Picks And Pans …… All Of The None-Sensical Stuff Of The Sports Weekend ………..
Well the sporting weekend didn’t as such really bring about any great surprises . But at the same time we saw one or two contests that were either gripping in terms of the suspense brought or in essence we saw what was all but a certainty as to an inevitable ending. Case in point, the NBA Eastern Conference Finals of the contest between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic . Now down 0-3 in this series it’s almost a certainty that the Stan Van Gundy coached team will be making an unceremonious exit from the postseason. The embarrassing part of this all, will be the fact that Magic will become the first team in NBA history to have to won their two opening round series in a sweep , only to be swept themselves in a conference finals. And this has come about since the NBA adopted the present postseason play format.
The Magic’s 91-74 loss to the Celtics in game three was about an embarrassing an exhibition of poor play from a team that was favored to win this series, as is humanly possible. I almost get the feeling that players on this team have essentially quit not just on their coach but also their fans ! And what can one say about the poor play of the team’s supposed best player ? Dwight Howard if anything has gone ……….”MIA” (missing in action) . Not only that but as the vocal leader on the team he has been anything but that ! The strange thing about this all , is the fallout could have some serious ramifications not just for the team but also for the coaching staff once the dust has settled. GM Otis Smith will have to assess the whole organization as it relates to the roster as well as the coaching staff . This was a team built for the long haul of the season but also with an eye on winning an NBA title this season.
Slide show for your perusal .
Well you can’t say you didn’t see this coming , as it was announced that the Cleveland Cavaliers have fired their coach Mike Brown . Now to put it politely , his firing was about the kindest thing that could’ve been done ! It’s now cause for concern as the impending future of the team’s star player remains uncertain. Though no public statement has been made as of yet we do know that nothing will be forthcoming until the NBA deadline of July 1st comes about and then we may well know what LeBron James has in store for the NBA and how it will effect the decisions of the other impending free agents about to come to the free agency market. Once the decision has been made then all of the other dominoes will fall into place. Never mind that we’ll have a slew of teams whose very existence may well depend upon the decision to be made by James.
After the Cavaliers’ ouster at the hands of the Boston Celtics in the conference semi-finals you could feel and cut the tension with a knife inside the Cavaliers’ organization . The embarrassment couldn’t be hidden from the fans or by the players themselves who were unable to explain their unexpected exit. Suffice to say that GM Danny Ferry and the team’s minority stake owner Dan Gilbert now have a great deal of soul searching to do. The loss of James from this team will cast a huge financial and unwanted burden upon the organization. Retaining him and the rebuilding of a roster that actually complements the player’s prerequisite skills would be of the utmost urgency for the organization.
Finally , the Los Angeles Lakers might just be in a series that will actually test their mettle. They now have a 2-1 lead over the Phoenix Suns . But prior to game three you just had the feeling that the Lakers were going to run away with the series and quite possibly sweep the Suns in the Western Conference Finals. With the unexpected offensive explosion from Suns’ power forward Amar`e Stoudemire . We may well just see an actual contest worth watching in the NBA Playoffs and that’s with due respect to the Lakers ____ Thunder match-up in an earlier round .
With the Suns 118-109 victory in game three where Stoudemire exploded for 42 points, 11 rebounds and you got the feeling that the Suns aren’t about to bow out with a whimper. And for the Lakers , Kobe Bryant had given fair warning to his teammates that the series was far from over . How right he was ! Game four of the series will resume on Tuesday night at the US Airways Center , Phoenix, Arizona. And we’ll see whether or not the Suns can further cut the series’ deficit and play themselves back into contention.
By now no doubt many of you will have read or heard about the sudden death of former Dodgers’ pitcher Jose’ Lima . The shock may not be lost on the Dodgers’ fans who knew Lima to be a real character. But the unexpectedness of it all and the fact that the former player was a mere 37 years old having died of a heart attack may well come as an even bigger surprise. The game has lost one of its more celebrated characters !
Well I’m not about to crown them as of yet but the AL East’s ___ Tampa Bay Rays just keep on rolling along. Here’s a team that has found a way to win and win consistently either coming from behind or merely by playing great defense. That’s not to say that they’re shoddy when it comes to the offensive side of things. But they’re now sending shock waves around the league . Never mind the fact that in their most recent series’ sweep they whipped up on the New York Yankees as if they’d been an unwanted step-child. Whoop there it is ! As Pedro Martinez once said about the Yankees ……….” who’s your daddy now” ? And it now has none other than Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez now saying how good this team is. But then A-Rod’s ongoing problems could pale into insignificance if it’s found out that he was lying as to where he was able to obtain the steroids that he surreptitiously had in his possession and used. Having been a patient of the now disgraced and indicted Dr Anthony Galea. Let’s just say A-Rod had better be on the “up-and-up” should he be subpoenaed by the Justice Department for questioning.
Around the league itself the schedule consisted of the customary inter-league games that Bud Selig feels that the fans will enjoy all the more. Don’t get me wrong , I’m all for inter-league play just as long as the caliber of the games being played are competitive and the pitchers who intend to bat don’t embarrass themselves. Watching some of these pitchers take to the batter’s box is akin to seeing a fat chick , size 16 or above, trying to fit into a two piece bathing suit that measures size 6. Suffice to say, she ain’t gonna look pretty no matter who shapely she appears to be ! And it’s the same thing watching the pitchers take a swing at a 95 m.p.h. fast-ball .
Where would sport be without the judicial system having to intervene to show prevalence of common sense ? It’d appear that the NFL and its teams aren’t prepared to just have their cake and eat it. But it you want a mere morsel of so much as a slither of a piece then you had better be prepared to pay. Thankfully this judgment brought within the US Supreme Court system will now be a shot across the bows of not only the NFL but also , the PGA Tour , MLB , NBA , NHL , MLS , NASCAR and the NCAA as to how they conduct business.
Courtesy of NFL.com & Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court rejected the National Football League’s request for broad antitrust law protection Monday, saying that it must be considered 32 separate teams — not one big business — when selling branded items like jerseys and caps.
“Although NFL teams have common interests such as promoting the NFL brand, they are still separate, profit-maximizing entities, and their interests in licensing team trademarks are not necessarily aligned,” said the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for an unanimous court.
The high court reversed a lower court ruling throwing out an antitrust suit brought against the league by one of its former hat makers, who was upset that it lost its contract for making official NFL hats to Reebok International Ltd.
American Needle, Inc. sued, claiming the league violated antitrust law because all 32 teams worked together to freeze it out of the NFL-licensed hatmaking business and gave Reebok an exclusive 10-year license.
The company lost and appealed to the Supreme Court but the NFL did as well, hoping to get broader protection from antitrust lawsuits.
Major League Baseball is the only professional sports league with broad antitrust protection. The National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the NCAA, NASCAR, professional tennis and Major League Soccer supported the NFL in this case, hoping the high court would expand broad antitrust exemption to other sports.
But Stevens said NFL teams directly compete on many levels. Citing the two teams in this year’s Super Bowl, the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts, Stevens said that teams compete against each other “to attract fans, for gate receipts and for contracts with managerial and playing personnel.”
Click on link to read this article in its entirety.
In a ruling sent down today the NFL lost in its request for broad based anti-trust protection in a lawsuit that could have some serious ramifications for the league and for sports in general. The judge sided with the plaintiff American Needle Inc. which sought to prevent the NFL dictating how they acted as a business concern when producing licensed apparel of the teams under the NFL’s umbrella as a concern. The NFL took the stance that as such the 32 teams that constitutes the league are in fact separate entities. However, that’s most certainly not the case when one considers how the league conducts its business when it comes to revenues derived of broadcast rights or its dealings with sponsors or entities that work in conjunction with the league as a business partner. There, the NFL is a sole entity negotiating on behalf of its members (32 league teams).
In this case the legal counsel representing the league and co-defendant Reebok International chose to point out to the fact that each team independently could go out and negotiate on its own behalf as it represented their own interests as it concerns dealing with an apparel maker such as American Needle. Where this all becomes murky, was the fact that Reebok in conjunction with the NFL sought to make it impossible for an outfitter such as American Needle enter into certain product markets already dominated by Reebok International . Either Reebok welcomes such competition which is to the benefit of the consumer but surely they cannot deny an entrant into a specific arena , as was sought here by both the NFL and its co-defendant. If anything this smacked of a racketeering and undue influence being sought by the defendants whereby they could profit greatly at the expense of the plaintiff and anyone else who’d sought to enter this particular domain. And one thought that the way that many sports governing bodies was above reproach and above board ? Clearly, that wasn’t the case here with the NFL and Reebok International !
Picture gallery for your perusal .
Well these are but a few of the topics of the sporting weekend that I found to be somewhat interesting. What topics if any caught your attention be it on or off the field of play ? By all means chime on in with a comment . I look forward to responding in kind and as always thanks for the continued support as it is most definitely appreciated !
Alan Parkins ………………. aka tophatal …………………….
Tony Toni Tone …………………..“Slow Wine”