris Brown ……….. feat’g Tyga & Kevin McCall …….. ” Deuces”