Things fall apart
Well the NFL preseason has begun in earnest with the Minnesota Vikings getting the better of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Hall of Fame game played at Fawcett Stadium , Canton, Ohio this past Sunday.
Prior to the NFL preseason opener there were eight notable inductees into the Hall of Fame. Among those being inducted were Jerome Bettis , Charles Haley, Will Shields , Tim Brown , Bill Polian , Ron Wolf and posthumously the late Junior Seau . I believe all eight recipients are well deserving of the accolade and I have no doubt that the eligible candidates for next season will be equally thought of , though they are likely to be some doubters . Eligible for induction next year are Brett Favre , Terrell Owens , Tony Dungy , Jimmy Johnson , John Lynch , Orlando Pace and Darren Woodson .
Week one’s schedule should prove to be interesting , when there will be a slew of games scheduled ,with the first of those games taking place on Thursday night 13th August, 2015 when the Baltimore Ravens play host to the New Orleans Saints, as both teams will seek to have a great start to the preseason. There is a great deal which the NFL will seek to overcome, but with the likelihood of the fallout of Deflate-Gate not yet to have reached a satisfactory end , the league hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will still have to face the team owners and state to them why the league under his tenure has continued to be dragged down by the ongoing negative publicity. To my mind, the owners are as much to blame for the current debacle as are Goodell and the NFLPA (Players’ Union)! With that being said , there is nothing like bad publicity to get you noticed and keep you within the public’s attention at all times.
As the defending Superbowl champions the New England Patriots seek to make a successful defense of their title. It would appear Tom Brady is unlikely to be a part of the team’s preseason plans and they’re likely start to the regular season schedule without him. Patriots’ owner Robert ‘ Bob’ Kraft remains steadfastly supportive of his star Pro Bowl and three-time Superbowl MVP . Brady seeks to have his four-game suspension overthrown and with situation now to be played out in a Federal District Court in New York City . It begs the question , how much longer can the league be content to have the players as an ongoing adversary.
Clearly, while many believe the Patriots’ quarterback is in the wrong, the question remains, is it practical to have the Commissioner be the sole arbiter of justice within the NFL’s appeals process ? Roger Goodell points to the collective bargaining agreement which provides him with the authority to act in all disciplinary matters concerning player misconduct as well as numerous issues affecting the NFL. Yet, there has to be room for some sort of concession and an actual perception that justice is seen to be done during any type of arbitration procedure.
Bill Belichick as New England’s head coach , has remained out of the spotlight on this latest controversy to have engulfed the AFC East based franchise. Belichick will now embark on the season without Brady to helm the team , looking instead to sophomore quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to lead this season’s roster into battle. Garoppolo will get his first chance to show his head coach what he’s capable of doing when the Patriots open their preseason schedule against the Green Bay Packers. Other teams New England will face, are the New Orleans in Saints in week two, the Carolina Panthers in week three and then closing out their preseason in week four with a game against the New York Giants. The Patriots’ regular season begins on the 10th September with an AFC contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro , Massachusetts,.
A colleague and I recently had a brief discussion concerning the New York Giants and their two-time winning Superbowl quarterback Eli Manning . This acquaintance , believes Manning now has the best receiving corps in the entire NFL with targets Victor Cruz , Odell Beckham , James Jones , Corey Washington and Marcus Harris. Perhaps it’s me , but I have an issue with his perception as to how good he believes the Giants to be , without delving into the fact in spite of Beckham’s impressive rookie season. There is no guarantee that he is likely to exceed last year’s stellar performances. Need one also state, Manning over the past three years has been less than impressive and beyond that, there is also no guarantee Beckham and Cruz are likely to play a full sixteen-game regular season schedule. Also the Giants’ protection of Manning will continue to be in doubt , given the offensive line’s less than impressive protection of the quarterback.
Eli Manning is as much to blame for the New York Giants’ woes over the last two seasons beyond the belief Tom Coughlin might be on the decline as an NFL head coach. If Manning is unable to show any signs of improvement this upcoming season , then it is my firm belief the front office will have to make the decision to cut themselves loose of the player . Anything short of a playoff berth and that decision will have to be seen as a foregone conclusion.
The baseball season is now entering its final stretch run with less than sixty games left to be played over the remainder of the teams’ schedule. Since the All Star Break , it has to be said several teams have really hit their stride as they seek to make amends for the first half of the season, while also seeking to play themselves into postseason contention. No team has been more impressive than the Toronto Blue Jays . who have put together an impressive streak , going 9-1 over their last ten games , the best mark in all of baseball during the time span mentioned.
While the New York Yankees may well be leading the AL East , pressure is being brought to bear by the Blue Jays as they continue to narrow the gap between themselves and the Yankees. Joe Girardi must know his players cannot afford any major slip-ups down the stretch by playing themselves out of contention. Tuesday will see the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Oakland A’s, where Kendall Graveman of the A’s will look to stem the tide for the visiting team at the Rogers Center in Toronto, where Drew Hutchinson will be on the mound for the Blue Jays. The New York Yankees will be on the road as they face the Cleveland Indians . Luis Severino will be on the mound for the Yankees against the Indians’ Carlos Carrasco .
Al Avila has since succeeded Dave Dombrowski as the general manager of the Detroit Tigers . Not exactly and enviable task considering the success achieved by Avila’s predecessor during his fourteen-year tenure in the role. Dombrowski aided by the largess of team owner Michael Ilitch was able to build a perennial divisional and title contender. Yet, the one failure of the Tigers was actually to fulfill the owner’s ambition and the bringing home of a World Series’ title to Detroit. Appearances in baseball’s postseason finale came in quick succession, but each time the Detroit Tigers came up short in 2006 and 2012 .
The parting of the ways between Dave Dombrowski and Michael Ilitch , might well have been the decision by the organization not to retain the services of starting pitcher Max Scherzer , who signed with the Washington Nationals as a free agent and with it, came a multi- year six-figure deal making Scherzer one of the highest paid starting pitchers in the league . Granted , the Nationals have struggled this season , in what now appears to be a one-horse race within the NL East with the New York Mets poised to win their first divisional title in several years.It remains to be seen if the Mets’ manager Terry Collins can make it all a reality. The anticipation of a “ Subway Series “ between the New York Mets and New York Yankees would certainly create a great deal of interest on the East Coast , possibly bringing about a ratings’ bonanza for MLB , but I seriously doubt it ! Terry Collins and his team will be looking to make light work of the Colorado Rockies in their match-up on Tuesday evening at Citi-Field , in Flushing , New York .
The San Diego Padres entered the 2015 season with the grandest of plans . A new lineup , plenty of money to spend and Matt Kemp was meant to be leading a roster of proven stars. Unfortunately , along the way the managerial staff , players and front office were swept up and away under the weight of long burdened and overdue expectations.
Neither Kemp or his teammates have proven to be effective at effective at all over the course of this season. . Instead , it has been left to the Los Angeles Dodgers making strides within the NL West, but there too, Dodgers’ fans could once again end up being disappointed. If the past two postseasons are are anything to go by, then expect the Don Mattingly managed $300 million circus of stars to end up laying several goose eggs at some stage of the postseason .
Zach Greinke may well be on his way to an NL Cy Young Award with the possible chance of pulling off the individual double of Cy Young and NL MVP Award , having also performed quite handily with the bat for the team. Yet , unless the Dodgers make an appearance in the World Series for the first time since 1988 and come away with the biggest prize of them all. Then this season like the seasons of 2013 and 2014 will have been all for absolutely nothing.
No one cares about wining a division or making the postseason when at the end of the day , you fail miserably to land the ultimate prize. The same is now being said concerning the San Diego Padres and the fact they too have failed miserably with their own lofty ambitions. I firmly believe both organizations are likely to make some major decisions once the regular and postseason has ended concerning the player personnel on their respective rosters.
Admirable performances on Tuesday night saw the Los Angeles Dodgers come away with a 5-0 victory over the Washington Nationals at Dodgers Ballpark , while the San Diego Padres swept aside the Cincinnati Reds with an impressive 11-6 win at PETCO Park in San Diego, California. Los Angeles will reacquaint themselves with the Nationals on Wednesday when Clayton Kershaw takes to the mound to face Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals . Meanwhile, James Shields of the Padres will face off against Raisel Iglesias of the Reds in their evening clash.
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is now struggling to stay in the Republican Presidential candidate race. As one seventeen aspirants for the nominee process , Perry has already become the “biggest loser” . With the recent news coming out, that his aides will now have to remain within his camp as unpaid volunteers , it points to the fact the former governor has been unable to raise the funds needed to mount a serious enough campaign , although he states he will remain in the race while seeking more donors to back his campaign.
My question for Perry and his supporters, if he cannot raise enough money to even mount his initial bid , then why would anyone feel he has the credentials to actually lead the country, much less deal with the ongoing economic quagmire the country still finds itself in and the very fact his policy platform is simply filled with a great deal of rhetoric , pragmatism and no real solution ? Such has and will remain the whole politic melange and idiocy of this whole rundown to the Presidential race for 2016. This might well be among the worst group of candidates from both parties that the electorate will have to decide from over the past three decades. Make of it what you will , but the more I have seen , the less I have liked the whole process thus far !
If losing almost $400 million over the past five years is meant to be representative of a real success in the NBA , then the Brooklyn Nets have stood head and shoulders above everyone else within the league during the time frame in question. I was once told by a buffoon , that the franchise could continue buy their way to success, because of the wealth of the Net’ billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov. I have always admired the fact that so many US born sports’ fans remain clueless and have the business acumen of a dried up piece of fecal matter. Prokhorov is now willing to offload his investment in the Brooklyn based franchise while retaining sole possession of the Barclays Center and its surrounding development. Given today’s exorbitant value of the NBA teams and the ludicrous sum of $2.1 billion paid by Steve Ballmer to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers . It does seem somewhat unimaginable any possible suitor for the Nets might have to pay in excess of $1.7 billion to be in with a chance of owning the franchise. Prokhorov will be looking to at least recoup his losses and come away with a sizable profit.
The Brooklyn Nets have not been to the NBA Finals in several years and their last appearance in the NBA Playoffs ended abysmally for the team under their former head coach Jason Kidd. This upcoming season Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff will reset the focus of the team after the departure of several players , of which the most notable was Deron Williams , perhaps the most overrated point guard now playing in the NBA . Why Billy King much less any other general manager now in the NBA would want to him the focal point and centerpiece of any team is not only asinine, but most certainly a mistake. Williams is now with the Dallas Mavericks where an aging Dirk Nowitzki still remains the best player on the roster and perhaps in Mavericks’ history,
In 2014 the Nets were uninspiring. while idiots were still under the misapprehension this team was capable of playing an exciting brand of basketball. Never let it said, that beyond misery loving company , flies will always congregate around the @sshole of a herd of elephants who are constantly taking a shit.
There was absolutely nothing exciting at all about the Brooklyn Nets , even with their almost $100 million payroll . If you are assembling a roster with the ambition of winning a title, then at least do so , by making sure there is someone there, who can be looked upon as the leader , but above all make sure that not only does everyone have a role to play. They also need to have to be all on the same page, reading from the same damn playbook. That was never the case with the Nets even when Jason Kidd took them to the NBA Playoffs, last, in 2013 and it certainly was not the case in 2014 , where they were so inept. Granted , the Eastern Conference will continue to remain the ugly chick at the prom even when you have players such as LeBron James , Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade are still seen as among the best players in the conference on teams barely worth watching .
Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez will likely become the focal point of the Brooklyn Nets behind a revamped team , still seeking to win their very first NBA title. Appearances in two finals of the 2000’s, 2002 and 2003 , left their long-suffering fans yearning more, but the intervening years have been less than pleasurable for the franchise, in spite of having one of the most spectacular venues in entire NBA.
Picture gallery. Click on an individual frame to view that picture in a reformatted size along side a narrative.
What do you believe the fans are likely to see this upcoming season in the NFL ? Also, do you believe the league’s handling of Tom Brady has been justified ? As baseball now enters what we deem to be its stretch run , which teams do you think are going to make a successful push towards obtaining a postseason berth? Finally , with NBA now refocusing their efforts on expanding their reach globally , is there still room for growth in North America or is the NBA hierarchy taking the right approach with their ongoing ambition to make the NBA brand more popular globally , than the NFL , NHL and MLB ? Your comments are more than welcomed , so by all means take time offer up your thoughts on the salients points raised within this article and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.
This month in NFL history
NBA schedule important dates
2015-16 NBA payroll cap
On this month in NBA history
The Roots …. ” The Next Movement “