Crap ……….. The NFL Could Be Back In Business


Crap ……… The NFL Could Be Back In Business ?

So the NFL is now on the verge of reaching an agreement with the NFLPA and in essence an accord reached guarantees that the 2011 season survives in tact. However , what I find so egregious in all of this have been the actions of both the NFL and the union as it relates to the retired veterans . Judge Athur J Boylan the Federal Court official presiding over the hearings has been approached by both parties in question not to make public the agreement in details as it relates to the benefits for retired veterans . Now inasmuch as one might not think anything wrong with the request it does give credence to the fact that if the league and union could have gotten away with reaching a compromise that didn’t benefit the long term retired veterans of the NFL as they would have .

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In lieu of the recent death of NFL great John Mackey from dementia and the very fact that he died in an assisting living facility sheds more plight on the numerous retirees still living in some cases in deplorable conditions . The player’s untimely death and the mere fact that the player in the waning days prior to his death was on the verge of being denied benefits rightfully due. What we have been led to believe is that the league will set aside $1 billion to assist the more than 6 ,000 plus living retired NFL veterans . However what the public may not know is the fact for players to actually qualify immediately for any benefits derived from the union they have been a player in the league for a minimum of four years to qualify. Given the idiocy of this rule and the fact that a player’s career within the NFL can easily ended within one game much less play four years at a minimum but yet we are given the impression that the league and union simply cares about its members . In the NFL’s infancy a number of players’ careers were literally over within eighteen months much less playing four years due to injuries that at the time the medical establishment simply had no idea how to treat .

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Judge Arthur Boylan , the court-appointed mediator in the NFL labor talks, arrives to the meetings in New York, Monday, July 18, 2011. AP Photo/Seth Wenig ….

Somehow Mackey’s death situation has never seemed more relevant than it is today but you are pressed to notice anything forthcoming as a statement from any senior executive of the NFLPA . There has always been the perfunctory sound byte offered up for public consumption . And that has most certainly been the case with Roger Goodell and his union counterpart DeMaurice Smith . Both individuals have expressed their concerns as to the well being of the veterans but in all honesty does anyone at this juncture believe in the sincerity now being expressed by either Goodell or Smith ?

With the litany of lawyers now formulating the legal aspects of the agreement for both the league hierarchy and union which we are to believe will be a binding ten year collective bargaining agreement. The prospective salary cap for the upcoming season will be in the region of $120 million per team but along with that comes a number of sticking points . Perhaps the most pronounced is the very fact that the teams will have to deal with the of the ” franchise tag” and its use by the franchises. At this juncture I do believe that there is about to be a great deal of mayhem within the NFL because once there union gives its approval then it will all be left to the general managers around the league ascertain their needs as it relates to their unrestricted free agents

The team owners around the NFL have to be gleeful and perhaps none more so that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . The organization will be some $61 million below the projected salary cap for the 2011-12 season. I’d dare say that GM Mark Dominik , coach Raheem Morris and the coaching staff must be salivating over a wish list of players that they would no doubt like to sign ! The prospective free agents would read like the who’s who of the NFL .

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Quarterback Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers points out coverage before snapping the ball during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images North America / Chris Graythern ….

The Buccaneers this upcoming season should be really fascinating for the franchise all round for a number of reasons . The team’s Pro Bowl quarterback Josh Freeman has shown that he’s the face of the organization for the foreseeable future and with the draft choices made in recent years as well this past season bodes well for the team for the foreseeable future .

Last season in the NFC South the Buccaneers came within a whisper of making the playoffs . The team played admirably with Freeman leading with authority and by example which his teammates seemed all too willing to follow.

There’s no denying with the Buccaneers missing the postseason was seen as immense disappointment for the fans and in particular by those within the front office of the organization . The team’s schedule this season has a number of intriguing match-ups perhaps none more so than the divisional games against Atlanta Falcons , New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers . The NFC South may well lack the prestige of the NFC East where a number of analysts and fans believe just might be the best division in the NFL . Given the evidence of last season I now find that to be something of a fallacy . The likes of the Philadelphia Eagles , Dallas Cowboys , New York Giants and Washington Redskins were either under achieving or simply doing it all with smoking mirrors . And the asinine notion that repeatedly year in and year out the Cowboys are the team to beat is now becoming redundant and infantile by those who continue to make that claim ! Perhaps those fans can wake up smell the coffee and also awaken to an actual does of reality for once ?

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Head coach Raheem Morris talks with Ronde Barber (20) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Buccaneers defeated the Saints 23-13. Getty Images / Chris Graythern ……

The thing I find intriguing about this Bucs’ team in its current format is the sheer youthful exuberance of all the member on the roster. Much of this can be credited to Raheem Morris and his staff who have essentially gotten the players to buy into his style of play and he also holds them accountable . I am not so sure that the same could be said about Morris’ predecessor Jon Gruden who to my mind yearned the spotlight but when it was time to be held accountable he simply sought to apportion blame elsewhere . Gruden may well have led a Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ team to a Superbowl triumph but in the aftermath of that event he simply did nothing tangible for the organization by way of them showing any real improvement . As to his astuteness for the nurturing young talent , can we all agree that too is a real fallacy ? The only thing that Gruden has been use to nurturing has been his own damn ego !

If the Buccaneers are to fare well this upcoming season then it will he incumbent upon Josh Freeman having an injury free year with the defense and offense stepping up their game . LeGarrette Blount had a breakout year as the team’s primary back and with Mike Williams proving what an invaluable addition he’s become , all that is needed is a great deal more consistency and cohesion from the offense to make them a formidable threat within the league .

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Earnest Graham (34) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates as he jumps for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Getty Images North America / Streeter Lecka ……

Raheem Morris has made sure that the fulcrum of this team has been the defense and here too he has made sure that there’s a great deal more agility on this side of the ball. Granted, the defense had its problems through much of last season but they continued to real signs of improvement and it bodes well for the foreseeable future. The preponderance of the defensive responsibilities and leadership will fall on the shoulders of Ronde Barber , Barrett Ruud and Geno Hayes . The rest of the defense will take their queue from that trio of players as the team seeks to be not only productive but of able support to the offense .

There’s much to be discussed as to a prospective upcoming season but to my mind much of this pales into insignificance as it relates to what the league’s intent will as it regard the treatment of the retired veterans . A lot has been made about the rule changes but these are simply morsels of tidbits being placed out there by the NFL to deflect a great deal that it wants remained hidden from the public forum. Over the years the league has simply deflected questions by failing to answer succinctly what real assistance they provide to the players . And now with of the senior retired veterans now in their waning years it seems reprehensible that it takes a lockout for both the league and union to be reactive to institute real actions that will be of benefit to the players . I liken the action we are allegedly now seeing from the NFL to asinine statement that can be attributed to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the early days of the ‘war on terror’ . In the aftermath of the mounting death tolls and the fact that servicemen were sent into battle ill equipped he….. ” stated those casualties were unavoidable but now that we know what the enemy is capable we can make changes ” . Well I suppose when you have members of the armed forces having to pay for their own protective jackets and other items of necessity it speaks to the the sheer ineptitude shown by Rumsfeld and the Department of Defense ! Much like the same sort of ineptitude that has been shown by the NFL and NFLPA as it relates to the players in question.

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In light of the league slowly it would appear inching towards an agreement are you entirely by the news of this event ? And what if anything do you feel has actually been achieved by the two sides ? Also how do you view the upcoming season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and do you see them as serious contenders within the NFL ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for your ongoing support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ….. http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Contact ……. rapptu@gmail.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) This July 28, 1969 image provided by the NFL shows San Francisco 49ers football player Forrest Blue , at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif. Blue, a four-time Pro Bowl center who helped the 49ers win three straight division titles in the early 1970s, died Saturday, July 16, 2011, at an assisted living facility in Carmichael, Calif. No cause of death was given. He was 65. AP Photo/NFL Photos …..

(2) Kevin Mawae , left, president of the NFL Players Association, and DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director, NFL Players Association leave the NFL Players Association offices where talks to end the NFL football lockout have been taking place, Tuesday, July 19, 2011, in Washington. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin ….

(3) Judge Arthur Boylan , the court-appointed mediator in the NFL labor talks, arrives to the meetings in New York, Monday, July 18, 2011. AP Photo/Seth Wenig ….

(4) Quarterback Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers points out coverage before snapping the ball during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images North America / Chris Graythern ….

(5) Mike Williams (19) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers catches a touchdown pass over Jabari Greer (33) of the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Buccaneers defeated the Saints 23-13. Getty Images / Chris Graythern …..

(6) Head coach Raheem Morris talks with Ronde Barber (20) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Buccaneers defeated the Saints 23-13. Getty Images / Chris Graythern …..

(7) Earnest Graham (34) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates as he jumps for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Getty Images North America / Streeter Lecka ……
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Unofficial list of potential free agents in 2011

NFL Or Bust ……….. Is There Anything Else On The Horizon ?


NFL Or Bust ……….. Is There Anything Else On The Horizon ?

NFL season or not there’s a great deal to view with optimism concerning this upcoming year especially in light of the players taken in the NFL Draft . Were it not for the stupidity shown by the league and union (NFLPA) I doubt that we would now be second guessing ourselves as to whether or not that the NFL would indeed kick off on time . As I had previously written were there not to be a series of games commemorating the events of 9/11 I feel that it would be a great disservice to all of those who died on that now solemn day ! Never mind the fact of the sacrifices since made by the men and women of the US military but such are the vagaries of the parties involved that it has me wondering how much does either side really wants to get back to playing football rather than the continued posturing that we’re seeing from both parties .

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It simply doesn’t pain me to say this but NFL Commissioner Roger Godell along with the league hierarchy and team owners simply boxed themselves in the corner with the recalcitrance shown . On the opposing side DeMaurice Smith simply showed that his legal mind and prowess spent as a corporate lawyer with DC law firm Patton Boggs LLC was simply money well spent as he outmaneuvered the league hierarchy on all counts . There’s not much really left to be said at this juncture concerning these negotiations other than the fact that the league will have a long way to go in repairing the damage done and luring the fans back the game .

Cautiously as we approach the MLB All Star Game and the midseason break it is interesting to see how the teams now seem to be positioning themselves as they face the final half of the season . Surprisingly enough beyond the idiocy of what has taken place with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets the season has been something of a competitive one in a number of ways . Inconsistency has played a large part in the ebbs and flows as to the performances we’ve seen from the teams and in particular a number of the marquee players . Injuries asides I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen and in particular from the Atlanta Braves a team that I sought to support this year having abandoned the Florida Marlins for good !

Strangely enough with the All Star Game set to be played in Phoenix Arizona at Chase Field , home to the Arizona Diamondbacks . The All Star voting ballot now seems to taking on a life of its very own . And I’ve no doubt that many of the fan favorites will there simply out of fan loyalty rather than for the accomplishments on the field by the players . I liken the voting for the event similarly to the idiocy that now takes place for the eponymous Fox tv show American Idol ! What a pity that Steven Tyler , Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson haven’t been sought out by Commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy to participate in the precursor to the actual voting on the ballot for the players ! Tyler would proffer up why it is that Derek Jeter to his mind is more deserving of a place on the AL roster than the Cleveland Indians Asdrubal Cabrera . Meanwhile , Lopez would simply be lost for words as she’d become all too emotional as to the fact that Cabrera isn’t a New Yorker ? Meanwhile as only he can Randy Jackson would simply give us all ……… a what’s up dawg ‘ ?

Is it as such too early to be handing out the individual awards in terms of the AL and NL MVP’s ? Along with that of the Cy Young Awards for the respective leagues along with that of the Rookies Of The Year ? There have been some impressive stats in all quarters for the categories in question . Needless to say there will be many amongst who will question the legitimacy of some of those contestants but that is the norm is it not ? I know as such that these awards are not handed out until season’s end but I have to admit in certain categories the case seems to be clear cut barring a sudden catastrophe on the part of the leading candidates . Amongst the leading contenders for the MVP within the AL , one has to be impressed with the play and stats of Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox .

. It’d be remiss to simply think however that Gonzalez should simply be anointed as the outright leading contender as there are several other worthy candidates vying for the AL MVP award . But I would think that the voters themselves will have the integrity and know how in making the right decision .

It’d be remiss to simply think however that Gonzalez should simply be anointed as the outright leading contender as there are several other worthy candidates vying for the AL MVP award . But I would think that the voters themselves will have the integrity and know how in making the right decision . And amongst AL Rookies I would like to think that a credible case can be made for the J P Arencieba of the Toronto Blue Jays or Al Alburquerque of the Detroit Tigers .

And amongst the notable Cy Young candidates within the AL it is as always the usual suspects that as such seem to be vying for the award . Last year notwithstanding when the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez won the award and deservedly so by my estimates . Albeit that some might have questioned the fact that the player was playing on a rather atrocious team . This time around the case isn’t so clear cut but it does heighten one’s interest to say the very least to view the viable candidates and make a summation as to an eventual winner . From my own perspective I do believe that Justin Verlander has the inside edge but much of that will be derived as to whether or not he can remain healthy over the remainder of the Detroit Tigers’ season .

On the senior circuit it would appear that amongst those in with a nod for the NL MVP one would certainly have to look at Jose Reyes , Ryan Braun and quite possibly Troy Tulowitzki amongst the leading candidates . All three have are having terrific years and I as such would not have a problem with either of the trio of the player attaining the award ! And can we all agree up to a point one would have to first look at the pitching rotation of the Phillies before we can attest as to whether or not there are any other viable candidates for the Cy Young within the NL ? Cole Hamels , Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay seem to be in the driver’s seat but with that comes the situation where the votes tallied amongst them may well negate each other out to an extent . So if anything others who one would deem viable could from the likes of Clayton Kershaw , Kyle Lohse , Anibel Sanchez and Jair Jurrjens . A formidable cast indeed considering the sort of season had by the pitchers within NL.

Amongst the NL rookies , say what you will but there’s a plethora of young talent there that some day will become the driving force behind a number of teams within the National League . And given the competitive balance that there seems to be at present I have to say that it is a good thing for the game . Unfortunately however , no one knows how long this will all last given the financial instability for a great many teams of which Bud Selig as commissioner isn’t willing to admit that there is indeed a real problem . He much like the owners , league hierarchy and the MLBPA (union) itself would simply like to carry on , business as usual .

Chicago Cubs’ second baseman Darwin Barney is having a solid year leading all rookies within the NL with a .295 BA but if anything it is the Washington National’s —- Danny Espinosa who may well have the biggest plaudits and support not just amongst the fans but also quite possibly amongst the managers around the league . The player offensively and defensively has been all that and more for the Nationals and the faith showed in by GM Mike Rizzo , the scouting staff has obviously come to fruition and now seems to be paying off .

Amongst the leading candidates in terms of the pitching on show one can’t help but feel that Dillon Gee of the New York Mets could be in with a most definite shout but once again he’s up against an impressive assortment of players but at the end of the day when it’s all said and done it will be all left in the hands of the voters . The players who have won the NL Rookie of The Year have gone on to establish themselves as best they can by contributing to their respective teams .

From my own standpoint I simply have loved what I’ve witnessed this season in baseball with there being one or two surprises along the way ! Teams and players are giving it their all and allowing us all to bask as such in their limelight . And given the fact that with the NBA and NFL in the throes of a hierarchy mandated lockout we ought to be thankful as such that MLB still have their wits about them !

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? And if anything at this juncture wanting to see more either from a player , players or for that matter a team ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ……. http://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, center, speak to the media outside of the Ritz-Carlton hotel after addressing players during the NFLPA rookie symposium on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 in Sarasota, Fla. Goodell and Smith are flying back to Minneapolis together to resume negotiations in the four-month old labor dispute. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ….

(2) Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland talks with Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh prior to the start of the game against the New York Mets at Comerica Park on June 30, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Mets 5-2 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ….

(3) Infielder Asdrubal Cabrera (13) of the Cleveland Indians fields a ground ball out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on June 29, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Indians defeated the Diamondbacks 6-2 . —- Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …..

(4) FILE – This May 7, 2011, file photo shows New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter after he took a strike during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, in Arlington, Texas. Jeter is set to rejoin the Yankees on Monday in his return from a calf injury. The shortstop said Thursday, June 30, 2011, he will play minor league rehab games Saturday and Sunday at Double-A Trenton and be with the Yankees for a series in Cleveland. Jeter is six hits shy of 3,000 . AP Photo/LM Otero, File ……….

(5) PHILADELPHIA – JUNE 29: Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox bats against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 29, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Red Sox 2-1 . Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images ……………

(6) PHILADELPHIA – JUNE 30: Cole Hamels (35) of the Philadelphia Phillies throws Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox during the top of the fourth inning at Citizens Bank Park on June 30, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images ….

(7) Darwin Barney (15) of the Chicago Cubs is congratulated by teammates after scoring to win the game in the 13th inning against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on June 30, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.Ther Cubs defeated the giants 5-2 in 13 innings. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……

(8) Bobby Abreu (53) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is tagged out by Danny Espinosa (18) of the Washington Nationals after attempting to stretch out a double in the sixth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 29, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Nationals 1-0 . Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ……

(9) New York Mets starting pitcher Dillon Gee works against the Texas Rangers during a baseball game in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, June 26, 2011. AP Photo/Star-Telegram, Ron T. Ennis ……..
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Smile USC You’ve Just Been Punk’d Bitches !


Smile USC You’ve Just Been Punk’d Bitches !

So without much ado the NCAA stripped USC of its 2004 BCS title and rescinded the 55-19 result that went down in the record books denoting the team’s victory over the Oklahoma Sooners for the national title . And so ends another sad saga in the annals of the USC legacy which now has been completed shrouded in improprieties than even incumbent AD Pat Haden would have even cared to admit. Like a thief in the night off went Reggie Bush and Pete Carroll to further garner financial gain. All the while both denied any wrong doing on their part , now we know that to be a complete lie and with Bush and Carroll now unwilling to make a public statement on the latest turn of events , one can only surmise how the USC Trojans’ fans must now feel about the actions of the NCAA . From being darlings of the collegiate football world to now pariahs within collegiate athletics .

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And to further emphasize how ridiculous the program still remains in spite of Haden’s wish to move on we now have Todd McNair a former assistant coach at USC filing a lawsuit against the NCAA for slander and libel in the misconduct of their investigation of the Reggie Bush affair . No integrity or accountability to this day from anyone involved in the matter but yet somehow McNair feels aggrieved by the actions of the NCAA. Should he not have been overly concerned with the actions of Carroll and Bush at the time ?

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Former USC assistant coach files lawsuit in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Former Southern California assistant coach Todd McNair has sued the NCAA, accusing the collegiate governing body of libel, slander and misconduct in its investigation of the Reggie Bush case.

McNair is seeking unspecified damages from the NCAA in the lawsuit that was filed Friday. Attorney Bruce Broillet did not immediately return telephone messages Monday.

McNair was punished for what the NCAA claimed was his role in the scandal surrounding the Heisman Trophy-winning tailback. The NCAA claimed he knew about some of the gifts lavished on Bush’s family by two aspiring sports marketers hoping to land Bush as a client.

The NCAA imposed a two-year bowl ban and scholarship restrictions on USC last year as a result of the Bush case. McNair was prohibited from contacting recruits and his USC contract was not renewed.

McNair’s lawsuit claims the NCAA’s investigation was one-sided and that he wasn’t allowed to cross-examine witnesses. It asks the judge to strike down the NCAA rules that the organization used in ruling against McNair.

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So much of this could simply been avoided had Haden’s predecessor Mike Garrett simply acted with a modicum integrity instead feigning altruism and integrity on his part and that of the athletics program . Instead the then AD acted as if findings of the NCAA and those investigations conducted in-house by USC were minor transgressions that simply didn’t warrant any punitive sentence from from either the NCAA or by the college itself. The ridiculousness of this whole episode begs the question has USC any integrity whatsoever much less that of both Pete Carroll and Reggie Bush ? I find it hard to believe this bullshit within the public domain about forgiving and forgetting _____ when such egregious actions take place and not one person is prepared to ask the question why is it that neither Bush or Carroll has offered a public apology as an act of contrition ! But there you have it when people speak passionately about collegiate sports I think that they’re now simply misguided for their own good ! Collegiate sports has now become so corrupt that it simply doesn’t warrant addressing and trying to say ‘well there’s still some integrity that remains within this environment’.

And if you thought that Ohio State was out of the woods of yet then you’d be sadly mistaken . Buckeyes’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor now under investigation concerning the purchase of a Nissan 350Z of which we were informed had been purchased by his mother , Thomasina Pryor . But now with the NCAA now intent on conducting an intense investigation of Pryor and several of his teammates in the advent of their dealings with several local auto dealerships in the local Columbus , Ohio area , the player has sought to forgo his junior season with Ohio State . It is now being widely reported that the player will declare himself eligible for the NFL’s Supplemental Draft . That being said , with the player already under a 5 game mandated suspension by the NCAA in light of Pryor’s and his teammates’ own improprieties from last season I think it unlikely that the NFL will actually do anymore to further punish the player !

If the sheer stupidity of another distinguished program that simply cannot be trusted to act appropriately and one ought not to be surprised by what is now taking place . Ohio State’s AD Gene Smith and university President Dr E Gordon Gee have simply been about as proactive in dealing with these incidents as a blind man playing hop scotch in the midst of a mine field . These two bumbling buffoons have simply become the butt of so many jokes and have made the athletics program as well as the school a complete laughing stock . And for the misguided Buckeyes’ students who remain loyal to Jim Tressel who has since resigned , my question to you all , is how can you simply adjudge the coach’s actions as simply an error in judgment ? Are you all that stupid and that naive ? As for former PGA Tour golfer Jack Nicklaus and former coach turned college football analyst Lou Holtz making compassionate pleas for the besieged former coach , stating that Jim Tressel is still a man of integrity . I ask of you both what fucking planet are you living on where you simply condone lying and the actions of a coach who implicitly lies to the entire faculty of the school ? Suffice to say both Holtz and Nicklaus are both past their prime and have become complete idiots in the eyes of the public .

I’m sorry but now the idiocy has come into play with regard to the NBA Finals because the necks of the Dallas Mavericks are now on the chopping block. Down 2-1 in the best of seven series Rick Carlise and his coaching staff now know it’s all or nothing . Dirk Nowitzki is having a splendid series and despite the idiotic criticism that he’s simply not playing well enough . I’ll pose this question without Nowitzki’s stats in this series where indeed would the Dallas Mavericks be at this juncture ? If you are going to make these statements at least back up that argument than some minutiae of a statement that simply has no rhyme or reason when you don’t even acknowledge that Nowitzki is like a man stranded alone on an island. It’s not as if he has been ably supported in this series by Jason Kidd , Jason Terry or Shawn Marion for that matter ! I have long held the contention that the Mavericks are indeed a soft team but this season they have had their moments and have played at times like team possessed. Since the acquisition of Tyson Chandler the Mavericks have been a staunchly defensive team but during these Finals they have simply been outplayed in all facets of the game when it mattered most .

Now on Tuesday night the Miami Heat with their All Star trio of Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade locked in step to the precision of a Swiss watch as they look to take a 3-1 lead . The fans of the Mavericks will have their part to play by being completely vociferous in support of their team as I am sure that the American Airlinse Center , Dallas , Texas will be packed to the rafters . If they can get behind this team and try to negate the confidence of the Miami Heat then quite possibly the Mavericks will have a chance of squaring the series . If not, then more likely than not this series could be over before most have actually acclimatized themselves to the fact that this series was meant to be a suspenseful one.

I would like to think that NBA hierarchy led by Commissioner David Stern has to be pleased with the ratings garnered by ABC’s televising of the NBA Finals . That being said if this series should suddenly close out in a whimper I can’t but imagine the thoughts that would be going across the mind of the commissioner. The NBA at present needs as much public exposure as one could possibly imagine with there now being such a divergence in the NBA hierarchy and NBPA reaching a possible agreement before the collective bargaining agreement that expires on 30th June 2011. David Stern and his union counterpart Executive Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher are adamant that the union and its Executive Committee won’t acquiesce to any demands that lessens the revenues that is shared between the league and union. At present that breakdown is 53% to 47 % in the NBPA’s favor, in the breakdown of the revenues which meets they payroll of the teams within the league. The salary cap for the 2010-11 season is $57 million . And it appears that the league hierarchy and team owners would like to see that figure decline by at least 10% .

From my own standpoint the impasse between the league and the union could very well become contentious and if anything therein lies a cause for real concern because David Stern has made it public that the league is on course to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year . If that is simply being done to scare the fans at the same time ward off the aggressive stance being taken by the union I am not so sure that Stern and the owners actually believe that they are capable of duping Hunter and his members . I for one sincerely hope that the NBA and NBPA are not prepared to go down the road where they contest their differences within the justice system ! We’ve all seen how idiotic the situation has become with the NFL and the team owners seeking to have their lockout and work stoppage remain in tact as the union (NFLPA) seeks to have that verdict overturned within the 8th District Court of Appeals in Minneapolis , Minnesota . There’s a lesson to be learned here but unfortunately for those involved it all seems to be falling on deaf ears .

Now comes the hard part for the NBA and the NBPA how can they seemingly convince their fans that they have no intention of there being any type of a lockout or stoppage on the part of the league hierarchy. At this juncture I am not liable to believe either of the parties concerned ! Stern has become an agent provocateur while at the same time the union and its members come of looking like a bunch of money hungry individuals who are simply to seek a cure for their own avarice . Somehow neither party to my mind comes up smelling like a bed of roses at this juncture ! Care to respond to my own thoughts here ?

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What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as your to views and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …………….

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) FILE – In this Jan. 4, 2005, file photo, Southern California coach Pete Carroll holds up the trophy after defeating Oklahoma 55-19 in the Orange Bowl in Miami. The Bowl Championship Series stripped Southern California of its 2004 title on Monday, leaving that season without a BCS champion. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …..

(2) Matt Leinart celebrates with Pete Carroll after their triumph in the national title game . The NFL player now suggests that he still feels having participated in the game that team can be still viewed as champions. AP Photo/ Tom Riordan ……

(3) Bush (5) looks to gain ground in the open space avoiding Sooners’ defenders during the 2004 BCS national title game at the Orange Bowl in Miami , Florida . The Associated Press which conducts a poll and awards a trophy to the national champions will not rescind USC as their champion of note thereby letting the school be noted as their champion of record for the 2004 season. AP Photo/ Tony Douglas …..

(4) USC AD Pat Haden who’s predecessor Mike Garrett stepped down in light of the ongoing controversies surrounding the school during the latter part of his tenure . Courtesy of USC copyrighted material all rights reserved .

(5) January 4, 2011: Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) stands in the confetti shower behind the trophy after winninng the NCAA Sugar Bowl game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and The Ohio State Buckeyes at The Louisianna Superdome, New Orleans LA . Cal Sports Media via AP Images …..

(6) In this photo taken Monday, May 30, 2011, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives for a players only meeting at the Woody Hayes Complex in Columbus, Ohio. Pryor, the highest profile recruit of former coach Jim Tressel’s 25-year coaching career, is one of five Buckeyes who have already been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for taking money and tattoos from local tattoo-parlor owner Edward Rife, who pleaded guilty last week to federal drug trafficking and money-laundering charges. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ……

(7) Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives in this Nissan 350Z, center, to a players only meeting Monday, May 30, 2011, at the Woody Hayes Complex, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam…..

(8) Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, center, answers questions for the media after a basketball practice for Game 5 of the NBA finals against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, June 8, 2011, in Dallas. The series is tied 2-2 . AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …….

(9) LeBron James (L) of the Miami Heat looks for a pass while guarded by Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks during game 4 of the NBA Finals on June 7, 2011 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat 86-83. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK ……

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Did It Work Out Well For Your Team ?


Did It Work Out Well For Your Team ?

I don’t know about you but I had to be reminded that the MLB Draft actually took place . It seems as if the hierarchy of Major League Baseball is simply intent on making this something of a non-event . It may well be televised by the MLB Network but given that the league in terms of marketing the sport has at times covered the areas that would encapsulate the sublime and the ridiculous . Is anyone still sold on the World Baseball Classic ? Well I guess that we’ll just have to wait and see for the next scheduling of that particular event in 2013 .

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Well the Pittsburgh Pirates took number one overall —- Gerrit Cole a right handed pitcher out of UCLA . He would be followed by the Seattle Mariners taking Danny Hultzen (LHP/1B/OF) out of Virginia and given the proclivities of the Mariners they indeed will need all the help that they can for the foreseeable future . From my own perspective I know that with many of the players taken we are not liable see them playing in the majors for perhaps two or three years at best . But as always there’s always an exception to any rule. The Tampa Bays in light of their financial instability and the mere fact that principal partner Stuart Sternberg and GM Andrew Friedman have made it known of their intent now is to simply build this organization from the draft and rely little if any on the pursuing of free agents unless it is to their economic advantage .

Courtesy of MLB.com

UCLA pitchers Cole, Bauer selected first, third

By Spencer Fordin , MLB.com

SECAUCUS, N.J. — One college program became the face of baseball’s future Monday, when two UCLA arms made history by pacing a pitching-rich haul at the top of the First-Year Player Draft.

Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer were both selected in the first three picks of the Draft, setting a trend that started early and carried through the rest of the night. The first four players selected were all pitchers for the first time ever, and 12 arms had been taken by the time the Draft pulled through 20 picks.

The choices of Cole and Bauer, respectively selected by Pittsburgh and Arizona, marked the first time since 1978 that two college teammates had been taken in the top three picks of the Draft. Arizona State had earned the honor last time, with Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks taken first and third overall.

Cole, who went 6-8 with a 3.31 ERA for UCLA as a junior, gives the Pirates another potential high-impact arm in the farm system to pair with fast-rising Jameson Taillon, last year’s second overall draftee.

And by doing so, he validated a bet that he had made on himself. Cole was taken 28th overall by the Yankees out of high school in 2008, but instead chose to attend UCLA and further mature as a player. Now, he comes out of school with some inherently valuable experience and with vastly improved Draft stock.

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Rays’ manager Joe Maddon and his coaching staff had the pleasure of knowing that they had 10 of the top eighty nine picks in this year’s draft and I’ve no doubt that the fans in general will be pleased with that . With that asides it appears with all of the outside controversies concerning the team they are now playing with a great deal of candor as they look to make their presence felt within the AL East . And given the sensitivity of the competitiveness within the division this could be a <a href=”http://mlb.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=tb”&gt; season of make or break for the Tampa Bay Rays . And mark my words this could be a forbearing of either doom and gloom or extreme joy for this ball club and its loyal but ever seemingly emotional band of followers . Given the fallibility of both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees I do believe that if the Rays are fortuitous they could at best win the division or at the very least be the wildcard entrant within the AL ! But much of that will be predicated upon the performances of the team throughout the remainder of the season and in particular the month of June .

With the team owners and general managers alike looking for diamonds in the rough and to the long term future of their respective organizations . This much we are certain of when it comes the MLB Draft absolutely anything is liable to happen . With agents such as Scott Boras , Arne Tellem and Leigh Steinberg all looking to garner the best compensatory packages for their clients I am sure that the general managers and owners will no doubt have to be prudent in terms of their expenditure on the players they choose to pursue and sign . If anything what we have seen recent years doesn’t seem to reflect that at all but this is simply what the game has become about , chasing after the ‘almighty dollar’ without there actually being a certainty of actual success.

As a newly entrenched fan of the Atlanta Braves I am curious to see what GM Frank Wren and the scouting staff at his disposal led by Tony DeMacio and Kurt Kemp with will come up with by way of this year’s draft . The farm system and prospects are in place with the organization apparently set for the future . And with manager Fred Gonzalez and his coaching staff seemingly having got the players to buy into his philosophy there is a great deal that a Braves’ fan has to be pleased with at present . Jason Heyward is proving everything that one might have expected out of a a very talented five tool player .

This season within the NL East the Atlanta Braves know that they are in a dog fight . And with both the Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies now playing at a very high level it will be very interesting to see how things pan out as the season progresses . The Braves have simply been prudent in their draft choices over the years . But this season with there being a some very talented college and high school players in this draft there’s a great deal on the line for the organization. If with the picks made in this draft and the players being signed successfully then things ought to bode well for the Atlanta Braves and their foreseeable future . As with the any of the other 29 teams that in total make the thirty teams in MLB , each seeks the same thing and that is to win a World Series title .

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I for one am not about to now second guess Frank Wren as to the choices that he will make but given that he will also take under advisement any knowledge that can be provided by his predecessor John Schuerholz I am pretty certain that he will come to decisions that will be of great benefit to the Atlanta Braves . Do you feel that the came can be said of the team that you support and the decisions that will have to be made by the general manager there ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (12) of the UCLA Bruins pitches against the South Carolina Gamecocks during Game 1 of the men’s 2010 NCAA College Baseball World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium on June 28, 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska. Christian Petersen / Getty Images North America …

(2) Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (12) of the UCLA Bruins prepares himself before pitching against the South Carolina Gamecocks during Game 1 of the men’s 2010 NCAA College Baseball World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium on June 28, 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska. Christian Petersen / Getty Images …….

(3) The Mariners haven’t made many headlines in recent years, but did so today by selecting University of Virginia southpaw pitcher Danny Hultzen with the No. 2 overall draft pick. Courtesy of Seattle Times / Chris Marsden ….

(4) From left to right Stuart Sternberg , Matt Silverman , Joe Maddon and Andrw Friedman hold aloft the 2008 ALCS Trophy . Courtesy of MLB.com ….

(5) : Ronny Paulino (9) of the New York Mets reacts after popping out in the fifth inning with no outs and the bases loaded as Brian McCann (16) of the Atlanta Braves looks on on June 5, 2011 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Braves 6-4 . Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ……

(6) Diory Hernandez (24) of the Atlanta Braves celebrates his ninth inning pinch hit three-run home run against the New York Mets with teammates Martin Prado (14) and Eric Hinske (20) on June 5, 2011 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Braves 6-4. Photo Getty Images/ Jim McIsaac ….

(7) John Schuerholz, left, addresses reporters about the announcement he will become president of the Atlanta Braves baseball team and be replaced as general manager by Frank Wren, right, during a news conference Thursday, Oct. 11, 2007, in Atlanta. AP Photo/John Amis …….

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Finally Common Sense Seems To Be Prevailing Well At Least I’d Like To Think So !


Finally Common Sense Seems To Be Prevailing Well At Least I’d Like To
Think So !

Ah the Jim Tressel episode has now come to an abrupt and discerning end . And with it the mere pomposity and conceited actions of Gene Smith and university President E Scott Gee The sheer stupidity and asinine attitude of two of the university’s highest administrative officials has simply been beyond belief . Gee and in particular Smith have shown poor judgment throughout this whole episode . What might be even more unpalatable has been the audacity of Lou Holtz to even now suggest that Tressel’s actions shouldn’t overlook the good that he’s done for the school over the course of his career. I find it hard to believe that Holtz would seek to defend the coach’s action given the lengths to which Tressel went in lying to senior faculty members and then getting coaching staff subordinates to suborn his actions. But then again the college fraternity of coaching seems to be one big ol’ boys’ club where anything goes just as long as you don’t somehow get caught. However , once that happens it’s everyman for himself but within the fraternity of college coaching who knows what really goes on behind closed doors ?

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Can someone simply explain to me how the hell this mess went on and with so much of it happening within the public domain ? Tressel and the entire football team haven’t played by the rules and the deeper one delves deeper into this mess the more unsavory this matter becomes . I simply do not believe that this whole episode is now over because of the wide ranging allegations that have taken place. The proprietor of the tattoo parlor where many of the Buckeyes’ players got their tattoos free of charge as we’ve been led to believe or in some cases the players were paid to autograph pieces of memorabilia that would be sold at a later date at a private auction. The owner Edward Rife , of the business in question has been indicted by a Federally appointed grand jury for grand larceny , racketeering , the sale of illegal narcotics, money laundering and drug smuggling . Suffice to say there’s a great deal that the school would rather gloss over along with the apparent idiocy of their actions.

Well the NBA Finals are now upon us and though it might not have been the matchup that everyone had envisaged it will be one that could very well deliver a great deal of intrigue . The Dallas Mavericks will face the Miami Heat in game one of the 2011 NBA Finals with games one and two being played at the AAArena in Miami , Florida . The two teams met in the 2006 NBA Finals with the Heat coming on top over the Mavericks . On either side there are ony four players from the respective rosters from those Finals in 2006 , with those players being Dirk Nowitzki , Jason Terry of the Mavericks and Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat. Wade would end up being the Finals’ MVP of the series , laying the foundations for his meteoric rise within the NBA .

For Heat President Pat Riley he may well feel that this is the vindication he sought having made the acquisitions that have bolstered this team . His young protege` Erik Spoelstra has coached this team to the success that they’ve attained this season . That notwithstanding , I do believe that this series won’t be as straight forward as some may well believe because of the Heat being looked upon as the prohibitive favorites . I’ve no doubt that the Heat are duly being rewarded as favorites but I tend to think back to the NBA Finals of 2004 when a highly favored Los Angeles Lakers’ team came up short against the underdogs ___ Detroit Pistons who manhandled that star laden Lakers roster. When the makeup of your roster at the time includes future bound Hall of Famers such as Shaquille O’Neal , Kobe Bryant , Gary Payton and Karl Malone you’re expected to win handsomely . However in this case , the Lakers in their sheer and utter complacency got a drubbing that left a bitter taste in their mouths . That 4-1 series loss showed in fact how lopsided this victory was for the Detroit Pistons whose coach Larry Brown may well have had his proudest professional moment in the NBA , courtesy of his team. I’m not about to suggest that the Heat will wilt under the pressure of expectation but can you imagine what the fallout might well be should they fail to deliver ?

As many of us may well felt that the LeBron James Jim Gray interview brought to us courtesy of ESPN ” The Decision” was more about hyperbole than being anywhere near substantive in terms of content . James came off as being self serving , conceited in the aftermath of the interview and the Heat in many ways became the pariahs of the NBA . In many ways I look at this all as the monster that NBA Commissioner David Stern created because now the NBA has become more about its marquee superstars rather than it being about the teams . In so much as Stern would want to have us believe that there’s still a team philosophy about the brand and its overall sale to the public . Simply look at how these Finals are now being advertized for the fans and public’s consumption ? It hasn’t been about the two teams involved but more to do with unfinished plot lines and the fact you have players such Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh , Jason Kidd and James in particular still looking for their first NBA title .

I’ve no doubt that the viewership for these Finals will be a ratings bonanza for ABC and the impact it will have for the NBA globally will be significant . James has now become a marketing machine though not yet the heir apparent to Michael Jordan but you can imagine that the player and his management company will be looking for the financial bounty that will undoubtedly come about in aftermath of a Miami Heat victory with numerous corporate clients looking to associate themselves with the superstar.

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This series has the makings of being an instantaneous classic if it lives up to the perceived hype . But I am simply looking forward to it being a completely entertaining and competitive series above all else. And I would certainly like to think that Dallas and Miami can serve us up with something that we will find entertaining throughout the length of the series , no matter how long it may well last . I don’t think that I can put it anymore succinctly than that !

Alan aka tophatal …………………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) FILE – In a March 8, 2011 file photo, Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, left, sits next to E. Gordon Gee, Ohio State University president, during a news conference, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State announced Monday, May 30, 2011 that football coach Jim Tressel has resigned as the NCAA investigates the Buckeyes for possible rules violations. The school says Luke Fickell, an assistant head coach under Tressel, will serve as interim head coach for the 2011-2012 season. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ……

(2) Ohio State students Curt Stine, left, and Matt Parker hang a sign on their porch near campus in support of former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, Monday, May 30, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. Tressel, who guided Ohio State to its first national title in 34 years, resigned Monday amid NCAA violations from a tattoo-parlor scandal. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ….

(3) Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives in this Nissan 350Z, center, to a players only meeting Monday, May 30, 2011, at the Woody Hayes Complex, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ….

(4) Ohio State players arriving at a players only meeting Monday, May 30, 2011, at the Woody Hayes Complex, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam …….

(5) MIAMI, FL – MAY 30: Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat talks to the press during practice before Game 1 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks on May 30, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann …….

(6) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat laugh looks on during practice before Game 1 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks on May 30, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann …..

(7) An exterior view of the American Airlines Arena before the start of Game 1 of the 2011 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks on May 30, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann …..

(8) Dallas Mavericks’ Jason Kidd, right, points as teammate Dirk Nowitzki, left, laughs during an NBA Finals basketball practice Monday, May 30, 2011, in Miami. The Dallas Mavericks will play the Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Tuesday. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …..

(9) Dallas Mavericks’ Jason Terry listens to a question before an NBA Finals basketball practice Monday, May 30, 2011, in Miami. The Mavericks will play the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Tuesday. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ….

(10) Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, left, and team owner Micky Arison talk during during the team’s practice session, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Miami. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Tuesday. AP Photo/J Pat Carter …….

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It’s True There’s Still News Out There That’s As Ridiculous As Ever


It’s True There’s Still News Out There That’s As Ridiculous As Ever

Well it had to happen in the midst of the NBA Playoffs being in full swing with the respective conference finals the players’ union the NBPA has filed a grievance lodged within the National Labor Relations Board an agency within the federal government that deals with employment issues on behalf of employees across the nation . Will the madness never stop ? Have neither side of the NBA labor issue learned anything as of yet concerning the absolute idiocy that has been conducted and is still ongoing between the NFL and its the players in the form of their now defunct union but still known as the NFLPA ?

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David Stern and union counterpart Billy Hunter along with union President Derek Fisher have steadfastly stated that they would like to avoid a work stoppage under any circumstance . But I find that premise hard to believe when the union itself has stated that they are prepared to decertify and challenge the league’s antitrust exemption status within the Federal Court System . This being the same maneuver that is now being tried by the NFLPA itself , albeit that the players behind that particular suit are some of the league’s more high profiled players in Tom Brady , Peyton Manning , and Drew Brees .

It’s extremely hard to believe that the fans could be on the cusp of seeing two of the four major professional sports actually shutter down for no other simple reason other than pure unadulterated greed ! If the hierarchies of both the NBA and the NFL simply can’t split their revenues equally amongst themselves and the respective unions then it simply shows how out of touch these individuals are with reality ! While the nation is suffering economic strife the sides here are essentially acting like kindergarten pre schoolers acting out because someone is about to take away their favorite play thing . The concerns of the fans at this juncture may well be the farthest thing from their minds at present as they simply bicker and whine amongst themselves.
I’m not so sure that while the NBA Playoffs continue that I am all that liable to take that much interest , knowing that once this spectacle is over there as well we are liable to see that sport simply close up shop !

As if baseball hasn’t had its hits this season now it seems that the family of Giants’ fan Brian Stow who was brutally attacked by several assailants at a Dodgers’ Giants game have filed a civil suit against the Los Angeles Dodgers . With the LAPD (Los Angeles PD) having apprehended one suspect , Giorgio Ramirez , a member of an infamous Latino street gang the local community is looking to put this episode behind them. However with there being three other suspects known to have been participants in this attack law enforcement is intent on capturing those suspects as well. This is one issue that I do believe that all of the most avid MLB fans are in agreement with ___ the sooner these heinous thugs are brought to justice and justice is duly served the better off we will all be as well as the image of the game at this point.

In lieu of New York Mets’ owner Fred Wilpon voicing his discontent over the malaise of his team this season and calling out several prominent players for their lack of intensity and performance . It really shouldn’t come as a surprised that this already beleaguered organization is now becoming even more ridiculous with each passing moment . What we already knew as to the team’s financial instability is now becoming even more apparent with the news that the Mets are on track to lose in excess of $ 70 million this season . And here we have idiots within this medium trying to create the perception that the game is simply going through a small economic downturn ? The fact of the matter is baseball has been going through this problem for close to a decade as the team owners and the league hierarchy have been non-plussed and ambivalent to many of the inherent problems that they have been facing . Just because there have been multiple teams competing for the game’s biggest prize (World Series ) over the past few years doesn’t mean that the game is in a healthy state. The financial state of Major League Baseball (MLB) has been mired in mismanagement and the idiocy of a league hierarchy , wherein Commissioner Bud Selig has shown about as much astuteness as a blind man playing hopscotch in a mine field.

Well what would the PGA Tour be without a little bit of news about the beleaguered and self serving tidbit from Tiger Woods ? The player has slipped so far down the World Golf rankings where he now sits at his lowest level in his fourteen years on the PGA Tour. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem knows that the Tour needs Woods far more than they are likely to let on because without Woods , the Tour and its events become mundane and completely devoid of character. Not that Woods has that much to begin with___ with his mono-syllabic tone and lack of any real candor .

Woods now recovering from a recurring knee injury in a recent press conference stated that it would be his intent to play in the US Open taking place at Congressional Golf Club in Bethseda, Maryland , from the 16th to 19th June 2011. Given his performances this season and the steady decline and inconsistency of his play I am not so sure that Tiger Woods will be a legitimate contender for the event ! Even if he plays I for one don’t believe that his game much less his confidence is anywhere near where it should be but any sound byte by Woods nowadays where he’s not trying to deflect questions concerning his private life and bachelor status has got to be better than him talking about his game . I mean what’s the use at this juncture ? Woods knows that if he’s not confident in his own game even with the changes made , the chances of an outright victory is about as likely as there being a sighting of John Daly hitting five straight birdies in a row in a PGA Tour sponsored event !.

Woods has yet to say when he will make a return to the Tour while he still recuperates . If he is to make a return to the PGA Tour to acclimatize himself to the rigors of the game then it might well be at The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club , Muirfield , Ohio , an event that’s sponsored by Nationwide Insurance but brought into being by Jack Nicklaus on a course that he designed . With a purse of $6,200,000 and a first prize of $1,080,000 to the winner it would be the right tournament for a tune up before the penultimate tournament the Fedex St Jude Classic , leading up to the US Open . Whether or not this will be part of Woods’ itinerary remains to be seen at this juncture.

In what I for one felt might well have been a clear cut decision it would appear that the leading candidate to officially fill coach Phil Jackson’s shoes with the Los Angeles Lakers will not be one of his assistants , in this case the heavily favored Brian Shaw . Sources around the NBA believe that now heading the running for the vacancy is none other than former Cleveland Cavaliers’ coach Mike Brown . The Lakers’ hierarchy led by owner Dr Jerry Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak must obviously feel ….”out with the old in with the new ” ….. is now the best policy and step to take . And given the team’s abysmal performance in their conference semi finals’ demise to the Dallas Mavericks wherein they were summarily dispatched in a 4-0 series sweep things at this juncture can’t seem any gloomier after that improbable result .

This may well be the lowest that this franchise has been in quite a while as they’ve simply began to show their age. Other than Kobe Bryant there was little to suggest that this Lakers’ team actually had the stomach for a fight during the latter stages of the playoffs . They may well have dealt with the New Orleans Hornets in the first round of the playoffs with consummate ease . But once they went up against a well prepared and determined Mavericks’ team Phil Jackson and his players simply had no idea what they had been hit with. The Mavericks’ constant bombardment of the Lakers was relentless and with Dirk Nowitzki playing like an All Star while being ably assisted by Jason Terry , Shawn Marion , Tyson Chandler , Jason Kidd and J J Barea the Lakers simply had no answer for the Dallas Mavericks at any point during this series.

Courtesy of the L A Times

Lakers have a deal to hire Mike Brown as their coach

Brown, who coached LeBron James for five seasons in Cleveland, could soon sign a three-year deal worth about $4 million a season. If he turns the offer down, Rick Adelman would remain a candidate.

By Broderick Turner , Los Angeles Times

The Lakers have put together a deal to hire former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown as their new coach, an NBA official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter said late Tuesday.

If Brown agrees to the deal, he’ll sign a contract worth between $4 million and $4.5 million per season, the official said. Brown would sign for three years, with a team option on the fourth season that would give him partial pay if he was not retained.

Brown, 41, became the front-runner because Jim Buss, the team’s executive vice president of player personnel, was impressed with his defense-minded style.

Former Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman also was in the mix for the job and will remain a candidate to replace Phil Jackson if Brown turns down the deal from the Lakers.

Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw also was considered for the head position.

The Lakers had to wait until General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Buss returned from pre-draft camps in Chicago and Minneapolis on Tuesday night before they could get a deal done.

Lakers owner Jerry Buss did an interview with Sirius XM Radio on Tuesday, saying the team was “very close” to filling its coaching vacancy.

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Kupchak and Jackson’s successor whoever that may well be , their first order of business will be to assess this roster and to simply get rid of the dead weight that there is there. To my mind Derek Fisher is past his prime , Lamar Odom based on his postseason performances simply did nothing to suggest he warranted winning the Sixth Man of The Year Award and can someone tell me if Ron Artest underwent a frontal lobal lobotomy prior to the playoffs starting ? What he brought to the Lakers postseason can be best described as pigs in a blanket covered in fecal matter ! Complacency may well have set in once the Lakers got past the Hornets in the first round but hell , this was said to be an experienced team and the two time defending NBA champions . Instead what we all witnessed in the conference semi finals searching for an identity and one that was completely outplayed in every facet of the game by a determined Mavericks team whose coach Rick Carlisle simply out-coached his opposite number .

With the upcoming NBA Draft set for 23 rd June 2011 and there being a plethora of college talent on display the Lakers will have to certainly make some prudent choices if their roster is to be truly strengthened . Their first pick in the upcoming draft will come in the second round as the sixteenth pick to be taken . Kupchak may well want to move up and look for something more beneficial but at this juncture who really knows the mindset inside of the Lakers’ organization ? There has to be a reason why Jackson has chosen not to return and having seen his team succumb like a wilting flower starved of water , there’s no reason that his return to the organization would have been a guarantee of success given the team’s lackluster performance during the playoff loss to the Mavericks. If Phil Jackson can’t instill a will to win this bedraggled bunch I’m not so sure that Mike Brown or whoever happens to be Jackson’s successor unless they get it into their heads that the rest of the league has actually caught up and in some cases passed them .

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What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and 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) MIAMI, FL – MAY 24: Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls walks up court as LeBron James (6) and Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat look on in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 24, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Heat won 101-93 in overtime. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …..

(2) Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls looks to pass the ball before going out of bounds against Udonis Haslem (40) of the Miami Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 24, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Getty Images / Marc Serota …….

(3) Cordial now but for how long ? NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter (left) and NBA Commissioner David Stern . The two sides are adamant they say that they’ll do their utmost to avoid a shutdown of the league but saying and believing are two different things wouldn’t you agree ? AP Photo / Myles Jackson ……

(4) Giants’ fan Brian Stow seen here with two young family members . The paramedic was the victim of a heinous assault that took place at Dodgers’ Stadium earlier in the season . One assailant (Giorgio Ramirez) has been apprehended while three others still remain at large ( one of which was a female getaway driver) . The LAPD Chief of Police Charlie Beck has asked for the public’s help in providing any information that will lead to the arrests of the assailants still at large . AP Photo ……

(5) Tiger Woods reaches over to shake a friend’s hand after a news conference at Aronimink Golf Club for the upcoming AT&T National golf tournament, Tuesday, May 24 2011, in Newtown Square, Pa. Woods said he us using crutches and wearing a protective boot on his left leg to make sure he’s healthy enough to play the U.S. Open. AP Photo/The Inquirer, Michael Bryant …….

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(6) PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem is seen here presenting the trophy for the Bridgestone Invitational won by Tiger Woods in 2009 . AP Photo/ Michael McClendon …..

(7) Lakers’ point guard Steve Blake is seen here with team GM Mitch Kupchak . The player was an offseason signing by the team . Courtesy of LA Times/Ramon Espinoza ………

(8) Phil Jackson is seen here with assistant coaches Brian Shaw and to Shaw’s immediate right Jim Cleamons . It appears that both Shaw and Cleamons are out of the running to fill the vacancy of the Lakers’ head coach’s position with what appears to be the imminent signing of Mike Brown as Jackson’s successor. Courtesy of AP Photo/ Gil Nettles ….

(9) Guard Jason Terry (31) of the Dallas Mavericks reacts against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2011 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Getty Images/ Ronald Martinez ……

(10) Guard Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers hugs DeShawn Stevenson (92) after a loss against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2011 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The Mavericks swept the series 4-0 against the Lakers and advanced to the Western Conference Finals. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez ……..

(11) FILE – In this May 3, 2010 file photo, then Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown screams at his team in the third quarter of Game 2 against the Boston Celtics in the second round of an NBA basketball playoff series in Cleveland. A person with knowledge of the discussions says the Los Angeles Lakers are in serious talks with former Cleveland coach Mike Brown about their coaching vacancy. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, on condition of anonymity because the Lakers’ coaching search isn’t complete yet. AP Photo/ Mark Duncan ……..

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It’s Our Ball And If You Want To Play …… Then You Have To Pay


It’s Our Ball And If You Want To Play ……. Then You Have To Pay

It simply never continues to amaze me as to the naivete and gullibility of a sports fan ! Continuing to think that the owner and a sport’s hierarchy simply has the fans’ best interests at heart . While the ongoing idiocy of the NFL prevails and the players under their body the NFLPA continue to regale the national press with their own thoughts the stupidity of this spectacle goes on. The 8th District Court of Appeals have upheld their previous verdict making sure that the lockout continues unabated . And while this goes on we now have the fomenting situation with regard to the NBA hierarchy and the NBPA and their own discourse as they set about looking avoid what would be a disastrous work stoppage should one actually take place . Meanwhile the league’s own postseason showcase event takes place with the NBA looking to crown a new NBA champion .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The NBA hierarchy for its part under the tenure of David Stern has simply finagled its way to luring municipalities around the country where their franchises are domiciled into building them lavish edifices without there being much cost to the franchise owners if any. Not to be out-done in this all are the NFL and MLB who seek to use that very same leverage in twisting the arms up municipalities and state governments across the country. It has gone as far as MLB Commissioner Bud Selig not only lambasting the Tampa Bay Rays ownership and the county governments of both Hillsborough and Pinellas County in warning them that should they not have a new ballpark built to house the Rays then the organization would never host an All Star Game . If they are prepared to go to those lengths simply to have the taxpayer fund a facility that essentially will be used by ownership group of multi millionaires who in large part simply don’t even pay anything towards such a venue , then it simply not only shows us the gullibility of the local politicians but also how conniving and corrupt the business of professional sports has now become .

The unyielding belief that these owners can do no wrong while at the same time the fans continue to show their naivete can be truly astounding. The public complains because their income taxes are said to be too high but they never seem to complain when a multi million dollar facility using taxpayers’ monies is built to house a professional sports franchise . The infrastructure within their community may well be falling apart and the needs of the residents there may well be gargantuan but yet they’re unflinching in their emotions when a new stadium may well be built . The idiocy of this continues now wherein the Sacramento Kings having sought to pursue the offer to relocate to the area of Anaheim / Los Angeles will now remain within the state capital , albeit for a term of supposedly no longer than a year as the city’s Mayor Kevin Johnson and the local business community looks to find some common accord whereby they can keep the franchise within the locale . At the same time David Stern will closely monitor the situation but if his previous antics are anything to go by, then look for some Machiavellian plot to take place whereby the team’s owners the Maloof family in conjunction with the Kings’ front office will actually move the franchise anyway. Anyone who simply has an insight as to what took place when the Seattle Supersonics relocated from that city to Oklahoma City under Clay Bennett’s ownership group , will know that the league hierarchy , Stern along with the Thunders’ ownership group were less then forthright with the truth in their dealings with the city of Seattle. And it is once again the same thing here with the NBA in their dealings with the city of Sacramento .

This episode still remains unresolved and I as an avid NBA fan am simply not looking forward to the fallout that could very well happen should things actually become somewhat volatile between the parties concerned .

MLB for its part has become an archaic organization that’s so badly ran that it makes the federal government look like doyennes of efficiency . Each time I simply hear anything uttered from the mouth of MLB Commisioner Bud Selig or anyone of his subordinates within baseball’s hierarchy I’ve got to laugh at this bumbling buffoon and his loyal minion ! Never mind the idiocy cointinually shown by the team owners and their front office executives as they’ve essentially made their game financially susceptible to a meltdown not seen within the game. You have something of a tyrannical and autocratic commissioner in Bud Selig, who seemingly thinks that the best way for a franchise to obtain a new ballpark is for him to berate the ownership of a ballclub and its local government as has been done by the commissioner with the Tampa Bay Rays and the county governmental agencies of Hillsborough and Pinellas County . Furthermore , in doing so with the front office of the Rays , Selig has threatened the team with the fact that unless they obtain a new ballpark to replace their present venue of Tropicana Field then they will never host an MLB All Star Game . Since when did Selig hold that much sway over this league and the owners I’d like to know ?

Bud Selig’s time has come and past within baseball and thankfully he’ll be soon stepping down from the position which he’s actually held for over a decade as first an interim commissioner and then full-time. In that time we’ve seen the highs and lows within the game. Perhaps none more so than the stoppage during what would have been the 1994-95 season and then his bumbled handling of the whole steroid issue and the fallout from it all. During that era of ill repute , within the game some of baseball’s most hallowed records have been obliterated by steroid enchanced performances right under the very noses of the owners , managers and the very union that ought to be representing the very best interests of its members , the MLBPA and its then Executive Director Donald Fehr sought to hide behind their right to privacy while actually breaking the laws of the land. Subsequently what might be even more asinine was the very fact that despite numerous hearings in front of the various House and Senate Comittee not much has actually changed within the game. Its steroid policy has been somewhat comical and the very fact that Manny Ramirez having twice failed a steroid drug test , serving his first mandatory 50 game suspension , rather than face the mandatory 100 game suspension for a second failed test , walked away from the game announcing his retirement. As to Selig’s own thoughts on the matter he simply failed to address that issue . And one simply thought that this type of idiocy could only be shown within the Halls of Congress !

After the failure of a season that was said to be filled with hope , the fall from grace of the Minnesota Vikings had to have been welcomed by the vast majority of NFL fans . A 6-10 season within the NFC North pretty much summed up a rather inept season by a team that many tv analysts had favored to win the Superbowl . A team that was filled with a litany of Pro Bowl players and an alleged leader in Brett Favre simply fell by the wayside as their season imploded under the weight of expectations and the actual inept play of Favre , himself .

With the firing of Brad Childress and his successor in Leslie Frazier being named during the season the Vikings sought to redeem themselves as the year came to a close . Now as we all know things didn’t end as the team had hoped and they merely suffered in silence with the indignity of Favre retiring under a cloud of suspicion as to his off the field conduct concerning his behavior while a player with the New York Jets . Now in spite of it all the team will start afresh as it looks to Christian Ponder quite possibly to lead this team with regard to its immdeiate future . . Having drafted the former Noles’ player 12th overall in the first round of the NFL Draft it seems that Frazier, his coaching staff , the front office led by GM Rick Spielman may well feel that the choice of Ponder was a prudent one. Should there be a season to be played then we may well find out if that will very much be the case .

The biggest stumbling block for the Vikings however and for their beleaguered owner Zygi Wilf and his partners and whether not the state legislature in Minnesota will successfully vote to finance the building of a new venue for the franchise to replace the aging Hubert Humphrey Metrodome /Mall of The America Stadium . A facility now that the team and its fans have somewhat become accustomed to but now feel that it has simply outlived its usefulness . However , while the deliberations go on within the state legislature it has to be said that with it having to overcome a budget deficit of $ 5 billion the state governor Mark Dayton will be hard pressed to approve this bill and the financing with there being an estimated $ 1.1 billion for this project. And whereas, the NFL under its commissioner Roger Goodell has a contingency stadium fund that’s meant to assist teams in their initial funding issues and requirements but rarely do teams actually take advantage of that proxy choosing instead to forgo that route looking instead to seek public funding within the communities where they reside. And repeatedly that has been the norm for teams within the NFL even if in part they do put up a nominal sum to implement that communities largesse .

Governor Dayton has met with Roger Goodell has to discuss the issue and the qualms that he has given his state’s delicate situation. But given the league’s own problem’s and the unresolved labor issue and its collective bargaining agreement it does make the situation for Dayton and his state delegates all the more tenuous . This issue may well be resolved but not necessarily to everyone’s satisfaction especially one would have thought amongst the constituents within the state of Minnesota . I don’t know that Goodell and the league hierarchy will press the legislature to come to a quick decision but I’d hazard a guess that Zygi Wilf will be amongst those pressing the delegates within the legislature for a quick decision on this matter. The stakes are very high for all concerned because if the vote should be against the public funding for a new venue then you simply bet that Wilf and his partners will seek the league’s approval in relocating the team elsewhere . It’s their ball to do with as they please and nothing displeases a sports’ hierarchy more than when they simply can’t get their own way . It has been the way that all of these leagues have conducted themselves over the years and it’s not about to change at this juncture !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And as such do you feel that it’s appropriate that taxpayers’ funds should be used to build sports venues for what are in a sense is a private enterprise ? Simply chime in with a comment as you’d deem fit on this topic .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , second from left, looks on as Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton speaks during a news conference at the governors residence in St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The governor met with Goodell and his staff. AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Elizabeth Flores ….

(2) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 17: NFL players’ lawyers Jeffrey Kessler, James Quinn and Barbara P. Berens walk with former NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith after leaving court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on May 17, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the NFL lockout remains in place 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 in March. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ……

(3) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields, right, reacts after retiring New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson, left, to end the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 17, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Yankees scored two runs in the inning. Tampa would go on to lose the game 6-2 against their divisional rivals the Yankees . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….

(4) Tampa Bay Rays’ Casey Kotchman flips his bat after he struck out against New York Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson to end the sixth inning with the bases loaded during an MLB baseball game Tuesday, May 17, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Fla. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …….

(5) In this photo taken Friday, May 13, 2011, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, right, discuss the Sacramento Kings basketball team with California state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, as they walk into Steinberg’s Capitol office in Sacramento, Calif. Johnson, a former NBA all-star with the Phoenix Suns, has worked the last couple of months to keep the Kings in Sacramento . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ….

(6) Minnesota Vikings fans applaud during a news conference Tuesday, May 10, 2011, in Arden Hills, Minn., announcing a Vikings deal with Ramsey County to collaborate on a $1.1 billion retractable-roof football stadium to be built on the site of the former Army ammunitions plant in Arden Hills. AP Photo/Jim Mone …….

(7) Minnesota Vikings team owners Zygi, center, and Mark Wilf, right, visit with Ramsey county commissioner Tony Bennett Tuesday, May 10, 2011 in Arden Hills, Minn.,at the site of a proposed $1.1 billion retractable-roof football stadium on the grounds of the old Army ammunitions plant in Arden Hills. AP Photo/Jim Mone ……..

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