The road less traveled still remains bumpy , divots , ruts and simple stupidity make it that way.
So we’re at the point of the year, where there is a great deal going on in the world of sports . The NBA has entered the last month of the regular season and we already have a divisional race decided with the Golden State Warriors having won the Pacific Division with a great deal of ease , while claiming the with the best record in the NBA. Steph Curry of the Warriors has led the team in scoring while being a constant contender for the League MVP for this season .
I believe Golden State to be the best team in the NBA at present, not just based on their record, but there is a clear case to be made , the depth of the roster might just be the best in the entire league ! Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr and his coaching staff have proven themselves to be a worthy successors to Mark Jackson and the previous coaching regiment, as the franchise has reaped the benefits of Kerr’s coaching acumen and ingenuity .
NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 28: Klay Thompson (11) of the Golden State Warriors high-fives teammate Stephen Curry (30) during a game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on February 28, 2014. Curry and Thompson are two of the primary reasons why this season the Warriors are the best team in the NBA , having won the Pacific Divisional title with a deal of ease . As the first team in the NBA to have qualified for the playoffs , Steve Kerr may well now seek to rest several of his key starters as the regular season now winds down . NBAE Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
Hard to question the faith shown in Steve Kerr by the front office, specifically GM Bob Myers and the guidance provided to him by Jerry West, whose resume’ of success as a player and front office executive cannot be overlooked. If Golden State can now go on to win their first title since the 1974-75 season , then it would go a long way to reestablishing franchise back into prominence, beyond the success of this year. The Warriors clinched their divisional title with a win over conference rivals the Portland Trailblazers , their fifty-eighth victory of the season in their 122-108 triumph.
If the Golden State Warriors are said to offer the best the NBA has on show this season , then it would not be incorrect to suggest the New York Knicks have simply shown the fans of the league what incompetency tends to look like , up close and personal. All of the “hype” (hyperbole) in the world cannot , hide the fact this season has been one diabolical disaster , where managerial and the coaching acumen has been nowhere to be seen. One can heap as much praise on Phil Jackson for being a tremendous head coach , but you cannot deny , there has been little to show by Jackson to suggest he has the makings of a great front office executive. His decision to hire Derek Fisher as the Knicks’ head coach has proven to be a monumental disaster of unimaginable proportions.
In trying to understand how bad the New York Knicks have been, one simply has to take a look at their record at home , on the road and then their overall wins’ total. Granted, the loss of their best player, Carmelo Anthony has played a part in the team’s woes this season, but it cannot and should not be used an excuse, when there has been no one willing to step up to the plate and lead by example , much less the lack accountability , for which, Derek Fisher should be demanding from his players.
With a litany free agents available for the 2015-16 season , the issue facing the New York Knicks will not be solely about which players to acquire , but whether or not Phil Jackson has the wherewithal and the willingness to admit, Fisher is not the person needed to be coaching the team. Ego asides, there is clearly more than just simple incompetency , which has been exhibited within the organization during this season. A complete lack of accountability, but even more so, the willingness to accept the apathetic displays all season long, and the continued excuses made. In their fifteen games the Knicks have been nothing but mediocre ! When the Knicks face the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday evening at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California , it will simply be foolhardy at this juncture to believe the Eastern based franchise can get the better of their Western Conference opponents .
With a little less than twelve days to go before the Opening Day of the baseball season begins . The sport finds itself in a morass of un-welcomed news with several players likely to be sidelined due to injury or of their own volition. There remains the issue of which teams are likely to step up to the plate this season and which are likely to regress after a strong showing in 2014 ? Off the field of play , Los Angeles Angels’ slugger Josh Hamilton has entered into rehab, having again, fallen afoul of his own drug and sobriety issues. There seems to be a disjoint as to how Hamilton can be repeatedly with “kid gloves” by the baseball hierarchy and the Angels’ organization , while the game itself has failed miserably to address the rampant use and abuse of performance enhancing drugs within Major League Baseball.
Aug 4, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton (32) in the dugout in the seventh inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Now throw in the ongoing idiocy of Pete Rose , now seeking his reinstatement back into baseball, after his meeting with current MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and you have to ask , is this still a sport seeking to remain relevant among the sports’ panacea ? Alex Rodriguez, remains a comedic and embarrassing spectacle , who this season will try to resurrect his now tainted career . Whether or not Rodriguez plays at first base , third base or short-stop, there is no denying he will remain the focal point of the news concerning the New York Yankees even when their regular season schedule is well underway .
Pete Rose’s less than contrite apology, for his misdeeds , is simply another way for the former Cincinnati Reds’ player to try and gain acceptance within a fraternity, where his lack of candor and honesty was nowhere to be seen, when broached on the subject repeatedly, as to his involvement, with betting on the game of baseball. Those earlier denials , only for Rose to years later, admitting his web of deceit and lies, speaks volumes as to why the game still lacks integrity. Pete Rose has his legions of supporters, who continue to point to players already inducted in the Hall of Fame, where their own character and behavior, has come under fire , for a number of issues. No denying the likes of Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb , left a great deal to be desired, but herein lies the fact, the era then and now, are no different, other than the fact of their being a news’ media , now with a vested interest in seeking to weed out the more unsavory sides of the game , albeit , the hero-worship and homage paid to the players of a bygone era , bordered on those players being viewed as baseball ” Gods”. Rose knew his actions, broke one of the most cardinal rules of the game, but this seems to be overlooked by his supporters , because they believe his banishment has gone on long enough.
My own personal opinion remains , if Pete Rose could not face up to the fact of his actions then , but now seeks his reinstatement, purely through through financial gain. Then why is it so imperative for him to seek reinstatement , other than purely being able to command a bigger fee for his pubic speaking engagements or being present for an autograph signing and meet and greet appearance? Is he really of the opinion his reinstatement , this will also speed up the process of his being inducted into the Hall of Fame , based in Cooperstown , New York ?
SAN FRANCISCO – 1989: Manager Pete Rose (14) of the Cincinnati Reds sits in the dugout during the game against the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park during the 1989 MLB season in San Francisco, California. Photo by Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images
Last season was pretty dire for a number of teams and yet the expectations were high . Two such ball-clubs remain mired in their own fecal mess, which they have simply piled on over the past eight years. How else can you explain the continued ineptitude shown by the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets during the time-frame in question ?
Jed Hoyer , general manager of the Chicago Cubs is seen here with the franchise’s Head of Baseball Operations & SVP The Epstein, right . The two front office executives will seek to have the Cubs in contention to win their first NL Central title in seven years. A postseason berth has not been part of their playoff schedule in a decade , with their ever faithful fans still loyal to this franchise . AP Photo / David Walsh
This season for both the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets, it will be either the year of a turnaround or just complete mediocrity, on the part of both teams. It was there for all to see in 2014, when neither team was in a serious position to mount a legitimate challenge within either the NL Central or the NL East last season . GM’s JP Ricciardi (Mets), Jed Hoyer with the Cubs will have their decisions overseen by Sandy Alderson and Theo Epstein , respectively. Over the last six five seasons , it has been their decisions which have also come to define why both ball-clubs have failed so miserably , with neither having made a postseason appearance , let alone winning a divisional title. The Mets appear to have overcome their financial difficulties, though they are from being on safe terrain , in spite of a number of financial institutions coming to their aid. For the Chicago Cubs , all of the well-publicized upheavals and the refurbishing of Wrigley Field in Chicago , cannot hide the fact their on-field product still leaves a great deal to be desired. The Cubs still have a staunch fan-base willing to support the franchise through thick and thin. Not much more different also, with the Mets and their never-ending failures.
Entering the 2015 regular season schedule, both the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets will have what might be might be deemed fiscally prudent payrolls . Yet it remains to be seen if those monies have been spent wisely, based upon the talent acquired and how it all pans out during this season . Spring Training doesn’t provide us with any type of platform in assessing teams performances overall. As the name suggests , Spring Training , simply more of a series of exhibition games,with the ball-clubs looking to be sync, before the real mayhem gets underway during the first week of April. By mid-June , I believe we are likely to see the ball-clubs establishing some type of identity when it comes to their findings some semblance of consistency.
New York Mets’ front office executives J P Ricciardi , left and Sandy Alderson are seen here at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York as they watch the players prior to a regular season game played against the Washington Nationals . Since being hired jointly by Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon , co- owners of the New York Mets . The Mets have yet to win the NL East since Alderson and Ricciardi joined the franchise in their present capacities or garner a postseason berth . Five years and counting with no real signs of improvement in terms of the franchise’s competitiveness. Getty Images / Howard Russell
Whether not the Cubs and Mets make the postseason, will have a great deal to do with the managerial mindset brought to the table by their respective managers , Joe Maddon and Terry Collins. From there, we can only the “chips “ fall where they may .
The off-season annual gathering of the NFL hierarchy is now taking place, with Roger Goodell, his cabal of less than intelligent subordinates at his side alongside, team owners, general managers, an assortment of agents and a number of players , all looking for a glimmer of hope that this league can show some intelligence , other than their continuously patting themselves on the back as to popular the NFL just happens to be. Goodell’s pratfalls , notwithstanding, this past regular season, other than the thrilling events of the Superbowl , the NFL calendar year left a great deal to be desired . It will be a season remembered , more for adverse publicity received , the lack of leadership shown by the NFL Commissioner and the failure of the NFLPA (union) to act with authority concerning the misconduct of their members . And yet , for the less than intelligent and apathetic fans , can continue to point to, remains the popularity of the National Football League and not the fact, there still seems to be no coordinative effort from any of the aforementioned entities to clean up their act and simply get their $hit together, once and for all .
On his best day , Roger Goodell cannot figure out whether it’s best to kiss his own @ss or have the likes of Jerry Jones, Jim Irsay or Robert Kraftcome up and perform the deed , or the commissioner himself , pondering how much more bull$hit he can continue feed the masses and further emphasize his lack of intelligence.
There remain very few positives that can be gleaned from Roger Goodell’s tenure as the commissioner of the NFL . This season will be no different , as the league will undoubtedly have its fair share of setbacks, both on and off the field of play.
The mayhem of this off-season has seen the customary coaching dismissals, with the tendency of the NFL to recycle its proverbial junk (garbage). Jack Del Rio finds himself back in the league , seeking to guide the Oakland Raiders back unto Terra-firma (firm ground) after years of indifference and continued mediocrity. Rex Ryan remains in the tri-state area having been assigned the reins of heading up the coaching staff of the Buffalo Bills . Both of these of AFC franchises will have a great deal to prove during the upcoming regular season after the disappointments of 2014.
I don’t believe there needs to be much more said , other than there were some inexplicable off-season moves which make no sense , but they are likely to have some lasting ramifications for the teams who initiated those trades. Tight-end Jimmy Graham was sent packing by the New Orleans Saints, but the idiocy of questioning the Graham’s on field antics by way of his behavior and not the fact the Saints were extremely bad last season in so many facets of their game. Sean Payton and his coaching staff failed to instill any discipline into a team, where their defense was among the worst in the league , and it would appear the game of Drew Brees seems to be regressing . The Saints’ loss will now become the Seattle Seahawks’ gain with the losing Superbowl franchise having acquired the tight-end earlier this month.
The Marcus Mariota , Jameis Winston ‘ sweepstakes’ is still taking up a great deal of the NFL and Tampa Buccaneers’ news cycle. Head coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht are either giving the performances of a lifetime or they simply have no idea as to which of the two college quarterbacks they will seek to make the number one overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Both Mariota and Winston are players of proven ability, but the caveat remains, Jameis Winston lacks maturity , whereas, Mariota on the big stage , failed to lead Oregon to a national title when they were highly favored in the championship game against Ohio State this past season. A mistake with this pick will likely set the Buccaneers back at least five years.
Given the recent woes of the Buccaneers and the fact their last postseason appearance was more than five years ago , it might not prove to be that great a setback after-all. It is, not as if this past season wasn’t enough of an indicator to tell us , how far off from being competitive the franchise appears to be. Two nondescript victories, simply summed up Lovie Smith’s team and the mere fact he was unable to instill any type of real discipline into a lineup , also lacking leadership and an identity .
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith ,left , is seen here alongside general manager Jason Licht . The two will have a number of decisions to make in the lead-up to the NFL Draft , where the most important of all will be , which player will they take as the number one overall pick in the draft.. Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times
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We are now almost three months into the calendar year with the plot-lines for the stories still taking shape and no real indication how things are likely to end. Yet in the midst of this all , there have been one or two morsels for us to somehow take hope and the likelihood something good can actually come out of the sporting year. From my own personal standpoint, I now find myself at a point where my interest in the mainline professional team sports is waning . A great deal of this has to do with the lack of civility being shown by not only the athletes , themselves but also the hierarchies who oversee these entities as well as among the owners and executives involved ! Unfortunately, they have set a poor example for children to follow, while using their sporting brand as the main selling point to gain our attention. Perhaps it is now time for the consumer to take a step back and ask the question ___ “is this all really worth it” ?
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